The world of air pistols is as diverse as any other precision sport out there. And there are many factors that need to be considered when selecting your first air pistol. Rather than simply picking out any old air pistol or the most expensive one on the market.
In this article, you will learn all about the best air pistols, Co2 pistols, and other pellet pistols that are currently on the market. Not only that, but you’ll learn about the differences between them. So you can find exactly what you are looking for when entering the world of air pistols.
The following reviews will cover the best air pistols that are currently available. With an easy-to-read format and a break down with pros and cons. With this knowledge, you’ll be well on your way to choosing the perfect air pistol for your needs.
So, let’s get going with a quick comparison table of the models covered in this review.
- 1 Best Air Pistols Comparison Table
- 2 Top 9 Best Air Pistols To Buy In 2023 Reviews
- 2.1 1 Crosman Benjamin Marauder .22
- 2.2 2 Daisy Powerline 415 Pistol Air Gun Kit
- 2.3 3 Beeman P3 Air Pistol
- 2.4 4 Umarex TDP 45
- 2.5 5 Gamo 611138054 P-25 Blowback CO2
- 2.6 6 Umarex Legends M712 Blowback Automatic
- 2.7 7 Crosman Vigilante CO2 Caliber .177 Pellet & BB Revolver
- 2.8 8 Colt Defender
- 2.9 9 Crosman American Classic Pump Pellet Pistol
- 3 Best Air Pistols Buyers Guide
- 4 Best Air Pistols Accessory Guide
- 5 So, What Are The Best Air Pistols?
Best Air Pistols Comparison Table
Crosman Benjamin Marauder .22
21 rounds, built in.
Beeman P3 Air Pistol
Umarex TDP 45
19-round stick mag.
Gamo 611138054 P-25 Blowback CO2
Metal and Polymer.
Double-sided, rotary magazine holding eight pellets per side
Built-in 18-round single stacked..
Metal and plastic.
10-round rotary magazine.
Let’s now move on to our in-depth reviews; we’ll start with the…
Top 9 Best Air Pistols To Buy In 2023 Reviews
1 Crosman Benjamin Marauder .22
Founded in 1924, Crosman Corporation manufacture and supply all types of shooting products for sports such as archery, as well as, CO2 guns, airsoft guns, and pellet guns.
The Crosman Benjamin Marauder is a pre-charged air pistol that shoots.22 caliber pellets. At full charge, the pellets reach speeds up to 700 fps (feet per second). It is made from synthetic plastic, keeping it light. The barrel is rifled and is made from steel with a matte coating to keep it from scratching.
The magazine holds up to 8 pellets and sits in a rotary style magazine on top of the pistol. To reload, you use the bolt action on the back (like that of a sniper rifle), and it will reload a new pellet into the barrel.
For safety, the Crosman Benjamin Marauder has a cross-bolt safety, which is very important for all shooting sports.
There are no iron sights included with the product, but there are rails on the top of the pistols for you attach any preferred optic, whether it be a red-dot or a scope. However, you would have to use air pistol mounts to attach a scope as they are smaller than standard Picatinny rails.
For its size, it looks like it would be quite heavy, but in fact, it is surprisingly light weighing only 2.70 pounds unloaded. The weight reduction is mostly due to the synthetic material used, which allows the air pistol to be both lightweight and also durable.
For some, trigger pull can a big issue, so you’ll be pleased to know that the trigger on the Crosman Benjamin Marauder is very light at only 1.7 pounds.
- Carbine option.
- Rotary Magazine.
- Light trigger.
- Only eight rounds
- Air pistol top rail, not a standard Picatinny.
- No iron-sights.
2 Daisy Powerline 415 Pistol Air Gun Kit
Next up, we have a CO2 (Carbon dioxide) powered air pistol. This operates by compression, which comes from a cylinder that is inserted at the bottom of the grip and screwed in place.
The Powerline 415 has a familiar-looking shape and build. The grip is comfortable, and firing accurately will take little practice, as will getting used to the functions on the pistol.
To insert the CO2 capsule, you remove the lower half of the pistol grip. Inserting the capsule is very easy, and screwing it in doesn’t take much effort either. The pressure from the Co2 is capable of firing the BBs at 500 fps and claims to reach a max distance of 240 yards.
However, the magazine isn’t where you normally find it in the pistol grip, but is on the top slide of the pistol. Reloading is, therefore, a little slow as you can only insert a single bullet at a time. The slide holds 21 round bullets.
There are iron sights that are built into the slide. These are plain black, so they might be hard to see if you are shooting in low-light situations.
As in the name, this is a kit, so you will get more than just a pistol. You will also get some .177 caliber or 4.5mm BBs, a pair of eye protection glasses, three Co2 capsules, and some oil to keep the O-rings from drying out.
Built mostly from polymer, the pistol is light and durable enough to handle the pressure of the CO2. However, using the pistol in rough situations will probably reduce its longevity. The only metal that on the pistol is the trigger and the magazine spring.
The barrel measures around 8 inches and is a smoothbore, which means there is no rifling and no hop-up to create backspin on the BBs. Backspin is important for range and accuracy, but it seems to be lacking on the Powerline 415.
Measuring at 8.6 inches, the pistol fits comfortably in your palm, and it feels like you’re firing a regular pistol. However, the biggest difference is in weight. The Powerline is made mostly out of plastic, so weighs only 0.98 pounds, which is very light.
- 21-round magazine
- No recoil.
- Attachment rail under the slide.
- Co2 will have fps drop.
- Blacked-out iron sights.
- No backspin on the BBs.
3 Beeman P3 Air Pistol
The Beeman P3 is a pump-action air pistol. This means that you have to pump the air into the compression tube before you can fire a shot. It does not have a reservoir like others that use a tank or a capsule to propel the pellet.
As mentioned, the P3 needs to be pre-charged before firing. To pump the air, you will have to unlatch the “hammer” on the rear of the slide. In this case, the slide is not functional and is used as a lever instead. Once unlatched, the top half of the slide will open up, revealing the piston and the air tube. By lifting the lever forward and pushing it back into place, you pump the air into the compression tank.
The P3 doesn’t use a magazine to hold the pellets, so every time you pump the pistol, you have to insert the pellet into the barrel before snapping it shut.
Not only the slide act as the air pump, but it also supports the iron sights. On the P3, you have the luxury of bright hi-vis fiber optic iron-sights. The front sight is a single red dot, whereas the back is two yellow dots. High visibility iron-rights are good for shooting in low-light or towards dark backgrounds. They also aid in lining up the pistol to a target as your eye catches the sight a lot faster.
One thing worth mentioning is that the P3 has an automatic safety feature. This safety will lock the trigger as soon as you pump the pistol, which should avoid any injuries.
The barrel on the P3 is rifled, so you should get accurate shots. Other than that, the pistol is pretty simple. The grip allows you to comfortably hold the pistol, and the trigger is light and easy to pull. If you wish, you could also adjust the trigger pull, but the factory settings are already very good.
Made mostly from plastic, the P3 is very lightweight and easy to hold for long periods. However, all the moving parts, i.e., the piston, compression tube, trigger, and hammer latch, are made of metal to ensure longevity.
With a single pump, the pistol will fire a 0.177 caliber pellet at a max speed of 410 Fps. As there is no blowback from the slide, the shots are near silent when the trigger is pulled.
The P3 uses a charging system, so most of the effort goes into pushing the lever back into the locked position. It takes around 22 pounds of force to push the lever back so you will tire after shooting multiple shots.
- Automatic safety.
- High-visibility fiber adjustable optic iron-sights.
- Near silent when shooting.
- Adjustable trigger.
- Interchangeable rifled barrel.
- Moving parts are metal.
- No magazine.
- Slow reloading.
4 Umarex TDP 45
Umarex is a popular German outdoor brand that supplies air pistols and recreation shooting products.
The TDP 45 is a C02 powered semi-automatic air pistol. Like most C02 powered air pistols, the capsule is inserted in the pistol grip. For the TDP 45, there is a flip-up lever on the backstrap of the grip. Once opened, the Co2 can be placed in the slot and screwed in place.
The magazine holds 19 steel 0.177 or 4.5mm BBs and shaped more like a stick mag than the regular full mags. To release the magazine, there is a magazine release located on the right thumb rest. Underneath the slide, there is also some rail space for accessories like red dot sight mounts or flashlights and lasers.
The CO2 powered air pistol has no blowback and no functioning slide, but that is to be expected. On top of the slide, there are reflective iron sights. The white dots on both the front and rear sights aid in acquiring the sights and lining them up with the target.
Other than that, the trigger is standard and has a smooth and light pull. The safety is not located on the left side as standard pistols, so you’ll have to use your right index finger to access it rather than your thumb.
The TDP 45 is made mostly of a polymer. Not only does this reduce the cost but also keeps the pistol light, weighing only 0.80 pounds. All the moving parts of the TDP 45 are made of metal, such as the trigger, barrel, CO2 screw, nozzle, and the magazine.
The barrel on the TDP 45 is a smoothbore allowing it to guide the BBs with as much accuracy as possible. However, most BB guns have a hop-up for backspin, but there is none on the TDP 45.
The C02 capsules that come with the pistol are 12-gram, and it is not recommended to use higher power capsules as it may damage the pistol. The 12-gram capsules propel the BBs at a maximum velocity of 410 fps measured with 4.5mm bbs.
- 16-round magazine.
- Clear sights.
- Smooth trigger-pull.
- No blowback.
- Accessory rail.
- Polymer pistol.
- Not a replica and lacks realism.
- Fixed sights.
- Screw-in capsules.
5 Gamo 611138054 P-25 Blowback CO2
Gamo is a Spanish brand that manufactures in Japan and is well-known for its quality products. With over 60 years of experience in manufacturing, they provide excellence in their bullets, rifles, and BB guns. Over the years, they have had significant growth and now supply and distribute in more than 90 countries.
The Gamo P-25 is a C02 powered air pistol with blowback feature as well as a single and double action trigger. By cocking the slide, you set the hammer into position, but the pellet isn’t loaded into the barrel. This happens when you pull the trigger, about halfway, and then the pellet is loaded into the rifled barrel.
With the final stroke, you release the gas and send the pellet to its target. The slide will then cock the hammer again and can keep firing.
The P-25 has its CO2 capsule hidden in the pistol grip. To load the capsule, you’ll have to pull half of the grip off. This is a well-designed pistol and separates so cleanly that it is hard to tell where the two pieces meet. Once removed, you can insert the capsule into the slot. Before putting the pistol grip together, you screw the CO2 capsule in from the bottom and then put the grip back together.
The magazine is a double-sided, rotary magazine that holds eight pellets per side. Once one side is empty, you hit the magazine release and flip the magazine around, and the other eight pellets are ready to go. The magazine is well constructed and is made from alloy material and will stand the pressure of the CO2.
The safety can be found on the right side of the frame and is easy enough to access single-handedly but isn’t so easy that you can accidentally flip the safety into firing mode. On the top, you have reflective fixed iron sights that are easy to use to acquire targets.
The P-25 has a working slide made of metal, which gives it a very realistic feeling. The frame is made of plastic but also has metal moving parts. It weighs around 2 pounds.
The P-25 is said to be able to shoot 0.177 pellets as well as 4.5 BBs, but with the rifling, it is better to use pellets instead of the round BBs. As usual, the CO2 is 12-grams and will propel the ammunition of choice at max speeds of 410 fps in warmer climates.
For one CO2 capsule, you will get around three full magazines use before having to change it. It is possible to get four magazines use, but you will have to wait for the CO2 capsule to warm up a bit before shooting.
- Blowback pistol.
- 16-round magazine.
- Reflective sights.
- Working hammer.
- Metal slide.
- Manual safety.
- Rifled barrel.
- Not CO2 efficient.
- Not a replica.
- No bolt catch or slide release.
- No accessory rail.
6 Umarex Legends M712 Blowback Automatic
Umarex Legends line features some of the finest craftsmanship of any replica. The Umarex Legends M712 is a replica of the C96 Mouser and looks and feels exactly like the ones used and made popular during WW1.
The M712 is a blowback semi and automatic C02 air pistol that stores its CO2 capsule in the magazine along with 18 single-stacked BBs. To insert the capsule, you first press the magazine release that is on the right side of the frame. Once the magazine is removed, you unscrew the lid. Once open, you just pop the CO2 capsule in and screw the lid back on to puncture the CO2.
Most of the controls are on the left side, such as the safety and the selector switch. The selector switch is the lever on the left side, which you access with your right thumb. There are two modes; single fire and rapid-fire. To switch modes, you’ll have to press the button then slide it up or down to select your firing option.
The safety in on the back next to the hammer and is pulled in the same way as the hammer to lock the trigger.
The trigger is smooth and doesn’t have a long trigger pull. On the top, there is no slide but, instead, a working bolt. This is where you’ll find the aiming post, which looks like that of an AK rifle, and a reflective dot on the front iron sight. The rear sight can be adjusted for elevation and range but not for windage. This isn’t a big deal, though, as it is a pistol, so most shots will be fired at close range.
The grip is one of the most iconic features of the pistol and is easily recognizable. The broomstick pistol grip swells out like a light bulb and fits comfortably in the hand. This, however, puts most of the weight on top of the hand, and compared to modern-day pistols, this is considered as a bad design. However, in its time, it was a masterpiece.
The pistol is a replica, so it is almost identical to its real firearm counterpart. The M712 is made entirely out of metal, and the only plastic part is the imitation wood on the pistol grip. This does make it fairly heavy, but that’s understandable, as its goal is to be as close to the real C96 as possible.
The barrel is a 6-inch smoothbore barrel and will fire all 4.5gram bbs. The maximum fps with the 12-gram CO2 capsule is around 390 to 410 fps depending on temperature and BB weight. This pistol will, however, consume a lot of CO2 as the blowback needs to be powerful enough to cock the hammer back.
- C96 replica.
- Full metal construction.
- Semi and automatic fire.
- Uses quite a lot of CO2.
7 Crosman Vigilante CO2 Caliber .177 Pellet & BB Revolver
Next up, we have another great Crosman product, the Vigilante. This air pistol is very versatile and can be used with both pellets and BBs. You might notice that it looks fairly similar to the Colt Python 357, that’s because the Vigilante is a replica of that exact model.
The Crosman Vigilante is a CO2 powered 10-round/pellet single and double-action revolver. Starting with the magazine, the rotary magazine fits ten rounds or pellets, but it does not pop out.
To load the magazine, there is a pressure point on the top that you push down to unlock the barrel assembly. Once that is unlocked, the barrel will flip down, revealing the circular magazine. From there, you simply take it out and load it then reverse the steps.
The CO2 capsule is placed inside the pistol grip and is fairly simple to install. All you have to do is remove the plastic caps that make up the pistol grip, and you’ll find the metal housing for the CO2. A simple install and screw twist will puncture the capsule, and you’ll be ready to go.
The safety on the Vigilante is a cross-bolt style safety. This means it is a simple bar that crosses the bolt preventing the hammer from contacting the gas valve. On the top, you have blacked out fixed iron sights, but they perform well under daylight firing. There is also a rail space for all duck tail attachments like red dots or optics.
The 6-inch inner barrel is metal and rifled for improved accuracy, but it does protrude the outer barrel. This is good for both accuracy and max fps, but many shooters will not like the look.
The Vigilante is part metal and part plastic and has a fair bit of weight to it. The pistol weighs around 1.70 pounds (without pellets). The metal parts are where they matter most like the frame, trigger, CO2 screw, barrel lock, safety, and hammer. The plastic parts are the outer barrel, the magazine, and the pistol grip.
For the best performance, Crosman recommends using 0.177 lead pellets or 4.5mm BBs. The CO2 capsule is 12-grams and will result in 435 maximum fps. There is no blowback on this pistol, so it will lack realism, but it will save on CO2 consumption as well as improve on accuracy.
- Colt Python 357 replica.
- 10-round BBs/pellet magazine.
- Rifled 6-inch barrel.
- Metal frame.
- CO2 efficient.
- Blacked out iron sights.
- Magazine doesn’t pop out.
- Plastic outer barrel.
- Grip could have been rubberized.
8 Colt Defender
The Colt Defender is another Umarex product. However, this model is unlike any other in this top air pistol review.
The Colt Defender is a replica of the actual Colt defender 45 auto and is a single piece pistol. This means that there are no removable parts, and everything is built into the pistol. It is a Co2 powered, and it is installed in the pistol grip. To install the CO2, you push the button where the magazine release would be. Instead, it opens the pistol grip caps and exposes the Co2 slot, where there is a screw at the bottom to puncture the capsule.
On the opposite side of the CO2 capsule, is the BB slot. To load the built-in magazine, you simply slide the spring down and feed the BBs into the slot. The magazine fits 18 rounds and shoots in single fire or semi-auto.
There are nice markings on the slide and some authentic warnings and serial numbers. On the top, you have fixed iron sights with a white reflective dot on the front sight and blacked out iron sights on the rear. However, the slide will not move as the Colt Defender is non-blowback.
Underneath the barrel, there is a handy rail for your accessories. The pistol looks identical to the Colt Defender 45 auto, but there are no actual moving parts. The hammer, thumb safety, and the slide catch are all part of the frame and don’t actually move.
There is a working safety on the right side of the frame, and it is easy to operate single-handed. To put the pistol into firing mode, you simply press the button and slide it back to fire and push again and slide forward to put it in safe mode.
Made in Taiwan, the Colt Defender is made mostly of metal, apart from the plastic pistol grip. There is a 4-inch barrel installed and a double-action-only trigger. The pistol weighs around 1.70 pounds and shoots 4.5mm BBs and max speeds of 440 fps with 12-gram CO2 capsules.
- Colt Defender 45 auto replica.
- Full metal.
- No removable parts.
- CO2 efficient.
- Rear iron sight is blacked out.
- Ejection port is a sticker.
- Molded hammer, slide safety, and bolt catch.
- Long trigger-pull.
- Lacks realism in terms of function.
9 Crosman American Classic Pump Pellet Pistol
And now, it’s time for yet another Crosman product. Most of the best air pistols in this review have been pre-charged or CO2, but this pistol uses a pumping action to compress the air.
The Crosman American Classic is a single shot, bolt action pistol with a pneumatic pump. This means that there is no magazine or compartment for you to store air. Much like the Beeman P3, it is slow to reload but has good fps.
The pistol can be pumped up to 10 times to get maximum fps and has enough power for close-range, small game hunting. On the top, you have an adjustable rear sight for windage and elevation, and on the front, you have a fixed post. Both sights, however, are blacked out but still do a decent job.
The Crosman American Classic features a cross-bolt safety that will unlock the trigger whenever you wish to fire. The trigger has a fairly short and light trigger pull, but that is due to the high fps.
Made in the USA, the pistol is made of metal with only the pistol grip and handguard being made of plastic. However, if you get the buttstock accessory, that will also be made of plastic. You can pump the pistol up to ten times to get a maximum fps of 460 with .22 caliber pellets.
The inner barrel is also made of metal and measure around 8-inches with rifling making it fairly decent for accuracy and range. The pumping action is quite heavy and uses around 22 pounds of force to get the maximum fps, but you can pump the pistol as little as three times for target shooting and backyard plinking.
- Full metal build.
- Adjustable power.
- Rifled barrel.
- Adjustable rear sight.
- Fairly light trigger.
- Many modifications available.
- Blacked out sights.
- Tough pumping action.
- Plastic grip and handguard.
Best Air Pistols Buyers Guide
There a few important considerations when it comes to choosing an air pistol. In this buyer’s guide, you will learn about them and why they are important.
First is the propellant, there are three popular types used in most of the best air pistols currently available. CO2 is one of the most popular because it is simple to install, and CO2 capsules are relatively cheap.
Next is the pre-charged air type. This type of propellant requires an external tank filled will compressed air. This can be pricy, but the temperature doesn’t affect the PCA types as much as it does the CO2 powered pistols.
The final less popular option are the pump-action pistols. These don’t require any external propellant, and you get higher fps. However, you will only get to shoot one shot at a time, and it takes longer to prepare the next round.
The second factor to be considered is the type of ammunition. First, we have pellets, which are good for hunting and have higher accuracy as they benefit from a rifled barrel. The second are BBs, which are good for plinking and target practice as you get more realism.
Best Air Pistols Accessory Guide
Most pistols that come out of the box are fairly decent, but there are still a few things that you can add to your pistol to improve your shooting experience.
The first option is an optic or a scope, depending on your configuration. This will help you improve your accuracy. Secondly, you’ll want to modify your trigger to get a smooth and light trigger pull. This also improves accuracy. Thirdly, you might want to get some illumination, maybe a flashlight or a laser, to help you shoot in different situations.
Another great accessory would be a holster for your pistol or a strap if you have a buttstock configured on to your pistol. This helps in carrying the pistol around more comfortably.
If possible, try to buy some extra magazines so you can shoot without having to stop and reload. More magazines mean more fun!
So, What Are The Best Air Pistols?
There are many reasons to buy an air pistol, perhaps you enjoy small game hunting or have a pest problem. Or maybe you are someone that enjoys realism and likes to practice drills. Or maybe you just like to enjoy the afternoon shooting at cans and bottles. Whatever the reason, there is an air pistol that is excellent for each purpose.
First up is for the hunting category. For this, the obvious winner is the…
This air pistol has the power and accuracy to take down small game. And it can be easily modified for stability and to add a scope. It is true that the Crosman American classic can indeed do the same, but it doesn’t have the magazine capacity and follow up shot speed that the Marauder has.
Next up is for how accurate the air pistol is in terms of realism and replication. This one is pretty tough, as many of the pistols that are replicas are pretty accurate. However the…
…wins in this category. The realism is unmistakable, and the controls and pistol manipulation are mirrored to that of the C96 Mouser.
If you are not too serious about hunting or realism, then the…
Winchester Model 11K Semi-Auto Pistol Air Gun Kit
…is the best air pistol for you. You get all you need to get out and start shooting in the kit, so you don’t have to worry about eye protection or obtaining ammo. Another reason is that it features blowback and, therefore, a better feel, which results in a more enjoyable shooting experience.
You should now know more than enough to make a great decision about which is the perfect air pistol for your needs. So stay safe and happy shooting with whichever one you choose!