Let’s be honest — guns can be a lot of fun. When used safely, guns can be a source of endless entertainment. But what about those new shooters that might be hesitant to try it due to the noise and recoil? For them, a great option is an “air gun” of some sort that offers minimal noise and extremely light recoil.
In addition to being a great “starter” gun for a new shooter, replica air guns can also be excellent training tools for the shooting sports. You can shoot them easily and cheaply, and you don’t necessarily have to head out to a traditional range to run them.
A Classic’s Air Gun Sibling?
The reason I mention all of this is that we recently had the opportunity to test the Springfield Armory 1911 Mil-Spec CO2 Blowback Air Pistol, chambered for cheap and plentiful .177 BB’s. Since we have a .45 ACP Mil-Spec Springfield pistol in our collection, in this review we were also able to compare the two side-by-side.
Let me start by stating that the 1911 air pistol version is identical to the centerfire pistol in nearly every way. However, there are a few aesthetic differences. The most noticeable is the white text on the outside of the pistol itself. The hammers also have different texture patterns.
The most interesting difference in the looks is that the .45 ACP 1911 Mil-Spec has angled slide serrations, whereas the air gun version has vertical serrations akin to the original 1911-A1. Additionally, the air gun has the original-style ejection port size of the 1911-A1, while the Mil-Spec .45 ACP pistol has the more modern and larger enhanced ejection port.
The air gun has all the familiar controls as well as a similar size and grip of the 1911, and weighs only 0.8 lbs. less. This is one substantial air gun, Altogether, it’s a very accurate tool to use to train with in place of your 1911, or to simply get outdoors and have fun plinking with it on the range.
The 1911 Air Pistol Details
The 1911 air pistol features metal construction and a blowback slide, driven by a Co2 cartridge. Atop the slide are three-dot fixed sights. The pistol’s bore is smooth, as you’d expect from a BB pistol. The air gun has removable checkered grips, a manual safety and a removable magazine.
The magazine accepts one 12-gram CO2 cartridge that will last for roughly 65 total shots. On the last shot fired from a magazine, the slide will lock back, readying itself for a reload just like a normal semi-automatic pistol.
Each magazine holds eighteen BB’s, a step up from the traditional seven rounds in the .45 ACP pistol’s magazines. That capacity means you will get to use the same magazine several times before needing to swap out the CO2 cartridge. Velocity is in the 320 feet per second (fps) range.
This air pistol is dimensionally very close to the 1911 Mil-Spec, meaning that all your holsters should fit. Also, the grip angle, texture, iron sights, and controls are all the same. That means this is the perfect tool to practice with, but doesn’t cost nearly as much to shoot. Also, the familiar controls and reciprocating slide make it a great training tool.
However, this does not have be viewed just as a training tool for the .45 ACP pistol. It’s perfect for just having fun, too! There doesn’t need to be a training agenda behind every choice; this can be a simple way just to have some fun on the range that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. There are quite a broad selection of air gun targets available at the Springfield Armory Store that are inexpensive and fun. This pistol is a great way to get outdoors and have some fun plinking on targets.
Hands-On with the 1911 Mil-Spec Air Pistol
The pistol itself feels great in the hands. It feels like a real gun, and the blowback operation of the slide gives it a realistic feel — like you’re shooting a larger pistol. Tracking your sights as you spit out BB rounds while the slide racks back and forth is a very fun experience. The recoil from the slide reciprocating helps make it feel like a real pistol, but it’s still light and smooth.
The magazines have a good amount of weight to them, since they have all-metal construction and also hold the CO2 cartridge. To load the magazines with BB’s, simply pull the spring down all the way until it catches at the bottom of the magazine. From there, you can pour in BB’s and then push down on the spring to enable tension back on the BB’s.
The magazines are where the individual 12-gram CO2 cartridges are affixed. Each cartridge eases into the magazine and then is tightened in using an Allen key to properly seat it. After that, you will be ready to feed the magazine into the pistol and get to shooting. The pistol comes with one magazine, but spares are available on the Springfield Armory Store.
During our time on the range, we shot a variety of targets, both paper and steel. We were able to shoot some fairly tight groups on the paper targets at 10 yards. We found that our groups were tighter when we had a fully charged CO2 cartridge, which makes sense. As that cartridge started to lose some of the pressure, our groups tended to open up a bit.
The air pistol had impressive enough accuracy that we were shooting our steel silhouette target at 40 yards, and we could hear the impact on the steel. This was one of my favorite parts of shooting it because, at the distance of 40 yards, you could watch the BB fly through the air all the way to the target.
So how does shooting it compare to the real 1911 Mil-Spec from Springfield Armory? Well, the recoil from the air pistol is, as you’d expect, not as aggressive as the .45 ACP. It is also not as loud. However, the blowback of the slide on the air pistol is still enough to force the user to practice tracking the sights during recoil.
Final Thoughts About the Springfield Air Pistol
As you can probably tell, we had a lot of fun shooting this air pistol. It’s a great way to get outdoors, have fun, and practice with your pistol without it costing an arm and a leg. This air pistol is also a great place to start for those new to guns, largely due to the operation being almost precisely the same as the .45 pistol, but with reduced noise and recoil. This inexpensive investment can be a valuable training tool, or simply just a way to have a lot of fun!
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