Today we are going to talk about the basic operation of a gas blowback pistol. This will not apply to non-blowback or partial blowback pistols.
As with any firearm or projectile shooting device like an airsoft gun, the following rules MUST be observed:
- Treat all firearms as if they were loaded - TREAT THE GUN WITH RESPECT.
- Finger off the trigger unless you are intending to fire.
- Do not point the muzzle at anything you don’t intend to shoot at.
- Be aware of your target’s foreground and background. In this context, it means using an airsoft gun where it is deemed appropriate.
Most of the controls should be the same across the board because of how real semi-automatic pistols work with exception of a few small details.
I’m going to go over the basic terminology for a pistol.
- The muzzle is this end of the pistol and is where the BB will come out when fired. If I talk about the front of the pistol, it will refer to the muzzle end.
- The top portion of the pistol is called the slide. It slides back and forth.
- The grip is the portion of the handgun that you hold on to.
- This is the trigger.
- This is the slide lock or slide release. The term can be used interchangeably.
- On top of the slide are sights.
- This is the magazine release, also referred to as the magazine catch.
- This is the outer barrel. Inside is the inner barrel.
- This is the hopup chamber. This is where the next BB is loaded into and is going to stay until you fire it. Most if not all of the full blowback model pistols will come with an adjustable hopup system. The way it is adjusted will vary from pistol to pistol so refer to your manual to learn this.
- In addition to these basic items, your pistol may have additional things such as a takedown lever to break down the pistol for cleaning. You may also have an external or manual safety or a decocker. Some models may even offer full-auto.
The magazine has some terms to remember to:
- This is the magazine. This is NOT called a clip. The magazine will look different depending on if you have a green gas or CO2 pistol. A green gas magazine acts like a reservoir or gas tank and you transfer gas from the canister into the magazine by depressing this nozzle onto the fill valve. If you have a CO2 magazine, you will load a CO2 cartridge into the magazine and turn the key until the CO2 is punctured. There are pros and cons to each system that you can learn about in our pistol guide video.
- This is the feed lip. This is what holds the top BB in place when the gun is cycling. It is almost always made with plastic so do take care not to break it. Load the magazine carefully to avoid breaking this part.
- This is the follower. It pushes the BBs up while the pistol is in operation.
- This is the magazine spring.
- This is the release valve. When you fire the gun, the internal striker will press this valve for a split second and release the gas into the pistol to make it cycle.
- This is the magazine gasket. This is where the gas flows through into the pistol.
- For a CO2 pistol, this puncture valve will be present. This is where the CO2 canister gets poked. The CO2 is directly pressurized against the release valve and straight into the gun.
- Some magazines be it green gas or CO2 will require you to slide this forward to access the bottom of the magazine. This piece is called the base plate. Do not drop magazines onto the floor.
A semi-automatic style pistol is great because of the realism it brings and how fun they are. They are not as good for long range use but are best suited as a sidearm or backup. These also make great training tools for real firearm enthusiasts as well.
A loaded semi-auto gas pistol will fire once per trigger pull and lock the slide back upon empty. To operate your gas pistol, load your magazine up with BBs. Then add the propellant into the magazine. Your magazine is now ready. Insert the magazine into the gun. At this point, you have to pull the slide back the first time to chamber a BB. The handgun is now ready to fire.
You may continue to fire until the gun is empty. Each shot will recoil and cause the slide to move back. Upon it moving forward, it will pick up the next round. Once the gun is empty the slide will lock back. When it is locked back, you can do one of two things: You can reload it and drop the slide and continue firing, or drop the slide forward. Any time there is an empty magazine in the handgun, the slide will lock back.
The gun is able to function without BBs loaded in the magazine so be careful when you have gas in the pistol.
To change magazines or remove the current magazine in your gun, activate the magazine release. The magazine should come out freely, so be sure you have your hand there to catch it. Dropping the magazine on the floor will result in breaking the magazine.
Taking apart the pistol is going to be different for every model. Consult your manual or official resources to learn how to do this. From here you can lubricate and clean your pistol regularly. Use only 100% pure silicone oil or similar to clean the pistol and treat the rubber o-rings inside the magazine.
If you have a problem with your airsoft gun that you buy from us, contact us immediately so that we may help and troubleshoot for you. Do not attempt to disassemble anything as it will void your warranty, unless you are instructed by us to do so. An airsoft gun is NOT like a real gun so do not accept help from a buddy who is inclined to take it apart to help figure things out, this tends to cause more harm than good. The consequences of that would be a denial of warranty claims and makes it more difficult to be returned or repaired. If you bought a gun new from somewhere else, take advantage of their service and warranty when you have problems.
I do want to note one more thing that we encounter on the customer service side of things. If you have a problem or did something wrong, please be honest and upfront about it. When you do things you are not advised to do and give us incorrect information to act on, it makes the process of helping you more difficult and potentially more expensive. This is life advice too as you are more likely to get help even if you screwed up if you own up to it, than to be misleading from the get go. The sport of airsoft runs on the honor system and we certainly hope that resonates as people ask us for help. If that help or warranty is abused, it means the bottom line is that the services an airsoft shop offers will go up in price.
This covers the basics of pistol ownership. Please check in our video library on Youtube for specifics about the many important aspects of the sport and the equipment for more details. We have a video on cleaning pistols as well. We will continually refine and update our content as needed so that we can better serve our customers!