Airsoft Or Paintball For Training — Any Benefit For Daily Carry?

Airsoft and paintball are two shooting sports enjoyed by millions the world over. Both offer firearms enthusiasts a lot in terms of team building, coordination, exercise, and using principles of marksmanship. Is there any advantage for a concealed carrier to get in on either of these sports?

As surprising as it may sound — there’s a good case for it.

Especially for those beginning their experience with firearms and nervous about handling loaded guns, airsoft can really help you work on the fundamentals. It’s possible to pick up a replica of many of the commonly made handguns and use that airsoft gun to practice things like:

Response Drills

Concealed carriers need to be able to draw their handgun from holster and put rounds on target. This is something that should be practiced at a range or controlled safe environment. For those who are nervous about carrying with a round in the chamber, airsoft can provide a good bridge for practicing all the same techniques without having to worry about it.


Home Defense Plans

It’s just not possible to use live rounds in home defense drills. When you have to plan for how you intend to fight, using an airsoft pistol can help you work on pivotal skills like checking corners, moving through doorways, clearing stairwells, and finding good defensive positions in your home.

Working Against Live Opponents

There is no substitute for range practice and advance pistol courses. However, you will never have the opportunity to fight against a practice opponent using live rounds.

There’s something different about working against real people who are just as interested in taking you out as you are them — without the threat of death being involved.

Realistic Expectations For Airsoft Training

Airsoft will never come close to replacing actual experience but it can help bridge the gap for a lot of tactical skill sets. Ammunition is expensive and airsoft pellets are cheap. Working on a safe course with other players will give you some mental bearing on working in a defensive environment.

What airsoft/paintball can’t do:

  • Reinforce real firearm safety
  • Make you a super tacticool operator
  • Guarantee a successful outcome in a defensive gun use situation

What airsoft/paintball may be able to do:

  • Improve hand-eye coordination
  • Get a great workout
  • Build confidence in you
  • Let you work through complex tactical situations
  • Be an affordable training opportunity

As a concealed carrier with prior active service in the Marine Corps and having attended multiple handgun-related courses, I can not stress enough that nothing replaces building respect and confidence in your own abilities and that of your equipment like attending advanced tactical handgun courses taught by certified professionals in a safe, training environment.

Even better than those courses is reinforcing those lessons through regular practice.

And a threat to us all: complacency. Complacency kills.

Both airsoft and paintball can provide you with situational planning, awareness, and fun. For daily carriers, each may find something crosses over from the practice of the two. The best skill it develops: teamwork and communication.

Last word: firearm safety always applies.

  • Always check a gun to see if it is loaded.
  • Keep your finger off the trigger until you’re ready to fire.
  • Do not point your gun at anything you do not intend to shoot.
  • Know what is in front of and behind your target.

This applies to both regular firearms and paintball/airsoft guns as well.

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