I’ve heard it seven ways till Sunday with people comparing the cost of “Airguns” to “Real” guns. In the end it’s not about the money, it’s about the shooting and the sport. Let me try to explain.
In the Beginning
I need to back up a bit because in the beginning I was one of the ones that claimed spending even $200 on an airgun just didn’t make sense when I could by a “real” gun for the same money. So, believe me when I say that I get it. But time and experience has shown me the other side of the coin and I hope that I’m able to relay that in this article.
It’s not about the money, it’s about the experience.
My first airgun was a $50 multi-pumper that, at the time, was a major purchase for me. By contrast my first real gun was $75 out the door taxes and all. If that’s where the comparisons ended, then it does look silly to spend hundreds of dollars on airguns when “real” guns can be had for a similar price or less.
Having addressed this question probably hundreds of times, let me share an analogy that has seemed to resonate with many folks. There are two people that were just hired, but they’ll need to commute 45 minutes each way and has a vehicle. One person is all about the utility and economy but the other loves cars, high powered audio systems, with performance and handling a must. The first person purchases a Honda Civic 4 cylinder and is perfectly content with their purchase. The second purchases a BMW M3 V8 convertible.
If each evaluated the other’s purchase based on their own personal criteria, they’d each think the other person must be completely out of their mind! In essence the situation is the same when looking at costs and function comparisons between airguns and firearms.
Fill your needs, don’t worry about someone else’s.
When it comes to shooting sports, airguns may or may not be the “right” choice for everyone. Personally I think that even experienced firearm shooters can find enjoyment with the right airgun in their hands, but not everyone has that same opinion. And, that’s perfectly OK.
If you’re looking into airgun shooting, consider what your goals may be and then start making some qualifying decisions. Most people that I talk to about airguns are new to the sport. They have several firearms which are either too expensive to shoot these days or are impractical in their current living environment. I get great joy helping people drill down to find the right set of products that fit their wish List AND satisfy their need for more trigger time.
Where Gun Owners should start looking.
If you’re gun case is full of “real” guns and you’re looking to supplement your collection with one or two airguns, here’s where you should start. First, knowledge about the mechanics, shooting requirements and characteristics of the various types of airguns is going to go a long way in making sure you get the right product. While it starts people at the top of the budget, I advise all firearm owners looking to mimic their rim fire or center fire shooting experiences, to strongly consider PCP airguns. Yes it can be expensive to start, but the PCP class of airguns offers the best shooting experience with the most power and accuracy, with the least amount of learning curve in shooting technique. One of the best options on the market is the Benjamin Discovery PCP kit. The next is the Benjamin Marauder. Both are capable of consistently shooting .5″ groups at 30 yards and 1″ to 1.5″ at 50. The Discovery Kit comes complete with open sights and a hand pump but is a bit on the loud side. The Marauder is quiet as a mouse in .177 and .22 but needs a scope and equipment to fill it. Other brands offer additional features such as more power, more range, high quality open sights, etc. In my experience working with firearm owners, PCP Class Airguns are the way to go 9 out of 10 times. Once they’ve spent some time behind the trigger and seen the value, both monetarily and experientially, they’re hooked and ready to spend what it takes to truly enjoy the sport.
Still not convinced?
There’s certainly always the exception to the rule or the shooter that’s got a very specific utilitarian goal, say ridding their yard of tree rats. My advice to this shooter is set a budget, do your research, and if at all possible, get some trigger time with some of the products you’re most interested in. One of the best values in a traditional airgun that’s sufficiently powerful for small game and capable of consistently producing sub 1″ groups at 25 yards, is the RWS 34 in .22 caliber imported by Umarex USA. It’s an airgun that’s stood the test of time and is still around decades later. It’s not hard to shoot accurately and has a great company that stands behind it with a limited lifetime warranty. Hard to really go wrong there.
If you’re a “real” gun guy with questions, please give us a call and let’s see if we can help the right products to your needs. Also, don’t be afraid to post your questions here on the blog. The airgun community is a very friendly and helpful group of people. We’ve all been there, and love to help others get their feet wet!