Most of us don’t get to the range as we’d like to or should. Few of us live where we can just step outside and shoot. Even when we do get to the range, restrictions often limit our training options. And then there’s the cost. Ammo isn’t cheap.
It takes time to become proficient with firearms. It’s an art that needs to be developed. And no matter how finely tuned a shooter you have become, as well all know, shooting is a perishable skill. This is especially true with handguns.
So then, what’s the answer? Well, one answer is to bring the range home to you and maximize your concealed carry firearm training by utilizing an air pistol.
Air pistols allow you to train more often and effectively. While not a replacement for live-fire firearm training, they’re a valuable adjunct to it. They’re also a great tool for beginning shooters to learn the fundamentals.
A wide range of air pistols are available today that are designed to replicate the dimensions, weight, handling characteristics and manual of arms of their firearm counterparts. Some of the air pistols even feature blowback action for added realism.
Air pistols are a great tool for concealed carry training. Not only do air pistols allow you to train more affordably and conveniently, they also let you practice a lot of the concealed carry drills that you may not be able to practice at your local range. For example, the similar dimensions of many of the air pistols to their firearm counterparts make it easy to incorporate holster use into your training drills.
SIG Sauer Airguns
While it’s not the only player in the field, SIG Sauer® has taken the lead in the high-performance replica airgun market worldwide. Not only are they a lot of fun but they are great training tools, as well. The SIG Sauer line of CO2-powered rifles and pistols take airguns to a new level of performance and use. They’re matched to original model specs and engineered to SIG Sauer quality standards. They’re not licensed copies, they are a SIG Sauer.
SIG Sauer airguns mimic the weight, balance, controls and feel of the original guns and they have a similar trigger pull. They allow you to hone your skills at home for a fraction of the cost of going to the range. And the skills you learn with the SIG Sauer airguns translate directly to the actual firearm that’s replicated.
SIG Sauer P365 Air Pistol (BB)
SIG Sauer recently provided me with it’s P365 Air Pistol (BB) for evaluation. Its firearm counterpart, the revolutionary (and award winning) SIG Sauer P365 9mm pistol, is currently the #1 selling handgun in America. The P365 9mm was a game changer in the concealed carry market.
The P365 BB is designed to mimic the characteristics of its 9mm counterpart, making it an ideal training tool for those of us that carry the P365 9mm firearm. It took remarkable engineering to design a airgun this small. It’s the smallest CO2 pistol on the market!
The P365 BB is designed to reflect the size, weight and feel of the P365 9mm. The manual of arms is also similar. Even the markings and finish are a close match. Each P365 BB even bears an individual serial number. Side-by-side, its nearly identical in appearance to its firearm counterpart. It fits standard P365 holsters.
As with the P365 9mm firearm, the P365 BB is a semi-automatic magazine fed pistol. It has a blowback action to simulate recoil. The slide locks back when the last round (BB) is fired..It features a fully functional ambidextrous safety (external ambidextrous manual safety is available as an option on P365 9mm), magazine release and slide stop that are identical in appearance and operation to those of the P365 9mm.
The P365 BB has a faux take-down lever and lacks the firearm-like field strip capability seen on many replica airguns, but this is really of no concern. It has all the of important functionality and manual of arms similarity needed to make it a great training gun.
The P365 BB has three-dot fixed sights that are integral with the slide. The sights are close in appearance to the X-RAY3 Day/Night three-dot tritium sights on the P365 9mm. Both have a green-dot front sight and rear square-notch sight with two with white dots. The sights on the P365 BB are not tritium, but I would not expect them to be on an airgun, as this would add greatly to the cost of the gun.
The P365 BB has a zinc-aluminum barrel and a brass .177 caliber smooth-bore barrel insert that’s recessed from the muzzle. The recessed insert and bore of the barrel are designed to give the appearance of an actual 9mm firearm barrel. The slide even has an open ejection port for added realism. Another nice touch.
The P365 BB is powered by a standard 12-gram CO2 cartridge, The CO2 cartridge is neatly concealed inside the full-size drop-free magazine which also incorporates the firing valve, along with holding the BBs and their loading system. The CO2 cartridge is held in place by a hidden base cap that’s screwed on and off using the provided 1/4-inch Allen (hex) wrench.
The P365 BB comes with one magazine. It’s similar in size to the P365 9mm 10-round Extended Magazine and has a 12 BB capacity. The P365 BB magazine will fit standard magazine pouches/holders designed for the P365 9mm. Extra magazines are available from SIG Sauer and a must for CCW training.
Loading BBs is very easy but a bit different than most magazine-fed CO2 pistols. The magazine us equipped with a notch to hold down the BB follower. BBs are loaded through a port on the top of the magazine while holding down a tab on the loading port. SIG Sauer recommends the use of premium high-quality BBs.
According to SIG Sauer, muzzle velocity from the P365 BB with steel BBs is up to 295 fps (90 m/s). With all CO2 powered airguns, the number of shots that can be made with one 12 gm CO2 cartridge and their velocity will vary with environmental and shooting factors. Figure on it being anywhere from 40 to 60 shots per cartridge — the lower end for blowback air pistols and the higher end for non-blowback models.
You’ll get more shots and greater velocity at warmer ambient temperatures. As a rule of thumb, velocity will increase by around two fps for every degree Fahrenheit increase. And on any given day, you’ll get the best velocity and consistency with any CO2 gun with slow fire. With any CO2 gun, velocity will get slower and slower throughout the shot string.
The CO2 blowback system on the P365 BB provides a degree of realism that enhances training. The recoil from the blowback system is obviously nowhere near that of a ceasefire pistol. It approximates that of a .22 LR pistol, which is just enough to make you have to reacquire the sights after shooting. It’s a true semi-automatic action just like the firearm version.
Since the CO2 cartridge operates the blowback system and propels the BBs, the velocity is less than with non-blowback airguns and you get fewer shots per CO2 cartridge. For training purposes, it’s a worthwhile trade-off. The little gun has a surprisingly loud “pop” to it, especially with a full CO2 cartridge.
Accuracy from the sample P365 BB provided has proven to be quite good for a BB air pistol, producing 5-shot groups averaging a little over 2.5 inches (6.35 cm) at 25 feet (7.6 m) during my testing, fired off a rest. It’s certainly more than accurate enough for concealed carry training and plinking.
The trigger has a fairly short take-up. The trigger pull is fairly long but smooth and consistent. Although I didn’t measure it, trigger pull weight of the loaded P365 BB seemed to be slightly heavier than it’s firearm counterpart. I would guess it to be around seven pounds or so. Operation of the ambidextrous manual safety is smooth and positive, with an audible click.
The P365 BB provided to me has performed flawlessly, with no malfunctions, misfires or CO2 leaks. I am aware that there were reports of some issues when the P365 BB first hit the market. If there was any truth to these, SIG appears to have corrected them. Now I admitted have only had the P365 BB a short time, but I have no complaints. It’s a great little gun.
Workmanship on the P365 BB I received is excellent. As has been the case with all SIG Sauer products that I have examined, the P365 BB exhibits a great attention to detail. Considerable thought clearly went into its design.
Fit and finish are also excellent. The obligatory warning message is printed discreetly on the underside of the frame. A nice touch that doesn’t detract as much from the aesthetics of the gun, as is so often the case.
A big plus with replica air pistols, as was mentioned earlier, is that they allow you to train with your regular CCW holster. SIG Sauer provided me with a SIG-branded P365 Ambi IWB/OWB Poly Holster, along with the P365 BB.
Safety Always Paramount
Safety must be paramount in all training. Training with airguns is no exception. They are definitely not toys and should be treated in the same manner as actual firearms. All rules of firearm safety apply. Eye protection is essential for everyone on the range. Steel BBs have a propensity to ricochet. While a ricocheting BB might not have much energy, it can take out an eye.
A good target and backstop are essential. There are a number of commercial traps that are designed for BBs. Be aware that many airgun traps are designed for use with lead pellets, which deform and don’t pose the ricochet danger of steel BBs.
Building your own airgun range is easy and inexpensive to do. The National Rifle Association (NRA) Home Airgun Program is an excellent resource. It has complete information on constructing your own indoor or outdoor airgun range.
Air Venturi Dust Devil Frangible BBs
Pyramyd Air provided me with two boxes of Air Venturi Dust Devil™ Frangible BBs for my testing. Dust Devil BBs are designed to disintegrate into dust on impact with metal targets, eliminating ricochet hazard which is a safety issue with steel BBs.
The patent-pending Dust Devils utiiize a special powdered metal alloy blend that’s compressed into a .177 caliber (4.5 mm) round BB. They’re lead-free, eco-friendly and 10% faster than steel BBs. The increased velocity is due to their lighter weight (4.35 gr vs 5.1 gr for the typical steel BB).
Dust Devil BBs have a tighter BB-to-BB weight variance than steel BBs and now feature a reduced “belly band” around the BB that, according to the manufacturer, aids in accuracy and in function in spring-loaded magazines. The Dust Devils come in an unique folding box that folds into a funnel dispenser for easy reloads. Each box of Dust Devils holds 1,500 BBs.
You still need to take the same safety precautions that you would with standard BBs, including the wearing of eye protection.
Summing it All Up
The SIG Sauer P365 BB is ia superb training tool that can maximize your CCW practice. It’s a heck of a lot of fun to shoot, as well. The realism, performance and quality make it a great value.
The P365 BB has a MSRP of $99.99. It comes nicely packaged with one magazine, a 1/4-inch Allen wrench for the magazine base cap, well-illustrated owner manual, and a starter pack of steel BBs,. Additional magazines are available for a MSRP of $14.99. MSRP for the P365 Ambi Poly Holster is $19.00.
The P365 BB is manufactured in Taiwan for SIG Sauer. It comes with a one-year limited warranty.
MSRP for a box of 1,500 Air Venturi Dust Devil Frangible BBs is $12.99.
SIG Sauer P365 Air Pistol (BB)
Model: P365 BB
Operating System: CO2 Powered Semi-Automatic
Caliber: 4.5 mm (.177 caliber) Steel BB
Muzzle Velocity: Up to 295 fps (90 m/s)
Safety: Manual Ambidextrous Safety
Construction: Polymer Frame with Metal Full-Blowback Slide
Accessory Rail: SIG Rail
Sights: 3-Dot Fixed
Magazines Included: (1) 12rd BB / 12 gm CO2 Drop-Free Magazine
Overall Length: 5.75 in (14.6 cm)
Weight: 13 oz (368.5 gm) without Magazine
I received this product as a courtesy from the manufacturer via Spotter Up so I could test it and give my honest feedback. I am not bound by any written, verbal, or implied contract to give this product a good review. All opinions are my own and are based off my personal experience with the product.
*The views and opinions expressed on this website are solely those of the original authors and contributors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of Spotter Up Magazine, the administrative staff, and/or any/all contributors to this site.