Back to All Blog Posts

Practical BB Gun 101

Needless to say, ammunition has skyrocketed in the past few years, and that’s only if you are lucky enough to find what you are looking for. Couple that with busier than usual ranges and practice starts to feel more like a chore than a hobby. Those that don’t want to put up with it have an option that has been there all along, except now with enhanced realism. For those that missed the title, yes, I’m talking about BB guns. Now, if you haven’t been involved in that leg of the industry recently you are likely thinking of the cheap, plastic jobbies from yesteryear that barely resembled a firearm. However, things are vastly different now, with direct copies on the market that even operate like the real deal. Using the Umarex Smith & Wesson M&P 40 for example, here are five training aspects that carry right over from your powder burner.

1. Drawing

Being that the BB guns’ exterior is identical to their louder counterparts, they will fit in whatever holster you are currently using. With weight also being on par, it will not only lock in the same way but come up just about the same as well. Using as little as just a thick piece of carpet to stop the projectile, owning one of these is a great way to work on that first shot out of the holster before you even get a chance to pick up the sights.

2. Trigger Control

As the Umarex M&P shares the same trigger contour as the S&W version, it will feel just about the same to your finger. This means that you can work on your trigger control and practice that smooth squeeze, follow through and reset necessary for precise single shots or rapid double taps. Consider this to be the middle ground between dryfire and live fire, as you’ll have the blowback side generating recoil. This routine goes a long way in curing a flinch too.

3. Sight reacquisition

Finding your sights again quickly after the gun recoils is an important skill to build and can only be practiced if there is some sort of movement after the trigger is depressed. For this reason, standard dryfire with an empty firearm won’t do it any justice. Realistic BB guns will knock the sights off target when they fire, showing you any weakness you have in your stance, grip, or recovery. Not a bad way to spend an afternoon in your basement.

4. Transitions

When practicing for the practical shooting sports or god forbid a real-life defensive situation, it’s important to do so with multiple targets. Bad guys love to work in pairs and cardboard and steel generally form a pack before they come after you on a timer. Critical to your success is how fast you can neutralize a target and then get your sights onto another. As many Umarex models are dead ringers for the guns that they represent, they will swing like your standard firearm and provide realistic practice for transitions too.

5. Reloading

One of the coolest things about guns like the Umarex M&P 40 is that the magazine system is both dimensionally and functionally similar to that of a cartridge-firing gun. That being said, not only will muscle memory be the same but a lot of magazine carriers will also work for the sake of practice. As these magazines also house the Co2 cartridge, they have a very similar feel to ones that are filled with genuine freedom seeds. Just be careful about dropping them directly onto concrete and the such. Because there is a good bit more going on inside mechanically, it’s a good idea to put down something soft for them to land on. Umarex offers spares on the website, be sure to grab a few extra to get a complete training experience out of your BB gun.

As you can see, you can get a great deal of realistic practice out of even a modestly priced BB gun. Best of all, in many cases, this can all be done without even having to leave the comfort of home. Umarex offers the M&P in other frame sizes as well if the 40 isn’t your game and for those that don’t shoot a Smith take a look at the rest of the catalog as they offer replicas of many other commonly owned firearms. For more information visit

Frank Melloni gained national attention with his performance on History Channel’s TOP SHOT. Frank now owns and operates Renaissance Firearms Instruction and covers firearm industry gear and issues in magazines and blogs.

Write a Comment Close Comment Form