Up until recently, I’ve toted around Walther’s PPS Classic as my daily carry pistol. If you’ve never been blessed with shooting this thin German-made masterpiece, you are really missing out. Currently, the PPS M2 is the premier single stack striker-fired sub-compact that the rest of the firearms industry tries to beat. Whichever version you end up with it’s hard to be disappointed with such an easy handling and pin-point shooting handgun. However, these days having a paltry 8+1 capacity seems like a good description of a back-up gun, not a primary carry gun. It was time to upgrade to the PPS’s big brother, the PPQ. It’s been a little bit since I’ve shot the Walther PPQ and I wanted to get up to speed sooner rather than later with this ergonomically top-notch handgun.
I don’t want to burn up too much 9mm ammunition, so this is where the Elite Force PPQ M2 airsoft pistol comes in. What some consider a “toy” with an orange tip happens to fit in every PPQ firearm holster I’ve tried it in. It also features ambidextrous slide release and blowback action. While the recoil is minuscule compared to the firearm, the blowback airsoft action does provide another level of realism when you need to practice and supplement your training.
The green gas-powered PPQ is an absolute cinch to load with Elite Force Fuel propellant. Just fit the nozzle of the fill can onto the fill port of the magazine and charge it with a series of short bursts. It is important to use short bursts to prevent the valve from freezing which will prevent a full charge. Putting airsoft BBs in the magazine isn’t a huge challenge either. Just pull the follower down with your thumb and drop Elite Force Bio BBs into the channel above the follower. It holds about 20 BBs but you don’t have to fill it all the way. I usually just get close to 15 or 16 (the standard capacity of the PPQ magazine) and call it good.
There’s No Ammo Shortage in Airsoft BBs
Not that you need a reminder, but centerfire pistol ammo is getting harder to find than Carmen Sandiego. While I could go out and hammer on down with my stash, it might not be the best strategy at this point in time. Refilling that stash with a two-box max purchase (when you can find a store that has ammo) is not the kind of stress you need right now. Speaking of stress, let’s take a look at some numbers. Trust me, these aren’t bad numbers so there’s not too much to worry about.
Right now 9mm is selling for about twenty to twenty-five cents per round for full metal jacket plinking ammo. Hollowpoint defense rounds are in the vicinity of seventy-five to ninety cents per round. Getting outfitted with a can of Elite Force FUEL green gas, a bottle of EF BBs, and the Walther PPQ M2 GBB airsoft pistol will total just under $150 including shipping. While that is a decent chunk of cash, even in these inflated days, consider that $150 of cold hard cash will purchase only about 12 boxes of the cheapest 9mm ammo if you can find it. Including the airsoft pistol, training with one bottle of BBs and one can of FUEL computes to about six pennies per shot. Including the pistol. Did you hear that?
Not to mention that most pay-to-play ranges do not allow shoot-from-draw drills or any other kind of scenario where there’s the slightest chance a negligent discharge could ruin everyone’s day. Chances are your garage or backyard is not subject to such restrictions with an airsoft pistol (you should check the laws and ordinances that govern you to be sure). Pure economics and the live action training aspect of airsoft are two highly persuasive arguments for parting with some cash to invest in an air-powered training system or platform. But you can’t be swayed that easily, can you?
Draw from Holster Drills Are Not Enough
How about this—force on force training. If you’ve ever watched a video where lethal force was used, the most shocking takeaway is (or should be) how fast things happen. Fractions of a second decide life and death. Merely having a concealed carry license is not enough. Practicing the draw from your CCW holster is not enough. Your target is static and inert. It cares not whether or not you hit it and the target doesn’t want your wallet or to rape you. Force on force training allows you to play out in real life and full speed all kinds of situations that you find yourself in every day. And everyone gets to go home at the end of the day. Sure, you might have a whelp or two from getting tagged with an airsoft BB, but the lessons learned from this type of exercise are existential.
Practice to Protect in House of Worship Security
Another layer on this concept is training for house of worship security. We all know that houses of worship are extremely vulnerable places. There have been plenty of bloody headlines to illustrate this point. To this end, most religious organizations have at least discussed campus security. Many have implemented security teams, and some have hired professional security. Discussing security or having a team is a good start, but far from ideal. The church security team needs to develop proficiency with their security gear and develop proficiency with their strategy. While some work with the “tools” can be done on the range, the strategy is harder to work out without force-on-force training in the building or on the grounds to be secured. Outfitting the team with airsoft pistols and safety gear in order to “practice to protect” will require a little money and but it will be money well spent. Sweeping up airsoft BBs to get the building ready for services might take a little time, however, getting your head wrapped around the myriad ways an active shooter can terrorize your house of worship and how your team will work together to respond to save lives is worth every minute and every dollar put into the efforts.
Practice to Protect Your Family, Friends, and Property
You must face the realities of this brave new world we are racing headlong into. Evil isn’t going anywhere, at least for the time being. Bad guys aren’t just bad guys either. Big shocker, but the creep who wants to rob you is likely a seasoned veteran of the trade. He’s already made the decision that your life is worth whatever he wants from you and the threat of doing maybe five years for a manslaughter charge isn’t much of a deterrent. Yes, the odds of something really bad happening to you or someone very close to you are really slim but they aren’t a mathematical zero. You certainly want to do the best you can with what you have, but hopefully, you can see some of the limitations that training with just a firearm can present. A complete training plan that includes an air-powered replica of the handgun you carry can offer the repetition to develop spot-on muscle memory and the mental quickness to analyze and present a defense in high-stress situations. But like exercising, good intentions don’t move the needle on performance. You really have to practice to protect.
Mark Davis, avid outdoorsman, family man, and outdoors writer is the social media specialist for Umarex USA.