Is the SIG P365 Air Gun the cure to quarantine training?
So there I was: 6 weeks into the lockdown and itching to do some training to keep my shooting skills sharp. Store shelves bare of ammo, gun ranges closed, all Tiger King episodes under my belt, I was browsing Amazon for some Anti-Carol Baskin gear when I ran across a lightning deal on a SIG Sauer P365 Air Gun. Already impressed with the air gun variants of the P320, I hit the Buy Now button and the wait was on.
By the time it arrived on my doorstep, I had already stocked up on BBs and CO2. The air gun was packed well, a detail I noticed as I hurried to open it. The P365 Air Gun looks and feels exactly like a real P365 - my everyday concealed carry firearm - except that it has a manual safety. The grip texture, magazine release, slide serrations, even the overall size of the gun all match the P365.
It’s about 4 ounces lighter than a real P365, and the sights are not night sights, but close. The magazine even holds 12 rounds, which is accurate for the more popular SIG P365 magazines. Overall it’s an impressive package. Not a 100% likeness but close.
Air gun seems to be a broader term than I once thought. The P365 Air Gun is a semi-automatic, CO2 powered airgun that fires 4.5mm BBs. Those 4.5mm BBs are the ones we all likely grew up on with our Red Ryder BB guns. The SIG P365 Air Gun uses 12-gram CO2 cartridges, which are extremely common and can be found in any sporting goods store.
The air gun weighs 13 ounces, comes with a single magazine, some BBs, and a wrench for removing and installing the CO2 cartridge. The P365 Air Gun fires 4.5mm BBs at 295 feet per second, although that’s with a new, full CO2 cartridge. Those cartridges install into the magazine and are easy to change out.
I bought the P365 air gun as a training aid, so I tacked on a CrossBreed Reckoning holster for my P365 and went to my outdoor man corner. It’s a potion of my barn dedicated to working out, dry fire, and more. To train, I set up a green plastic target who, over the years, was struck with thousands of real bullet. His retirement to the air gun range must be a welcome reprieve.
I started simply. Let’s draw and fire. Starting slow, learned to use to gun, and the trigger. The trigger is a bit different than the stock P365. Its longer, mushier, and requires a full reset between shots. This did take a little time to get used too, and more than once did I fail to let the trigger properly reset before attempting to fire again.
After getting the trigger under control, I moved to more complicated shooting drills, including my favorite failure to stop drill. Getting a little more intensive is always fun. The gun has a blowback action. That means the slide operates like a real gun and moves back and forth. This requires you to still practice sight tracking. Even better, if you are training to learn how to track your sights, you have a cheap option to do so. That being said, the recoil s nowhere near that of a real P365, so keep that in mind.
I also practiced drawing and shooting from awkward angles and positions, like being seated, taking a knee, and so on. One cool part of using the P365 air gun is the fact you can practice in an extremely safe way. If you start dry with a real gun, the only next step is going live. If you have a P365 air gun, you can fit in a little extra practice before you go live.
4.5mm BBs and 12-gram CO2 cartridges are quite cheap, and you can buy 4,000 bbs and 15 12-Gram CO2 cartridges for about 20 bucks altogether. Compared to regular ammunition, that is superbly cheap. For the price of 100 rounds of 9mm, you can get hours upon hours of training. You also don’t need a gun range, but something simple just to catch the rounds. On top of that, you also need a pair of safety glasses.
The gun itself is affordable, with most retailers carrying it for around 80 bucks. Extra magazines cost 15 bucks, and I feel you certainly need one to make the most of your training.
The SIG P365 Air Pistol seems to be very reliable and didn't malfunction within 400 rounds. The gun will stutter a bit as the CO2 cartridge gets cold, so you’ll need to let it warm up a hair. Accuracy isn’t like regular guns and neither is the effective range, but it's still an effective tool to practice personal defense. At 15 yards or so, I can spin a Coke can around. From a defensive training perspective, that’s good enough. The only thing I dislike with real passion is the safety. It's flimsy and would be better as an option on the gun, but what can you do?
The SIG P365 shouldn’t be used to replace live fire training, but it can most certainly be used to compliment your dry and live-fire training. A BB flies a lot different than a bullet so you can't replicate accuracy training, and as we mentioned recoil is much different.
Air guns are a lot of fun for shooters of all ages. My son loves it and loves being able to shoot a little tactically that what he typically gets to do. Plus he gets to mag dump it and let’s be fair that's always a lot of fun.
The SIG P365 Air Gun is an excellent training tool. It’s perfect for the current lockdown lifestyle many of us are living. It’s a fun, and much more affordable change of pace to my daily grind. Other companies like Umarex make licensed air guns for Glocks, HK, Walthers, and more. Air gun training is a perfect option for training at home, on the cheap, whether you're in lockdown or not.
Travis Pike is a former Marine Machine gunner who served with 2nd Bn 2nd Marines for 5 years. He deployed in 2009 to Afghanistan and again in 2011 with the 22nd MEU(SOC) during a record-setting 11 months at sea. Travis has trained with the Romanian Army, the Spanish Marines, the Emirate Marines, and the Afghan National Army.
He serves as an NRA certified pistol instructor and pursues a variety of firearms based hobbies.
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