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Education / Training Training with a CO2 lookalike: Part One

Training with a CO2 lookalike: Part One

Sig P365
Sig P365 BB pistol.

This report covers:

  • Back story
  • Fun!
  • Bullard holster
  • Watchmen
  • First try
  • Step back
  • Denny laughed!
  • The future
  • Summary

Oh boy, have I got one for you today! Today you’re going to see old BB training with his Sig P365 BB pistol!

Back story

You know those videos where Tyler Patner and I talk about airguns? Well, in the first one Tyler said something that resonated with me. He talked about the training value of CO2 airguns. I listened to what he and I both said and I thought — “Why not?” So, out came the Sig P365 BB pistol and a 12-inch Shoot-N-C target was pasted to the rubber mulch trap box and BB was off to the races.

Sig P365s
Apart from the holster wear on the bottom 9mm firearm and the longer magazine on top, these two Sig P365s are virtually the same.

Fun!

It was so much fun! I stood 10 feet from the target that was pasted to the front of my rubber mulch box. How could I miss? I say that but until I tried it, I could think of all sorts of ways. 

I put a new CO2 cartridge in the pistol with a drop of Crosman Pellgunoil on the flat tip and pierced it. Then I loaded 19 BBs into the double-stacked magazine. The Pyramyd AIR website says the mag holds 12 BBs, but mine holds 19. Then I was ready to shoot.

Bullard holster

I carry my 9mm P365 in a form-fitting leather holster made by Bullard of Cooper, Texas. There are many great concealed holsters on the market, but my neighbor, Denny, got a Bullard for his S&W carry pistol and showed it to me. After seeing how it worked I bought one. It costs about as much as the $90 BB pistol, but of course it is my concealed carry holster so I didn’t think about that. Does it work?

I don’t know if you have noticed or not but BB is somewhat full-figured. Never had a 6-pack, but now I have a keg or two. I had been carrying my 9mm P365 in an ankle holster, but they are cumbersome and slow to get the gun from. I also have a belly band which is an elastic band that goes around your middle and stays tucked inside your trousers. Again, slow to get the pistol from. The 2017 church shooting in White Settlement, Texas, shows the security man drawing and firing his pistol in seconds, killing the shotgun-wielding assailant. The man who saved the day is one of that church’s security team members and also a firearms instructor for the Texas concealed carry permit. What he did was classic and professional and it saved several lives, though two church members were also killed and the first one was another church security man. If you watch online you will see that the distance of engagement for the final shot was 20-25 feet.

Watchmen

BB is on the Watchman team at his church, for exactly this reason. He has been doing this for the past five years, but after this shooting he decided to upgrade his holster to one that is faster. Let me show you what it looks like.

BB
Just BB. Can you see where my pistol is?

BB armed
There it is.

BB has worn his shirts outside his belt for years, as most fat men do. But now he has a real reason to do it!

When you come to my church BB looks like a lot of the other old men you’ll see. This is Texas, so about half the men are armed. Old BB blends right in. But if called upon, can he perform? After my discussion with Tyler, I wondered. Well, I have this P365 BB pistol and I don’t need to wonder anymore.

Stock up on Air Gun Ammo

First try

Oh boy, here we go! I stood 10 feet from the target, then I drew the BB pistol and fired two shots, which is called a double tap in the security trade. To my utter surprise, two things happened. I didn’t take aim (there was no time) and I put two rounds into the X ring! Both were surprising to me. Yes, BB shot holding the gun in both hands. I think for this kind of shooting that is essential.

I holstered the pistol and tried again, and again. I kept shooting this way until the slide locked back after the last BB. Let me show you the target.

first target
From 10 feet I kept all my shots inside the 10-ring, which is 7-inches in diameter. Most of the shots are in the X ring.

Wow! This was better than I expected, especially since I didn’t take aim. I pointed the pistol at the center of the target and, glory be, the shots went there!

Step back

I reloaded the magazine and took my stance at 12 feet, shooting at the same target. I did the same as before, draw from the holster and fire twice, then holster the pistol and go again. And even this time I kept all the shots inside or on the 10-ring. Wow! I had to go next door and tell Denny!

second target
I shot the second magazine at the same target and again kept all the shots inside or just on the 10-ring.

Denny laughed!

When I showed the pictures of the targets to Denny and told him what I had done he laughed and said, “That’s cool! Is that target still up?”

We went back to my garage and Denny put up a fresh target, then he tried it with double taps just as I had. I offered to let him wear the holster but he declined. He just held the pistol down until he was ready to shoot each time. It took him about three times to get the hang of it, and all of his shots were from 12 feet.

Denny's target
Denny’s target, shot with two magazines. The shot at the top was stopped by a synthetic cutting board I use to back up my mulch trap. I don’t show this to embarrass Denny (well, maybe just a little) as much as to show why a backer board is necessary.

When he saw what he had done he asked me how much the P365 BB pistol costs. I didn’t remember so I told him about a hundred dollars, but it’s ten dollars cheaper than that as this report is published.

The future

I marked this report as Part One, so there is more to come. I think with practice I can keep all my shots on a 6-inch target at this distance. My garage will allow me to back up a couple more feet, and when I can shoot from there and keep them all in 6 or 7 inches, I’ll do that and show you.

I will also go to a local indoor shooting range where I will shoot my 9mm pistol the same way, only I won’t draw it from the holster. I’m sure the range has restrictions against doing that. If they don’t they should.

My plan is to show you guys all of this as it progresses. Denny has even asked me about him building a range like mine, so we are off to the races!

Summary

I have avoided doing this for years, thinking that it would be too unsafe. Well it isn’t. As long as you take the usual precautions of safety glasses for all in the vicinity and you back your target with a backer board the BBs can’t penetrate, things will be safe.

author avatar
Tom Gaylord (B.B. Pelletier)
Tom Gaylord, also known as B.B. Pelletier, provides expert insights to airgunners all over the world on behalf of Pyramyd AIR. He has earned the title The Godfather of Airguns™ for his contributions to the industry, spending many years with AirForce Airguns and starting magazines dedicated to the sport such as Airgun Illustrated.

50 thoughts on “Training with a CO2 lookalike: Part One”

  1. BB,

    This is a very timely report for me to comment on.
    I helped my brother get through his chemo treatments for a very aggressive form of lymphoma at the end of 2018 and, when he was pronounced cancer-free, I bought him an Umarex Gen 4 Glock 17 that matched his carry gun as a celebration gift on his remission, and to see if I could snake him into the airgun hobby. He’s always ribbed me quite a bit for playing with “toy guns”, but the reviews on this gun made me think it may be just the thing to convert him. Well, my wife had a stroke in early 2019 and then Covid restrictions became all the rage and soon over 2 years had past and I still hadn’t seen my little brother to give him the gun. In late 2021 his cancer came back, but after 6 months of treatment in an experimental study, he is now cancer-free once again and although, because of my wife’s health, I haven’t been able to go to his place in rural Indiana to shoot with him, I was able to meet up with him and a one of our cousins for lunch about 2 weeks ago and gave him the gun, a bottle of Hornady BBs, and a 25 pack of Daisy CO2 cartridges. He told me a few days ago that he is doing exactly what you described, drawing from his carry holster (which he claims the gun fits perfectly) and shooting, instinctively, at targets 21 feet away. He says he’s having a blast with it and feels that it is actually improving his live fire shooting. Where he lives, he can step out the back door and shoot his firearms into a 200 foot high hillside anytime he feels like it, so it’s easy for him to make regular comparisons.
    Your report gave me the chance to reinforce your contentions about practicing with airguns and it reminded me of how glad I am that my brother is still walking among us, so I’m really glad you made the post.

    Half

  2. BB,

    I have expressed here many times my distaste for these replica CO2 guns, mostly because of stupid people and what they do with them. Of course, the same can likely be said about stupid people and other things. Used properly such as in your methodology here, they can be a useful tool.

    Being an old geezer, I noticed a term you stated here that I had not heard until recent times. That term is “double tap”. Until the U.S. military went away from the .45 ACP to the 9 mm and all the law enforcement followed suit, it was not necessary to teach such. If you have to use two shots to accomplish what one will do…

    To each his own, eh.

    • RidgeRunner,

      That’s why my SIG P320 HAS 21+1 round capacity but my Kimber 1911 only has 7+1 or 8+1 capacity. I have a few 10+1 but reserve those for End-of-Days usage; they just imbalance the shot cycle way too much for accurate first shot placement!

      shootski

      • Shootski,

        I built and tuned a Springfield Armory 1911A1 from a kit. I bought over twenty magazines, loaded them up and started shooting. When I had a misfeed, I would toss that mag to the side. I kept shooting until I had five magazines that I never had trouble with and sold the rest. My rig was a belt with the Springfield on the right and four spare mags on the left with a knife. I shoot one handed, so it is easy to have a spare mag ready to go.

        I also like a S&W Highway Patrol in .357 Magnum.

    • R.R.
      I suppose that you practiced the El Presidente drill (if memory serves me right) in the 90s. Even a 7 rounds mag was adequate for it, you still had the last one in the chamber. I miss that Gold Cup National Match.

          • Bill,

            OK. What I have done over the years is fired hundreds of.45 ACP and hundreds of 9 mm to the point where I felt very comfortable with those handguns under various conditions. I have never, ever concerned myself with score. It has always been lead on target. I became proficient enough to hit a chest size stump with every shot at over 100 paces with a 1911A1. It was always one handed. This allowed me to switch targets without movement of the body and the off hand could grab a spare magazine. Once you became proficient with one hand, you became proficient with the other.

  3. This is cool! I too have the P365 CO2 BB pistol and have only shot it outside, but have wanted to make a better trap arrangement for indoor shootiung – I have a good idea for it, but just have not done it yet. This has given me the motivation.

    I want to make a dedicated “trap” that consists of a roughly 12×12″ cardboard box that is about 2 or 3 inches deep, stuffed with crumpled up paper, and then attach it with double sided tape to a roughly 3×4′ or so scrap bit of carpet (or old floor mat). That gives me a durable center target spot with the ability to safely stop (or at least majorly deaden) any errant shots that might miss the box, with no risk of ricochets from BBs on hard surfaces by a good margin (and that will let me comfortably let others use it for training too). That will let me comfortably shoot from farther distances – eventually one of those longer shots will miss by a good bit. I’d like to be able to do this at up to around 20 feet from the target. I will add that I do like the pistol too!

  4. BB-

    Well done report on employing and practicing with one’s ‘tools’. I, and many others, have been employing ‘double taps’ for a looooong (50 years) time, regardless of caliber. I have a long history with old slab sides, but modern defensive ammo gives the nod to 9mm for carry and the reduced training ammo costs seals the deal.

    I would offer up this bit of advice. Mix up your training sessions with strings of 2 to 5 shots. If you only train with double taps, likely you will only shoot double taps when things go south. I would also add 2 or 3 additional targets (and mulch boxes) descending to floor level. The idea is to place your initial double tap on the top target and successive singles or doubles into the remaining targets at speed. You will be duplicating the old Israeli shoot down drill. Remember, in a defensive shooting, you are stopping the threat to yourself or others.

    Lastly, one other benefit of the CO2 lookalikes is introducing new or non shooters to shooting. Similar looks and heft without the noise and recoil are all pluses for someone who is hesitant about trying to shoot. The blow back action models help in making the transition (with a stop at rimfire) to center fire PBs

  5. BB,

    I’d bet dollars to donuts that your (instinctive) shooting would improve if you used a smaller aim-point.

    I’ve found that subconscious aiming works best with a small target (one inch diameter or less) to aim at as a large one has no specific point of reference to use so a general “over there somewhere is good enough” level of accuracy is the best you get.

    When practicing I change the target face often because the holes can be distracting and the subconscious starts using them as (focus-points) targets. I don’t use the “shoot &see” targets because the impacts quickly become distracting, a felt marker and a washer for a template works for best for me.

    With practice and within the point-blank range, the fast shooting group size is about 2 times the benched group size of the weapon.

    …Just my 2 cents.
    Hank

  6. This will be a great series-thanks! I’ve wondered about the potential utility of training with a Co2 lookalike.
    Do you think it would make any sense for a person with no firearms (specifically handgun) experience; to get just the lookalike of the pistol that they think they’d eventually get to train with; before ever getting the real thing? Or would it be better to have the two; so that one could mix action training (if that’s the proper term for what you were doing) with range time?
    Thanks,
    Jesse

    • Jesse,
      I think there is value in it – one of the great things about the good “look alike” CO2 guns is that they are very similar to the actual firearm in terms of ergonomics. The P365 is very close, as BB reported in his blog. The CO2 version can be a good way to test out how you feel about the ergonomics of the real pistol for a lot less money, and if you like it then you already have the “trainer” version when you get the real one . . .

      • Thank you-I was thinking that that would be another benefit-otherwise I’d either have to know a friend with the model that I’m interested in; who would be willing to lend it to me so that I could spend time handling/shooting it; or buy it and hope I like it. It would be ideal for me; since I personally don’t see myself carrying every day-more of for certain times and places; like going hiking/fishing; or whatnot.
        Jesse

        • JurryRigger,

          Ranges sometimes have rental programs or try before you buy. The way a firearm actually runs (how it feels functionally to use, e.g. slide manipulation)) will be different in most cases from the replica as will the sting/impact of the recoil impulse. I have watched the faces of lots of folks trying to shoot micro compact firearms and many won’t shoot more than a few shots or perhaps magazines worth before they stop practicing much. I carry a micro as my backup and only full size for my primary. You will however own many more unused holsters since finding the one that works will take some trying!

          F=MA is never to be ignored in CC choices.

          shootski

    • Jesse,

      I think any training is better than no training. My answer to your question is yes, get the lookalike airgun that you think you might also like as a firearm. If you don’t make that choice later, you haven’t lost a thing.

      BB

    • That is exactly my experience. Started with an Umarex Makarov to simulate the handling of a Bersa Thunder. Later added one of the excellent Colt .45 replicas when I inherited a 1911 Government model. Went on to explore S&W revolvers with the TRR8 replica and the 586 ( based on reading this blog). Went to the Glock licensed airsoft models to try out and see if a model 19X was to my liking before spending $500+. Was pleased when the P365 came out as a trainer for pocket pistol sized firearms. Lastly, got a Beretta 92fs replica to train for a full size 9mm Beretta clone.
      Great learning experiences to be had and a lot of fun with relatively little initial cost and greatly reduced operating costs. Recommend you take the time to search out and read through this blog’s archives and the archived Airgun Experience blog prior to your purchase as each is a source of knowledge you won’t find on your own until after the purchase.

  7. B.B.,

    An excellent report, even if one doesn’t “carry.” This seems to me a practice that makes Dust Devil BBs ideal, given the quick-draw component.

    Also, what is your opinion of using smaller targets to simulate greater distances, especially considering the range of blowback BB pistols is limited given that they have muzzle velocities +/- 300 fps.?

    Michael

      • shootski,

        Bear Archery bows? I have only one bow, a beautiful lefty Bear recurve I picked up many years ago when I briefly studied archery under a then nationally ranked Olympic style archer (who was 15 at the time). I remember picking it up off the big online auction site. When I showed it to my instructor, he said he was initially skeptical of my choice because it is a hunting and not target bow. (His rigs, if he hadn’t gotten them free, were slightly more expensive than Olympic air rifles.) But after he held it and looked at it closely, he proclaimed, “This is a good stick. This will do great until you move up to a good target bow.” Suffice to say, I never did graduate to a fine target bow!

        Michael

  8. B.B.,

    Frankly, and absolutely no criticism meant, if I saw you dressed as in the above photo (loose fitting untucked shirt over a t-shirt) at our local big box store on a summer (admittedly, summer only) day, I would assume you had a pistol somewhere about your waist. In summer months I can spot many “concealed” carryers (carriers?) a mile away as they wear the “CC Summer Uniform” of a t-shirt under an untucked, short-sleeved sportshirt. Who wears TWO short sleeved shirts in the summer? Someone packing heat, that’s who. :^)

    Michael

  9. B.B.,

    Get a dark shirt with a pattern of bright and bold contrasting colors print (to the eye) substantially less. No Tee shirt required but if you must athletic or Vee neck undershirts.
    Do you have church functions after dark? Have hallways with no windows for natural light during daylight hours? If so, flashlight (torch) or gun mounted light drills are needed. Also being ready is great for early practice but abrupt entry drills can be done with safety if properly briefed. The idea is to see how you draw your weapon while seated, on the floor, blocked by others and Adrenaline Drills to see how you deal with the noise and physical impact of gunfire at unpredictable intervals. Also, move off the X drills save lives of Watchmen who would otherwise die in the fixed stance with full magazine and chamber! Finding COVER or concealment is a learned skill and the progression is to shooting from COVER or concealment. Last but not least is Shoot or No shoot split second decision skills drill.
    Some ranges allow draws IF you do Strong Side only and have shown competency to a Range Shooting Instructor.
    Be safe out there!
    Lots more as I’m certain you know or will learn.

    Shootski

    PS: i carry a distraction money WAD that I can throw on the ground/floor as I draw and shoot… Momentary Distraction of your opponent is more important than a hasty draw!

    • shootski,

      The money clip diversion is one I learned when my sensei had a guest instructor on the subject of mugging defense. Have a heavy money clip with a wad of singles wrapped in a five or ten. Pull it out flamboyantly, throw it in one direction, and run in the opposite direction. When I was young and hadn’t yet wrecked my joints, I used to plan for that The same guy also once taught a two-day knife fighting workshop I assisted him with. He had a great lecture section in which he identified all of the errors in the knife fight in “Under Seige.”

      Michael

      • Michael,

        Even though i carry a knife the biggest mistake you can make at a knife fight is NOT bringing your gun; in a pinch you can bring a sword if you know how to use it! LOL!

        shootski

        PS: I feel that my life is worth at least a Twenty for the Wad wrapper. Of course if running isn’t an option then after the smoke clears I can get back my $20!

        • shootski,

          If I were to still plan for that manuever, I would update it to be a Twenty instead of a Fiver. That workshop took place in 1993.

          In the 1980s, I was nearly mugged three times, all at about 3:00 AM on the Near West Side, where I lived, which was pretty rough in those days (don’t know about now). I write “nearly” because one of the times I postured myself out of it, and the would be mugger decided against it.

          The other two times were would-be strong-arm muggers. I was stupid and in my 20s and told one, who demanded my wallet, “Either walk away or take it.” (He walked away). The other time a would-be mugger asked me, “Do you have the time?” as I walked past him, and I quickly turned around, glared at him and said, “No!” I took one step back, turned away and continued on my way.

          The last two were really my fault for cutting through a dark alley in a rough neighborhood in the middle of the night. After dark there were unsavory “business people” literally at every single corner in that neighborhood and at every tavern entrance even during the day, and there were multiple single-occupancy hotels. That was my neighborhood as a poor grad student!

          Michael

  10. B.B.

    Are you sure that this is not the “junk” that you talked about in your last blog?

    10 feet at a one foot target. I bet you throw them all in one go and do as well… Not impressed!

    -Y

    • Yogi,

      I do not wish to be mean, and furthermore, with all due respect (and I do indeed have respect for you),

      1st, c’mon, that’s rude, especially given that it’s directed at our host.
      2nd, the groups are tight enough B.B. could have easily used an 8 inch target or even a 6 incher.
      3rd, perhaps you can do better given the parameters, but I very much doubt I could.

      Respectfully,

      Michael

  11. For less than the cost of 3 boxes of 9mm ammo, you can practice and develop your personal defense skills at home, with an exact or near exact replica of your CC firearm. This helps produce a more competent and confident armed citizen. Sure these aren’t heirloom guns …. but they are effective training tools. Many perform nearly as well as the actual firearm at typical PD distances, especially when instinctive shooting is being practiced.

  12. Its a nicely styled pistol, like the mag release. If half the men are armed, the other half aren’t. What percentage are rapists and child molesters, and how do you tell who is and who isn’t? We all have it coming. Clint Eastwood.
    R

  13. B.B.,

    Above I commented about your CC cover techniques but after sleeping on it, I am sorry how I chose to describe it. I was disrespectful in my tone, and I apologize. As another commenter noted, your camouflage would be entirely effective with a single alteration: wear V-neck t-shirts instead of crew-necks under buttoned sport or work shirts.

    Again, I was brusque, and I apologize to The Godfather of Airguns :^)

    Michael

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