When you are finalizing your loadout and getting ready to go to a match, side arms are always an important tool to carry with you onto the field. They provide you with a secondary means of defense when your primary is out or otherwise down. They may not be something to rely on for extensive periods of time but they can help out in a pinch. Therefore, you want something reliable that is comfortable and able to at least take down one or two enemies. When choosing what you want as a secondary weapon, it comes down to the choice between Pistols and Revolvers.
Pistols are what airsofters commonly think of when hearing the word “sidearm”. Pistols are magazine fed, semi automatic (in rare cases, fully automatic) secondaries that are powered by Gas (Co2 cartridges or Green gas). Pistols are the most available and the most frequently used sidearms in airsoft. They can either be smaller and more concealable such as a USP or certain SIG models or larger with longer barrels such as a 1911 or M9. Magazines for Pistols usually hold 10 rounds or more and also commonly holds the gas to fire the sidearm. Most Pistols (with the exception of some cheaper models) have the unique feature that, when fired, the gas fires the BB as well as kicking the slide of the weapon back, acting as a simulated recoil(This is known as Blowback). These sidearms can range anywhere from $80 for the cheaper, non-blowback models or all the way up to around $350 for high quality, long lasting Pistols.
Revolvers are the more rare addition to an Airsofter’s arsenal. These sidearms have a revolving cylinder with a singular mock bullet holding one BB each in the five or six chambers. Like the Pistols, Revolvers are also powered by Co2 or Green Gas depending on the manufacturer and model of the Revolver. Due to the lower amount of BBs held by Revolvers, accuracy is very important as reloads must be done shell by shell or with the use of a speed loader. Revolvers don’t kick back like the Pistols do, so they are more Gas conservative and can usually fire off more shots before needing to replace the cartridge or refill the canister. Since more gas is being used to fire the BB, Revolvers commonly fire at very high FPS ranges (450-500) making them unsuited for CQB areas. Revolver range in price but are commonly $100 to $200 for the high quality, well made models.
It comes down to what type of playstyle you have and what you need a sidearm for. If you want highly accurate fire but with the worry of a low ammo count, a Revolver would be a better choice. If you want faster, more frequent fire, however, then a Pistol might suit your needs. Either one you choose, some good manufacturers are ASG, APS, MATRIX, WE TECH, TOKYO MARUI, HFC and KJW are all high quality Sidearm producers.
If you have any questions regarding a sidearm that you are looking to buy, post it in the comments and we’ll do our best to give you our recommendations on it.