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Airsoft Guns: An Economic Way to Learn, Practice

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BRIDGEPORT -

Many people these days are looking for ways to save a few bucks when target shooting. Some are looking towards airsoft guns.

One of the most appealing things about airsoft guns are it is much more economic. Guns that cost $130, may cost thousands if they were the real deal. And surprisingly, there isn't much difference between the two, other than the projectile they shoot.

"They breakdown the same, they work the same," said Rick Hill of Xtreme Airsoft in Bridgeport. "They have a gas blow-back system so when you shoot them, they actually do recoil back just like the real thing."

The guns are cheaper and so is ammunition; 50 rounds out of a 9 mm gun can cost more than $20. That same Andrew Jackson can buy you 5,000 airsoft pellets.

That's one reason some military and police departments are using airsoft guns to train.

"For shoot no shoot types of scenarios, when you really have a sense of danger where these things actually hurt. You don't want to get shot," Hill said. "When you don't want to get shot you tend to change your tactics and it's more realistic."

The guns shoot small pellets weighing between .2 and .5 grams. Higher end models are made to replicate every detail of the real thing.

"It works like a regular rifle," said enthusiast Richard Golden. "The magazine is on the bottom, it comes off. There you can see the bee-bees. You load it back in there, you'll here a click. To load it, it's just like a regular bolt action, and it's locked and loaded, ready to go."

Besides an orange tip, the guns have the look and feel, and shoot like the real thing.

Hill said they're great for teaching gun safety and practicing, but adds that realism comes at a cost.

"These guns are so realistic, if you aim it at someone they could take it as a real weapon and return fire," he said.

Hill adds that if police approach you while you are holding an airsoft gun, you need to set it down and step away.

"You say 'that is an airsoft gun.' and you let them examine it," Hill said.

Some municipalities do not allow airsoft guns, check with your local law enforcement before buying one.