When playing airsoft, you need a safe, working airsoft gun, you need ammo, you need eye protection, but do you need a sidearm? Some might say the more guns, the better, but the costs of secondary airsoft pistols can add up, and being an airsoft enthusiast is all about knowing where to spend your money.

We consider how much using an airsoft sidearm could impact your enjoyment of the game and whether they’re essential if you want to come out on top.

Are Airsoft Sidearms Necessary?

While not strictly necessary to play a fulfilling game of airsoft, there are plenty of reasons you might find yourself investing in an airsoft pistol to use alongside your primary gun. It’s worth noting that not every sidearm is a pistol, but this is what most people commonly think of when referring to such a weapon. Shotguns and SMGs can all make good sidearms, depending on the situation.

If you are brand new to the game, there is probably no need to get a sidearm. You’ll want to put most of your focus on getting to grips with your primary weapon and putting strategy into practice. If you do decide you want an airsoft pistol or other sidearm to back you up, this will likely come later, after you’ve mastered your main gun.

An airsoft player aiming a pistol

The Benefits of Using an Airsoft Sidearm

The most obvious reason to use a sidearm is that they help you defend against enemies in close quarters when your primary weapon is not suitable – whether this is because it breaks suddenly or the situation calls for a different kind of shooting.

Sidearms can also offer increased manoeuvrability and a potentially higher rate of fire when compared to main weapons.

Why You Do Need to Own an Airsoft Sidearm

There are several situations where you might feel a sidearm is necessary.

Run Out of Ammo

Running out of ammo at just the wrong moment can ruin your stride, and you don’t always have time to reload your magazine before the enemy is upon you. The solution? Unleashing your sidearm to give you time to recover and reload.

Faulty Primary Gun

For one reason or another, your primary weapon may end up failing you. Maybe it stops working or jams at a crucial moment. Your sidearm can be a lifesaver as you buy time to get to a safe zone and troubleshoot your rifle.

Airsoft gun maintenance

Different Game Modes

For quick battles that only last 15 minutes, you probably only need one gun, but if you’re traipsing around the woods for hours on end, another gun is certainly useful. This covers you for anything that goes wrong, as discussed above, but also offers a bit of variety, allowing you to make different shots and diversify your strategies.

For MilSim games, it is common to have a secondary weapon or sidearm like an airsoft pistol.

Some events may also be ‘pistol only’, so if you want to participate in these, it can be handy to have a go-to side arm you’re comfortable with.

Type of Shooter

If you’re a sniper, you’ll probably want some kind of sidearm, as you won’t be able to use your high-powered rifle in close quarters. Close-range, guns like this are too cumbersome and dangerous, and even snipers might end up being ambushed by opponents.

Increasing Enjoyment of the Game

Not to mention, having a sidearm can add an extra layer to your game, enhancing your loadout and making you feel that much cooler! Using another weapon can provide an additional challenge and give you a chance to practise with different techniques.

An airsoft player holding a signal smoke

Why You Don’t Need to Own an Airsoft Sidearm

But why wouldn’t you want to invest in an extra airsoft pistol, shotgun or submachine gun?

Primary Weapon is Superior

If your primary weapon is of good quality and does everything you need it to, an additional weapon probably isn’t going to be all that useful. Most sidearms likely won’t match up to the abilities of an effective primary gun in terms of range and rate of fire.

If your main airsoft gun is well-maintained and reliable, there is not as much need to invest in an overpowered sidearm.

Incomplete Airsoft Gear

Airsoft doesn’t have to be an over-expensive hobby, but there’s certainly lots of kit to get your hands on. If your loadout is incomplete or there are some areas that could do with upgrading, it may be better to invest your money here rather than buying a sidearm because you think it’s an absolute essential.

Sidearms can bring another layer to your game, but so can good-quality gear. See our range of airsoft accessories.

Airsoft Beginners

As a beginner, your priority should be finding a good primary gun and getting comfortable with it. There is plenty to get to grips with without throwing another airsoft gun in the mix.

airsoft tips for beginners

Have we helped make up your mind one way or the other when it comes to the necessity of sidearms? Ultimately it’s up to the individual on what they feel will make for the most enjoyable and successful skirmish.

If you’re all for airsoft sidearms, check out our range of realistic and two-tone airsoft pistols.