Competitive target shooting is as old as shooting weapons, from bows to laser pistols. But air pistols went through impressive evolution in the past few decades, thanks to manufacturers putting amazingly futuristic arms into the hands of competitors. Some of them look like Han Solo should be shooting.
Picture: Bob Leverone/AP
The 10 Metre Air Pistol is one of the most popular Olympic shooting events, in which women and men shoot with 4.5 mm (or .177) calibre pneumatic pistols at a distance of 10 metres (11 yards). The most interesting thing is that air pistols are not just practically recoilless and vibration free, but also highly customisable to the shooters' needs. Since precision shooters can choose a wide variety of spring operated, gas spring operated, pneumatic or pre-charged pneumatic air guns, the following list is far from complete; but hopefully provides a good overview of recently-available arms made by the most popular manufacturers.
Gun from the past: Record LP 1, a German spring-piston air pistol. These were common during the first decades of the sport.
Picture: Wikimedia Commons
The Baikal IZH-46 is a classic Russian sport pistol available since 1988.
MR-651K-23, upgraded version of Baikal IZH-46.
Further modernisation of the Baikal IZH-46 led to model MP-672.
Benelli Kite, a pre-charged pneumatic air pistol designed for the 10 m Air Pistol ISSF shooting event. Manufactured by Benelli Armi SpA of Italy.
Picture: Cjwoodfines/Wikimedia Commons
Steyr LP 10, one of the most popular single shot pre-charged pneumatic air pistol among ISSF shooters. Made by Steyr Sportwaffen GmbH of Austria.
Picture: Lars Baron/Getty Images
Morini Competition Arm S.A. 162 EI. Made in Switzerland.
Picture: Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images
Feinwerkbau Model P58, a German air pistol.
Aeron ACZ-101 Spider, made in the Czech republic.
The Italian Pardini FPM.
Tesro PA10, another German air pistol.
Hämmerli AP20, made by Carl Walther, Ulm, Germany.
Walther LP400, made by Carl Walther, Ulm, Germany.