Air Guns vs. BB Guns

When it comes to air (airsoft) guns and BB guns, many people think they are one and the same. Maybe you think they are the same thing. 

While they are similar and parts of their names are confusing, they are different types of guns. 

Why are Air Guns and BB Guns Confused?

Both airsoft and BB guns use compressed air to shoot their ammunition. Therefore, BB guns are sometimes mistakenly called airsoft BB guns or BB airsoft guns.

Similarly, both types of guns shoot BB pellets, adding to the confusion. 

In a more general sense, both guns are, well, guns and most guns look alike to a non-gun connoisseur. 

So, what are the differences between air guns and BB guns?

Here is a closer look at each:

Airsoft Guns

Airsoft guns look more realistic than BB guns, making them popular among gun collectors and gun enthusiasts. They look and feel like real guns that are more dangerous. Air guns are ideal gifts for children as well as adults, especially those who love a particular type of gun that, for whatever reason, they are unable to get. 

The pellets  are shot from airsoft guns via manual, spring-loading, gas, electric power and compressed air. 

There are also many styles and models to choose from, a variety that is much more diverse than that of BB guns. 

Air guns shoot plastic, round pellets that typically weigh .12 to .88 grams.

BB Guns

BB guns may not look as realistic to real guns than airsoft guns, but they pack a much greater punch than air guns. BB guns have additional power to shoot farther and faster than airsoft guns, which make them popular for small game hunting and birding. 

BB guns came out way before air guns, having made their public debut in the 1930s. This is likely one of the reasons that more people have heard of BB guns than air guns. 

BB guns don’t come in as large of a variety as air guns, typically being only available in rifle or pistol models. 

BB guns shoot pellets made of steel plated with copper or zinc. There are some BB gun pelletsthat are made of plastic, but those are rare. BB gun pellets can cause more harm and have a higher risk of ricocheting. 

BB guns are more dangerous than airsoft guns and have the potential to pierce skin and even kill humans and animals. 

While both airsoft guns and BB guns aren’t considered firearms in many countries, there are some countries that have restrictions on BB guns, but not airsoft guns. 

The cost for either gun is comparable. The model, style, and quality of a specific gun will dictate the price. There are cheap models, ideal for children and adults new to shooting, that start as low as $100. For the avid target shooter and gun hobbyist, there are some high-quality guns that can cost upwards of thousands of dollars. 

Airsoft and BB guns are not the same thing. Before you purchase one, you should consider who the gun will be for (child vs. adult), what you want to do with the gun (target shooting vs. hunting), and how picky one is about aesthetics. 

BB guns are too dangerous for children as they can injure or kill someone.

It is recommended that you read reviews, talk to friends and family who have each type of gun and practice with each type of gun to get a feel of each. 

BB guns and airsoft guns can provide hours of fun. If you’re interested in learning more about either one, contact us at Kiehberg and we’ll be glad to offer suggestions on what gun is best for you and what you’re looking for.