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Airsoft vs BB Gun: What’s The Difference?

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Are you looking for a recreational activity that will help you sharpen your shooting skills? If so, then you may be considering an airsoft gun or a BB gun. Both are popular choices among amateur and professional shooters alike. But what’s the difference between them?

Airsoft guns and BB guns both use projectiles to hit targets, but there are several key differences between these two types of firearms that make them suitable for different uses.

In this blog post, we’ll explore the differences between airsoft vs BB guns to clarify the difference between the two so that you can make an informed decision when it comes time to purchase one of these weapons.

We’ll look at things like range, accuracy, power, use, and much more, in order to help you pick the right option for your needs. So let’s get started!

What Is an Airsoft Gun?

An airsoft gun is a type of replica firearm that fires small plastic or biodegradable projectiles (typically 6mm or 8mm in diameter) using compressed gas or a spring-powered mechanism. Airsoft guns are designed to replicate the look, feel, and function of real firearms and are often used in recreational activities.

The purpose and use of an airsoft gun vary depending on the individual or organization using it. Airsoft guns are often used for recreational purposes, such as playing airsoft games, participating in military simulation events, or for target practice/ plinking.

They may also be used as a training tool for law enforcement and military personnel to practice handling and shooting techniques in a safe and controlled environment.

How they work

Airsoft guns work by propelling small plastic or biodegradable projectiles using compressed gas or a spring-powered mechanism. Airsoft guns that use compressed gas typically use a gas such as green gas or CO2 to propel the projectiles.

These types of airsoft guns are often more powerful and accurate than spring-powered guns, but they may also be more expensive to operate as they require gas canisters to be replaced regularly.

Spring-powered airsoft guns use a mechanical spring to propel the projectiles. These guns are typically less powerful and accurate than gas-powered guns, but they are also generally more affordable to operate as they do not require any additional gas canisters.

History

The history of airsoft guns can be traced back to the 1970s in Japan, where they were originally developed as a safer alternative to real firearms. Airsoft guns were designed to replicate the look and feel of real firearms, but they used plastic or biodegradable projectiles instead of live ammunition.

In the 1980s, airsoft guns began to gain popularity in other countries, particularly in the United States. Today, airsoft guns are used all over the world for a variety of purposes, including recreational activities, military simulations, and law enforcement training.

PDI Custom S&T USMC M40A5 Bolt Action Airsoft Sniper Rifle
PDI Custom S&T USMC M40A5 Bolt Action Airsoft Sniper Rifle
BBTac Airsoft Pistol 1911 G6 Spring Powered Airsoft Gun
BBTac Airsoft Pistol 1911 G6 Spring Powered Airsoft Gun
JG AK Beta Spetsnaz Bolt Action Shell Ejecting Spring Powered Airsoft Rifle
JG AK Beta Spetsnaz Bolt Action Shell Ejecting Spring Powered Airsoft Rifle

What Is a BB Gun?

A BB gun is a type of air gun that fires small metal or plastic projectiles called BBs. The name “BB” stands for “ball bearing” due to the spherical shape of the pellets fired from the gun.

Generally speaking, BB guns are used for recreational purposes such as plinking, training and even hunting small animals. Some people also use them for self-defense as most models available today feature real-looking designs and have identical components to those found in actual firearms. However, due to their low-velocity projectiles and lack of power, they are not suitable for this purpose.

How they work

BB guns work by using compressed gas, spring, or air piston to propel the BBs out of the barrel of the gun. Gas-powered BB guns use gas such as CO2 or compressed air to propel the BBs, while spring-powered BB guns use a mechanical spring to compress and release air to propel the BBs. Air piston BB guns use a compressed air piston to propel the BBs. The type of propulsion system used in a BB gun can affect its power and accuracy, as well as the overall cost to operate the gun.

History

The history of BB guns can be traced back to the late 1800s when they were first developed as a safer alternative to real firearms. The first BB guns were air rifles that fired round lead balls, and they were originally marketed as toys for children.

In the 1930s, BB guns began to be made with plastic BBs instead of lead balls, and they became more popular as recreational shooting tools.

What Is the Difference Between Airsoft and BB Guns?

Difference Between Airsoft, BB, and Pellet Guns by Airgun Arsenal
Airsoft GunsBB Guns
AmmunitionPlastic BBs that are 6mm or 8mm in diameter and weigh from 0.12g to 40g.Steel, lead, or plastic BBs that are 4.3–4.4 mm (0.171–0.173 in) in diameter and weigh around 0.12g to 0.50g.
UsePlaying airsoft, MilSim, plinking, military or law enforcement training, target practice. Target practice, plinking, small game hunting, and pest control
PowerAverage felicity of about 150 to 400 FPS. High-end modified airsoft guns can reach up to 700 FPS.The velocity of BB guns can reach up to 1200 FPS.
AccuracyOffer good accuracy for short-range shotsAre overall more accurate, especially for longer-range shots.
Range50-60 yardsUp to 100 yards.
RealismAirsoft guns are a lot more realistic looking as they are directly made to replicate different types of firearms.Generally not as realistic.
SafetyQuite safe due to the plastic projectiles and low FPS.Can cause more serious injuries.
CostTypically more expensive.Usually a cheaper option.
Shooting environmentCan be used for both outdoor and indoor shooting. Don’t have to worry as much about the surrounding environment. Have to pay attention to your surroundings and can’t be used everywhere because of safety risks.
Hunting/ pest controlCant be used for hunting.Can be used to hunt really small game.
Airsoft vs BB Guns

Ammunition

One of the main differences between airsoft guns and BB guns is the type of ammunition they use. Airsoft guns use small plastic or biodegradable projectiles called BBs, while BB guns use small metal or plastic projectiles also called BBs.

Airsoft BBs are typically 6mm or 8mm in diameter and weigh from 0.12g to 40g. But the most common airsoft BB is 6mm and 0.2g.

While BB gun BBs measure 4.3–4.4 mm (0.171–0.173 in) and weigh around 0.12g to 0.50g depending on the model used and its intended purpose.

Use

Airsoft guns and BB guns are often used for different purposes. Airsoft guns are commonly used for recreational activities such as airsoft sports, military simulations, and law enforcement training exercises. BB guns, on the other hand, are more commonly used for recreational activities such as target shooting, plinking, and pest control.

Power

The power of an airsoft gun or BB gun can vary based on the type of propulsion system it uses and the caliber of the BBs it fires. In general, airsoft guns are less powerful than BB guns. Airsoft guns typically fire BBs at velocities of around 250 to 400 feet per second, while BB guns can fire BBs at velocities of up to 1,200 feet per second. H

The power of an airsoft or BB gun can also be affected by factors such as the weight of the BBs, the type of gas or spring used, and the design of the gun itself.

Accuracy

The accuracy of an airsoft gun or BB gun can depend on a variety of factors, including the caliber of the BBs, the type of propulsion system used, and ultimately the type of gun. But overall BB guns are usually more accurate than airsoft guns.

This is mostly because of the heavier weight of BBs. The higher the mass of a projectile, the less affected it is by wind and gravity, resulting in more accurate shots. The heavier BBs also help to maintain a straighter trajectory when fired, making them more accurate than airsoft BBs.

The difference in accuracy is especially well seen in long-range shots, where the heavier BBs used in most BB guns are able to maintain a straighter trajectory than the lighter airsoft BBs.

Realism

Both airsoft guns and BB guns are designed to replicate the look, feel, and function of real firearms. Airsoft guns tend to be more realistic in terms of their appearance and function, as they are often designed to closely mimic the look and feel of real firearms.

BB guns, on the other hand, may not be as realistic in their appearance or function and may lack some of the features of real firearms.

Safety

When we compare airsoft guns vs bb guns in terms of safety then airsoft guns are a clear winner. Airsoft guns are definitely a lot safer than BB guns because they fire softer material BBs they use and they have a much lower FPS (muzzle velocity) than BB guns.

That said, airsoft guns can cause injuries if they are used improperly or if proper safety precautions are not followed.

In contrast, BB guns can cause serious injuries or even be deadly if proper safety precautions are not taken.

Cost

The cost of airsoft guns and BB guns can vary widely depending on the type of gun and its features.

But airsoft guns tend to be much more expensive than BB Guns as most models feature a wide range of external details which add cost but also increase their overall realism making them ideal for military simulations.

There are also a wide range of airsoft guns available at different price points, from low-cost spring-powered guns to high-end gas-powered rifles. BB guns can also vary in cost, with some models being more expensive than others.

Shooting Environment

The shooting environment for airsoft guns and BB guns can also be different. Airsoft guns are often used in indoor or outdoor settings where the BBs can be safely contained and the impact of the BBs on people and objects is minimized. BB guns, on the other hand, may be used in outdoor settings where the BBs can travel further and may cause more damage to objects or people.

Hunting or Pest Control

Well, airsoft guns can’t really be used to kill or hunt animals. Its low power does not allow it to shoot with the force needed for hunting. Although they can (and sometimes are used) for pest control, but they are definitely not the best nor humane option for it.

BB guns, on the other hand, can be used to hunt small game or for pest control as they are much more powerful and can actually cause lethal damage. However, it is important to note that it is illegal to hunt with BB guns in many countries and states and you should always check your local laws before attempting to hunt with a BB gun.

Airsoft vs BB Gun

FAQ

In Conclusion

  • Airsoft guns are replica firearms that shoot out small plastic or biodegradable projectiles called BBs.
  • Airsoft guns are primarily used for playing airsoft, doing military simulations, military or law enforcement training, plinking and some target shooting.
  • BB guns fire small metal or plastic projectiles also called BBs.
  • BB guns are primarily used for target practice, backyard shooting, pest control, and even for hunting small game.
  • The main differences between BB guns and airsoft guns are: the type of projectiles used, power, accuracy, use, realism, and safety.
  • Airsoft guns are more realistic and shoot at a much lower power than BB guns, while BB guns are more powerful and can be used for pest control or hunting.

All-in-all, airsoft guns and BB guns are both popular recreational activities that can be enjoyed by people of all ages in a safe and responsible manner. It is important to always follow the safety guidelines and check with your local laws before using either of these guns.

We hope this article has helped clarify the differences between airsoft and BB guns. Thanks for reading!

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