BB Guns vs Airsoft Guns: Difference and Comparison

Most people speculate that BB and Airsoft guns stand alike in appearance and features.

However, there are several peculiarities in the appearance, practical applications, realism, performance, post-control, accuracy, and cost of both guns.

In fact, the only major similarity between  BB guns and Airsoft guns is that they are both air guns. 

Key Takeaways

  1. BB guns shoot metal BBs, while airsoft guns shoot plastic pellets.
  2. BB guns are more powerful and can cause more damage than airsoft guns.
  3. BB guns are more suitable for target shooting or small game hunting, while airsoft guns are more suitable for recreational play.

BB Guns vs Airsoft Guns

BB guns are created for recreational uses. They use small metal pellets as ammunition and are designed to be used for target shooting or small game hunting. Airsoft guns are designed for recreational uses and use plastic pellets. They are designed for use in simulated combat games or skirmishes.

BB Guns vs Airsoft Guns

BB guns refer to air guns that are specially designed to shoot BBs. BBs are metallic spherical projectiles. BB guns have the potential to shoot faster than 60m/s.

However, they are comparatively less powerful than a conventional pellet airgun. In addition, the commonplace plant for BB guns is the traditional spring-piston pump which has a peculiar pattern.

Airsoft guns refer to a replica of toy guns that have a practical application in airsoft sports. Airsoft guns are a distinguished category of low-power smoothbore air guns.

The initial purpose of designing these guns was to shoot non-metallic spherical projectiles called BBs.

Over the years, airsoft guns also have had a practical application as an affordable training tool for close-quarter battles. 

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonBB Guns Airsoft Guns
Bullet UsedBB guns perform the function of firing either small lead or metal BBs. Airsoft guns perform the function of firing plastic projectiles. 
SafetyBB guns are deadly to use. Airsoft guns can have a use for recreational purposes. 
UsesBB Guns have a use for target practice or training.Airsoft guns have a use for Mil-Sim games.
Accuracy BB guns function more accurately than Airsoft guns.Airsoft guns function marginally less accurately as compared to BB guns. 
Efficiency BB guns have the potential to penetrate a target with more efficiency. Airsoft guns lack the potential to penetrate a target with efficiency.  

What are BB Guns?

BB guns refer to air guns that are specially designed to shoot BBs. BBs are metallic spherical projectiles.

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The term BB came into origin as a nomenclature of the size of lead shots that have a primary application in a smoothbore shotgun.

Size BBs shots have considerable variations in its size due to the loose tolerances in shotshells.

A significant drawback of BB guns is their limited accuracy as well as the short effective range of the projectile.

Consequently, manufacturing BB guns employs significantly less expensive and simpler procedures.

In addition, the commonplace plant for BB guns is the traditional spring-piston pump which has a peculiar pattern.

BB guns have a practical application in competitions. BB guns have the potential to shoot faster than 60m/s. However, they are comparatively less powerful than a conventional pellet airgun.

A BB gun with a certain velocity has the capability to pierce the skin of an individual or any other organism. This, in turn, is dangerously lethal. 

The Red Ryder BB Gun by Daisy Outdoor Product is the most popular airgun. The Red Ryder BB Gun came into existence in 1940.

The regulation of BB guns takes place under the typical air gun laws. However, the laws vary from country to country.

The operating mechanism used by BB Guns also varies from one application to another.

What are Airsoft Guns?

Airsoft guns refer to a replica of toy guns that have a practical application in airsoft sports. Airsoft guns are a distinguished category of low-power smoothbore air guns.

The initial purpose of designing these guns was to shoot non-metallic spherical projectiles called BBs. BBs are manufactured out of resins or biodegradable material. 

Airsoft guns can either be mechanical or pneumatic. Mechanical airsoft guns comprise a coil spring-loaded piston air pump. The pump is either automatically cycled or manually cocked.

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On the other hand, pneumatic airsoft guns use pre-filled bottles of gas for their operation. Examples of bottled gas are carbon dioxide canisters or compressed propane mixed with silicone oil.  

Airsoft guns may be spring-powered, battery-powered, gas-powered, hybrid guns, or training weapons. Initially, the main application of airsoft guns was only for recreational purposes.

However, over the years, airsoft guns also have had a practical application as an affordable training tool for close-quarter battles.

Airsoft events are hosted as part of clubs, teams, and athletic associations. 

Several safety measures should be considered when dealing with airsoft guns. The most prominent is the use of protective gear to prevent the occurrence of any possible damage.

Airsoft guns have the potential to break the skin. Thus, airsoft guns should only be allowed to individuals who have proper training in operating the gear. 

airsoft guns

Main Differences Between BB Guns and Airsoft Guns

  1. BB guns perform the function of firing either small lead or metal BBs. On the other hand, Airsoft guns perform the function of firing plastic projectiles. 
  2. BB Guns have a use for target practice or training. In contrast, Airsoft guns have a use for Mil-Sim games.
  3. BB guns can potentially penetrate a target more efficiently than Airsoft guns. 
  4. BB guns function more accurately than Airsoft guns.
  5. BB guns are deadly to use. In contrast, airsoft guns can have a use for recreational purposes. 
Difference Between BB Guns and Airsoft Guns
References
  1. https://www.airsoftstation.com/airsoft-gun-vs-bb-gun-whats-the-difference/#:~:text=One%20of%20the%20primary%20differences,far%20safer%20for%20recreational%20use
  2. https://www.quora.com/What-are-the-differences-between-a-BB-gun-and-an-Airsoft-gun 

Last Updated : 27 June, 2023

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6 thoughts on “BB Guns vs Airsoft Guns: Difference and Comparison”

  1. This article has shed light on one of the main differences that I wasn’t previously aware of – the use of plastic projectiles in airsoft guns. I was previously under the impression that both BB and airsoft guns used metal pellets.

    Reply
  2. Can you provide more information on the legislation regarding BB guns and airsoft guns in different geographies? I’d be interested to know how the laws differ around the world.

    Reply
  3. This article cleared up a lot of misinformation I had about BB and Airsoft guns. It’s interesting to learn about the differences in practical use and the historical background behind each type of gun.

    Reply
  4. This article is extremely informative! The details about the ammunition, safety, uses, accuracy, and efficiency were fascinating. I feel much more knowledgeable about air guns now.

    Reply
  5. Thank you for this detailed comparison. I suppose it wouldn’t be too drastic to say that BB guns are better for target shooting than airsoft guns. Although, I’m sure some factors depend on personal preference.

    Reply
  6. Thank you for this thorough explanation of the difference between BB guns and Airsoft guns. I was not aware of the higher potential for damage with BB guns, but it makes sense given the type of pellets that they use.

    Reply

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