Can You Use a BB, Pellet or Airsoft Gun for Self Defense?

A BB, Pellet, or Airsoft Gun isn’t as powerful as a real gun. But, if you’ve got one or are thinking of getting one, you will want to know if it will protect you in a real life situation.

So, can you use a BB, Pellet or Airsoft gun for self defense? Bullets from a real gun can not always stop an attacker. A BB, Pellet, or Airsoft gun are weaker than a real gun. However, there are some BB, Pellet, or Airsoft guns that are higher powered. A BB, Pellet, or Airsoft gun can stop an attacker, however, a real gun is more effective.

There are different types of guns that have varying power. Many of them can use steel bullets, and compressed air. So, below I’ll cover how effective the different guns are, and whether they are lethal.

Do BB guns hurt?

If it is a weak BB gun such as from a dollar store, you will feel a small sting. Similar to someone flicking you with a rubber band. More powerful BB guns can cause significant injury.

According to the Reiff Law Firm, BB guns can shoot at 500 ft per second. 200 ft per second (150 meters/s) is fast enough to fracture bones. Therefore a high powered BB gun can cause injury.

Some BB guns can use metal bullets, and CO2 canisters. These are the types which can injure a person. These bullets will embed in the skin and cause significant bodily harm. If the face is hit, it could cause permanent injury or death if they are hit in the eyes, ears, nose, or mouth.

Could you use a BB gun for self-defense?

A BB gun can be used for self defense. But, it is not the best option for most people. This is because if the person you are defending yourself from has a real gun, they will have a better chance of winning. A gun does more damage than a BB gun. This is because real gun bullets are larger and travel faster.

It would be effective in subduing a normal person. However, a person who is intoxicated or under the influence of illicit drugs can overcome shots from a BB gun, and won’t be affected. 

There are many stories of law enforcement attempting to subdue a criminal. But, the criminal is on some drugs where they don’t respond to pain, and have superhuman strength. An example of an incident that occurred can be read here. In such a case, a BB gun won’t be effective, and a real gun is preferred.

Can you kill with a BB gun?

There are powerful BB guns that can penetrate the skin, and can be lethal if the person is struck in the temple, the neck, or back of the head. The Consumer Product Safety Commission has reported that there are on average 4 deaths per year from BB and Airsoft guns. If you are aiming a powerful BB gun at someone’s head there is a chance they could die.

There are however, many stories that show even many shots from a real gun will not kill. If the bullets do not hit vital organs the wounds are superficial and the person will survive. There are examples of famous rappers who have been shot many times and survived such as 50 cent.

CNN recently reported that person died when accidentally shot in the eye with a BB gun. If you get interested you can read the full article here.

Does an airsoft gun hurt?

A pellet gun is an airsoft gun in which the person uses pellets rather than the round BB bullets. The usual sized pellet used in Airsoft guns are 0.6g (0.7 oz). A projectile this size will penetrate unprotected skin at 448 ft/s (137.6 m/s). According to Wikipedia. Most recreational airsoft venues restrict the muzzle speed. They also require that people undergo a muzzle speed test prior to competition. Airsoft guns use pellets which are larger than BB bullets. They are referred to as BB bullets in airsoft terminology.

Therefore, airsoft guns can hurt. They can puncture the skin and cause superficial wounds. If an airsoft gun is modified and hits a person in the head or neck it is possible they could die.

Could you use an airsoft gun for self-defense?

An airsoft gun can be used for self defense. Similar to BB guns they are not the best option for most people. This is because they do not penetrate the body as deeply to cause lethal damage to the body. If a person is shot in the head area with an airsoft gun they could die. But it would be an accident, and it would be unreasonable for a person no matter what skill level to kill a person with an airsoft gun that is charging towards them. 

It can scare off a potential assailant. However, if they don’t get scared and run away, it won’t be effective as a gun. And similarly to BB guns, if they have a real gun, they will likely win a shootout.

Why would any of these make good weapons for self-defense?

A BB, airsoft, or pellet gun would be effective at deterring animals, and some people. It would be a good option to protect oneself if they can’t buy a real gun. For a BB, airsoft, or pellet gun to be effective for self defense it should be as high powered as it can be. A person should also practice hitting a target and which places to aim for. There are also some BB, airsoft, or pellet guns that can fire many rounds per second without reloading. A burst of fire could inhibit movement, and be fatal to the face and head.

What would be the best bb gun or airsoft gun for self-defense if they work?

Are there better options for self-defense weapons?

A small fold out knife can save you if you are attacked by someone who is unarmed.

As long as they are legal in your jurisdiction.The knife should be very sharp. 

If a person is attacked and crowded by an assailant or gets tackled and put to the ground. There is a good chance the person could take out the knife and with only a few strikes seriously injure the person or kill the assailant. A better option would be a real gun, because it can do more damage and give you a better chance of surviving.

Not technically a weapon, but Judo, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Kickboxing, Boxing, or Wrestling would be a better option for self defense. A person who has been training these arts would have a significant advantage over an untrained opponent. In the case of Judo, BJJ, and Wrestling the person could defend themselves without the risk or accidently killing the person.


BB guns, airsoft, and pellet guns can be used for self defense. They are not as effective as a real gun. They can have a range of projectile speeds and bullets. When using these guns there is a risk of serious injury and death. A person should be trained on how to effectively use this type of gun for self defense.

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