In today’s society, there are tons of activities that have been developed to pass the time and create diversion & entertainment. Among such activities is the use of non-lethal guns – often referred to as BB guns or air guns- as a fun shooting pastime activity.
The short explanation of the difference between a BB gun and an airsoft gun is that a BB gun shoots a round metal projectile (called a BB), or pellets, using springs, compressed air or pneumatics – these are the three primary types of BB guns. While an Airsoft gun shoots a slightly larger plastic ball that doesn’t travel as far, or as fast, as a BB gun. I’ll attempt to explain what all of this means in the rest of the article.
Although the popularity of non-lethal shooting activities has grown substantially, most people often wonder, what is the difference between a BB gun and airsoft gun? The following article will provide a comprehensive description of the two and also incorporate a comparison with other types of guns like Nerf guns. We’ll also set out to explain the difference between a bb gun and a pellet gun (and airgun).
I asked myself these questions so I set out to answer them for myself – and for you. There’s some interesting discussion that takes place in the article below – please read and comment if you have any questions or differing opinion.
What is a BB Gun?
BB guns are non-lethal weapons designed to shoot metallic round projectiles that are called BBs. The dimensions of BBs are approximately 0.180 inches or 4.6 mm in diameter.
Contemporary BB guns in most cases have a barrel containing a bore caliber measuring 4.5 mm or 0.177 inches in dimensions, though varieties of calibers are available – from “normal” BB size all the way up to .50 caliber! These are normally referred to as “big bore” air guns.
These guns are usually built using steel, and with a plating of either zinc or copper to make them corrosion resistant. A good example of a BB Gun that has been in existence over the past decade is the Red Rider BB Gun.
The Most Famous BB Gun – The Red Rider
The Red Rider BB Gun was named after a comic strip character with a cowboy attribute, Red Rider, created in 1938. The stated character appeared in countless films that occurred between 1940 and 1950 as well as on television in 1956.
The Red Rider BB gun gained an almost cult-like following due to the move “A Christmas Story” where the main character wants one for Christmas. The gun is worshipped by “Ralphie” and each year the Red Rider is brought back into people’s minds.
Today, the Red Rider BB Gun is still in production, produced by Daisy, although the comic strip became canceled in 1963. The BB gun has been in existence over the past decade, and the Red Rider BB Gun is considered to be the most popular gun in the world.
It measures 35.4-inch-long, with its rifle weighing approximately 2.2 pounds. Also, the stated gun holds 650, 177-caliber BB bullets and is recommended for kids aged ten years and above. The Red Rider BB Gun can generate approximately 350 feet-per-second capability in muzzle-velocity and at a range of an estimated 195 yards.
Who Can Shoot a BB Gun?
Both children and adults can use BB guns for recreation purposes. BB guns are used by any person who would like to have fun in his/her life. The guns are part of outdoor gaming equipment that can be used both in recreational parks and at home. However, the use of the essential protective gear is imperative when shooting BB guns.
Places You Can Shoot a BB Gun
BB guns can be used in recreational parks that are strictly designed for BB gun shooting. Such recreational parks must be licensed and with the right safety features to ensure that they can accommodate shooting for recreational purposes.
Part of safety measures in such parks is the protective attire that should be worn by users of BB guns in ensuring their safety. Also, such recreational parks for BB Gun shooting supply approved BB guns to their customers and at a low fee for use in the BB site.
Beyond designated BB gun “ranges”
How does a BB Gun Work
Three Main Types of BB Guns
Difference Between a BB Gun and an Airgun
Difference between a BB Gun and Pellet Gun
BB guns use hard steel pellets as their ammunition. On the other hand, the air gun/pellet guns use soft lead bullet/pellets as their ammunition. As such, this makes the BB Gun pellets to be far more deadly compared to air gun/pellet ammunition.
Difference between a BB gun and an Airsoft Gun
There is a range of differences that can be manifested between a BB and an Airsoft gun. The following are the top differences that can be manifested in the gun versions.
- Ammunition: BB guns fire small-sized metallic lead BB, which renders the guns to be potentially deadly based on the projectile velocity of the power gun. Contrary, Airsoft guns usually fire plastic projectiles or pellets, which make them far safer when employed for recreational purposes.
- Uses: In most parts, BB guns tend to be employed in training or target practice sessions. Additionally, the most powerful BB guns can be used for pest management purposes or in hunting games. Contrary, Airsoft guns are in most cases utilized for recreation purposes, such as shooting rival “SWAT” teams in a BB recreation center. Also, in most cases, Airsoft guns are employed for the Mil-Sim tactical simulation games and sometimes in military centers for training.
- Realism: Airsoft guns are normally undoubtedly unmatched. Also, that is because it can be hard to differentiate an Airsoft gun from a real firearm, more so if the Airsoft flash hider that is orange in color is removed. Also, Airsoft guns chiefly focus on aesthetics in a strive to look like their real steel or lead counterparts as much as possible. On the contrary, BB guns may have a similar outlook to firearms. However, their primary designing leans more towards performance and not aesthetics. Moreover, BB guns are not realistic non-lethal guns in the market, but where they are substandard in appearances, they make it up in their great performance.
- Cost: The price range of Airsoft guns compared to that of BB guns can have a wild variation. For instance, an Airsoft gun that is bought from Wal-Mart stores will probably cost around $12.99 to $60. On the other hand, a professional Airsoft gun constraining bells, as well as whistles, may cost as much as $1,000 to $2,500 or beyond. The variation in the cost of Airsoft guns is also the same for BB guns. Also, that is because a person can visit a local sporting product store and purchase an inexpensive BB gun as low as $12.99. At the same time, a person can check online in a specialty dealer’s store and find BB guns as expensive as $3,000 or more.
- Performance and Power: In most cases, BB guns are manufactured for performance. Nevertheless, this does not mean that Airsoft guns are extensively outperformed in reference to power or performance. In the past, high-performing Airsoft guns have been found to shoot up to as well as beyond 500 FPS. That makes such Airsoft guns to shoot at par and often beyond the high-performing BB guns. All the same, performance and power have a significant impact on the type of ammunition employed between Airsoft and BB guns. Additionally, that is because metallic BBs are smaller in their size as well as far denser compared to plastic Airsoft ammunitions. Subsequently, this would mean the penetration ability of the BB gun is more compared to that of Airsoft gun pellets.
Difference Between a BB gun and Nerf Gun
The realism aspect of the BB gun and Nerf gun can be stated to be the primary difference between the two types of guns. Particularly, that is in terms of their use and physical appearance.
Additionally, to use a BB Gun, a person has to go to a BB site and wear protective gear, before using the guns. Also, at the BB site, a BB gun user must follow a certain set of rules when using the BB guns, to ensure the safety of all persons at the BB Gun site.
Failure to comply with such regulations can result in a person being kicked out of a BB site. On the other hand, Nerf guns can be played anywhere and at any time with no specific rules to ensure the safety of users. As such, this makes Nerf guns to be safe for children compared to using the BB guns at a BB site.
The Best Gun for Teaching Kids About Guns
Arguably no gun can be considered safe for teaching children. That is because all types of guns pose significant, though minor hazards to the users. Additionally, in reference to the stated types of guns, Nerf is perceived to be the least dangerous and most appropriate for children.
However, in the past, there have been reports citing eye injuries like cornea abrasions, internal bleeding of the eyes, blurred vision, eye pain and temporary loss of vision sustained from injuries caused by Nerf gun. Also, the accidental swallowing of the pellets used in Nerf guns can pose a significant risk of choking for young children around ten years.
Nevertheless, by using the right protective gear and hazard reduction mechanisms, Nerf guns can be considered to be the least dangerous of all types of guns and as such, safe for teaching children.
Ultimately, based on the above discussion, it is evident that there exists a big difference between a BB gun and an Airsoft gun, which is largely on the mechanism of both guns’ operations and design.