5 Types of Air Rifles That You Must Know for General Knowledge

When I bought my first air gun the first thing I learned was the types of air rifles. No wonder knowing about different kinds of rifles will give you the freedom to choose the best gun.

Because everybody has their preference and style. Especially when it comes to air rifles, each type of air gun has its pros and cons. In this comprehensive guide, I will tell you everything you need to know about different air rifles.

So, without delaying anymore, let’s begin the discussion.

5 Types of Air Rifles Available

In a general sense, there are five types of basic air rifles that you air find in the world, which are mentioned below.

  1. Pneumatic
  2. Spring Piston
  3. Gas Ram
  4. CO2
  5. Nitro Piston

Below I am examining each type of air rifle in detail.

1. Pneumatic Air Rifles:

The specialty of pneumatic air rifles is in this type of gun, the power comes from the compressed air. Now, there are different types of pneumatic air rifles. The working principle of the pneumatic air gun depends on its type. For your instance, you’ll find these three types of pneumatic air rifles in the world.

  • Multi-stroke pneumatic
  • Single-stroke pneumatic
  • Pre-charged pneumatic

Let’s dig it further.

Multi-stroke pneumatic:

This type of pneumatic air rifle is commonly used all over the world. Sometimes, these multi-stroke pneumatic air rifles are also known as the pump-type pneumatic air gun. To operate this air rifle, what you need to do is pumping up carefully.

In most cases, it may take multiple strokes ranging from two to ten strokes to get the job done. It helps to generate the required internal pressure for powering up the pellet.

This lightweight and compact air rifles are also recoilless and give you enough flexibility when using them. Beyond all of the benefits you may get from a multi-stroke pneumatic air gun, it has some disadvantages.

It may take a longer time and effort to get the job done. Besides, you may not get an opportunity to shot for the second time unless the quarry runs out.


  • Typically recoilless
  • Highly compact
  • Very Lightweight
  • Light to medium power range


  • Requires high physical effort
  • Requires longer time

Single-Stroke Pneumatic:

This kind of pneumatic air rifle is certainly more preferable than a pump-type air gun. In this case, only a single stroke is needed in the cocking lever to compress the air, and eventually, it will power the pellet. In many high end, 10-meter match air rifles, this type of pneumatic method is used.

With this single stroke pneumatic air rifle, you will get consistency and perform a more accurate shot. Besides, the recoilless feature of the gun will give you extra flexibility. However, the power of a single stroke pneumatic air rifle is low.


  • Consistency and accuracy
  • Recoilless area


  • Low powered

Pre-Charged Pneumatic:

Now, the last type of pneumatic air gun is the pre-charged pneumatic air rifle. Without any doubt, these types of air rifles will give you an optimum solution when you want both power and accuracy at the same time.

In this case, there is a carbon fiber tank where the air usually gets compressed. The gun is connected to the tank by using a special hose that comes with a pressure gauge. Generally, you’ll find many configurations of pre-charged pneumatic (PCP).

Most importantly, you can choose either a single shot or a multi-shot version of this air rifle. There are a lot of benefits to a pneumatic PCP rifle. You will get high accuracy in your every shot.

Besides, the recoilless and easy cocking feature of the rifle will allow you to take multiple shots from a particular air range. However, these types of air guns are not self-contained and more expensive than other pneumatic rifles.


  • Compact and recoilless
  • High power and high accuracy
  • Little cocking effort
  • Effective with large caliber pellets


  • Not self-contained
  • Little bit expensive

2. Spring Piston Air Rifles

Generally, spring-piston air rifles are the most familiar rifles to many people. If you want an air rifle that is easy to shoot and the maintenance is also easier, this is the right one for you. Given that they have the easiest functioning method, many people use this type of rifle. If you want an air gun, which is most comfortable to maintain and shoot, you can quickly go for a spring-piston rifle.

Now, among all types of spring-piston guns, most people love to own a break-barrel rifle. You can quickly shoot with a break barrel air gun. The mechanism is pretty much straightforward here. .22 break-barrel rifles are quite powerful.

Breaking the air gun will move a piston backward around the receiver. At the same time, it will compress a stout spring behind it to get the job done. You’ll find spring-piston air rifles of many shapes, powers, and sizes.

Most of the shooters begin their spring-piston journey with the break-barrel rifles. However, some spring-piston air guns are cocked by under lever, side-lever, or even top-lever.

Another essential feature of this kind of air rifle is its durability. You can use a spring-piston air rifle for a long time. But, the springs can be damaged or wired out at some point when you may want to replace it.


  • Highly durable
  • Easy to shoot
  • Easier maintenance


  • Springs may wear out

3. Gas Ram Air Rifles:

Gas ram air rifles are another type of gun which are also used by many people in the world. These kinds of rifles have many similarities with spring-piston rifles. Both of the gas ram and air piston air rifles follow the same method of cocking, and also they are shot in the same way.

Instead of a coiled spring cylinder, in the gas ram rifle, a gas-filled cylinder is used. Here, the fantastic part is you’ll notice that the air in the cylinder is already compressed. So, while cocking the gun, you are applying more pressure into it.

The tension of this pressurized air will be released only after you release the trigger. Therefore, after releasing the trigger, the pallet will go out of the barrel by the strong force of pressurized air.


  • Simple to use
  • Comes at an affordable rate
  • Accurate, consistent and powerful
  • Completely self-contained


  • More recoiled
  • Requires lots of practice to shoot properly

4. CO2 Air Rifles:

Here comes another particular type of air rifle, which is also used by many people. As per name suggests, these air rifles are powered by CO2. These air rifles work similarly as the PCP air rifles with only one significant difference.

Instead of pressurized gas, Co2 air rifles use CO2 as the power source. In this case, pulling the trigger will release the compressed CO2. As a result, the pellet will move forward in the barrel.

You will get many benefits from a CO2 air rifle. However, you have to remember that its power and capacity can be affected by temperature.


  • Highly accurate
  • Cocking is easy
  • Recoilless to shoot
  • Consistent and convenient use


  • Low powered
  • Power and accuracy is controlled by temperature change

5. Nitro Piston Air Rifles:

Not every kind of air gun brings so much innovation and creativity in its function. With many unique and exclusive features, this air rifle could be one of the best options for you. Nitro piston air rifles are a recent addition to the type of air rifles in the world. This particular air rifle comes with significant innovation in the entire rifle industry. If you cock the gun, a piston will move to the rear and compress a gas (nitrogen) in a cylinder.

That’s the primary difference of Nitro piston with a spring-piston. Now, if you fire the rifle, the compressed gas will propel a piston forward and compress the air in the receiver, which is behind the projectile. This type of air rifle has many advantages. One of the main benefits is it will reduce noise and vibration and reduce the cocking effort.

However, because of its settings and working method, nitro piston air rifles are expensive. Then again, this kind of air rifle is less durable if you use it frequently. However, this kind of rifle is known for its quiet operation. Here are some similar quiet air rifles.


  • Lighter weight
  • Reduces noise and vibration
  • Less cocking effort


  • Little bit expensive
  • Less durable

Final Words

Finally, we can see that there are many types of rifles. Each type comes with its uniqueness and specialties. Every type has its pros and cons, that is why you should think carefully about which type of air rifle you want before buying.

In this comprehensive article, I tried to explain everything you need to know about different rifle types. I believe this article helped you increase your general knowledge about air rifles, and you can choose the most suitable gun for you.

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