Airsoft vs Airgun [A Definitive Guide]

Airsoft vs Airgun FI

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The first question that you should ask yourself is this: What am I going to use it for?

Airsoft guns and air guns have very different purposes. One is for sports, one is for pest control. 

We’re not joking about that last bit! 

And both have their advantages and disadvantages.

In this article Airsoft vs Airgun, we’re not just going to tell you the pros and cons of each gun type. We’ll also be discussing:

  • The physical and specific differences between an airgun and an airsoft gun;
  • What shooting activities each is made for;
  • How each is different from BB guns;
  • The best of both airsoft and airguns on the market; and 
  • Lots more!

Don your safety gear!

Let’s get scrolling…

Airsoft And Airgun Overview

Airsoft Guns

Airsoft guns are often referred to as toys. That’s because they’re replicas of real firearms specifically manufactured for playing airsoft. They look a lot like real guns, but we assure you – they’re not. 

How so?

They’re a lot less powerful, lighter, and use airsoft BBs as ammunition. They’re made of plastic and are small and spherical. So they’re safe for when you want to play war games.

Manufacturers often put an orange tip on airsoft guns in order to distinguish them from the real stuff. That’s now required by federal law, especially when importing them from other countries.

Air Guns

Air gun is a collective term for guns powered by compressed air or pressurized gases. Compared to airsoft guns, the air gun is much more dangerous.

Why’s that?

They don’t just resemble real guns. They’re almost as powerful, only, they don’t use real bullets as ammunition. 

So you shouldn’t use air guns for sports. For target practice, sure. But don’t aim it at human beings because they can cause serious injury.

As for the specs…

We’ll tear those details apart for both guns. Keep in mind – the information we’ll give you below should be taken in comparison against each other.

Related: Best Airsoft Goggles

Airgun vs Airsoft Comparison

These are the gun specs that differentiate the air gun from the airsoft gun. You’ll notice that every detail serves the purpose for which these guns are made.

To get started…

Airsoft Guns
Ammunition– Short barrel length
– made of plastic
Power And Range– Battery, Gas or spring-powered
– 1-2 joules
– 250-600 feet per second velocity
– 20-50 meter range
Ammunition– 6 mm plastic BBs
– pellets
Target– Sports “opponents”
– “Rival” team members

Airsoft guns have shorter barrels because they’re not supposed to be powerful. Again, they’re used for sports. The low-pressure chambers can only project airsoft pellets with 1 to 2 joules of power.

You don’t want to accidentally send your friend to a hospital when you just want to have fun, right?

That’s why you use plastic airsoft BB for the airsoft gun. They don’t hurt that much as compared to a steel BB or a lead BB. 


Airsoft players are still required to wear eye protection because the muzzle velocity of an airsoft gun ranges from 250 to 600 fps. Although it’s only half as fast as the muzzle velocity of airguns, it still can cause damage to the face.

It can cause even more harm when the target is within the airsoft guns’ 20 to 50-meter range. It’s relatively short so this is the type of gun for indoor shooting.


The pellets used for airsoft ammo are only 6 mm in size. The small size makes it less prone to air resistance. So it usually just goes where you want it to, especially when coupled with your deadshot skills.

But they say that even the most expensive airsoft gun is less accurate than the cheapest airgun. 

Maybe these specs can explain why that is…

Air Gun
Hardware & Barrel– Long barrel length
– high-quality hardware
Power And Range– Gas-powered
– 2-4 joules
– 500-1200 feet per second velocity
– 60-150 meter range
Ammunition– Varying weights and sizes of ammo
– 0.177 mm Metallic BBs
– Pellets
– Darts
Target– Squirrels
– Birds
– Pests

Airguns have longer barrels than airsoft guns. That’s why they’re more powerful. They can propel metal BBs from 500 to 1200 fps, with 2 to 4 joules of power. This is the type for long range shooting.


Unlike airsoft and BB guns, you can use steel BBs, pellets, or even darts for airgun ammo. 

As mentioned before, airguns can be for pest control. If you’re up for shooting squirrels, tranquilizing rampant animals, or target shooting or hunting birds, the airgun is the weapon for you.

You can also use it for indoor practice, just never aim it at a human being. It might be used for fun but not for playing, nor for sports. 

Now, take note of this:

Airsoft guns are not the same thing as BB guns. We use the term “BB” for airsoft ammo because it’s common. It’s like battlefield jargon. 

Let’s tear down this common misconception today…

BB guns are under the umbrella of air guns, like air rifles or a pellet gun. They use compressed gas to propel a steel or lead BB of about 4.5 mm size. And they’re not used for sports. The more powerful BB guns can be used for hunting. 

The other specs of BB guns are also different from airsoft guns.

But that’s a conversation for another day.

What Should You Choose Between These Two Guns?

Airsoft vs Airgun

Simply put…

Choose airsoft guns when you want to play airsoft. They’re made exactly for that purpose. They’re not that much dangerous so you can aim it at human targets.

Airsoft is a very popular sport because it’s not just played for fun. It’s also educational. Even military units do airsoft for combat practice or training. And guess what – they only use airsoft guns.

Even though they’re less accurate and precise than both BB guns and airguns, they’re so much safer.

On the other hand…

There are a number of different situations where you can use airguns. Namely, hunting small game, controlling pests, catching squirrels for fun, etc. Basically in any shooting activity that would be pointless if you bring toy guns and plastic bullets.

Airguns are also great for target practice. Since it imitates an actual firearm more precisely in terms of power, weight, and range, you’d learn to shoot better with it.

So again, we can’t stress this enough – do not aim an airgun at a human being. These days, an airgun is as much considered as a lethal weapon as the real thing.


Both air guns and airsoft guns have their pros and cons. But they’re so distinct from each other that you don’t have to confuse one for the other – especially after we’ve explained it in full detail for you.

That said…

If ever you need either one of them, here’s a few suggestions about the best products that you can find on the market.

Best Airsoft Guns

Some of the high-performance airsoft guns include the Sig Sauer SIG1 MPX. Compared to other brands, it has higher magazine capacity so you won’t have to reload every now and then. It’s a bit noisy but the combat field always is.

But you can go for FN Scar-L if you’re on a budget. It’s spring-powered and easy enough to maneuver.


If you’re opting for accuracy, the GameFace GFASM14B M14 rifle is for you. It’s spring action is exceptional. Coupled with its excellent hop-up system, it really does the job.

Best Airguns

There’s a wider range of choices for airguns. So it’s best to be more specific with your purpose for getting one.

If you’re going hunting, we suggest the Benjamin Trail NP XL Magnum. It’s relatively quiet so you won’t scare your game away before you even know it’s there. Also, it has minimal recoil.

On the other hand…

The GAMO Big Cat 1250 is good for your pockets. It’s cheap but still powerful and durable enough. It’s good for catching small games and has ambidextrous controls. That’s a huge plus for me.

But if you want the least noise, you can opt for Benjamin Rogue SBD. It’s about three times quieter than your average gun. And it’s not that expensive as well.

You can find a lot more on the market, but you might want to check those ones first.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)

Which is stronger airsoft or BB guns?

BB guns are stronger than airsoft guns. They’re considered as lethal weapons because they’re two to three times more powerful.

Is an airsoft gun an air gun?

An airsoft gun is not necessarily an air gun. But there are guns used in airsoft that are gas-powered. Those can be considered as airguns.

Is airsoft safe for 13-year-olds?

Yes, airsoft is safe for 13-year-olds. There are tournaments that allow kids from 10-years and upwards to play.

CONCLUSION: Airsoft vs Airgun

Airsoft vs Airgun

So what’s next?

Are you going hunting with your colleagues? Or are you just feeling adventurous and you need to shoot for fun? Maybe you just want to experience some backyard shooting with your friends?

Whatever the case… You now know which aisle you should be heading to to find your next purchase.

We’re just glad we could help! Until next time…

Be safe out there, comrade!

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