The Reasons and Solutions: How Loud Are Airguns (Pellets, BBs, and Air Soft Guns)?

Ah, the topic of air gun noise! It’s an interesting one indeed. Air guns, just like any other type of firearm, produce varying noise levels depending on several factors. Step into the world of air gun shooting, where precision, skill, and the thrill of the hunt come together. In my guide, I will tell you about the type of air gun noise, explore its causes, and effective ways to reduce noise levels. So, whether you’re a seasoned air gun veteran or a novice seeking knowledge, this journey going to uncover the secrets of air gun noise.

Understanding Airgun Noise: How Loud They Are?

There are a few primary factors that contribute to the overall air gun sound produced. The first and most obvious factor is the propulsion system. Air guns typically use one of three types of power sources: spring piston, gas piston, or compressed air. Each of these systems generates noise in its unique way.

Let’s start with the spring piston air guns. These types of air guns use a coiled spring to compress air behind a piston, which is then released to propel the pellet forward. The compression and release of the spring can produce a distinct “twang” sound which is often associated with spring piston air guns. The intensity of this sound varies depending on the power and design of the gun.

Moving on to gas piston air guns, it is also known as gas spring or nitro piston air guns. These guns employ a gas-filled cylinder instead of a coiled spring. When the trigger is pulled, the gas is released, propelling the pellet. Gas piston air guns are generally quieter than their spring-piston counterparts since they eliminate the “twang” sound caused by the spring. However, there is still some noise generated due to the rapid release of gas.

Lastly, we have compressed air guns. These guns utilize pre-charged air, either from a hand pump or a high-pressure air tank, to propel the pellets. Compressed-air air guns tend to be the quietest among the three types mentioned. The release of compressed air is typically less noisy compared to the mechanical actions of spring or gas piston air guns.

Other Facts to Consider

Apart from the propulsion system, there are a few other factors that can influence the noise produced by air guns.

  • The design and quality of the barrel, suppressors or moderators, and even the type and weight of the pellets used all can have an impact on the overall noise level.
  • The speed at which the pellet travels also affects the sound produced, as higher velocities tend to generate more noise.

How Loud Are the Pellet Guns, BB Guns, Air Soft Guns?

When it comes to the noise levels of pellet guns, BB guns, and Airsoft guns, there are a few distinctions to be made. Let’s discuss each of them individually to get a better understanding.

Pellet Guns: Pellet guns, as we discussed earlier, can come in different types such as Spring Piston, Gas Piston, or Compressed Air. In general, pellet guns tend to produce moderate levels of noise. Spring piston air guns which have a distinct “twang” sound can be a bit louder compared to gas piston or compressed air guns. But the noise produced by pellet guns is usually not excessively loud, especially when compared to firearms.

BB Guns: BB guns typically use compressed air or CO2 cartridges to propel small BBs. BB guns tend to produce a similar noise level to pellet guns, falling within the moderate range. The noise generated is generally not too loud, but it can still be heard, especially in quiet environments.

Airsoft Guns: Now, let’s talk about Airsoft guns. Airsoft guns fire small plastic pellets and are designed to simulate military and tactical scenarios. The noise levels of Airsoft guns vary depending on the type and power source.

  • Electric Airsoft guns, which use battery-powered motors to drive the internal mechanism, are relatively quiet. The noise they produce is often a soft whirring sound from the motor and a slight “pop” when the pellet is expelled.
  • Gas-powered Airsoft guns, on the other hand, can be slightly louder due to the gas release. But they still fall within the moderate noise range.

The Reasons Behind Air Gun or Air Rifle Noise: Based on Mechanical, Shot, and Impact Noise

Mechanical Noise

Mechanical noise refers to the sound produced by the internal mechanisms and components of an air gun during its operation.

  • In spring piston air guns, the compression and rapid expansion of the coiled spring can create a distinctive “twang” noise. The release of the spring and the movement of the piston contribute to this mechanical noise.
  • Gas piston air guns (known as gas spring or nitro piston air guns) have a quieter mechanical operation compared to spring piston air guns. The absence of a coiled spring eliminates the “twang” noise.
  • Compressed-air guns often exhibit minimal mechanical noise due to the absence of spring or gas-driven mechanisms.

Shot Noise

Shot noise refers to the sound produced when the compressed air or gas propels the pellet or BB out of the barrel.

  • Spring piston air guns generate shot noise due to the rapid release of compressed air as the piston moves forward. This noise can be more prominent in higher-powered air guns.
  • Gas piston air guns produce shot noise similar to spring piston air guns. But it is generally quieter due to the gas-driven propulsion system.
  • Compressed air guns tend to have reduced shot noise levels. Because the release of compressed air is typically less noisy compared to the mechanical actions of spring or gas piston air guns.

Impact Noise

Impact noise occurs when the pellet or BB strikes a target or any other surface. The noise produced upon impact depends on the velocity and weight of the projectile as well as the material and characteristics of the target.

  • Lighter pellets or BBs fired at high velocities may produce a sharper and more audible impact noise when hitting a target. But the heavier bullets at lower velocities produce a softer impact noise.

What Decibel Level Do Airguns Reach?

Generally, the noise levels of most airguns typically range from around 80 decibels (dB) to 110 dB. This noise level depends on factors such as power, design, sound moderators, and the specific model.

  • Spring piston airguns utilize a coiled spring and a piston, which tend to produce a distinctive “twang” sound upon firing. The noise level of spring piston airguns can range from around 90 dB to 110 dB. 
  • On the other hand, gas piston (or gas spring) airguns use a gas-filled cylinder instead of a coiled spring. So they are generally quieter than spring piston airguns. Gas piston airguns can produce noise levels ranging from approximately 80 dB to 100 dB.
  • As mentioned earlier, Compressed air (PCP) airguns are typically quieter compared to spring and gas piston airguns. The noise level of PCP airguns can range from around 70 dB to 100 dB.

What Should You Do Regarding Excessive Air Guns or Air Rifle Noises?

  • Choose Quieter Air Gun Models: Opt for air guns or air rifles that are known for their quieter operation. Some models are specifically designed to reduce noise through integrated sound moderators, suppressors, or shrouds. Research and select air guns that prioritize noise reduction.
  • Consider PCP Air Guns: Compressed air (PCP) air guns are generally quieter than spring-piston or gas-piston air guns. Thus investing in a quality PCP air gun can provide a quieter shooting experience.
  • Utilize Sound Moderators or Suppressors: Some air guns allow the use of sound moderators or suppressors (where legal). These devices attach to the barrel and help dampen the sound generated upon firing. They work by dispersing and reducing the noise produced by the expanding gases or the pellet’s impact.
  • Go for Subsonic Ammunition: Choosing subsonic or low-velocity ammunition can help reduce the noise produced by the air gun. Subsonic ammunition does not exceed the speed of sound. It minimizes the sonic boom-like “pellet break” sound upon firing. But it needs to ensure that your air gun is suitable and functions reliably with subsonic ammunition.
  • Shoot in Controlled Environments: If you are a recreational shooter or target practitioner, then you can shoot in hills. Because dense foliage, or backstops helps contain and reduce the noise produced by the air gun. These barriers can absorb and dissipate sound waves.
  • Use Shooting Mats or Silencers: Placing shooting mats or pads beneath the air gun help absorb vibrations and minimize noise caused by contact with surfaces. You can also use silencers or dampening materials that can be placed around shooting benches or areas to further reduce noise reflection and propagation.
  • Maintain and Lubricate the Air Gun: Proper maintenance and lubrication of the air gun’s internal components always ensure to reduce mechanical noise. Regularly clean and lubricate the moving parts to ensure smooth operation and minimize unnecessary noise.
  • Wear Hearing Protection: Protecting your hearing is always crucial for long-term auditory health. Although air guns produce lower noise levels compared to firearms, you can still wear hearing protection such as earplugs or earmuffs, especially when shooting indoors or in enclosed spaces. 

Last Words

Now you should realize that air guns are not only about accuracy and power but also about being mindful of the noise they generate. From understanding the mechanical, shot, and impact noises to exploring the different types of air guns, you’ve gained insights into the factors that contribute to air gun noise levels. By opting for quieter air gun models, utilizing sound moderators, and practicing in controlled environments, you can strike a balance between our passion for air gun shooting and the need to respect our surroundings.

Remember, precision and responsibility go hand in hand, ensuring an enjoyable experience for both ourselves and those around us.