Is BB Gun or Airsoft Gun the Same | Know the Differences

No doubt, BB guns, and airsoft guns have become popular choices among shooting enthusiasts of all ages. At first glance, they may seem similar, but there are distinct differences that set them apart.

Today, I will tell you about BB guns and airsoft guns, comparing their features, uses, and applications. After reading my article, you can easily make an informed decision when choosing the right option for your needs.

BB Guns: Power and Precision

BB guns have a rich history dating back to the late 1800s, and they have come a long way since their inception. These air-powered guns fire small, round, metal projectiles called BBs which have led to their name. One of the key features that make BB guns stand out is their impressive power and precision. So they are ideal for various shooting activities.

Power and Velocity

BB guns are known for their higher power and velocity compared to airsoft guns. They are a favorite among shooting enthusiasts who seek a more powerful shooting experience. Some models can achieve velocities of over 1000 feet per second (fps) that making them suitable for target shooting and even pest control.

Ammunition and Accuracy

BBs are typically made of steel or lead and are available in the 0.177 caliber size. The combination of metal BBs and smoothbore barrels of BB guns contributes to their accuracy and range. Thus you can expect consistent and precise shots when shooting with a BB gun. They are also an excellent choice for honing marksmanship skills.

Best Uses for BB Guns

BB guns excel in target shooting and plinking due to their high power and accuracy. Whether you’re shooting at paper targets in your backyard or engaging in casual plinking with friends, BB guns offer a satisfying shooting experience. Moreover, they are used for pest control. Their velocity makes them suitable for the effective and humane dispatching of small pests like Rodents and Birds.

Airsoft Guns: Realism and Safety

Airsoft guns have a relatively recent origin, originating in Japan in the 1970s as a response to strict gun control laws. They are specifically designed to closely resemble real firearms. They have used non-lethal plastic pellets as ammunition. Airsoft guns have gained worldwide popularity for their remarkable realism and safe projectiles. So they are a preferred choice for training and competitive sports.

Airsoft Gun Realism

Airsoft guns closely resemble real firearms with intricate details and mechanisms designed to simulate the operation of their real counterparts. The level of realism in airsoft guns is remarkable. They have become an attractive choice for those seeking an authentic shooting experience.

Ammunition and Safety

Airsoft guns fire 6mm ‘Plastic’ (not metal) pellets. These plastic pellets are significantly safer than metal BBs, reducing the risk of injury or property damage. This safety aspect makes airsoft guns suitable for various group activities and indoor shooting.

Best Uses for Airsoft Guns

Airsoft guns are primarily used for training and simulation purposes. Law enforcement and military personnel often use airsoft guns for realistic training scenarios due to their authentic appearance and operation.

Moreover, Airsoft has become a popular competitive sport with events like MilSim (Military Simulation) and Speedsoft emphasizing teamwork, strategy, and physical fitness.

BB Gun VS Airsoft Gun: The Key Differences

While BB guns and airsoft guns may share some similarities in appearance and recreational shooting, they have distinct differences in design, ammunition, power, and intended use.

Design and Appearance

  • BB guns typically prioritize performance over appearance. They often have a simpler design. They may resemble real firearms to some extent, but the focus is on functionality and accuracy.
  • On the other hand, Airsoft guns are specifically designed to closely mimic the appearance and operation of real firearms. They usually feature intricate details and realistic mechanisms.

Ammunition and Power

The most significant difference between BB guns and airsoft guns lies in their ammunition.

  • BB guns use metal BBs, which contribute to their higher power and velocity.
  • In contrast, airsoft guns use 6mm plastic BBs. It reduces the risk of injury and makes them a safer option for group activities and indoor shooting.

Intended Use

  • BB guns are ideal for target shooting and plinking due to their higher power and accuracy. And they are used for pest control, offering a humane and effective means of dealing with small pests.
  • On the other hand, Airsoft guns are primarily designed for training, simulation, and competitive sports, emphasizing realism and safety.

BB or Airsoft Gun: Choosing the Right Option for You

When deciding between BB guns and airsoft guns, you should consider your intended use, personal preferences, and budget.

The Purpose of Use

Consider the primary purpose for which you plan to use the gun.

  • If you prioritize power and accuracy for target shooting or pest control, BB guns are the better choice.
  • But if you seek a realistic shooting experience for training and competitive sports, Airsoft guns are more suitable.

Personal Preferences

Personal preferences play a crucial role in the decision-making process. Consider whether you value performance and power or realism and authenticity more.

  • Some shooting enthusiasts enjoy the challenge of accurate target shooting with BB guns, while others appreciate the immersive experience offered by Airsoft guns.


Both BB guns and airsoft guns come in various price ranges, catering to different budgets.

  • While there are affordable options for both types of guns, higher-end models can offer better performance, build quality, and features.
  • Determine how much you are willing to spend and compare the available options within that price range.
  • Generally, BB guns are more costly than Airsoft Guns.

So, Are BB and Airsoft Guns the Same?

No, BB guns and airsoft guns are not the same. They differ in several aspects- their ammunition type, design, power, accuracy, range, and intended use.

  • BB guns use metal BBs or pellets as ammunition, while airsoft guns use plastic pellets.
  • BB guns typically have higher power and velocity. In contrast, airsoft guns excel in realism.
  • BB guns are generally more powerful. Some BB gun models can reach velocities of over 1000 feet per second (fps), while airsoft guns typically have velocities between 200 and 500 fps.
  • BB guns are commonly used for target shooting and pest control. On the other hand, Airsoft guns are primarily designed for simulation, training, and competitive sports.

BB vs Airsoft Gun: A Short Comparison Table


BB Gun

Airsoft Gun

Ammo Size

.177 caliber


Ammo Type

Metal BBs or pellets

Plastic BBs

Power Higher power and velocity

Lower power and velocity


Excellent accuracy and range

Good accuracy


50-100 yards

50-60 yards

Best Uses

Target shooting, pest control

Training, simulation, sports


Costly to higher-end models

Affordable to higher-end models

What Type of Shooting or Pest Control Can Be Done by BB Gun?

BB guns are versatile tools that can be used for various shooting styles and pest control. Here are some shooting styles and the corresponding animals that can be effectively targeted using BB guns.

  1. Target Shooting: BB guns are commonly used for recreational shooting, honing marksmanship skills, and participating in target shooting competitions.
  2. Plinking: Plinking is a popular shooting style where shooters engage in casual shooting at small objects like cans, bottles, or other targets. BB guns are well-suited for plinking.
  3. Pest Control – Rodents: BB guns are effective tools for controlling small pests like Rodents.
  4. Pest Control – Birds: BB guns can also be used for controlling small birds that cause problems on properties.
  5. Pest Control – Invasive Species: BB guns can be used to address invasive species that threaten local ecosystems. In some cases, small animals that are harmful to native wildlife or plants can be managed with the use of BB guns, helping to protect the local environment.

What Type of Training, Simulation, and Sports Can Airsoft Guns Do?

Airsoft guns are versatile tools that offer a wide range of training, simulation, and sports opportunities. Here are some training, simulation, and sports activities that can be done with airsoft guns.

  • Training for Law Enforcement and Military: The guns’ realistic appearance and operation make them ideal for practicing tactical maneuvers, team communication, and decision-making in a controlled and safe environment.
  • Military Simulation (MilSim): MilSim is a popular airsoft sport that aims to replicate real military situations and operations. Participants engage in immersive and realistic scenarios that require teamwork, strategy, and communication.
  • Speedsoft: Speedsoft is a fast-paced and dynamic airsoft sport that emphasizes speed, agility, and close-quarters combat. Players engage in fast and intense matches, usually in indoor environments where quick reflexes and precise shooting are essential for success.
  • Competitive Shooting: Airsoft guns can be used in competitive shooting such as timed target shooting or shooting while navigating obstacle courses.
  • Tactical Training for Civilians: Airsoft guns provide an opportunity for civilians to engage in tactical training and improve their shooting skills. These training sessions may focus on self-defense techniques, home defense scenarios, or general firearm safety and handling.
  • Simulation of Historical Battles: Airsoft enthusiasts often recreate historical battles using Airsoft guns.
  • Recreational Shooting: Airsoft guns are also used for recreational shooting, similar to BB guns. Friends and family can gather for casual shooting sessions or engage in fun shooting games and challenges.
  • Outdoor Sports: Airsoft games also take place in various outdoor environments such as woodlands or urban areas.
  • Scenario-based Games: Airsoft games can be designed with specific scenarios or storylines. These scenarios include hostage rescues, search-and-destroy missions, or capture-the-flag games.
  • Team Building Exercises: Airsoft games can be utilized as team-building exercises for companies and organizations. The games promote teamwork, communication, and trust among team members.

Popular Models for BB Guns and Airsoft Guns

Here are some popular and well-regarded models in each category.

BB Guns

  • Daisy Red Ryder: A classic lever-action BB gun suitable for beginners. It is known for its iconic design and ease of use.
  • Crosman 760 Pumpmaster: A versatile multi-pump pneumatic rifle that can shoot both BBs and pellets. It offers adjustable power and accuracy.
  • Umarex Steel Force: A CO2-powered BB rifle with a realistic tactical design which capable of shooting in semi-automatic or 6-shot burst mode.

Airsoft Guns

  • G&G Combat Machine CM16 Raider: It is an affordable and reliable entry-level Airsoft rifle. It also offers excellent performance and durability for its price range.
  • Tokyo Marui Hi-Capa 5.1: It is a high-quality gas blowback Airsoft pistol. It is known for its accuracy, consistency, and upgrade potential. They are a popular choice among Competitive Players.
  • Krytac Trident MK2 SPR: A premium electric airsoft rifle featuring exceptional build quality, performance, and a modular design. It is suitable for both beginners and experienced players.


Can BB guns be used for self-defense?

While BB guns can cause injury, they are not designed or good for self-defense. You need to use other appropriate self-defense tools and methods for personal protection.

Are BB guns suitable for competitive sports like Airsoft?

BB guns are not commonly used in competitive sports due to their higher power and potential risk of injury to participants.

Are Airsoft guns suitable for pest control?

Airsoft guns are a pretty bad choice for pest control due to their lower power and the use of plastic pellets. They lack the effectiveness of BBs for dispatching pests.

Can children safely use Airsoft guns?

Children can safely use airsoft guns with proper adult supervision, training, and safety equipment. But you need to understand that airsoft guns (like BB guns) can cause injury if not used responsibly.

Can I use metal BBs in Airsoft guns?

No, airsoft guns are designed to use 6mm plastic pellets. They use metal BBs that can damage the gun and pose a risk of injury to others.

Can Airsoft guns be lethal?

Airsoft guns are not lethal when used responsibly and with proper protective gear. But they can cause injury if used improperly or at close range.


As you see, both BB guns and airsoft guns offer unique advantages and cater to different shooting preferences.

  • BB guns are favored for their power and precision. They are an excellent choice for target shooting and pest control.
  • On the other hand, Airsoft guns provide a realistic and safe shooting experience. They are ideal for training and competitive sports.

When choosing between BB guns and airsoft guns, you must consider the intended use, personal preferences, and budget. And always remember to practice responsible shooting and adhere to safety guidelines to ensure a fulfilling and safe shooting experience.