Is an Airsoft Gun a BB Gun? A Comprehensive Examination

When it comes to recreational shooting, two types of guns often come to mind: airsoft guns and BB guns. While they may seem similar at first glance, they are, in fact, quite different. This article will delve into the nuances that distinguish these two types of guns.

Understanding Airsoft Guns

Airsoft guns are popular choices for recreational shooting, military simulations, and even competitive events. They fire plastic pellets, typically 6mm in diameter, and are designed to be safe for use in controlled environments.

  • Materials: Airsoft pellets are typically made of plastic, which reduces the risk of injury.
  • Velocity: These guns generally have a lower muzzle velocity, meaning the pellets travel at a slower speed.
  • Marking: Some airsoft pellets contain a colored substance that marks the target upon impact, useful in competitive events.

Getting to Know BB Guns

BB guns, on the other hand, are a type of air gun designed to shoot metallic ball projectiles, known as BBs. They are often used for target shooting and hunting small game.

  • Materials: BBs are typically made of steel with a copper or zinc coating.
  • Velocity: BB guns often have a higher muzzle velocity than airsoft guns.
  • Penetration: Due to their metallic nature, BBs can penetrate skin and cause serious injury.

Key Differences Between Airsoft Guns and BB Guns

Material and Impact

One of the most significant differences between airsoft guns and BB guns lies in the material of their projectiles. Airsoft guns use plastic pellets, which are less likely to cause injury, while BB guns use metallic BBs, which can cause significant harm if not used responsibly.

Intended Use

Another key difference is their intended use. Airsoft guns are primarily used for recreational purposes, such as mock combat and target shooting. BB guns, however, are often used for more serious purposes like hunting and precision target shooting.

Comparison Table

Airsoft GunsBB Guns
Projectile MaterialPlasticMetal
Muzzle VelocityLowerHigher
Intended UseRecreational, competitiveHunting, precision target shooting


1. Does an airsoft gun count as a weapon?

You must be 18 or older in the USA to purchase airsoft guns and AEGs (electric airsoft rifles). However, these products are not classified as firearms and are legal under federal law. Some states and municipalities restrict the use and purchase of airsoft guns.

2. Do gun hits count airsoft?

Gun hits DON’T count! Ricochets DON’T count! Friendly fire DOES count!

3. Do airsoft guns leave marks?

At most, they may leave a mark when shot at inadequately protected skin, but the pain inflicted is incredibly brief, like a small sting, thanks to the material they’re made from. 


In conclusion, while airsoft guns and BB guns may share some similarities, they are not the same. Each has its unique characteristics and uses, making them suitable for different activities. Always remember to use them responsibly and in accordance with local laws and regulations.

Harrison Baxter
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