What is the Difference Between Airsoft and Bb Guns

Distinguishing Between Airsoft and BB Guns

Airsoft Gun or BB Gun – What’s the Real Difference? If you’re anything like me, you might initially assume that Airsoft guns and BB guns are one and the same. I hate to burst your bubble, but they’re not. There’s a typical misunderstanding that often results in Airsoft guns being mistaken for BB guns. But let’s not confuse the two anymore. How about a quick history refresher to help us comprehend the differences better?

My Journey with the BB Gun In the year 1886, the world saw the inception of the first BB gun. A groundbreaking spring-piston gun, it was made from maple wood, with bits of metal scattered here and there. The initial BBs were genuine shotgun pellets, about 0.18 inches in diameter. George W. Sage, the man considered to be the mastermind behind this new air gun, chose one of the most common projectiles of his time to fit into his gun.

Then in 1887, Clarence Hamilton elevated the game by creating an all-metal spring-piston airgun capable of shooting lead BB projectiles. After showcasing his brainchild to the shrewd businessman Lewis Cass Hough, it was clear that this gun was going to hit the mass production lines and the market.

Production kicked off in 1888, and from that day forward, Hamilton’s BB guns were flying off the shelves. The business got its name, Daisy Manufacturing Company, from Hough’s comment during the initial gun demonstration: “Boy, that’s a daisy.” Today, the company still operates under the same name.

My Experience with the Airsoft Gun Fast forward to the early 1970s, and the Airsoft gun was born in Japan. It was the brainchild of shooting enthusiasts who wanted to comply with Japan’s stringent gun control laws while still indulging in their favourite hobby. The terms “Air-Soft” or “Soft-Air” were coined to describe the green gas used to fire the gun.

Initially, Airsoft guns were used solely for target practice. But once it was found that people could be shot without causing severe injury, these guns found their way into war games. From Japan, the love for Airsoft guns spread to the United Kingdom in the late 1980s. From then on, Airsoft guns were designed with recreation in mind, often resembling real steel firearms.

Differences between BB Guns and Airsoft Guns One of the main differences that sets BB guns and Airsoft guns apart is the ammunition they fire. BB guns shoot small metal or lead BBs, which can potentially be lethal depending on the gun’s strength. Conversely, Airsoft guns fire plastic projectiles, making them safer for recreational use.

How I’ve Seen Them Used Most of the time, BB guns are utilized for training or target practice. Some of the more powerful ones can be used to control pests or even hunt small game.

Airsoft guns, on the other hand, are predominantly used in Mil-Sim games where players participate in a tactical simulation to eliminate the opposing team and complete various objectives. SWAT teams and military units often use Airsoft guns for training purposes.

Realism When it comes to realism, Airsoft guns take the cake. It can be tough to tell an Airsoft gun apart from a real firearm, especially if the orange flash hider is removed. Airsoft guns pay great attention to aesthetics, striving to mimic their real steel counterparts as closely as possible.

While BB guns can also resemble real firearms, their primary function leans more towards performance rather than aesthetics. They may not be the most realistic looking guns out there, but they more than make up for it in performance.

Performance/Power While BB guns are designed for performance, that doesn’t mean

Airsoft guns lag in this area. Top-notch Airsoft guns can reach and surpass 500 FPS, allowing them to compete and sometimes outperform high-performing BB guns.

The type of ammunition used significantly influences performance and power in both Airsoft and BB guns. Metal BBs are smaller and denser than plastic Airsoft ammo, which means they can penetrate targets more effectively. This is why BB guns are excellent for pest control but not suitable for shooting at people.

Pest Control If you have to pick between a BB gun or an Airsoft gun to deal with small critters causing havoc on your property, let me assure you, BB guns are the way to go. They’re far more humane than Airsoft guns because they can quickly end the poor creature’s suffering.

Airsoft guns capable of high FPS, say 800 – 1000 FPS, can also be used for a bit of pest control. But honestly, there’s a high chance you might end up causing more distress to the poor animal before it dies. When you’re hunting for mice in your backyard, just stick with BB guns.

Accuracy When it comes to accuracy, both BB guns and high-quality Airsoft guns can accurately hit targets from a distance. However, BB guns tend to be a bit more accurate.

One reason BB guns tend to be more accurate is their ammunition. Steel and lead are less susceptible to wind and other elements that might knock a lighter plastic ball off course. BB guns dominate long-range shooting, but they’re not quite as good at close range. Close-range shooting is unquestionably where Airsoft guns shine.

Airsoft guns also feature a hop-up system that adds a spin to the BB, allowing it to shoot straighter for longer distances. This significantly increases accuracy for long-distance shooting. Any Airsoft player will tell you that tuning your hop-up might take some time, but once you get it right, you’ll be all set.

Cost The cost of an Airsoft gun compared to a BB gun can vary greatly. A cheap airsoft gun from Wal-Mart might cost you anywhere from $12.99 to $50. On the other hand, a professional Airsoft gun with all the bells and whistles can cost you anywhere between $1,000 to $2,000 or even more.

BB guns follow the same pattern. You can find a BB gun as cheap as $12.99 at your local sporting goods store. If you go online or to a specialty dealer, you can find BB guns as expensive as $3,000 and beyond.

Ammo prices are similar for Airsoft guns and BB guns, although steel BBs tend to be a bit cheaper, albeit by a small amount.

Environment Due to their differences, Airsoft guns and BB guns may perform better or worse in different environments. For instance, you can use an Airsoft gun at close range without worrying too much about injury, provided you follow the proper safety procedures. Even if the ammunition ricochets, you should be okay.

However, using a BB gun at close range can be risky because ricocheting ammunition can cause significant injury. Therefore, always be careful of your backstop when using a BB gun. Your backstop needs to be capable of stopping a steel or lead BB.

Regardless of the type of gun you’re using, always wear eye protection. A BB shot in the eye can ruin your day.

Airsoft guns are usually the better choice for indoor shooting due to their effectiveness at close range. Also, consider using an Airsoft gun for backyard shooting if you don’t have a decent backstop, like your neighbour’s house. Children should always be supervised around BB guns and Airsoft guns, as both can cause injuries.

Remember, you should never shoot a BB gun at another person.

If you’re planning a friendly battle with your pals, Airsoft guns that fire plastic BBs should be your weapon of choice. Otherwise, be ready to rush your friend, or even yourself, to the emergency room. Despite being safer than BB guns, it’s crucial to ensure all participants are aware of the game rules and are wearing appropriate safety gear when using Airsoft guns.

Legal Considerations Under federal law, Airsoft guns and BB guns aren’t classified as firearms and are legal for all ages, meaning anyone can use one (with parental permission for those under 18). However, in some major cities, the definition of a firearm within their respective ordinances includes spring-powered or compressed air weapons, which makes Airsoft subject to those laws. For instance, in California, only those above 18 can purchase Airsoft and BB guns. There are no laws specifying an age requirement for selling Airsoft guns. Generally, toys and imitation firearms must have an orange tip during shipping and transportation. Rest assured, all our Airsoft guns are shipped with this orange tip.

Recognizing the Differences By now, you should have a good grasp of the differences between Airsoft guns and BB guns. The aim of this article wasn’t to declare a winner, but merely to outline their differences. Regardless of which type of gun you choose, use them responsibly, prioritize safety, and most importantly, enjoy the experience!

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