The Difference Between an Airsoft vs BB Gun, Explained

America’s love affair with firearms is no secret. Heck, 40% of the adult population own a gun or live with someone who does!

Not everybody wants to invest in the real deal though…

If you’re looking for something safer, quieter, and cheaper, then buying airsoft or BB guns makes more sense. But before you can decide which one to purchase, you have to understand how these ‘toy guns’ differ. Need help in that regard?

Keep reading to discover the key differences between an airsoft vs BB gun.


A key distinction here comes down to each gun’s purpose. Because of their extra power and accuracy, BB guns are ideal for activities such as target practice. They’re also useful pest-control devices and good “starter weapons” for teaching young people the rules around safe gun ownership.

By contrast, airsoft weapons are used in military simulation games and real-life military training. Their non-deadly nature and realistic designs make them well-suited to both roles.


Another core difference between airsoft and BB gun is what they shoot. Confusingly, both guns shoot ammunitions called BBs. But they’re not the same!

BB guns shoot metal BBs (they’re usually made from steel or lead), whereas airsoft guns utilize plastic BBs. You might see the latter ammunition referred to as “airsoft pellets”. These plastic pellets are larger and lighter than metal BBs and cause less damage as a result.

FYI, types of ammunition vary once again between a BB gun vs pellet gun. However, that’s a discussion for another time!


Performance is sure to be a key deciding factor when you’re choosing between a BB gun vs airsoft gun. After all, you need the right amount of power to cater to your specific requirements. Someone who wants to cull pests and practice accurate shooting, for example, will need more power than somebody who wants to play army games with their friends.

Looking for more power? Opt for a BB gun. The best airsoft gun will still pack a punch, but it’ll still pale in comparison to high-quality BB guns.


More power means extra danger. So, if you’d like a safer firearm in the house, we’d suggest buying airsoft guns every time. The combination of plastic pellets and lower velocity reduces their penetrative ability.

In fact, airsoft guns are literally designed to be shot at other people! The impact might sting, but it won’t do serious damage (assuming that everyone’s wearing appropriate safety gear). The same can’t be said for BB guns, which can and do cause significant injuries every year.

Remember the Differences between an Airsoft vs BB Gun

Have you been trying to decide between an airsoft vs BB gun? It’s not easy, right? Yet it’s even harder when you don’t understand the differences between them!

With any luck, the information in this article will help clear things up. Keep the distinctions in mind and you should be one step closer to choosing the perfect firearm for your needs.

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