BB Guns Vs Pellet Guns

  • Written By Eric Crouch on April 2, 2020
    Last Updated: February 4, 2021

There is always plenty to learn and your first air gun is a gateway into a fantastic hobby and a great community, so make sure you’re clued up before making that final decision.

BB Guns

BB guns come in many different forms from your basic handgun all the way to your fully automatic rifle.

BB guns generally shoot steel .177 (4.5mm) caliber ammunition in the form of a round pellet, but you may also find BB pellets molded in lead (the same soft metal used for the ammunition in their counterpart – the pellet gun.

A BB gun will shoot its small round metal pellets at a fair velocity and these air guns are perfect for the user that wants an easy to use, practice article for simple short – medium-range target practice or someone who wants a gateway into airsoft as a sport.

A similar variant of the BB gun is the airsoft gun, which isused for the airsoft competitions and uses plastic ammunition. There are many clubs present in the US and the UK and you can find matches all over the world that you can attend and play in teams and with friends. Airsoft is a highly social sport, and most contenders are very willing to assist beginners with training and advice when it comes to selecting gear.

However, BB guns have a very limited range of uses. They can’t be used in airsoft due to generally being overpowered and only taking .177 caliber pellets (usually metal) and they are usually underpowered for the hunting uses that a pellet gun caters to. The round pellets are also more susceptible to variable factors such as crosswinds which drastically affect accuracy when shooting long range.

  • BB guns are generally quite cheap
  • Ammunition is generally cheaper
  • Most can be used in airsoft matches
  • Better suited for the younger user
  • Generally lighter than pellet guns
  • Easier to master
  • Long-range accuracy is poor
  • Not so good for hunting
  • BBs slow down faster than pellets
  • Less power (lower FPS)
  • Limited uses

Pellet Guns

Pellet guns, like their BB counterparts, come in many different forms, however, the most common items on the market are handguns and single-shot rifles. Pellet guns take [you guessed it] pellets as ammunition.

Pellets are usually made from lead or other soft metals and are shaped to cut through the air in much the same as your typical firearm bullet. They hold their paths well, are great for long-range and they tend to travel much further and stay true to the target whereas BBs are more susceptible to variable factors like crosswinds.

Pellet Guns are ideal for the marksman looking for a weapon that can cater to more long-range prospects or someone looking to use their weapon for hunting.

Pellets come in a multitude of designs, with some shaped to make larger entry holes (preferable for target practice, backyard plinking) and some shaped to puncture flesh more effectively (for hunting situations).

  • Better accuracy than BB
  • Longer range than BB
  • Better suited for hunting
  • More power (greater FPS)
  • Easy Maintenance
  • Higher velocity than BB
  • Can’t be used in airsoft matches
  • More expensive to purchase a pellet gun
  • Ammunition can be more expensive
  • More potential for danger
  • Usually heavier than BB guns
  • Harder to master

Which is Better for Beginners?

When it comes to the question of which option is best between BB and Pellet guns there really is no straight answer. Each ammo type and the guns designed to fire these projectiles are very different from one another and both have their specific uses, with strengths and weaknesses in both categories.

BB guns offer new marksmen a great opportunity to learn about the dynamics of shooting and develop their accuracy in a user friendly, easy to use way. Pellet guns also offer the same opportunities as their round pellet-firing cousins, however they tend to be harder to master and take a little more determination and motivation when developing a shooting skillset.

BB guns are more suited for recreational purposes whereas pellet guns are more suited for long-range, precision situations. Both types of air guns have their pros and their cons, and which type is best suited for the beginner really depends on the answers you have for the questions below.

Questions to Ask Yourself

1. What do you intend to use your air gun for?

You may want your air gun to function well in a hunting situation or perhaps you may want something to have a bit of fun with on the weekend by shooting down targets in your back yard. Your intended purpose will affect whether the right gun for you shoots pellets or BBs.

2. What is the age of the user?

Perhaps the beginner in question is someone who’s young, someone you’d like to introduce to the world of shooting however you’re concerned about their safety. In this case, a low-powered BB gun is probably the best option. On the other hand, maybe you’re someone a bit older who wants to delve into the world of hunting. In this case, perhaps a mid-powered pellet gun is more suited to you.

3. Long-Term, Where Do You Desire to Be With Your Shooting?

Maybe you just want an air gun to shoot down some targets on the weekends as a past time or for a social activity with your friends and don’t see your new-found hobby going any further than that. Perhaps you see your new hobby evolving into something more serious such as hunting or maybe joining a club to partake in regular airsoft matches. Your long-term ambitions in shooting are certainly something to consider now as a beginner entering the sport as there are many different avenues you could go down.

4. What Can You Afford?

If your budget is low you may consider starting with a BB gun, a limited budget will go much further with BB gun as opposed to a pellet gun. A half-decent pellet gun suited for a beginner will set you back at least $200 whereas you can pick up a decent beginner BB gun from as little as $60. Considering your budget is vital when deciding what air gun suits you best.

5. Is pin-point accuracy important to you?

Do you desire great accuracy and the ability to hit targets that are far away? If the answer is yes, then a good quality entry-level air rifle (pellet gun) is your best option. If shorter range targets are more your forte and you don’t mind so much about pin-point accuracy on every shot, then a BB gun may be more fit for your purpose. Think long and hard about what you want in terms of accuracy because this will ultimately affect your decision between BB and pellet.

The Choice is Yours

Although there is no definitive answer to the headline, “BB Gun vs Pellet gun: Which is Best?” – this article should have given you some of the vital information you need when considering your first air gun purchase.

Whether you’re looking for the best value for money, the best air gun for short or long-range target practice or maybe a safer gun for your son or daughter to get started with – this article should have given you the information you need to take the next steps in purchasing your ideal beginner gun.

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