Airgun Guide

Airgun Guide #1

Q: What is an airgun?

A:  An airgun is any sort of gun, whether it’s a rifle or handgun, that launches projectiles by means of compressed air or gas.

Q: What are the different types of airguns?

A:  There are several different types of airguns available; PCP (pre-charged pneumatic), break- barrel, multi-pump, and CO2.
PCP airguns use high pressure compressed air, usually 3,000 or 4,500psi, from an attached air tank. Many PCP airguns fire over 1,000fps, and you can fire multiple times without the effort of manually compressing a piston for each shot. However, most have a limited number of shots before you must refill the air tank. To refill, you must use a larger high pressure tank (like a SCUBA tank) or a high pressure air compressor found at a local paintball or SCUBA shop.
Break-barrel airguns are also usually rifles, and operate by breaking the barrel over once to compress a high pressure piston. These rifles typically fire up to 1,200fps with the advantage that you never need to refill compressed air or CO2. There are two types of pistons used in break-barrel rifles, some compress a large spring while others compress nitrogen gas instead. You will find these labeled as “spring”, “spring-piston”, “nitro-piston”, “gas-piston”, “power piston” or other names.
Multi-pump airguns have an air chamber that is compressed by pumping the charging handle multiple times. These airguns are typically cheaper, and their firing velocity changes depending on the number of times you pump the handle.
CO2 airguns typically have a lower firing velocity, with the advantage that they are often semi-automatic. Many BB pistols are CO2 powered and there are some semi-automatic pellet rifles.

Q: What is the difference in terms of power and price?

A: Pre-charged pneumatic airguns are typically the most powerful and most expensive. PCP guns also require extra equipment like high pressure air tanks. Break-barrel airguns, including spring and gas-piston, are powerful enough for hunting and long range shooting, and usually far more affordable than a PCP airgun. Break-barrel airguns also don’t have the added expense of refilling high pressure air or CO2. CO2 airguns are typically cheaper than either PCP or break-barrel guns, but you will need to purchase or refill CO2. Most multi-pump airguns are very cheap and low powered, suitable for new shooters or close range target practice, however they often have the advantage over CO2 airguns in velocity and the expense of CO2.

Q: What sort of activities can I participate in with my airgun?

A: Target shooting and backyard plinking is a great activity with any airgun, and unlike firearms you don’t have to worry about long range dangers, noise, or traveling to a shooting range. Always check your city, county, and state laws and regulations to understand the laws in your area. There are many local, national, and international airgun competitions mostly using PCP and break-barrel airguns. Hunting is another popular activity for airgun shooters, usually hunting for small game or pests. With the right airgun, you can hunt anything from rabbits to wild boar or even larger game. Always make sure that your airgun is powerful enough for the type of hunting you intend to do, and always consult local and state regulations for hunting laws.

Q: What is the appropriate age group for airguns?

A:  Most airguns are appropriate for adults. High powered air rifles and pistols like PCP and break-barrels are geared toward airgun enthusiasts and hunters, while lower powered CO2 and multi-pump airguns are more kid-friendly. All airguns include a minimum age requirement, and should never be used without adult supervision.