Airsoft Gun vs. BB Gun: Power, Accuracy, and Cost Compared

Airsoft guns and BB guns are two different paintball weapons with significant differences in power, accuracy, and price. Although both are designed to shoot ammo at a target from a distance, the similarities stop there.

The Airsoft gun is a replica that shoots pellets. BB guns are also replicas, but they shoot little metal balls instead of pellets. BB is more powerful than Airsoft guns and also more accurate due to a heavier projectile. Airsoft guns cost between $20-$500, while most BB guns are priced at $40-$550.

The rest of this article will compare two of the most popular types of toy guns – an airsoft gun and a BB gun. Read on for detailed insights into their unique features, safety, what to look for when buying them, and some of the legal requirements concerning Airsoft guns.

Airsoft Gun vs BB Gun

The main distinction is that Airsoft guns fire plastic projectiles instead of metal BBs.

Although this means they’re less likely to damage fragile items or clothing, it would help ensure they don’t contact people by accident.

BB guns are usually heavier and bulkier as most are made from metal rather than plastic like an Airsoft gun.

Generally, both can be used to complete various tasks but are usually for target shooting, small game hunting, and pest control.

However, BB guns require special gear due to the hazardous nature of lead ammunition.

Video: Glock 19x BB Gun vs Glock 19 Airsoft Pistol

Power, Accuracy, and Cost Comparisons

Power Comparison

Generally, BB guns are more powerful than Airsoft. Notably, Airsoft is limited to firing less than 500 FPS, while BB guns fire up to 550 FPS.

BB Guns are more powerful than airsoft guns because the projectiles fired by a BB gun are heavier, which means they penetrate targets better. The high velocity, in turn, makes them painful to be hit with.

On the contrary, Airsoft guns fire slower, lighter projectiles that may not penetrate targets.

The bottomline is that Airsoft ammunition is safer to use around people. You can’t hurt someone with an Airsoft gun pellet as much as you could with a metal ball from a BB rifle.

Accuracy Comparison

BB guns are more accurate than airsoft guns due to their heavier projectile. Airsoft guns fire light plastic pellets that can be affected by external forces such as wind.

BB guns shoot metal balls that are less susceptible to these outside elements. The added weight of the BB projectile also reduces bounce-back when it hits a surface, as some airsoft guns do.

In other words, since the pellets fired by Airsoft guns are lighter, they are more likely to rebound off the intended target and into unintended areas.

On the other hand, BBs are less likely to bounce off at different angles after contact with any object that’s dense enough to stop their path.

However, if a BB gun bounces off a target, it can lead to accidents or injuries when it hits people. This means that you should take greater care in terms of safety precautions when using one of these. 

Cost Comparison

On average, there’s not much difference between the costs of Airsoft and BB guns. However, due to the riskier nature of a BB gun, it’s best to always buy safety gear when using this gun type.

Therefore, a BB gun comes with an extra cost- that of safety!

If you’re looking for a low-cost option to shoot at targets from a distance, the airsoft gun is probably worth considering.

BB guns require added protection gear such as an open facemask, cheek and neck protection, a vest with no less than three layers on the chest and back (usually including Kevlar).

Additionally, you may need gloves and closed-toed shoes – though many prefer combat boots.

Video: Airsoft vs BB gun

Which Gun Should You Choose: Airsoft or BB?

You should choose Airsoft if you’re playing in an environment where participants never actively seek to injure or kill their opponents, as in a paintball arena. However, a BB would be ideal if you intend to use your gun to hunt small game.

Similarly, you should pick a BB gun if you are looking for a more realistic battle simulation and want more accurate aiming. This is because projectile speed will be greater than with an Airsoft gun.

However, if you are looking to save money, go for the airsoft gun because it doesn’t require special gear as a BB rifle does.

As you head off to the market to pick one of these, my two cents is that the following toy guns lead the Airsoft and BB packs, respectively:

  • Game Face GFR37 Airsoft Rifle from Amazon. com:  Designed to deliver up to 350 FPS, this Airsoft toy gun comes with a mounting rail, a synthetic adjustable shock, and a 400 round magazine for an uninterrupted shooting experience.
  • DPMS Full Auto SBR Air Rifle from Amazon. com: This BB gun comes with CO2 cartridges that deliver up to 430 FPS. Its durable synthetic design ensures you can use it for the longest time, and the pop-up and adjustable sights help you stay on target.

Shooting Environment

The environment in which you’re shooting can affect what type of gun to use.

If the area is a high-traffic space, and has fragile items (such as plants) around, it’s best to go with Airsoft guns. They won’t do damage like BBs could.

On the other hand, if you’re shooting in a more private area and you want to use a gun for target practice, it might be best to go with the BB guns due to their increased accuracy.

Similarly, if you’re looking for something more powerful and accurate – but not quite up there with a rifle caliber weapon, using BB guns may be just right!


In appearance, most Airsoft guns are modeled to look like real-life weapons, such as pistols or rifles. Some even come with internal mechanisms that make sounds when you pull the trigger.

Besides, some of these toys are modeled after objects they’re meant for target shooting (such as clay pigeons). In contrast, others resemble military weapons to simulate battle conditions during playtime.

BB Guns take on more universal forms because they have no restrictions by design–they can be made to appear just about anything! This makes them popular among collectors who value authenticity over realism but don’t mind adding their personal touch to what’s already there. Additionally, BB guns are also available in various colors and patterns to suit anyone who buys it.

Caution: Most Airsoft guns come with a 6mm blaze orange tip. This is a requirement by U.S. Code § 5001, and it’s illegal to remove the orange marker.  

Other Factors To Consider When Buying Toy Guns

Besides power, cost, accuracy, and the shooting environment, here are some of the factors to consider when choosing between different types of toy guns:

  • Do you want your toy to be as realistic as possible? If yes, then go with BB guns. If not, then go with Airsoft guns.
  • What kind of play are you looking for? If it’s a high-action game such as paintball or laser tag, use an airsoft gun to ensure safety and avoid unnecessary injury. If you’re looking to hunt small animals like rabbits, squirrels – anything up in size from birds – then BB guns would be best suited for that purpose. 

Again, if the goal is just target practice at distances shorter than 20 yards (16 meters), Airsoft might work better because they are more accurate when shooting from short ranges than long ones.  

  • Do you have a preference for what type of gun your toy should look like? If so, then choose which one works best for that purpose. For example: if choosing between an Airsoft pistol or BB rifle, pick whichever looks cool in front of you!
  • Do you want more functionality and features on your toy? Airsoft guns may work better for these types of requirements because they offer a wider range of options, including different laser designs, flashlight attachments, and other accessories.
  • Do you have any health or physical requirements? If so, then Airsoft guns are a better choice because they are lighter. BB guns may not be the best option for people who lack hand strength or suffer from disabilities such as arthritis due to their need for more power and grip.
  • What age group are you buying for? If the toy gun is meant for children, then Airsoft guns should work best because they don’t carry all of the risks that BB guns do. The same can be said about adults who are new to Airsoft and shouldn’t use anything more powerful than a pistol or rifle until they have experience under their belt.
  • What skills do you have? Suppose you don’t know how to handle a gun properly yet. In that case, go with Airsoft for safety reasons. If they do already own experience in handling them, then either choice would work well!​

If you need to improve your shooting skills, I recommend that you read this Long Range Shooting Handbook by Ryan Cleckner from The author uses easy-to-understand language so that you can easily follow the book.  The book teaches you the fundamentals of long range shooting, including what it is and how to use it.

However, if these factors don’t matter much to you– it might just depend on what the type of gun is modeled after!

For example, if you’re looking specifically for an Airsoft M14 rifle replica or model 1911 handgun, then choose Airsoft – but otherwise, pick whichever suits your needs best!

Frequently Asked Questions

Which Is Stronger, Airsoft or BB?

Generally, BB Guns are stronger than Airsoft. Airsoft guns fire small round plastic projectiles and use low power when compared to BB gun rifles. Airsoft guns are designed for non-lethal combat, while BB guns typically use lead pellets or heavy airgun pellets that can cause serious injuries.

However, this doesn’t mean Airsoft guns can’t hurt. A high-velocity projectile from this type of gun can cause serious injury, especially if it hits you from a short distance. Nonetheless, these guns are nonlethal.

Can You Use a BB Gun in Airsoft?

In general, using BB guns in an airsoft match is not advisable for safety reasons. There’s a risk that someone could be injured by the BBs coming from a gun.

As I mentioned, BB projectiles have a higher velocity, are heavier, and are often lead or steel pellets. As a result, they have a significantly higher potential to inflict severe damage.

Because of that, it’s best to avoid using BB guns in airsoft matches, indoor shooting games, and mock shooting.

Can I Kill a Bird With an Airsoft Gun?

You can’t kill a bird with an airsoft gun. That’s because pellets in an airsoft gun are so small and lightweight that they don’t typically cause any damage to a bird’s internal organs.

That being said, if you manage to shoot a bird at point-blank range, then it might die.

However, the average pellet fired from an airsoft gun flies at only about 250-300 feet (76.2 meters -91.44 meters) per second. This means that even if it hits the eye of a bird at close range, there’s little chance that it will penetrate and do permanent damage to its brain (which is what typically causes death).

Can a BB Gun Kill a Rat?

A BB gun can kill a rat. However, there are risks that come with using this type of weapon to do so. The pellets may ricochet off the animal and miss it, or they could hit their target but not penetrate deep enough into the body cavity to cause fatal injury.

If you want an efficient way to kill rats without risking your safety, go for gas-powered traps!


Here is a recap of the things we discussed in this post:

  • Airsoft guns and BB guns are different styles of toy weapons. Airsoft gun replicas shoot plastic pellets, while BB guns fire metal balls.
  • Another significant difference is in power. Airsoft guns can’t compare to the force generated by a BB gun
  • Accuracy varies significantly between these types. Due to its heavier projectile, the BB gun has the edge over an equivalent Airsoft rifle.
  • BB and Airsoft guns tend to be in the same price range. However, you need additional safety gear to use a BB gun, meaning it has higher extra expenses.

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