Despite the differences between BB guns and airsoft guns, we find that a lot of people tend to use them interchangeably. As a way to educate firing lovers out there, we crafted this BB gun vs airsoft gun article to foretell what these guns are and how they differ from one another. 

History of BB Guns and Airsoft Guns

Let’s start with the BB guns. These BB guns were first created in the United States back in 1886. At first, they were rifles that were powered by spring pistols firing single shotgun pellets. The reason was that during this time, these were the materials that were widely available. 

BB guns continued to evolve. And so, what started out as being made of wood, eventually shifted to the metal as the main material. By then, it started to look like an actual fire gun.


In 1888, the Daisy Manufacturing Company began to mass-produce these BB guns. By the day, this manufacturing company still operates up to this day and still continues to produce BB guns. 


Now let’s talk about airsoft guns. Airsoft guns were first created in Japan around the 1970s. Airsoft guns were originally created to enable gun enthusiasts to have a past time. This was because back at that time, there were a lot of restrictions when it comes to the use of guns. 


The first units of airsoft guns only fired plastic pellets that were powered by green gas. If people weren’t using airsoft guns to have a little fun, they most certainly use them for target practice. Later on, the producers discovered that airsoft guns can be used to fire at people without having to cause injury. From then on, the game of airsoft was born as we know it.  


Before long, airsoft was able to make its way to the United States and the United Kingdom. It saw a boom in popularity around the 1980s. 


As you can see, from the history of BB guns and airsoft guns, some differences were also discussed. But let us go ahead and talk about the rest. 

BB Guns vs Airsoft Guns: How Are They Different?

Despite having been created for the same purpose, there are several things that set these guns apart. 


BB Guns Vs Airsoft Guns Ammunition

One of the key differences between BB guns vs airsoft guns would be the type of ammunition that each of them uses. 


Both BB guns and airsoft guns use BB ammunition but there’s still a difference. Let’s take a look at BB guns first. 


The ammunition used for BB guns is steel BBs that are about 4.5 mm in diameter. BB guns are pretty powerful, Now, considering the weight of the ammo and its small size, it can cause serious injuries. It can even be deadly at times. 


Now, moving into airsoft guns, the BB ammo used here is made of plastic. These pellets are 6mm in diameter. These are larger and lighter in weight. Aside from that, the velocity is also much slower. Hence, it does not cause much impact when you shoot it at people. 


BB Guns Power

Its producers both intended BB guns and airsoft guns for performance but there is a slight difference when it comes to shooting power. For instance, as we have already mentioned, BB guns can shoot pellets at a higher velocity in comparison to airsoft guns. 


BB guns can fire ammo at 550 FPS at most. Meanwhile,  regular airsoft guns cannot go beyond 500 FPS. There are also some airsoft guns that can surpass 500 FPS. still, it will not cause injuries due to the material of the ammo. 


Steel BBs have higher penetration rates. Hence, one cannot use it for safe shooting. Due to the efficacy of BB guns, a lot of people prefer them for pest control. 


The most significant difference between BB guns and airsoft guns would be their function. Airsoft guns are good for target practice as well as playing the airsoft sport. It can also be used for team-building activities where people are grouped together and try to eliminate the opposing team. 


Meanwhile, BB guns are also used for target practice. However, it is bound to penetrate the target much deeper. With that, greater caution should be practiced if there are people around when you do the target practice. BB guns can also be used for pest control and hunting game. There are also more powerful BB guns that can kill their prey with a single shot. 


As we have discussed, airsoft guns have pellets made of plastic. Hence, it is much safer to use. Aside from the ammo material, the velocity is also slower pace which contributes to the safety net of using airsoft guns, 


BB guns are the least safe option among the two. The ammo used for this type of gun is steel BBs. These pellets travel at a higher velocity. Hence, it can cause serious injury or even death. This is the reason why people commonly use it for more serious target shooting as well as hunting games and pest control. 


If you intend to use a BB gun, it would best to have a backstop that can stop steel BBs on its tracks. 


Despite airsoft guns being a lot safer compared to BB guns, we highly recommend that you still practice caution. Wear the right attire for airsoft games and make sure to use an eyeshield for protection. 


Even though airsoft guns and BB guns aren’t considered firearms, it is still important to become wary of the correct environment in which to use them. Firing these guns in inappropriate environments can cause injury if one is not careful. 


Let us first talk about distance. Since airsoft guns are the safer option between the two, you can comfortably use them to shoot at someone at short distances. Since the pellets are made of plastic, the ammo will just shoot off the person and won’t cause any injury. But of course, you need to be more cautious when using BB guns.  


When you are using BB guns, make sure that you are in an outside arena. We only recommend for you to be indoors if you are using airsoft guns. Still, if you can, make it a point to use both of these guns in an outside environment. 

Why Do People Always Confuse Airsoft Guns and BB Guns As The Same Thing?

BB guns with pellet

The reason for this is largely due to the BB gun’s tenure in the market. BB guns have been around for far longer compared to airsoft guns. Hence, the majority of people are much more familiar with it. 


So where do airsoft guns come in? There may have been a huge gap between the creation of BB guns and airsoft guns but they were practically made of the same materials. With that, in the eyes of many people, airsoft guns and BB guns are one and the same. 


But as mentioned in our points above, BB guns and airsoft guns differ in many ways. We don’t mean this in just its physical structure but also in usage. 

How Are BB Guns and Airsoft Guns Similar?

Now that we’ve discussed the differences between these two popular guns, it’s time we also shed light on some of the ways that they are similar to one another. 

Replicas of Real Guns

As far as legality is concerned, both BB guns and airsoft guns are not considered by any government body as legitimate firearms. In that sense, we can conclude that BB guns and airsoft guns are merely replicas of real guns. 


Both BB guns and airsoft guns don’t use actual bullets for shooting. Instead, it makes use of round pellets made of either steel or plastic. The purpose of this is to lessen the potential impact it can have on a target since these guns were meant for play and practice, not for actual shooting. 


Another similarity that airsoft guns and BB guns have is that only spherical projectiles can be shot from these gun replicas. As a matter of fact, this is one of the most common reasons these guns are confused as the same thing. 


BB guns and airsoft guns don’t have the same price. But the price bracket is pretty near. And of course, the price can still vary depending on the quality of the BB gun or airsoft gun that you intend to buy. 


As we have mentioned in the early parts of this article, there are some airsoft guns that cannot go beyond 500 FPS whereas some higher-quality can go as high as 550 FPS. 


We cannot give you an accurate price point but just to give you an idea, if you want to get a BB gun or airsoft gun, a good-quality piece would have a price of around $100.


What is your biggest takeaway from our BB gun vs airsoft gun comparison post? We’d love to hear what you think in the comment section. If you found this post helpful, don’t forget to share it on social media so that other peeps can find value in it as well. 


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