Airsoft VS BB Guns. What’s the difference?

Are you one of the many people who get confused about what the difference is between an airsoft vs BB guns? You aren’t the only one. At Airsoft Core we review airsoft guns and they are certainly not the same as their counterpart. Yes, there are similarities, but the distinctions make it pretty clear that the two are in different categories.

So what we’re going to do is provide you with answers as to what these differences are.  This should clear up any confusion you might have on the subject.

Airsoft VS BB Guns

Airsoft Gun Distinctions

Echo 1 AEG SMG Airsoft Rifle

  • BB guns aren’t used in any kind of recreational way typically, but airsoft guns are used solely for recreational activity. There are different varieties of airsoft games users can play.
  • The pellets that come with airsoft guns are not designed to cause any serious bodily harm. You can get shot with most of them at close range without having to worry about any serious damage to the skin.
  • Airsoft games are designed to be like games of war. It’s kind of like paintball, except instead of using paintball filled packets, pellets are used instead. Getting hit with a pellet from an airsoft gun doesn’t leave any kind of stain on a person’s cloths.
  • Airsoft is a game of skill, meaning that players have to be willing to put in the time in order to learn the game properly if the goal is to be good. There are different forms of play, but you can also use them in your backyard for fun.
  • Airsoft guns have an important distinction that makes it clear they aren’t real guns. This would be an orange tip. Federal law requires this when it comes to replica firearms. The orange tip can be taken off once someone purchases though, but this is going to depend on what the law is in a given locale.
  • Airsoft Bbs typically come in certain sizes such as 6mm and are created using hard plastic. The weight is usually about 0.2 grams. You can also find biodegradable Bb’s that aren’t going to be harmful to the environment.
  • The majority of airsoft guns used in competition can shoot about 300 to 500 feet per second (FPS). The accuracy is going to vary though depending on the quality of gun and the weight of the pellet used.
  • Even though the Bb’s from airsoft guns are safe to have hit a person, in order to ensure this users have to wear protective gear. These might include goggles and a facemask. In serious competitive play the skin should be covered up with protective gear as well.
  • Airsoft guns make use of three different forms of propellant. The spring version doesn’t make use of any consumables other than the Bbs. The spring version is manually cocked back, the electric version makes use of rechargeable batteries and the gas version makes use of some type of gas.

BB Gun Distinctions

Umarex Steelforce .177 M4 Full Auto BB Gun

  • BB guns are designed to shoot hard pellets and are a lot more powerful than a typical airsoft gun. Because of this they are able to cause serious bodily harm and shouldn’t really be used to fire at another person.
  • BB guns aren’t able to be used in competitive play like airsoft guns can, but they do come in use for people who want to shoot pests as well as small game.
  • BB guns generally don’t come with an orange tip, because they are designed to look as close to a real gun as possible.
  • BB guns have two primary forms of ammunition: Metal BB and metal pellets.
  • BB guns are able to fire off as powerful as 1250 FPS. This can be close to what a real firearm can do. The majority of BB guns shoot in the range of 275 FPS to 1000 FPS.
  • In order to use a BB gun users will or should apply the similar caution as what they would if using a real firearm, such as shoot glasses.
  • BB guns make use of two primary propellants, pneumatic pump or gas. Pneumatic pump doesn’t make use of any consumable, just the ammunition. The gas version makes use of prepackaged, compressed gas. The gas version makes it so that a person can shoot off fast.

Differences in terms of accuracy

  • BB guns and airsoft guns are made to be very accurate. Some people think that a airsoft guns aren’t as accurate as their BB gun counterpart, but this isn’t true. The thing is users need to make sure the airsoft gun they have is good quality and properly tuned.
  • BB guns tend to be less effected by the elements when shooting.
  • Airsoft guns have an advantage over BB guns due to the hop up system that enables the pellets to have backspin. This enables them to maintain a level trajectory, which is useful with long range shooting.

Differences in terms of shooting environment

  • BB guns and airsoft gun use projectiles of different weight and materials. Due to this it’s best to use them in distinct shooting situations.
  • BB guns are more likely to ricochet off of things when shooting with a lot more force than a plastic BB from an airsoft gun. So users need to be careful if using a BB gun near windows or any object that can be broken.

Differences in terms of cost

  • The cost of BB guns and airsoft guns are going to vary depending on the quality, brand and style.
  • BB guns can be more expensive when you get to the higher end models, but airsoft guns can also be pricey. This is usually based on brand though.

Airsoft VS BB? Clearly quite a difference.

As you can see there are differences between the two types of guns, but the key one is how much more damage a BB gun can do over an airsoft gun. That’s why at Airsoft Core we do what we can to educate users so they understand what they are getting into. Airsoft guns are much safer, but still will require the proper protective measures in competitive play.

The other main distinction we want you to take away is that airsoft guns are solely designed for competitive play, not BB guns. This is why you can find them in so many styles and they have the orange tip to distinguish them. BB guns are just too powerful for this, even on the low end. Hopefully you understand now about these two types of guns and won’t make the mistake of thinking they are the same thing.


It’s actually easy to make this mistake to because sometimes you might go on a site that uses the same terminology for BB guns as they do airsoft guns. Remember the distinctions and you’ll be okay. And if there ever is any confusion, assuming you don’t make your purchase from us, then don’t be afraid to ask questions.

BB guns can’t be used for competitive play, especially in actual leagues to which there are many. An actual airsoft gun is absolutely required in this case.

Your weaponry would likely be inspected before even being allowed to use it in competitive play. This is whether it’s within a league or outside of a league.

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

Leave a reply