Can BB Guns Be Used in Airsoft?

Your son approaches you, his friends are going to have an airsoft battle, but he only has a BB gun. Can he use the BB gun in an airsoft battle?

BB guns are too powerful the be used as an airsoft gun. Airsoft guns are designed to be safely shot at other people, where BB guns are not. This makes BB guns better able to pierce skin and cause serious injury if not used responsibly.

Let me tell you, this is a bad idea. If you want to learn why this is a bad idea, read on.

Why Can’t BB Guns be Used as Airsoft Guns?

The reason that BB guns cannot safely be used as airsoft guns comes down to the energy that the BB is able to carry as it flies, and how it distributes that energy when it hits its target.

BB guns are able to cut through skin at close ranges. It only takes about one or two foot pounds of energy (the energy needed to raise one pound one foot) to pierce human skin.

Most people think in terms of feet per second when it comes to airsoft and BB guns, which is okay, but the speed of our guns is affected by the weight of the projectile and the energy our gun is able to put out.

Feet per second is a good benchmark to look at, but again, does not always tell us everything we may want to know, because a light plastic airsoft round traveling at 300 fps does not have the same energy as a metal BB traveling at the same speed.

We can think about it like this though: A metal BB traveling at 300 fps has just enough energy to pierce skin, while a plastic BB traveling at 300 fps has enough energy to leave a big welt. Most BB guns have enough energy to move a BB at well above 300 fps, making them much more dangerous than airsoft guns.

Your average airsoft gun will shoot with only one third of the energy needed to pierce skin. I was using a high estimate for that too. Most airsoft guns shoot between 200 and 300 fps, with the outliers being snipers, shooting at about 500 fps.

Now don’t misunderstand me, airsoft guns can leave a big fat welt if you shoot your best friend point blank, so be sure to wear padding and eye protection when mercilessly shooting each other.

Because the guys who make airsoft guns do not want their guns to be confused for real ones, they put bright orange tips on the end of their airsoft guns, so that everyone knows that it is not a real gun. BB guns do not have that safety feature.

BB guns are also much better at keeping their energy as they fly, which means that using these against your best friend at range is still a jerk move. The ammo used in a BB gun is usually steel, maybe copper, and sometimes lead. All of theses are much heavier than the lightweight plastic used by airsoft guns.

This thicker density and smaller surface area used in metal BB’s make them carry the energy they get from their gun better than airsoft BB’s do. They practically shed their energy from the moment they leave the barrel, making them even safer than BB guns.

Tanner Rydalch

Hey there, I'm Tanner. I grew up in Idaho, where there is plenty of space for shooting. I think Airguns can be a lot of fun and are a great introduction to firearms.

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