20 Best BB Guns in 2024: (BB Pistols to Full Auto BB Rifles)

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Best BB Guns Review

In our 2024 roundup, we explore the best BB guns, ranging from beginner models for kids to advanced ones for adults. We delve into various types, including multi-pump rifles, CO2 powered pistols, and full-auto models, assessing their power, accuracy, and value. This guide is designed to help you find the perfect BB gun for leisure, training, or pest control.

Today, we’re going to discuss the most tried and true tin can slayer of all time, the BB gun.

BB guns used to be thought of as weak toys used for nothing more than teaching kids the fundamentals of marksmanship and firearm safety, but nowadays there are some very fun and powerful BB guns that when fired will put a smile on just about anyone’s face.

From multi-pump BB rifles to BB pistols to even full-auto BB guns, there are some seriously impressive products on this list!

After looking through this list, you might want to take a look at my review on the coolest BB gun targets for plinking. We also have reviews on pellet guns and pellet pistols you might be interested in.

This review will begin with good starter BB guns for kids, but if you’re looking for something a little more powerful, you can use to table of contents below to navigate straight to the variable pump, C02 powered, or full auto section of the review.

Quick Summary: Our Top Picks For BB Guns in 2024
Crosman DSBR
  • Comfortable rail system and an adjustable foregrip
  • Speedloader included
  • Full muzzle break
Gamo Silent BB Gun
  • Estimated Velocity: 1200 feet per second with PBA pellets; 1000 fps with standard pellets.
  • Most powerful BB Gun that is single pump
  • Quiet and powerful at the same time
Sig Sauer MPX with Red Dot Sight
  • 30 round magazines
  • Includes red dot sight
  • Picatinny rail for optics and accessories
Umarex Steel Strike
  • Realistic design & feel
  • High-capacity magazine
  • Semi/full auto modes
Gamo P-25 Blowback
  • Realistic blowback action.
  • Compact and portable design
  • Adjustable rear sight

Here Are the Best BB Guns (Level Action to Full Auto)


20. Daisy Red Ryder (Best Starter BB Gun)

Daisy 1107803 Red Ryder Shooting Fun Starter Kit 35.4" Length, 994938-403

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My Review: This certainly isn’t the coolest or most powerful BB Gun on this list, but it’s a great place to start for kids. 

My first BB gun was a Red Ryder just like this one. I loved it, but after a couple of years, I upgraded to a variable-pump BB gun that was a little more powerful. 

This classic model is a lot of fun and actually shoots pretty far considering how basic the level action cocking mechanism is. It fires standard .177-caliber BBs and is spring-powered, meaning that velocity and max range will be limited by the amount of force generated by the spring propulsion mechanism (I described how that works at the bottom of the page if you’re interested). 

This starter set comes with iron sights, so it’s easy to aim and accurate right of the box.

This particular model includes both a supply of ammo and targets you can practice with. If you think the paper targets it comes with are boring you can use some soda cans, or if you really want to have some fun check out my page of air rifle targets.

If you want to see this classic Red Ryder shoot skip to around 0:35 in the video below.


  • Well-established model and brand.
  • Known for being super accurate despite being a spring-powered gun.
  • It comes with a target.
  • Includes ammunition (.177 BBs).
  • Estimated Velocity: 350 feet per second
  • Powered by a spring / single pump


  • Limited range and velocity.
  • No way to attach a scope or other upgraded sight.
  • The lever is cheaply made
  • Has a tendency to shoot multiple rounds if shots are taken too fast.


19. Daisy Model 25

Daisy Outdoor Products 25 Pump Gun (Brown/Black, 36.5 Inch)

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My Review: This is another classic single-pump offering from Daisy that was first introduced over 100 years ago in 1914. It has been discontinued several times and reintroduced, and it has also undergone revisions and small modifications along the way. 

It has since become a go-to introductory single-pump BB gun for youth or new shooters as well as a tried and true gun in terms of reliability. It shoots BB balls only and comes with adjustable iron/open rear sights that can be set for wind direction and speed to increase accuracy.

Like all single-pump weapons, this gun does not have a super high velocity and a limited max range due to the limitation of how much pressure can be built up with a single pump, versus multiple pump guns in which the velocity and range can be controlled and customized depending on the task at hand by either pumping more or less, up to the maximum pressure specified. However, this single-pump BB rifle is perfect for target practice and is super easy to use.


  • Estimated Velocity of 350 feet per second
  • Estimated Max Range of 195 yards
  • Includes adjustable rear sigh
  • An excellent value
  • Easy to use
  • Powered by a single pump


  • Velocity and range limited by single-pump air compression capabilities
  • Single shot, which is perfect for kids and beginners but limits the rate of fire
  • Limited to the iron and open sights that come standard with the gun

Multi-Pump  / Pneumatic BB Guns (Most Powerful)


Crosman 2100 Classic Single-Shot Bolt Action Variable Pump .177-Caliber Pellet And BB Air Rifle 2100X With 4 x 15mm Scope, Brown/Black

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My Review: This is a BB gun that I personally own and I still love using it. It’s a classic single-shot variable pump rifle that is one of the most powerful, yet most affordable BB guns reviewed on this page.

It comes standard with iron sights and a detachable 4×15 scope. This is nice because if the scope breaks or you want to practice using iron sights it’s easy to switch between the two.

Above the trigger area, there is a covered hole where you can store tons of BBs, so when you cock the bolt back a BB automatically loads. This makes it nice for walking around and plinking with because you won’t have to worry about continually adding BBs or carrying extra ammo.

The only thing I can think of that people might not like about it is the plastic materials used for construction, but I mean come on it’s a BB gun, not a collectible. Although it’s made of plastic, it’s not fragile, flimsy, or easily breakable like low-quality or cheap BB guns.

At a price point of under 75 dollars, this rifle is packed full of features, including the iron sights and detachable scope, which makes this the best BB gun for the money and the one I recommend for most people looking for a traditional style BB gun.

Here is a video of the Crossman 2100x Classic in action. Skip to around 3:45 if you just want to see it shoot!


  • Can shoot BBs and pellets (must single load pellets)
  • Multi-pump / pneumatic air powered
  • Estimated Velocity of Up to 800 feet per second
  • Comes with scope and fiber optic iron sights
  • High velocity and very powerful
  • Extremely affordable


  • Pumping can be hard for small kids after 5 pumps or so when trying to reach max power


17. Crosman 760 (Pink BB Gun for Girls)

Crosman 760 Pumpmaster, Pink Stock air rifle

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My Review: If you’re looking for a pink BB gun for girls, this classic rifle is much like the one I recommend above in brown. It is made by the reputable Crosman company and is a great BB gun for kids and teens.

In the rear of the gun above the trigger area is a compartment that holds a ton of BBs, so you won’t have to worry about carrying around ammunition. All you need to do is cock the rifle, pump the gun and it’s ready to fire. You can adjust the power of the rifle by adjusting the number of pumps (more pumps = more power).


  • Max velocity of 645 FPS
  • Shoots BBs or pellets
  • Pink BB gun makes an awesome gift idea for girls
  • Adjustable iron sights
  • Reliable


  • Not particularly powerful
  • Not as accurate as more specialized BB guns
  • Single-shot


16. Daisy Powerline 880 Air Rifle Kit (Best Seller)

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My Review: This is another BB gun that I had to add to the list. I’m pretty sure this is the exact rifle a friend of mine had when I was a kid, and I can tell you I loved it, but the critters, not so much. It’s a hybrid BB/pellet gun, meaning you can shoot either BBs or Pellets. 

It’s a single-shot, pneumatic multi-pump BB rifle, which means you have to cock the gun (feed the round) and pump it between each shot. like the guns above there is a storage area near the trigger to store up to 50 BBs, so you won’t have to worry about always carrying ammunition with you. It has a respectable velocity of 750/715 feet per second for BBs and pellets, respectively. Its most attractive feature has to be the bundled items that are included, at under 75 dollars this rifle is a steal!

The bundle includes free safety glasses, a 750-count carton of BBs, a 500-count box of pellets, iron sights, and a detachable scope that can be removed/replaced with an aftermarket scope if you so desire. This rifle is strong enough to hunt small game and pests with.

If you want to see the Powerline shoot skip to 1:49 in the video below.


  • Estimated Velocity of 750 fps with BBs or 715 fps with pellets
  • Includes scope, BBs, pellets, and safety glasses 
  • Powerful velocity
  • Holds up to 50 BBs
  • The scope can be upgraded and replaced
  • Multi-pump / pneumatic air powered


  • Many users report problems with scope calibration and quality
  • Woodgrain plastic is very fragile and cheaply made


15. Gamo Raptor Whisper Air Rifle

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My Review: With a sleek design and advanced features, the Gamo Raptor Whisper Air Rifle caters to both seasoned shooters and beginners looking to step up their air gun game. Perhaps the most notable feature of this air rifle is its whisper-quiet technology, which significantly reduces the amount of noise produced from firing. That makes it great for backyard shooting, areas with noise restrictions, and shooters who just prefer a quieter shooting experience.

Another standout quality is the impressive power output. This air rifle is capable of firing alloy pellets at velocities up to 1300 fps. That’s more than enough power to be very effective for target shooting or pest control. In addition, the included 4×32 scope helps shooters deliver the accuracy needed for those purposes.

Finally, this air rifle boasts a lightweight, ergonomic design. It’s comfortable enough for long shooting sessions and maneuverable enough for hunting.


  • Whisper-Quiet technology
  • Impressive velocity
  • User-friendly design
  • Included 4×32 scope
  • Versatile design


  • The trigger isn’t as refined as some other options at this price point
  • The break-barrel design makes cocking relatively difficult, especially for shooters with weak hands
  • Relatively high recoil for an air rifle

BB Pistols


14. Daisy Powerline 340 (Cheap)

Daisy Powerline 426 Air Pistol

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My Review: This cheap little spring-powered BB pistol is the lowest-priced model. This gun is famous for being mass-produced and readily available at big box stores like Wal-Mart, making it one of the first air pistols that most youths end up with. Its velocity is only 240 feet per second, making it the least powerful weapon that we have reviewed. 

While you won’t be killing any game with this, it is very useful for target practice and novice gun handling and safety training. The cheap price tag does have an upside, though; and that is the fact that you can easily spend the $8 to purchase this and see if it will accomplish your intended goals without hurting your wallet at all. If it does not meet your intent, you can easily put it away in a drawer and order a better BB pistol to solve your issue.


  • Estimated Velocity of up to 240 feet per second
  • Cheapest BB gun on the market
  • The large 200-BB capacity reservoir is larger than most
  • Looks realistic
  • Uses spring power


  • Non-blowback action
  • Limited power
  • Plastic construction isn’t as sturdy as other materials


13. Glock Gen 3 BB Pistol

Glock 19 Gen3 .177 Caliber BB Gun Air Pistol

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My Review: This BB pistol is a replica of one of the most popular handguns in the world, the Glock 19. It has the traditional Glock fixed U-shaped rear sight and white dot front sight. It has a weaver rail system located on the bottom of the barrel to attach a laser or flashlight. If you are a Glock fan or just looking for a reliable bb pistol, I really have no major complaints about this BB gun.

While I don’t use it for this reason because I prefer Sig pistols, some people actually buy this replica so they can dry fire it and use it as a practice gun for when they carry their Glock 19.


  • CO2 Powered
  • Fixed sights
  • A velocity of 410 FPS
  • Integrated front Weaver Rail
  • 15-round magazine capacity
  • Great for training


  • Non-blowback design
  • Trigger feel isn’t accurate to a real Glock
  • Not as CO2 efficient as we’d like to see


12. Sig Sauer We the People BB Pistol

Sig Sauer We The People 1911 CO2 BB Pistol, 16 round, Distressed

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My Review: It’s made by SIG Sauer. Do I really need to say more? They’re one of the most legendary companies out there and are trusted by police and military personnel all over the world. On top of that, this particular BB pistol is a replica of one of the most famous handgun models in the world, the 1911. If you’re a patriotic American, you’ll probably also love this model because it has “we the people” engraved on the side and 1776 (the year America was founded).


  • Velocity of up to 340 fps
  • Full metal blowback side
  • Distressed finish
  • Skeletonized trigger
  • Can be field stripped


  • Non-blowback design
  • Bold appearance may not fit all tastes
  • Fixed sights aren’t the greatest


11. Beretta 92A1 Full Auto BB Pistol

Beretta M92 A1 .177 Steel BB Airgun, Blowback (Bundle)

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My Review: Beretta is another company that is trusted by civilians, law enforcement officers, and military personnel around the world. This particular model is unique because it’s one of the few reliable full-auto BB pistols on the market right now. It takes 12-gram CO2 tanks that go inside the handle.


  • A velocity of 330 feet per second
  • Semi or full auto
  • Looks and feels real
  • Awesome replica
  • Comes with two magazines, 1500 BBs, and 12 CO2 Cartridges


  • More costly than a lot of other BB pistols
  • Non-blowback design
  • Not as CO2 efficient as we’d like, especially when in full-auto mode


10. Umarex Brodax BB Revolver

Umarex 2252109 Brodax Air Pistol .177 BB

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My Review: This is another one of my favorite products on this list; I love that this BB revolver looks and feels so real. It fires at a velocity of 375 feet per second, which is about average for a CO2 pistol of this type and in this price range. It has a realistic revolver action, and the frame is made out of a special hardened polymer (plastic). 

Purchasers of this gun tend to be surprised by the performance, as they indicate better performance than the manufacturer specifies, which means that this is a pretty good pistol to have around versus a model that advertises a higher power velocity than what their product manual specifies. This gives Umarex a great reputation for this rather hefty, very affordable pistol.


  • More powerful than advertised
  • Realistic-looking revolver BB gun
  • Easy to use and smooth firing.
  • Estimated max velocity of 375 feet per second
  • Runs Off CO2


  • Plastic frame, although the polymer is very hard
  • BBs sometimes roll out of the barrel when they aren’t supposed to
  • Possible design flaw can result in CO2 leakage (add a little bit of Crosman Pellgun oil to the top of the cartridge if this becomes a problem)


9. Crosman P1377 American Classic

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My Review: The Crosman P1377 American Classic is a straightforward air pistol with a design inspired by traditional pellet guns. With stellar accuracy and reliability, this single-shot, bolt-action air pistol is an excellent option for target shooting and plinking. 

One of my favorite features is the adjustable power. This allows you to fine-tune the pistol’s velocity and power to match your particular shooting needs, making the American Classic exceptionally versatile. 


  • Adjustable power
  • Excellent accuracy
  • Simple, traditional design
  • Bolt-action loading mechanism
  • Easy to maintain


  • Single shot design
  • Non-blowback action
  • Basic open sights


8. Crosman Vigilante 357 BB Revolver Pistol (CO2 Powered)

Crosman Vigilante 357 Co2 Air Pistol Kit with Holster and 3-Pack of Magazines

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My Review: This semi-automatic, revolver bb pistol is very realistic looking. It comes with a free holster, which is a nice addition. Its maximum velocity is 435 feet per second, which is pretty standard for a pistol of this type. 

It includes extra rotary magazines, so you won’t run out of ammunition or have to reload each slot after firing. The grip is ergonomically designed, and it is very comfortable in your hand. Furthermore, the barrel is rifled, which increases the accuracy of pellets fired versus the smoothbore counterparts.


  • Rifled barrel and can shoot pellets
  • A holster is included for no extra charge
  • Uses 10-shot revolver-style “clips” for ammunition storage, extras are included
  • Single and double action
  • Comfortable, ergonomic pistol grip


  • The double-action does not always work as designed
  • Some parts are made of low-quality plastic
  • Shooting BBs instead of pellets wears the barrel rifling

Semi-Auto & Full Auto BB Guns (CO2 Powered)


7. Umarex Legends MP40 Submachine Gun Replica Air Gun

Umarex Legends MP40 GEN-3 CO2 Full Metal Semi/Full Auto Submachine .177 Airgun - Buy from A Real Manufacturers Authorized Dealer Since 1999

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My Review: This MP40 BB gun replica by the Legend company looks awesome and just like the one that was used by the Germans in world war 2. The 0.177 caliber gun can shoot BBs or pellets, be sure to read the note above if you plan to use BBs. It has a velocity of 450 feet per second and is powered by small Co2 cartridges.

Along with looking totally badass, it’s also functional and shoots true. It has a full metal-polymer grip that looks and feels realistic. Whether you’re buying this for yourself as a cool collectors’ piece or for a kid or teen as a gift, this is a steal at under 200 dollars.


  • Removable clip
  • Looks like an MP40
  • Semi or full-auto BB gun


  • Accepts Pellets and Steel and Zinc BBs only (no copper)


6. Umarex Legends M712

Umarex Legends M712 Blowback Automatic .177 Caliber BB Gun Air Pistol

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My Review: The Legends M712 is a small and compact World War 1 replica BB gun that shoots full auto, all for under $100.

This certainly isn’t the most functional or most powerful BB gun on this list, but for those of you who are just looking for a cool BB to add to your collection, this thing is awesome! If you want a fun gun to display and shoot on full auto with your buddies this is great, but if you’re looking for your first BB gun to actually hit targets with at long ranges, this isn’t the BB rifle for you.

Bottom line: It’s an awesome full metal German replica BB Gun that looks and feels realistic, but isn’t very accurate.


  • Runs off of 12-gram CO2 cartridges
  • Max speed of around 350 FPS
  • Full auto blowback action
  • Fixed front sight and an adjustable rear sight for elevation


  • Not as CO2 efficient as we’d like, especially in full auto
  • Limited effective range
  • Limited accuracy


5. Gamo P-25 Blowback

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My Review: If you’re looking to capture the feel of a tactical firearm in a BB pistol, the Gamo P-25 Blowback is for you. This semi-automatic BB gun features a realistic blowback action, providing a realistic, engaging shooting experience in a compact package.

That blowback action means that the slide moves back and forth with every shot, just like on a real firearm. To further enhance the realism, the P-25 Blowback has a tactical appearance, including a textured grip and Picatinny accessory rail. 


  • Blowback action
  • Tactical design
  • Semi-automatic firing
  • Efficient CO2 consumption
  • Accessory rail for adding lights, sights, and more


  • Limited effective range
  • Not as accurate as some other pistols in its class


4. Umarex Steel Strike

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My Review: The Umarex Steel Strike is another great option for shooters looking for an authentic tactical feel. This BB gun offers both full-auto and semi-auto firing modes, making it ideal for various shooting activities.

The Steel Strike has an ultra-realistic appearance, complete with a quad rail and an adjustable stock. You can easily customize your shooting setup by adding sights, scopes, grips, and more. As is, the Steel Strike is very ergonomic and comfortable to shoot, even over extended shooting sessions. 


  • Realistic appearance
  • Full and semi-auto modes
  • Easy to add accessories with the quad rail
  • Very CO2 efficient
  • Ergonomic design


  • A bit pricier than other similar BB guns
  • Full-auto accuracy isn’t great at extended ranges


3. Sig Sauer MPX with Red Dot Sight

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My Review: This semi-automatic rifle is .177 (standard caliber for BB guns) but is designed to shoot pellets. I think it’s awesome and made by one of my favorite companies, Sig Sauer, so I added it to the list!

If you’re looking for a modern-looking badass pellet gun, look no further than the Sig Sauer MPX air rifle with red dot scope. They also sell this rifle without the red dot sight and another model called the Sig Sauer MCX here if you want to check it out.

I’m a former Marine and got to play with all kinds of military weapons and rockers, and I still think this thing is badass. It has a rifled barrel that spins the round to increase the range like a real rifle barrel. If you’re a Sig fan, this may be for you!


  • 30 round magazines
  • Includes red dot sight
  • Picatinny rail for optics and accessories
  • Velocity of around 400 feet per second
  • Runs off 90-gram CO2 cartridges


  • High CO2 consumption
  • Included red dot isn’t the best quality


2. Gamo Whisper Silent Cat

Gamo Whisper Silent Cat Air Rifle

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My Review: This is a .177 caliber rifle, so technically, it can shoot BBs, but it is highly recommended that you fire standard pellets or Performance Ballistic Alloy (PBA) Pellets. They will be much more accurate than BBs.

I included this in the list because it has a simple cocking mechanism, much like most BB guns, but is significantly more powerful.

If you want to see it shoot skip to about 1:00 in the video below.

It has a unique barrel break design for loading and cocking the spring. It includes a sound dampener that can reduce noise by up to 52%, which makes this the worst enemy of those annoying little pests around the house. It comes standard with a 4×32 scope sight, which makes it a lot of fun and accurate. 

Though it is a single-pump rifle, it is surprisingly powerful, with the ability to shoot at a rate of 1200 feet per second with PBA pellets and around 1000 feet per second with standard pellets. It comes with an adjustable smooth action trigger (Gamo made this improvement after getting many complaints about the previous trigger quality).


  • Estimated Velocity: 1200 feet per second with PBA pellets; 1000 fps with standard pellets.
  • Most powerful BB Gun that is single pump
  • Rifled barrel
  • Quiet and powerful at the same time
  • Includes a scope
  • Improved smooth action trigger


  • At around $150, it can be a little out of most buyers’ price range
  • The cocking mechanism can be difficult for small kids
  • Works better with pellets than BBs


1. Crosman DSBR (My Favorite On This List)

DPMS Full Auto SBR CO2-Powered BB Air Gun with Dual Action Capability DSBR, Black.

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My Review: This thing is an absolute nightmare for small varmints and tin cans everywhere. It’s an accurate, powerful BB gun with a fire rate of just under 25 BBs per second.

The Crossman DPMS is one of the newer BB guns on this list and nothing but pure joy to shoot. It’s selector switch allows the user to switch between safe, semi-automatic, and fully automatic easily.

This thing looks real, feels real, and breaks apart into upper and lower components (good in case of jams and barrel obstructions) much like a real m4 or AR-style rifle. It has a realistic charging handle and bolt system that gives the gun a small amount of recoil. It has front and rear flip-up sights, but only the rear sight has windage adjustment capabilities.

Like many of the other high-end BB guns on this list, it has rail space for custom attachments like flashlights, red dot sights, etc.

I could go on and on about the Crosman DPMS, but I think the video below does a great job covering loading the magazine, how to use the speed loader, and some more awesome features of this BB rifle.

If you do decide to buy this rifle or give it as a gift, you may also want to pick up some 12 gram CO2 cartridges and Copperhead BBs.


  • Comfortable rail system and an adjustable foregrip
  • Speedloader included
  • Full muzzle break
  • Comfortable rail system and an adjustable foregrip
  • 25-round magazine capacity
  • Adjustable Stock Flip-up sights


  • Quickly consumes CO2 in full auto
  • Higher price point
  • Louder than a lot of other air guns, especially in full-auto mode


BB Gun Buying Guide

What is a BB Gun? (Introduction)

Crosman 760 Pumpmaster BB Gun
Crosman 760 Pumpmaster

A lot of people think that the “BB” in BB gun stands for “ball bearing”, but that’s not accurate. They actually get their name from the size projectile the original guns fired (BB-sized lead shotgun shot pellets).

BB guns are a type of air-powered gun that fires small metal balls or pellets without the use of gunpowder or any sort of combustion.

They come in all shapes and sizes, from toy replicas of historical pistols to very powerful modern looking air rifles that can be used to hunt small game. While technically BB guns are strong enough for some types of hunting, they’re more commonly just used for plinking, target practice, and having a good time.

They primarily fire “BB” projectiles, which are small balls (usually made of steel) that look just like the shot pellets you would find in shotgun shells (approximately 4.5 mm in diameter).

In addition to BBs, some guns can fire pellets, which are non-spherical projectiles that are typically more accurate and do more damage than BBs. They also are generally more accurate and have more stopping power due to their shape and design, which is why pellets are usually preferred over BBs for shooting long ranges and/or hunting, but both work.

5 Considerations and Tips to Find the Best BB Gun Possible.

When you decide to enter the BB gun market, there are quite a few things to consider, especially due to the fact that there are so many different types and models. You should have a clear idea of what you are looking to get out of it. For example, if you just you’re just looking to buy one as a gift for a kid, a single pump BB will work great. But, if you’re looking for a fun gun to use yourself and want something a little more powerful, you really should consider one of the other types.

Types of BB Guns

Spring Powered / Single Pump: These are the simplest type of BB guns. Many of the cheaper rifles and BB pistols are spring-powered, and this just means that a tightly-compressed spring mechanism is responsible for the propulsion of the BB. They can be very powerful, but cheaply-constructed spring firing mechanisms can be pretty terrible in terms of velocity and max range and they have a tendency to jam the spring if not handled with care.

Here’s how they work: When you cock or “pump” the lever (depending on the design) it pushes back a small piston that compresses the spring. When the piston slides back to a certain point it catches on a small latch (called a sear), which holds the spring in a compressed position. When the trigger is pulled, it pushes on the sear and unlatches the piston, causing the spring to expand very quickly, which pushes the piston forward. The compressed air in the chamber then propels the BB or pellet forward, resulting in a fairly powerful gun.

They are limited by the amount of air pressure the spring mechanism can generate from a single pump/compression.

Due to the fact that they are generally weaker, they are the best BB gun type to give kids who are still learning proper weapon safety. They can have a good time without the dangers associated with higher-power air or combustion rifles.

Multi-Pump (Pneumatic): Unlike single-pump BB guns, multi-pump BB guns get stronger with each pump, which means they usually have higher max ranges and velocities than single pump/spring guns.

Here’s how they work: Each time you pump the gun a small piston moves inside a tube, there is a one-way valve that lets air in but not back out, which means with each pump the pressure inside the chamber increases. That’s why it gets so harder and harder to pump with each sequential pump. When you pull the trigger, it allows the air to release from the chamber, which propels the BB or pellet forward. I remember as a kid my brothers and I would always try to get the max number of pumps in, but we were too weak at the time so we would have to do it together. When we got our first multi-pump BB gun it was bad news for the birds around the house.

Multi-pump guns can sometimes match or even exceed the stopping power and velocity of even a CO2-powered gun. These are also called “variable pump” guns because the user can determine the velocity of the shot by pumping either more or less each time, depending on the target and intended use.

This gives the user a very high degree of control over the power and accuracy of their shot with the ability to change these characteristics to meet their shooting needs.

Co2 Powered: Co2 powered BB guns use separate charges of compressed carbon dioxide (CO2) as the propulsion mechanism. The CO2 cartridges resemble the CO2 cartridges used for charging whipped cream cans under pressure but are, in general, slightly larger.

They utilize CO2 the same way that fountain drink machines utilize the gas in order to build pressure and force the projectile through the barrel.

Good CO2 air rifles can rival the power of multi-pump BB guns, but in general, tend to be weaker, and the potential velocity of the projectile decreases significantly as the cartridge gets low.

The main drawback to a CO2 powered BB gun is the cost of the replacement cartridges, contrasted with pump-action guns in which the propellant is air in the environment, of which there is an unlimited supply. This makes the cost of ownership of a CO2 air gun much higher than that of a single-pump or variable-pump unit.

However, if you are looking to go with a semi-automatic or fully-automatic BB gun, the CO2-powered type is the only way to go.

Understanding Rates of Fire

As with traditional firearms, BB guns are designed with varying rates of fire. The different firing rates are expressed as either single shot, semi-automatic, and fully-automatic guns.

Single Shot: This means that, with each pull of the trigger, exactly one round exits the chamber. Sometimes, with lower quality spring-loaded pistols, two BB may fire simultaneously, but this is a design flaw, a symptom of cheap manufacturing standards, instead of an intentional rate of fire.

Semi-Auto: Semi-automatic firing implies that you do not have to cock the gun between firing each round.

It’s “semi-automatic” because like a fully automatic gun you do not have to operate the bolt or cock the gun in order to fire your next round, but unlike full auto, you still need to pull the trigger each time you want to fire. You can continue firing the gun until the magazine whatever is holding the rounds is empty, then you can just replace/refill the magazine afterward and go back at it.

Most semi-automatic rate of fire BB guns is powered by CO2. It is the most common rate of fire for quick-firing weapons. This is mostly because the US government banned ownership or possession of a fully automatic machine gun back in the 1980s. This ban does not apply to BB guns or pellet guns, but it definitely had an impact on the types of guns produced afterward, with a preference for semi-automatic.

Full-Auto: Fully automatic fire simply means that you can squeeze the trigger one time and hold it down and the gun will continue to fire until the trigger is released, or it runs out of ammo. Fully automatic firearms built after the mid-1980s are specified by the federal government as “machine guns”, but with small lower caliber BB guns you don’t need to worry about it.

Understand Velocity / Max Range:

Velocity just means the speed of something in a certain direction. There are more technical definitions, but that’s the gist of it.

Max velocity, when talking about BB guns, refers to the top speed the BB or pellet can theoretically reach as it travels through the air. This matters because a high max velocity usually correlates with a high max range (how far the gun can shoot). Most guns will come will have the max range and specifications printed on the box or in the user manual.

Types of Sights

“Sights” are mechanisms used for lining up your intended target with the trajectory of the bullet. Using a sight, whether it a lower-quality iron sight on a cheap gun or the best scope in existence, is the fastest and easiest way to increase the effectiveness of the gun. If you’re buying a BB gun for a child, be sure you teach them how to properly use whatever type of sight it comes with.

  • Iron sights are the most basic and easy type of sight to use. They’re not typically as accurate as scopes, but they’re cheap to make, so most BB guns come equipped with some form of iron sight, whether it is a rear-mounted, front-mounted, or a combination of the two. They are by far the most common form of sight on BB pistols. Some rifles may include both iron sights and a scope.
  • Scopes are mounted to the top of the rifle or pistol. You look through them much in the same way you would a monocular. Most offer some degree of magnification, which enlarges the target for the shooter. Usually, scopes are very accurate, as most also contain crosshairs that give you a visual indication of where the projectile will land, but you still have to take wind speed and direction into account before firing. When using a scope, the target will look like it is moving around more than it would through iron sights. This is because the target is magnified, and the shooter’s natural movements or “shakiness” are also magnified.
  • Red dot sights are usually non-magnifying sights that use a red LED in the lens to mark the aim-point. They don’t usually come with BB guns but can be purchased and attached to some types. The main advantage of red dot sights is they allow for faster target acquisition. They are more for quick shots than they are for long-range accurate shooting.

Just like everything else, the best sight to use is going to depend on personal preference and training level. It’s also important that the scope is properly adjusted or “zeroed” so that the bullet hits where you’re actually aiming. Usually, BB guns come sighted in out of the box, but if you bang them around a lot or mess with the sights that can throw off pretty bad.

Different caliber / Round Types

BBs, as mentioned above, are 0.177 caliber projectiles similar in size to bird-shot pellets found inside of shotgun shells. They can be fired out of guns with either smooth bore or rifled barrels, but repeated use of BBs instead of pellets in a rifled barrel can lead to faster wear of the rifling, leading to early failure and reduced life of the barrel.

a Pellet is another type of projectile that is more aerodynamic than a BB, which is why they typically have a higher max range and velocity They come in different sizes, just like bullets, ranging from .177-caliber (standard BB size) to .22-caliber, and even .25 caliber. Some of the more-advanced air rifle systems can actually have almost as much stopping power as their combustion-based counterparts.

Ok, enough about the technical details. let’s dive into the list of the best BB guns on the market today.


What is the best age to start training my child to use a BB gun?

There is no age that acts as a magic number for which it is appropriate for a child to begin using a BB gun. Generally speaking, when your child can demonstrate that he or she has, at the very least, a working understanding of the need to be wise and safe when using any weapon, and understands the consequences of improper use then you can think about buying them a BB gun. They need to understand that these guns are not toys, but rather are tools designed to accomplish a specific task. The best option for your child’s first BB gun is a single-shot, spring-powered or single-pump action rifle with a limited range and velocity. Either of the first two guns we reviewed meet these characteristics, but the Red Ryder is probably the best BB gun for kids.

Will BB guns take out your eye?

The short answer is yes, but it is very very unlikely if proper safety precautions are followed. As a general rule of thumb, you should never point a weapon at anything you do not intend to shoot (that’s a weapon safety rule in the Marines). So, as long as they never point the gun at someone or fire at something too hard that could cause the BB to ricochet (safety glasses will protect against this), you won’t need to worry.

Even low-powered spring-loaded pistols carry the possibility of serious injury and even penetration of the skin; and fired point-blank or at a very close range, even these lower velocity guns will puncture several layers of the skin. Emergency rooms all over the nation treat these types of injuries every single day. Some of the highest-powered compressed air rifles are actually powerful enough to create a through-and-through wound with both entry and exit wounds, although the probability of an exit wound is less likely, with a more likely outcome being that the BB or pellet could become embedded in the skin, requiring surgical removal.

Thus, it is entirely possible to not only take out your eye but to cause even more serious injuries, up to and including death if a vital organ is punctured, if proper care and safety precautions are taken. BB Guns are not toys, they are tools for accomplishing a task, and as such, should not be treated as toys, even BB guns. With that said, with proper training and handling, shooting a BB gun for sport or just for fun can be a very enjoyable experience that will provide one with a certain level of gun-handling experience.

Can convicted felons who have lost the right to possess firearms own a BB gun?

This is a loaded question because state laws vary from state to state as does the legal definition of a firearm. In the state of Florida, for example, an air gun is not considered to be a firearm, but rather, an “imitation firearm.” However, in New Jersey, any gun that fires a projectile, including BB guns, is defined as firearms under the law, and as such, a convicted felon is prohibited from owning one. Other states, like New York, require a permit to be issued prior to the purchase of any BB gun by any person, whether they have been previously convicted of anything or not.

However, if you have lost the right to bear arms due to a conviction, and you brandish a realistic-looking BB gun in public, you can almost guarantee that you will be arrested and possibly even charged with a crime that carries a lengthy prison sentence. The law can be interpreted in many different ways, even in the same courthouse by two different judges – and if the decision is wrong, it won’t be corrected unless the person takes it to an appeals court.

The best advice here is, if you are unsure of the laws in your state, contact a criminal defense attorney before you buy any gun, be it a real firearm, an imitation firearm, or a BB gun. Gun laws are notoriously ambiguous at the federal level as well, and as such, the best advice is to contact a local criminal defense attorney to clarify whether or your state allows possession of a BB gun if you have been convicted of a felony. It is a simple, free, 2-minute phone call that could potentially save you 5 years in prison.

What can you do and shoot with a BB gun?

Many things, ranging from target practice using either professional or ready-made targets that you can purchase from any sporting goods store or simply lining up objects like cans or bottles to improve the accuracy of your shot.

Alternatively, you can go live quarry shooting, which basically means that you enter a property known to be populated with annoying or crop-damaging animals in order to hunt them and/or rid the property of them. However, it is super important to obtain the express consent and permission of the property owner before you enter any property, much less enter a property with a gun or any type in your possession ready to open fire. Failure to get permission is not only illegal but if the property owner sees you lurking around on his property with a gun in hand, then he/she could take your life and would be completely within his or her rights under the law in doing so.

In an emergency situation, such as if your home is being burglarized, and you do not have any other self-defense weapons, a BB gun may end up saving your life. In some scenarios, it is actually preferable to use a BB gun to stop a criminal act, as the criminal will likely underestimate the power of the shot. The other plus side is that you will not have to live with the emotional consequences that come from taking a life (even if you are justified in doing so) that you may have to deal with if you open fire on an intruder, say, with a 12-gauge shotgun or a large-caliber handgun. This means that you will be able to inflict some damage on the intruder, and possible even detain him alive until the police arrived, catch him in the act of being in your home illegally, and charge him with a felony without the need for you to make a trip to the district attorney to make a separate complaint. Plus, with the intruder still being alive, he can be held accountable by the court for violating your home. Now, BB guns are definitely not designed to be self-defense weapons, but in a pinch, it may just save your life.

Are BB guns legal for children to buy?  This depends on the state in which you are residing. In some states, there may not be any legal restriction whatsoever, and in some, such as California, it is a misdemeanor criminal offense to sell a BB gun to a minor. Federal law does not place that many restrictions.

Are BB guns powerful?

A BB gun can shoot up to 550 ft/second but is considerably less powerful than a pellet gun.

It is not lethal in ranges up to 500 yards but can be lethal when sensitive parts like eyes are hit in short distances.

What is the point of a BB gun?

BB guns are mainly used for training, practice, and gaming purposes. Some BB guns are even used to hunt and for pest control.

It is a good alternative to real guns for training, practice & small games.

Can you use 177 pellets in a BB gun?

No. You can’t use pellets in a BB gun. .177 pellets are for pellet guns and putting them in a BB gun can wreck the BB.

It may shoot the pellets but it’s not advisable to do it.

What is More Powerful: BB Gun or Airsoft?

BB guns are more powerful in the sense that they shoot metal projectiles while an Airsoft gun will shoot plastic pellets.

BBs are more accurate because of metal pellets than Airsofts. Check out some of the best Airsoft gun for beginners, if you are looking to buy an Airsoft gun.


Wikipedia: Pellet and BB Guns

Encyclopedia Britannica: Air Powered Rifles

Final Thoughts

Who would have thought there was so much to know about a simple BB gun? Not me, well at least not until I started writing this page. As I’ve said before the best BB gun depends upon what it’s being used for and who is using it. For a youngster learning firearm safety, a single pump gun is best. For an adult or gun enthusiast replicas or even a full auto BB gun is a ton of fun.

Let me know if you have any questions, comments, or if you found this review helpful. It’s always good to hear from you guys. Let me know of any really cool BB guns you think should be added to the list. Make sure you check out my page on air rifle targets as well. If you’re buying one of these as a gift it is a great addition.

Until next time.

Semper Fi,

Corporal Wabo