14 Most Powerful Air Pistols in 2019 (Pellet and BB)

If you’re looking for the most powerful air pistol, look no further. I’ve put together a comprehensive review with a comparison chart so you can quickly compare max velocity, caliber, rate of fire, ammo capacity, and power mechanism. I’ve included spring-powered pistols, CO2 powered air pistols, and PCP air pistols.

This list includes mostly pellet pistols, but I’ll also include some BB pistols. In general, I prefer pellet pistols, but some there are some powerful and full-auto BB pistols are fun to shoot.

You may also want to check out my reviews on my favorite pellet pistols and air rifles.

Powerful Air Pistol Made by Crosman

Key Terms

Muzzle velocity: Is the speed of the pellet or BB as it leaves the barrel. With air pistols, it is almost always measured in feet per second (FPS).

Muzzle energy: is the amount of kinetic energy measured as the projectile leaves the barrel.

Kinetic energy: Kinetic energy of the bullet is the energy transferred to the target when it. This is what most people are thinking about when they think of power. To calculate kinetic energy, you take the mass of the projectile and multiply it by the velocity squared (K.E.=½ mv^2).

Stopping power: is the ability of a firearm or weapon to incapacitate a target. Stopping power is related to the physical properties of the bullet, the biology of the target, and shot location. Higher caliber rounds are typically associated with more stopping power, however other factors like velocity, projectile mass, and projectile shape all play a role in a round’s stopping power.

More on Stopping Power

Determining the stopping power of an air rifle isn’t quite as easy as you might think. Keep in mind that higher kinetic energy does not necessarily equate to stopping power, although it is a major factor. Other factors such as the diameter of the projectile, weight, and shape will affect how much damage the pellet or BB inflicts.

Many people new to airguns commonly mistake muzzle velocity with power. The problem is muzzle velocity doesn’t take any of the other important factors mentioned above.

.177 vs .22 Caliber, Which is Better?

Keep in mind that there are actually 4 main calibers, which are .177, .20 .22, and  .25)

There is an endless debate in the airgun community over which caliber is better. This debate is usually geared to the question – which caliber is better for hunting? The truth is that it really comes down to preference, as both calibers shine in different areas.

Fans of .22 caliber pellets will argue that .22 caliber rounds are almost twice the size and weight of .177 pellets, meaning that although .177 caliber rounds do typically travel at much higher velocities, .22 caliber rounds often still have more kinetic energy and stopping power.

.177 fanboys will argue that pellet weight isn’t really a factor if it’s traveling through the brain of varmint, arguing that a well-placed shot is more important than anything. .177 fans also argue that because of the diameter of a .22 caliber pellet, it will reach terminal velocity faster and lose velocity faster the further the distance gets. Meaning that at long ranges a .177 caliber may have more energy and stopping power. Another thing .177 caliber fans argue is that because the smaller .177 caliber pellets have a smaller surface area, they’re able to travel deepening into the tissue of a varmint, causing more damage to vital organs.

When is a Larger Pellet Always Better?

Because many consumers think max velocity is equal to power, manufactures have created super lightweight pellets (Performance Ballistic Alloy) that they use when they fire their pistols or rifles for testing. The problem is pellets aren’t really designed to exceed 950 fps (particularly .177 pellets). Firing lightweight .177 pellets at velocities over 950 feet per second will cause them to tumble and yaw in flight, causing them to slow down faster and also be far less accurate. Also, lighter pellets slow down faster and due to their weight have less kinetic energy than a heavier pellet traveling at the same velocity.

Air Pistol Reviews

Before we jump into the reviews I want to mention that there are a ton of air pistols on the market. I’ve done my best to find the most powerful ones, but there is no way I can possibly review them all. If you know of an air pistol that is more powerful than any of the others on this list, please let me know so I can add it onto the list!

Here Are the Best Air Pistols in 2019

1. Benjamin Marauder Pellet Pistol

Benjamin Marauder Pellet Pistol​

Caliber: .22
Velocity: 700 feet per second
Power source: Pre-charged Pneumatic

My review: The Benjamin Marauder rifle and air pistol are pretty much the gold standard in the airgun industry. Along with being one of the most powerful .22 air pistols on the market, it’s also one of the most accurate. On top of that, it also has some very impressive range for a pistol. It also has a detachable stock so you can use it as a carbine if you want.

The Marauder is one of the few air pistols that I would actually recommend for hunting small game and pest control. It has an 8-shot magazine, good two-stage trigger, and at 50 yards this air pistol can still take down small game and shoot 2-inch groups if you find the right pellets. At closer ranges, say around 20-25 yards, this thing shoots dime-sized groups.

When charged to around 2700 PSI, you can expect to get around 30 to 35 accurate and powerful shots. Being that the Marauder has a reliable bolt action 8-round magazine, good range, good accuracy, and is reliable, you can see why it’s one of the most popular and highest-rated air pistols ever made.

The only downside of the Marauder is that is more expensive than most of the other products on this list, but in my opinion, it is worth it.

It’s a PCP air pistol, so you’re going to need some way to fill the air reservoir. One of the cheapest ways to do it is with a high-pressure hand pump. You can actually find the Benjamin High-Pressure Hand Pump on Amazon here. You can find much cheaper hand pumps out there if you shop around, but that one is reliable and you can’t go wrong with it. If you already have a SCUBA setup or a high-pressure compressor that can that are designed for 3000 psi pressures and above you won’t need a hand pump. Those aren’t things most people have around their house, though.

Another small downside is that It doesn’t come with sights, so most people buy an adaptor like this on Amazon along with an inexpensive scope like this. We actually have reviews on our favorite red dot sights and air rifle scopes you can check out through the links if you’re interested. This rifle is very accurate and personally, I would put a scope on it.

​Key Features

  • Integrated pressure gauge
  • Includes detachable shoulder stock
  • Quality two-stage trigger
  • Powerful and quiet

2. Hatsan Model 25 Supercharger

Crosman 2240 Bolt Action

Caliber: .177
Velocity: 850 FPS alloy/700 FPS lead
Power source: Break barrel lever
Price range: Under $100               

My review: The Hatsan Model 25 Supercharger is built like a tank, and as far as break-barrel pistols go, it’s the most powerful air pistol out there.

Most .177 air pistols with a break barrel or single cocking mechanism fire at around 500fps. That’s not bad, but the Hatsan Model 25 fires at between 700-850 feet per second with a single cock. Do note, however, that it does take around 40 pounds of force to cock the Supercharger. That’s quite a bit of force but it’s not that hard for an adult, especially if you use the included cocking lever.

Along with being a powerhouse, the Model 25 Supercharger is packed with features. It has a pretty good 2-stage adjustable Quattro trigger, synthetic stock, and an ergonomic textured grip. With a dovetail mount, you can add a scope or red dot, although the included fiber optic sights are quite nice.

Bottom line: The Hatsan Model 25 Supercharger is powerful, cheap, and reliable. It is also available in .22 caliber, but it doesn’t have quite as impressive performance as the .177 version.

​Key Features

  • Powerful single stroke pneumatic spring powered air pistol
  • 2-stage adjustable Quattro trigger
  • Includes detachable cocking lever
  • Rear sight adjustable for windage and elevation

3. Crosman 2240 Bolt Action (Best CO2 Powered)

Caliber: .22
Velocity: 460 feet per second
Power source: CO2
Price range: Around $70

My review: The Crosman 2240 is the first CO2 powered air pistol on this list so far. For the money, it’s hard to beat. It performs similar to the Crosman Classic Pump 1322 (the next pistol on this list).

The Crosman 2240 is bolt action, meaning you have to work the bolt and load a pellet between shots, but you don’t pump it between shots. It’s much faster and requires less effort to get rounds out. This is partially nice if you’re planning on using this pistol for any type of pest control.

The downside of the 2240 compared to the 1322 is that you do have to purchase additional CO2 cartridges.

Being a .22 caliber air pistol that shoots at over 450 feet per second, this pistol is perfect for pest control. In fact, it has the nickname “The Rat Catcher”.

It includes a reliable pair of iron sights that get the job done. Sure, you could buy a scope mount like this on Amazon and mount a scope or red dot on it but it’s not really needed.

​Key Features

  • Single shot, bolt action, CO2 air pistol
  • Rifled steel barrel
  • Thumb rest on both grip panels
  • Made in the USA

4. Crosman American Classic Pump (Best Value)

Crosman American Classic Pump

Caliber: .177 or .22
Velocity: 600 feet per second (.177 caliber version)
Velocity: 460 feet per second (.22 caliber version)
Power source: Pneumatic multi-pump
Price range: $50 to $100

My review: The Crosman American Classic is probably the most popular pellet pistol of all time. Personally, I would buy this over 2240 above, but both are great. To me, it’s fun to have a pellet pistol that you can just grab and go. It’s powerful enough to take down pests and cheap to operate. Another nice thing about this pistol is that it’s variable power, so if you’re just plinking cans in the backyard you can pump it 1-2 times instead of max power.

You do have to work the bolt and pump the forearm between each shot, but the forearm is easy to pump and it’s not really a big deal to me.

The iron sights it comes with are good, but I know a lot of people attach a scope to it. If you do plan on buying a scope, you can use a mount like this one on Amazon.

You can buy this air pistol in .177 or .22 caliber. The .177 is called the 1377 and the .22 caliber version is the 1322.

Either version is powerful enough to take down mice, chipmunks, rats, sparrows, squirrels, starling, and other pests.

​Key Features

  • Rifled steel barrel
  • Smooth-pump forearm
  • Adjustable rear peep and open sights and a fixed blade front
  • Variable pump to control the velocity

5. Daisy Powerline 415 BB Pistol

Daisy Powerline 415 BB Pistol

Caliber: .177
Velocity: 500 feet per second
Power source: CO2
Price range: Under 50 dollars

My review: As far as BB pistols go, the Daisy Powerline is one of the best of all time. It’s powerful, well built, has a smooth bore steel barrel, holds 12 BBs, and is semi-automatic. It’s also pretty efficient, and you can expect to get around 150 shots per CO2 cylinder.

It has fiber optic front and fixed open rear sights that get the job and are quite good considering the price of this pistol

The combo includes the pistol, shooting glasses, 350 Daisy BBs, 3 CO2 cartridges, and some paper targets.

Bottom line: If you’re looking for a powerful BB pistol, for the money the Daisy Powerline is almost impossible to beat. If you want to get a little more power and attachments, check out the Daisy Powerline Power Kit Below!

​Key Features

  • Smoothbore steel barrel
  • 21-shot built-in magazine
  • Molded black grip
  • Includes accessories

6. Daisy 5172 Power Power Kit

Daisy 5172 Power Power Kit

Caliber: .177
Velocity: 520 feet per second
Power source: CO2
Price range: Under 50 dollars

My review: The Daisy 5172 is essentially an upgraded version of the Daisy Powerline 415. It costs almost twice the price but it is a little more powerful. For a BB gun it is accurate, especially at close ranges, just keep in mind that BB guns have smooth bores so at range the groupings aren’t going to be comparable to a pellet gun with a rifled barrel.

It shoots 20 feet per second faster than the Powerline 415 and has two tactical rails for attachments like flashlights, red dot sights, etc.

If you don’t like how the rails look, you can simply leave them off.

All in all, it’s a reliable BB pistol that’s super powerful for the price.

​Key Features

  • Full-auto mode
  • Authentic replica
  • Includes rails for attachments

7. Crosman Vigilante 357

Crosman Vigilante 357

Caliber: .177
Velocity: 435 feet per second
Power source: CO2
Price range: Under $60

My review: The Crosman Vigilante is a cool CO2 Air Pistol that comes with a holster and extra magazine clips. The package here comes with one B clip and four pellet clips. Being that it has a rifled barrel, the gun will be more accurate and last longer if you fire pellets through it exclusively. That said, it does shoot BBs just fine.

The Vigilante feels well built and for the price, you’ll be surprised by the quality. Like all CO2 powered air pistols, if you want to increase the life of the seal and prevent air leakage, it’s best practice to pull a little bit of pellgun oil on the tip of each CO2 cylinder. It’s also pretty gas efficient, allowing for about 80-100 shots per CO2 cylinder.

Using it as a single action revolver is typically most accurate, but it can operate as a double-action revolver. The sights are actually pretty nice and the rear sight is adjustable. The sights are actually adjusted before the revolver is shipped so they should be accurate right out of the box.

Overall, the Vigilante 357 is a lot of fun and the holster and extra clips it comes with are nice accessories.

Key Features

  • Shoots BBs or Pellets
  • Includes extra 10-round pellet clip
  • Includes holster

8. Beeman P17 Sportsman Series

Beeman P17 Sportsman Series

Caliber: .177
Velocity: 410 feet per second
Power source: Single stroke pneumatic (over-lever cocking)
Price range: Around $35

My review: For a budget air pistol the Beeman P17 has a lot going for it. When you first see it, you’ll notice it looks like a lot of CO2 powered air pistols. That’s not the case, though, instead it uses an over-lever cocking mechanism that compresses a powerful spring. This allows it to generate a lot of power from a single pump.

Beeman actually has a few air pistols that are great like the P3 and  P1, but this model here is a lot cheaper. While it doesn’t have the build quality of those models, it’s still very powerful and gets the job done.

This over-lever cocking mechanism or single stroke pneumatic mechanism is nice, but it does take a little more force than multi-pump systems. One nice safety feature is once the gun is cocked the safety automatically engages. This is especially nice for people who aren’t as strong and may get a little out of control while cocking the pistol.

​Key Features

  • Very powerful for a single pump
  • Rifled 9.5″ barrel
  • Rear sights are fully adjustable
  • Single stroke pneumatic

9. Crosman 2300S

Crosman 2300S

Caliber: .177
Velocity: 520 feet per second
Power source: CO2
Price range: Around 200 dollars

My review: The Crosman 2300s is incredibly accurate and powerful for its price. Crossman actually collaborated with competitive shooters in an attempt to produce an entry-level pistol for competitive shooting for a fraction of the cost. I think they hit their mark with 200S.

It has a 10.1 Lothar-Walther match barrel that makes this airgun incredibly accurate for a pistol. It has an adjustable hammer spring that can be adjusted from between 440 to 520 FPS. From a single CO2 cylinder you can expect to get around 60 shots.

​Key Features

  • Meets IHMSA rules for production class silhouette competitions
  • Adjustable hammer spring
  • Good value

10. Urmax Strike

Urmax Strike

Caliber: .22
Velocity: 520 feet per second
Power source: Multi-pump pneumatic
Price range: Under 50 dollars

My review: Available in both .177 and .22 the Umarex Strike Point multi-pump air pistol reminds me a lot of the American Classic. It’s pretty powerful even after just a few pumps, but it does get more powerful the more you pump it (maximum pumps is 10).

It’s good for target shooting and strong enough for some pest control. It has a 5-chamber SilenceAir sound damper that is permanently attached to the pistol to reduce downrange noise.

If you’re buying this for hunting or pest control, I do recommend the .22 caliber version. While you do lose about 100fps with the larger pellet, the extra weight makes up for it and to me, it seems a lot more powerful.

It’s a little heavier than the American Classic. Personally, I would choose the American Classic of this, but it is still a nice little air pistol.

It features a reliable cross-bolt safety, a fiber optic front sight, fully adjustable rear sight. Do note that this pistol does not have an area to mount an optic.

​Key Features

  • Variable power
  • Durable all-weather frame
  • 5-chamber SilenceAir sound dampener

11. Glock 19 Gen3 BB Pistol

Glock 19 Gen3 BB Pistol

Caliber: .177
Velocity: 410 feet per second
Power source: CO2
Price range: Under 75 dollas

My review: Aside from just being a cool replica of a Glock 19, this .177 BB pistol is powerful and accurate for an air pistol. It’s a great replica that a lot of people enjoy using to practice runs with their real Glock.

Another great thing about this model is that unlike why you dry fire practice with a Glock, with this model you don’t have to rack the slide each time the trigger is pulled. With the replica here, the trigger returns with each shot.

It has a drop-free 15-shot magazine and traditional Glock U-shaped rear sights and white dot front sight.

On the front of the pistol, there is an integrated weave rate to attack a flashlight or laser.

If you do decide to buy this pistol the seller recommends that you use steel BBs instead of copper-coated BBs because they seem to be a little small for this pistol.

Overall, this is a pretty badass Gen 3 Glock 19 replica that looks and feels like the real thing. It’s not the most powerful BB pistol out there, but I can certainly see why some people would choose this over others.

​Key Features

  • Smoothbore barrel
  • Sixteen round capacity magazine
  • Integrated weaver rail

12. Remington Benjamin Sheridan 1875 Revolver

Remington Benjamin Sheridan 1875 Revolver

Caliber: .177
Velocity: 450 feet per second
Power source: CO2
Price range: Around $100

My review: This is an interesting single-action revolver replica from Crossman. It’s very well made and has a nickel body and plastic ivory style grip. One cool thing about it is that the ammo is loaded into shell casings/cartridges, and it can fire both pellets and BBs. The shell casings are labeled BB and pellet so you don’t get them mixed up.

The muzzle is smoothbore, so you can shoot BBs out of this pistol just fine without having to worry about any damage or significant wear to the barrel.

This is more designed to be a cool replica and plinking gun. I certainly wouldn’t recommend it for hunting or pest control, although it is quite powerful. 

One downside is the packaging is pretty cheap. I would expect much better packing from something at this price point, but once you shoot this thing you’ll quickly forget about the lackluster packaging.

​Key Features

  • Single action
  • Realistic Remington 1875 replica
  • Smoothbore and shoots BBs and Pellets

13. Bear River Schofield No.3

Bear River Schofield No.3

Caliber: .177
Velocity: 435 feet per second
Power source: CO2
Price range: Around $120

My review: The Bear River Schofield No. 3 revolver is a .177 airgun that runs off CO2 and can shoot BBs or Pellets. It has a full metal construction and is a replica of the Smith and Wesson No.3 Revolver from 1875. It looks and feels real, and the cylinder rotates just like a real six-shooter. his is another pistol uses cartridges that you load the bbs or pellets into. It has a top break design that makes it easy to reload.

The barrel is smoothbore, so you can shoot BBs through it without having to worry about wearing out the rifling. The 8-inch barrel is longer than most and does give the airgun pretty good performance. BBs shoot pretty well, but if you want to maximize performance I definitely recommend pellets. 

The single-action revolver shoots just like a real six-shooter from the old west.

This certainly isn’t designed for hunting and pest control, but it is powerful and fun for target shooting. A lot of people also have trouble finding pellet cartridges, so you may want to shop around to make sure you can pick up

​Key Features

  • Backed by a 1-year warranty
  • Nice gunmetal black finish
  • Expect around 80 shots per CO2 cartridge
  • Weighs just over 3 pounds

14. Legends M712 .177 Caliber Steel BB Airgun

Legends M712

Caliber: .177
Velocity: 360 feet per second
Power source: CO2
Price range: Under 100 dollars

My review: While the Legends M712 isn’t the most powerful BB pistol, it holds 18 BBs and shoots full-auto crazy fast. It’s a full metal German replica BB gun that looks and feels great. As mentioned, it can shoot in full-auto mode, but it does sacrifice power and accuracy in this mode. It also burns through CO2 cartridges and BB insanely fast when firing full-auto. If you do but this airgun, make sure you stock up on CO2 cartridges! The magazine is also kind of a pain to load, so if you do decide to buy this replica, I recommend buying some extra magazines on Amazon here.

It also has that blowback action that I talked about in the buying guide section, which to me is a waste of CO2, but I will admit it’s pretty cool.

It has a fixed front sight and the rear sights are adjustable for elevation.

Key Features

  • Manual Safety
  • Semi-auto mode
  • Co2 Housed in magazine
  • Full-auto blowback action

Are Pellets or BBs More Powerful?

Pellet guns are more powerful than BB guns, especially at a distance. BBs are great for plinking cans in the backyard, and there are some powerful CO2 powered BB pistols, but they’re not nearly as aerodynamic or as accurate as pellets, making them much less ideal for hunting and pest control. Pellets are actually designed to be fired through rifled barrels, and the spin of the pellet helps accuracy and prevents the pellet from being as affected as much by air and other airborne debris. BBs are also only available in .177 caliber.

What is the Best Type of Pellet

There are many shapes of pellets included domed pellets, pointed pellets, flat pellets, and hollow points. Dome pellets are the most popular, but the “best pellet” really depends on what you’re using it for.

Dome pellets or round nose pellets are the most common type of pellet used for hunting, their shape gives them good terminal performance and they also transfer energy well onto their target. Most importantly, though, is the fact that they are typically the most accurate type of pellet.

Flat Pellets or wadcutters are sometimes used in cases where the shooter doesn’t want much penetration into the target. One example might be that they don’t want to risk the round traveling through the target and hit something that lies beyond it. Also, Some airgun shooting competitions will require wadcutter pellets be used so that the hole in the target is perfectly circular.

Hollow Point Pellets 

Pointed pellets or field tips were actually designed for hunting and specifically to penetrate well. The problem is, depending on the gun, pointed pellets aren’t always the most accurate. The truth is different guns will shoot better with certain pellets. After deciding on a gun, it’s best to do a little more research and determine which pellets fire accurately from the gun. You can also do some testing yourself. There are usually some pretty good YouTube videos you can watch as well. Crossman Premier pellets are a go-to for many shooters.

Most Important Consideration

When it comes to pellets for hunting, by far the most important consideration is accuracy. You must find pellets are manufactured consistent and shoot well out of your rifle. Some cheap pellets will have poor quality control, making it very difficult to shoot a tight grouping no matter how much you practice.

Pellet Shape

Aside from the tip of the pellet, the body of the pellet also has a major impact on the ballistics of the pellet. By far the most common pellet shape is actually referred to as diablo. The diablo shape is easy to distinguish by the pinched waist and flared tail of the pellet (the tail is usually hollow). This flared tip causes a great deal of drag, which helps the pellet fly straight but also causes the pellet to not to go as far as cone-shaped ammunition.

Power Sources

Spring Piston and Barrel Break

Spring piston air pistols are the simplest type and least expensive type of air pistols. They take longer to fire between shots because you have to manually cock them. That said, they’re nice because they don’t require an external power source like CO2 cartridges or a pump. If you’re just looking for something cheap to do some backyard plinking with, a spring pistol air pistol isn’t a bad option. I have a couple on this list that are very impressive.

CO2

CO2 Powered air pistols typically use 12-gram cartridges to propel the pellet or BB. A commonplace for the CO2 cartridge to be stored inside the handle of the pistol. In this position, it’s out of the way and hardly noticeable. CO2 powered air pistols are nice because you can still shoot pretty fast (some are even semi-auto) but you don’t need to buy a hand pump or fill station like you do with a PCP pistol. That said, 12-gram CO2 cartridges are cheap but the cost does add up over time. If you’re planning on really getting airguns you may want to just make the larger initial investment and buy a PCP.

PCP

PCP air pistols have an internal air reservoir. PCP pistols take a larger upfront investment because you either need to buy a high-pressure hand pump or get access to a SCUBA or high-pressure compressor that can fill up to 3000 PSI. I will show you some decent pumps in the reviews below. The pistol ranked number one on this list is actually a PCP.

Pellet Material

Pellets are made of many materials including lead, 

Allow pellets typically travel at higher velocities. Many manufacturers use these pellets when doing their velocity testing and then advertise that they have the highest velocity pellet gun.

Pistol vs Rifle for Hunting and Pest Control

Given the choice, I’d always prefer a rifle for pest control, but sometimes it is much more practical to carry a BB or pellet pistol on you. Rifles are generally preferred because they are more powerful and accurate, especially at long ranges. That said, there are some incredibly powerful pistols out there that can match the power of many air rifles.   

Cost to Operate

If you’re just looking for something to plink cans in the back yard or give to a youngster as a gift, BBs are cheaper to operate. Pellets are still cheap compared to regular ammo, but BBs are dirt cheap. You can buy 6000 quality BBs on Amazon for under $10.

Rates of Fire

Single Shot

Single-shot air rifles can be bolt action or lever action. If an air pistol is single shot, that means you have to cock the pistol between shots. It also means that only one round exits the chamber when the trigger is pulled

Semi-Auto

When firing a semi-auto air pistol, you do not have to the cock the pistol between shots. This is common in CO2 powered air pistols and PCP air pistols.

Full-auto

Full-auto means all you have to do is hold down the trigger and the pistol will continue to fire.

Blowback feature isn’t good for maximizing power

Having the slide “blowback” when firing an air pistol does look cool and realistic. My problem with it is that it does take some CO2 or air power to make the slide work. In my opinion, I would rather conserve the air pressure and get more shots or put that extra pressure behind the projectile, rather than just going towards something that looks cool. This is really just personal preference, though.

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