What’s the Difference Between Airsoft Gun and BB Gun?

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Whats the Difference Between Airsoft Gun and BB Gun
Category: Tips

People who just joined the world of Airsoft are often confused as to what is the difference between Airsoft Guns and BB Guns. If you do a Google search you will find a lot of information from the USA that is not correct for the UK, and vice versa. BB Guns are different in the US. In the UK, an Airsoft Gun or BB Gun are very similar and there is not much difference. However, in the USA, they are very different types of guns. To help you understand, here are the things that you need to know:

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Airsoft guns are replica toy guns used in airsoft sports. They are a special type of low-power smoothbore air guns designed to shoot non-metallic spherical projectiles called BBs, which are typically made of plastic or biodegradable resin materials. Airsoft gun powerplants are designed to have low muzzle energy ratings (generally less than 1.5 J, or 1.1 ft⋅lb) and the pellets have significantly less penetrative and stopping powers than conventional airguns. These are generally safe for competitive sporting and recreational purposes – if the proper protective gear is worn.

Depending on the design mechanism for pellet propulsion, airsoft guns can be categorized into two groups: mechanical, which consists of a coil spring-loaded piston air pump that is either manually cocked (e.g. spring guns) or automatically cycled by a battery-powered electric motor gearbox (e.g. AEGs); and pneumatic, which operates by valve-controlled release of prefilled bottled gas such as compressed propane mixed with silicone oil (commonly known as “Green Gas”) or CO2 canisters (e.g. GBB guns).

As toy weapons, airsoft guns can often be designed to realistically resemble genuine firearms in external appearance, and it can be very difficult to visually distinguish from one. That is why in the UK you can buy a two-tone airsoft gun that is 51% blue, green or orange, making them less realistic and marking them as not a real gun.

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There is no difference in the definition of an airsoft gun between the two countries, but in the USA they do not have two-tone guns. Rather, all airsoft guns must display an orange muzzle tip. It is also worth mentioning that the USA has a much higher FPS (power of gun) limits at some skirmish sites – up to 500 FPS – compared to the UK standard of 330 FPS.

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In the UK BB guns are referred to as cheaper or low-end airsoft guns. A gun that is not suitable for skirmishing, something like a spring powered rifle or spring pistol is referred to as a BB Gun in the UK. There are also a few low-end electric toy BB guns that you can find that are great fun at low prices.

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So this is where things get a bit different and a bit confusing. A BB Gun in the USA is similar to an Air Gun or Air Rifle in the UK; it fires 4.5 metal BBs and not air pellets. BB Guns in the USA also have more firepower than UK air guns or air rifles. So the main difference is that in the USA a BB Gun is an Air Gun and in the UK it is an Airsoft Gun.


To finish this blog off let just make it clear, if you are in the UK a BB Gun and Airsoft Gun both fire 6mm plastic BBs and are classed as toy guns for sport and recreational play. In the USA a BB Gun is an Air Gun that fires 4.5 metal BBs and is designed for target shooting and hunting. Airsoft Guns are the same in both territories, however USA have orange tips to the barrel and the UK have two-tone guns to show they are not real firearms. You can buy black guns in the UK if you are a member of UKARA or have a defence to buy one… but that is for another blog.


We supply quality airsoft guns for fun and skirmishing – on our website you will find something for everyone. If you’re a beginner we’ll make sure you walk away with the perfect starter kit. We recommend that you take a look at our exclusive range of airsoft guns and accessories. Airsoft guns and pistols can be purchased by anyone over the age of 18 plus we offer fast low-cost delivery to your door. Don’t be fooled by copycat websites, JBBG has been around since 2009! If you need any further product information please go get in touch via the Contact Us page on this website.

You can see our full range of airsoft guns, airsoft rifles or airsoft pistols on the Just BB Guns category product pages. We also have a large number of BBs and airsoft accessories all at great low prices.

Just BB Guns: Trimex House, Pier Road, Feltham, TW14 0TW
Call us now: 0330 900 5224
E-mail Address: [email protected]
Website: www.justbbguns.co.uk

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