Are Air Pistols Safe?

Air pistols are fun to perform target practice with, and even to hunt small game or varmints in your yard. However, they may present some safety risks. Keep reading to find out what they are.

The Different Types Of Air Pistols

Air pistols use compressed air, gas, or CO2, to shoot pellets or BBs. Compared to other firearms, they generally have a lower muzzle velocity. This translates to less power, making them safer than other types of guns.

Here are some of the different types of air pistols:

  1. Spring-Piston Air Pistols
  2. CO2 Air Pistols
  3. Pre-Charged Pneumatic (PCP) Air Pistols
  4. Pump Action Air Pistols
  5. Gas Pistols
  6. Multi-Pump Pneumatic Air Pistols
  7. Single Stroke Pneumatic (SSP) Air Pistols

The type of ammunition also varies between air pistols. They can shoot metal pellets that are designed to penetrate objects at high speed. Bbs can also be fired from air pistols and are entirely round and made of steel, coated with copper, or made of plastic.

Can An Air Pistol Penetrate Skin?

Yes, air pistols can penetrate the skin if the flying bb or pellet contacts it. These can lead to more serious injuries beneath the skin that are hard to detect. That is why it is necessary to see a trained medical professional if you are ever shot by an air pistol.

If a person is shot by an airgun at long range, it can cause intense pain and a welt left on the skin. Without a doubt, air pistols are not meant to be shot at another person because they are not harmless toys.

Can Air Pistols Cause Serious Injury?

Yes, air pistols can cause serious injury. Most of these injuries are to the skin (hands, arms, legs), and eyes. A pellet or bb can penetrate the skin and cause serious eye injuries. Ultimately, this could lead to blindness or lens dislocation, along with intense pain.

Even if the pellet or bb is aimed downrange, there is the chance of an accident (such as dropping the pistol) or the round ricochets off of the target or other object and hits the shooter.

Never walk in front of a person shooting an air pistol or fire one when people are standing in front of your field of view. Also, parents need to consider if their child is mature enough to use an air pistol.

It is important to always wear safety glasses when shooting an air pistol (or any firearm for that matter). Make sure eyeglasses or goggles meet or exceed the ASTM F1776 safety standard.

Can Air Pistols Be Lethal?

Yes, air pistols have the ability to kill a person or animal. And while the risk is considerably lower than with a larger caliber gunpowder pistol, it is still there. If an internal organ is penetrated by a bb or pellet, it could lead to death.

Emergency rooms receive gunshot victims, some of which come from air pistols. Children, especially are at risk. These guns can cause damage to the eyes, skin, abdomen, and throat. If complications arise, this can lead to lethal consequences.

So, Are Air Pistols Safe?

Air pistols can be safely used if the shooter follows firearm safety procedures. Always wear safety gear and never intentionally point an airgun at another person. Parents or guardians need to decide whether their children are mature enough to handle an airgun before letting them handle one.

For more, see How To Use An Air Pistol Safely.

To Close

Air pistols can be quite fun for target shooting and small game hunting. However, they are still dangerous which is why it is important to keep safety in mind at all times.

Lawrence the Airgun Ranger