What Can An Airgun Penetrate?

Air rifles are not known for having strong penetration capabilities. Find out if this is true below.

Can An Airgun Penetrate A Human Skull?

Yes, if you shoot a person at very close range, the round could penetrate the skull and even kill the person. Likewise, a bb or pellet can cause bone fractures in other parts of the body if it is shot. So, never shoot a pellet gun or BB gun at another person as this could lead to severe injury or death.

Can An Airgun Penetrate A Human Eye?

Yes, an air rifle can penetrate a human eye and cause severe eye damage. This is why it is important to always wear safety glasses or goggles while shooting air guns and to never point the gun at another person.

Can An Airgun Penetrate Human Skin?

Yes, a pellet gun can penetrate human skin quite easily, even at far distances. According to the U.S. National Institute of Health, a .177 air gun round can penetrate human skin if it achieves 331 FPS (feet per second), which is far lower than the average of 700-900 FPS produced by an airgun.

Even if the bb or pellet does not pierce the skin, it will cause a significant amount of pain to the victim. So, do not shoot a BB, pellet, or any other gun in the direction of another person or you risk seriously injuring them.

Can An Airgun Penetrate A Plastic Bottle?

Air rifles can penetrate some types of plastic, including plastic water or soda bottles. Plastic bottles are great for use in target practice, along with soda cans. Because plastic bottles are so common today, finding an empty one is not too difficult. However, a pellet or bb may go entirely through one and into the surrounding area, so safety needs to be kept in mind regarding this.

Can An Airgun Penetrate Plywood?

An air rifle can penetrate some light materials, including thin plywood and sheet metal. Plywood is a strong material made of multiple layers of wood that are crisscrossed to add durability. Thin plywood can be penetrated with an air rifle, but shooting thick plywood will only cause superficial damage.

Air Gun Plywood

Can An Airgun Penetrate A House Window?

Double-pained glass may be able to withstand a pellet or BB shot, but it will still damage the external pane. This means the entire glass section will need to be replaced. House windows are not cheap and replacing them will usually require hiring a professional window installer.

Can An Airgun Penetrate A Car Window?

An airgun may be able to penetrate a car window, but it might not. This is because car windows are often made of tempered glass and a low-powered airgun will not be able to penetrate them. However, large-caliber airguns can penetrate car glass. This is because a lot of force is focused on a small area and pellets are designed to pierce objects.

Can An Airgun Penetrate A Car Door?

No, an air gun will most likely not be able to penetrate a car door because most car doors are made of steel. Also, car doors have internal contents and multiple layers of material that will stop a pellet or BB if it manages to pierce through the outer layer.

Can An Airgun Penetrate A 2×4 Wood Board?

No, a pellet cannot penetrate all the way through a 2×4 wood board. However, it will penetrate the surface and get stuck into it. So, it is not a good idea to shoot pellets at 2×4 wood that you will want to use in a construction project. If you try to drill a hole or drive a nail into the board, it could hit the sunken pellet stuck in the wood and damage the drill bit, nail, or screw.

Can An Airgun Penetrate A Fence?

No, a pellet cannot penetrate through a wood fence but will get lodged into it. This could be visible as well and harm the paint. So, if you want to keep your fence looking nice, then try not to shoot it directly with a pellet or bb gun. For target practice, instead set up individual targets not directly attached to the fence.

Can An Airgun Penetrate A Door?

No, most doors, either plastic, metal, or wood cannot be fully penetrated by a pellet or bb. However, just like other materials, a pellet can break through the surface, damage the paint, and lodge into the door. If there is a glass window on the door, a pellet can penetrate all the way through and shatter the window.

Can An Airgun Penetrate A Screen Door?

Yes, a pellet can penetrate all the way through a screen door. It will also leave a small hole that can expand over time and allow bugs to get in. Screen doors have thin metal screens that allow air to flow freely through without allowing critters and bugs to fly into the house.

Can An Airgun Penetrate A Tree?

No, a pellet or BB gun cannot penetrate through a tree. This is why many people attach targets to trees when they target shoot. Just make sure no person, animal, or delicate object is near or behind the tree that could be harmed when firing.

Can An Airgun Penetrate Paper?

Yes, an airgun can easily penetrate the paper. Targets are often made only of paper and need to be attached to wood planks or thick cardboard to stop the pellet from flying all the way through.

Can An Airgun Penetrate An Aluminum Can?

Yes, a pellet gun can penetrate an aluminum can and perhaps all the way through. Often, a bb or pellet will go through the can and fall down inside. This makes them convenient for target practice because cleanup involves simply throwing the can away with the BBs or pellets still in it.

If you are considering setting up some airgun targets in your backyard, you can learn more in our post The Different Types of Air Gun Targets.

Can An Airgun Penetrate A Glass Bottle?

Yes, however, the bb or pellet will likely crack or shatter the glass bottle onto the ground. Unless you like cleaning up broken glass, perhaps choosing another type of target (soda can, etc.) will be easier to deal with.

Can An Airgun Penetrate A Watermelon?

Yes, an airgun can penetrate all the way through a large watermelon. However, the watermelon will likely not break into pieces.

Can An Airgun Penetrate Jeans?

Jeans are a common type of pants worn by many people today. But can an airgun penetrate jeans? Much of this depends on the fabric weave and if it is a pellet or bb.

If it is a pellet shot at close range, it can penetrate through the jean material and lodge into a person’s leg. A bb gun fired at a far distance away may bounce off of jean material.

Thick jeans with a robust fabric weave may be enough to stop an airgun round altogether, but the person could still feel pain. In general, wearing jeans is an adequate safety measure to protect the legs when around target shooting with an airgun.

Can An Airgun Penetrate Boots?

A pellet can penetrate thin leather boots, but it will not penetrate boots made of thick leather. High-velocity air rifles are designed to penetrate thick leather, so wearing leather boots will not save your feet from injury if they are hit.

A regular air gun may also be able to penetrate through rubber boots and regular tennis shoes so do not shoot anyone in the foot.

Can An Airgun Penetrate A Fire Extinguisher?

Most likely not because the shell of a fire extinguisher is made of aluminum alloy or steel, which is strong enough to resist a pellet. However, it is not a good idea to test this out by shooting a fire extinguisher, either on accident or intentionally. If a hole is made in an active fire extinguisher, it could possibly explode or just leak its contents out onto the floor and make the fire extinguisher useless.

Can An Airgun Penetrate A Car Tire?

Pellets will not go through the thick part of a car tire but could penetrate the sidewall. It is not a good idea to shoot the tires of a car or bicycle and risk flattening it. A pellet or bb could also just bounce off a rubber tire and hit another person or animal nearby.

Can An Airgun Penetrate Steel?

No, an airgun cannot penetrate steel, unless it is very, very thin. However, using steel as a backstop in target shooting could result in pellet or bb ricocheting. So, cover the steel with cardboard or some other soft material.

Can An Airgun Penetrate A Ceiling?

No. Ceilings are made of wood, paint, drywall, and even floorboard for the next story and are not easily penetrated with an airgun. However, a gunpowder rifle or pistol round can go through a ceiling and into the next story. Besides, shooting a ceiling with an airgun will definitely leave a small hole and lodge the pellet or bb into it.

Can An Airgun Penetrate Concrete?

No, concrete cannot be penetrated through with an airgun, but shooting concrete could break off small pieces and leave visible marks. Pellets and bbs can also ricochet off concrete and hit cars, houses, and animals. So, it is best to not aim a pellet gun down directly at concrete driveways, decks, or sidewalks.

Can An Airgun Penetrate Dirt?

Yes, dirt can be shot with an airgun and the bb or pellet will go into it. However, dirt is a great material to act as a backstop for targets. The bb or pellet will dig into the dirt and rest there until it is taken out.

Can An Airgun Gun Penetrate Rock?

No, a pellet gun cannot penetrate cleanly through rock, but it could break it into pieces. If you target shoot, having gravel as a backstop is a safe way of keeping pellets from going into the soil.

Can An Airgun Penetrate Stucco?

No, but it can damage stucco on a house to a noticeable extent. If a house is shot by a pellet or bb gun, the people inside are going to be safe. However, it is a good idea not to shoot your own house or a neighbor’s with an airgun as it can hit a window or ricoche off the side of the house.

For related information about airgun penetration abilities compared to other weapons, see our post Air Rifle Vs Bow & Arrow.

To Close

Airguns are the least powerful guns out there and this is the reason they are used by both kids and adults for fun and target shooting. However, air guns can still cause damage to property and injury to humans and animals, so wear adequate eye protection and keep safety at the top of your list when shooting them.

Lawrence the Airgun Ranger