Can I Use a BB Gun for Self Defense?

Can I Use a BB Gun for Self Defense

These days we’re all just a little more conscious of security in our home and protecting our family from those that may wish to do harm. Proper firearms can be very expensive, they’re more hassle to get hold of and not everyone feels comfortable with owning or using one. However, is it an option to use a BB Gun for Self Defense? They’re a lot cheaper and don’t require a license to own.

You should not use a BB Gun for Self Defense. This is not what they were designed for and arguably you’d be better off throwing it at the attacker. Use a BB gun in the backyard, shooting targets or tin cans but not to protect yourself.

If you want to understand why then please read on.

What Is A BB Gun?

A BB gun is a type of airgun that shoots projectiles that are usually made of steel.

It is usually powered either by an internal spring-piston or via a carbon dioxide (CO2) canister that is inserted into the gun.

The most common method of power delivery is via a spring piston though and this energy is generated via either a pump-action (typically seen on shotguns) or a lever action. You will generally find that the lever-action models are the lower-powered types.

If it’s rapid-fire, semi-automatic action that you’re after, you’ll probably be looking at CO2 as the main power source. However, with the advantage of semi-automatic action comes the potential downside of lower velocities than the springers.

What Is a BB Gun Designed to Do?

Its primary purpose is for recreational shooting such as plinking (shooting tin cans in the backyard etc.) and short-range target shooting.

The gun is relatively cheap (especially if constructed from plastic) and is easy to maintain. It’s primarily used for younger shooters and makes a great introduction pistol or rifle for the first-time shooter.

However, if you really want to compete in this realm, you can.

The US National Rifle Association (NRA) does offer a youth shooting program for those between 14 and 18 and these are actually quite popular with the US Boy Scouts.


How Much Power Does a BB Gun Have?

How Much Power Does a BB Gun Have?

A BB Gun can shoot anywhere between about 390 and 600 FPS (feet per second). This higher number equates to about 400 mph.

How does this compare with a firearm? Well, a .45 Colt will shoot a much heavier projectile at around 850 FPS and a Magnum will shoot an even heavier bullet at over 1000 fps. So, you can see just from this alone that chemically powered firearms have so much more stopping power than a BB gun.

Just going back to the BB gun though.

Let’s say you have a particularly high powered model, shooting around 500 fps (and this kind of velocity isn’t typical). Even at this kind of power output, it wouldn’t be nearly enough to humanely dispose of a small pest.

Is the BB Gun Dangerous?

If a BB were to hit someone’s unprotected eyes within around 50 yards of the muzzle it, arguably more, it would do damage. At close range, they would most likely lose an eye. Overall though, it’s probably going to be more dangerous to you than the attacker.

It could indeed be about as useful as a chocolate tea-pot.

If you shot someone at close range it would most definitely hurt and if they were hit on any exposed skin it may even penetrate and potentially do some bone damage. But the chances of that happening are small.

You’re more likely in fact just to annoy them. An even worst case is they suspect your gun is real (which is what you’re trying to achieve) and they inflict more damage on you than they were going to as they feel their life is in danger.

So, yes – a BB Gun is dangerous, but probably more dangerous to you than the person you’re trying to defend yourself against. If you’d like to know more as to how dangerous a BB gun really is, then check out the article here.

Can I Increase The Power of my BB Gun?

Possibly, but I wouldn’t bother. Unlike some airguns, there are few BB guns that are made in such a way that would allow you to do this.

Let’s look at CO2 powered BB guns. There is a lot of pressure that goes through your gun and it has been built to withstand that pressure, with some tolerance of course. Now, what might happen when you try and stick through a whole load more gas to try and push that projectile out of the muzzle a little bit quicker?

Well, there is a chance your gun could explode. Possibly an extreme example but it wouldn’t have been built to deal with these new pressures. You could try and change the valves but you can’t change the construction of the whole gun.

If you’re thinking of doing this, my recommendation would be to save your money and just buy a new, more powerful BB gun.

If you do have a CO2 gun and think it’s underpowered (and want to stick to BB guns for now) then consider selling it and buying a pneumatic pump gun. This way, you can control the power of each shot with how many pumps you give it. Even this has a limit though.

Many pump-powered air rifles, for instance, need to have a minimum of three pumps to get the pellet out of the barrel and a maximum of ten. More than ten won’t increase the power output and may only break the thing.

So, I guess what I’m saying here is if you want more power in your gun, don’t try and modify it and don’t try and exceed the manufacturers’ recommendations.

If a BB gun can’t deliver the power you need, perhaps it’s time to look at an air pistol or rifle that shoots pellets?

What Should I use my BB Gun For?

Having fun.

You might have heard of the saying ‘Don’t bring a knife to a gunfight’ – well, trying to use a BB gun in this situation is a slightly worse idea than that! It’s simply not fit for this purpose.

So, what should you be using this type of gun for?

Simple really, go outside and put some old tin cans on a wall. Maybe add a few old apples and a couple of eggs. Add a melon and draw an angry face on it. Then walk back 10 yards or so and start popping away. This is exactly what I did with my son a few weeks back and it was such good fun.

Now, this is what the gun was designed to do. It will put a smile on your face. If you try and use it against an attacker, the only smile will be on their face when they realize what an easy ride they’re about to get.


Well, it’s difficult to advise on such a personal area but I would say either don’t use a BB gun or invest in a real gun. Don’t just stop there though. Invest in some proper tuition so you know exactly how to use it and arguably even more important when to potentially use it.

Interested In Buying Something New?

If you’re in the market for a new gun, be it a BB, Air Rifle or Pistol, check out my totally unbiased reviews on what’s best out there right now. These have all been tried and tested so you don’t have to worry about buying something that isn’t up to the job: