Can you use an air pistol or pellet gun for self defense?
…some say NO but let’s examine the facts that few people know.
Why Pellet Guns Are an Option for Self Defense
- Velocity 400+ fps – penetrates 3-4″ of soft tissue
- Multi shot magazines – shoot 10-50 shots without reloading
- CO2 Power – provides continuous shooting without cocking the action….and lots of power
- Easy to Purchase – no regulation or background checks
- Low Noise – no ear protection and will not disturb neighbors or set off car alarms
- Easy to shoot well – no recoil or noise…pinpoint accuracy is easy to obtain
- Lightweight – men and women can handle and shoot easily
- Inexpensive – air pistols for self defense cost around $40 while air rifles are a bit more expensive at around $100 – $200
Daisy Powerline 415 Air Pistol – Muzzle Velocity – 495 fps…Buy the at Amazon.com
Here is a block of Ballistic Get that I used to test the penetration of the Daisy Powerline 415 BB gun. You can see 2 sets of BB’s…Black Diamond and Copperhead BB’s. They are sitting at the 3″ mark. Both penetrated the same distance.
If I had the choice of an air gun or no weapon…I would naturally choose the air gun. I would chose an air gun over a knife also. But I would much rather have a firearm. Multiple shots from a medium powered air gun will definitely stun an intruder to say the least. If nothing else, it will give you some time to escape and call 911. The ideal target is the face and particularly the eyes. Eye shots will blind the intruder and most likely kill them immediately. Once the brain is penetrated, it’s almost always “Lights Out”.
There are real human tissue tests performed in a lab by medical professionals entailing bb and pellet penetration on human skin, human eyes and human bones. Don’t worry, the human body parts were from deceased. This is real scientific proof of the capabilities of bb guns and pellet guns for self defense.
Air guns or pellet guns are limited in power which is why most people say you cannot use one for self defense BUT some have enough power to stop a human if shot placement is correct. A heart or lung shot with most pellet guns is useless however a Temple or Eye shot could be fatal. Steel BB’s traveling at 400-500 fps will penetrate the human eye and hit the brain. A temple shot will most likely hit the brain also resulting in a stunned, disabled or dead target. If you look at some gelatin air gun penetration tests, you will see that pellets and BB’s will penetrate about 5-6 inches. That much penetration in the human brain will be fatal or serious paralysis. Some pellet guns can penetrate 1/4″ plywood.
There are a few considerations to think about when choosing a pellet gun for self defense.
- Rifle or Pistol
- Semi-auto or bolt action
- Single shot or repeater
Ideally you want multiple shots in a semi or fully auto mode. The size of the gun is up to you but smaller is handier and easier to bring into action. More powerful air guns are better but you have to also consider if they are multi-shot and semi-auto. A break barrel air gun might not be the best choice since you will only have one shot. Break barrel pellet guns have enough power to easily stop an intruder with a single shot. But do you want to bet your life on that one shot? I prefer to have 4 or 5 + shots available in short order.
Pump, Break Barrel, PCP or CO2 Air Guns for Self Defense
So what type of air gun is best for self defense?
Let’s look at pump air guns. Pump air guns certainly have the power to stop a human and are available in .177 and .22 calibers. They shoot steel BBs and lead pellets which are great ammunition against soft targets. BUT they are a SLOW 2nd and 3rd shot. You have to pump them 10 times and then load a pellet or BB. This takes too long in the heat of the moment. If your 1st shot does not stop the threat, you may be in for some hand to hand combat real quick or dead if the threat has a gun.
Break barrel guns fall into the same category as the pump guns. Break barrels are slow to reload but do have plenty of power.
PCP or Pre-charged Pneumatic guns are a little faster to reload than pump guns and break barrels but are basically a single shot gun. A 2nd shot will not be as fast as you would like. PCP guns are however very powerful and available in calibers up to 12 gauge.
CO2 guns are just about ideal for self defense with the exception of power. If CO2 air guns had velocities of 800 fps, they would be perfect. Most CO2 air guns are in the 400-500 fps range with .177 BBs or pellets. 450 fps will provide about 3-4 inches or so of penetration in ballistic gelatin. This is ample to penetrate the human brain with an accurate shot. Small game are easily dispatched with a BB or .177 pellet at 450 fps. And the advantage of multiple rapid fire shots can really “put the brakes” on a would be intruder.
So what are the best air pistols for self defense?
- Crosman SR 357 CO2 6 Shot BB Revolver – 450 fps
- Winchester Model 11K CO2 Pistol – 410 fps
- Crosman PFAM9B BB Air Pistol – 450 fps
- Daisy Powerline 5170 CO2 Air Pistol – 520 fps
- Daisy Powerline 415 BB Pistol – 495 fps
Crosman SR357 CO2 Air Pistol for Home Defense
Winchester Model 11K CO2 Air Pistol for Self Defense
Crosman PFAM9B CO2 Air Pistol of Self Defense
Daisy Powerline 5172 CO2 Air Pistol for Self Defense – 520 fps…Buy the Daisy Powerline 5172 at Amazon.com
Here is why I would choose one of these for self defense. They are the most powerful air pistols and offer multiple shots with the pull of the trigger. These 4 are also very reliable and well made. To make these ever more formidable would be to add a laser sight. This makes it very easy to make a fast and accurate/lethal shot.
Best Air Rifles or Pellet Rifles for Self Defense
The same requirements go for air rifles for self defense. They must be a multi-shot semi or fully auto BB gun and be powerful enough to penetrate the human skull. Let’s look at some good semi-auto CO2 air rifles with multi-shot capabilities. I’m looking for velocities of 400 + fps.
- Sig Sauer MPX ASP CO2 Airgun – 30 round magazine, .177 pellets, short assault type air gun, up to 700 fps with hyper-velocity alloy pellets, semi auto platform.
- Crosman Comrade AK CO2 Air Gun – 22 round magazine, short assault type air gun, up to 600 fps with BBs and semi auto operation.
- Crosman RepeatAir 1077 CO2 Air Gun – 12 sot rotary pellet clip, compact traditional rifle style, up to 625 fps with hyper-velocity lead pellets, semi-auto operation.
Sig Sauer MPX ASP CO2 Air Rifle. This air rifle is very popular with target shooters and people wanting a self defense air rifle. It’s compact and powerful. Anyone can shoot it well, especially women. There’s virtually no recoil or muzzle blast.
Crosman Comrade AK CO2 Air Rifle
Crosman RepearAir 1077 CO2 Air Gun