Are BB Guns Lethal?

Are BB guns and/or pellet guns lethal?

Can you kill someone with a BB gun?

Can you use a BB gun for self defense?

These questions are pretty controversial.

…but they need not be.

Some people say BB guns and pellet guns are toys and not weapons and therefore cannot be used for self defense.

BUT this is really not true. Because just about anything can be lethal if used in the right circumstances, like a baseball bat or coke bottle. You can definitely kill a person with either of these. Believe it or not but a pencil can kill a person.

There are, however BB gun specifications that affect it’s lethality or lack there of. This is the muzzle velocity. The higher the muzzle velocity, the more lethal it becomes. At around 300 fps, BB guns are barely lethal even with the ideal target area and pinpoint accuracy. At 400 fps, BB guns become pretty lethal when the target is the eyes and face. 400+ fps with a steel BB or lead pellet will penetrate 3-4 inches of flesh. If the impact area is the eye, the BB or pellet will definitely enter the brain 2 inches or so. This is serious damage and will most likely cause paralysis or death rather quickly.

Daisy Powerline 415 BB gun out of the box

I have a BB gun that produces a muzzle velocity of 495 fps. It is a Daisy Powerline 415 CO2 BB pistol (pictured above). I have tested its penetration in ballistic gel. Ballistic gel replicates or duplicates actual human tissue. The penetration at 10 feet was 3 inches with steel BB’s.

BB Penetration in Ballistic Gel

As you can see above, BB’s at 400-500 fps will penetrate 3 inches of flesh or ballistic gel. The human eye is about 1″ in diameter. So that leaves 2 inches left of brain penetration. A wound channel 2″ long in the brain is very severe. If you do a “double tap” with a semi or fully auto BB gun then you could be looking at multiple wounds in the brain. That’s lethal.

So with the BB gun vs intruder scenario, the end result could be brain damage and blindness in one or both eyes. It would be hard to imagine a person being able to withstand this type of injury and continuing on with an attack. It’s just not going to happen. The assailant is going to drop or even in the worst scenario, he/she will make a run for the door or window. The pain of an eye injury is mind numbing alone then add in the brain destruction. It’s pretty much “lights out”.

Here are some things that make BB guns useful for self defense.

  • Powerful: 400-500+ fps
  • Easy for anyone to shoot, especially women
  • Low noise: will not disturb the entire neighborhood like a firearm will… not to mention make your ears ring for weeks.
  • Portable and concealable
  • Lightweight: less than 1 lb
  • Inexpensive: ~$45 – $100
  • Accurate
  • Semi auto and full auto models
  • High magazine capacity: 10-20 BB’s
  • Target practice in your backyard or garage
  • No background checks or paperwork to fill out or register.
  • Can be purchased online and shipped to your door

If you are interested in getting a BB or pellet gun, here is a link…BB Guns at