Self Defense BB Gun Penetration Test

So how much penetration can you expect from a self defense BB gun?

…and secondly, how much penetration do you need to be lethal?

I tested the Daisy Powerline 415 BB gun using Ballistic Gel and steel BB’s. The very same Ballistic Gel that the FBI uses. It simulates human flesh very closely….almost exactly.

Ballistic Gel Box

Here is the 3x3x9 block of 10% Ballistic Gel from Clear Ballistics. It’s a bit expensive at $70.

Ballistic Gel Block

The Daisy Powerline 415 is a CO2 BB gun with a reported muzzle velocity of 495 fps with steel BB’s. I own this one…

Daisy Powerline 415 BB gun out of the box

The Daisy Powerline 415 is most likely one of the best BB guns for self defense, if you choose to use it for this purpose. It holds 21 BB’s in the magazine. So you can shoot 21 times as fast as you can pull the trigger. The Powerline 415 is one of the most powerful BB pistols you can buy. If you want to check out the Daisy Powerline 415, here is a link….Buy the Daisy Powerline 415 at

So how much penetration can be achieved in Ballistic Gel?

Let’s take a look at the actual test results from 5′.

BB Penetration in Ballistic Gel

I tested 2 different types of BB’s. The black BB’s are Hornady Black Diamond and the copper BB’s are Crosman Copperhead BB’s. Both brands penetrated the exact same depth. The penetration depth was 3″.

Think of this Ballistic Gel as human flesh. 3 inches of penetration in human flesh is pretty deep, especially if you are looking at the facial region. 3″ of penetration in the human skull will definitely hit the brain. If these BB’s hit the human eye and penetrated 3″, the target would either be paralyzed or dead. The human eye is actually much easier to penetrate than skin and muscle.

So the answer to the question, “Are BB guns lethal?” is YES.

BB guns can be a good option if a firearm is not an option. I would rather have the Daisy Powerline 415 to defend myself than a knife or baseball bat or hand-to-hand combat.