Air Guns vs. Rifles


Comparing air guns to rifles and handguns today is entirely different from a similar comparison 20, 15, or even 5 years ago. Other than ammo propulsion and realistic air gun design, each platform offers distinct advantages and disadvantages for the experienced shooter.

High-powered, long-range rifles offer big game hunters exceptional range and knock-down power. Air guns with large caliber are the fastest on the market, offering shooters exceptional extended range capabilities and immense shooting fun.

a3 Air Guns vs. Rifles

Air Gun Technologies

Air Gun technologies have flourished with the development of larger calibers, exciting new accessories, and design models for various uses. Disruptive shooting technologies are coming to market from every manufacturer with incredible speed.

  • The Quick-shot rapid reload is a new shooting technology that relies on a soon-to-be industry standard rotary magazine, allowing the shooter to blast off up to 10 shots without touching the ammo. 
  • Silence is golden with an air gun. Cocking the lever or pulling a hammer usually carries a lot of clamor and noise, scaring away any intended prey. An air gun with a smaller game can be downed and carried out in almost total silence. An air gun’s most significant benefit is that it can be as loud or silent as the shooter wants it to be.

Exciting new technologies continue to permeate the air gun market, such as SKOUT Air Guns pneumatic drive. This proprietary system offers ultra-low cyclical weight with a smooth cycle. The system is entirely air driven with no springs for ultimate firing consistency.

Replacing wearable springs throughout the air gun rifle and handgun has been an engineering priority. New propulsion systems are based on pneumatic drives, which offer greater consistency and power. One of the latest is GAMO’s IGT Mach I, which replaces the main spring for a pneumatic cylinder improving velocity.

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The world’s most powerful air rifle is the Texan which can fire a 50 caliber projectile at over 1000 feet per second with an energy of 650 ft-lbs. The Texan barrel is German-made and highly accurate, commonly used by benchrest and competition shooters. 

Incredible innovation is occurring throughout the air gun market, with more powerful models being introduced on a regular basis. Experienced shooters are taking notice of the alternatives an Airgun offers for hunting, competitive shooting, and target practice. 

Dual caliber is one of the latest innovations to hit the market with a barrel combination of a .177 caliber and a 22 caliber round for the ultimate in small game hunting. This configuration allows the shooter to tailor their experience to the situation at hand.

If you have decided to purchase an air gun, educating yourself on the current models and technology that have hit the market is vital. Evaluate your skill level, budget, and intended use of the gun. Once the basics are out of the way, research and choose the type of propulsion for your air gun.

There are three means of propulsion for an air gun; keep in mind the new technologies that are constantly hitting the market. Most air guns use a spring-piston, high-pressure compressed air, or a CO2 canister mechanism. 

a2 Air Guns vs. Rifles

Common Uses of an Air Gun:

  • Target Shooting, Air Guns have existed since the 1500s and have proven to be an excellent means to sharpen a shooter’s aiming skills. The allure of targeting or plinking with an air gun can be done anywhere, in the backyard or open field.
  • Small Game Hunting, It is essential to ensure the shooter knows what legal ammo and the required weapon to use in games such as squirrel and rabbit. 
  • Shooters want to use steel or lead pellets when hunting with an air gun. Lead and steel create the required energy to penetrate the intended target.
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Long Guns and Handguns

Innovation abounds in the firearms market, with new long guns and handguns being introduced consistently. One of the best aspects of the firearms industry is the manufacturers themselves, with many in business for centuries. Take Beretta as an example. The company is the oldest manufacturing company in the world; Pietro Beretta was documented turning rifle barrels over 500 years ago.

Beretta’s venerable M9, semi-automatic 9mm, was used by the US Military since 1985 as their primary service weapon. In 2017, the weapon was retired from service because of complaints about its stopping power, size, and weight. However, gun enthusiasts still consider the Beretta 9mm as one of the finest handguns ever built.  

Nosler gun company offers exciting new innovations for the next decade. Its model 21 offers calibers from the 22 to 33, with big game calibers from 6.5 Creedmoor, 308 Winchester, and the powerful 6.5 PRC. The Nosler is fast becoming one of the market’s most accurate and reliable hunting rifles. Nitride bolt made from Chrome moly steel, with a stock made from 100% carbon fiber. An extensive list of upgrade features is available for the Nosler 21.

Choosing a Rifle or Handgun:

The number of different handguns and rifles on the market today can be overwhelming when trying to choose the right one. The same decision-making criteria when choosing an air gun should be used to choose a rifle or handgun. Always know the intended use of the firearm before spending any money. Narrow down the pool by knowing your intended target or game.

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Home Defense and Hunting:

Look for a pistol because of its smaller size and versatility. Revolvers and pistols have quickly become the weapon of choice for any type of personal protection. Even though accuracy can be challenging, revolvers and pistols are the best choices because of their capacity and maneuverability. 

Rifles and shotguns are the obvious choices for a variety of games, from waterfowl to large land animals. Shotguns are heavier and larger than most handguns and rifles and best suited for waterfowl and some home defense situations. Choosing the right rifle depends solely on the game you are targeting and the distance of your shot. Look at the velocity of the ammo and its knock-down power at the target. 

Final Word

Never has there been a more exciting time to join the world of hunting, target shooting, and competitive marksmanship. The massive growth of air gun and firearm models across every caliber has been an exciting thing to watch. Technologies are at the heart of each new model with larger calibers, new materials, and precise machining to produce an exceptional firearm.  

Join one of the many shooting clubs that are springing up across the country. This gives inexperienced shooters the time to develop their skills and love for the sport.


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