How to Choose the Right Airgun to Purchase

If you’re like many people, you can’t wait to get an airgun. The only problem is that you’re not quite sure where to start. There are dozens of great options, so how can you tell which airgun is going to be best for you?

Steve's Notes:   When reviewing all the hundreds of models available to offer on this site, as well as equipment, I admit I was initially overwhelmed. So many brands, so many styles, so many calibers, so many accessories.  So, sitting back in my chair with coffee in hand, I asked myself what I would enjoy with regard to each specific issue.  Thoughts of what I would do with the gun, how it would feel in my hands, what expectations I have about performance, accuracy, durability, and so on, filled my head. I made choices based on personal perferences, and then compared them to the expectations we developed for several customer profiles of those who might be interested in shooting with AirGuns.  The results of that thinking session, as well as numerous others,  is what you find offered on our site.  If you have comments or suggestions about product choice, please be sure to let us know.  Send me an email.



How to Choose the Right Airgun to Purchase

Each airgun is different, so your final choice should depend on several factors. The last thing you want is to purchase an airgun that’s not right for your needs, so ask yourself:

  • What do you intend to do with the airgun? Many first-time airgun buyers aren’t aware that there are weapons designed specifically for general use, hunting, competition shooting and other uses. You’ll be able to further narrow your choices by price, size and power once you’ve answered this question.

  • How strong are you? While many airguns are lightweight and easy to carry, some require cocking. Cocking effort is measured in pounds, and some airguns are extremely difficult to cock. Gas-powered airguns don’t need to be cocked, so if you’re not willing to put in effort between shots, you might prefer a precharged pneumatic or CO2 airgun rather than one with a traditional spring. 

  • Are you killing animals? Few air pistols are powerful enough to kill animals, particularly over long distances. If you intend to hunt small game or rid your space of pests, you will most likely need an air rifle. You’ll also need to consider the type of ammunition you’ll need if you’re using an airgun to kill animals. Most experts regard .22-caliber ammo as the best hunting caliber because it’s more widely available than .25-caliber ammunition. Smaller pellets aren’t usually reliable for hunting and pest control.

  • Will you prefer a semiautomatic or single-shot weapon? Your intended use will probably determine which type of airgun you buy; it’s fun to shoot a repeater, but semiautomatic weapons aren’t usually good for target shooting.

  • What type of accuracy do you expect over distance? A small air pistol won’t have the distance of an air rifle. Remember that high-powered airguns can be accurate at 80 yards or more; a light-duty air pistol might only hit your target effectively at 35 yards.

  • What kind of trigger quality do you want? Most adult airgun triggers require about 3 pounds of pull, and many of them can be adjusted down to 1.5 pounds. However, you can purchase an airgun that’s already set to the right pull for your needs.

CPs vs. Spring Rifles

In many cases, precharged pneumatic airguns offer more features than traditional spring rifles. Adjustable power, higher power levels and more stock options are generally common with PCPs.

Other Things to Consider When Choosing the Right Airgun

While aesthetics usually don’t have any bearing on how well an airgun shoots, some people consider it an important factor in the decision-making process. Many people consider the quality of the bluing and other cosmetic factors when they’re trying to find the right airgun.

Other considerations include:

  • The shape of the buttstock
  • The length of the barrel (a longer barrel usually represents higher accuracy)
  • Accessories or the ability to add sights, scopes and other accessories

Ultimately, the right airgun is one that you enjoy shooting. Whether this is your first, second or tenth airgun, it’s important that you pick something that makes you happy.

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