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duplex scope crosshairs logo in orange color

Types of Recreational Guns and Their Differences

Americans own guns for a variety of reasons, whether it is for sport or self-defense. In addition to firearms, many people also own what are known as recreational guns.

What Are Recreational Guns?

The category of reacreational guns includes air guns and airsoft guns. This definition also sometimes includes guns that are used for recreational purposes, such as hunting, shooting sports and competitions, and other hobbies. For the purpose of this blog, we’ll be using “recreational guns” to mean a non-powder gun.

Types of Recreational Guns

The two main types of recreational guns are airsoft and airgun. Each type has its own advantages.

Airsoft Guns

Airsoft guns are designed to resemble a traditional firearm, but instead of bullets, they shoot plastic pellets that are non-lethal. They are most often used for tactical simulation games that have a military environment. In these games, players fight against each other in mock combat. They can also be used for training and target practice.


Although the name is similar, an airgun is not the same as an airsoft gun. An airgun, also known as a pellet gun, is a firearm that uses compressed air to release a projectile, usually a plastic pellet. They can obtain their power in three ways: carbon dioxide, spring pistons, and pneumatics (air pressure used to move objects).

BB, pellet, and paintball guns all fall under the category of airgun.

BB Guns

A bullet ball gun, or BB gun, is a common type of airgun that shoots small steel or lead balls. They come in pistol form, as well as rifles. They are often used for target practice, pest control, or hunting small animals.

BB guns are also a good option to start out with for first-time gun owners and adolescents because they are low maintenance and have less power than a pellet gun.

Paintball Gun

Paintball guns are another form of airguns. They use carbon dioxide to shoot balls of paint at opponents during gameplay. The three main types of paintball guns are pump, mechanical, and electronic.

Pellet Gun

A pellet gun is an airgun that is designed to shoot non-spherical projectiles called pellets. It is used for sport and is another great option for those that are inexperienced with firearms.



The main difference between airsoft and airguns such as BB guns is their ammunition. BB guns shoot a metal ball that is dense and has the ability to puncture objects. These can leave bruises and welts, and even penetrate flesh. Airsoft guns fire plastic pellets, making them the safer option for recreation.


The two types of recreational guns also differ based on what they are used for. Airsoft guns are almost exclusively used for simulation situations, either gameplay or training for the military or SWAT. Airguns, on the other hand, are used more broadly for hunting, pest control, and target shooting.

Your Source for Firearms in Tucson

The Hub carries recreational guns, as well as a wide selection of firearms. Whether you’re a seasoned gun owner or looking to make your first firearm purchase, our experts can help determine what will work best for your needs. We offer training courses as well.

To find the right firearm or recreational gun for you, stop by one of our locations or contact us today.
recreational gun air rifle with target shooting on the wooden table

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