Lots of people are buying firearms these days and lots of people can’t find firearms these days given the unprecedented demand. Plus there’s the issue of delayed background checks, waiting periods or gun stores being closed in some states. Not to mention a lack of ammunition.
What do you do if you need something right now to use for personal defense? Well, air guns are an option.
The beauty of air guns is that there’s no background check necessary, no waiting period, no nothing. You buy it, and that’s it (check your state and local laws…there are a few crazy exceptions out there). That’s arguably the way buying all guns ought to be.
Well…there might be a waiting period if you order it from Amazon, but that’s probably a temporary situation now. Local stores like Walmart, Bass Pro, Cabela’s and others sell them, too.
While they’re far less powerful than firearms, air powered guns do have some defensive potential. Plus there’s the fact that the ammunition is so darned cheap and widely available.
Bear in mind that a pellet gun is not likely to kill or seriously injure someone, although it has happened (see here, here and here for a few examples). What an air rifle will do, however, is really hurt depending on the pellet and whether it’s propelled to sufficient velocity. Some of them are real zingers.
If you were to use a pellet gun in a defensive capacity, the best use is to slow someone down long enough for you to get to safety or to grab something heavy and hit them hard enough to make them reconsider their career choices.
What you’re looking for in a defensive air-powered gun is the highest velocity possible. The more FPS (feet per second) the better.
So here are three solid air guns — two handguns and a rifle — that you can literally order from Amazon, right after you’re done reading this and leaving a comment below.
The handguns could be used for defense and/or shooting practice while we’re all waiting for the ammo hoarding to die down, and the rifle could work for defense if called upon and could also be used for hunting small game.
First, we have the Crosman SNR357. This is an unusual air pistol, since it’s a revolver, and has some interesting features.
The Crosman SNR357 is CO2 powered, with a 12g cartridge in the grip. Each cylinder holds a cartridge which houses at least two .177 BBs or pellets, as it can shoot both which is a capability not all air guns have.
BBs can be propelled up to 400 fps, but alloy pellets can be propelled up to 500 fps, and that will hurt like a SOB. There is a slide safety, if you wanted to keep it loaded but placed on safe.
The pistol has a fixed blade front sight with an adjustable rear target sight, and is broadly comparable in size to a Smith & Wesson Model 66 Combat Magnum.
You could shoot someone a few times, and then use the heavy steel frame as a bludgeon. You’ve seen “Hell On Wheels,” right?
Not bad for about $75 with shipping.
Another good model to look for is the Gamo C-15, a CO2 powered air pistol which actually uses a blow-back slide. While other blowback guns are out there, most are for using BBs, which achieve a lower velocity than pellets. The focus here is on air guns that could possibly be used for defensive purposes if called upon.
The Gamo C-15 has dual 8-shot rotary magazines, holding 16 .177 caliber pellets. It’s charged by a 12 gram CO2 cartridge, and has a purported muzzle velocity of 450 fps with PBA Platinum pellets.
It goes for $95 on Amazon, so it’s affordable with good capacity.
Air rifles…get a bit more complicated as, for those who are unaware, there are several different propulsion methods available with an ascending potential velocity depending on the operating system.
Pump guns – remember those old Daisy rifles? – have to be pumped several times to build up pressure, and don’t yield great velocity. CO2 air rifles are a little easier to deal with, but likewise don’t put a whole lot of oomph behind the pellet.
Break-barrel air guns require the user to “break” open the barrel, which operates a pneumatic cylinder and builds up pressure to propel the pellet. One pump is all that’s needed, though it must be done between shots. Pre-charged pneumatic air rifles (or PCP) have an onboard tank that has to be filled, but can build up far more pressure than the typical 12 gram CO2 cylinder.
Break-barrel and PCP rifles generally produce the greatest velocities, but PCP rifles require additional equipment to charge the onboard tank. Therefore, break-barrel rifles are going to be the default option for people who want to shoot more than just targets.
The Bear River TRP 1200 is a break-barrel air gun, shooting .177 pellets up to 1300 fps, which is plenty of punch for small game at reasonable distances or one or two really vicious hits on a home intruder.
The receiver has a Picatinny rail and a scope is included, though it’s not likely to be wonderful. However, it also comes with fiber optic iron sights
Not bad for $110.
Oh, and why pellets instead of BBs? Why is that so important?
Pellets are more aerodynamic than round balls, which is why so many militaries switched to the Minié ball back in the era of rifled muskets. Also, a BB is just a BB, whereas if you switch to pellets, you can load something like these:
Sure, it’s only 0.177 inches, but you can’t tell me that isn’t going to make somebody think twice if it hits them in the face at 400 to 500 fps. And depending on placement, it may even be enough to do lethal or incapacitating damage.
Any better air gun options you have had experience with?