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Start Shooting BB Pistols – The HAM Guide

Shooting BB pistols is an absolute hoot! It’s great fun and if you haven’t yet tried shooting BB pistols, you’re missing out on an enjoyable part of the airgun experience. This HAM guide guides you through the basics and helps you to get started.

First we need – er – a BB pistol!

There’s a wide variety of BB-firing pistols available, with the vast majority being powered by one 12 Gram CO2 cartridges. Most are replicas of firearm originals and some can be very accurate replicas indeed – almost indistinguishable from “the real thing”. In HAM’s opinion, replica BB pistols are generally amazingly cheap for the quality and realism they offer.

SAFETY FIRST. Due to the realistic appearance of replica BB pistols, handle them as you would a firearm. Do not display them in public or in any place where they could be mistaken for cartridge firearms!

The CO2 power allows some of the more expensive ($100+) pistols to offer real semi-automatic blowback actions. In other words, the BB pistol is cocked by racking the action, just like the firearm. And when fired, the slide travels back, loading the next BB, re-cocking the gun and giving a recoil effect for the shooter. Many can even be field stripped in a similar way to the firearm original.

Start Shooting BB Pistols - The HAM Guide

For example, this replica of the famous German “Schnellfeuer” pistol even allows fully-automatic fire, just like the firearm it copies!  Umarex M712 Full-Auto CO2 BB Pistol Collectors love BB pistols like this, while others buy the BB-firing replica of a firearm they own for low-cost, safe practice sessions.

Legends M712 Full-Auto CO2 BB Pistol Review

If you always wanted to be John Wayne and shoot a Colt Peacemaker, go right ahead! Duke Colt CO2 BB Revolver Weathered In this revolver, the BBs even load individually into realistic-looking “cartridges”.

Duke Colt CO2 BB Revolver Test Review

Whatever BB pistol or revolver you choose, one thing’s for certain. You will rapidly discover that shooting BB pistols takes a LOT less time than loading them!

To maximize your fun when shooting BB pistols, HAM suggests that you buy multiple extra magazines or “cartridges” and load them before you start shooting. There’s a variety of types shown below. As you can see, in many cases, the magazine holds both BBs and the CO2 cartridge that powers the gun.

Start Shooting BB Pistols - The HAM Guide

And then. of course, there’s BBs. These steel balls are amazingly cheap and are packed zillions at a time. Just as well, you’re going to need them!

Like any gun, some BB pistols shoot better with some types of BBs than with others. Check out HAM’s test reviews to find out which gives best best performance in the BB gun you want.

Start Shooting BB Pistols - The HAM Guide

You’ll also need plenty of 12 Gram CO2 cartridges! Depending on the gun, you’ll generally get somewhere between 50 and 100 shots per cartridge. Pistols with blowback action typically give less shots than those without, as some of the CO2 is used to operate the action.

Start Shooting BB Pistols - The HAM Guide

One essential is Crosman Pellgun Oil. Put a small drop on the flat end of the CO2 cartridge when you load it in the gun. This will help to keep the seals and O rings supple and leak-free. But don’t use too much! Only one drop is necessary and NOT every time you load a new CO2 cartridge. Use it about every 6 – 10 times you reload with CO2.

Start Shooting BB Pistols - The HAM Guide

Shooting glasses are THE MOST IMPORTANT ACCESSORY you need for shooting BB pistols.

Unlike lead pellets, steel BBs, will frequently bounce back at you, or others watching the fun. Everyone in the vicinity of BB pistol shooting MUST wear shooting glasses like these, below, at all times. Otherwise, it’s quite possible you could shoot your eye out, just as we were warned in that old movie.

Start Shooting BB Pistols - The HAM Guide

Because BBs can bounce back dangerously, you’ll need targets specially designed for BB pistol shooting, like this high density foam target block (below). These absorb the BBs safely when hit.

Start Shooting BB Pistols - The HAM Guide

SAFETY FIRST. Always wear shooting glasses when firing BB pistols. Do not shoot at hard surfaces or water. BBs tend to bounce off these surfaces and may hit you, or something other than what you intended. If in doubt, don’t pull the trigger! 

Do not even think of shooting BB pistols at metal airgun targets like this one below. The BBs will rebound from the steel target in a dangerous manner.

Start Shooting BB Pistols - The HAM Guide

As you can see, it’s easy to get started shooting BB pistols. Have fun, but shoot safe!