PCP stands for “Pre-Charged Pneumatic”, some folk refer to them as HPA (High Pressure Air) airguns also. In practise, the terms are interchangeable.
PCP airguns are generally relatively expensive, but there’s a reason for that. Like CO2-powered airguns, they have no recoil and are shot with an intuitive, tight hold. Unlike spring-powered pellet guns, they’re easy to cock and some are quite light. Multi-shot magazines are common. PCP airguns are usually powerful, with high muzzle velocities and great accuracy. This makes them suitable for hunting, plinking and target shooting.
PCP air rifles generally have very good (low) RateAGun scores.
So what are the downsides?
PCP airguns need a way to get their high pressure air charge. That means you need to buy a hand pump (included with a few models), or scuba-type gas bottles, regulators and other equipment. All this additional equipment costs money, it’s a drag to carry around and you need to learn how to use it.
But if you can afford it and don’t mind the charging complexity, PCP airguns offers huge advantages. If cost is no object, this is the way to go!
The heading photograph shows the Hammerli AR20 PCP target air rifle.