What is a Blank Gun?
The best way to describe a Blank Gun is to imagine it as a real gun in just about every way except one… There are no dangerous bullets flying out the front of it. That’s right, a Blank Gun just like a real gun uses a brass or metal shells, loaded with a primer and gun powder, but for what ever reason reason, some rocket scientists forgot to put a bullet at the end of the Blank shell.
Why Would You Want a Blank Gun?
Isn’t the entire purpose of a gun to shoot something? So why on earth would you buy a gun that doesn't shoot anything at all, what purpose would it serve? Even Nerf guns, water guns, potato guns all shoot something…
One way to look at a Blank Gun is to imagine it as a cap gun, but for grown ups. Similar to how kids like to shoot their cap guns because they go bang and sparks and smoke fly out of them, Blank Guns do the same thing but on a much grander scale and in most cases they look and sound a lot more like a real gun than a cap gun does.
So Blank Guns don’t actually do the main function of a real gun (that is to shoot a bullet), but they do look and sound the part of a gun. So how could this be of practical use to anyone?
First off, have you ever heard of a Starter Pistol or a Flare Gun? Blank Guns have been historically used to signal the start of races. Many Blank Guns also have the ability to shoot flares by adding a flare adaptor to them so a person can shoot a flare into the air to signal distress if they are lost or hurt.
Gun Handling and Training:
Since many Blank Guns look, operate and feel almost exactly like real guns, Blank Guns are a great place to start out when training a person on proper gun handling and operation. If they make a mistake while using a Blank Gun, the consequences are far less severe than with a real gun. There is also much less kick from a Blank Gun so shooting a Blank Gun is less scary or intimidating for new shooters.
Dogs used for police, military and hunting are required to stay calm around loud noises like gun shots, trained dogs also need to get used to the presence of guns and even how to attack the gun hand of a person who could be a potential threat. Again using Blank Guns in this training situation is a much better option than using a real gun for obvious reasons.
Movies, Video TV and Stage:
Introducing live ammunition on a movie set would be ridiculous, there is absolutely no need to shoot a bullet in this type of situation. Blank Guns make perfect stage props since they again look the part and sound the part without the dangerous bullets flying all over the place…
Many collectors want to own guns but for reasons like gun restrictions in their area, they may not be able to own a real gun or certain types of real guns. Blank Guns can offer a person with heavy gun restrictions in their area the ability to own similar Blank Gun versions. Perhaps they can own real guns but just simply don’t want to go through the licensing and registration hassle of owning a real gun. Blank Guns can generally be purchased for far less money than a real gun which is appealing to collectors who in many cases may not even shoot them.
In places like Turkey, people celebrate holidays and events by shooting Blank Guns into the air, at one time they actually shoot real guns, but people where getting injured or even killed by the falling bullets. Because of this, Blank Gun production became an industry in places like Turkey as Blank Gun manufacturers like EKOL, Retay and Zoraki (also know as ATAK Arms) are Turkish companies.
So now you know some of the reasons why a person would want to own a Blank Gun. I have Blank Guns and I also own real guns too. One reason is because there are many Blank Guns I own that I can not own in their real steel versions because of Canadian gun restrictions so obtaining a similar version in a Blank Gun allows me to own these models.
If a Blank Gun is not for you, then by all means get a real gun, but please understand that there is a place for Blank Guns, and in those environments, a Blank Gun is actually a better choice than a real gun.
First off let’s get one thing straight! What I’m looking for in a BB gun is more than likely going to be way different than what someone else is looking for in what they think is the “Best BB Gun” available.
Many people will determine the Best BB Gun as the BB gun that has the highest price tag, usually you get better quality the higher the price goes up but not always, there are times when perhaps you are paying for a name brand or cosmetic add ons that don’t always make the gun better or the best.
On the other hand, some people will determine the best BB gun as the one that is the least cost since they may not have a lot of money to spend, and an expensive BB gun is a BB gun that that person would not be able to afford or even own, far from an ideal or the Best BB Gun for them.
Many people only look at the specifications to determine if that particular BB gun is the outright best BB Gun. One specification that people seem to fixate on is how powerful is the BB gun in question? If it has the highest FPS then surely it must be the best BB Gun! That Pop can never saw it coming! What about cost of operation, so things like reliability and how many shots per CO2 you can get out of a BB gun. All important features to consider when picking out the Best BB Gun!
Style is another important part of what makes a BB Gun the Best option for you, are you wanting a classic BB Pistol? Perhaps a Modern BB Gun, Maybe even a BB gun that you can not get in your area because of gun laws? Style is a very individual preference and what looks good to me may look terrible to someone else.
One aspect that is very important to me, is realism, does the BB Gun operate the same and does it have similar metal and plastic parts as the real steel version? Does the BB gun I am considering have blowback operation and a true single or double action trigger like it’s big brother? What about a full size drop out magazine and the ability to field strip the BB Gun?
Some people want their BB gun for simple backyard good old fun shooting and so as long as it shoots pretty straight and works as it’s supposed to, then that is all they care about. Many real steel shooters want a BB Gun to operate exactly like their real steel version, so they can practice with it to get in more trigger time when going to a gun range is not an option.
Of course there are aspects like Reliability, Performance, Fit and Finish, Licensing and Build Quality that all determine what makes the Best BB Gun and again it really depends which of these qualities are most important to you that will determine which BB Gun is the best BB Gun.
So how do you determine which is the Best BB Gun? Make a list of what you are looking for in a BB Gun. Attributes like Cost, Performance, Build Quality, Style, Realism, Availability…
Once you have narrowed down your Best BB Gun list, get as much information on each BB Gun you are considering, to narrow the list down even more. There are tons of Youtube videos you can watch for your Best BB Gun final short list to help you determine your ultimate choice.
So please don’t ask me what the Best BB Gun is? I can not even tell you which one I like the best since my wish list changes from day to day…
First off we are not talking about 6mm Plastic Airsoft Guns but rather 4.5mm Steel BB versus .177 caliber Pellet.
Same but Different:
Generally speaking a BB CO2 Pistol and a Pellet CO2 Pistol are very similar, they just shoot a bit different types of ammo, that will determine a couple mechanical differences in both guns. You may come across a CO2 Pistol that can shoot both Pellets and BB's but these are not as common.
The fist main difference is usually the magazine design, since lead pellets don’t stack on top of each other very well compared to steel BB’s, action CO2 BB and Pellet pistols will have a very different types of magazine designs. Pellet CO2 Pistols will generally use a rotary type magazine while BB Pistols will use a stick or stacked ammo magazine. In terms of realism, a stick or stacked magazine is better suited than a rotary magazine. Some Action Pellet Pistols will have what looks like a stick magazine, but the stick will actually have two rotary magazine on either side. You will often find higher capacity magazines in BB CO2 Pistols since Rotary magazines usually only offer around 8 rounds (16 on a double sided stick style).
Another downside to a rotary magazine is knowing when you are out of ammo, a rotary magazine does not allow for this, it will just keep turning around and around no matter if there is ammo in it or not, so you need to listen to the the sound of the CO2 gun to determine when a rotary type magazine is empty. BB Action shooters do not have this problem since in most cases the magazine BB spring follower acts exactly the same as real steel gun follower locking back the slide on the last shot, stopping any follow up shots from happening.
Steel BB’s traditionally only come in 4.5mm which is the same as .177 caliber. Lead pellets can come in a myriad of sizes, the most comma being .177, .20 and .22 caliber but they can go as large as 50 caliber for PCP air rifles used to hunt even large game.
Another common difference between BB and Pellet CO2 Pistols is the rifling inside the barrels. Lead pellets need to spin in order for them to shoot straight. Steel BB’s on the other hand fly pretty true thought the air weather they spin or not. Rifling is most often not used in steel BB pistols because the hardened steel can damage the rifling and since there is little to no benefit in adding rifling to a BB guns barrel in terms of accuracy, then why even have it. Pellet pistols with their softer lead ammunition need to have the rifling in order to create the spin that keeps the pellet true and straight while in flight.
Even though many BB CO2 Pistols can shoot accurately at close to medium ranges, they are not as accurate as a Pellet CO2 Pistol, especially as the distance become greater to your target. Not only does the spinning of the pellet help accuracy, but also the added mass of the lead pellet keeps them from being as effected by cross winds and airborne debris.
Hunting and/or Pest Control:
In most cases I do not recommend using a pistol for pest control because, plain and simple they are harder to shoot accurately. This is because there is no stock on a pistol to help steady the gun, and the front and rear sight are much closer together on a pistol than compared to rifle sights which means there is more margin for error when signing in a target. Pistols are generally lower powered than rifles which also plays a roll when considering a pistol for pest control since it may not have enough power to get the job done humanly. That said, there are pellet pistols deigned with power in mind, usually these are spring piston, or pressurized air powered air guns which can have a lot more power than a standard CO2 BB or Pellet Pistol.
Pistols versus Rifles:
This is not the forum for a full pistol versus rifle comparison. I can tell you that you will find a lot more pellet rifles than your will find BB rifles, they both exist but for the most part rifles are geared more towards target shooting and hunting. Most of the BB rifles available would be styled after replicas so the focus is not necessarily on power and or accuracy in these models.
In terms of Replica Action Shooters, BB Pistols outweigh the Pellet pistols by a land-slide. BB’s just work better in action pistols because the round hard steel ammo operates much easier and more reliably than the softer lead pellets, at least for action shooters. And the point of Replica Action Shooters is not so much power and accuracy but more so towards rapid fire good old back yard fun shooting.
Which is Best?
Well… Neither one is best, it just depends what you are looking for.
- Do you want accuracy at longer ranges - if so maybe get a Pellet CO2 Pistol.
- Do you want more realism in terms of magazine loading and your slide locking back on the last shot - then you may be in the market for a BB CO2 Pistol.
- Do you want more power down range - heavy pellets are going to hit harder and truer than lighter Steel BB’s.
- Do you want trouble free shooting - hard steel BB’s rarely miss-feed or misfire compared to softer Lead Pellets especially in action shooters.
The best is what’s best for you and not always what's best for me…
Type: Blank revolver.
Model: Little Joe Belt Buckle.
Materials: Mostly metal with plastic grips.
Weight: .3 pounds (134 grams).
Barrel: Front firing.
Propulsion: Gun powder.
Action: Revolver, single action only
Ammunition Type: .22 caliber crimped blanks (6mm Flobert).
Ammunition Capacity: 5 rounds.
Trigger Pull: The trigger pull for the Little Joe blank revolver is single action only, you must pre-cock the hammer first to rotate advance the cylinder and ready the hammer to fire. I very short medium weight trigger pull with virtually no take-up is required to fire this tiny revolver at that point.
Build Quality: Even though in general blank/signal guns do utilize scaled down metals like zinc alloy (not high pressure gun steel), the ROHM line of blank pistols are made very well and many of the internal mechanical parts, pins and screws are solid steel. The fit and finish is excellent and when I tested my none belt buckle Little Joe it shot flawlessly for me. Don't expect much recoil from the small acorn .22 rounds.
Realism: The ROHM Little Joe Belt Buckle 6mm Flobert Blank Gun is not a true replica of any real steel revolver in production but it does look a bit like the North America Arms NAA22s Mini-Revolver chambered in .22 short. North America Arms even has a belt buckle version of their own!
ROHM Guns Available in the: Replica Airguns Store
- It’s a blank gun that fits into a belt buckle!
- German made Quality.
- Like the satin or stainless finish.
- Pretty much all metal gun with some steel in a few areas.
- Front firing revolver that will fir a flare adaptor.
- Uses inexpensive 22 Acorn blanks (6mm Flobert)
- Kind of rare in Canada, cool if you own one :)
- Hard to get the Belt Buckle version here in Canada.
- Not sure about legalities actually wearing the belt buckle in Canada?
I already thought the standard ROHM Little Joe Blank firing mini revolver was a really cool gun, to actually find one that fits into a belt buckle is even cooler! I wish we had these for sale in our Canada Replica Airguns Store but it's probably best we don't since I know some people will decide to wear theirs which is bad news since it's only a matter of time before a call is made and a lot of explaining is in order... The good news is we do sell the none belt buckle version of the Little Joe .22 Caliber (6mm Flobert) Mini Revolver in our Canada Replica Airgun Store along with many other ROHM German quality blank pistols so check them out for sure!
My YouTube Table Top Review for the ROHM Little Joe Belt Buckle 6mm Flobert Blank Revolver: