This has got to be one of the most asked questions when people are trying to decide on which CO2 BB Pistol they want to buy. The reality is that most non blowback CO2 BB pistols will generally shoot just over 400 fps and most blowback BB pistols will shoot around 350 fps. Some may shoot a little faster and some may shoot a little slower.
My question is this… What difference will it make if you are shooting a BB at 350 fps versus say 450 fps? I honesty think that some people believe that if they purchase a CO2 BB pistol that shoots a whopping 499 fps, then they have acquired a deadly weapon with crazy stopping power.
The truth of the matter is that even a 500 fps BB gun is still not suitable for even small pest control or hunting, you would only be causing the animal to suffer if you shot it with such a lower powered airgun. So using an air pistol for any kind of personal protection on human sized targets is completely out off the question.
Let’s talk about what CO2 BB pistols are really used for. Shooting at pop cans, shooting paper targets, perhaps setting up some army men and picking them off one by one. stuff like that. So does it really matter if the BB is going 350 fps versus 450 fps? It’s still going to go clean though a pop can even filled with water, paper is no match for a BB traveling even under 300 fps, and Army men stand no chance when head shot by a steel BB the size of a canon ball to them.
When is power really going to be important in a CO2 BB Pistol? Perhaps if you plan to shoot out at longer ranges but in this case Steel BB’s are not really meant to shoot out at long ranges as most BB pistols do not have rifled barrels meant for long range accuracy. I have found Steel BB guns to be very accurate up to 30 feet or so, even grouping within in a half inch with some CO2 BB pistols, but further out than that and the BB’s start to wander.
Normally higher velocity is what you want when you plan on using your airgun for hunting or pest control but again a CO2 BB pistol simply is not the tool for this job.
One comment I hear a lot from people is that they would prefer more power over blowback action and that they feel that blowback action robs the gun of too much power. Yes blowback does sacrifice some power since it uses a little bit of the CO2 to operate the slide but the benefits of blowback in my opinion are worth the 50 or so fps loss in power. Blowback operation adds realism to the CO2 BB gun simulating recoil, allowing true single action trigger operation and many CO2 BB Pistols will even lock the slide back on the last shot so you know you are out of ammo and can practice your magazine drop and reloading.