Different types of airguns
Often we get questions like: "What does PCP mean"? or "What is a gas-piston"?
In the broad world of airguns, a lot of terms, types and names get thrown around. And it gets
confusing very quickly.
Today, I am going to explain the basics.
What are we going to talk about?
Great question! We're going to talk about the basic types of airguns and touch on some
variations. We won't discuss the technical aspects, since they differ a lot between brands. But
in general, functionality is the same.
The most basic of airguns. These type of airguns are very popular due to their proven
technology and ease of use.
There are different types of spring-piston airguns, such as, break-barrel, under lever or side
But the way it functions, is all the same:
- The spring-piston is housed inside the body of the gun.
- When you cock the gun by breaking the barrel or pulling the side-lever, the metal spring is compressed and locked in place.
- Then, when you pull the trigger, the spring is released and pushed forward, creating compressed air
which is driven through a nozzle into the barrel propelling the pellet.
Usually, these airguns are single-shot. Meaning, that for every shot you need to load a pellet
into the barrel.
There are exceptions however, such as the Gamo Quiker. Using a 10 shot magazine, it loads a pellet into the barrel every time you cock the gun.
Gas-piston air rifles function the same as previously mentioned spring-piston air rifles, except
that the metal spring has been replaced by a gas-piston.
These airguns and their pistons deliver more consistent power, easier cocking, produce less
noise and last longer than their spring powered counterparts.
(multi-)pump or pre-pump pneumatic airguns have a build-in pump that allows you to fill a
When you pump the gun, air gets compressed into an internal cylinder.
Then when you pull the trigger, a hammer hits a valve that releases all the air into the barrel propelling the pellet.
With multi-pump airguns such as the Crosman American Classic, You can pump multiple
times. Building up more pressure resulting in more power relative to your needs.
These airguns are very popular due to their ability to allow the use of magazines, and no need
to cock a heavy spring or pump.
This type of airgun is powered by a Co cartridge (such as a 12g or 88g capsule).
The liquid Co2 from the capsule is released into an evaporation chamber inside the gun,
where it is turned into a gas.
Every time you pull the trigger (with a semi-automatic. Else you need to cock the hammer
first), a small amount is released into the barrel propelling the pellet.
Pre-compressed airguns (PCP)
These guns are very popular and known for their high power, accurate and recoil free
A refillable air reservoir is used to power the gun.
Depending on the reservoir size and pressure, the reservoirs can be refilled using a compressor, pump or via a refillable air cylinder.
When you pull the trigger, the hammer/striker is released and hits the plunger which releases
a certain amount of air into the system, propelling the pellet without any recoil.
In some cases, a regulator is used to control the flow of the air and to ensure that there is a
constant air pressure.
An example of this, would be the FX Boss. Thanks to its regulator, it can provide 48 consistent shots from a 250 bar fill.
Because this type of airgun can offer much higher power outputs, you will find out that most higher calibers are within this class.