Best Air Rifles for Self Defense

Best Air Rifles and Pistols for Self Defense of 2024


Mathew R Reed
November 1, 2022

Air rifles are more suited for plinking, hunting (small, medium, and large game) or target shooting. They are not so ideal for self-defense although they can save the day when you find yourself in a situation where you need to protect your loved ones from an intruder and all you got is an air rifle. In such a situation, the pros outdo the cons of firing the air rifle on the intruder. It will at least render them immobile for a while, while you and your loved ones flee.

You can also decide to use an air rifle for self-defense, to avoid buying expensive guns and the fear of owning a real gun. Air rifles are accurate, high powered, have a lightweight, and are not as lethal as the real tactical guns.

Before thinking of purchasing an air rifle for defense purposes, see below the things you need to keep in mind;

  • Legal requirement– laws about weapons differ from one state or country to another. Find out whether your state allows air rifles and whether you require a license or not.
  • Features– compare the different types of air rifles in order to be able to choose one that fits your purpose well.
  • Ease of use– always remember that with weapons, the more complex the features are the more the cost of maintenance. It will also depend on your level of expertise whether you can handle a complex air rifle.
  • Safety- you are purchasing an air rifle to protect your loved ones. That’s okay however, how safe will your loved ones be around the weapon? Does it have safety features and how will you be storing it? Answer the questions to avoid posing a danger to the people you wish to keep safe.

Best Air Rifles and Air Pistols for Self Defense Comprehensive Reviews

GLOCK 19 Gen3 .177 Caliber BB Gun Air Pistol

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Glock 19 air pistol is ideal for versatile roles such as self-defense because it has reduced dimensions compared to the standard sized option. It is compact, handy, and full of power. It has a small length of 7.25 inches and fires .177 caliber steel BBs with a muzzle velocity of up to 410 FPS, and a weight of 25.6 ounces.

The pistol as one of the best air rifles for self defense features textured grips which make it easy to grip, aim and practice magazine reloading drills. The drop-free magazine is durable and can be loaded with up to 15 steel BBs. This Glock pistol is safe for self-defense as it contains an integrated push-button and trigger blade safety that ensures safe handling and storage.


  • Powered by a 12-gram CO2 cartridge
  • Textured grip
  • Integrated weaver rail allows easy mounting of accessories
  • Fixed Glock-style sights and officially licensed Glock markings
  • CO2 Allen key housed in the backstrap
  • 15-round drop-free magazine


  • Overall Length: 7.25 in
  • Caliber: .177 Cal BBs
  • Velocity:450 fps
  • Barrel Length: 4.25 in
  • Weight: 1.60 lbs.

Crosman CCP8B2 Vigilante 

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CO2-powered Crosman Vigilante is a semi-automatic revolver that provides a modern take on classic revolver styling with a comfortable finger-groove grip design. It features a full metal frame, single or double action shooting with a 6-inch rifled steel barrel. It keeps you on target with an adjustable rear sight and has a 10-round .177-caliber pellet clip and a 6-round clip for Crosman Copperhead BB’s.

The vigilante is powered by a 12-gram CO2 cartridge and delivers pellets up to 435 fps and BBs up to 465 fps.


  • Full metal frame with single or double action
  • 12-gram co2 cartridge delivers speeds up to 435 fps
  • 10-Round .177-caliber rotary pellet clip
  • 6-round 4.5mm rotary BB clip
  • Fixed blade front sight and adjustable rear sight


  • Caliber: .177
  • Magazine: Rotary
  • Safety: Hammer block
  • Trigger: Single/ double
  • Powerplant: CO2

Umarex SA10 .177 Caliber Pellet or BB Gun Air Pistol 

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Umarex SA10 gun is a unique pistol with a slide that is ported on the sides to reveal a gold-look barrel that matches the gold breech block. It has an under-muzzle accessory rail and tactical sights that round out the pistol and has a threaded muzzle to accept a faux suppressor for an ultra-cool look. Having been built with fully functioning blowback action, the SA10 has an all-metal slide with a sleek and modern black and gold color scheme. The slide physically moves with every shot fired.

Dual ammo Umarex SA10 has a rifled barrel and fires either BBs or pellets up to 420 feet per second with extreme accuracy. Its drop-free magazine holds both the 12-gram CO2 capsule and an 8 round rotary clip with three additional clips that make fast target shooting more fun.


  • Dual ammo: Shoots either.177 caliber steel BBs or .177 caliber pellets
  • Realistic Blowback Action
  • 8 Round Magazine
  • Powered by a 12-gram CO2 cartridge
  • Features an integrated accessory rail and tactical sights


  • Maximum velocity: 420 FPS.
  • Caliber: .177
  • Weight: 2.05 Lbs.
  • Overall length: 9.25”

Crosman SNR357 .177-Caliber Pellet/4.5 MM BB CO2-Powered Snub Nose Revolver 

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With just the right amount of power required for self-defense, the Crosman SNR357 has a sleek black, full metal body. The double-action, semi-automatic snub nose revolver is powered by a 12-gram CO2 cartridge and has dual ammo capabilities that fire BBs up to 400 fps and .177 caliber pellets up to 500 fps. It features a realistic 6-shot swing-out cartridge cylinder, removable ergonomic grip panel for easy CO2 replacement, fixed blade front sight and adjustable rear sight, silver trigger with hammer and cylinder release switch, and slide safety.

The pistol as one of the best air rifles for self defense has 6 BB and 6 pellet cartridges included making it the ultimate backyard target pistol.


  • Sleek black, heavy-weight, full-metal body
  • Fueled by a 12-gram CO2 cartridge
  • Compatible with .177 caliber pellets or steel BBs
  • Includes 6 reusable BB cartridges and 6 reusable pellet cartridges
  • Slide safety ensures safe and proper handling


  • Velocity: 400 fps
  • Caliber: .177
  • Barrel style: Smoothbore
  • Action: Revolver
  • Weight: 1.92 Lbs.
  • Barrel length: 2.50
  • Overall length: 6.75 inches

Umarex 2252109 Brodax Air Pistol .177 BB

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Umarex 2252109 as one of the best air rifles for self defense features a sleek, vented barrel housing as well as integrated Picatinny accessory mounts that make it easy to add optics, lasers or lights. It has a lightweight polymer frame and rotary magazine that holds 10 rounds of .177 caliber steel BBs. Two extra magazines are included in this package.


  • Built using a durable polymer frame with metal internal parts
  • 10 round rotary magazine
  • Powered by a 12-gram CO2 cartridge
  • Shoots .177 caliber steel BBs at up to 375 fps
  • Lightweight and stylish


  • Caliber: .177
  • Magazine: Rotary
  • Velocity: 380 fps
  • Ammo type: BB
  • Power plant: CO2

DPMS Full Auto SBR CO2-Powered BB Air Rifle with Dual Action Capability 

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DPMS Full Auto air rifle fires BBs at 430 feet per second (fps). The rifle is powered by two 12-gram CO₂ cartridges housed in the 25-round magazine. It allows you to choose between semi and full auto capability and features a genuine real-feel. Additionally, it comes with a 6-point adjustable rear stock, moveable angled foregrip, and Quad rail to allow easy mounting of flashlights, lasers, and other accessories.

The DPMS Full Auto air rifle fires comes with a thumb-selector style safety for proper and safe handling, Red Dot sight, removable pop-up sights, and an adjustable rear sight.


  • Durable synthetic design
  • Adjustable 6 position buttstock
  • 25 round drop out magazine
  • Up to 1400 rounds per minute
  • Compatible with traditional 4.5 mm steel BBs
  • Removable pop-up sight and adjustable rear sight


  • Caliber: BB
  • Power plant: CO2
  • Weight: 6.21Lbs
  • Length: 25.6 in
  • Barrel: steel
  • Velocity: up to 430 fps
  • Stock Style: Adjustable

Gamo 611006325554 Whisper Fusion Mach 1 Air Rifle .22 Cal

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Gamo Whisper Fusion Mach 1 features the most powerful gas piston from Gamo as well as whisper technology, which is an integrated noise and muzzle blast reducer molded over the barrel, making it the quietest air rifle. It has a monster 33-millimeter cylinder that delivers more Velocity of up to 1020 fps and Terminal Penetration, as well as smooth and consistent cocking efforts with constant power delivered to any pellet you fire. The two technologies combined make this rifle quiet, powerful, and accurate.

The Gamo Whisper air rifle is equipped with a Gamo 3-9×40 scope and a synthetic stock that has a comfortable, ambidextrous cheekpiece. The CAT (Custom Action Trigger) allows you to adjust the 1st and 2nd stage to your preference. In addition, it has the Recoil Reducing Rail (RRR) to absorb the recoil and reduce stress on the scope by close to 100%.


  • .22 Cal pellet single cocking break barrel, 1020 fps with PBA Platinum
  • 3-9×40 scope included
  • Automatic cocking safety system
  • 5-year warranty
  • Made in Spain


  • Weight: 8.00 lbs.
  • Length: 46.5 in
  • Trigger Pull: 3.74 lbs.
  • Barrel Length: 18 in
  • Ammunition (.177 cal.): Any .177 Pellet
  • Ammunition (for .22 cal.): Any .22 Pellet

Magnum Air Rifle

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Gamo Magnum air rifle features powerful IGT MACH 1 from Gamo, which has a gas piston and the 33 mm cylinder delivering velocities up to 1,650 fps in .177 Cal and 1,300 fps in .22 Cal. It is fixed with a Gamo 3-9×40 AO (adjustable objective) and the CAT (Custom Action Trigger), a two-stage adjustable trigger that provides a crisp, clean, and smooth trigger pull for improved accuracy. CAT allows you to adjust the first and second stage of the trigger independently, to your preference.

Magnum has the Recoil Reducing Rail (RRR) that absorbs the recoil and reduces the stress on the scope by almost 100%. It also has the synthetic thumbhole stock featuring a comfortable, ambidextrous cheekpiece.


  • 3-9X40 AO scope included
  • Reduced vibration
  • IGT Mach 1 technology
  • Muzzle Velocity 1300 FPS
  • 5 Year Warranty
  • Made in Spain


  • Weight: 6.88 lbs.
  • Length: 49.2 inches
  • Barrel Length: 21.3 inches
  • Cocking Effort: 41 lbs.

Crosman M4-177 Tactical Style Bolt Action Variable Pump .177-Caliber Pellet And BB Air Rifle 

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The Crosman M4-177 air rifle features an easy-to-use variable pump allowing you to control your power from 350 fps to 700 fps. It is suitable for everything from plinking to pest control. This rifle shoots BBs or .177-caliber pellets and comes with a dual-aperture rear sight and adjustable post front sight to help you stay on target. It also has a rifled steel barrel with crossbolt safety and adjustable stock to fit every shooter.


  • Durable, water resistant synthetic design
  • Variable control
  • Crossbolt safety ensures safe and proper handling
  • Adjustable stock
  • Includes 50 Copperhead BBs, 50 premium .177-caliber airgun pellets, 5 official airgun targets and Crosman safety glasses with high impact lenses
  • Windage and elevation adjustments


  • Caliber: .177
  • Power plant: Variable pump
  • Barrel type: Rifled
  • Action: Bolt
  • Magazine: Clip/ Reservoir
  • Mounting Rail: Picatinny

Sig Sauer MCX .177 CAL Co2 Powered (30 Rounds) SIG20R Red Dot Air Rifle, Black

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SIG Sauer air rifles are well known for quality standards and authentic materials. This CO2 powered SIG MCX Air Rifle delivers 30 rounds of rapid-firing, simulated SIG MCX performance and handling for more realistic, economical training and practice. It is compatible with .177 pellet and has features such as an 18″ rifled steel barrel, synthetic handguard, Picatinny rail, tactical front grip, Micro Red Dot Sight, flip-up front, and rear sights among others.


  • Rifled steel barrel
  • Patented 30-round magazine
  • Picatinny optics & accessory rail
  • Red Dot included
  • Chambered in .177 pellet


  • Model: SIG MCX ASP
  • Operating System: 90 Gram CO2
  • Caliber: .177 caliber
  • Muzzle Velocity: up to 700 fps
  • Trigger Weight: 7 lb. (31 N)
  • Stock Type: Synthetic
  • Overall Length: 34.75 in (883 mm)
  • Weight: 7.35 lb. (3 kg)

Best Air Rifles for Self Defense FAQs

Are air rifles good for self-defense?

Yes, air rifles can be used for self-defense or home protection among other uses.

What are air rifles good for?

Air rifles are used for small, medium, or large game hunting, pest control, plinking, and competitive shooting.

Are air rifles lethal?

When any weapon is used in the wrong manner, the results can be hurting or even lethal.


Air rifles can be very effective for self-defense especially when you need to scare intruders or animals. They are not as powerful as tactical rifles though.

Mathew R Reed

Mathew R Reed is a professional gun seller who runs a dedicated gun store in the suburbs of Oakland, CA. A hardcore hunting enthusiast since childhood, Reed has ample experience with guns and accessories. He is the founder of and creates some of the most helpful gun-buying guides and explainers. If not in the gun shop, you can find him on the nearest hiking trail or nearby hunting spot.