13 Most Know Air Gun Safety Tips

13 Air gun safety Tips

It doesn’t matter how many times you’ve fired an air gun in the past, you need to know these 13 air gun safety tips. By ignoring safety rules, you’re putting not only yourself at risk but for anyone else around you as well. Remember, you can sustain serious injuries, sometimes even fatal ones, from an air gun, even though it’s not classified as a traditional firearm (at least not in every US state). Knowing all that, what are some air gun safety tips to follow when operating your gun?

To use your air gun safely each time, follow these tips:

  • Treat your air gun like a firearm
  • Don’t carry your air gun in public
  • Avoid the use of drugs and/or alcohol when firing an air gun
  • Always be prepared for what happens if you miss the target
  • Leave your air gun unloaded when you’re not using it
  • Wear protective equipment, such as goggles or shatterproof eyeglasses
  • Use hearing protection when shooting
  • Keep the air gun and its pellets away from children 
  • Don’t ever point the air gun at a person 
  • Ensure the muzzle remains unobstructed
  • Don’t use anything besides air gun pellets for your gun
  • Avoid firing at water and hard surfaces, as you could cause ricochet
  • Know how your air gun works inside and out

In this article, we will expand on each of the above air gun safety tips, providing you with more information so you can always fire safely. Whether you’re new to air guns or you’re a seasoned shooter, it’s worth it to take some time to read and internalize these safety tips.

13 Air Gun Safety Tips to Know

Treat Your Air Gun Like a Firearm, Not a Toy

If you own a firearm, you treat it with respect. You’d never mimic firing it like it’s a toy gun because you know it’s a deadly weapon. The same sort of respect must be extended to your air gun, too. 

Although it’s not technically a firearm in the traditional sense, that’s not the case according to all state laws. For example, in New Jersey, air guns are classified as firearms just as a handgun or rifle would be. The state’s firearms laws are enforceable for air gun use as well.

Even if you live in a state in which air guns are not counted as firearms, don’t be lax. Like a firearm, an air gun is a potentially deadly weapon. You can cause serious damage to yourself or someone else by misusing the air gun, something we’ve written about on this blog. In some cases, these accidents can even be fatal. 

Never play around with your air gun. There’s nothing wrong with showing it off to another gun enthusiast, but treat it like the weapon it is. 

Don’t Use Your Air Gun in Public

The only time your air gun should leave the house is if you’re taking it a range where you’re allowed to fire it. Otherwise, leave it on your property. 

There are several issues associated with bringing your air gun to a public space. For one, it very well may not be legal where you live. If you get caught with the air gun by police, you could face criminal penalties. 

Keeping your air gun at home can also save your life. Air guns tend to look a lot like traditional firearms. In the heat of the moment, it’s very hard to tell an air gun from a handgun or an air rifle from a real rifle. Whether it’s a civilian or a police officer, if they feel threatened because they see your air gun, they could fatally shoot you in self-defense. It’s just better not to chance it. 

Avoid the Use of Drugs and/or Alcohol When Firing an Air Gun

This may seem like one of the simpler air gun safety tips but before you decide to do some shooting with your air gun, it’s ideal if you’re of clear mind and body.

If you’re feeling fatigued, ill, or otherwise off, we wouldn’t even recommend using the gun that day. Your accuracy could suffer, which puts you more at a greater likelihood of causing damage. 

Using substances that can affect your mental and physical clarity­–such as drugs and/or alcohol–and then picking up any kind of gun is a horrible idea. We really can’t stress this enough.

These substances affect your logic, your focus, and your clarity. Physically, you may feel unsteady on your feet, heavy, fuzzy, foggy, or otherwise not at your best. 

As we’re sure you can imagine, firing in such a state is very hazardous. You’re a danger to yourself and anyone around you. 

When we say drugs, by the way, we don’t necessarily mean illegal substances. Obviously, taking those would be extremely detrimental and possibly lead to your arrest, but even prescription and over-the-counter medications can affect your shooting.

From cold medicine to allergy pills, if the meds cause issues with balance or make you drowsy, then don’t fire your air gun until you’re done with the medication. 

Always Be Prepared for What Happens If You Miss the Target

You’re not a perfect shot, and that’s okay. No one is. Since you can’t expect complete accurate when firing with your air gun, your pellets may fire in an unintended direction.  

For that reason, another one of our air gun safety tips is you need to know what lies beyond your target. For instance, let’s say you’re firing your air gun in your backyard. You have some targets set up that you intend to hit. Past them, there’s your house, where you could break windows or ding the exterior.

You also have to account for animals like birds, squirrels, even rabbits. While you can’t predict when and where these critters may pop up, if you know they may be there, then it’s worthwhile to angle your shooting somewhat to avoid them. Well, unless you’re hunting game. 

You never want to fire when someone can come outside unexpectedly. For instance, if you do shoot your air gun in your backyard, then tell your family to stay indoors until you’re done. Make sure your pellets can’t hit any motorists or passersby in the street and that you’re at no risk of firing onto your neighbor’s property, either. 

Leave Your Air Gun Unloaded When Not in Use

While storage of your air gun is paramount (and something we’ll talk about a little later in this article), even keeping your air gun out of sight does not give you a license to leave it loaded. Let’s say someone got their hands on your gun. It could be a child or an adult. 

The chances of injury and death go up so much more if your air gun is still loaded upon discovery. By unloading it, it’s still a bad scenario if someone finds it, but it’s far less so. The gun cannot shoot pellets without any loaded in.

To ensure your air gun is ready for storage, you want to take the clip off, remove any pellets from the gun’s chamber, and then un-cock the gun. You can then put it away with peace of mind.  

Wear Protective Equipment for Your Eyes

Air guns rely on compressed air or gas to propel the pellet out of the gun. When shooting, your air gun could release debris that may get near or in your face, especially your eyes. So this air gun safety tip is it’s always best to be safe than sorry with protective eyewear. 

Whether you opt for goggles or eyeglasses, you want the shatterproof variety that can withstand the impact of high-flying debris and/or a fast-moving air gun pellet.

You should wear these goggles each and every time you use your air gun, whether you’re casually firing at home in your backyard or you’re at a shooting range. If you see other air gun users without shatterproof glasses or goggles, recommend they wear them, too. Feel free to pass on these air gun safety tips to them. 

Use Hearing Protection as Well

Besides protecting your eyes, it’s ideal that you also safeguard your ears. We wrote about how air guns generate noise when you use them. This may be at a range of 74 to 90 decibels and sometimes even louder. After all, this 2016 report published in the International Journal of Audiology notes how some air rifles could make noise at a rate of around 120 decibels.

How loud is 74 decibels? Well, a running vacuum cleaner is 70 decibels even and music played in your living room may be about 76 decibels. While 74 decibels and up can irritate your ears, it’s unlikely to cause hearing damage.

Once you get to 90 decibels, if you’re exposed to the sound for more than eight hours, now you could possibly get hearing damage. Noise equivalents include a running newspaper press at 97 decibels, a motorcycle from 25 feet at 90 decibels, and a running power mower at 96 decibels.

Up at 120 decibels, your ears will begin to hurt. Compared to an air gun at 70 decibels, one that’s 120 decibels is 32 times louder. An oxygen torch emits noise at a rate of 120 decibels, as does a chainsaw. 

As you can see, you can’t afford to mess around when firing an air gun regularly. Protect your ears; you’ll be glad you did! 

Know Where You’re Pointing Your Gun

Earlier in this article about air gun safety tips, we mentioned how you shouldn’t use your air gun as a toy. In a similar vein, you also want to be very careful about how and where you aim it when the gun is loaded.

You have to always remember it’s a weapon. Although you may be the one who pulls the trigger, all it would take is the air gun slipping from your hands and it could accidentally fire. If you have someone near you, what happens then?

They could end up severely injured or even dead because of this small slip-up. Never point your gun near another person then, even if it’s in a joking manner.

This prevents misfires like the above that could result in unnecessary death. Also, you never know how threatened you could make someone else feel, who might then be inclined to defend themselves like we talked about before. 

Even if your air gun is unloaded, don’t point it towards another person. Keep it pointed down or focused on your targets only. 

Store Your Air Gun Somewhere Secure

We just wrote a great, in-depth post about where to store your air gun. If you happened to miss it, we recommend you go back and check it out. In that post, we talked about using storage options like a gun cabinet, a gun stand, or a rifle bag. Each has its pros and cons, which we also outlined in the article. 

If you have children in the house, then we don’t suggest something like a gun stand or a rifle bag at that point. Those options leave your gun way too susceptible to getting into the wrong hands. For instance, with a gun stand, your air gun is just right there, front and center, easily able to be grabbed by curious children. Rifle bags only have a zipper, which most children can open with little difficulty. 

Not only do you need your air gun in a gun cabinet or a similar storage option, but make sure it’s locked, too. Whether you use a locker with a combination, a padlock with a keypad, or a traditional lock and key system, getting into your gun cabinet should not be as simple as opening the door. 

Keep the Air Gun Muzzle Unobstructed

Another one of our great air gun safety tips is while you shouldn’t ever aim your air gun towards another person, you also don’t want it too close to the ground, either.

When the muzzle of your air gun connects with the ground, there’s a good chance dirt and other debris can get inside. This clogs up the muzzle and makes your air gun dangerous to fire. 

If your muzzle is obstructed, you must unload the gun per the instructions above and attempt to clean the muzzle. Even this can be risky, so it’s much better to keep the muzzle clear and clean to begin with. 

Only Use Air Gun Pellets for the Gun

Here’s something else we’ve discussed before on the blog. Air guns take pellets. These are projectiles that come in different shapes and styles, among them the slug pellet and the wasp waist pellet, also known as the diabolo pellet.

You can also buy air gun pellets in a variety of materials, with soft lead alloy one of the most popular today. 

While you have lots of options then for your style, sizing, and material of air gun pellet, you should still only use these pellets for your air gun. Don’t put anything else in the gun. Yes, that goes for BB pellets, as BB guns are not air guns. 

When you use the wrong type of projectile for your air gun, the internal mechanisms of the gun can break, sometimes irreparably. There’s also the possibility of internal, perhaps even external combustions. You could end up very seriously hurt, plus, you could ruin your air gun as well. 

Speaking of air gun pellets, if you have children, then don’t leave the pellets loose around the house. That goes for any other ammunition you might use for other types of guns as well. These bullets or pellets are choking hazards, so store them out of sight. 

Avoid Causing Ricochet

Ricochet is the act of a projectile rebounding, often several times, after being fired at a hard surface. This rebounding or bouncing is unpredictable, which is what makes it so perilous. The pellet might not go very far, but then again, it could.

At least when you’re firing your air gun, you have a good idea of the distance the pellet will travel. This lets you avoid people and property. There’s no promise you can do that with a ricocheting pellet. Read more about setting up a safe environment in your own back yard for target practice.

Luckily, it’s easy enough to prevent ricochet. You never want to aim your air gun directly at a hard surface, such as concrete, marble, hardwood, asphalt, or the like. You also want to avoid firing at water, as the air gun pellet can again bounce and travel wildly.

Master Your Air Gun 

The last of our air gun safety tips is something you should do anyway, with the added bonus that you could consider it a safety precaution. That is, you should know your air gun inside and out. There shouldn’t be a component of the gun that remains a mystery to you. 

Not only does this innate knowledge of your air gun make you a smarter and safer shooter, but you also get a very good feel for how the air gun operates when everything is fine. This way, should anything go wrong, you will know right away. You can then discontinue shooting and address the issue at much less risk to yourself and anyone else around you.

Knowing your air gun also makes you more comfortable with it, which can reduce unnecessary mistakes that could also cause injury. Don’t just have a passing knowledge of your air gun then, but be a master of it. 


The 13 air gun safety tips in this article will help you avoid injuries and unnecessary deaths, both to yourself and your family, friends, and fellow air gun enthusiasts. Keep these tips in the back of your mind every time you pick up your air gun and you’ll be in good shape. Best of luck! 

Recent Posts