BB guns are prone to jamming when pellets get stuck in the barrel.
BB guns — also known as airsoft or pellet guns — are most commonly used for recreational target shooting and hunting small game. Unlike standard firearms, the guns fire BB pellets at short ranges. Although this ammunition is far less harmful than bullets — and these guns are justifiably perceived as safe — they still present some obvious safety issues.
The most obvious problem with BB guns is personal safety. BB guns are designed to look and fire in manner similar to real pistols. One of the many differences between the two gun types is that BB guns shoot pellets and plastic projectiles instead of bullets. The ammunition sometimes does damage. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, almost 20,000 patients were treated in hospital emergency rooms for non-powder gun injuries in 2005. Eye injuries are one of the most common hazards when dealing with BB guns.
BB guns aren’t classified as firearms in the United States. In most states you must be 18 or older to purchase one, but anyone of any age can legally use a BB gun; no permit or license is required.
Young children sometimes receive these guns — and become familiar with their function — at an early age. This is sometimes be beneficial, and sometimes hazardous. BB and airsoft guns are designed to look like real guns, and might be used in a robbery. Police might mistake a BB gun for a more powerful — and deadly — firearm.
A common problem associated with BB guns is jamming. This typically occurs when a BB pellet becomes lodged in the gun barrel, preventing it from firing. Another cause of gun jamming is much more easy to diagnose. If the gun won’t fire, check to make sure the safety is turned off.
If the gun fails to fire — and there are no signs of a BB jam — a number of issues could be the cause. Common malfunctions involve the battery and fuse. Most BB and airsoft guns come equipped with a rechargeable, nickel-metal hydride battery. The batteries must be unplugged from the gun when it is not in use, and charged appropriately. If a fuse on the gun blows, it might be the result of short circuiting.