Let us first understand what is an air rifle or an air gun is. By definition, an air gun is a gun that fires pellets using the compression force of air or any other gases without the use of any chemical reaction inside the weapon. The velocity of the pellets coming from an air gun can have a pace of anything between a few hundred feet per second to around 1200 feet per second compared to 0.220 Swift rifle cartridge having a muzzle velocity of approximately 4,665 feet per second.
It is now clear that the air rifles are not that powerful, keeping in mind \\\the pellets and low muzzle velocity. Now, let us discuss if an air rifle can be used effectively for home defence.
What do we mean by the home defense?
It means that God forbid, if an intruder breaks in our cause causing a potential danger to our lives and our belongings, we should be able to dominate over the person or a group of persons until help arrives. And the domination not always needs to be fatal. Since we have a gun in our hands, it doesn’t mean we need to use it every time. Confrontation is the first thing we must resort to, keeping the usage of firearms as low as possible.
Subduing is the best option you have at that time, keeping in mind the fact that we cannot take someone’s life until we are left with no other choice.
How effective is an air rifle?
Air rifles are used all over the globe for hunting and practicing purposes. In some countries, air guns with a muzzle velocity less than a fixed limit don’t even require a license because of its harmless bullets, just like any other home appliance. Many sports all over the globe use air guns for shooting. Even in the Olympics, there are separate categories for air rifles and air pistol competitions. In terms of range, a pellet from an air gun can cover a distance between less than a hundred yards to approximately 400 yards, depending on the gun.
Combining all factors, it can be deduced with examples in the past that the majority of air rifles are non-lethal. They are enough to kill small animals like deer or rabbits from a close range but almost impossible to kill an adult human. That gives you the power to handle the adverse situation by causing some injuries to the person.
But being non-lethal doesn’t mean air rifles cannot be used for home defense.
- Holding a gun in front of the intruder can scare him to the core. A pair of untrained eyes can never differentiate between a lethal and a non-lethal weapon. The shape of the rifle gun with a few vague shots in the air will be more than enough to get him under control until help arrives.
- As told earlier, a majority of air rifles are non-lethal. What we haven’t discussed till now is some air rifles like the Air Force Texan Scope Combo are indeed lethal enough to take someone’s life. Other powerful air guns might not fire pellets strong enough to penetrate the skull, but it might cause a hole in the lungs or heart if fired accurately.
Now considering you are holding a non-lethal weapon in front of an unknown, you can face one of the two consequences:
- Either the person will surrender himself fearing his life. We know that your rifle is not able to do any harm to his body, maybe create skin injury, or in the worst case, the tissues under the skin may get damaged a bit. But that’s it. Your edge in the situation is that the fact that your rifle is harmless is only known to you, and he might not take a step forward apprehending the other. The next job is to hand him over to the police as they arrive, and bingo, you are safe!
- Faced against an armed enemy, he or she might charge against you and attempts to take your life to save his own, entirely ignorant of the fact that the gun you hold poses a minimum threat to your life. In that case, your firearm is now as good as nothing, unless you are a pro at shooting and your pellet hits a delicate spot on the opponent’s body and makes him collapse immediately causing tremendous damage, if not death. And if you are not so much acquainted with the trigger, you need to rely on whatever you have near you against an enemy who must have something like a knife with him or her.
Now, we have a clear scenario in front of us: someone has broken in our house intending to steal valuables and may possess a knife or something like that with him. We have an air gun with us with muzzle velocity near the floor value of the range, we do not have proper training and skills to make a perfect shot that can give fatal injuries to the opponent. In such a case, it is better not to disturb your air gun because of the second consequence described above.
If you have an air gun with high muzzle velocity and are well-trained, you can put your firearm to use. But always remember one thing, holding a gun doesn’t give us the power to take someone’s life. Shooting someone fatally should be the last option we resort to when our lives are put at stake. Confrontation and firing a few shots at the ceiling should be the best thing you can do to make him aware of the severe consequences he can have if he takes any adverse step.
Last but not the least, owning a gun increases your responsibilities by many folds. Any awkward step might cause someone severe damage to one or multiple organs if not death. So, gauge the situation and decide accordingly what to do, keeping in mind the capacity of your rifle before taking an impromptu step.