Types of calibers for airguns

Today we are going to talk about the most common calibers used by compressed air pistols or weapons, then we will indicate the calibers and their most common uses.

Caliber .177 or 4.5mm

This gauge is the most common. It is the standard designated by the International Federation of Sport Shooting for use in international target shooting competitions at distances of 10m and Olympic level in both rifle and pistol events.

In the same way, and keeping the ISSF standard, the organizers of regional or domestic shooting events opt for the caliber .177 or 4.5mm for the respective target shooting events.

It has the flattest trajectory of all gauges for a given energy level, simplifying accuracy. At proper energy levels, it can be used effectively for hunting.


.22 (5.5mm and 5.6mm):

This caliber is for hunting and general use. In recent years, the use of air rifles and 0.22 “pistols and some other calibers for both national and international target shooting has been allowed in events that are not governed by the ISSF.

Especially in FT / HFT and Smallbore Benchrest competitions. These events often allow the use of any caliber air pistol, up to a maximum which is typically .22 “, rather than a fixed caliber.

Although the two calibers mentioned above are the most used, the following also exist:

  • .20 (5mm) – Initially owned by the Sheridan multi-pump air rifle, which later became more widely used.
  • 0.25 (6.35mm) – The largest gauge commonly available for most of the 20th century.
  • .30 (7.62mm) – largest currently available for non-PCP air pistols
  • It is important to also mention that major manufacturers offer larger caliber air rifles suitable for hunting large animals.

The main gauges available are:

  • .357 (9mm)
  • .45 (11.43 mm)
  • 0.50 (12.7 mm)
  • 0.58 (14.5mm)

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