The design and principle of operation of the air gun


Today, every citizen of the Russian Federation who is 18 years old can buy pneumatic weapons with a caliber of 4.5 mm. People use pistols for basic shooting skills, entertainment. Some seriously train for participation in sports competitions. Understanding how an air gun works is helpful in choosing the best device for the job. Each design has its own advantages and disadvantages.

Basic blocks of the technical solution

The device of an air pistol as a whole repeats the solutions used in firearms. It has all the functional parts and assemblies familiar to gunsmiths.

Impact mechanism

This node is responsible for exhaust valve opening. At the moment when the user presses the trigger, the mainspring is released. It transmits the force through the plate and screw rod to the exhaust valve. It opens, air is supplied to the bullet ejection area and the air gun fires.

Air pistol device

trigger block

The trigger mechanism is responsible for keeping the pistol ready to fire. There are a number of technical solutions.

  1. Single mechanicswhen you need to manually cock the hammer before firing. This is a familiar algorithm for pneumatics with a drum, a revolving cam mechanism.
  2. double action, classical mechanics of a self-cocking pistol. After the shot is fired, the trigger is placed on the firing position until the trigger returns to the neutral position.
  3. combined actionwith manual and automatic cocking mechanics.

Important! For the double action trigger there is a modification of the mechanics of operation. It is used by automatic air pistols. In them, the trigger does not need to be moved to the neutral position. The next shot is fired immediately after the air pressure cocks the mainspring of the percussion mechanism.

Air metering system

In all pneumatic guns, air is supplied to the working chamber in portions. This is implemented in various ways. The simplest one is opening the valve when the trigger is struck. As air is supplied and pressure increases, the valve closes. The amount of gas is regulated by the tension of the exhaust circuit spring.

AT pre-pumping systems the feed circuit includes a gearbox. Due to the high pressure of the air supply in the cylinder, a different amount of air can enter the working chamber during firing. The gearbox stabilizes the feed. This is done by ensuring a stable pressure in the outlet path.

Air metering system

Locking unit

The task of the locking unit is to barrel and bolt sealing. This prevents gas leaks and ensures that all pressure is used to accelerate the bullet. Depending on the type of pistol, the technical implementation schemes differ from each other. So, in piston models, sealing is provided by the contact of the receiver and the body seal. In gas-cylinder systems, retractable bushings of the dispenser assembly or a shifting barrel tube are used.

Charge feed unit

The charge supply unit is, roughly speaking, a store. He can be:

  • drum type with a capacity of up to 12 bullets;
  • linear design in the form of a plate with slots, moving horizontally or vertically;
  • pistol type with gravitational supply of bullets by the force of spring deployment.

Important! Single-shot pistols do not use a magazine. The charge is placed directly into the socket of the receiver.



The last important functional part of an airgun is the barrel. In frankly cheap models, it is done hard plastic. Such a solution is short-lived. The tube is quickly stretched by the bullets, resulting in a loss of pressure. In more reliable pistols, the barrel is made stainless steel. In models using balls, it is smooth. Pistols firing lead bullets always have a rifled barrel. This increases the accuracy of the battle and the repeatability of the parameters of the shot.

Pressure generating system

It is time to consider the main functional part of any air pistol. This is a system for creating air pressure to transmit momentum to the bullet. The principle of operation of the air gun depends on the applied inflation solution.

Gas balloon

Gas-balloon, or CO2 pneumatics — the most popular class of pistols among users. They are powered by compressed air canisters. Most manufacturers use a capacity format familiar from the times of the USSR. Such cartridges were inserted into household siphons for carbonating water. Individual brands offer their own unique solutions. Their cartridges contain oil to increase the life of a wide variety of seals and springs in pistol construction. Special sealing schemes are implemented to reduce parasitic gas leaks.

Gas-balloon pistols have a lot of advantages: the container is simply installed, the feed control system works according to the standard scheme, and the stability of the shooting parameters is ensured. Before a significant drop in pressure in the inlet tract, the gun can make a large number of shots. The usual value for low-cost systems is 20. More reliable ones provide up to 30 shots, at which the bullet accelerates to its nominal speed.

LPG pistol

Important! LPG systems are exposed to the environment. The pressure in the cylinder drops at low temperatures, the bullet may not accelerate. In the heat, on the contrary, the mechanics experience excessive loads.

In addition, a pistol loaded with a balloon not recommended for long term storage. Pressurized seals deform and gas leaks increase over time. In practice, the installed cartridge loses its characteristics 2-3 days after installation.

Gas-cylinder pneumatics provides a bullet exit speed from 100 m/s for lead charges and from 120 m/s for metal balls. The upper limit is limited by the pressure parameters in the gas container and usually cannot be more than 240 m/s.

The simplicity of the technical solution and the relatively high stability of the gas supply parameters enable engineers to implement a variety of interesting schemes for the operation of pistols of this type.

  1. Automatic firing.
  2. The recoil simulation system, the movement of the bolt carrier when fired.
  3. Removal from the fuse by juggling the frame for models with a movable shutter.

The short range of aimed combat, the relatively modest number of shots with stable characteristics, the influence of the weather — all this placed gas-balloon pistols in entertainment segment. However, due to the sufficiently high power, such devices can be used for self-defense.

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Spring-piston systems are the easiest to understand. To create pressure, a reservoir with a movable piston is used. The movement of the latter is carried out by the muscular effort of the user, most often when breaking the frame of the gun. Such a technical solution is well known to those who learned to shoot in shooting ranges of the times of the USSR.

Today for cocking the piston is used special lever in the design of the gun. The shot is made according to the classical scheme. When the trigger is pressed, the trigger releases the piston. Moving forward, it creates air compression in the chamber and ejects the bullet through the barrel.

Spring piston gun

The latest generation models use gas spring solution. It makes it possible to transfer a significant force to the piston. Without increasing the stroke, this allows a noticeably higher pressure to be generated than was observed with the classic metal spring.

Spring-piston pistols are fired with lead bullets at a rifled barrel. Projectile speed varies from 110 to 160 m/s. Pistols are single-shot, have the stability of the parameters of each shot and can be successfully used in sports shooting at short distances.

Important! The classic spring-piston design has a significant lack of performance. When the piston moves at the extreme point of its trajectory, shock loads are formed on the gun body. Therefore, it is not recommended to put a collimator sight or other thin devices on it. They will simply break or decalibrate during operation.

The problem of arising impacts during the operation of the spring-piston structure is solved by its balancing system. When it is used, the pusher is forced to brake. As a result, complex body kits can be installed on the pistol. But a balanced system shows some drop in bullet velocity and muzzle power.

Compression and multicompression

The principle of operation of compression pistols is quite simple.

  1. The user retracts the lever on the housing.
  2. The piston is cocked and pressure is created in the working chamber.
  3. When the trigger is pressed, the trigger releases the exhaust valve.
  4. The piston is released when the pressures in the inlet and working chambers equalize.
  5. The piston returns to its original position.

Multi compression

Due to the fact that the reverse movement of the pusher occurs almost simultaneously with the exit of the bullet from the barrel, there is no recoil when fired from a compression pistol. Since the volume of air in the working chamber is always the same, each shot shows stable parameters. Pistols of this type are single-shot.

Multi-compression scheme works on an improved algorithm. Here, when the lever moves, the piston pumps air through the inlet valve into the working chamber. You can do multiple compressions. Each of them will increase the working pressure and accordingly increase the speed of the bullet and its energy.

Important! With the classic multi-compression scheme, one shot is fired. The advanced solution includes a system of metered air supply from the working chamber. As a result, several shots can be fired from one injection volume.


Pre-pumping systems as air source using a cylinder, usually underbarrel, with a working pressure of up to 300 atmospheres. The gas supply is dosed, occurs with the same parameters set by the reducer. With an impressive amount of air in the cylinder, such an implementation scheme allows you to get a large number of shots with stable bullet movement characteristics. Otherwise, the principle of operation of the trigger mechanics is no different from other types of pistols.

Pre-inflating gun

Advice! You can replenish the gas supply in the cylinder from another high pressure tank. Manufacturers offer convenient solutions in the form of manual or electric pumps. Both ordinary air and nitrogen can be used as a working fluid.

The main advantage of pre-pumping systems is the huge speed of the bullet at the exit from the barrel. The numbers start at 280 m/s. Average pistols are capable of showing up to 300-330 m / s. The nominal upper limit of bullet speed is 350 m/s. One volume of a high-pressure cylinder is enough for an average of 20 shots with stable parameters.

As a conclusion

The last type of air pistols today has been transformed into devices of a different category. it cartridge pumping systems. They work on the principle of pressurizing gas into the case, followed by a strike of the firing pin on the primer, which releases the exit valve and pushes the bullet through the barrel. Today, such solutions are not common. Offered pistols on the Flaubert cartridge.

Important! In essence, solutions for such ammunition have become low-power firearms. With a caliber of 4 mm and negligible bullet energy, they are sold without the need to obtain a permit to use.

The principle of operation of the cartridge is very simple: it contains little gunpowder. Therefore, when it is ignited, the mechanics of pumping the cartridge with gas is formed, followed by the ejection of the bullet through the barrel. The weapon sounds loud and looks solid. However, the cost of Flaubert cartridge pistols is high, as is the price tag for ammunition.

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