Even the most powerful air pistols aren’t exactly deafening, but some can still reach 90dBA and beyond when fired, which is definitely loud enough to anger your neighbors.
No one wants to have to drive out to a secluded area in order to engage in a spot of target practice, nor do we want to have to acoustically treat our shooting space in order to enjoy a spot of plinking.
So, what can we do?
Well, the best way to keep air shooting to an absolute minimum is to choose a quiet air pistol, and after weeks of research, I’ve curated this comprehensive list of the quietest ones of all.
Let’s start and end your quest for a silent shooter right here, right now!
OUR TOP PICK
The most important facet of this hushed design is the spring-piston release mechanism.
There’s no explosive C02 or PCP involved. It’s all just kinetic energy built up by compressing and decompressing the spring.
You’ll hear a small, satisfying “thunk”, and that’s it — perfect for keeping the neighbors at bay.
Capable of firing pellets at 360 feet per second, the Browning is powerful enough for some serious plinking, yet the .177 rounds won’t travel fast enough to cause a sonic boom, keeping shots nice and quiet.
It’s a single shot, break barrel air pistol, so shots will be less constant, and thus less of a burden on others in your general area.
It’s not as balanced as some other more expensive air pistols, but the Buck mark is the only noise protocol you’ll need to live harmoniously with neighbors while keeping up on target practice.
- Spring-Piston - Way quieter than C02 and PCP.
- 360 FPS Shots - Nice balance of power and volume.
- Single Shot - No long barrages to anger your neighbors.
- Balance - Not as balanced as others.
Crosman makes fantastic affordable air pistols, and thanks to the PSM45’s spring-piston firing mechanism, it’s one of their quietest designs.
With the power to sling .177 BBs at roughly 190 feet per second, it’s not the most powerful option on the market by a long shot.
However, that also means it’s quieter than most pistols on the market too, and that, my friend, is exactly what we’re looking for.
Despite the moderate power rating, the PSM45 feels great in hand due to the metal slide and true-to-life weight.
The rest of the barrel is a synthetic construction, but on the whole, this air pistol is incredibly robust.
It’s not completely silent, but the spring system ensures that you’ll be able to spend a day in your backyard plinking without earning the ire of your neighbors or cohabitants.
I’d say it’s even quiet enough for some evening target practice in your room or garage — lovely! If you soundproof the room, even better.
- Spring-Piston - Quietest firing mechanism.
- 190 FPS Shot - Limited power means quieter shot.
- Price - So affordable you’ll be tempted to buy two and dual-wield.
- FPS - Probably not powerful enough for some.
- Break - Break isn’t too crisp, but you can’t sweat it at this price point.
I know what you’re thinking…“Aren’t pneumatics famously loud air pistols?” Well, yes, they are, but this one’s special.
The Crosman P13777 is a pneumatic pump air pistol, which means its power depends on how many times you pump it.
If you pump it to full power, it can fire .177 pellets up to 600 feet per second — that will be quite loud. However, if you only pump it a couple of times, you’ll end up with a weaker, quieter shot.
This customizable aspect of the P1377BR’s design means you can shoot quietly when necessary, but if you get the chance, you can also let off some steam with some no holds barred high-power target practice.
- Pump-Controlled - Variable velocity means controllable volume.
- 600 FPS Max - Enjoy power when you get the chance.
- Steel Barrel - Great look and feel.
- Pump Feel - Could be smoother, but it can be switched with a custom design.
RUNNER UP - Quietest CO2 Air Pistol
If you’re looking for silent shooting and slick style, the Brodax will definitely be a serious contender. It just looks so dang cool! But I digress. It’s also pretty dang quiet too.
Granted, it’s a C02 air pistol, so it’s got some sting to it in terms of volume, but compared to almost any other C02 pistol, the Brodax is whisper quiet.
As long as you’re not shooting all day every day, I’d say it’s definitely backyard-friendly.
It shoots .177 steel BBs up to 375 fps, which is pretty impressive considering the quiet performance, and it’s not fast enough to create any additional round-travel noise.
The internals are completely made of metal, built to handle some serious sessions, and with the 10-round rotary magazine, you’ll have some serious sessions indeed!
The external components are all made of high-quality, scratch-resistant plastic, so there’s no need to sweat the odd impact — the Brodax’s good looks are here to stay.
- Muted C02 - As quiet as C02 gets.
- 10-Round Rotary Mag - Enjoy ten shots before reloading.
- 375 FPS Shots - Not fast enough to cause a sonic boom.
- Volume - Not as quiet as spring-piston pistols.
RUNNER UP - Quietest PCP Air Pistol
This beast is so well-mannered in the volume department, the first time I used one, I thought it wasn’t working. It was working, it’s just really quiet and incredibly well-designed.
Of course, as a PCP design, it’s louder than a springer, but it’s way quieter than a lot of C02 options on the market.
Featuring an 8-round rotary magazine, you’re able to fire off 8 .22 alloy rounds at approximately 800 fps and lead rounds at 700 fps.
.22 is a much larger caliber than .177, so the fact it can still fire so fast is a testament to Woods Walker’s power.
Arriving with an adjustable 2-stage trigger, you can get the feel just how you like it and keep your breaks measured and deliberate.
It also comes with a shoulder stock and a multi-tac quick-aim sight, so you can shoot accurately right out the box! Benjamin also makes one of the quietest air rifle models we've reviewed too.
- Muted PCP - You won’t believe how quiet this pistol is; I didn’t.
- 8-Round Rotary Mag - Great for hunting small critters.
- 700-800 FPS - Exceedingly powerful, but not fast enough to cause sonic boom.
- 2-Stage Trigger - Facilitates more thoughtful shooting.
- Price - Quality doesn’t come for nothing.
- Dimensions - This is a BIG pistol.
Quietest Air Pistol Buying Guide
Before you can shop for a quiet air pistol, you’ll need to know what facets of their design are responsible for making the majority of the noise.
So, to fill you in on the details, I’ve composed this brief yet informative quiet air pistol buyer’s guide.
The most relevant aspect of air pistol design when it comes to shot volume is without a doubt the propulsion mechanism. These are the internal devices that manage the pressure used to fire your BBs or pellets.
When you pull the trigger, all their pent-up pressure is released in one explosive moment.
Your ammunition may not have the chemical propellant in them that real bullets do, but there’s still enough oomph in the release mechanism to create one hell of a racket.
There are currently three types of propulsion mechanism used to make air pistols and these are spring-piston, gas spring, and pre-charged pneumatic (PCP). But which of these air gun types is the quietest?
You may be happy to hear that the quietest of all the air pistols are also generally the most affordable, and they use the spring-piston mechanism.
Spring-Piston Air Pistols
Also referred to as spring guns or springers, spring-powered pistols contain a piston attached to a spring that sits ahead of a rear pressure chamber.
They have to be manually cocked in order to draw the piston backward, squeezing the spring into the compression chamber where it’s locked into place by the sear.
When you pull the trigger, the sear is disengaged and the spring decompresses in a single high-pressure movement, forcing the piston back forward, and firing the round.
As there is only a spring at work in these mechanisms, volume is kept to an absolute minimum. So, if you’re looking for an air pistol with a naturally quiet break, spring-piston is the only way to go.
Springers also tend to be exceedingly robust, reliable designs that require very little maintenance, which is always a bonus.
C02 Air Pistols
The second-quietest air pistols you can buy feature gas spring mechanisms. Don’t be fooled by the name; these air guns don’t actually contain a spring. They’re powered by compressed C02 with a direct connection to the piston.
When you depress the trigger, a burst of C02 is released, charging the piston forward, firing the shot.
This high-pressure gas purge is responsible for the majority of the sound you hear when firing an air pistol, and it’s far noisier than a simple spring-piston system.
Having said that, you shouldn’t discount C02 from your silent air pistol selection as they can be paired with a silencer for extremely quiet shooting.
Combined with a compatible silencer, your C02 air pistol is likely to be even quieter than a spring-piston design.
PCP Air Pistols
PCP pistols work in the exact same way as C02 air pistols except for the fact they use much higher pressure, which is great for accurate and consistent shooting, but a nightmare for the ears.
However, much like their C02 counterparts, they can be paired with a silencer to keep shot volume around spring-piston level.
The power of air guns is measured in foot-pounds (ft lbs). It states how much energy is required to move 1 pound by 1 foot.
The maximum power of an air pistol as established by law is 6ft lbs, but that’s not to say that all air pistols are anywhere near that powerful.
In this scenario, where we’re looking for the quietest air pistols around, less is definitely more.
Sure, you don’t want your pellets or BBs to be dribbling out of the barrel, but the more you’re able to sacrifice in terms of power, the quieter the overall shot is going to be. It’s all about finding a suitable power to volume ratio.
It’s far more prevalent in air rifles than pistols, but some air guns feature shooter-controlled variable power, allowing you to put a lid on shot volume by reducing the force of the release mechanism.
The caliber of an air pistol, or any gun for that matter, refers to the dimensions of the bore (interior) diameter of a gun barrel. As such, it also refers to the size of ammunition that will fit inside the gun.
You’d be forgiven for thinking that all rounds would sound the same, especially as, for the most part, it’s the firing mechanism that determines the volume of a shot, but round caliber also plays a pivotal role.
Air pistol rounds are usually one of two calibers: .177 and .22. The important thing to remember is that the higher the caliber of a round, the bigger it is, but don’t forget that we’re working with a decimal point here, so .22 is the largest of the two.
Being that .22 is the larger round, it’s also heavier, and, consequently, slower. This means there’s a much smaller chance of the shot breaking the sound barrier, eliminating the chance of the round creating a sonic boom.
Some guns are just louder than others. The nuances of design play a massive role in gun performance, which means some spring guns will be far quieter than other spring guns, and some C02 guns will be way quieter than other C02 guns, etc.
This is why I’d always recommend trying out as many as you can in person, or perhaps watching comparison videos online.
Frequently Asked Questions
Before we go our separate ways, I thought a brief FAQ section would be a great way to clear up any residual quiet air pistol queries and bring everything to a neat close.
How can I shoot my air pistol quietly?
There are a number of ways you can keep target practice nice and quiet, but in my opinion, one of the best is to invest in something like this Air Venturi Quiet Pellet Trap. Using ballistic putty, it takes the force out of your shot as quietly as possible.
Alternatively, you could build a basic shooting tunnel with cardboard and soft fabrics, or easier still, use your house as a silencer by holding the air gun a few feet through an open window while shooting.
Just make sure your cohabitants are cool with it first, as they’ll be dealing with the full volume of the shots. Hanging some soundproof curtains and opening them just a little to shoot through will also make the air pistol quieter. At least for your neighbors.
Is .177 or .22 quieter?
For the most part, .22 is a quieter caliber as the rounds are heavier and often fail to exceed the sound barrier.
How loud is an air gun?
Volume varies from gun to gun, but generally speaking, shots will be between 74 - 90dBA.
Are C02 pistols quiet?
Unfortunately, the release of C02 is the main culprit when it comes to shot volume, but you can keep things quiet by investing in a silencer.
Are air guns quiet?
They can be; you just need to find the right ones. Choosing one with a spring-piston, moderate power, and a .22 caliber is your best bet.
Will an air gun be loud enough to bother my neighbors?
Unless you take steps to reduce shot volume, then yes, your neighbors might get a little angry with you working on your aim morning, noon, and night.
Understandably, people just don’t enjoy the sound of gunshots in their proximity, and although air guns aren’t anywhere near as loud as real firearms, they still kind of sound like, well...like guns.
And so my silent article comes to an end. Was there a pistol on my list that caught your eye, your ear perhaps?
My top spring-piston Umarex pick offers the best balance between power and volume, but the Crosman PSM44 is definitely the quietest air pistol on the list.
I really like the versatility that the P1377BR brings to the table with its pump-activated, variable velocity, but nothing compares to the Brodax in terms of aesthetics, and it’s mega quiet for C02.
Despite being last on my list, the Marauder is my favorite of all these pistols, and while it’s louder than the rest of them, a quieter PCP air pistol simply does not exist.