Firearms and the word “quiet” don’t go together all that often but there is an exception – air rifles.
A well designed air rifle can give you the power you need without making a lot of noise.
Whether you need to practice with targets quietly or you need to hunt small vermin, you want to do so without disturbing neighbors.
There’s also the added benefit of not clobbering your eardrums with harsh sound waves, something that can induce hearing loss over time.
We’ve reviewed 6 of the quietest air rifles on the market that are quiet yet still deliver good performance. Check them out along with our guide below on what you should keep in mind when looking for a quiet air rifle.
The Quietest Air Rifle for Neighborhood Use
Here’s our number one recommendation for the quietest air rifle we’ve come across so far.
That would be the Gamo Whisper Silent Cat air rifle, a gun that was made to kill vermin and get the job done quietly through the application of a noise muffling system.
Built right into the rifle barrel, the performance of the gun is unaffected by this system that delivers up to a 25% noise reduction.
The aim here is that your prey won’t hear when the weapon is fired, allowing you to hunt with less risk of scaring vermin away.
Here are some details that you should know about this quietest Gamo air rifle model:
- 1200FPS/1000FPS Velocity – When firing shooting PBA ammo or lead .177 ammo, respectively.
- Included Scope and Mounts – Retails with a 4x32 scope, mounts, and a rubber pad that offers adjustability and recoil control.
- Familiar Dimensions – At 48.8 inches long, 6 inches in height, and 2.5 inches thick, this 7-pound rifle feels like most other rifles when it’s in your hands.
- Stiff Trigger – The trigger can be hard to pull, requiring some elbow grease.
The A-List of Quiet Air Rifles on the Market
While we clearly have our favorite, there’s no guarantee that the Gamo Silent Cat rifle will have everybody covered.
That’s why we have even more air rifles to show you, six to be exact. Take a look at them all below, where we’ve given a short review of each model.
OUR TOP PICK
First, we have the Stoeger X20S, a great target practice rifle. The S stands for Suppressor, of course, and it uses spring-piston action to send bullets at a very high velocity.
Before we get into any details, you should know the folks at Stoeger offer the X20S in .177 and .22 variants. The .177 is great for target practice, of course, while the .22 is what you’ll want to hunt small game.
No matter which ammo chambering you choose, the rifle stays quiet through the use of its Air Flow Control and dual-stage Noise Reduction System, technologies developed by renowned suppressor designers Humbert CTTS.
Having built this rifle from the ground up to be quiet, instead of securing a baffle to it and calling it a day, the Air Flow Control function uses decompression holes to bleed air away. The result is a 7-decibel decrease in sound making it the quietest .22 air rifle in this range.
- Air Flow Control and Noise Reduction System – These in-built technologies ensure that it’s one of the quietest guns of its class.
- Humbert CTTS World-Class Silencer – A suppressor from a famous designer reduces sound by 7 decibels.
- Available in Both .177 and .22 – Stoeger offers this rifle chambered for the least and most powerful bullets modern air rifles shoot.
- Scope Quality – Some buyers advocate for replacing the scope as it’s not up to their standards.
If you like the Gamo brand and just wanted to see more of what they offer, consider their Raptor Whisper air rifle instead. It's not the quietest Gamo air rifle but it's pretty close.
The name comes from the WHISPER noise reduction technology used to allow the rifle to fire without making so much noise. That said, this rifle isn’t as quiet as the other Gamo model above.
As for the firing mechanism, it uses Inert Gas Technology instead of a spring-piston setup. While this delivers slightly fewer FPS at 975 when shooting .22, it’ll fire at an impressive 1,300 FPS for .177s.
No matter what you’re firing, you’ll get reliably sighting through the 4x32 scope that is built with a shock wave absorber and retails with its gun.
- WHISPER Noise Reduction Technology – Uses Gamo’s WHISPER noise reduction to quieten its firing mechanism.
- 4x32 Shockproof Scope – Included scope can take some punishment before becoming damaged.
- Shoots Both .177 and .22 – This rifle also covers both smaller .177 pellets and larger .22 bullets.
- Not The Quietest – As far as Gamo rifles go, this is louder than the Silent Cat.
Next, we have the Benjamin Marauder Wood Stock Air Rifle, a gun that looks like your classic wood-based hunting rifle.
It doesn’t just look like the real deal, it’s also one of the more powerful guns here as it fires either .22 caliber or .25 caliber depending on which variant of this air rifle you get. That wood stock is also rebalanced so that the rifle sits well in your hands.
The firing mechanism itself is a pre-charged pneumatic rifle. We’ve gone into more detail below about air rifle firing mechanisms but all you need to know here is that PCP rifles have more accuracy than pump rifles or spring-piston rifles.
These heftier pellets require more sophisticated sound dampening which is achieved by its shrouded barrel. The suppressed noise from this rifle sounds more like an impact thud rather than the crack or hiss of a typical air gun.
- Pre-Charged Pneumatic Rifle – This PCP rifle is more accurate than spring-piston and pump variants.
- Shrouded Barrel – Purpose-built barrel dampens sound resonance.
- .22 to .25 Caliber Chambering – Fires these two ammo types at approximately 1,000 FPS.
- Easier to Scratch – The wooden stock and casing are easier to scratch when you’re out in the field.
Our next rifle recommendation is another high-powered PCP model, the Hatsan AT44S-10 QE air rifle.
As a multi-shot, side lever action gun, what really sets the Hatsan AT44S apart is its adjustable FPS. By tweaking the rifle’s hammer spring and preloading pellets, you can adjust the FPS to be stronger or weaker.
As for the construction of the rifle, it’s made with an advanced polymer ambidextrous stock that’s designed to work with left or right-dominant holds.
Mounted on the stock is a Monte Carlo cheek rest that ensures you’re comfortable no matter how you hold it. You can also adjust the rubber butt pad at the end of the rifle to change its fit.
When sighting, you’re peering through its TruGlo front and rear sight system, which is mounted along a choked and precision-rifled barrel that ensures the gun shoots accurately no matter what it’s loaded with.
You can get this rifle to shoot either .22 caliber or .25 caliber pellets, so this is the better option for hunting pests and small game.
Adjustability is the big draw of the Hatsan AT44S-10 rifle, which is even further evidenced by the integrated accessory rail.
Many air rifles are relatively simple with no options for peripherals or attachable components but this one can mount different lights or a bipod for a more specialized shooting experience.
- Adjustable FPS Power – Adjustable hammer spring and preloading mechanism allow for FPS changes.
- Choked Barrel and Precision Rifled – Ensures superior accuracy when firing.
- Integrated Accessory Rail – This rail is capable of mounting a light or bipod for improved sighting and shooting.
- Not Suited for Target Practice – Its .22 or .25 pellets would be better used for hunting over target practice.
With the Whisper Fusion Mach 1 air rifle, we have yet another model from Gamo. So, how does this model compare to the other Whisper models that Gamo offers? In a word, power.
First, you should know that the Whisper Fusion Mach 1 can be used with either .177 caliber or .22 caliber bullets. With those, you can hit at around 1,020 FPS with the .22 pellets and an incredibly impressive 1,420 FPS if you’re shooting .177.
The smaller pellets are more suited for target practice while the larger ones are better for hunting.
The impressive firepower of this rifle comes from its namesake, the Inert Gas Technology Mach 1 gas piston. This gas piston doesn’t just support this rifle’s impressive power, it also lessens vibrations that travel through the model.
Whether it’s from firing or cocking the rifle, stopping these micro-movements allows this rifle to handle its superior firepower with impressive stability. Add to this the Whisper Fusion tech, the other part of this rifle’s name, and you get a quiet but powerful gun.
With this gun you get a 3-9x40 scope that mounts onto this rifle’s RRR – a Recoil Reducing Rail that’s built to absorb impact vibrations from shot recoil. This only adds to the gun’s stability.
If you can get other attachments compatible with the RRR system, you can mount other gadgets to this air rifle.
All of this is controlled with a Custom Action Trigger. Like many triggers, it’s a two-stage activation but this time you can adjust the stiffness and sensitivity of not just the trigger itself but each of these individual stages.
Behind it, you also have a synthetic stock that’ll last through all weather conditions.
- IGT Mach 1 Piston – Gas piston technology dampens vibrations and cocking motions while delivering high muzzle velocities.
- 3-9x40 Scope with Recoil Reducing Rail – Recoil is absorbed by a specialized rail and you get a scope to mount on it.
- Custom Action Trigger – Adjust your trigger so that it’s comfortable and predictable to fire.
- Target Oriented Power – Its highest FPS can only be achieved with lighter, target pellets that don’t necessarily require that power.
Our last rifle recommendation, but certainly not the least, is the Benjamin Trail Nitro Piston 2 air rifle.
If the last rifle we showed you was all about power, this one is the one to watch if you need accuracy.
It’s the latest in a long line of models, so it benefits from updates and upgrades to the original design so that it can be as powerful and as accurate as its construction allows.
This rifle was made by Crosman, one of the more notable gun manufacturers you can find out there, particularly for their air rifle models.
This means you can trust that some state-of-the-art technology has gone into each gun. You can mainly see these innovations in its construction.
The quietness of this model is built into the design itself, primarily through a rifled barrel and a solid, sound-absorbing hardwood stock that can reduce the noise of this rifle by as much as 70%.
Not only that, but they’ve also built recoil reduction into the rifle too so you can keep the gun stabilized and accurate during consecutive fire.
What makes your shots even more accurate is the 3-9x40mm precision scope that comes with this rifle.
It has an adjustable objective, so you can zero in on potential targets, and then it also has a range estimating reticle so you can compensate for height and distance differences.
- Hardwood Stock and Rifled Barrel – Barrel and stock construction reduce noise by as much as 70%.
- Smooth Cocking Action Reduces Recoil – Through recoil reduction, you can better shoot this rifle accurately.
- Adjustable Objective Precision Scope – This useful scope estimates range when you aim through it.
- Non-Removable Scope – The scope can’t be swapped out for shorter or longer range alternatives.
Quietest Air Rifle Buying Guide
It’s wise to know what to look for when you’re buying anything, air rifles included.
By taking the following into consideration, you should be able to find a quiet air rifle that will serve your needs with no problems whatsoever. These are the same things to look out for when buying the quietest air pistol.
No surprise here, given this is a guide on finding the quietest air rifles on a site that specializes in soundproofing and quiet products.
If you’re buying for quietness, you should know the noise level of any air rifles you get. We’ve provided a selection of quiet air rifles above and made it known which one we think is the best.
However, if you don’t want any of the examples above then you should look at the air rifle’s listing page online and try to find a decibel reading.
We’ve all seen subpar listing pages that don’t have much information on them. In those cases, look up the brand and model of the rifle and try to see if any third parties have reported on the decibel rating of the riddle you want to buy.
Just because a rifle is quiet, that doesn’t mean you’ll get what you want out of them. Remember what you’re going to use the rifle for.
You don’t want to get caught up with getting the quietest rifle only to discover you’ve bought a plinker that isn’t strong enough for its intended use.
Air rifles are best for small game hunting or target practice, not much else, but that doesn’t mean you should ignore how powerful the rifle you’re getting could be.
Naturally, you don’t need any power at all for target practice but if you want to go small game hunting, you’ll want to have a more powerful model.
Even better, some air rifles include the option to chamber multiple calibers. This means you can use a smaller, less powerful caliber to shoot at targets and then swap to a higher-power caliber for small game hunting. Speaking of caliber…
Caliber is the size of the bullet that a gun, or air gun, in this case, can shoot. You’ll usually see three different calibers that are useful for air rifle shooting. From smallest to largest, these are the .177, the .20, and the .22 caliber.
The .177 caliber is preferable for target shooting, being the smallest and not the best suited to hunting any game.
While a great lightweight round for hitting targets, .177s have problems when shot at higher velocities over longer distances because they’re so light that they drift from sight accuracy.
The .20 is a happy medium between the speed of the .177s and the power of the .22s. This is why air guns chambered for or offering .20 shooting capability are called dual-purpose because they can theoretically shoot pests and distant targets with ease and consistency.
You’ve likely heard of the .22 caliber. In normal gun discourse, it’s one of the smallest rounds you can chamber and often takes the backseat to higher calibers in hunting circles.
With air rifles, however, they’re the most powerful caliber you can fire. Bullets of this caliber are what you want for killing small game.
As we mentioned above, it’s possible to find air rifles that can fire more than one of these calibers.
If that’s what you want, shop around to find the rifle that caters to your multi-caliber needs. Otherwise, you’re better off going with the .20 for a more rounded shooting experience.
Air rifles are powered by, well, air. That doesn’t mean you don’t have a choice of power source for your rifle.
You’ll find that air rifles use four different power sources to reliably propel bullets at whatever you’re aiming them at.
In ascending order of power, these are spring-piston, gas ram or piston, pre-charged pneumatic, or CO2.
The first two operate similarly enough and rely on cocking before you shoot. The main difference between the two is that gas piston variants use sealed air to propel their bullets while the spring variants take that air from the environment with every cock.
Pre-charged pneumatic rifles, also known as PCP rifles, tend to be more powerful and easier to maintain. They also have ammo clips that allow for multiple shots before needing to reload.
There aren’t any CO2 rifles in our list above but they’re also decently powerful. That said, PCP rifles often hold air at a PSI that’s three times as high as most CO2 rifles, so we’d advise you to get a PCP model over a CO2 one.
Trigger and Safety
Besides the shooting mechanism, the trigger is the next important part of your air rifle along with other safety concerns. There’s no standard for default sensitivity so expect them to vary between brands.
If you’re buying a lot of the rifle models above, you’ll be getting a two-stage adjustable trigger. This is what we’d suggest for beginners or those who aren’t confident tinkering with their air rifles.
The two stages refer to its manual or automatic options. They’re fairly self-explanatory with manuals requiring manual locking and unlocking while automatics lock the trigger after every cock.
This is a good safety feature but it means you need to release the safety every time you want to fire, which gets tedious fast if you’re using the rifle frequently.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Makes an Air Rifle Silent?
Ask anybody to get you a gun that’s quiet and it’s only a matter of time until air rifles are mentioned. They’re known for being naturally quiet because of how they work, but why is this?
When a gunshot rings out, you’re hearing the explosive gases leap from the muzzle. With air rifles, the gas is just boring air that isn’t nearly as dramatic but that’s exactly what you want when trying to be quiet.
There’s still a differential between air rifles depending on the power source, which also correlates with how powerful the rifle is.
A more powerful rifle has a more energetic burst of air that makes a louder noise. Spring-piston variants are the quietest with CO2 and PCP being louder.
If you want your air rifle to be even quieter then you should look for models that have a shrouded barrel.
With these, you only have to worry about the spring work inside the rifle that only you should hear.
The products we reviewed above are some of the quietest air rifle models on the market. Each of them deliver decent power with minimal noise.