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Five Things To Consider When Buying A PCP Air Rifle

BY : Tactical Defence Store


2020-12-01 13:19:19




Air rifles have come a long way from the BB guns many people remember from childhood. Today’s air rifles are as accurate as the shooter is capable and some are even powerful enough to bring down big game. One of the most notable improvements in air gun technology is in PCP, or pre-charged pneumatic, design.


As interest in pre-charged pneumatic guns grows, more manufactures are getting into the PCP game and are continually introducing new models. With such a wide variety to choose from, shooters must do their homework to be sure they are getting a rifle that will best suit there needs and budget.


Pre-charged pneumatic rifles have a tank built into the rifle that holds compressed air. Air tanks can be filled with a compressor or hand pump and some models are capable of holding over 2,700 PSI and delivering a projectile at more than 1,600 feet per second.


PCP rifles come in “regulated” and “unregulated” power design. A regulated air rifle will shoot at a constant velocity until the air tank runs too low to fire the gun. However, an unregulated rifle’s power is reduced after each shot until the trajectory of the projectile is no longer predictable. At this point the tank must be recharged.


Standard PCP rifles fire .177, .22 and .25 caliber pellets and are capable of firing between 10 and 50 shots between charges. The the number of shots will depend on the manufacture's design, the size of the tank and the weight of the projectile.


Now that you know the basics, here are five things to consider when buying a PCP air rifle:


Intended Use

Having a solid understanding of the gun’s intended use is one of the top consideration when buying an air rifle. Just like traditional firearms, a competition target rifle is not very well suited as a hunting rifle, and vice versa. While there are PCP rifle models that can be used for hunting and casual target shooting, competitive target shooters will want to pick an air rifle with a long and heavy barrel designed for the range. Two-stage or adjustable triggers are common on many of the higher-end PCP target rifles. Likewise, PCP rifles intended for hunting applications should be powerful enough and be capable of shooting a projectile heavy enough to cleanly dispatch the intended quarry.


Shooter’s Experience

While PCP rifles are not hard to learn to use, shooters that have little or no experience with pre-charged pneumatic guns may want to opt for a lower-end model to get started. This will allow you to gain some experience with pre-charged air rifles without a big cash investment. Once you have gained some experience, and have a better understanding of what you want to use the rifle for, you will be in a much better position to buy a rifle suited to you and your specific interests. Bear in mind that the lighter the weigh pellet the more stability it will lose at faster speeds. For example, a .177 caliber pellet loses accuracy at speeds of more then 1,000 FPS.


Cost and Your Budget

The cost of a PCP air rifle can range from around a few thousand to tens of thousand of rands. Generally speaking, the more powerful and accurate the rifle is the more expensive it will be. For those on a budget, there is a wide variety of high-quality target and hunting PCP rifles in the R20000 to R60000 range that will fit the purpose of most shooters. The are many online retailers, like Tactical Defence Store, that offer online sales where you can find a good price and service on quality PCP air guns.



As with everything, not all PCP gun manufactures are created equal and choosing an air rifle that will give you years of trouble-free use is dependent on how well the gun is built. Typically, manufactures that make the entire air gun in house are the best as these manufactures have absolute control over each step in the production and assembly process. One prime example is Kral Arms that handles everything from stock fabrication to drilling their own barrels using state-of-the-art technology to produce all of their own PCP rifle components, allowing them to insure quality in every step in the assembly process.


Another trademark of a reputable manufacture is offering a solid warranty. Most air-gun manufactures offer a warranty, but it is imperative to read the fine print. At a minimum, PCP guns should have at least a one-year warranty against defects in material and workmanship. If possible, try to research what percentage of a company’s products have had warranty claims filed.



Almost as important as the manufacture is the business you purchase the air rifle through. While most manufactures will deal directly with the customer if there is a warranty issue, it is good insurance to make sure the vendor has a solid reputation for customer service. This can sometimes help in the case you need service or have to file a warranty claim. Be wary of any business that uses the hard sell as soon as you walk in the door. Ordering a PCP air rifle online is an option, bu you may have to deal with service and warranty issues on your own. The Tactical Defence Store carries a full line of Kral Arms PCP air guns and is highly knowledgeable in all facets of PCP rifles.



Shooting a PCP air gun can open up a new world of fun and allow you to hone your marksmanship at a cost far below shooting a traditional firearm. The higher power rifles are capable of taking game as large as warthog and dispatching animals like springbok, duiker and wild birds without spooking every big game animal in the vicinity. If you haven’t shot an air rifle since you were in short pants, you owe it to yourself to give a PCP rifle a try. Many shops will let you try one out before buying. However, be forewarned, odds are you are going to be hooked after the first shot.


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