Defining a PCP Air Rifle

Defining a PCP Air Rifle

A black PCP air rifle in the woods

If you are a beginner in the world of air guns, you may be wondering what a PCP air rifle is. These weapons are gaining popularity because they are versatile, low maintenance, and affordable without sacrificing power. They have a wide range of uses, including plinking, hunting, competition shooting, target practice, and much more. Before you buy a PCP air rifle, it’s helpful to know some basic information about them.

What Is a PCP Air Rifle?

To define a PCP air rifle, we must first define an air rifle. An air rifle gets its name from its body style and how it is powered. For any firearm, something has to push the projectile out of the barrel. Air guns use air to propel ammunition, whether it is in the form of carbon dioxide (CO2), spring pistons, or pneumatics.

Along with a pistol, an air rifle is a type of air gun. Similar to regular firearms, air rifles and air pistols differ based on their body style. Rifles are long guns that require both hands as well as shoulder support to fire accurately, while pistols are handguns that can be shot with just one hand. A PCP air rifle is one of the newest models of air guns. These store compressed air in an internal reservoir that is filled up before use.

How Does It Work?

PCP stands for pre-charged pneumatic, meaning the gun is “pre-charged” by filling it with compressed air before it is fired, and “pneumatic” by being air-powered. The air fills up a reservoir to about 3,000 pounds per square inch (PSI). A hand pump, scuba tank, or carbon fiber tank all work as a reservoir. Once the compressed air reaches its maximum level of pressure, it is ready to use.


Firing a PCP air rifle is simple, but there are a few mechanics that work together to make it happen. The compressed air in the internal reservoir holds a valve closed and when the gun is cocked, a hammer is ready to fall onto a plunger in front of the value. The energy from the hammer falling opens the valve, releasing a quick burst of compressed air that pushes a projectile out of the barrel and into the intended target.


Depending on the make and model, a PCP air gun has about 400 shots in it before the air tank needs to be refilled. When the tank runs low, the rifle becomes less accurate because it does not have enough air pressure to properly propel the ammunition. There are a few different methods of recharging, including a stirrup pump, charging cylinder, or compressor.


A PCP air rifle can fire several types of ammunition, mainly pellets and BBs. Using the correct ammunition for your specific type of rifle can significantly increase its accuracy. Pellets are used for accuracy, such as in competition shooting, and BBs are an inexpensive option for repetitive shooting like plinking or target practice. Other air rifles can also fire projectiles like darts, arrows, and paintballs.

High-Quality Air Guns

At AirFire Tactical, we offer high-quality air guns that are sleek and durable. Our PCP air rifles are made from the best materials available and constructed by skilled craftsmen with decades of experience. We have models to suit everyone’s needs, from gun enthusiasts to competitive shooters.

Check out our inventory on our website today.

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