Airgun on a shooting bench

What Does Airgun Rated Mean?

May 30, 2024 by Tyler Berthelsen

“Airgun Rated Optic” what does that mean? Just because your optic can take recoil from higher calibers that doesn’t mean it can take recoil from an airgun. But air guns don’t have recoil, right? Wrong, airguns have a distinct type of recoil that can destroy optics if they aren’t made specifically to handle airgun recoil. 

Airgun Recoil

When you think of recoil you probably think of a kick back into your shoulder. You’d be correct for the standard firearm but for airguns, not so much. Airguns generate a different type of recoil. It doesn’t matter if your airgun is a PCP like the UMAREX Gauntlet 30 or a brake barrel they will have a similar type of jolt.

An airgun’s firing mechanism is made up of mostly a spring and a piston. The piston is held after cocking the gun and once the trigger is pulled the piston releases. The spring which was held under tension by the piston then returns to its relaxed position. This all produces a little bit of recoil in a backwards motion, often unnoticed by the shooter. But when the piston comes to a sudden stop as it shoots forward, the recoil is noticeable, but this time it will pull the gun forward. 

In a shorter explanation, airgun recoil is a backward and then a forward motion due to the movement of the piston and the spring. 

What Makes an Optic Airgun Rated

What makes an optic airgun rated? It all comes down to the construction of the optic. The optic has to be constructed in a way that it can handle the jarring recoil of an airgun. All the internal components of the optic are placed accordingly so they won’t be damaged after you take a shot. If your optic is not airgun rated, after taking a shot you may hear the glass rattling around in your optic. All Riton optics are airgun rated so you’ll never have to worry about damaging your optic on an airgun. 

Airgun on a shooting bench

Other Considerations

When choosing an optic for your airgun there are a few other factors you may want to consider. Features like magnification, reticle type, and parallax adjustment are all important based on your application. If you plan on taking small game with your airgun the 1 Primal 3-9×40 would be a great choice in all aspects of a small game hunt. If you are more of a range shooter you might want to consider something with an adjustable parallax down to 10 yards like the 3 Conquer 6-24×50

Whatever your airgun optics needs, Riton has a solution for you.