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Článek RAM hlavní foto v2

How to choose a rubber bullet gun

Bc. Michal Kuczaj

Rubber and pepper projectile guns (Real Action Markers / RAM guns) are rapidly growing in popularity as self-defence tools. They are compatible with many types of projectiles such as rubber, pepper or marking balls.


Real Action Markers are primarily intended for self-defense and training of armed forces personnel. However, you will have a lot of fun shooting at cans or similar targets.

They rely on cartridges filled with pressurized carbon dioxide CO2.

For most models, the cartridges are inserted into the magazine or directly into the grip. When you pull the trigger, the valve opens and allows the pressurized gas to pass through, setting the projectile in motion.


RAM guns are compatible with almost any projectile with the correct size and shape. They are most commonly available as balls made of hard rubber or as plastic balls with a pepper infill.

Rubber balls

Not all rubber projectiles are the same. Depending on their design, they are intended either for self-defense or training. They differ in construction and thus in weight and impact force. For self-defense, weight and hardness are essential, while for training, even the most lightweight projectiles are fine.

Therefore, for self-defense, projectiles with a steel core or steel powder mix are most suitable. Such design significantly increases the weight and hardness of the projectile.

Pepper balls

These special projectiles contain the same substance used in pepper sprays - capsaicin. It is a strong chemical irritant extracted from chilli peppers. It causes severe pain, burning and irritation on contact with the mucosa and eye area.

Pepper balls are therefore dependent more on the effectiveness of the irritating substance than on the impact energy. That said, if you have a less powerful RAM gun where regular rubber projectiles would not be very effective, pepper projectiles are the way to go.

Marking balls

Marking balls (MAB) are designed primarily for training. They contain a liquid or powder dye that marks the point of impact on the target.

It is very easy to remove the colored chalk powder from clothing, making them a perfect alternative to paintball.

Projectiles with liquid dye can be used for similar purposes, however the content is much more difficult to remove.

All marking projectiles



Using multiple types of projectiles is a very useful strategy for self-defence. You can simultaneously discourage the attacker by inflicting pain with heavy rubber projectiles with a steel powder mixture and additionally incapacitate them with pepper projectiles.

To ease the identification and eventual arrest, you can also add a marking projectile with liquid dye to the magazine, which the attacker won't remove that easily.

Projectile shape

Most RAM projectiles have a standard spherical shape. The balls are compatible with all types of these weapons of the respective caliber and are therefore also the most common. Plus you don't have to think about how to rotate the ammo while loading it into the magazine.

Then there are the so-called projectiles with a stabilizing ring, like those from the Umarex T4E Precision series. Such modification makes them much more accurate at longer distances due to the granted rotation around the axis in flight.

The disadvantage, however, is lower effectiveness due to the lower weight or amount of contained substance (they are no longer round but hemispherical).

In addition, they are only compatible with the rotary magazine of the HDR revolvers and the HDS double-barrel shotgun (these projectiles must be properly rotated when loading).


RAM guns are powered by metal cartridges filled with pressurized carbon dioxide CO2.

These are most commonly available as 12g threadless cartridges that are inserted into a grip or magazine. Before firing, the cartridge must be penetrated in order to release the compressed gas into the mechanism.

Some models, such as the HDX shotgun, use a larger 88g threaded cartridge. More pressurized CO2 means more shots per cartridge, but it is no longer compatible with the emergency system (explained below).

The disadvantage of carbon dioxide powered guns is their sensitivity to ambient temperatures - as they only work at temperatures above 10°C.

All CO2 cartridges



Some rubber bullet guns feature a so-called emergency activation system, which allows you to penetrate the cartridge just before use without the need for any tedious screwdriving. And in these situations, every second counts.

To activate the cartridge, simply thrust your palm against the valve cover located at the end of the grip to penetrate the cartridge.

Some models also feature an indicator with a red marking above the grip, which pops up when the cartridge has been penetrated.

The emergency activation system is an excellent feature for self-defense purposes. You don't have to worry about for how long the cartridge has been in the gun, and you can activate it in a split second in the case of a threat.

Umarex T4E

There are lots of manufacturers in the RAM gun market who are trying to offer quality products. Umarex, more specifically its T4E segment(Training for Engagement), is without a doubt one of the best. Their products' main strengths are their high reliability and sophisticated design. That's why our offer consists mostly of Umarex T4E products.


Rubber and pepper projectile guns are produced in a number of variations, calibers and with different energy of impact.

We offer everything from pistols and revolvers to assault rifles and shotguns, most commonly in .43, .50 and .68 calibers. The larger the projectile, the heavier it is and the more irritating substance or dye it contains. Therefore, the rule "the bigger the better" holds true.

However, it also depends on the muzzle energy, which ranges from as little as 5 Joules for pistols to a staggering 40 Joules for the HDX shotgun.

Less powerful RAM guns are more suitable for practice and fun shooting. However, you can still defend yourself if you use pepper balls - because with pepper projectiles, the effectiveness of the irritant matters more than the impact force.

On the contrary, a blast from the 16 J models is truly painful and the potential assailant will immediately start to regret their life choices.


We offer RAM pistols in .43 and .50 caliber with a muzzle energy of 5 to 11 Joules, making them suitable both for training and self-defense when using pepper balls. In addition, their compact dimensions make them easily portable.

While most pistols are not equipped with an emergency system, you can optionally purchase such magazines for the S&W M&P9c M2.0, H&K SFP9, Walther PPQ M2 and Walther PDP Compact 4" models.


A more powerful alternative - revolvers in .50 and .68 caliber. They are more robust and offer muzzle energy from 7.5J to 16J.

Compared to pistols, they have a smaller magazine capacity, but you can load them with unusually shaped projectiles. All of them feature the emergency activation system.

Assault Rifles

Assault rifles of .43 caliber are more suited for practice shooting and practicing safe weapon handling due to the impact energy of 7.5 J. This is also aided by the BlowBack system, which simulates the realistic movement of the breech when firing.

However, in case of self-defence, you won't be disappointed - you can fire 14 balls in a fully automatic mode. The only drawback is the absence of an emergency cartridge activation system.


And the ultimate best - shotguns. There are several models in .68 caliber with 7.5 J, 16 J and even 40 J.

The double-barrel HDS shotgun offers the ability to fire each projectile separately or both at once. Plus, it is equipped with an emergency system, making it an ideal choice for self-defense. The icing on the cake is the ability to fire homemade ammunition, which you can see, for example, in the videos of a popular German youtuber Joerg Sprave. He experimented with shooting blowgun darts and modified nails with plastic cones.

The HDB shotgun is also definitely worth mentioning, as although it only shoots round projectiles, it has a much larger ammo capacity compared to the double barrel model - 16 rounds to be exact. It also features an emergency system and, thanks to the semi-auto mode, you don't have to bother with cocking.

Článek RAM 11
Umarex T4E HDX 68 Shotgun

There is one more model from Umarex, which is the HDX shotgun offered with 16 and also enormous 40 Joules. Such power is absolutely devastating to the target, even more so when the shotgun can hold up to 16 balls in a .68 caliber. To utilize its maximum potential, an 88g threaded cartridge is inserted inside the stock instead of the conventional 12g one. Unfortunately, means that there is no emergency system, which is a significant disadvantage in the case of self-defence.


Every gun requires some maintenance from time to time, and Real Action Markers are no exception.

First of all, it is critical to mention that it is strongly advised not to leave activated cartridges in either RAM guns or other CO2 powered airguns. This is due to the fact that the pressurized gas gradually degrades the rubber o-rings in the guns and may eventually lead to leaks.

Therefore, you should activate the cartridge just before use, and if you've not used it entirely, slowly loosen the valve to release the remaining gas. Used cartridges cannot be refilled.

It is also important to regularly lubricate the insides of the gun, especially the gaskets. You can do this either with a silicone oil spray, or the simpler way - with oil cartridges that are designed exactly for this - to lubricate carbon dioxide-powered guns.


Rubber and pepper bullet guns are a very effective self-defense option. They are available in the form of pistols, revolvers, assault rifles and shotguns. Each type has its own pros and cons and is suitable for different situations.

However, it is important to remember that high impact energy is essential when firing steel-infused rubber balls. A shot from a less powerful RAM gun will hurt, but probably won't guarantee the desired result. On the other hand, with a 16 J weapon, you can be sure to reliably fend off the attacker. With pepper projectiles, it's more about the effectiveness of the contained substance than the impact energy, so even a weaker RAM gun will make a very effective self-defense tool.

No doubt you'll agree that in self-defense, every second counts. That's why we strongly recommend guns with the emergency system, thanks to which the cartridge can be activated with a single strike of the palm.

Sure, it would be best if you never had to use a RAM gun. However, if you do get into such situation, this tool is something you can trust.

All RAM guns


Would you prefer defense sprays, electroshock stun guns or telescopic batons? Read our article How to choose a self-defense tool.

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Autor článku: Bc. Michal Kuczaj


I enjoy everything that shoots, cuts, drives fast and makes noise. I like being creative - which includes graphic design, 3D printing, origami and gardening. I've been writing articles, describing products, taking photos and adding posts on social media in the Balistas company since 2023.

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