Understanding Your Airsoft BB Types and using the right ones will increase the performance of your airsoft gun.
In our decades of airsoft experience, one of the most common questions we get is: does the type of BB’s I buy matter?
The short answer to this is yes.
In fact, buying a high-quality set of BBs can dramatically affect the performance of your airsoft gun. In this article, we are going to cover the airsoft BB types that affect the performance of your airsoft gun.
Two common BB sizes with mostly one choice
When it comes down to airsoft ammo size and weight, the smaller and heavier, the better. This is so because smaller projectiles incur less air resistance.
Ready? Let’s burst in, mate.
The 6mm BB bullets are the most commonly used size. Their popularity is grounded on the fact that a majority of airsoft guns, such as pistols, rifles, squad support rifles, and sniper rifles, are manufactured with 6mm compatible magazines and barrels.
Unless you ordered an airsoft gun with particular specifications, your rifle is most likely a 6mm shooter. If you’re unsure, read the user’s guide, or visit your manufacturer’s website for model verification. 99% of the airsoft guns out there are going to use this size.
Whether yours is an air-powered airsoft gun, automatic-electric-gun (AEG) airsoft gun, or spring-powered gun, there are 6mm BBs available in the market for you.
8mm airsoft BBs are larger and therefore incur more air resistance. They are FAR less common than their 6mm counterparts. What you’ll find is that specialty airsoft guns like the Marushin revolvers and rifles are about the only products made with 8mm BBs in mind.
Common BB Weights
BBs of the same size can have a drastic weight difference and they heavily affect the max range of your airsoft guns.
Why BB Pellet Weight Matters
Lighter BB’s will typically fire at a higher FPS (feet per second) than their heavier counterparts. This means at closer ranges your BB will strike the target first, typically. However, heavier BBs are more likely to maintain their course in flight and so are typically more accurate.
- Higher initial FPS and will strike close targets sooner
- Much cheaper per BB
- Most fields will chrono test their guns with .20g
- Will lose velocity more quickly
- Are less accurate at longer ranges
- Maintains its flight pattern better and so is more accurate at longer ranges
- Will strike with more impact making players more likely to call their hits
- Lower muzzle velocity means at close ranges it’ll take longer to strike the target
- You will see a reduction in maximum range
- More expensive per BB
The .20g BBs are the most common size and is used in most airsoft pistol, rifle, and sniper guns. This is the standard BB weight mostly used by manufacturers and technicians to calibrate airsoft guns. Additionally, this is the weight most airsoft fields will chronograph test their guns with.
If you’re looking for just a bit more accuracy, the .25g is your go-to BB. The expense isn’t increased by too much and so using .25g BBs in your airsoft gun won’t hurt your wallet too much if you like to play on full auto.
We tell most players to try our .25g BBs when they want more accuracy.
If you want to go long range and call your sniper rifle and high-powered masterpieces to active airsoft combat, the 32g BBs are indispensable.
Just aim and pull the trigger and watch them take a stable flight and hit your target with incredible accuracy. Your high-caliber airsoft guns have enough shooting power, so feel free to use .32g BBs across rifles.
.32g BBs are our favorite choices for most engagements. It strikes a great balance between cost and performance for our taste.
.40g BBs require the greatest force to fire, because of their heavier weight. They’re an excellent pick for high power AEGs and sniper rifles with enormous firing power. The incredible weight of the .40g BBs enables them to defy heavy winds to maintain a long and stable flight path at the close of muzzle velocity and reduced ranges.
If you want to make airsoft hurt, then this is the choice for you. By the way though, don’t be a jerk and pick .40g just to hurt people. Please don’t be that guy.
Types of Airsoft BBs
There are two major types of airsoft BBs, depending on the material used to make them.
In making Biodegradable airsoft BB pellets, manufacturers use a scientific formula to form polylactic acid or polylactide (PLA) plastic from eco-friendly and renewable substances. Corn and selected starches are the most commonly used materials in this process. They then use PLA as the raw material for making biodegradable BBs.
Although biodegradable BBs are costlier than the non-biodegradable variety, they’re often worth the cost because they’re environmentally friendly. These BBs are water soluble and can, under normal weather, eventually break down completely without harming the environment. A number of airsoft arenas restrict gamers to the use of biodegradable BBs for the long-term protection of the environment.
Non-biodegradable BBs are made from a synthetic or artificial plastic called acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS). As their name suggests, time and environmental factors hardly break non-biodegradable BBs down. Therefore, they stay in the soil for years, posing an environmental hazard.
Despite their cheap price, ABS BBs are costly in the long run. You know, if you care about that sort of thing.
Airsoft BB Colors
Airsoft BBs come in all imaginable colors. Your choice depends on preference, game rules, and tactical reasons.
For example, white or bright BBs give you a view of your shot on its flight path. The referee, too, can trace it to a “fallen combatant” and call them out. Brightly colored BBs have one drawback; your adversary can follow its flight path to your approximate position to take you out.
On the other hand, black or dark-colored BBs are great for stealth airsoft maneuvers. It is difficult to trace a black BB in flight. However, it does make it hard to course correct your aim.
Besides bright and dark BBs, tracer BBs also known as Glow-in-the-Dark BBs, make an excellent choice in dark setting airsoft wars. The secret to their glow is their phosphorus coating makes them more expensive than the other BBs.
Mount a tracer unit on your rifle’s barrel to use tracer BBs. As the BB blasts out of your gun, it’ll trigger a series of ultraviolet lights, which will charge the phosphor on the BB, keeping it aglow along its flight path.
Choosing the right BB for the right airsoft rifle will give you greater accuracy and help you make the most of your gun. Remember that you should only purchase high-quality BBs to prevent damage and maintain the warranty of your airsoft guns.
If you’re interested in the BB brands that we recommend – see below:
Our Recommendations for BB Brand and Weight
For any 0.25g or 0.20g BB’s we always recommend the Elite Force line. They’re manufactured by BLS (who actually make BBs for other brands as well) and they’re outstanding as far as quality control is concerned.
The next best thing? They come in bottles. They’re hella useful as carriers and pour into speed loaders / high cap magazines SO much easier than bags.
If you’re looking for bio BB’s then you can consider the AIM Green line. We find that they work great and are environmentally friendly. Please pick up bio BBs if you can afford them.
To further increase the performance of your airsoft gun – also read our guide on airsoft hop up units.