Airsoft is a pretty “point and shoot” type of sport. All you need to start playing is eye protection, an airsoft gun, and a magazine full of airsoft BBs for ammunition. Have you ever wondered about the types of airsoft BBs, how they are made, and which ones to use? Did you know that BBs come in all different weights, qualities, and colors? If you did, great! If you didn’t, then you have come to the right place! Picking the right type of airsoft BB can help you play better on the airsoft field!
BB Size and Manufacturing
All standard airsoft BBs are 6mm in size. However, some BBs also come in an 8mm size. The BB millimeter size is the approximate measurement of the diameter of the BB pellet. These sizes allow them to be shot out of most spring, automatic-electric-gun (AEG), or gas powered airsoft guns. Airsoft BBs are made using a plastic molding process. In short, the BB manufacturing process is made up of material selection, sorting, melting, material injection, polishing, and packaging. We’ll cover more about the manufacturing process in later articles.
The High Speed Manufacturing Difference
Our High Speed BBs are specially made with a plastic molding process. They are a spherical bearing BB design and molded so they are completely seamless. Then they are double polished to ensure that every 6mm BB is 5.95mm +/- 0.1mm in diameter and perfectly round.
BB Size and Barrel Accuracy
The airsoft BB size allows it to fit perfectly into airsoft gun barrels. The inner gun barrel diameter is just slightly bigger than the BB size. That way when the BB is fired, less air can escape around the BB and more air pushes the BB out of the barrel. The feet-per-second (FPS) performance rate of BB is increased as a result. FPS is the term which tells how fast airsoft guns shoot a BB. Its similar to RPM and RPS (Two other terms which are how many BBs a gun can shoot in a minute or second). Most fields have FPS limits, so be sure to check with field staff when playing airsoft.
Airsoft guns can also be upgraded with tighter barrels to increase the FPS. For example, many AEGs which shoot 6mm BBs usually come with a 6.08mm barrel. The barrel can be upgraded to a 6.01mm or 6.03mm tight bore barrel for better tolerances and performance.
The High Speed Measurement Difference
Since 6mm High Speed BBs are 5.95mm +/- 0.1mm and perfectly round, an upgraded barrel means an the BB has just the right fit inside the barrel with only about 0.07mm room to spare. This helps your High Speed BBs go farther faster!
Airsoft BBs come in a few standard weights. The most common are 0.12 gram and 0.20 gram BBs. Other common weights are 0.25 gram, 0.28 gram, 0.30 gram, and up to 0.40 gram BBs. The weight of the BB affects how much force is needed to propel the BB out of the airsoft gun and direct it’s flight path after the BB is fired.
Lighter BBs, like 0.12 gram BBs, are designed for close range. They are typically used in spring powered airsoft guns which fire them at about 250 FPS. These BBs are hollow internally and are the most accurate at close ranges. They are not recommended for use in airsoft guns with higher FPS because they can shatter causing damage to the weapon and are almost completely ineffective at longer ranges.
Mid-range weights, like 0.20 gram to 0.28 gram BBs, are the middle of the road for airsoft BBs. These BBs have the widest use range because they are light enough to be used in airsoft guns with lower FPS at close range and strong enough to be used in airsoft guns with higher FPS at longer ranges. However, they are not as stable as heavier BBs for extreme long range usage.
Heavier BBs, like 0.30 gram to 0.40 gram BBs, are designed for the highest flight stability and longest range. They are most often used in high powered AEGS and airsoft sniper rifles. More force is needed to fire these heavier BBs, and they are more stable and accurate during flight because of it.
The High Speed Weight Difference
High Speed BBs currently come in four of the most common sizes, 0.20 gram, 0.25 gram, 0.28 gram, and 0.32 gram. These BB weights can be used in any airsoft gun and are accurate from short to long ranges with great stability. This allows players to choose the best BB weight for them in any airsoft game.
BB Material and Quality
Airsoft BBs are only as good as the material they are made out of. There are lots of details about BB quality, so we decided to separate that topic into its own blog article. Be sure to keep an eye out for it! There are two very common types of BB materials available to airsoft players, non-biodegradable BBs and biodegradable BBs.
Non-biodegradable BBs are usually made from a plastic called Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS). ABS plastic is chemically constructed from a compound with a molecular formula of (C8H8•C4H6•C3H3N)n. ABS BBs are the cheapest, do not significantly degrade over time, are not environmentally friendly, and are not water soluble. Because of this, many outdoor airsoft fields do not allow players to use them. However, ABS BBs are suitable for indoor use or on private property with the owner’s consent.
Biodegradable BBs are usually made from a plastic called polylactic acid or polylactide (PLA). PLA plastic is constructed from natural resources and renewable materials including corn products and certain starches with a molecular formula of (C3H4O2)n. PLA BBs cost more than ABS BBs but are environmentally friendly, are more water soluble than ABS BBs, and break down into water and carbon dioxide in about 47 to 90 days in industrial recycling facilities or a bit longer under the right environmental conditions outdoors. Most outdoor airsoft fields require players to use these types of BBs.
The High Speed Material Difference
High Speed BBs are only made from PLA plastic. All of our BBs are biodegradable and leave a minimum signature behind when played with. We are committed to keeping the earth as clean as possible and part of the Green Earth Initiative. Please join our efforts to keep airsoft fields the way we found them by using biodegradable BBs.
Airsoft BBs come in all kinds of colors. The color of the BB increases or decreases its visibility while in the air. This can increase a player’s tactical advantage significantly, but there are some downsides.
White and lighter colored BBs are the most popular. These BBs are fairly easy to see. A downside is that targets can usually tell which direction the BBs are coming from. A few positives of using these BBs are that the shooters can easily place shots by visually tracking the BBs and airsoft field referees can call “dead” players out more easily.
Darker and black colored BBs are harder to see because their color blends into the surroundings more. A few downsides of these BBs are that the shooter may not be able to check his shot placement by sight and airsoft field referees cannot see the BBs hit players. An advantage is that they are less easily seen by targets.
The High Speed Color Difference
High Speed BBs come in white. Lighter colored BBs have become the airsoft industry standard.
How’s that for a quick airsoft BB run down? Know you know about how BBs are made, about their different sizes and colors, why they have different weights, and the types of plastic material they are made of. What kind of BB weight do you like to use? Please tell us in the comments.