Different Types of Airsoft Ammo Types (Full Guide)

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If you’re new to airsoft, the different ammo types on the market can be confusing.

Are you choosing the right BB weight for your gun?

Does the size of the BB matter?

Will your ammo selection impact performance and gameplay?

We’ve tried and tested every type of airsoft ammo on the market. This guide will answer your questions about BB colors, sizes, materials, and, more importantly, which is the best ammo for you.

Size

There are three size variations of airsoft BB: 4.5mm, 6mm, and 8mm in diameter. The most common size is 6mm. This is because most airsoft guns are manufactured to accept this pellet size.

Before buying airsoft ammunition, ensure your rifle is designed to accept 6mm BBs. Most gas-powered airsoft guns (GBB), Co2 pistols, and spring-powered guns will fire 6mm rounds.

8mm BBs are less common, but players can modify their gun barrels to shoot this larger size of ammo. However, based on feedback from the airsoft community, 8mm BBs are less efficient than 6mm BBs due to their larger surface area and air resistance.

Wind and spin from your guns’ hop-up unit can create poor accuracy.

Weight

The most commonly used weight of airsoft BB is 0.20g. But depending on the FPS of your airsoft gun, you can choose a heavier weight, such as 0.25g or 0.28g. The weight of your BB can influence trajectory, energy, and velocity (force).

You can fire a heavier-weight BB from weapons at a much higher rate. Your gun’s barrel will influence your shots’ performance and overall accuracy.

Depending on your play style, the type of rifle you have, and the different kinds of environments will decide what weight will be best for you.

Keep in mind that an airsoft gun and a BB gun are different. There is 4.5mm metal ammunition available, but these are not safe to use in airsoft.

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You’ll have to consider your gun’s performance before you up which ammo weight you use. If your rifle’s internal parts aren’t powerful enough to support moving from a 0.20g to a 0.28g, it will impact how far you can shoot.

Here’s a list of all airsoft BB weights:

  • 0.12g
  • 0.20g
  • 0.22g
  • 0.25g
  • 0.28g
  • 0.30g
  • 0.32g
  • 0.36g
  • 0.38g
  • 0.40g

Most starter airsoft guns can support 0.20g out of the box. Remember, ensuring your gun’s FPS doesn’t mean you’re firing over the limit. The lighter the BB, the less it can travel over a distance.

But lighter BBs have less precision. As you’re shooting, you’ll notice your rounds become less accurate.

As you move from a beginner airsoft player to a more regular skirmisher, you might use 0.25g – 0.28g weights.

This slightly heavier weight will likely require upgrades to your rifle. Even though it’s only a few grams, it makes a big difference.

If you want to use the heaviest BBs (0.32g and above), your gun will need some serious performance upgrades. This type of BB is best suited for sniper rifles or DMRs due to the length of the barrel.

If you need clarification about the airsoft BB size, your gun allows, check for markings on the airsoft gun magazine or the handbook the manufacturer provides.

Note: the heavier the BB, the more likely it is to hurt if a player gets shot. Be conscious of your trigger discipline as you move up in weight.

Material variants

Airsoft BBs are made of plastic. There are both biodegradable and non-biodegradable options available on the market. Most brands produce high-quality BBs for both variants nowadays.

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Most indoor airsoft venues will allow for non-biodegradable airsoft ammo.

This is because the BBs can be collected and disposed of properly. These non-biodegradable BBs are made of a plastic called Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (or ABS for short).

However, outdoor venues such as urban sites will usually ask you to use biodegradable BBs (bio BBs). This is because they degrade over time and will not impact the environment.

They are a little more expensive, but keeping your local airsoft site environmentally friendly is worth it.

Biodegradable airsoft BBs are made of Polylactic Acids (PLA) products such as corn and starches.

As you can imagine, sweeping up 400,000 airsoft BBs at the end of the day isn’t possible (or fun).

Colors

Most airsoft BBs come in a standard white or a lighter color. The reason for this is that it improves the visibility of your shot. Shot placement and identifying your hits is much easier if the BB direction can be tracked through the air.

There are darker BB colors, such as dark green and dark blue. This naturally has an impact on visibility.

Darker BBs can sometimes be great for avoiding shot detection (i.e., opponents can’t see them coming), but they can create problems for you, too.

Tracer BBs

Tracer BBs have a luminescent coating that glows as they’re fired. Tracer BBs give you a significant advantage in indoor CQB environments where light is limited or, of course, for a night airsoft game.

For the luminescent coating to work on the BB, a tracer unit must be fitted to the end of your AEG. Your shots will then flash a cool green or red as they fly toward your opposition.

Tracers are more expensive than your standard non-glow pellets. But they’re a lot of fun and can help prevent cheat calling.

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Airsoft ammo types FAQs

What ammo is used in airsoft?

Airsoft guns (sniper rifles, shotguns, pistols, and AEGs) all use BB or spherical airsoft pellets. Most commonly made out of plastic and come in the color white. The standard BB diameter is 6mm, and the most common weight is 0.20g.

What is the difference in airsoft ammo?

The main difference between airsoft ammo is size, weight, and color. The manufacturing process can differ between brands, too. Depending on the polishing process, the BB quality can vary.

This will impact performance, and your BBs will likely have imperfections if the polishing process is poor. Such as rough characteristics or small pieces of sharp plastic on the surface of the BB.

Do heavier BBs increase range?

Yes, heavier airsoft BBs travel further due to increased flight stability and path. The bigger the BB size and weight, the less likely it can be influenced by wind, rain, and other environmental elements.

Do heavier BBs hurt more?

Yes, heavier BBs hurt more. Their increased weight can result in more power and cause more damage to their intended target (i.e., other airsoft players). For safety reasons, heavier BBs are measured on a Joule’s energy chart to avoid serious injury (piercing the skin).

Is it okay to reuse BBs?

No, you can’t reuse airsoft BBs. Once they’re fired from your rifle, the integrity of the BB is compromised. In simple terms, the inside of the BB starts to crack. If you reuse BBs after they’re fired, they could shatter on the inside of your gun. You are ultimately damaging the internals of your weapon.

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Ethan Smith is a seasoned marine veteran, professional blogger, witty and edgy writer, and an avid hunter. He spent a great deal of his childhood years around the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest in Arizona. Watching active hunters practise their craft initiated him into the world of hunting and rubrics of outdoor life. He also honed his writing skills by sharing his outdoor experiences with fellow schoolmates through their high school’s magazine. Further along the way, the US Marine Corps got wind of his excellent combination of skills and sought to put them into good use by employing him as a combat correspondent. He now shares his income from this prestigious job with his wife and one kid. Read more >>