Wondering what types of BBs are out there for your airsofting adventures?
Well, the good news is you’ve got a bunch of choices–you just need to find which ones are right for you!
Some factors, like weight and size, are determined by your airsoft gun. Others, like color, material, and quality, are a matter of preference.
Let’s get a closer look at what factors you’ll want to consider when picking out your BBs.
Typically, airsoft BBs are found in either 6mm or 8mm diameters. The standard size, and the one that most people will use, is 6mm BBs.
Obviously, you want to be sure that the BBs you use will fit down the barrel of your gun–you can’t use 8mm BBs in a gun designed for 6mm BBs–but you do want them to be a tight fit.
Because the more air you can keep trapped behind the BB when you fire, the faster the BB will go. When you have an increased FPS rate, you’ll notice your shots are flying farther and straighter–not to mention hitting a bit harder.
Most guns designed for 6mm BBs will come with a barrel that is 6.08mm in diameter. You can upgrade your barrel to one that is 6.03mm or even one that is 6.01mm in diameter, which will drastically improve your FPS rate.
Depending on how you intend to play, you’ll also need to select the correct weight of BB for your matches. There are a few standard weights, such as 0.12 gram and 0.20 gram BBs. You may also find BBs in 0.25 grams, 0.28 grams, 0.30 grams, and up to 0.40 grams.
While a few grams here and there may not seem like much, the weight of your BBs are vital to your performance.mThe weight of your BB directly impacts the amount of force needed to propel a BB out of the gun.
Light BBs, like 0.12 gram BBs, are best at close range. They’re hollow inside, so they are extremely light, but that also means that they aren’t as stable as heavier rounds, so their performance will decline pretty dramatically at a distance.
These BBs are pretty popular for spring-powered guns, since these BBs don’t do well with a velocity much higher than 250 FPS. Using them in a stronger gun may shatter the BBs inside your gun, damaging it.
Mid-range BBs (between 0.20 and 0.28 grams) are the most versatile since they can be fired in lower-powered guns at close ranges, but they’re strong enough to be used in stronger guns over a longer range. They’re not as stable as heavy BBs, but they’re stable enough for most uses.
Finally, heavy BBs, between 0.30 and 0.40, are the strongest, most stable BBs on the market, but require some serious force to be used effectively. These rounds are typically used by sniper and designated marksmen roles since they will remain stable in flight for long distances.
Airsoft BBs are made of plastic (not to be confused with steel or lead BBs for BB guns, which are dangerous to fire at others!). The two most common forms of BBs are non-biodegradable and biodegradable BBs.
First, let’s take a look at non-biodegradable BBs. These particular BBSs are often made of ABS plastic (or Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene–try saying that five times, fast!).
ABS BBs are cheap and easily available, but they don’t significantly degrade over time–making them super bad for the environment and usually banned by most outdoor airsoft fields.
The other kind of BB commonly available are PLA BBs, made from polylactic acid. PLA is a type of plastic manufactured from natural sources, like corn products and starches.
These BBs are a little more expensive than ABS BBs, but they’re well worth it if you shoot at outdoor fields. You’re probably required to have them there, anyway.
PLA BBs will compost into water and carbon dioxide in 47-90 days under the right conditions, but they take a little longer than that if just left outdoors. Still–the point is that they will break down, unlike ABS BBs.
If you’re curious about recycling BBs, find out why you can’t reuse airsoft BBs.
Okay, so, the color of your BBs don’t really impact the way they shoot, but they can definitely change the way you play.
White or light-colored BBs make it easy to track shots and tell if you’re actually hitting your target–but they also make it easier for others to trace your shots back to their source, i.e. you. They’re still the most popular BB color, however, especially since they make it easier for referees to call out players when they get hit.
Black, olive drab, or other dark-colored BBs eliminate the disadvantage of other players tracking your shots back to you, but they also eliminate your advantage of seeing where your shots go. They’re great if you’re really trying to be stealthy–or want to avoid littering the field with neon orange BBs and creating a huge eyesore.
Glow-in-the-dark BBs, or tracers, are another fun type of BB. When fired through a tracer unit or in conjunction with a tracer magazine, these BBs will create a glowing streak, similar to an actual tracer round.
For night games, Tracer rounds make it easier to see where your shots are landing, but also can be traced back to you. You can find these BBs in red, green, and sometimes blue.
The type of airsoft BB you prefer will depend on your gun, what you’re doing with it, and honestly, what you like.
We recommend that you buy quality BBs, since they are less likely to fail and damage your gun, as well as that you look for biodegradable versions, since we believe in being responsible airsofters. Other than that, get what you like!
Hopefully, we’ve helped you figure out the differences between all the BBs out there, and you’ll have an easier time the next time you go BB shopping.
Have a favorite brand or type of BB? Looking to try something new? We want to hear about it in the comments. While you’re here, check out our top 10 tips for new airsofters!