Can Airsoft Guns Shoot Metal BBs? Debunking the Myths

Airsoft guns are popular among hobbyists and sports enthusiasts for their realistic design and safe, non-lethal ammunition. Many people wonder if they can use metal BBs in their airsoft guns, and the short answer is no – airsoft guns are specifically designed to shoot plastic pellets and cannot handle metal BBs’ weight and structure.

Using metal BBs in your airsoft gun could pose a risk to the weapon and those around you. The internal components of airsoft guns are not equipped to handle the force required to fire metal BBs, leading to potential damage or malfunction. Additionally, metal BBs are much heavier than plastic pellets and can cause severe injury or damage in airsoft gameplay, where safety is a priority.

In this blog, we will debunk the myth that airsoft guns can shoot metal BBs and provide you with the facts you need to know. We’ll explore the differences between airsoft BBs and metal BBs, the types of airsoft guns available, and the potential risks of using metal BBs in airsoft guns. By the end of this blog, you’ll clearly understand whether or not it’s safe to use metal BBs in your airsoft gun.

Airsoft Guns vs. BB Guns

At first glance, airsoft guns and BB guns may seem similar, but their key differences are important to understand. In this section, we will explore these differences in terms of design, pellets, and metal BBs.

Differences in Design

When comparing airsoft guns to BB guns, you’ll notice that the former naturally resemble real firearms closely. Airsoft guns are designed for recreational use in games, and their appearance adds to the realism of the experience. BB guns, on the contrary, are used for target shooting and may not closely resemble real firearms.

Another difference is in the firing mechanism. Airsoft guns use either spring, gas, or electric systems, while BB guns usually employ CO2 or spring power. This difference in power sources can affect the gun’s performance and feel during use.

Airsoft Pellet vs. Metal BB

Airsoft guns shoot plastic pellets called BBs or airsoft pellets, which are generally 6mm in diameter and weigh between 0.12g and 0.40g. These lightweight pellets are less likely to cause injury, making them a safer choice for recreational gameplay.

In contrast, BB guns shoot metal BBs, which are typically 4.5mm steel or lead projectiles. These heavier BBs can cause more damage or injury due to their increased mass and hardness. It is important to note that using metal BBs in airsoft guns is not recommended, as it can damage the gun and increase the risk of injury to yourself or others.

So, while airsoft guns and BB guns may appear similar, their differences in design, power sources, and projectiles set them apart. Understanding these differences can help you decide which type of airgun is best suited for your needs and preferences.

Can Airsoft Guns Shoot Metal BBS?

In this section, we’ll discuss if airsoft guns can shoot metal BBs and the potential issues that may arise if you attempt to do so.

Inner Barrel and Hop-Up Compatibility

Using metal BBs in your airsoft gun is not recommended for several reasons, one of which is that they are not designed for the inner barrel and hop-up system in airsoft guns. The inner barrel is specifically sized for 6mm plastic BBs, which generally have a smooth and polished surface that ensures minimal friction and optimal shooting performance.

On the contrary, metal BBs are harder and can cause damage to the inner barrel and the hop-up unit. Additionally, the weight and size of metal BBs can lead to incompatible hop-up adjustments, potentially affecting the range and accuracy of your shots.

Magazine and Cycling Issues

Another issue with using metal BBs in airsoft guns is the possibility of encountering cycling problems. Airsoft gun magazines are designed to feed plastic BBs optimally, and using metal BBs may cause feeding issues, jams, and potential damage to the magazine itself.

In addition, the heavier weight of metal BBs may affect the performance of your gun’s gearbox, putting undue stress on the internals, potentially resulting in faster wear and decreased longevity of the components.

It’s best to stick to using the plastic BBs designed for airsoft guns. This will help ensure your equipment’s best performance and longevity, allowing you to enjoy the sport without unnecessary complications or damage to your airsoft gun.

Potential Risks and Damages

Using metal BBs in airsoft guns can lead to several problems, which can be categorized into damages to the airsoft guns themselves, dangers to the players, and impacts on the environment.

Damage to Airsoft Guns

When you use metal BBs in your airsoft guns, you risk damaging the internal mechanisms. The guns are specifically designed for plastic BBs, which are lighter and less abrasive.

Key components such as the gearbox, hop-up unit, and barrel may suffer from premature wear and tear, reducing the overall lifespan of your airsoft gun.

  • Internal mechanisms – Metal BBs can cause excessive wear on components like the hop-up unit, gearbox, and barrel, ultimately shortening the life of your airsoft gun.
  • Barrel quality – Metal BBs may scratch or dent the inner barrel, negatively affecting accuracy and range.

Danger to Players

Shooting metal BBs instead of standard plastic ones poses an increased risk to the safety of players. The heavier, harder metal BBs can cause more severe injuries, especially if eye protection is inadequate.

Even with proper safety gear, metal BBs can still result in painful welts, bruises, or skin damage. These injuries can lead to a less enjoyable experience and discourage players from participating in airsoft events.


Metal BBs have a negative impact on the environment compared to biodegradable plastic BBs, and they take considerably longer to break down and can contaminate soil and water sources.

Using metal BBs can cause harm to wildlife and contribute to increased pollution levels. This may affect the overall health of your local ecosystem and goes against the principles of responsible airsoft gameplay.

Safety and Rules on Airsoft Fields

When participating in airsoft, it’s essential to prioritize safety and adhere to the rules at your local airsoft field. These guidelines ensure that everyone can enjoy a fun and secure experience.

Prohibited Ammo Type

You must only use plastic BBs on airsoft fields, as metal BBs are strictly prohibited. Metal BBs can cause injury and damage to equipment designed to handle only plastic BBs.

  • Plastic BBs: Safe, lightweight, and the standard for airsoft gameplay.
  • Metal BBs: Unsafe, heavy, and not allowed on airsoft fields.

Importance of Proper Equipment

Proper equipment, such as face and eye protection, is crucial for your safety. Always wear ANSI-rated goggles and a full-face mask to protect against potential injuries from plastic BBs.

Additionally, invest in quality gear like gloves, elbow pads, and knee pads to protect your body. Wearing the right attire can make all the difference in your enjoyment and safety on the airsoft field.

Alternatives and Proper Use

Choosing the Right Ammunition

When using airsoft guns, it’s essential to use the appropriate ammunition. Plastic BBs are the standard for airsoft, while metal BBs are designed for use in air guns and BB guns. Mixing these ammunitions can lead to malfunctions and damage to your airsoft gun.

It’s worth investing in high-quality plastic BBs for your airsoft gun, as they perform better and cause less wear on the internal mechanisms. On the contrary, BB guns and air rifles are engineered explicitly for metal BB use and are more suitable for activities like pest control.

Uses of Airsoft Guns, BB Guns, And Paintball Guns

Airsoft guns, bb guns, and air rifles have their respective applications. Airsoft guns are primarily used for target practice or recreational skirmishes, providing a means of safe, fun competition. Using proper eye protection, participants engage in intense, military-style scenarios using airsoft pistols and rifles that simulate real firearms.

However, BB guns and air rifles are designed for activities like target shooting and pest control, as they use metal ammunition and have more stopping power. These guns are suited for single projectile target practice, enabling users to enhance their shooting skills or effectively manage pests around their homes or property.

Additionally, paintball guns offer an alternative for recreational shooting that involves color-coded paintball pellets. This enables players to easily identify their target hits while still experiencing the thrill of simulated combat.

Proper Practices for Safety and Enjoyment

  • Know your equipment: Understand the differences between airsoft, BB guns, air rifles, and paintball guns to make informed decisions about the type of firearm and ammunition you choose.
  • Wear protection: Eye protection is necessary for any shooting activity, and additional padding may be required for activities like airsoft and paintball.
  • Follow regulations: Observe any local laws or regulations regarding the use of airsoft guns, BB guns, air rifles, and paintball markers. This includes restrictions on where you can use them and any licensing requirements.
  • Maintain your gear: Regular cleaning and maintenance will ensure the longevity of your equipment and optimal performance during shooting activities.

Metal BBs Materials and Applications

When considering metal BBs, you’ll find they are typically made of steel, zinc, or copper. These materials are known for their durability and weight, providing a more stable flight path and a higher velocity. As a result, they often perform better in practice range scenarios.


Compared to plastic airsoft BBs, metal BBs are considerably heavier, which can significantly impact their performance. Because of their increased weight, metal BBs will have a larger diameter and can cause more damage to your airsoft gun’s internals or external objects. That being said, they are not recommended for use in standard airsoft guns.

When using metal BBs, it’s essential to consider the potential risks and modifications required for your airsoft gun. Consider the following factors in your decision:

  • Velocity: Since metal BBs are heavier, they’ll typically have a lower velocity than plastic BBs, potentially affecting their trajectory and accuracy.
  • Weight: The added weight of metal BBs can also impact the stress on your airsoft gun, causing increased wear and tear over time.
  • Diameter: Given that metal BBs have a larger diameter, they may not fit properly in some airsoft guns, leading to potential feeding issues or jams.


As an airsoft enthusiast, you should never attempt to shoot metal BBs with your airsoft gun. The design and components of airsoft guns are specifically tailored for plastic BBs, and using metal BBs can cause damage to your gun and pose a risk to safety.

You must purchase high-quality plastic BBs for your airsoft gun to ensure optimal performance and avoid unexpected failures. To ensure your airsoft gun’s longevity and participants’ safety, stick to using the manufacturer-recommended plastic pellets. You’ll find various high-quality options on the market that cater to different weights, distances, and accuracies, allowing you to maximize your airsoft experience.

Always prioritize safety and adhere to local rules and regulations when playing with airsoft guns. By using appropriate equipment, maintaining your airsoft gun, and practicing responsible airsoft gun usage, you can enjoy a thrilling and safe shooting experience. Airsoft guns are designed for recreation and are not intended to be used with metal BBs or in any unsafe manner.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Can airsoft guns shoot metal BBs?

Yes, airsoft guns can shoot metal BBs, but it depends on the specific type of airsoft gun. Some airsoft guns are designed to shoot plastic BBs only, while others can handle both plastic and metal BBs.

It’s critical to check the manufacturer’s specifications and recommendations for your specific airsoft gun before using metal BBs.

Q: Are metal BBs more dangerous than plastic BBs?

Yes, metal BBs can be more dangerous than plastic BBs. Metal BBs are heavier and can cause more damage, especially if they hit someone in sensitive areas like the eyes or face. Always wear appropriate eye and face protection when playing airsoft with metal BBs.

Q: What kind of airsoft guns can shoot metal BBs?

Higher-end airsoft guns are more likely to be able to shoot metal BBs. Gas-powered airsoft guns, such as CO2 or green gas, are better suited for shooting metal BBs because they have more power and can handle the weight of the BBs.

It’s essential to check the manufacturer’s specifications and recommendations for your specific airsoft gun before using metal BBs.

Q: Can metal BBs damage my airsoft gun?

Yes, metal BBs can potentially damage your airsoft gun if it’s not designed to handle them. Metal BBs can be harder on the internal mechanisms of an airsoft gun than plastic BBs, which can cause wear and tear over time.

That’s why it’s crucial to check the manufacturer’s specifications and recommendations for your specific airsoft gun before using metal BBs.

Q: Are there any rules or regulations about using metal BBs in airsoft?

Yes! There may be rules or regulations about using metal BBs in airsoft, depending on where you live and play. Some states or countries may have restrictions on the use of metal BBs or require specific safety measures to be in place, such as mandatory eye protection.

It’s critical to familiarize yourself with local laws or regulations before using metal BBs in airsoft.

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