What Do Airsoft Bullets Look Like? A Quick Guide to BBs

As an airsoft enthusiast, you might be curious about the appearance and properties of airsoft bullets. They come in various shapes, sizes, and materials, so understanding their appearance is essential for your game performance and safe play.

Airsoft bullets, commonly known as BBs, typically resemble small, spherical pellets. They are generally made from plastic, biodegradable materials, or even ceramic, and their sizes can range from 6mm to 8mm in diameter. While white is the most common color, you’ll also find BBs in various other colors to suit different environments and preferences.

Besides standard BBs, some specialized types offer unique advantages during gameplay. For example, heavier BBs provide improved accuracy at the cost of reduced range. In contrast, tracer BBs emit a glowing effect when used with a tracer unit, enhancing visibility in low-light conditions.

Airsoft Pellets Basics

In airsoft, the ammunition you use is as necessary as your weapon. To play the game effectively and safely, it’s essential to understand the fundamentals of airsoft pellets.

Material and Composition

Airsoft pellets, also known as BBs, are primarily made from plastic materials. The most common type of plastic utilized is a high-quality, biodegradable polystyrene or polylactide. This choice makes the pellets eco-friendly as they break down over time, minimizing environmental impact.

There is also a variation of airsoft pellets known as “tracer BBs.” These pellets contain a phosphorescent material that makes them glow in the dark, providing an exciting visual effect during nighttime games.

Size and Diameter

The standard size for airsoft pellets is 6mm in diameter, the most widely used and available size for airsoft guns. Some specialty sizes, such as 8mm BBs, are less standard and compatible with fewer weapons.

The size and weight of the pellets influence accuracy and range. Lighter pellets (0.12-0.20 grams) provide higher velocity but may be less accurate, while heavier pellets (0.25-0.43 grams) offer greater accuracy and stability at the expense of range and speed.

Here is a quick rundown of the above information:

  • Material: Plastic (polystyrene or polylactide)
  • Composition: Biodegradable, tracer (glow-in-the-dark) option
  • Size: 6mm (standard), 8mm (specialty)
  • Weight Range: 0.12-0.43 grams

Types of Airsoft Ammunition

In the airsoft world, the type of ammunition you choose can make a difference in your game. Let’s examine the three primary BB varieties to comprehend their features and applications better.

Biodegradable BBs

Biodegradable BBs are made from environmentally friendly materials that degrade over time. These BBs are an excellent choice for outdoor games, as they help reduce the impact on nature.

Their accuracy and force remain comparable with a slightly higher cost than their non-biodegradable counterparts. The variety of BB colors also allows you to find the perfect match for your needs.

Non-Biodegradable BBs

Non-biodegradable BBs, made from plastic, offer a more affordable option. They are widely used across airsoft players and have diverse availability in terms of colors and weights.

However, if you’re playing outdoors, it’s essential to consider the environmental impact. As they don’t degrade, these BBs can harm wildlife and take hundreds of years to break down.

Tracer BBs

Tracer BBs are perfect for those who want an enhanced visual experience in their games. They’re designed to emit a bright glow when fired, simulating the look of real tracer rounds.

These BBs require a specialized tracer unit to activate their glow properties. Although they may add excitement to your game, it’s essential to remember that they can affect your stealth in low-light situations.

Pellet Weight and Its Effects

As an ardent airsoft devotee, you should know that pellet weight significantly influences the performance and characteristics of your airsoft guns. This section explores how pellet weight affects range, accuracy, velocity, and energy to help you make informed decisions when selecting your airsoft BBs.

Effects on Range and Accuracy

Generally, heavier pellets work best for achieving greater range and accuracy. This is because, as the weight increases, the BBs generate more momentum, allowing them to maintain a stable flight and resist external factors like wind.

Similarly, lighter pellets are more susceptible to external influences and may not be as accurate over long distances. See the effects of varying BB weight on flight stability and range:

  • 0.12g: Low range, less stable flight
  • 0.20g: Average range and stability
  • 0.25g: Improved range, increased flight stability
  • 0.30g: Long range, maximum flight stability

Impact on Velocity and Energy

Heavier BBs usually require more energy to propel them, which can reduce the feet-per-second (FPS) they achieve compared to lighter pellets. Consequently, pellet weight adjustments may impact your airsoft gun’s overall energy. Here’s a brief illustration of how BB weight affects velocities:

BB WeightEstimated FPS
0.30gVery Low

Ultimately, it’s essential to balance pellet weight and velocity to achieve your desired performance in your airsoft guns while considering the trajectory and energy requirements for your specific airsoft activities.

Airsoft Guns and Their Ammunition

In the airsoft world, there are various types of guns, each with unique features and ammunition. Let’s explore the different types of airsoft guns and the ammo they use.

Spring-Powered Guns

Spring-powered guns, or “springers,” are entry-level airsoft weapons that utilize a manual cocking mechanism. The ammunition used in these guns is generally 6mm plastic BBs. The accuracy and range of spring-powered guns can be improved by adjusting the hop-up unit.

Gas-Powered Guns

Gas-powered airsoft guns, like pistols and sniper rifles, operate using compressed gas (such as CO2 or green gas) to propel the BBs. These guns often offer more power and better performance than their spring-powered counterparts.

Gas guns use the same 6mm plastic BBs but with an important reminder: avoid using excessively heavy BBs, or you risk damaging the internals of your gun.

AEGs (Automatic Electric Guns)

AEGs are the most popular airsoft gun type powered by rechargeable batteries. These guns, such as rifles, SMGs, and DMRs, have electric motors and gearboxes that allow them to shoot in semi-automatic and fully-automatic modes. AEGs also use 6mm plastic BBs and often have adjustable hop-up units for precision shooting.

Here’s a quick overview of the different types of airsoft guns and their ammunition:

  • Spring-Powered Guns: 6mm plastic BBs
  • Gas-Powered Guns: 6mm plastic BBs, CO2 or green gas
  • AEGs: 6mm plastic BBs, rechargeable batteries

Remember, it’s crucial to always use high-quality BBs and appropriate gas or batteries for your specific airsoft gun to ensure optimal performance and longevity. Happy shooting!

Safety Considerations with Airsoft Ammo

Airsoft bullets may be small and lightweight, but it’s crucial to consider their potential impact on the human body and other safety aspects.

Impact on Human Body

Depending on factors such as distance and the force behind the shot, the sting of an airsoft bullet can range from mild to significant. A direct hit on exposed skin can cause temporary pain or even leave a bruise.

Proper protection is crucial as specific body parts, such as the eyes, face, and teeth, are highly vulnerable to more severe injuries when unprotected.

Protective Gear Recommendations

  • Eye protection: Always wear full-sealed, impact-resistant goggles or a suitable facemask to shield your eyes from airsoft bullets. Regular glasses won’t suffice.
  • Face protection: Utilize a mesh lower-face mask or a full-face mask to safeguard your teeth and other sensitive facial areas from incoming projectiles.
  • Body protection: A long-sleeved shirt, gloves, and long pants are necessary to minimize the risk of injuries to exposed skin. Consider wearing tactical or padded clothing for added absorption of impacts.

The more distance between you and your opponent, the less force airsoft bullets will have upon impact. Always follow airsoft field rules and practice responsible gameplay – your safety and that of others depend on it.

Comparing Airsoft Pellets to Paintball

In this section, we will explore the differences between airsoft pellets and paintball ammunition, as well as discuss the pros and cons of each. As an airsoft enthusiast, you must understand these distinctions to make informed choices.

Differences in Ammunition

Airsoft pellets, or BBs, are usually spherical and made of plastic or biodegradable resin. They typically measure 6mm in diameter and weigh between 0.12 to 0.40 grams.

On the contrary, paintballs are gelatin-shelled spheres filled with non-toxic, water-soluble paint. These are considerably larger, with diameters ranging from 0.68 inches (17.3mm) to 0.71 inches (18mm).

Here’s a quick comparison of airsoft pellets and paintballs:

  • Airsoft pellets: 6mm diameter, plastic or biodegradable resin, weigh 0.12 to 0.40 grams
  • Paintballs: 0.68 to 0.71 inches in diameter, gelatin shell filled with paint, weigh about 3 grams

Pros and Cons

When it comes to performance, airsoft pellets have both advantages and drawbacks in comparison to paintballs.

They are lighter and smaller, which allows for greater accuracy and higher velocity. However, that also means the wind can affect them more and may not cause as much impact upon hitting a target.

Paintballs, being larger and heavier, are more visible when in flight and create a more visible mark when striking their target.

Let’s take a look at some pros and cons of using airsoft pellets and paintballs as ammunition:

Ammunition TypeProsCons
Airsoft Pellets
  • Higher accuracy
  • Higher velocity
  • Less mess
  • Less visible impact
  • It may be affected more by wind
  • Discernible impact
  • Larger and heavier
  • Lower accuracy
  • Lower velocity
  • Can be messy

Environmental Impact and Storage of BBs

Environmental Effects

Using biodegradable airsoft ammo is an eco-friendly choice that can reduce the environmental impact of your airsoft activities. These BBs break down over time, thanks to soil microbes that consume the organic material.

However, not all biodegradable BBs are created equal, and the decomposition rate can vary depending on factors like humidity, temperature, and composting methods.


Some BBs use photosensitive degradation to break down in the presence of sunlight, and this process makes them a better choice for outdoor use, reducing litter and environmental pollution. Always choose high-quality biodegradable BBs that meet industry compostability standards to ensure you use eco-friendly products.

Proper Storage of BBs

Proper storage of your airsoft ammo is crucial to maintain its performance and prevent premature degradation. Store them in a cool, dry, dark environment to ensure maximum longevity. Avoid exposing them to direct sunlight or moisture, as this can compromise their structural integrity and affect their performance on the field.

When it comes to biodegradable BBs, proper storage becomes even more crucial. These BBs will naturally degrade over time in favorable conditions, so you’ll want to minimize exposure to humidity and sunlight.

Always keep them sealed in their original packaging or use airtight containers, and check for signs of degradation before loading them into your airsoft gun.

Selecting the Right Airsoft Ammo

Choosing the right airsoft ammo for your airsoft rifle is crucial in ensuring your weapon performs at its best and reduces the risk of malfunction. This section will discuss the factors to consider when selecting airsoft projectiles and provide recommendations on high-quality brands.

Factors to Consider

When selecting airsoft projectiles, examine the quality and durability of the ammo.

  • Avoid bullets with imperfections, as these can lead to jams and inconsistent accuracy.
  • High-quality ammo is smoother and more precise, allowing for higher muzzle velocities and better performance.

Another critical factor is the projectile’s weight.

  • Heavier projectiles tend to be more accurate but may have lower velocities, while lighter projectiles can travel faster but may be more affected by external factors like wind.
  • Choose a weight that best suits your rifle and intended use.

Lastly, ensure that the ammunition size is compatible with your airsoft gun’s magazine and barrel width. Standard sizes include 6mm and 8mm but always confirm with your gun’s specifications to avoid any issues during play.

Recommended Brands

There are several reputable brands known for producing high-quality airsoft ammo:

  • Elite Force – Known for their precision and durability, Elite Force offers a variety of weights and sizes suitable for different airsoft rifles.
  • GoldenBall – A popular choice for high-performance airsoft competitions, GoldenBall projectiles are recognized for their accuracy and consistency.
  • Evike – Evike provides a range of high-quality airsoft pellets, ensuring compatibility with various airsoft rifles on the market.

By considering these factors and choosing recommended brands, you can optimize your airsoft rifle’s performance and reduce potential malfunctions.


Airsoft bullets, commonly referred to as BBs, come in various sizes, materials, and colors. Most airsoft guns’ standard size and weight are 6mm and 0.20g. Heavier or biodegradable BBs are also available for more demanding gameplay or environmentally conscious players.

You must choose the right BB for your specific airsoft gun and play style to ensure optimal performance and accuracy. Also, never forget the importance of safety when handling and using airsoft ammunition:

  • Always wear protective eye gear
  • Properly store and dispose of BBs
  • Use biodegradable BBs, if possible, to minimize environmental impact

By understanding the characteristics and variations of airsoft bullets, you can make better-informed decisions in selecting the perfect ammunition for your gameplay experience.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What are airsoft bullets made of?

Airsoft bullets, also known as BBs, are generally made from plastic materials like ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene) or PLA (Polylactic Acid). Biodegradable BBs are also available and made from materials like PLA, which decompose over time in the environment.

Q. Do airsoft bullets come in different sizes?

Yes, airsoft bullets come in various sizes, most commonly 6mm in diameter. However, other sizes like 8mm are also available. Using the correct size BBs for your airsoft gun ensures reliable performance and prevents damage.

Q. Are there different weights for airsoft bullets?

Yes, airsoft bullets have varying weights, typically ranging from 0.12g to 0.43g. The weight you choose will depend on your airsoft gun’s power and intended usage. For instance, lighter BBs are suitable for low-powered guns or close-quarters combat, while heavier BBs offer better accuracy and range for high-powered guns.

Q. Do airsoft bullets hurt?

While airsoft bullets are not lethal, they can cause temporary pain, bruising, or welts if they hit bare skin. It’s crucial to wear appropriate safety gear, such as face masks, goggles, and long sleeves and pants, to minimize injury during airsoft games.

Q. Can you reuse airsoft bullets?

Generally, it is not recommended to reuse airsoft bullets. Once fired, BBs can pick up dirt, sustain damage, or deform, which can cause jams, decrease accuracy, or even damage your airsoft gun’s internals.

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