Have you ever had airsoft BBs shatter on your face? They can cause serious injuries, but that’s only one of the problems caused by poor quality BBs. They can also cause poor shooting or even damage the barrel of your airsoft replica gun.
Many of these problems result from bad manufacturing of airsoft BBs. Some of the common problems you are likely to experience with bad BBs include:
- BBs which are not perfectly spherical.
- BBs that are full of air pockets inside, which can weaken them.
- BBs that are too light, too heavy, or made of the wrong material.
- Some types of BBs, such as paint-filled BBs, can damage your replica gun.
With BBs like that, you can expect plenty of problems. These include poor accuracy, loss of range, injury, and damaged airsoft gun barrels.
You don’t want to run the risk of such serious problems because of a batch of poor quality BBs. Let’s examine what kind of BBs will not malfunction at the wrong time and how you can identify such BBs.
We will also mention some of the BB brands we trust based on our extensive airsoft experience.
Table of Contents
- Tip 1 – BBs of the Right Size
- Tip 2 – Seamless, Perfectly Round, Highly Polished BBs
- Tip 3 – BBs Made of High-Quality Material
- Tip 4 – BBs of the Right Type and Weight for Your Gun
- Why Pay More for Premium Quality BBs?
- Protect Your Expensive Airsoft Equipment
- Frequently Asked Questions
Tip 1 – BBs of the Right Size
Airsoft BBs come in two main sizes. The most popular BBs are 5.95mm in diameter, usually called 6mm BBs. The other size is 8mm BBs, but these are rare. They are only used in special airsoft guns such as revolvers and shotguns.
The size tolerance and consistency of airsoft BBs are the two features you have to consider. Tolerance means that your 5.95mm BBs shouldn’t have a variation of more than 0.01mm.
Consistency means that all BBs you use should be of the same size and weight from batch to batch.
Many airsoft gun barrels are slightly larger than 6 mm in diameter, which allows for larger BBs up to 6mm in size.
Precision airsoft guns have tighter tolerances. With barrels as small as 6.03mm, they need high-quality BBs to prevent damage.
There are two reasons why the size of airsoft BBs is so important. The first is that large BBs can scratch the barrel and damage it, besides reducing accuracy and range.
The second reason is that small BBs allow gas to escape in the extra space. This also reduces range and accuracy.
Some lazy manufacturers can have size tolerances of 0.1mm. While it doesn’t sound so bad, such BBs can be 5.85mm—6.05mm in diameter. You can see how such a large variation could cause problems in high-end airsoft guns with 6.03mm barrels.
Given that you could fire anywhere from 200 to 1000 BBs in an airsoft game, you need to make sure that your airsoft BBs are reliable and consistent. Unfortunately, that means you have to trust your supplier and the manufacturer on this one.
Tip 2 – Seamless, Perfectly Round, Highly Polished BBs
The right airsoft BBs should be perfectly spherical and very smooth. That means no seams or other imperfections.
Smooth circular BBs move through the barrel and the air with minimal disturbance. This is what gives you the greatest range and accuracy.
Premium BB manufacturers use a “double polishing” method to enhance quality. This method removes seams, covers thin cracks, scratches, or cuts, and removes dimples.
Airsoft BBs are very light, usually 0.20g to about 4g. This makes them sensitive to even the smallest imperfections as they fly through the air. Even with the use of a good hop-up chamber, poor-quality BBs will cost you accuracy.
Expert tip: Many people like to wash BBs to improve their smoothness. A better way is to buy an ultrasonic or tumbler BB polishing device. That way, you can polish your own BBs and be sure of their quality.
Tip 3 – BBs Made of High-Quality Material
Apart from environmental-friendliness, there is another reason why we love biodegradable BBs. Bio BBs are less likely to shatter, making them safer and better for high-powered shooting.
As you might know, standard BBs are usually made of petroleum-based ABS plastic. That is the same material used in LEGO blocks, 3D printing, and other applications.
ABS plastic is naturally hard and brittle. Manufacturers blend it with various filler materials to change these properties.
Without these fillers, ABS BBs can shatter when firing or upon impact. Airsoft guns that fire at more than exceeding 350 fps are more vulnerable to shattering.
Such guns exert a lot of force on the BBs, causing them to deform or break when fired. Broken BBs can cause extensive damage in the barrels of your airsoft gun.
Biodegradable BBs are usually made of resin or polylactide (PLA). These are both agricultural byproducts such as corn. These materials are soft and are less likely to shatter.
This is why many people test bio BBs by crushing them with pliers. Where ABS BBs will break when you apply force, bio BBs will bend first before breaking.
While you might prefer standard plastic BBs for their cheap prices, bio BBs are a better option. They are much safer and you don’t need to worry about collecting them after an outdoor airsoft battle.
Your local airsoft field may not even allow non-biodegradable BBs for outdoor use, so be sure to ask.
Expert Tip: One way you can tell that BBs are biodegradable is to set them on fire. While ABS BBs burn with a dirty stinging flame, bio BBs burn clean with no irritating odors.
Tip 4 – BBs of the Right Type and Weight for Your Gun
The weight of airsoft BBs is a critical feature that affects range, accuracy, and even safety.
For example, heavy BBs in close range shooting could cause significant injury. There’s much more to the weight of airsoft BBs than safety.
The Best Pellet Weight Is 0.20g to 0.25g
Entry-level BB guns fire at muzzle speeds of less than 350FPS. Such guns work best with 0.20g airsoft ammo in indoor shooting. This combination gives them good range, flight path stability, and accuracy.
Heavier pellets are better for outdoor games. Any replica gun should be able to fire 0.25g BBs, and the extra weight gives them better flight stability and range.
Since heavier BBs need more powerful guns, here’s a simple table to help you figure out BB weights and gun power.
|BB Weight||Ideal Replica Power||Applications|
|0.12g||Any cheap spring-powered, gas, or AEG gun can fire them||Indoor and close-quarters games with low-powered weapons. Ideal for airsoft claymores and grenades|
|0.20g||Most out-of-the box airsoft guns below $150 will fire these. Optimal range is 150—300fps||Indoor airsoft fights and close-range outdoor games|
|0.25g||High-quality replicas firing at 300—400fps||Outdoor and larger indoor arenas|
|0.28g||Replicas capable of 400—450fps||Long-range outdoor fights|
|0.32g—0.40g||Modified airsoft guns and bolt-action sniper rifles firing at 500fps or above||Airsoft snipers|
Guns firing heavy BBs at high speeds have more energy. This gives them high penetrating power, putting players and their equipment at risk.
It’s true that there are regulations about the maximum energy airsoft guns can have. However, it’s wise to take precautions to protect yourself and your airsoft guns.
Scopes are particularly vulnerable in many milsim battles. For that reason, a strong sightguard is an essential piece of tactical gear. We strongly recommend that you get one now from our store.
One customer who bought our Black Lion sightguard was so impressed that he had this to say:
“Absolutely amazing! I have had this guard now for about a week and it’s already taken some hard hits with no issues. I highly recommend this product to anyone looking to guard their optic. Thank you for the amazing product!”
Kenneth Bush, Colorado
Expert tip: Some special types of BBs, such as markers and paint BBs, are likely to damage airsoft equipment. Markers have a residual powder that can get into small parts and cause issues. Paint BBs can burst inside the gun, so stick to regular BBs and tracers.
Why Pay More for Premium Quality BBs?
Expensive BBs aren’t always better than cheap ones. But, we have noticed that cheap brands more likely to malfunction due to poor quality checks.
Cheap BBs can have more imperfections such as inconsistent size and shapes. They can also have air bubbles inside, causing them to shatter more easily.
Such problems result from poor polishing and the use of low-quality materials.
Some manufacturers even recycle the ABS plastic material from used BBs. Stay away from such cheap BBs for the same reasons you shouldn’t reuse spent airsoft ammo.
In comparison, premium BBs will have much higher quality assurance processes. For example, Novritsch has a 5-stage quality control process, as you can see in the video below.
Novritsch has a five-stage quality control process. First, the company checks for size tolerances to within 0.01mm. Then, a proprietary two-stage polishing process removes all imperfections.
The final stage is a manual process to check that each batch has good internal consistency. In other words, very few Novritsch BBs will have air bubbles and other defects.
Apart from Novritsch, two other brands known for their high-quality BBs are Elite Force and Valken.
Expert tip: You can collect and reuse spent airsoft BBS in secondary weapons such as grenades. You can also use a padded box for target practice, allowing you to reuse those BBs.
Protect Your Expensive Airsoft Equipment
Airsoft weapons and accessories can be very expensive. It is prudent to take every step to protect your airsoft guns and accessories from damage.
For starters, splurge on expensive BB brands if you have to. One way to protect your airsoft gun is to shoot reliable, trustworthy BBs every time.
Also, accessories such as sight guards protect your sights from damage. High-energy BBs, branches and rocks can all trash expensive glassware. Luckily, our proven sight guards will keep your equipment safe at all times.
Protect your sights by buying Blacklion sight guards here. Even customers from as far as the Netherlands are loving our sight guards, with one having this to say:
Frequently Asked Questions
Can poor-quality BBs damage your gun?
Yes, low-quality airsoft ammo will have inconsistent size, shape, and smoothness. These can scratch or even jam your airsoft gun’s barrel. In worst-case scenarios, poor quality BBs can shatter upon impact and cause injury.
What is the best brand of airsoft BBs?
Many players swear by premium brands such as Elite Force, Valken, and Evike. However, the quality of BBs can vary widely from batch to batch. If you find a manufacturer whose quality you like and whose BBs work well with your airsoft guns, stick with them.
How can I improve my accuracy in airsoft?
The most important step is to use a good quality replica gun and BBs with consistent quality. Other ways you can improve your airsoft accuracy is to:
- Use slightly heavier BBs that have more stable flight paths.
- Invest in a high-end hop-up chamber.
- Maintain your equipment in good condition. Clean the barrels regularly, ensure that you have no air leaks, and lubricate often.
- If you have the skills, stabilize your barrel and polish it. You can also have an expert do this for you.
- Practice often in target practice and actual games.