can airsoft guns shoot BBs?

Can Airsoft Guns Shoot BBs?

While the question, can airsoft guns shoot BBs is a common one, there are far more appropriate and recommended options for airsoft guns. But you asked, so we tested, and this is what we found…

Can airsoft guns shoot BBs? While airsoft guns can shoot metal BBs, there are several reasons to avoid doing so:

  • BBs are too small in diameter for airsoft guns, resulting in jamming and damage
  • Airsoft guns are not designed for metal BBs, and they can do significant damage to the gun, especially the barrel.
  • Shooting metal BBs in airsoft games is forbidden because it’s incredibly dangerous to shoot these at people. Whereas plastic pellets made for airsoft guns disintegrate on impact, metal BBs do not. They can perforate the skin or shatter upon impact with other metals, resulting in multiple dangerous projectiles.

And yes, the same goes for “can airsoft guns shoot metal BBs?“. Airsoft guns are designed to shoot spherical pellets made of plastic or biodegradable materials. These pellets are often referred to as BBs, but that is inaccurate as they are not the same as the round metal balls used in BB guns or birdshot. That is understandably where some of the confusion comes in.

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Types of Airsoft Pellets

can airsoft guns shoot metal BBs

There are many types of airsoft pellets available, and the ones you choose will depend on what kind of airsoft gun you shoot and your chosen activity. The industry standard and most commonly used pellets are 12g, 20g, and 25g at 6mm, although weights can be as much as .40g. A less common pellet is the 8mm, typically used in gas-powered airsoft shotguns with high velocities. 


Biodegradable pellets are becoming more popular as they become a requirement of many airsoft facilities. This is because plastic pellets can cause significant pollution to the environment due to being difficult to pick up, especially outside. 

Commonly composed of a corn-product resin, the biodegradable pellet has many advantages. These pellets more readily break down when exposed to light, water, and microbes. Some are even certified as compostable. 

While they are more expensive, the benefits to the environment are an important consideration.


These pellets are for airsoft guns equipped with a unique device called an airsoft tracer unit. The device causes the pellet to light up as it is fired from the gun. For this reason, this is a popular option for night games. 


These are dark-colored pellets used to make it difficult for opponents to see where the pellets are coming from. However, it also makes it more difficult for you to see your pellets being fired! 

Paint-Spherical Projectiles

While these are called paintballs, the airsoft paintball pellets are not the same as those used in paintball. They are smaller and still contain paint but can void a warranty if used in many gun models. They may also break easily and coat the gun’s inside with paint, creating maintenance and performance issues.


Markers are airsoft pellets coated in silica powder that leaves a mark where they hit. This silica can cause build-up in a gun, leading to problems if not cleaned correctly. These also have the capability of breaking glass and protective eyewear. For this reason, they are banned at many airsoft facilities.


These are the most expensive to make as they are manufactured to specific standards, resulting in pellets of precisely the same size, weight, and roundness. They are superior performers but can also break standard eye protection. Therefore, they are unsuitable for shooting at people. 

Cost of Airsoft Pellets 

The cost of an airsoft gun pellet depends on several factors, including the type and quality of material used and brand and quantity. Prices can vary from a few dollars to over $40.

Quality affects the price. Biodegradable pellets are more expensive than plastic pellets due to more expensive materials and a different manufacturing process.

In some instances, such as in some indoor facilities, it could be more cost-effective to use plastic pellets and a device to vacuum them up and reuse them. However, because pellets are relatively inexpensive, this may not be worth the time. 

Airsoft gun pellets come in various colors and a variety of quantities ranging from 1000-10,000. Higher quantity doesn’t always mean higher cost, as types and quality are also factors. 

You can purchase airsoft gun pellets from a variety of places. They are easily found with a quick online search and available at many sporting goods stores. 

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