what do airsoft guns shoot?

What do Airsoft Guns Shoot?

If you’re wondering “what do airsoft guns shoot?”, you’re not alone. It is a common misconception that all airsoft guns shoot BBs or pellets of any kind. However, there are airsoft guns that shoot pellets, and then there are airsoft guns that shoot out BBs (or spherical plastic projectiles). There are many types of airsoft pellets and which you choose depends mainly on the gun you shoot and your use.

What do airsoft guns shoot? Airsoft guns shoot spherical pellets made of plastic or biodegradable materials. These pellets are often referred to as BB’s, but that is inaccurate as they are not the same as the round metal balls used in BB guns or birdshot. Pellets are more accurate, but BBs are cheaper and more readily available. As a rule, spring-powered guns shoot BBs, while electric guns shoot pellets.

The following are factors to consider when choosing the best airsoft gun pellet:

  • Performance
  • Material
  • Cost

Let’s dig into those three factors now.

Expiring Gun Giveaways

Enter your email for instant access to all gun giveaways (updated )

Calahan is the gun giveaways homepage hero
what do airsoft guns fire?


Several factors affect the performance of an airsoft pellet. 

The industry standard and most commonly used pellets are 12, 20, and 25 g at 6mm, although weights vary from .12-.40 g. It is estimated 80-90% of airsoft guns use this size.

A less common pellet is the 8mm, typically used in gas-powered shotguns with high velocities. 

Generally, the following holds:

  • Lighter pellets have a higher velocity (VPS). However, they are more affected by wind and decelerate faster than a heavier pellet. 
  • Lighter pellets have a more unstable and unpredictable trajectory, whereas a heavier pellet will more accurately reach its destination. 
  • Heavier pellets have higher kinetic energy, meaning it takes more propulsion to gain full velocity, but they maintain speed longer. Therefore they also hit harder. 
  • A heavier pellet requires a more heavy-duty, high-performance airsoft gun and has increased accuracy. 

The type of airsoft gun used can alter a particular pellet’s performance. A gun with a spring-powered firing mechanism will have less propulsion than a gun with a gas- or electric-powered firing mechanism. 

Additionally, plastic pellets have several downsides, including a non-perfect spherical shape and residual plastic from the manufacturing process. They can also more easily break down when fired, potentially causing irreparable damage to the gun. 

What do Airsoft Guns Shoot: 6 Airsoft BB Materials to Choose From

There are many types of airsoft pellets available, and the ones you choose will depend on what kind of gun you shoot and your chosen activity. 

1. Biodegradable

These pellets are increasing in popularity as they become a requirement of many facilities. Because plastic pellets are difficult to pick up, particularly outside, the pollution to the environment can be substantial. 

Commonly composed of a resin made from corn-products, 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.

2. Tracers

These pellets are for airsoft guns equipped with a special device called an airsoft tracer unit. The device causes the pellet to light up as it is fired from the gun, making it an excellent night game choice. 

3. Non-traceable

These are dark-colored pellets intentionally 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! 

4. Paint-spherical projectiles

While these are called paintballs, the airsoft paintball pellets are not the same as those used in the sport of 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.

5. Markers

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.

6. Ceramic

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. 


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. Remember, 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. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *