Airsoft guns, which are also known as air guns, give you the thrill of shooting a real weapon without the associated risks. (Airsoft guns shoot non-metallic pellets.) And, according to the laws of physics, a moving pellet requires more energy to impel it forward than a similar pellet at rest. In airsoft, this is measured in FPS (what does FPS mean in airsoft?!), with the higher the number, the more powerful (and expensive) the gun. For example, a gun that’s chambered in .12 caliber might have an FPS of 450. That’s not the most powerful airsoft gun, but it gets the job done for casual plinking.
What does FPS mean in airsoft? The term FPS in relation to the sport of airsoft means Feet Per Second and is used as a measurement for the velocity of the pellet (BB) propelled by an airsoft gun. FPS is usually measured through equipment known as a chronograph.
Now that you know what FPS stands for, read on to find out how airsoft players use FPS in their sport!
What is FPS in Airsoft?
So, what does FPS stand for in Airsoft? FPS stands for Feet Per Second.
This is used as a measurement for the velocity of the pellets fired from an airsoft gun. Pellets, often known as BBs, come in slightly different spherical sizes, 6mm and 8mm (millimeter), and weights ranging from 0.12g to 0.46g (grams). The standard size and weight used to set the FPS baseline are 0.20g 6mm airsoft BBs, but some variants are allowed.
The size and weight or your BBs will change your FPS, so make sure you know what BBs your airsoft gun requires!
Most airsoft gun barrels come in at 6.08mm, but you can get other barrels at 6.03mm or 6.01mm. The tighter your BB fits in the barrel, the higher the FPS and the farther and faster your BB will travel!
BBs can also come in a wide range of colors and materials. Many courses and competitions require biodegradable BBs.
Typically, airsoft competitions will set limits for FPS, and all airsoft guns will be checked using a chronograph for compliance and safety reasons. 0.20g 6mm airsoft BBs are the standard weight and size used in competitions.
All airsoft guns except for pistols and snipers have limits of 400FPS. Pistols and handguns have a limit of 350FPS. Snipers have a limit of 500FPS. Some rules and limits may change depending on the competition you enter.
The average FPS for professional training, such as for military or law enforcement training exercises, is higher than airsoft gun models that are available to civilians. This is because these organizations are using these guns for training rather than for recreation.
How is Airsoft FPS Calculated?
FPS is calculated by firing 0.20g 6mm airsoft BBs out of the airsoft gun through a chronograph instrument to measure velocity. In the case of airsoft, velocity equals FPS.
FPS, or velocity, can then be used to calculate the Joules (power) of a specific BB size. This is done through the kinetic energy physics formula, Ek = ½mv2.
- Ek means kinetic energy
- m means mass
- v2 means velocity squared
Joules are often measured along with FPS in order to determine whether or not a player has an unfair advantage in using heavier BBs.
Called “Joule Creep”, a player can increase their FPS by using heavier BBs which can create an uneven battlefield with one player able to shoot further than others.
For example, if you use a airsoft sniper rifle, you will need to consider how to improve your average FPS in order to find the optimal BB weight to use to be competitive on the battlefield.
Novritsch, a popular airsoft supply company, provides these ratio metrics for BB weights of 0.25g to 0.49g. Remember, these are the recommended metrics for BBs of an airsoft sniper rifle!
- 0.25g weighted airsoft BBs in airsoft guns with 230 to 330 FPS or 0.5 to 1.0 Joules
- 0.28g weighted airsoft BBs in airsoft guns with 330 to 400 FPS or 1.0 to 1.5 Joules
- 0.30g weighted airsoft BBs in airsoft guns with 360 to 400 FPS or 1.2 to 15 Joules
- 0.32g weighted airsoft BBs in airsoft guns with 360 to 400 FPS or 1.2 to 1.5 Joules
- 0.36g weighted airsoft BBs in airsoft guns with 400 to 470 FPS or 1.5 to 20 Joules
- 0.40g weighted airsoft BBs in airsoft guns with 430 to 520 FPS or 1.7 to 2.5 Joules
- 0.43g weighted airsoft BBs in airsoft guns with 450 to 520 FPS or 1.9 to 2.5 Joules
- 0.46g weighted airsoft BBs in airsoft guns with 490 to 700 FPS or 2.2 to 4.5 Joules
- 0.49g weighted airsoft BBs in airsoft guns with 520 to 700 FPS or 2.5 to 4.5 Joules
Use the above metrics to determine which FPS/Joule is acceptable for your BBs and airsoft gun type.
Be sure to check the regulations of your airsoft field or competition for more guidance. Happy shooting!