Can You Use Metal BBs In Airsoft?

Published on
January 13, 2022

Using plastic BBs is the go-to choice for nearly all airsoft players across the UK. There's little risk involved, we know how much airsoft can hurt already so, why would anybody consider using metal BBs?

Not only that but, can an airsoft gun even shoot metal BBs?

Metal BBs will damage (or potentially shatter) the internals of an airsoft gun, which will mean your AEG becomes useless very quickly.

This article will discuss what metal BBs are, why they can be so dangerous, and whether or not an airsoft gun can take them.

Can Airsoft Guns Take Metal BBs?

The simple answer to this question is yes. Airsoft guns can fire metal BBs.

However, most airsoft guns are built to sustain the impact of a plastic BB. Depending on the weight of a metal BB, you might find the distance of your shot affected, too.

Airsoft guns won't typically have the power to shoot heavier projectiles effectively at range.

As well as potentially damaging the airsoft gun and, poor performance, using metal BBs can also cause severe injuries to other airsoft players.

Are Metal BBs Dangerous?

Yes, metal BBs are incredibly dangerous.

A metal projectile can cause serious harm to the body if fired from a high-powered airsoft gun at close range.

This can include:

  • Smaller bones being broken (imagine being hit in your hand).
  • Entry wounds are being formed (i.e., the pellet ending up inside your skin).
  • Steel BBs are likely to cause heavier bleeding.

If plastic BBs have the ability to get lodged in your skin from close range, imagine what 0.6g of steel or lead could do to you.

It's not pretty and it's not safe.

Depending on the material used to make a metal BB, there's also the risk of lead or zinc poisoning. Shards of rusty metal making their way into your bloodstream could mean infected wounds.

Finally, eye protection isn't designed to withstand a heavy projectile at most ranges. There's the potential that airsoft glasses would shatter into pieces.

The sport of airsoft (and its players) aren't equipped to deal with this level of risk and injury.

Why Would Anyone Use Metal BBs In Airsoft?

Some people might choose to use metal BBs in airsoft because they believe they offer more accuracy than plastic BBs.

Or, if you're new to playing airsoft, you may confuse airsoft guns with air rifles (which shoot metal pellets).

Others might consider using them as a way of inflicting more damage on the enemy team.

Let's stop there for a second. If you're purposely using metal BBs to hurt other airsoft skirmishers, you should consider giving up the sport. We don't want you here and neither does anybody else.

Whatever the reason, using metal BBs can have devastating consequences for both the player and their equipment.

Is Using Metal BBs In Airsoft Against The Rules?

Yes. It can also get you (and your teammates) banned from the site for life.

UK airsoft sites take health and safety seriously. If for any reason, their business is at risk due to someone using metal BBs, they will simply remove them from the site.

No questions asked.

Any respectable airsoft field requires people to sign a waiver form before the skirmish. Either on the day or during the booking online. This waiver states that all players will oblige by their site rules.

Make sure you check the small print before assuming you can use metal BBs. (But if you do use them, you should seriously think about what you're doing.)

Can Metal BBs Damage An Airsoft Gun?

Metal BBs can damage the internals of your AEG (Automatic Electric Gun) or even shatter it completely.

When a metal pellet hits something hard enough, like plastic gears and parts inside your airsoft gun, they can break them into pieces which will require professional repair work.

Or you may end up having to replace your gun entirely.

For those of you using Tokyo Marui or a higher-end airsoft brand, well, I can imagine the tears when you get that bill.

Scratched inner barrel

Have you ever accidentally scratched your key on a metal surface, like a car door? That's exactly what a metal BB would do to your barrel. Even high-performance airsoft guns are likely to suffer tremendous wear and scratching as a result.

Damaged hop-up unit

The hop-up unit isn't as robust as you might think. We'd imagine a metal BB would rip through even the most well-built hop-ups. And, as we mentioned earlier, the accuracy of your gun would start to decline fast.

Broken magazines

Technically, you can fit a metal BB in a standard mid-cap or high-cap magazine. But, again, metal and plastic don't mix very well. The metal will cause unnecessary damage to the plastic on the inside of your magazine which could impact how well BBs feed into your gun.

How Dangerous Are Metal BBs Compared To Plastic BBs?

Their size and weight can be more dangerous depending on the gun.

Airsoft guns are designed to take plastic BBs, which can weigh anything between 0.12g - 0.43g (or even higher).

Metal pellets can vary in size too but they can also have a much heavier mass than your standard airsoft pellet.

If you were to fire at a target from the same range, using both a plastic BB and a metal BB, the metal BB would certainly have a more devasting impact.

If that target is a person, the plastic BB would hit the skin and fall to the ground. A metal BB would likely puncture the skin. This does depend on the situation such as environmental factors, distance, and which type of gun was used.

Metal BB Specifications

How much do metal BBs weigh?

Depending on the material (zinc or copper-plated metal) BBs can weigh up to 0.62g. Some go as light as 0.42g and some metal BBs are over 1g in weight.

What are metal BBs made of?

Metal BBs are made-up of corrosion-resistant metal such as zinc or steel with copper-coating to help withstand the environment.

Diameter of metal BBs

Steel BBs usually measure 4.3 - 4.3mm in diameter.

Final thoughts

Look, airsoft matches are supposed to be fun for everybody.

If you want to use more realistic ammo, then join the military and use real firearms. But for the safety and consideration of airsoft players of all ages, use the correct type of BBs.

If you want to use them at a practice range or at a private event (maybe long-range shooting) then, great. Use a cheaper airsoft rifle and have some fun.

We hope this covered enough about what metal BBs are and why we don't think they belong in the sport of airsoft.

If you have any thoughts or feedback, please let us know in the comment section below.


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