What FPS is Good for Airsoft

Two military man snipers with airsoft automatic rifle
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If you’re new to the world of airsoft, you’ve probably heard or seen these three letters used a lot, and you might not be entirely sure what they mean. If that’s the case, then you’ve come to the right place. FPS is one of the most important acronyms in the world of airsoft. But what does it mean and what FPS is good for airsoft?

In this article, we’re going to take a look at what exactly FPS is in the context of airsoft, why it’s important, and what FPS you should be striving for during your airsoft games. Just keep reading for more information about what FPS is good for airsoft so you can make the best choices when you are out playing.

A Brief Overview of FPS

In the world of airsoft, FPS is so significant that it governs the rules within the sport, the gameplay of which a referee chooses to run, and more importantly, your style of play. Assault on all fronts, run head-first, or take a more cautious approach – whatever your preferred style of playing is, your FPS is going to impact it.

To put it plainly, FPS stands for ‘feet per second’, and is used as a means of measuring the velocity at which a BB leaves the barrel of your airsoft replica weapon. The most common way of measuring an airsoft gun’s FPS is by using a chronograph.

There are plenty of variables that influence the way FPS can change, such as the weight of the BB itself, as well as the airsoft replica you are using. So, when you hear someone talking about FPS, they are generally referring to it in the context of using 0.2 gram BBs. To give an example, lighter BBs travel far quicker than heavier BBs, so long as the propellant remains unchanged.

boy shoots white plastic bb pellet at target in garden with electric airsoft pistol

What FPS Affects

There are many areas that FPS affects when playing airsoft, but the three main areas are power, range, and accuracy. To answer the question of what a good FPS for airsoft is, we’ll use the example of throwing a ball. Most of you have probably thrown at least one ball in your life, so this probably won’t be a particularly challenging metaphor to follow.

Power

First and foremost is power. Imagine a target on a wall. The more force that you put behind throwing your ball, the faster it’s going to fly, and the harder it is going to hit the target.

The energy behind the ball decreases the more time the ball spends in the air. The most energy that you will be putting behind this ball is the moment it leaves your hand.

Range

Range is the next factor. Like we mentioned earlier, the harder you throw your ball, the quicker it’s going to move, and the harder it’s going to hit your target. What’s more, the further you hurl the ball, the more gravity is going to take effect.

If you throw a ball with little power, it’s not going to go that far. Gravity is going to pull the ball downward very early after the force behind the ball has dissipated, but if you put a lot of force behind the ball, gravity is going to take longer to pull the ball downward, which means the ball is going to travel further.

Accuracy

Finally, we arrive at accuracy. Accuracy is a trickier concept to cover mostly because there are so many factors that influence it, but we’ll explain it as simply as possible. The harder you throw, the faster the ball is going to travel, and the more likely the ball is to travel where you want it to before external factors begin exerting an influence. These external factors include elements like wind and gravity.

It is more likely for a lighter ball to be affected by external factors than a heavier ball, but you also won’t need to throw the ball as hard. On the other hand, a heavier ball is going to need more power behind it to reach its target, even though it is not being affected by external factors as much.

Closeup of white plastic bullets of airsoft gun or bb gun on wooden floor

The Ideal FPS for Airsoft – Is There One?

This is actually quite a controversial topic. Strangely enough, there is no real ‘correct’ answer, since every field in the world has its own set of rules when it comes to the limits on FPS. With that being said, there are some standards that are commonly followed throughout many airsoft ranges in the world.

Outdoors

For most outdoor matches, your ideal FPS is going to come down to your style of playing and there are three main categories for playstyles. For the first category, anything that is not considered a designated marksman rifle (DMR) should clock in between 366 and 420 FPS.

Next, DMRs will generally have to clock in between 420 and 450 FPS, and the ‘rare’ sniper user can have anything over 480 FPS and under 550 FPS. Be sure to take the minimum engagement distance into account for all three of these playstyles, as you can cause some serious injuries if you aren’t careful.

Indoors

The above numbers are going to vary slightly when it comes to playing indoors, since the field is generally much smaller. As we said, numbers will vary depending on the club you play in, but here are the general rules.

While you are playing in an indoor arena, you only have so much distance to shoot and there are going to be times when you’re able to walk right up to the opposing team, so it’s good to be sensible when it comes to the FPS of your primary rifle and your sidearm.

Shooting an opposing player up close with a high-powered gun is never a fun experience, and it’s also an excellent way to ensure that you never make any airsoft friends. A great way to avoid these kinds of altercations is to keep your FPS at a reasonable level.

For sidearms, stick to around 300 FPS, as you really only ever use your sidearm as a backup. For your primary replica, keep within the 330 – 360 FPS range to avoid injuring your opposition. No matter how far away your target may be, you’re still going to hit them, and it’s going to hurt either way.

Is a Higher FPS Always Better?

The answer to this question depends on your tent. The only valid, non-masochistic reason as to why you would want a very high FPS is to cover more ground, especially if you are using a DMR.

With that being said, you want to be fair and nice to your fellow players, regardless of whether they’re on your team or the opposing team, so you’d be better off keeping the mid-range FPS levels we discussed previously.

Final Thoughts

Now you know the answer to what FPS is good for airsoft so you can play a great game without causing injuries.

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