If you’re interested in getting into Airsoft and looking for a gun, you probably already noticed the FPS ratings. Every gun on every retailer will have one, and it’s also probably highlighted as an important spec of the gun. So, does FPS matter in Airsoft?
Like with many things, the answer is not a clear yes or not.
FPS does usually matter when picking out an airsoft gun, but it’s not the only thing you should consider.
FPS stands for feet per second, and it is used to measure the speed of the BB as it leaves the barrel. This is usually measured with 0.2 gram BBs for most Airsoft guns, and it means that a gun shooting 0.2 gram BBs at 300 FPS can achieve a higher FPS with lighter 0.12 gram BBs. The total energy does not change, it just trades weight for speed.
This might seem like a good deal, but less weight means less accuracy due to wind, and less “punch” once it hits the target. That leads us to our main segment.
When FPS does matter
All the ways FPS can help.
Time to target
More speed means faster less time to reach your target. When shooting at someone at a longer range they are less likely to be able to dodge your shot. If you are firing a 300 FPS SMG at someone over 200 ft (60 meters) away, they might have enough time to take cover.
Energy or “punch”
A 0.2 gram BB shot out of a 300 FPS gun has less energy than the same BB used in a 400 FPS gun. This means the 400 FPS BB will hit harder, and players will be more likely to feel it. In Airsoft, it is not uncommon to not feel a hit if you’re being shot from far away. In short, hitting someone doesn’t mean much if they don’t feel it and don’t call the hit.
This ties into the last point we made. As said, all BBs bleed energy as they fly. If there’s a leaf or bush between you and your target, it might not have enough energy left to penetrate the leaf and hit the target hard enough for him to feel it.
In conclusion, FPS matters when it comes to BB travel time, its ability to penetrate obstacles at long range and the likelihood of your target feeling the BB hit above a certain distance.
With that out of the way, our second section covers some things FPS doesn’t affect as much.
Does Fps affect Range in Airsoft?
Effective Range is one of the things FPS or overall power(measured in Joules) doesn’t affect as much. Power does have an effect on the potential effective range, but other factors are also important for it to be achieved.
To be clear, effective range means the range at which you can accurately hit a player and have him feel the hit.
The following factors play an important role in determining the maximum effective range.
In short, it increases the BBs maximum effective range and makes the weapon more accurate. That’s why a good, high-quality Hop-up will do more to improve range than just power.
Snipers and DMR’s (Marksman’s Rifles) will usually use heavier BBs, as they retain more energy at long range. They are also not as affected by wind and hop-up inconsistencies, meaning more of them will land on target and hit harder after travelling a long distance.
Quality of the Barrel
The better and smoother the bore of the barrel, the better the effective range will be. The BBs encounter less resistance and lose less energy before leaving the barrel.
FPS / Overall Power (Joules)
Without a good quality Hop-up system or solid heavier BBs, more power will do little to improve your effective range. Even if the range increases, it will not matter as much, since range without accuracy helps no one.
If you’re looking to pick up a gun, it’s important to also think about the local regulations and field rules in your area. Certain countries restrict FPS and power of Airsoft weapons, and Airsoft fields and arenas usually also have certain FPS limitations. This varies based on the field size/engagement range and the type of weapon.
All of this is important to keep in mind when looking for and picking out a weapon. If you’re new to Airsoft, we would also recommend checking out our Airsoft for Beginners Guide, and Beginner’s GunGuide.