Have you heard all the stories and fables about 400 FPS airsoft guns and may be wondering why are they so popular? Well, I have heard this many times and it is interesting that people consider FPS to be such an important factor. The reality is that there is much more than just FPS that matters in any airsoft replica, however why are people talking especially about 400 FPS?
There is often a misconception about importance of FPS and because there are field limits that often stop at 400 FPS, players like to think that they must take the full advantage of it.
I will take this opportunity to talk exactly about the magical 400 FPS guns because it seems that they are so popular in the eyes of many (for some reason) and who am I to speak against it.
After all, I am here to answer your questions no matter what they are, unless of course, they are not related to airsoft at all.
However, I must also mention that I hope that at the end of this explanation, you will realize how FPS is not the most important factor in airsoft and that there are certain rules that every beginner should know before they get a powerful airsoft replica and start shooting at other players.
I have created the entire post on importance of FPS and you can find it here.
This post is created for all beginners to help them learn a few useful basics without mocking anyone.
Is 400 fps good for an airsoft gun?
400 FPS is a phenomenal number for airsoft guns and there is no doubt in that. You will find that many fields do not allow higher FPS, but this does not mean that the maximum bare velocity of a gun can not go higher than 400.
You can have a 500 FPS gun and chrono it at 400 FPS using certain techniques.
Let’s say that you have an AEG that has the bare maximum velocity of 450 FPS, seems good? Well, perhaps the gun is good, but that FPS is not necessarily the final number.
Most FPS numbers that you see on the gun descriptions in shops and stores are measured with 0.20 gram BBs, in some cases even with 0.12 gram BBs.
Once you get into a play, you will want to use heavier BBs and if you move from 0.20 gram to 0.30 gram BB for instance, the gun will drop down for over 50 FPS and you will pass the chrono test.
So, 400 FPS measured with 0.12 gram BBs may actually not be impressive at all.
What is a chrono test?
For all of you who are not yet familiar with all these airsoft slang, to chrono a gun means to put it down to the certain FPS that is allowed on the field.
Chronograph test is not only used to mark guns as “allowed to use” on the fields, but can also simply be used to check the FPS of a gun.
It would be impossible to say what the FPS of a gun is otherwise, so this little device must be used.
It can be also useful to chrono a gun whenever you apply changes to it, like when you upgrade it and want to see the difference in performance.
How far can a 400 fps airsoft gun shoot?
This is one of the interesting questions to answer, but it can not be answered in a simple way because there are important parameters missing.
400 FPS is only one parameter, but important data that is required to calculate this also lies in knowing the quality of Hop-up, inner barrel quality, air compression and so on.
It is also important to state that not every distance that the BB can reach is a quality distance. There is something called effective range and it only covers the range at which the target can be hit accurately.
Therefore, not only the range matters, but the accuracy as well and one without the other means nothing.
However, based on most airsoft rifles that shoot around 400 FPS with 0.20 gram BB and cost over $100, it can be assumed that such guns can effectively reach up to 100 feet.
You should not take this as any accurate data, but it is some average that I could calculate based on experience.
Pistols by default have a lesser effective range and even with the same FPS are expected not to exceed 50 feet.
Can 400 fps break skin?
Even the lowest FPS airsoft guns can break the skin if hit in a close range, well technically not penetrate through it, but cause a bruise and in some cases some minor bleeding.
400 FPS is certainly enough power to cause minor bleeding, leave a bruise for a week and hurt worse than a wasp sting.
There is something called MED and it is a very important part of airsoft, so every player should know about it for their sake and the sake of other players.
MED stands for medium engagement distance and most fields apply these rules to their policy.
However, there are no big federations that would make this a norm and it often depends from a field to a field, so sometimes these rules are lighter and sometimes heavier.
I believe that every field should have some MED rules applied and we can surely discuss how far should we go with it, but it should be present at some form on all fields.
400 FPS guns will hurt terribly if hit at close distances, so the suggested range at which you should hit someone should be not under 30 feet if you ask me, but of course this depends on a field.
It is always better to use a secondary gun that has a lower velocity for close distance kills or by invoking the “bang” rule.
I know for some fields that do not have any rules regarding this and it is fine if everyone agreed upon it and can handle a sting.
What actually makes the airsoft gun great?
Beside velocity of a gun, quality of parts like hop-up, chamber, rubber, inner barrel, air compression and some other little factors in a gun matter far more.
I have created a guide on how to improve the accuracy and range of an airsoft gun and you can check it out, so when you buy a gun you know what you will need to do to take it to the high tiers.
If you already have a gun, you can slowly start upgrading it instead of spending money on other guns that you will probably not use very often at all. (We learn from our mistakes).
There is no magical FPS number, it does not matter
There we go, just stop thinking about FPS for a second and realize that there are many more important factors that make a gun and airsoft great.
There are more important factors to go for and I have mentioned them above, so whether your gun has 350, 390, 400, 433 or 500 FPS it does not really matter.
Focus on other technical stuff if you want to get a good airsoft replica gun, or simply do not think much about it and rather work on a game approach.
A good player can outplay noobs with a simple spring gun that hits at 150 FPS.
Have I mentioned that the very best guns also known as Tokyo Marui guns, have barely reached 300 FPS and yet they are known to go further and be more accurate than majority of the high velocity guns?
With the time, the market of course have changed and now we have more great airsoft replicas that also go high with fps, but the point is that it is not necessary.
One of the coolest stuff about airsoft is that you can employ new tactics and get better, a lot is also about psychology and understanding how the enemy team think.
So, although it may seem a bit weird if you are a good chess player you have the advantage as an airsoft player.