People often make conclusions like the higher FPS on a gun is, the more expensive the gun is going to be. They also conclude that a higher FPS gun means more quality and that there are not many other factors that are worth considering when deciding which airsoft gun to get.
FPS matters a lot on airsoft snipers is welcomed on rifles and other guns but is by no meaning the mandatory criteria. There is some other criteria more important than the FPS itself, like the quality of the material, compression, barrel length, hop up, lubrication. Such things will affect range and accuracy.
If you would like to increase the accuracy check out my other posts on improving range and accuracy like Why you should start using heavy BBs. So if you are still using light BBs or own them consider replacing them with heavier ones for more accuracy and consistency.
In the following guide, I will try to explain what is recommended FPS for different types of airsoft guns and what does the FPS really affect on your replica.
What is considered as good FPS for Airsoft guns?
We calculate FPS using 0.20-gram standard BBs. I’ll also attach an article for each gun type, so you can find some good choices.
Pistols – 300-350 FPS is considered good. You will be using them as a secondary gun anyways and they do not have to be any more powerful than that.
AEGs – Everything between 300-400 FPS is considered good, while you can go above 400, it is not considered as necessary and most importantly you may not use such gun on most fields with FPS restrictions.
Snipers – 450-500 FPS sounds ideal to me, there are limitations on most fields and you can not bring something of 700 FPS and murder someone.
Shotguns – 280-350 FPS, my favorite CQB airsoft guns.
You do not want to hurt anyone but you still want them to feel the hits they take and you do not want to own a low-class toy.
How FPS affects range and accuracy on Airsoft gun
FPS is an important part of any gun because it is the calculated energy that the gun produces and without it not a single BB could reach its target.
However, the range is calculated as a combination of FPS, barrel length, and hop up, so if a gun has a high FPS but the other criteria are not satisfied, the range may not be exciting.
For a full insight into what matters for both the range and the accuracy on airsoft guns, check my guide on it.
An important role also plays in the compression and the maintenance of the gun. The inner parts need to be properly lubricated and everything needs to be properly sealed. If the gun is poorly sealed, a 600 FPS gun can be beaten by a 300 FPS gun.
This means that there are many lower FPS guns (around 300) that can easily beat some 400 FPS guns in terms of range and accuracy.
So, the conclusion is that FPS alone does not matter in terms of the range that your gun can achieve but adds up to it.
There is one big advantage of having high FPS though, and it is that a high FPS gun can handle heavier BBs that can cause more resistance against the wind and be overall more stable when traveling in the air, this will end up with better accuracy at longer ranges.
FPS is also important for the speed of the BB, so the higher FPS gun may outperform a low FPS gun with a better range just because the high FPS means that once the BB is expelled from the replica, it will reach the target sooner.
There is one great example of this, it is called the Tokyo Marui AEGs that are known for being superb in terms of range and accuracy thanks to their quality control and inner components. These Tokyo Marui AEGs have the FPS of only 300 and they do so well, this explains everything.
More FPS means more Pain
In airsoft, pain and injuries may be subjective but no matters how tolerant to it someone maybe unless they are completely tolerant to it, they are going to feel more pain from a higher FPS gun.
FPS greatly affects this and it is one of the most common reasons why some people get frustrated on the field and thus it leads to confrontations.
The high FPS guns, especially at close range, will deliver a solid amount of pain to the receiver.
Not all people are willing to experience the pain and just go along with it. You may call them snowflakes or you may understand them, no matters what you choose to do the general rule is that you do not use anything powerful at close distances and always carry a secondary lower FPS gun for such purposes or just jell BANG when you get behind them.
If you are not familiar with this rule, it is very common that you just say bang when you approach someone at a close distance and realize that there is no reason to shoot at them when you can handle it with your own voice. You can read more on similar airsoft rules in my other article.
This is important for all snipers out there because snipers often carry some solid power (often around 500 FPS) and getting hit by it at for instance, 50 ft is going to shut you down or at least make you drop a big tear, while it is not considered polite and sometimes even highly forbidden to hit anyone using a 500 FPS sniper at distances lesser than 100ft.
With powerful guns, you will need to be cautious of hitting people at close distances but especially hitting them in the heads. Never aim for the head or it may look like the following:
The FPS limitations and (MED)
Minimum Engagement Distance (MED) was created in order to protect players from powerful guns at close distances.
The point of this is to help you realize that sometimes high FPS is not welcomed at all if you want to play on fields with other players.
Such rules may vary because not all fields follow the same rules, but generally speaking, we could conclude the following:
Outdoors- When playing outdoors there is higher FPS allowed because of the longer distances available.
AEGs are expected not to go over 400 FPS and there sometimes are minimum engagement distances of like 30-50 ft. However, in some fields, you are allowed to use more powerful AEGs without a single issue.
Snipers are expected not to go over 500/550 FPS with a minimum of 100 ft engagement distance.
Carrying a secondary weapon like a pistol of 300 FPS is welcomed in such a situation because there might not be any minimum engagement distance for them.
CQB- Does not allow pretty much anything to go over 350 FPS, so the normal range is 280-350 FPS when playing CQBs.
This means that powerful 400+ FPS guns are not allowed and you will have to keep your powerful AEGs or snipers at home and use something less powerful.
Bear in mind that you can use heavier BBs and therefore drop the FPS by around 50, or you can check my post on how to adjust the fps and manually achieve the desired FPS on your airsoft gun.
How to measure the FPS?
The only legit way to measure the fps on your airsoft replica is to chronograph it.
Chronographs are the little devices that help you test the FPS on your replicas with ease.
You are not expected to have this device but the guys on fields will definitely have it and measure it for you, just ask them.
This is how they also measure whether your airsoft replica is within the allowed FPS range before playing on some fields.
When picking a gun, do not forget about FPS but neither do think only about it.
A good and well-made gun is not only powerful but also accurate at a given range and will not start malfunctioning after two weeks.
It is also important to bear in mind that if you can not reduce the fps on your gun, because it is too powerful, you may not be able to use it in certain fields with regulations.
In the end, what really matters is how good of a marksman and player you are, therefore you could play the game of Airsoft without a gun in your hands and could instead grab the BBs between fingers and start scoring the headshots. Just ask yourself how much FPS do you have in your own hands? (just joking have a good time!)