HAM Exclusive – The First AEG BB Gun. It’s The Barra 400e
By reading this HAM article, you’re “in” on an exclusive first look at the first AEG BB gun. Let’s say it now. This could change everything when it comes to fast-firing firearms replicas.
Read on to learn why…
AEG is the abbreviation for Automatic Electric Gun. It’s a technology that’s been extensively used in the airsoft world for many years, dominating that sport. Now it’s making an appearance in the “hard air” world too with the Barra 400e, as was first revealed at the 2022 SHOT Show.
In the past, AEGs have had insufficient power to shoot metal BBs. Airsoft BBs, yes. But our familiar .177(-ish) hard air steel BBs at acceptable velocities, no.
What’s new with the Barra 400e is that there’s been a step-change in the power output available using AEG technology. This step-change is real – it’s protected by a currently-pending patent. The result is that – for the first time – steel BBs can be shot at usable muzzle velocities in the 380 – 410 FPS range.
Note that the Barra 400e is supplied with flip-up open sights. However, given that long Picatinny rail on top and profusion of M-LOK slots around the forend, we added a number of UTG products from Leapers to our test gun. These were the red dot sight, the M-LOK bipod and M-LOK forward grip. These fitted perfectly and made shooting a fun gun even more fun!
Barra highlights the possibilities for adding accessories to make the 400e “your own”. It’s clear that Leapers – for example – has a TON of products to help achieve this…
Barra Airguns explains that the 400e is powered by a widely-available Lithium Polymer (LiPo) battery commonly used in airsoft guns or RC cars. In this case, the battery connects in the butt stock of the rifle via the main lead which has a “Deans connecter”. This is a standard in the airsoft industry.
This battery powers a high-RPM motor and gearbox driving a spring piston. This compresses air to fire the BBs.
This powerplant is commonly found in Airsoft AEGs but has previously lacked sufficient power to fire metal .177 BBs. Barra’s patent pending system will reliably shoot metal .177 BBs over 380-410 FPS, they tell HAM.
As the first AEG BB gun, the Barra 400e is an AR15-lookalike. HAM will – of course – be bringing you our industry-leading comprehensive review of this new BB gun.
First Impressions – Positive
But here’s some first impressions shooting based on our initial, informal testing.
It seems very accurate by BB gun standards. HAM specialist tester Doug Wall will be testing this thoroughly, but initial tests show great accuracy. That’s good!
Muzzle Velocity is VERY consistent. So far, we’ve been seeing PCP-level FPS consistency even when shooting on full auto. So there’s no cooling and vertical stringing such as you find when enjoying rapid fire with CO2-powered BB replicas.
Most importantly, the whole issue of CO2 usage goes away…
There’s no need to wonder how much CO2 remains in those 12 Gram cartridges as you’re shooting. You can’t run out of 12 Gram cartridges and – of course – there’s no CO2 cost at all.
No longer do you need to replace CO2 cartridges every 200 shots or so when enjoying yourself. One charge of the re-chargeable battery is good for more like 1,000 shots!
Unlike CO2-powered guns, the Barra 400e AEG BB gun does not suffer from changing FPS based on ambient temperature either.
First Impressions – New And Different
Of course there’s some changes too, as we benefit from this new technology.
We’ll need to get used to a whole new range of AEG-related knowledge and terminology. Yip, batteries and stuff.
But none of this will be really new, just new to us. The airsoft AEGs and RC car markets have pioneered all this and worked-out the bugs. “Hard Air” airgunners can benefit from that work.
The shooting experience is definitely different too. Unlike the “bang, bang” report we’re used-to, there’s more of a “coffee-grinding” noise when the Barra 400e is fired. Again, this will be familiar to airsoft shooters. But it’s different to what we’re used to.
And then there’s the price…
At $400, plus battery and charger, the 400e runs-in at about twice the price of competitive CO2-powered selective-fire BB guns.
However the benefits listed above plus the effectively “zero” shooting cost mean that heavy users – and you definitely WILL want to shoot the 400e a lot – will see that cost differential rapidly decrease with the number of times you pull the trigger.
First Impressions – Overall
The Barra 400e AEG BB gun clearly has a lot of significant benefits. HAM will be exploring these over the coming weeks and will share our findings with you.
But if you can’t wait, Barra has the gun, battery and charger in stock today. Oh – and don’t forget that 20-Foot shipping container of BBs. You’ll be needing them!