Just bought your brand new airsoft pistol bit concerned how much will this airsoft weapon hurt? The answer: It depends When you played with the toy airsoft gun as a 7 year old, this question probably never struck your mind. You were shooting toy bbs just a few meters away after all.

Well, as your airsoft guns have become bigger and better, the question of whether airsoft guns hurt or not have come up to you more often. Just life the answer to most things in life, the answer to the question: do airsoft guns hurt?, is, sort of.

To put it bluntly, Airsoft guns do not hurt or will not hurt much, if you are being shot at from a few feet away ( 50ft or less for example). Airsoft guns do not hurt if the gun firing at you is ejecting bbs at less than 200fps velocities. And, airsoft guns will not hurt if you are properly clothed in protective gear. The answer lies in all these ifs as you can see.

So, range of the shooter and the fps capacity of the airsoft guns are two of the many factors involved when considering whether airsoft guns hurt or not. Before we get into more variables determining the pain scale of airsoft bbs, let's look at how much airsoft guns do hurt, when they do.

Airsoft Guns do Hurt, But How Much?

Each airsofter has a different pain threshold depending upon his or her body type and experience. For some airsoft games, a little prick can feel too much and for some it will take a deep bruise to be considered anything painful.

For an average airsofter, a generic estimation of the hurt caused by airsoft guns goes something like this: A typical airsoft gun shooting with 300-350 fps (average velocity) over a considerable range, is capable of leaving you with an identifiable welt.

Take this estimate as a reference point and you can figure out how much do airsoft guns hurt with different FPSs. A 100-200fps airsoft gun hit will feel like a tiny poke for instance. Similarly, a 200-250fps airsoft pistol can hurt significantly more than that but only if that shot is being fired within a 60 feet range. Otherwise, it will just feel like a poke again.

With airguns exceeding 300fps, things can start getting more serious. These airsoft guns hurt a lot and for a few hours at least, especially if you were shot at less than 60ft away. The welt caused by the airsoft gun may not go away for a few days.

For advance level airsofter or professionals using airsoft guns for target shooting practices, using 400fps airsoft weapons is common. These airsoft guns can cause serious injury when fired within a small range (30-60ft). You can expect excruciating pain and large sized welts from these airsoft guns.

The most advanced airsoft weapons with more than 500fps shooting capacities are a no no even for professional airsoft players. Even with the protective clothing, these types of airsoft guns can wreck lasting damage as they can pierce your skin.

If you aren't using any protective gear while entering an airsoft game, we advise using a 300fps airsoft gun for an indoor field and a 400fps version for long range airsoft gaming in an outdoor airsoft playing area.

The Variables

Do airsoft guns hurt? Yes. How much do airsoft guns hurt? Answer to that is more complicated. We will look at four major determinants of the actual impact of airsoft bbs on the human body.

Shooting Range

During an airsoft game, no one wants to get hit. Each player does get shot eventually but none will desire this to happen at point blank range. Simply put, the closer you are to the rival's airsoft gun, the more impact you will feel of the bb. 

The same airsoft gun can cause anything between a slight poke to an actual bruise depending upon the distance the bb has travelled before hitting the target.

Even if there is a so-called ' Bang Rule' amongst airsofter that discourages shooting airsoft guns at close range, as the BB will lose much of its energy during its flight time-still it is impossible to avoid getting hurt by airsoft guns during close range combat games or indoor fields.

Layers of Clothing

What you are wearing during an airsoft gameplay cannot be underestimated. We aren't asking you to wear a full body armor or full combat gear for your everyday gaming. But make an effort to layer up more to minimize the pain you are bound to feel upon being hit by the airsoft gun.
For more high level airsoft gaming involving close range combat or weapons exceeding 400fps, wearing a full protective body gear, with goggles, facial masks and helmet is highly recommended. The idea here is to have enough shield to prevent the bb entering your skin and causing avoidable damage.

The Target Area

Each person has his or her own pressure points that are likely to hurt more when even slightly hit. Airsoft guns hurt more when directly hitting bones-or any areas without muscle or fatty tissue covering(ribs, ears, collarbones, shin). Eyes and ears are also very sensitive areas and should be covered at all costs. Nose should also be covered with thick masks.

Without facial protection, your eyes and teeth are vulnerable to BBs whizzing past you in all directions. Although an unofficial honor code rules out shooting someone on the head and face, still you need to protect the soft tissues because these areas can have lasting damage by the airsoft gun shot.

The BB

Perhaps the deciding factor in whether or not airsoft guns will hurt you, is the BB itself. As mentioned earlier, bb velocity can change the entire pain scale of airsoft guns. But it is not just the velocity, other things matter too. A plastic BB for example is less harmful than a copper BB

The volume and weight of the fired BB determines the pain caused by it. A 0.22g and 0.33g BB might not look much different but one is significantly heavier than the other. The latter is bound to inflict more pain. These bbs should not be shot at close ranges without protective covering.

Airsoft Gun vs Paintball Gun

Most people tend to use paintball as a point of reference to gauge the pain caused by airsoft guns. This is due to the fact that paintball and airsoft guns both have similar firing speeds (around 300fps).

Airsoft guns hurt less than paintball guns, simply because of the difference in projectile weight of the two. A 3g shooting ball carries around 15 joules of energy compared to a 0.22g airsoft pellet which carries just 1 joule energy.

The disparity in energies carried by the pellets is a determining factor in the impact caused by airsoft guns vs paintball guns. Airsoft guns hurt significantly less than paintball guns because their pellets have less energy upon hitting and therefore are less penetrative.

How to Minimize The Hurt Caused by Airsoft Guns?

Now that we have answered the question, do airsoft guns hurt or not, let's see how you can minimize the chances of getting hurt by one. Even if you do end up hurting yourself by an airsoft gun (let's be honest, all is possible in love and games), it should not deter you from picking up your airsoft weapon again.

True, the pain caused by airsoft guns can hurt a fair bit, especially if the airsoft projectile has pierced the skin surface. In other scenarios, a stinging sensation or bump here and there can occur. But all this hurt caused by airsoft guns is avoidable.

Although most airsoft playing fields have regulations in place that have made wearing of all degrees of protective equipment compulsory-it is important to take it upon yourself when rules are not being allowed and gear yourself and your friends up appropriately. Here is how.

A Helmet or Headgear

Most airsofters know the importance of covering the head and ears while playing airsoft sports. A traditional helmet would protect you by covering the top and back of your head. 

A headgear designed specifically for combative airsoft gameplay can come accessorized with additional features like LED flashlights and cameras to help you in your 'missions'. This makes a helmet not only a safety gear but also a cool tool.


Face, with all its soft tissue areas is extremely vulnerable to serious injuries caused by airsoft guns. You can buy a full face protection mask or a partial one. A partial covering will leave your ears, and the back of your head exposed. This means you need to supplement it with the helmet to cover these areas. A full mask will cover your teeth, nose and eyes and protect them from ferociousness of the airsoft BBs.

Goggles and Gloves

Most airsoft playing fields are legally allowed to ban you from playing inside them if you aren't wearing protective eye goggles. Eyes are the part of your body that can lead to permanent damage or even blindness by airsoft guns if the pellet has been fired at close range with high velocity. Don't take any chances and protect the eyes at all costs.

Airsoft guns hurt the finger joints a lot. These joints don't have muscle protection and even a tiny poke can leave you reeling with pain for hours. Buy gloves that will offer protection while not coming in the way to holding an airsoft weapon firmly. 


A cool vest with all its sophisticated pockets and storage designs is a mist have- and not just for looking cool and domineering during an airsoft game. A vest, ideally with a chest plate can give you protection in the ribcage and spine areas while coming in handy as a storage or  carrier device to hold spare magazines and extra ammunition or standby airsoft weapons.

Limb Shields

Your legs (shin in particular) and arms need to be covered with more than just thick clothing. Some airsofters think that a full-body gear will hinder your mobility during a long range airsoft game, hurting yourself will probably do the same. Better be safe than sorry.

Airsoft guns do hurt limbs a lot. Your legs can also get scratches and bruises by the splinters in a woody airsoft field. Most airsoft gamers prefer military uniforms instead of a thick full body armor suit. These uniforms help them get into the mood of the game as well provide them with disguise and pockets to help during the gameplay.

Final Thoughts

Do airsoft guns hurt? Yes, but not a lot and the hurt caused by them is easily avoidable. Every sport has a risk factor but let that not discourage you from playing your favorite airsoft game with the safety protocols being followed.