Does Airsoft Hurt?

The short answer is: yes. But, it’s a bit more complicated than that.

It’s the question that many people think about before trying the sport; does airsoft hurt?

We’ve been playing airsoft for more than a decade, been to easily a thousand airsoft games, and the number of times we’ve been shot by an airsoft gun number over 10,000 (no joking). The number of actual injuries that occur from a BB hit are extremely seldom.

Throughout this article, we’ll be looking at whether airsoft hurts, what factors are involved and what you can do to make it less painful.

Keep in mind, beginners often overestimate the pain from an airsoft gun before getting into the sport, but we’ll talk more about that later on.

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Does Airsoft Hurt?

So, does getting hit in airsoft hurt?

The short answer is that yes, airsoft can hurt.

However, the pain is often overestimated before you feel it.

One of the reasons why it’s not as painful as you imagine is the adrenaline rush you get from playing. Airsoft is one of the most fun and intense sports there is, and thanks to the adrenaline rush, you rarely notice the pain from an airsoft gun as much. It is definitely enough to make you call your hit, but the pain is passing and happens quickly.

Keep in mind that there are also various steps you can take to mitigate the pain from an airsoft gun. Later on, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about mitigating the pain as you’re playing airsoft

Don’t get us wrong; pain is part of the sport. And, there’s no way to eliminate it entirely. However, the fun and rush of adrenaline far outweigh the slight pain you feel from getting hit.

Can an airsoft gun hurt? Yes it can, but there are ways to reduce the pain

Don’t Let The Fear Stop The Fun

We’ve gotten hundreds of new players into the sport of airsoft. We have never met anyone who has regretted trying the sport because of the pain, or even in general.

In most cases, the thought and fear of the pain is often worse than the actual feeling. That’s why you mustn’t let the fear stop you from enjoying the game, especially since there are so many things you can do to prevent the paint.

Worst comes to worst; you’ll have tried a new sport and have gained a new experience. In the best-case scenario, you will have a new fun hobby.

How Much Does Getting Hit In Airsoft Hurt?

The pain is a stinging pain that you usually feel for a maximum of a couple of minutes unless you get hit somewhere where you don’t have protection. As long as you are wearing the essential protection, there definitely won’t be any serious risks when playing airsoft.

Besides, there are various factors when it comes to pain. We’ll discuss those in more detail in a moment. However, the pain ranges from feeling like someone has poked you leaving a welt. This is the range for regular airsoft guns of up to 400 FPS. If you go higher with the FPS, the pain can be more significant.

But again, there are too many factors to give you a definitive answer.

What Affects How Painful It Will Be?

As you can imagine, not every hit is equal. Sometimes, getting hit hurts more than other times. Below, we’ve explained all the factors that affect how much an airsoft shot hurts. Once you understand them, you can use this information to mitigate the pain.

FPS – Muzzle Velocity

Different Airsoft guns shoot different FPS rates. FPS (feet per second) indicate just how fast a BB exits the airsoft gun barrel. This means that the higher the FPS, the faster the BB is flying through the air.

Usually, airsoft guns shoot anywhere from 300 to 400 fps. The more feet per second, the more energy it’ll have on impact and the harder it will hit. Keep in mind that the BB’s actual FPS will drop as it travels through the air, so distance plays a part in the pain.

FPS (Feet per second)

How much does it hurt? 

100-200 FPS

Feels like you are being poked

200-250 FPS

Very slight sting hurts slightly when hit.

250-300 FPS

Stings a fair bit. Expect a welt from a close distance.

300-400 FPS

Somewhat Painful if hit under 50ft

400-500 FPS

Pain if hit in 50 feet distance


The shorter the distance when getting shot, the more it’s going to hurt. That’s why there are safety measures and certain distances where you’re not allowed to shoot other players.

See the below chart to get a rough idea of how much an airsoft gun might sting depending on distance. This chart assumes that the airsoft gun in question has a muzzle velocity of 400 feet per second with 0.2g BBs.


How much does it hurt? 

< 50 ft

Painful if hit on bare skin.

50 – 100 ft

Will feel like a hard pinch on bare skin.

100 – 200 ft

Will feel like a light pinch on bare skin.

200 – 300 ft

Will feel like a tap.

Are you wearing armor?

You’ll feel a tap, but there won’t be pain.

Many airsoft fields have a “no short range engagement” rule where players are not allowed to shoot at other players within 10-15 feet. This is also known as the “bang bang” rule.

Weight of the BB

The heavier the BB, the more it will hurt.

The impact of an airsoft BB is measured in joules, which you’ve probably heard of before. The BB’s weight will affect the joules (usually increasing it).

Types of BBs

Another significant factor in how much it will hurt is the type of BBs. An airsoft gun fires plastic 6mm BB’s, which shouldn’t be that painful.

Copper or metal BB’s (a completely different type of ammunition that is NOT airsoft) will hurt significantly. No airsoft field will allow the use of metal BB’s. Typically metal bb’s are fired from more traditional BB guns.


If you have the proper armor and protection, you’re not going to feel pain as much. We’ll discuss what armor we recommend later on so that you can mitigate the pain as much as possible. But, if you get hit with less armor, you can, of course, expect it to hurt more. Check out this list of airsoft safety equipment to see how to get started.

Non-BB Airsoft Pain

Believe it or not, most of the pains and injuries in an airsoft game don’t come from getting hit. Usually, the causes are bumping into something, tripping, falling, etc.

If you protect your knees with pants and your hands with gloves, it should also minimize the risks.

The risks of these types of injuries are also present when you go climbing/running, so that’s another reason not to be afraid of airsoft.

How To Reduce Airsoft Pain

As we’ve seen above, airsoft guns hurt, but the pain is a part of the airsoft sport. And there’s no getting away from that. However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t any ways we can mitigate the pain. Below, we have explained some of the steps you can take to minimize the pain.

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Invest In Protection

One of the most obvious yet effective ways to mitigate the pain is using investing protective gear. If you invest in the proper protective gear and get hit on an armored body part, you will barely notice it.

However, if you were were to get shot with an airsoft gun on your bare skin, it can be pretty painful. That’s why it’s essential to invest in the proper protection and making sure you wear it at all times. Below, I’ve explained what type of protective gear I would recommend wearing to mitigate the pain as much as possible.

  • Eye & Face – Googles + mesh mask, or full face mask
  • Body – Body armor or a plate carrier
  • Ear protection – full face mask or coms equipment
  • Finger protect – wear gloves

Plus, I also suggest wearing thick clothing in the areas where you don’t have any protection. One way you can look at it, though, is that if the eye & face protection is the protection required, it can’t be too painful in the other areas of your body.

Play Safely

Whether you believe in Karma or not, playing properly is better for everyone involved. Make sure to follow the rules, and play safely so that nobody hurts each other. That means never shooting from a distance under 10ft, or whatever the rules are where you’re playing.

Listen to the field ref at all times. They are there to ensure a safe airsoft game.

You also should try to shoot at the body, not anywhere else, such as the face or sensitive bits like the groin. Consider firing your airsoft gun on semi-automatic. Hosing down a person can be fun… but it isn’t fun at all for the person being shot.

And lastly, play to have fun and enjoy the game — not hurt your opponents.

If you and everyone playing follow these rules, you should have lots of fun and the pain from airsoft bbs should be pretty minimal.

Play Airsoft With The Right People

In airsoft, it’s also important to play with the right people. If the people you’re playing with break the rules regularly or don’t listen to the ref, you’re at risk. That’s why you should make sure you’re playing with people who will follow the rules and speak to them before the game.

Most of the well regulated airsoft fields will have referees or game masters who will try their best to keep everyone safe, but ultimately it is YOUR responsibility to follow the rules, especially in pick-up games.

The most fun we’ve ever had (and safest) is when we play private games with people we trust.

Just play long distance

If you are worried about the pain, you can also adjust your play style to minimize the risks. Don’t go running around like crazy, and especially not in areas with close quarters. Sit back, and play long distance. It isn’t the most exciting way to play, but if you need to ease into the sport it’s not bad.

Can An Airsoft Gun Kill You?

No, an airsoft gun cannot kill you. The only way they can do serious damage is if they hit you in the eyes. If you properly wear eye protection the chances of this happening are nearly zero.

Final Thoughts

As you have seen throughout this article, yes, getting shot with an airsoft gun can hurt. However, the pain is more than worth it and also often less than you will expect. If you follow the steps outlined in this article, it should help you mitigate the pain to a certain degree.

That being said, there will always be a little bit of pain involved, no matter how much you do about it. But as mentioned earlier, you often overestimate it before playing.

Our final piece of advice would just be to give it a try. If you don’t enjoy it, you can stop playing. And, in most cases, you will have a lot of fun, as it won’t get to that point.

Frequently Asked Questions

Lastly, we also wanted to answer some frequently asked questions about getting hit by airsoft guns.

Airsoft Safety Gear for Newer Players

Where can I purchase protective gear?

You can purchase protective gear for airsoft at online retailers like Amazon. We prefer speciality stores like Evike, as they offer a HUGE variety of protective gear. If you’re not sure what to pick up then check out the articles below. You’ll get some recommendations by long time vets of the hobby (who have been shot by airsoft guns thousands of times).

Best Battle Belt For Airsoft – Our Top 4 Choices

Essential Safety Gear For Airsoft Newbies

Does a 400 fps airsoft gun hurt?

Yes, a 400 fps airsoft can hurt, especially without the right safety gear. We recommend not firing airsoft rifles with this FPS range under 15 ft, as doing so can leave a serious welt.

How much FPS will break skin?

In most cases, 300 to 400 FPS is where ammunition can puncture skin if fired from 30ft. That’s why it’s essential always to ensure you’re not firing from too close to ensure other players’ safety. Rarely will an airsoft BB’s actually get stuck in someone, however.

Most of the injuries we see are welts or bruises, they usually only happen to fewer than 10% of the players on the field.

Does airsoft hurt more than paintball? No, it doesn't

Does airsoft hurt more than paintball?

Airsoft will actually hurt less than paintball. Despite airsoft ammunition traveling faster, paintball hurts more because the ammo weighs more; 3g compared to airsoft’s 0.20g. 

Airsoft pellets fire from an airsoft gun typically travel at 300-430 fps, while paintball guns fire their at 280-300 fps with a much heavier round resulting in more kinetic energy. Check out our article on airsoft vs paintball for more info on this.

Therefore, airsoft does not hurt as much as being hit by a paintball marker.

Does airsoft hurt with armor?

In general, no. You’ll feel a tap of being struck by airsoft bbs, but rarely will it actually hurt unless it makes contact with skin. In general, we advise all newbies to start with armor as it will help reduce fear and increase confidence on the field.

What are some common mistakes when it comes to airsoft safety? 

Here are some common mistakes that you’ll want to avoid:

  • Not wearing the right protective gear
  • Mistaking airguns for airsoft guns (read more below)
  • Not following the rules and playing correctly (as discussed earlier)
  • Treating the airsoft gun like its a toy

Airguns and airsoft guns are very different.

While airsoft guns are made for fun, airguns are lethal and not for the same purposes. They can shoot steel pellets at 1000+ FPS, which, as you might expect, can be extremely painful.

Additionally, you’ll also want to treat the airsoft gun like it’s a real gun. Most injuries happen because of players messing around and treating it like a toy. Respect the airsoft game, and it will respect you. 

How Deep Can an Airsoft BB Penetrate The Skin?

Again, this depends on the FPS the BB is getting shot at and the range. In the most severe cases, it can break skin and cause some bleeding. However, that is only if you’re getting hit from close range with a 400+ FPS airsoft gun.

Usually, in your average airsoft game, the most you will ever feel is a bruise or, in some cases, a welt. The biggest danger comes with unprotected eyes.

So, don’t be afraid to join in on a normal airsoft game, as there is nothing to be afraid of.

What’s the most painful airsoft shot you’ve taken?

One of our writers was once shot by a sniper rifle firing a 0.40g BB at 425 FPS, this is a bit over 3.3 joules of energy at only about 25 feet (this was actually too close for the shot, as minimium engagement for a sniper rifle at this field was 100 feet). This resulted in a bit of a welt, and the writer metioned that it hurt like a bee sting.


Timothy Hackett
Timothy Hackett

Tim has been playing airsoft since 1994. With over a thousand (no lie) airsoft games under his belt he has spent countless hours testing various airsoft guns and tactical gear. He's gotten hundreds (still no lie) of people into the airsoft hobby and is more than willing to spread the love of slinging 6mm plastic to any new player.

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