Does Airsoft Hurt? Managing Airsoft Pain and Safety

If you’re considering delving into the thrilling world of airsoft, you may have concerns about the level of pain involved. It’s a common question asked by newcomers: Does airsoft hurt?

Yes, Airsoft can hurt depending on a few factors. The closer the opponent is and the higher their power (joules) is set on their replica the more it hurts. Additionally, the fewer safety gear/clothing layers are worn the more the BB impact will be felt. After I play CQB I will have welts and bruises the next day, while outdoors/MilSim games I have no marks on my body.

In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the topic in-depth, providing you with valuable insights into the potential pain associated with airsoft and essential safety measures to ensure a positive and enjoyable experience.

Understanding the Impact of Airsoft Guns

Before we dive into the discussion of whether airsoft hurts, it’s crucial to understand the mechanics of airsoft guns and how they differ from other projectile sports, such as paintball.

Airsoft guns typically fire at speeds ranging from 280 to 300 feet per second (fps), similar to paintball guns. However, the key distinction lies in the weight of the projectiles. Airsoft BBs weigh around 0.2 grams, while paintballs can weigh up to 3 grams.

This difference in weight translates to significantly less energy transfer upon impact. While paintballs may deliver a more forceful impact, airsoft BBs distribute their energy over a larger area, resulting in a different sensation when struck. The level of pain experienced can be influenced by various factors, which we will explore further.

Factors Influencing Airsoft Pain

Several factors contribute to the level of pain one may experience when hit by an airsoft BB. Understanding these factors will help you gauge the potential discomfort and take appropriate precautions to minimize any discomfort.

1. Distance

The distance between you and the shooter plays an essential role in determining the intensity of the impact. As a general rule, the closer you are to the source of the shot, the more you may feel it. At longer distances, the energy of the airsoft BB dissipates, resulting in reduced pain.

2. Protective Gear

Wearing appropriate protective gear is crucial for minimizing potential pain and injury in airsoft. Key protective gear includes a full-face mask or goggles, gloves, and clothing that covers exposed skin. These protective measures act as a buffer between the BB and your body, reducing the impact and potential pain.

3. BB Weight

The weight of the airsoft BBs used can affect the level of pain experienced upon impact. Lighter BBs, such as 0.2 grams, tend to cause less pain compared to heavier options. The choice of BB weight also depends on the power of the airsoft gun, with different weights optimized for specific velocities and ranges.

4. Power of the Airsoft Gun

The power, measured in feet per second (fps), of the airsoft gun used can impact the pain level. Guns firing at lower velocities, closer to the 280 fps range, are generally less painful than those firing at higher velocities, closer to the 300 fps mark. It’s important to adhere to field regulations and safety guidelines regarding maximum fps limits to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for all players.

What Does It Feel Like to Be Shot with an Airsoft Gun?

The sensation of being shot with an airsoft gun is subjective and can vary from person to person. It’s often compared to the feeling of being flicked or snapped by a rubber band.

The pain is typically manageable at normal playing distances and usually to a sharp sting. Bare skin may be more sensitive, while thicker clothing can help cushion the impact and reduce discomfort.

However, it’s essential to note that pain tolerance varies among individuals, and what may be tolerable for one person may be more intense for another.

Pain in CQB

When playing CQB in my area everyone’s Airsoft replica shoots must be lower than 1.4 joules. In most cases, you’re getting shot from within 20 feet (6 meters) and when you get hit it feels like a very sharp sting. As I walk back to spawn the pain quickly goes from, I really don’t want to get shot again to hardly feeling it when I get back to spawn.

Pain in MilSim/Outdoors

When playing outdoors or MilSim events most people have their Airsoft replica set to 1.4 joules; however, DMRs and snipers can be set higher but come with a minimum engagement distance of 50 feet and 100 feet, respectability.

When I get hit in these types of games the BB feels like it makes just enough of an impact that I know I got hit, but in most cases not enough to cause any discomfort.

At times you may even see a BB hit you and not even feel the hit! Of course, call the hit, but this is why you can see people or videos of people not calling their hits, they not cheating, they simply do not know they have been hit!

Safety Measures to Minimize Pain and Injury

While airsoft can involve some level of pain, taking appropriate safety measures can significantly reduce the risk of injury and discomfort. Here are some essential safety tips to keep in mind:

1. Use Protective Gear

Invest in high-quality protective gear, including a full-face mask or goggles that provide proper eye protection, gloves, and clothing that covers exposed skin. These items are essential in preventing potential injuries and minimizing the pain associated with airsoft.

2. Maintain Safe Distances

Respect the recommended engagement distances set by the field or event organizers. Keeping a safe distance from other players reduces the intensity of shots and minimizes the risk of injury. Remember, the further you are from the shooter, the less painful it will be.

3. Adhere to Field Regulations

Always follow the rules and regulations the airsoft field or event organizers set. These regulations often include guidelines on fps limits, safety protocols, and game-specific rules. Adhering to these regulations ensures a safe and enjoyable experience for all participants.

4. Communication and Sportsmanship

Clear communication and practicing good sportsmanship are key elements of airsoft. Communicate with your teammates and opponents, especially when surrendering or signaling that you are hit. Playing with honesty and integrity contributes to a positive and safe playing environment.

Common Injuries and Prevention

While airsoft is generally a safe sport when played responsibly, there is still a potential for injuries. Understanding the common types of injuries and taking preventive measures can further enhance your safety on the field.

1. Bruises

Bruises are the most common injury in airsoft and usually result from direct impacts of BBs on the skin. Wearing proper protective clothing, such as long sleeves and pants, can help minimize the risk of bruises.

2. Scrapes and Cuts

Scrapes and cuts can occur from falls or collisions with objects on the field. Staying aware of your surroundings, following field rules, and wearing appropriate protective gear can help prevent these injuries.

3. Eye Injuries

Protecting your eyes is of utmost importance in airsoft. Always wear full-face masks or goggles that meet safety standards to prevent potential eye injuries from BB impacts. And never take eye protection off while on the field!

4. Sprains and Strains

Running, jumping, and maneuvering on the field can put a strain on your muscles and joints. Proper warm-up exercises, stretching, and maintaining good physical condition can help reduce the risk of sprains and strains.

5. Dehydration and Heat Exhaustion

Airsoft can be physically demanding, especially during intense gameplay or in hot weather. Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water and taking breaks in shaded areas to prevent dehydration and heat exhaustion.


In conclusion, whether airsoft hurts can be answered with “It depends.” While airsoft can cause some level of discomfort and pain, it is generally manageable and can be minimized through proper safety measures.

Wearing appropriate protective gear, maintaining safe distances, and following field regulations are essential for a safe and enjoyable airsoft experience. Remember to communicate with your fellow players, practice good sportsmanship, and prioritize safety at all times.

With the right precautions, you can fully immerse yourself in the exciting world of airsoft while minimizing any potential discomfort or injury.

About the author

Nathan Skoczylas

When I'm not playing Airsoft I enjoy working out, training BJJ, mountain biking, and making music!