It is not uncommon to get this question from individuals who come in fresh to the sport of airsofting, this is a logical inquiry, and it is one that people who are interested in joining the world of Airsoft sports shouldn’t be shy to make. Back to the question “do airsoft guns hurt?” As a matter of fact, yes, getting shot by an airsoft BB does hurt sometimes. Although, it wouldn’t be well-founded to allow this little bit of information to make you turn your back from airsoft forever. Given that it’s a sport where you will be in the line of fire with projectiles shot at you (sometimes from close range), it is entirely fair to be a bit skeptical about how much pain to expect. The pain, in most cases, is utterly preventable.
HOW MUCH DO AIRSOFT GUNS HURT?
Speaking in simple terms, being hit with an airsoft bb feels like you have been flicked hard (at typical playing distances and not at point-blank range). However, a considerable amount of the force is soaked up by clothing (if you put on thick clothes) and combat gear (this is very important for games). Also, you should be aware that physical pain tends to vary depending on some factors like where it strikes you and the space between the shooter and yourself.
FACTORS THAT MIGHT MAKE AN AIRSOFT GUN HURT
A significant factor that determines how much pain can be caused by being shot by an airsoft gun is where it hits you. If a projectile strikes your ear or nose (both are cartilage areas), neck (the base region), on the inside of the legs or arms, the crotch area, ribs or fingers, the pain would be immensely higher. Essentially, the exposed areas which aren’t covered by muscle tissue or fat are most at risk.
Also, if you do not wear goggles or a mask (protective gear), you increase your vulnerability as you could easily get hit painfully in the teeth or the eyes, which is something that would be inadvisable to crave! Most airsoft guns have the strength to splinter your teeth and cause a tremendous amount of pain and injury to areas with soft tissue around the eye (you could even be blinded). Therefore these areas have to be protected at all costs. Please, always put on protective gear all the time.
Now, the distance also plays an important role. If your opponent is at a far distance, the projectiles fired from the airsoft gun loses the majority of its force before impact. The impact is measured in feet per second (FPS). Although airsoft guns do not possess the strength to land a kill shot, if unfortunately, you’re on the receiving end of heavy fire aimed at you from multiple angles, the risk that you’re going to sustain substantial pain and injuries is ultimately increased.
Below is a representation of the pain level based on the power of FPS:
FPS PAIN LEVEL
100 ~ 200: feels like a little jab;
200 ~ 250: ( 60 ft.) feels like a tiny sting
250 ~ 300: (.20g BB) from about 60 ft, you’ll feel pain, and there will be swelling;
300 ~ 350: from around 50 feet, the pain intensity will be high, and swelling will occur
350 ~ 400: this hurts even from distances exceeding 35 ft, and what’s worse, if it’s any closer, BB shots will leave swelling the size of golf balls on the affected areas.
400 ~ 500: if fired from less than 50 ft, the pain will be immense and vicious, the skin might break on impact with the BB, and even the tissue will be at risk of getting torn, the fragile bones underneath will be damaged and broken too. 500+ and above: this force can penetrate the skin and tissue even if you’ve got the protective gear on, and it will cause severe damage.
Most times, if you do not have on proper gear, an airsoft gun firing at 300 FPS will penetrate the skin, which is why, when playing in an indoor setting, the FPS limit is usually 350 FPS while at outdoor games, 450 FPS is generally the limit. No Airsoft Gun above 450 FPS should be allowed during games, and it’s not even advisable that they are used to target human opponents.
WHICH ONE HURTS MORE, AIRSOFT OR PAINTBALL?
Now, both paintball and airsoft guns made use of in outdoor gaming settings fire at mostly the same speed (about 350 FPS). However, there is a visible difference between the projectiles used in paintball and the ones used in airsoft (aka BBs). Paintball projectiles are bigger and heavier than BBs and therefore produce more energy when they leave the barrel of the gun.
Some comparisons between the two, a standard BB projectile should weigh 0.2g and produces 1 joule of energy. In contrast, a paintball projectile weighs 3g and develops 15 joules. By mere looking at the data above, it’s accessible to conclude hurt less than a paintball projectile. Read more about the difference between airsoft and paintball here!
Still, this doesn’t mean there won’t be some pain, especially if you don’t use proper protective gear. Moreover, there are several types of BBs designed with different materials and in different weights, which means different levels of transferred energy.
HOW NOT TO GET HURT IN AN AIRSOFT GAME
The fear and pain of being struck while playing are of paramount importance in the game of airsoft. In the absence of pain, there is little reason to act carefully during an assault, less adrenaline flow in the course of firefights, or even focus on developing strategy. It’s an essential part of the sport.
Although avoiding pain in a game of airsoft should not be just about your safety. Being a terrific airsofter is not dependent only on how good you are at the game; it’s also about how good you are at the sport. Hurting your opponent should not be the goal. Not shooting a player when the only available shot open to take would be at a delicate body part, not shooting from very close range, too, is essential in preventing severe pain. Good sportsmanship is integral in airsofting.
Additionally, legitimate and proper airsoft fields do not permit players to participate in the game if they do not have essential protection, such as masks and goggles, whether partial or full face.
The danger spikes upwards when you arrange a game, and it happens to be between friends, there is usually little or no proper enforcement of safety rules. Even something as paramount as the need to have on protective gear when in the field. However, as a player, you have to be acquainted with the dangers and risks that are attached to airsofting and how simply putting on appropriate clothing can aid in minimalizing chances of getting hurt. Examples of protective equipment for airsoft sporting are helmet, goggles, masks, gloves, tactical boots, and vests. All these will keep important and delicate body parts safe from damage and pain.
Pain is almost inevitable in this sport, but the severity varies. An excellent way to minimize impact and have fun is by making sure you always have on your protective gear and appropriate clothing during a game. Sportsmanship goes a long way too. Even if you have a clear shot at an exposed part of your opponent’s body that could cause them intense pain and damage from close range, you shouldn’t take it. With the right gear on the game will be loads of fun and exciting still. Play safe out there and have a good time.