Is Airsoft Really Safe? Could I Get Injured When Playing?

Is Airsoft Really Safe

Watching airsoft videos on YouTube can be scary. Houston Jones is crazy enough to get shot by an airsoft gun on his front and back without a shirt. It is a hilarious video and in case you’re wondering, he’s ok. 

This video and the countless others of guys standing in front of an Airsoft gun with a bear back can make one wonder, is airsoft really safe? After all, they only walked away with a few bruised holes and only a few of these bled out. 

Airsoft is only safe when you have the proper safety gear on. While they easily walked away, it’s still best not to get hit on your bare skin.

Your face, the rest of your body, and especially your eyes also need to be well covered to protect them from high-speed BBs. Without these protective measures, Airsoft guns can cause serious injury.

Do Airsoft Guns Hurt?

Airsoft guns do hurt, but only when you are shot on your bare skin or from up close. A shot from a reasonable distance with light clothing would only cause for pain about 2-3 seconds.

If the BB had enough velocity or proximity, a hit on bare skin would be hard enough to cause a wart. The wart will be painful for a while and eventually dies down but it leaves a mark.

If the shot was close, the BB may penetrate the skin but it would not go deep enough to cause any real damage. Since the skin on the face is more delicate, a shot to the face will feel more painful and will leave a more prominent mark. If it hits your lip, it may swell, especially if it was a close shot.

1. What Does It Feel to Be Shot by a BB on Your Skin?

Getting shot by a BB is a short and mild pain. Flicking yourself hard with the tip of your finger is a good way of simulating the kind of pain you would expect when you are hit by a BB.

2. Does Airsoft Hurt Less Than Paintball?

The short answer is yes. Even though BBs fly at a faster speed than paintballs, they are smaller and are made of plastic. The size of a paintball is large enough to have an impact that you will surely feel.

A paintball is three times as big as a BB and 10 times as heavy. Even when a BB is flying at the same speed as a paintball you will feel the paintball more since it’s heavier and has a bigger surface area.

3. Does Airsoft Hurt With Armor?

With airsoft armor on, you will hardly feel any pellet impact. It feels like a soft tap at best. Sometimes, the only thing you will feel is the sound of an Airsoft pellet hitting your armor.

However, there is a chance that a BB may hit you in any of your uncovered spots and you will surely feel that. This pain is not so bad and you will stop feeling it after a few minutes.

This also only happens about 10% of the time so you have fewer worries of getting hit on your bare skin as long as you are wearing proper gear.

Airsoft Pain Scale

The following scale describes the pain of an Airsoft BB from 1-5 with 1 being “hardly felt it” and 5 being “you need to visit a hospital”.

  • (1) Armor on
  • (2) Thick clothes like khaki pants, sweater
  • (3) Light clothing shirt
  • (3) Bare skin
  • (4) Neck 
  • (4) Face
  • (5) Eye

All of these injuries hurt but they are not that bad compared to being hit in the eye. This is one of the worst kinds of injuries you can get from playing airsoft. It’s usually pretty serious and you would want to visit a hospital to check if there’s any permanent damage.

To prevent injury, most airsoft fields require that you have goggles on at all times when playing. In addition to this, players are usually required to have their safety on whenever they are in the safe zones and not using their airsoft guns.

How to Deal With Airsoft Pain?

There’s not much to do since most shots from BBs usually last a few minutes. There is nothing to worry about unless they were shot up close. It may develop a wart on the skin but it still goes away on its own even just after a few minutes. 

If you’re shot on sensitive parts like the face or lip, it may swell a bit but if it’s not that bad, you may not even need to visit a doctor. If it swells, try putting on an ointment to reduce the swelling and pain. 

The most important thing you need to protect is your eyes. Once you have that settled and you’re now wearing proper eye gear, it’s time to focus on other things. Airsoft can still cause other kinds of injuries and some of these are worse than being shot from up close.

Common Airsoft Injuries to Be Careful About

Aside from getting hit in the eyes, there are things that you have to be careful about. Listed in descending order, let’s talk more about how you can protect yourself from the worst injuries you can get in playing airsoft. 

1. BBs Hitting the Eyes

The most severe injury that you can get is having a BB hit your eye. You will not see it coming so, to prevent injury, you must protect your eyes with proper airsoft goggles that can withstand heavy impact from a BB shot up close.

When finding a pair of airsoft goggles the most important thing to look for is their impact rating. Find goggles that have ANSI Z87.1 rating. Here are two goggles you might want to check out. 

When looking for a good pair of airsoft goggles you need to ensure that you don’t go for the mesh goggles. The reason for this is that when BB hits them it will disintegrate and the small bits can enter your eye.

2. Falling From Heights

When playing on fields that have buildings with several levels, one of the biggest risks of injury is falling from one of the floors or through an open shaft.

Some organizers conduct games in abandoned buildings and open fields that lack guardrails with lots of obstacles. The falls from this kind of elevation can be pretty bad and you will need to see a doctor if you sustain such an injury.

man in brown and black camouflage jacket wearing black helmet

A good way of completely avoiding this kind of injury is to avoid playing in buildings that have several floors or an elevation that would create the danger of falling. Since there’s so much adrenaline pumping when you’re playing you may not be too careful in these areas. 

So your best bet is just to avoid these fields.

3. Rolling Your Ankles and Other Tripping Injuries

With your adrenaline pumping and your eyes dead set on your opponents, you may not notice a stump, rock, or uneven ground on your path.

Airsoft matches can get very intense. The heat, adrenaline, rush, and pressure may cause you to act recklessly in the field. It’s important to be prepared for them and if you take the necessary measures to prevent them, you will reduce their impact when they happen.

The best way to reduce the damage caused by tripping and ankle injury are:

  • Wearing a pair of tough gloves that will help break your fall when you land on your hands.
  • Wearing a pair of boots that will have good ankle support. This will prevent your uncles from rolling if you trip and fall. 
  • Keeping your eyes on the ground as often as you can, especially when you are running.

4. BBs Penetrating the Skin

This happens on very rare occasions and when you are shot from very close. Even when a BB penetrates the skin it will not go any deeper to cause any damage.

This will be painful and you would want to avoid getting hit up close.

5. Warts on the Skin by BBs

These happen when you get hit on the bare skin with a BB up close like in CQB. The pain from this is more than when you are hit on your clothes. But this pain would go away after a few minutes and it would leave a wart that would heal within a few days.

Here is an example of a typical wart injury and a not-so-typical lip injury.

Can an Airsoft Gun Kill You?

The short answer is no. Airsoft pellets are made of plastic, it’s almost impossible for the BB to penetrate the skin deep enough to cause any injury that can kill you.

Even when shot from up close, the worst that can happen is the BB penetrating the skin only a few millimeters deep.


Airsoft sure does cause injury but this is common in most sports. Common sports like basketball and football cause paralyzing injuries if done incorrectly. Similarly, most sports are dangerous due to wrong falls and trips.

If you know how to handle these, airsoft can be both a fun and a safe game to play.