How Much Do Airsoft Guns Hurt? What You Need To Know

Airsoft is very popular, and people often enjoy participating in airsoft games with their friends. Many usually love to use it as a cleaner version of paintball, but some wonder how much airsoft guns actually hurt.

Airsoft guns hurt about as much as the pinch of a needle or a bee sting, although your experience can vary. Many factors go into how much it’ll hurt you, but overall they’re far less painful than an actual gunshot. 

Let’s go into more detail about how much airsoft guns hurt compared to other things and how to help them not be as painful. 

What Determines How Much an Airsoft Gun Hurts?

The severity of the pain caused by airsoft guns really depends on your pain tolerance, distance from the gun, protection, and overall power. It’ll be unique based on your experience with pain, but different factors can make them more or less painful. 


The distance between you and the gun will make a huge difference in how painful the shot is for you. Most places you go have rules set up for how far away you need to be in order to shoot someone. 

Ten feet (3.05 meters) is a traditional distance away from your opponent, but being farther away helps lessen the pain of impact. Being closer than ten feet (3.05 meters) from the airsoft gun will ensure that the shot is painful. 

Video: Shot by 2000+ AIRSOFT BBs

Pain Tolerance

Your pain tolerance is a huge factor for how painful your experience will be with airsoft guns. Think of the last time you got a shot. How did it feel? That’s about what to expect from an airsoft gun projectile. 

Some people compare it to a bee sting as well. It’ll cause initial pain, and it may be sore while healing if it hits hard enough. So, if you have experience with either a shot or a bee sting, you pretty much know what to expect. 

Level of Protection

Wearing protective gear and clothing can help with pain from an airsoft gun as well. So, make sure you’re prepared with proper protection when you go. Wearing even a single layer of clothing between you and the projectile can help, but more intense protection will help even more. 

Power of the Gun

Airsoft guns come in many different styles and specifications. You can get a gun that has anywhere from 200 to 400 FPS, or even more. This means that a projectile will travel anywhere from 200 to 400 feet per second (136.36 to 272.73 miles per hour) when fired by that gun. 

So, the speed that the gun can fire will definitely determine how painful it is to be hit by it, but that’s not the only important factor. Projectiles for airsoft guns also come in different weights, and projectiles will hurt more the more they weigh. 

Can Airsoft Guns Severely Injure or Kill Someone?

Airsoft guns rarely cause severe injuries and aren’t deadly. The most serious injury that an airsoft gun can cause is most likely if it comes in contact with your eyes. So, even though there’s little risk of injury, it’s important to wear protective gear just to be safe. 

Since their origins in the 1970s, airsoft hasn’t been directly linked to a cause of death. BB guns have contributed to deaths before, but they’re not the same as airsoft guns.

The reason that airsoft guns haven’t been linked to any death is because of the projectiles used. While BB guns use metal or lead projectiles, airsoft guns only use plastic projectiles. 

Because of this difference, BB guns have caused deaths, but airsoft guns haven’t. So, airsoft gun users don’t have to worry about loss of life when enjoying a game with friends. However, there are still risks of injury. 

As mentioned, the most serious injury from an airsoft gun can happen to the eye. Our eyes are among the most vulnerable parts of our body. So, while airsoft guns can hurt, there’s no serious risk of injury unless it comes in contact with your eyes. This could cause a lot of pain and damage your eyes, but other places on your body aren’t as fragile. 

To prevent this type of injury, the best thing you can do is make sure you’re wearing protective gear over your eyes. This will protect you from any poorly aimed shots from friends. 

How Do You Make Airsoft Guns Less Painful?

You can make airsoft guns less painful by investing in protective gear, following basic rules, and choosing the right airsoft gun. Each of these factors can help you have more fun during your airsoft experience and help keep the pain level down. 

Use the Right Protective Gear

We already talked about eye protection while using airsoft guns, but if you want to reduce pain, then you should try to invest in more protection. So, while goggles are a must, let’s go over some other protective gear that can help you out. 


If you’re looking for goggles of your own, there are plenty of good brands out there. These Valken Airsoft Sierra Thermal Lens Goggles are reasonably priced and available on They come with fog protection and help protect your eyes from incoming projectiles. 


Vests are vital for body protection. Your chest and stomach are the largest targets. So, other players may aim there to ensure they hit you. Because it’s so commonly targeted, it’s not a bad idea to protect this area of your body. Vests can get that done by absorbing a lot of the blow, making you feel less pain on contact. 

There are some fantastic options to consider for vests, but one of our favorites is the Yakeda Outdoor Tactical Airsoft Vest. It’s fully adjustable, comfortable, and allows you to carry supplies while protecting your body. It can be ordered off of Amazon, where it’s available in multiple different colors. 

Face Mask

Another piece of protective gear you may appreciate is a face mask. Shots to the face happen, and they can be very painful. So, some players choose to use a face mask to ensure full facial protection.

Half masks cover the lower part of your face, so you can wear them with goggles. For half-mask lovers, the Fansport Airsoft Mask, which is available on, is a well-rounded choice. It protects while allowing you to use your own goggles with it. 

Or you can get a full-size face mask that covers your entire face. A full-size face mask may make it more difficult to see, but it’ll certainly be worth it to protect your face from well-aimed shots. Face protection will ensure you don’t have a giant bruise on your face from being shot at close range. 

For full-face coverage, we recommend the Senmortar Airsoft Mask. Not only does this mask offer full facial protection, but it’s also reasonably priced. You can get it on in a few different colors. 

Follow the Rules

The basic rules of competing with airsoft guns ensure player safety, prevent injury, and keep the game fair for everyone involved. But the rules can also help your experience be a little less painful. 

One of the most important rules to follow to prevent painful shots is that you shouldn’t shoot if you’re within ten feet (3.05 meters) of another player. Shooting at that close of a range is dangerous, especially for those not wearing protective gear for their eyes. 

Being at a longer range gives the projectile time to slow down. However, the closer you are to an airsoft gun, the faster the projectile. So, being closer to the gun isn’t a good idea for those who want to avoid painful shots. 

The next important rule to follow is to aim for the body only. The most painful shots are going to be the ones that come into contact with exposed skin. So, unless you have protection for every part of your body, you’ll want to follow this rule. 

The eyes aren’t the only part of your body exposed without proper gear. You also want to make sure your hands and face are covered. This will help prevent extra pain that comes with exposed skin. Make sure you invest in the gear we discussed above to ensure you have plenty of protection from those potentially painful shots. 

Airsoft Gun Details

We’ve already talked about how the power of the airsoft gun can determine how painful the shot is for you, but there are more details of the gun being used that can influence pain level. For example, using a semi-automatic airsoft gun is a lot better than using a fully automatic. 

This switch will ensure that there’s time between shots, ensuring that no one can shoot you repeatedly in the same spot. This can give you time to move and avoid further shots. 

Does Airsoft Hurt More Than Paintball?

Airsoft generally hurts less than paintball. Unless you get hit on your exposed skin with an airsoft gun, paintballs still have a higher impact rate, so paintball hits would hurt more.


So, if you’re nervous about airsoft but have played paintball, then you don’t need to be concerned with pain. Let’s take a look at how these similar activities compare and why paintball is more painful.

First, it’s important to discuss the required protection for each activity. Airsoft doesn’t necessarily require full protective gear. It’s highly recommended that you at least wear goggles, but there are no requirements. Paintball is a different story.

Paintball actually requires players to wear full protective gear. Without it, you’ll most likely not be allowed to play. This is because paintballs are much more painful when they come in contact with your skin. 

Considering the projectiles used in both competitions, the paintball is much larger than the small plastic projectile used in airsoft. In fact, the paintball projectiles are three times the size of the airsoft projectiles. 

The difference in the size of projectiles alone should tell you how much of a difference there is in pain for airsoft and paintball.

Some other differences can help you understand why paintball is more painful. 

The exploding aspect of paintball projectiles doesn’t help with the pain level because they have to be hit with such a force that they explode on impact. So, paintballs are going to hit you harder than airsoft projectiles. 

Overall, these factors lead to a much painful experience for paintball players. While airsoft can still be painful, it doesn’t compare to paintball. 

Is It Okay for Kids To Play Airsoft?

Kids of any age can generally play airsoft in most US states, even though the rules vary per region. They’re not allowed to purchase guns in any state in the US, as you have to be eighteen to do this, but few states prohibit kids from joining in. 

Most states have left it up to airsoft arenas and parents to decide whether a kid is old enough to responsibly handle an airsoft gun. Thirteen is considered the proper age for kids to know how to play with an airsoft gun safely. But it’s often left at the discretion of those in charge. 

Because it’s up to parents to decide whether kids can use airsoft guns in most states, you must be 18 years old to buy one yourself. This law was made with the hope that it would encourage parents to keep an eye on their kids once they make that purchase to help prevent accidental injury. 

Airsoft guns are outlawed in a few states in the US, including Michigan and Washington DC. They’re also outlawed in certain cities like New York City and Chicago. Make sure you check your local laws and that you’re following all airsoft regulations before allowing your kids to play. 

Like we discussed above, airsoft can be painful for those who leave their skin exposed. So, ensure your kids have plenty of protective gear if you choose to let them play. 

Final Thoughts

Overall, airsoft guns hurt about as much as a needle or a bee sting, but they’re much easier to tolerate from far away or over clothes. So, choose the right gear before playing to minimize how much pain they cause.