Does‌ ‌airsoft‌ ‌hurt?‌ How Much? – The Dynamics of Pain In Paintball Vs. Airsoft

Those new to airsoft will automatically ask if getting hit by a pellet is painful. It’s a reasonable question to ask because it does hurt when you’re playing paintball.

People assume that since these two games have similarities, the aspect of pain after a hit is the same.

Well, the reality with airsoft is that whether or not you feel pain when you’ve been hit has a lot to do with you and little to do with the game. Read on to find out what we mean. 

The Dynamics of Pain In Paintball vs. Airsoft

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Even if you’ve never played paintball, the image results you get when you search “paintball bruises” are enough to let you know that it can be quite painful.

Those who’ve played the game can attest to what they felt after getting hit and the ensuing bruise or welt. Now, let’s look at airsoft. Is it the same? For that, we’ll have to look at the similarities and differences between the equipment used in both games. 

A paintball gun has the international standard of sub-300 fps (feet per second) for safety reasons. The rules for airsoft are a bit different; they vary between 300 fps to 500 fps.

However, that doesn’t mean that they are worse than paintball. What ultimately matters are the size of the balls used. Paintballs vary in size depending on the caliber, that is, the diameter of the pellet. A .68 caliber paintball will weigh about three grams.

A smaller one that is about .50 caliber, a size commonly used, weighs 1.25 grams, which is about as light as a paperclip. Airsoft pellets weigh a lot less.

Depending on the diameter, they weigh between 0.12 grams and 0.40 grams. When these two sizes get shot at the same velocity, the impact of the airsoft pellets will be a lot less than that of the paintball. 

How does it feel to be shot with an airsoft gun?

While the impact of the BB gun for airsoft should be a lot less painful in theory, the reality is that it shouldn’t hurt at all. The game is meant to mark the player as being hit, and not in an exaggerated matter as paintball.

One thing that airsoft promotes at all times is safety. Part of that is wearing BDU (battle dress uniform) similar to what those in the military wear.

The cloth is made from 50 percent ripstop nylon and 50 percent cotton poplin fabric. What’s in the market for airsoft though tends to be made from a cotton and polyester blend with a Teflon coating that is still tough, wearable, and comfortable. 

By now, you’re beginning to understand that the pain of a paintball and that of airsoft are not comparable. Still, there is pain depending on the distance in which you get hit and also the clothes you’re wearing.

If you’re at average playing distance, you’ll feel as though you’ve been flicked but hard. Otherwise, from a far-off distance, then you might not even feel the impact.

You’d have to check your gear to see if you’ve been hit or your teammate will let you know should the hit be out of your field of vision. 

However, should you be wearing anything other than airsoft gear, then you will absolutely feel a lot more pain.

If it hits your bearskin and particularly exposed areas such as your finger or by the odd chance your ear, then you will most certainly feel a lot of pain.

Not enough to cripple you but enough to get a decent reaction out of you.

The mark left behind will be a red dot or a tiny welt that fades away in no time. Nevertheless, in a sensitive area, you might end up having an open wound that will only bleed for a bit and stop on its own without requiring medical attention.

That’s why safety and gear are emphasized plenty in this sport. 

Is feeling pain a bad thing?

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Airsoft is mostly a military simulation, so it only makes sense to have an element of pain that increases your adrenaline levels. Sure, you don’t want to put yourself in a crossfire, but there is the thrill of being in the front line and managing not to get shot at.

The other thing to consider is when playing in the woodlands or an equally obstacle-filled area, people will be shooting at each other from long distances, and that reducing the probability of feeling any pain when you’re hit. 

Even with a low pain threshold, you can endure the pain of getting hit with an airsoft pellet. There is also a mixture of fear of pain that keeps you motivated to be at the top of your game.

That they can be something you harness and get the motivation to play the best possible game. When you extend it to your teammates, the need to be a team player and protect them will even grow.

You need a few things, other than winning, to keep you motivated out in the course, especially when it’s a few hours into the game, and you’re tired. 

Additionally, you should also be mindful of other players on the course, including your opponents.

If you’re aiming at an exposed part of their body or a place that is likely to hurt, consider readjusting your aim to somewhere less painful.

There are principles to adhere to when playing airsoft, with safety being part of it. Seeking vengeance shouldn’t overshadow the fun you’re equally meant to have while out on the field. 

Safety when playing airsoft

Proper gear is essential when playing airsoft. It’s not about dawning a military-style suit and feeling macho while out on the field. It has a lot to do with your safety.

One thing you should absolutely never leave behind is your headgear, that is, your helmet, mask, and goggles.

Without these, you are putting yourself in serious harm and risking feeling a ton of regret should anything happen to you. Your teammates having fantastic aim enough to avoid your head is hardly a guarantee, especially if you’re a moving target. 

While airsoft pellets are smaller than those of paintballs, you have to keep in mind the velocity in feet per second is the same or even higher. Shot right, a BB is likely to knock out or chip your tooth, or also damage the soft tissue in your eye.

Anywhere else of your face, such as your nose and ear where there is cartilage, you will, at the very least, get away with an epic bruise or welt with some bleeding.

The pain will be quite bad, and you might have to quit the game for a bit to recover from the pain and tend to the wound or visit an emergency room.

Of course, you don’t want a tragic end to this sport, or any for that matter. Therefore, it is indeed in your best interest to wear headgear at all times. 

Shooting rules in airsoft

Also, is there anything stopping you from hitting an opponent at point-blank range? Yes, there is. The “bang rule” is what players should use when they line up their shot with an opponent who is in close range.

Instead of shooting them and hurting them, you instead say “bang!” and they are to accept that you’ve shot them. What does that matter? Shooting someone at close range with an airsoft gun will cause a bruise or welp.

It will be, for sure, painful for them.

Therefore, the bang rule is present to show respect for other people’s bodies and not harm them. Keep that in mind, even when an opponent is incredibly close, and you’re clear to take a shot.

 The one time you DEFINITELY don’t want to take a close-range shot and instead use the bang rule is when you’re using steel BBs.

These are typically fired from weapons that are between 400 to 500 fps, and they work best for long-range shots. These BBs tend to lose velocity fast, and so when they finally hit their target, they don’t do much damage.

However, at close range and high speed, these steel BBs can pierce the skin and cause tissue damage. What’s worse is that they are capable of even breaking fragile bones.

Also, when purchasing steel BBs be sure to get those that are lead-free and legal in your state. That said, the set limit for airsoft guns is between 350 and 400 fps in outdoor settings.

Anything more should not be used on humans because of the damage they can inflict; they are not allowed in games or tournaments. Without protective gear on, even 350 fps guns can cause pellets to pierce your skin.

Since you don’t want to turn the sport into a medical emergency, please do remember to keep your skin protected at all times. 

What should you wear when playing airsoft? 

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There are basics that you need to have when getting into an airsoft game. Let’s break them down for you. 

  • Goggles: The one thing you should never fail to wear are goggles. You can miss out on anything else (though not advisable), but be sure to have on high-quality goggles when playing airsoft. The eye is the one part of the body that, when hit, can cause severe damage. The last thing you want is to walk away blindly. 
  • Mask: There are two options you can get for face makes; a half-face or a full face. Whichever you choose boils down to preference. Half face masks are cheaper, more adjustable, lightweight, and customizable. If you don’t have googles, then part of your cheeks, the forehead, and back of the head will be exposed. A full-face mask tends to be more popular because they give you full coverage and will not fog up. It will also protect the skin on your face and even your ears, eyes, and teeth. Be sure to get one with good air circulation, which is vital with the level of physical activity airsoft requires. 
  • Helmet: You want to get a helmet that covers the top and the back of your head. You do what your neck protected as it’s quite painful when you get hit by a BB there. A helmet does equally come in handy when you want to attach accessories such as a GoPro or a frontal light. 
  • Vest: Your chest and back are delicate areas, and so you’d be doing yourself a great service by wearing a vest. Even with thick clothing, you will feel the pain as compared to, for example, your limbs. That’s because these areas tend to have little muscle, which heightens the pain when hit. Vests are fantastic too for storing magazines and other things you need on the field. 
  • Gloves: Another sensitive part of the body that can get hit is your fingers and joints. An injury on your hand is super painful, and it will equally affect your ability to carry and fire a gun. Also, gloves are a perfect addition when playing airsoft outdoors because it protects your fingers and nails from the elements. Be sure to get something with a good grip so that you can handle the gun well. 
  • Boots: The ankle is another painful spot when you’re hit with a BB pellet. Boots to an excellent job not just in protecting your ankles but even when making your way around harsh, cold, or rainy weather. To survive the outdoors and move with agility, you’ll need some tactical boots. 

Wrap up

Getting hurt is a small part of playing airsoft, but it mostly happens when you aren’t geared up properly or when you don’t follow the rules.

Otherwise, airsoft doesn’t hurt. It is a sport where you get to look cool, have a unique experience, and foster a sense of comradery that you wouldn’t have gotten anywhere else.

  • Updated last month
Anthony Maldonado

Smith Brown is a 23-year-old Blogger from the USA. He works for the hunting and self-defense related fields. Now he keeps on doing it through teaching others about how to prepare and DIY.

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