Are airsoft guns safe? Part 1

Are airsoft guns safe? Part 1

Are airsoft  guns safe? Part 2 (One mother’s experience)

I don’t think that’s really the right question.  Are knives safe?  I mean they just lay there. What’s Colt1911dangerous about them?  My initial search on the airsoft question found an overwhelming response of Yes, they are safe, which was quickly followed by “If handled properly”.  Back to that knife analogy. Heck, rattlesnakes and guns are safe when handled properly but I’m not going to let my kids play with them. 

My search also found many parents that were ok with their kids playing with airsoft guns who also teach their kids to handle regular guns responsibly.  To them, that means the same rules for regular guns apply to the airsoft gun, not the least of which includes “Never point at or shoot another person”.  In other words buying airsoft guns for target practice is ok.  But is that what kids want to buy them for? No!  They have been made to believe that these guns are ok to shoot each other with, as long as they wear goggles.

Here is one reply:

Airsoft guns are perfectly safe if used properly. Safe use of airsoft guns requires using eye protection, and preferably ear protection. Eye protection should be in the form of goggles or masks that fit without leaving gaps. Paintball masks work well.

Shooting an airsoft gun at an unprotected person is not safe. An airsoft BB, even from a low-powered spring gun, can cause serious damage to an eye or an eardrum.

Shooting an airsoft gun at someone’s eye at point blank range is potentially lethal.

Here is another one:

Rule of thumb. If you are old enough to purchase it (legally), then it is safe.

By accessing the Site, you certify that you are older than 18 years of age or the age of majority where you live, whichever is older; that you are the owner of any credit card used to purchase on items on the Site; that you are familiar with all local laws in your area affecting your legal right to access airsoft products; that any products you buy are for your own private enjoyment and that you will NEVER share these products with a minor in ANY WAY.

Minor = 17 or younger.

For me, the question is Can airsoft guns be dangerous in the hands of a minor?  And the answer for me is yes.

Update Jan18, 2009:

This post has gotten several comments.  Many supporting the idea that airsoft guns are dangerous, several young posters continue to defend them as toys and perfectly safe.  Kids think they are invincible.  They never think they are going to get hurt.  I’ve been fighting David over wearing FULL equipment, not just a helmet, when rollar blading and skateboarding.  He says “I won’t get hurt”, “I haven’t gotten hurt yet”, which I reply “It is only a matter of time”. When you do take a hard fall do you want to do it with equipment or without?  He still fights me.  I finally said fine, just wear a helmet but if you fall and suffer a significant injury, then you will no longer be a proud owner that Waveboard (ripstick) we bought you. He finally took his first hard fall last week, ironically after he agreed to wear equipment.  He did not wear his hand protection, however, and suffered a very mild wrist sprain.  I think he may be more open to wearing full equipment now.

So for those that think airsoft guns are perfectly safe, I ask do you want to wait until you suffer an eye injury?  Is it really worth your sight to take the chance?

Here are two articles describing the injuries caused by airsoft guns:  1  2

Below is the contents of the second post:

I am an ophthalmologist at Piedmont Fayette Community hospital and
feel compelled to write in to discuss a serious topic: Eye safety.

I have just seen another patient with an injury from an AirSoft
pellet gun, making it four patients I have seen in the past two months
with similar injuries. I have seen two this week alone.

I am writing to plead with parents not to allow their children to play with these “toys” without considering the risks.

There are over 300,000 serious eye injuries in America each year,
with over 50,000 coming from projectiles of some sort (bullets, BBs,
pellets, paintball, fireworks, etc.) Most of these injuries are in
young people, primarily boys. The level of severity can range from mild
to severe, but any easily preventable injury is unacceptable in my mind.

For years, I have seen a rise in eye injuries due to paintball.
Paintball pellets are a potentially destructive force that seem to be
magically guided towards eyes. Paintball equipment clearly reads that
eye protection (helmets) should be worn at all times.

In every paintball injury I have ever seen, the victim briefly took
off the helmet (to clean the face-shield or reload the gun) and was hit
at that instant. As with most safety equipment, the availability of the
equipment is not the problem; the usage of the equipment is.

Now, I am seeing another troubling trend. AirSoft guns are becoming
very popular, promising “simulated warfare” with tiny plastic pellets
or BBs, and are marketed as being safe. There are warnings on the
equipment that eye protection should be worn, but the suggestion is
“they are just plastic, they don’t really hurt.” A review of a popular
AirSoft website found this quote:

“The combination of realism, safety, flexibility, and low cost makes
AirSoft more appealing to the average consumer who would like to
exercise his or her steady eye/hand coordination without the inherent

I suspect that there are many parents who are convinced that this
activity is safe and that no harm will ensue. Please believe me,
parents, this is NOT true.

All projectiles can and will injure the eyes, especially when they
are aimed at other people in simulated war games. Your children will
not wear eye protection as they are instructed 100 percent of the time.
At some point, an injury will occur. I would rather meet you somewhere
else than our newly remodeled ER.

I am not trying to put the paintball purveyors and AirSoft suppliers
out of business. Used completely as indicated, they may be perfectly
safe. I rarely see injuries from paintball game locations, because they
are very vigilant about eye protection.

Most of these injuries come from the backyard, and that is why it is
so disturbing. I want to make sure parents are aware of the inherent
dangers, so they can make their decisions accordingly. Loss of vision
in a child from this type of injury is a preventable catastrophe.

Brian D. Long, M.D.
Eye Consultants of Atlanta

9 thoughts on “Are airsoft guns safe? Part 1

  1. Amazing Tracee. I am resigned to the fact that like it or not, there will be times where I will have to step in and instruct other people’s kids. Of course this is only when it effects me and my family. Early on in dating Jane, I got brownie points from her friends that were seated several rows back in church and they observed me reprimanding some boys that were being disruptive in front of me. But your example takes the cake and convicts directly the parents of those kids playing with BB-guns in their yard.

  2. What a great post about Airsoft Safety. There are weapons out there that shoot is excess of 400 FPS. These guns can hurt some one. They need to be used in the same safety manner as real guns. They are great pre steps in the training of real weapons.

  3. My parents won’t let me get a puny small spring 10 dollar BB gun it could only hurt if you wanted to hurt someone. I would simply use it for target practice. And they know this. I’m not sure which there more scared about the way it works or that it looks like a gun. My dad says we don’t have guns in this house, and it “looks too much like one”. Have a you ever seen a real gun that is clear, and plastic? Thought so.

  4. My parents were convinced when i had asked for one for christmas one year that even if I was to handle an airsoft gun, I was automaticly going to die from being shot by someone randomly on the street, that fate was kill me off because of a gun because I handled an airsoft gun. Wouldn’t it be safer to know how to handle and clean a gun even if you never use that information in real life, then to be in a situation where you need to know how to shoot it, clean it, or have aim because your’s or someone else’s life may be at stake? Last time I checked, its better to shoot the bad guy then to be shot by the bad guy. Most parents think that your never going to need that information in your lifetime, but reality check, its a bad world out there and life isn’t all that fair. Just because your child gets good grades in school or hangs with the right crowd doens’t mean that they are free from any danger whatsoever when they leave home…if they leave home… Parents need to put a little trust and faith into their children, its almost sickening.

  5. I am a kid who has been wanting to purchase one. If I did buy one would they be dangerous and could I get in trouble for playing with one if someone sees me? Thank you.

  6. They CAN be dangerous, if you shoot it around people and accidentally hit them in the face. I don’t recommend shooting at people but if you do, you and they had better be using eye and/or ear protection. How old are you? What do your parents say? If you hurt someone with the gun they are the ones that are more likely to get in trouble.

  7. okay i have been in airsoft wars and frankly i think this is BS, the laws in texas are a bit different, i mean we dont shoot other ppls property but when you get shot (in the face) it DOESNT HURT, bb guns are meant for shooting targets airsoft guns are meant for shooting ppl thats how it works.

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