Even though the intended use for Airsoft guns is for fun and sport, it’s not uncommon we get questions about alternative uses. One common question comes from usually younger players, asking if they can hunt with Airsoft Guns.
Since the answer is not that simple, we will break it down into sections, and tell you all you need to know.
Can Airsoft Guns hurt Animals?
Yes, Airsoft guns can definitely hurt all kinds of animals. As a result, we highly discourage shooting any animals with airsoft guns, unless you are protecting yourself, your family, or your own animals.
With that out of the way, the exact damage depends on the gun, ammo and the animal being hit.
All airsoft guns are different, and the power can vary a lot. The main way to determine the exact power of a gun is to measure or look at the FPS rating. FPS guns usually come somewhere between 200 – 450 FPS, depending on the gun type, price, and government regulations. For example, a higher-end AEG (electric) rifle will be around 350-400 FPS, while a low-end spring gun can be around 200 FPS.
This is a very big difference and is the main factor that determines the damage an airsoft gun can do.
If you have a lower-end 200 FPS weapon that shoots 0.12 g BBs (usually yellow), then it is less likely to cause serious injury unless you hit a sensitive area such as the eyes. However, even a body shot will hurt most smaller animals such as pigeons or squirrels and will most likely scare them away.
On the other hand, a higher-end 400 FPS weapon shooting 0.2 or 0.25 g BBs is much more likely to cause serious injury to most small animals. The total energy of the BB is much higher and can do serious damage even if it is just a body shot.
In short, yes, almost all airsoft guns can hurt animals to some degree, and the extent of the damage depends on the power of the weapon and the animal’s size.
Can Airsoft Guns be used for hunting?
Even though Airsoft guns can, in some cases, be used for hunting very small animals such as birds, you shouldn’t do it.
Airsoft guns are designed to avoid serious injury on humans and they are not designed to penetrate the skin and kill any living thing. Here are the reasons you shouldn’t hunt with an airsoft gun.
Plastic, round BBs
Airsoft BBs of all weights are round and made from plastic. This is very different to air gun pellets, some of which are used for hunting with airguns and built with maximum penetration in mind.
A plastic BB and a round shape mean the BB is unlikely to penetrate the animal’s skin, and will most likely just bounce off while possibly causing surface or internal damage simply due to the force of the projectile.
Even higher-end Airsoft guns have less power than the cheaper entry-level air guns.
Airsoft guns simply aren’t made for hunting or pest control purposes, and since many countries and airsoft fields also have regulations limiting the power in order to prevent injury to other players, they are usually within the 300-450 FPS range. In terms of energy, i.e. Joules, this is 6-7 weaker than a 7.5 Joule air gun.
It can leave an animal to suffer
Even if most airsoft guns can’t outright kill even most smaller animals, it doesn’t mean they can’t indirectly cause serious suffering. Shooting a small bird on a small branch could end up with it falling from the tree, which would result in a seriously injured bird that may never recover and suffer until its eventual end.
Any good hunter or person with pest control experience will tell you this is irresponsible, inhumane and goes against all best practices.
To sum it up, we will say it again. You should only shoot animals with an airsoft gun if it’s your only option to protect yourself, another person, or your pet and animals.
Airsoft is only fun with responsible players, so knowing the basics is a must.