Guide To Airsoft Bruises and Welts: Facts of Life for Every Player

scars left by airsoft gunPain is part of the fun when playing airsoft games.

Don’t believe me?

Are you shaking your head in disbelief?

Then let me ask you a simple question: If the pain wasn’t there, what’s the difference between airsoft and a nerf gun?  

The pain drives excitement; it makes your adrenaline rush. To simulate combat effectively, you must face consequences when you are shot. It’s not just about losing the game, it’s about avoiding pain.

Since pain is part of the fun, and it is part of the game, it’s good to know what to expect, how to minimize the worst types of pain, and how to treat post-game injuries. 

 

Airsoft Action Injuries: What to Expect 

men in full airsoft gear

There are two main forms of injuries that are the painful result of getting shot by airsoft pellets: bruises and welts.

Both are not exactly the most fun of injuries to acquire, but they are the most common.

Most injuries in airsoft won’t break the skin if the game is played with some common-sense rules. However, skin breaks can occur, and we’ll cover those types of injuries too.  

The pain from an airsoft BB is far from pleasant, but it’s not enough to end a day of play. The range at which you are hit is a big consideration, and that is why most ranges have a 10-foot rule regarding minimum engagement range.

If you are within that ten feet you can expect some serious pain, especially if you are catching an entire burst from a full auto.  

Bruises

Bruises are characterized by purple to yellowish color, soreness and pain. Bruises are worse than welts and generally occur when you get hit in an exposed area either at close range or by a high-powered airsoft gun or a sniper rifle.

Even a simple layer of clothing offers some protection, but shots to exposed and sensitive areas are typically going to bruise over. Shots to the neck, hands, and ankles bruise easily. 

Welts

Welts usually swell a bit and the skin raises. They are less painful and don’t last as long as bruises, but they are much more common.

They can occur pretty much whenever, and they typically are the alternative to bruising when you get hit in an unexposed area. 

Breaking the skin is quite rare, and when it does happen it’s almost always the hand. Shots to the knuckles are likely to split the skin and create painful cuts. 

 

How to Prevent the Worst Injuries 

Bruises, welts, and cuts are basically the worst injuries you’ll experience in airsoft. Any shot is going to give you a touch of pain, but not every shot leaves bruises, welts or cuts. 

An Ounce of Prevention 

An ounce of prevention prevents a pound of pain and it goes a long way to preventing long-lasting pain. The first step is going to always be a proper equipment.

If you are playing, wear eye and face protection, rather than just sunglasses or safety goggles. A full-face mask does wonders to prevent you from getting welts and bruises on your pretty face. 

Outside of a mask, a long sleeve shirt is always a good idea. While a simple long sleeve cotton or athletic shirt works, the thicker materials used in military-style BDU shirts and pants offer more pain protection.

Plus, the collars on these shirts also offer a dose of pain protection for the neck. 

A good set of gloves is another fantastic investment. Mechanix gloves are popular and durable. There are dozens of tactical gear manufacturers making good gloves. 

 

Eat Right to Heal Quicker 

To help prevent bruising, you can also change your diet around just a bit.

Adding Vitamin C and Vitamin K into the body helps reduce the likelihood of bruises. Eat green veggies like broccoli, kale, and asparagus, as they are full of vitamin K. To get your vitamin C you can throw an orange or two back. 

 

Follow the Rules 

If you are playing at an established range, you’ll have rules and refs to help enforce them. If you are playing casually with friend establish a minimum distance and keep to it. 

 

How to Treat Basic Airsoft Injuries 

Different types of injuries require different treatments. Some of the most common injuries that occur during airsoft play include: 

Treating Bruises 

cold compressStep 1 is to elevate the bruised area and make sure it’s clean. Apply a cold compress for twenty minutes for the first hour and then reapply once an hour.

If you don’t have a compress you can go the classic sitcom route and use a box of frozen veggies. Also, a towel or dishrag full of ice works too.  

After a day of icing it down, you can switch to a warm compress. Simply follow the same guidelines for the cold compress. Once an hour until the compress isn’t warm.  

An Epsom salt soak is also a good way to limit the effects of bruising and to help relieve the discomfort associated with them.

Epsom salts are easy to find in any pharmacy or big box store. Some come packed with mint that can also help with temporary relief. 

 

Treating Welts 

epsom saltWelts require treatment that is relatively similar to that used to treat bruises. Rest it, elevate it, drink some sweet tea and apply a cold compress. Relax and rest.

After the first day, swap the cold compress for a warm one and continue as possible. 

A welt can also benefit from an Epsom salt bath and a dose or two of ibuprofen. My Grandma always said witch hazel is a treatment that brings relief to welts and minor pains.

These days you don’t have to go searching through the woods to find it. It’s bottled and sold at most drug stores. 

 

Treating Cuts 

Cuts are an open line to infection so if a pellet breaks the skin you need to keep it clean and washed. Even when playing take a moment to clean it out between games and if possible bandage the wound.

Over the next few days, you really want to keep it clean. Simple soap and water wash a few times a day is the way to go. 

 

Final Word about Airsoft Injuries 

Keep all injuries clean and keep an eye on them If they don’t seem to be healing, or keep getting worse go see a doctor. Don’t let this article scare you away from playing airsoft. Sure, there’s pain; but it’s a fun pain.  

 

Guide To Airsoft Bruises and Welts: Facts of Life for Every Player
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Travis Pike
Travis Pike is a former Marine Machine gunner who served with 2nd Bn 2nd Marines for 5 years. He deployed in 2009 to Afghanistan and again in 2011 with the 22nd MEU(SOC) during a record setting 11 months at sea. He’s trained with the Romanian Army, the Spanish Marines, the Emirate Marines and the Afghan National Army. He serves as an NRA certified pistol instructor and teaches concealed carry classes

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