General Question

La_chica_gomela's avatar

What kind of damage does it do if you get shot with a BB gun?

Asked by La_chica_gomela (12547points) October 2nd, 2009

I’ve seen BB guns fired into walls and floors, and it looked to me like something that would certainly break the skin if fired at close range. But I was just reading a news report about 4 people getting shot with BB guns at close range and none of them sought medical treatment.

Have you ever been shot with one? What did it feel like? What did the wound look like? Was it a wound or just a bruise?

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33 Answers

Noel_S_Leitmotiv's avatar

It certainly can break the skin and do serious, even fatal, damage.

I shot a friend by accident as a kid (no excuses, I handled the gun carelessly)

He went home and told his parents what happened, he went to the hospital. Since ‘gunshot wound’ went out over the EMT’s radio the police showed up at the ER and my home.

Doctors determined it would be best to leave the BB in place (right chest).

It could have been a whole lot worse. He and I are very lucky.

Anon_Jihad's avatar

It hurts close up. Over a hundred feet or on a breezy day I can’t imagine it would hurt much. I’ve been pinged countless times and only once or twice did it hurt. When it was close enough, it did rip up skin and bleed, and when healing it left a circular scar. Overall it looked like a tiny paintball welt.

La_chica_gomela's avatar

To clarify what I mean by close range, I get the feeling these people were shot from less than 10 feet away, at the most. Some were within arm’s length.

gussnarp's avatar

It depends. BB guns are all different. Some of the pump models would definitely hurt and would easily penetrate well into the body. Some of the older types won’t even sting, I was shot in the face once, and it didn’t hurt at all, but that was sort of the old “Red Ryder” style, not a modern pump model.

sandystrachan's avatar

Soft pellets ie plastic leave a welt .
Metal ball bearings will welt and most likely break the skin .
The pointed lead or lead free type will do alot of damage including kill , hence why they are used to kill pests .
Been shot with the soft at close range and was hit by the hunting type at a distance , it broke the skin but didn’t penetrate . You guessed it during a rabbiting outing , the pellet got took by the wind and got me. Was a long distance off tho

Zen's avatar

One could lose an eye.

gussnarp's avatar

@Zen It’s all fun and games until…

Sarcasm's avatar

And then, it’s fun in the dark

Beta_Orionis's avatar

I had a really psychotic English teacher in high school. It made a little more sense when she told us she was once shot in the back of the head with a BB.

erichw1504's avatar

I would assume it could definitely leave a mark depending on the range. I remember shooting down action figures when I was younger in my friend’s basement. Good times.

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

funny you should ask, about thirty yrs ago, my older brother and one of my cousins thought it would be fun to play “war” using 22 caliber shells with the slug removed and replaced by melted wax. The rules were: you could shoot the other person, but only on areas of the skin protected by clothing. Of course, my cousin shot my brother in the leg from about fifty feet away (he was wearing shorts) and the hardened wax put a hole in his skin, leaving a nice bloody wound. He was so pissed, he threw down his pistol, ran over, tackled my cousin, and proceeded to pound the snot out of him with his fists. I didn’t see it, but heard about it secondhand. My cousin face was pretty messed up for a few days. Neither went to the hospital, but my brother walked with a limp for a couple days.

You should never, ever, ever point a gun at anyone/anything unless you intend on shooting them. You should always assume a gun is loaded even if you know that it is not. Gun safety is nothing to fuck around with, and irresponsible behavior with firearms is why those of us with the skill and knowledge and respect for firearms find those who do stupid shit with guns should be banned from using firearms. Guns aren’t toys, and should never be looked upon as anything but deadly weapons.

If you can’t be safe with a gun, buy a baseball bat. You can still kill someone with a bat, but you have to be close enough to hit them with it.

gussnarp's avatar

@evelyns_pet_zebra My dad, who is a gun owner and very pro-gun, told me at a very young age: “never point a gun (toy, real, loaded, unloaded) at anyone unless you want to kill them.” It’s my first rule of gun safety. Don’t know what it was about the way he said it, but when we played cops and robbers I always pointed my bright red plastic toy gun over the head of whoever I was playing with.

syz's avatar

We get dogs in the clinic all the time that have incidental findings of BBs on radiograph – their owners never knew.

Noel_S_Leitmotiv's avatar

@syz: That really sucks. People that abuse animals derserve a special place in hell.

drdoombot's avatar

@syz That is awful. Kids are heartless sometimes. When I got my BB guns, my cousins immediately wanted to shoot some pigeons in my backyard. It didn’t strike them that animals can feel pain too.

My brother took my BB gun and shot himself in the thigh. When I asked him why he did it, he claimed that he, “wanted to see what it felt like.” It didn’t hurt him too bad, but left a perfectly round welt on his leg.

Darwin's avatar

It depends on a lot of factors, as others have explained above. I was shot by a BB gun once – the metal pellet went into my thigh muscle and had to be taken out by a doctor. It left a nice, round scar. I was in high school at the time, and so was adult height. However, if a small child were have been in my place, the pellet could have hit them in the side of the head, conceivably causing a serious injury.

People can and do die from BB gun wounds. Example of one such death. Another example. Yet another example.

People, both children and adults, can also be severely injured. More examples of some typical BB gun-related injuries.

BTW, three of our dogs were found to have bullets in them dating to before they came to live with us. One of these was from a BB gun.

Noel_S_Leitmotiv's avatar

I think we can agree that airguns are technically not firearms but should be respected as such.

phoenyx's avatar

My neighbor as a kid was shot by a BB gun in the eye and blinded.

hungryhungryhortence's avatar

First off, people should have tetnus booster shots every ten years. After that, feel free to play with the BB gun. Yes, the BB’s hurt and yes they break the skin.

hearkat's avatar

@phoenyx, @Zen and @gussnarp: My friend’s husband was blinded in one eye by a BB when he was a kid… The injury is very evident, and apparently his friend who accidentally shot him still bears a burden of guilt more than 30 years later! Her husband has a T-Shirt that says, “It’s all fun and games…”

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

This is the kind of idiot that should NEVER be allowed to own, use, or be anywhere near, firearms.

Nullo's avatar

It depends, really. I was shot once in the stomach with a BB, point-blank; it left an enormous bruise and hurt like heck, but didn’t break the skin.
My cat, on the other hand (when I had a cat) needed surgery to survive.

SHOTGUN12's avatar


Nullo's avatar

I am very much pro-gun… and I think that I share your sentiments.

La_chica_gomela's avatar


LuckyGuy's avatar

I got hit in the fleshy part of my thumb from about 50 feet with a BB from a Daisy Model 105 b . It stung and left a raised blood blister.
My friend and I would set up popsicle sticks for each other to shoot. I set one up and it started to fall down so I reached for it while my friend shot. It was an accident. He felt terrible about it for years.

Pachy's avatar

My parents wouldn’t me to own a BB gun when I was a kid and I survived childhood very nicely w/o it.

Coloma's avatar

I hate guns, period!
There is a cat at our local shelter who is the shop cat, his face is horribly disfigured from multiple BB shots. He is able to eat but lost an eye, part of his cheek and palate. He is the most beautiful orange and white striped tabby.

Dutchess_III's avatar

It’ll put your eye out.

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