Many of you from the world of airsoft often wondered, despite it being a relatively harmless weapon how much damage can you cause with an airsoft gun?
That being said there are no set rules for determining that.
Yeas we all know that it hurts hella lot being shot with an airsoft gun.
But can you determine its destructive power just with the pain itself?
That leads to our topic at hand.
And that is, Can airsoft guns kill animals?
We are trying to figure it out for awareness and as a measure of animal safety.
Remember that hurting animals is non-ethical and against the law in most of the countries.
Before going into any further details first let’s explain a bit about airsoft for the newcomers.
What is Airsoft?
Airsoft is a sport that uses replica guns to shoot plastic or resin balls with low power at opponents using pure military tactics to achieve some sort of objectives within a set of rules.
(Learn more from What Is Airsoft | A Beginner’s Guide)
The airsoft bullets of pallets usually do not leave any mark on the target for which it’s hard to identify the person that was shot, unlike paintball. The sport purely relies on the honor system where the player that is shot is the one responsible for calling themselves shot or out.
What is Airsoft Gun?
Airsoft guns are exact replica of the real guns except it only shoots plastic/resin projectiles which are called BBs. This should not be confused with BB guns which shoots metallic balls as projectiles. Airsoft guns are made with the intention to participate in a military battle simulation. Unlike paintball where the weapons are more toy-like, airsoft weapons have almost the same function as real weapons which shoot bullets. (Learn more on Airsoft vs. Paintball: What Are The Differences)
This allows participants of the sport to get to have a more realistic experience which was the initial goal for developing airsoft guns.
Now that we got the basics cleared out, we should get back to our main topic.
The summary information was provided above to make the readers understand the basic principles of an airsoft gun and the projectiles it shoots out. This way it’ll be easier for us to conclude on a logical basis.
Can Airsoft Guns Kill Animals?
I actually didn’t have any intention to kill any animal with airsoft gun so I can’t speak with my experience much. But I certainly can use the information provided by others on that matter. Let’s examine some of the info and experiences shared by the users and analyze them carefully.
Can Airsoft Guns Kill Dogs?
Let’s start this one with my own experience.
One day I was studying really very hard at night coz I didn’t study at all the whole semester and the next day was my exam. But it was hard to concentrate on the study because a few dogs were barking loudly outside my house. I was pretty much infuriated because I won’t be able to even pass the exam at this rate! So I decided to do some experiments. I always seemed to be creative the day before an exam and new ideas pop out right on that time to do experiments with. I had a low FPS airsoft handgun at that time which I bought out of curiosity.
So, I took the gun out and loaded it full with plastic BBs. It also had a laser pointer attached with it which can be used to shoot the BBs accurately. I tested out the laser pointer myself and the accuracy is decent at a certain range.
So I looked out my window and saw a dog about 17 – 20 feet away from me. I was on the 2nd floor by the way. It was night and there wasn’t much light outside. To aim properly I switched the laser pointer on and pointed it on the dog’s butt. I pulled the trigger and seemed to miss. I was pretty much annoyed because of the miss and because the dog was still barking. So I prepared to shoot again. This time I aimed a little above its butt hoping to correct the error from before. I shoot again and the dog ran away howling. It was satisfactory to get some revenge on the despicable dog.
So can airsoft guns kill dogs?
Long story short, though I could hurt the dog a little and could surprise it by suddenly shooting out of nowhere it wasn’t anywhere near killing the dog. Since dogs have thick skin and have fur above that which protects them from the environment, I don’t think plastic BBs are not enough to penetrate their skins to kill them. But why should you believe my assumption based on a lousy one night experience? So I started to research on the internet and read a few forums where people shared their experiences as well. The summation of the experience is that there is no way airsoft guns can kill a dog.
Because the gun and BBs are made with the fact in mind that it cannot and should not be able to penetrate human skin. The BBs actually have low density and the guns have low fps to penetrate human flesh. Although with enough force it can tear or crack the skin on the place of contact the BBs do not penetrate. A dog skin with fur coating is also non-penetrable. Maybe with a gun that has high enough fps you can inflict a little damage to the skin at best.
So in short airsoft guns can’t kill a dog but with enough force, it can hurt on the skin pretty bad.
Can Airsoft Guns Kill a Deer?
In many countries, it’s legal to hunt animals on a specific time of the year. It’s called hunting season. There are various kinds of weapons that can be used to hunt deers such as, rifle, shotgun, handgun, muzzleloaders, etc. You can also hunt them using a 1200 fps air gun shooting 0.177 cal. (4.5 mm) pallet if the shot is landed correctly.
But we are not here to describe various weapons that can kill a deer. We are here to discuss that fact that whether we can kill a deer with airsoft gun or not.
It may or may not be possible to kill deer but currently, there is no known record of such occurrence.
But although something didn’t happen it doesn’t mean that it can’t or won’t happen.
We have to logically prove that airsoft guns cannot kill a deer.
Honestly, after the dog explanation, I don’t think that anyone would hope to kill a deer with an airsoft gun. If an airsoft gun can’t penetrate a dog skin let alone kill it, I don’t think it can be used to kill a deer.
Then again you shouldn’t believe what I said.
So let’s compare the power of an air gun which can supposedly be used to kill a deer.
Airsoft gun and Airgun power comparison
Normally a 0.177 caliber (4.5 mm) air gun lightweight pallet should weigh about 6.7 grains (0.44 gm), the normal type is about 7.9 grain (0.52 gm.) and the heavy type weigh about 10 grains (0.65 gm). These air guns shoot approximately at the speed of 1200 fps (Feet per Second). So if you want to kill a deer you can think of this as the minimum requirement for pallets or bullets within 50 yards perhaps.
Note that, you should only think of this as a minimum requirement for the purpose of comparing with airsoft gunshots. You shouldn’t think of them as ideal numbers and it’s not recommended by us for hunting deer as well.
Now let’s see the highest force an airsoft gun can provide on average.
The highest weight a common airsoft BB has is 0.40 gm. and the standard is 0.2 to 0.35 gm. The heaviest weight for airsoft BB is 0.90 gm. But it’s not very common and not used in the sport. The majority of airsoft guns used in the sports are capable of shooting from 200 fps to 410 fps. But it’s also possible to upgrade the gun to increase the speed up to 550 fps or a bit higher. There are some airsoft sniper guns that have springs to boost up to 700 fps but that’s not very common or are not permitted in the field.
Let’s use the maximum number that is common to test out against air gun.
If we use a 0.4 gm. A pallet that can be shot from an airsoft gun at a velocity of 550 fps do you think it will be enough to penetrate deerskin? Remember that we already discussed the minimum requirement (not recommended) for killing a deer with an air gun is 0.44 gm. Pallet with the velocity of 1200 fps. So in airsoft guns, we are lacking in both speed and weight.
Note that, while we established the minimum requirement as 0.177 caliber gun, even using a 0.22 caliber rifle for hunting deer is illegal and non-ethical.
So after all that complex mathematics and numbers, we can definitely agree that we cannot kill a deer with even the highest standard airsoft equipment.
Can Airsoft Guns Kill a Cat?
Usually, a cat is definitely smaller than your average deer or a dog. So there is a possibility of it being killed if shot by a powerful enough airsoft gun. But can airsoft guns kill a cat? Can the possibility be a reality?
I mean can a 0.4 gm. Plastic BB pallet that shoots 550 fps really kill a cat?
It will certainly hurt if the cat is shot in the eye and the eye will be permanently blind. But since cats are not animals which can be hunted like a deer, there is no way to measure against a standard hunting gun. I got nothing else in my hand so I just started searching online for some kind of revelation and stumbled upon numerous forums and discussions. According to discussions in yahoo answers, it won’t kill a cat but it will hurt them pretty much. Almost all of them advised not to shoot. Answers.com also have similar answers.
With all the fur over the cat skin, it will be heard even to break the skin let alone penetrate the flesh enough to kill a cat. With a high-speed heavy airsoft pallet, it will break the cat skin at the point of impact which would probably become infected soon. So don’t think about practicing shooting on cats just because it will not die.
Can Airsoft Guns Kill Small animals like rats, squirrels, and rabbits?
I think it’s highly plausible to kill small animals like rats, squirrels, and rabbits with airsoft guns due to their small body and relatively thin skin. But what do I know since I’m no expert?
Vicky Clain asserted in a guest post that he already discussed this topic with Goog gun specialist and several trained military personal. According to them, a high-speed airsoft gun is good enough to hunt small animals. Vicky Clain described that powerful airsoft rifle capable of shooting airsoft BBs at a velocity of 350 to 450 fps or higher.
So if that’s the case then I think it will be relatively easy to hunt small animals like rats, squirrels, and rabbits with an airsoft gun shooting BBs at 550 fps speed. But one needs to keep that in mind that his or her aim must be sharpened. Cause without proper aim, the animal will be wounded and suffer. With the proper aim, you can even shoot down birds. So you need a clear shot preferably on the head if you want to kill the animal in one shot. Of course, that doesn’t mean that you should just go out with a high-speed airsoft gun in your hand and start to hunt down those animals.
It is unethical
It’ll be unethical to do that and cruel as well if the animal is by chance not properly shot and get wounded. In real life, you should only shoot at those animals for proper reason and with real guns. You can only use airsoft guns for hunting in a post-apocalyptic world where food, guns, ammo and other supplies are scarce.
My Conclusion on Killing Animals with Airsoft Guns
Killing big animals with airsoft guns is not actually possible. It’s only possible to hurt them on the skin badly or rupture their skin. This is nearly not enough to kill a big animal like a dog or deer but it might get them infected. Although in a sense you can kill it by getting it infected through its ruptured skin that’s a whole different story.
Small animals like rats, squirrels, rabbits, and birds like crows and pigeons can be hunt down with high-speed airsoft guns shooting heavy BBs if you have a proper aim.
But you shouldn’t actually try it out because those animals could suffer and it would be inappropriate to make them go through this kind of suffering.