Getting Shot

Whats it like?

Have you ever wondered what it feels like to get shot? People in the military and others who were unfortunate to experience this ordeal have describe their personal experiences of what it feels like when a bullet hits them, and how they ultimately survived. They know what it’s like to get shot, and the incredible amount of physical and emotional pain that accompanies a bullet wound. They unfortunately found themselves at the wrong end of a gun, and not only survived their brush with death, but were fortunate enough to tell others about their experience.

Based on these accounts, people have different experiences of how it feels to get shot. Some felt as little as a slight bee sting, and others felt the worst pain they had ever experienced. There seems to be no way to gauge how one’s body will react to a bullet, but the majority of these experiences suggest it will be extremely painful. Check out these first-hand accounts of getting shot by a gun to learn how it feels to survive a bullet wound.

What happens to your body when you get shot?

Here’s a semi-physiological answer. For starters, when a bullet enters your body, your flesh absorbs a great deal of the momentum the bullet was carrying. A 9mm bullet, which is typically fired from handguns used for self-defense and by police, travels at a speed of about 900 mph. All that momentum has to go somewhere, the bullet transfers it to your body, causing it to expand and create a large cavity, then falling back in on itself. That tremor can cause serious damage to your organs and tissues, even if the bullet doesn’t actually hit them.

After the bullet tears into your flesh, fate rolls the dice. It’s possible to survive being shot, multiple times even, but it largely comes down to the path those bullets take. Connor Narciso, former combat medic and Army Green Beret who served in Afghanistan, says don’t let movies and TV fool you. A single gunshot in the arm or leg is more than enough to kill you if you’re unlucky.

The following excerpts are people that have experienced getting shot and survived:

  • Felt Like A Wasp Stinger Was Pushed Into My Skin
    CZulu: “Got shot in the calf with a .22 LR while landscaping about a decade ago. It just felt like a push-pinch, like if someone pushed a wasp stinger into my skin and since I was using a weed whacker at the time, I thought it had picked something up and thrown it against my leg. It went numb, and when I looked at the wound, it was bleeding way too much to be from random debris. It really only hurt after I started f*cking with it to stop the bleeding. If you get shot, don’t look at the wound if at all possible.
    The shooter was a German foreign exchange student with surprisingly bad muzzle awareness, trigger safety, et cetera, but since the damage was minor, we all laughed it off. Honestly, it didn’t hurt that bad. Hopefully, being shot by a smaller caliber has helped me build my immunity up towards larger bullets.”
  • Felt Like A Punch
    sidneywidney: “My brother used to promote parties and hang around with questionable people. My parents knew there was basically nothing they could do to prevent him from going out since he was already in his twenties, so my dad got him a vest. My mom thought my dad was being ridiculous. Just a couple of months later, […] on the night before Mother’s Day, he was shot point-blank in the back with a .38 hollow point. My brother said it felt like he was punched in the back. Those vest really do save lives…”
  • Felt Like A Sudden Impact Of No Sensation, Then There Was A Horrible Burning Sensation
    Tia_Jamon: “Surprisingly painless compared to what you might expect. I’m not one of those, ‘I didn’t even realize I was shot’ people, though I can definitely understand where they’re coming from. The very first thing I felt can only be described as a sudden impact of no sensation. I felt numbness wash over the area. If I had not realized I was about to be shot shortly before I was, I could see how I could have easily have been too distracted to notice this immediate response.
    That feeling then gave way to a horrible burning sensation. It’s a very ‘hot’ pain. It feels the way a very flushed face or a blister feels, but intense and painful. After a little time passes, the area around it has this very unexpected achy pain that feels more like what you would expect from being hit with a bat than being shot. And yet I wouldn’t know how I would even rank it in terms of how painful it actually was. The feeling of being shot was seamlessly paired with the adrenaline and wooziness of having REALIZED I was shot and the knowledge that I really couldn’t afford to get shot again. The three intermingled and alternately masked and intensified each other.
    For a few moments, I’d totally forget I had been shot, only for my attention to come back to myself in a lot of pain. I’ve never had to describe it before – my words seem so inadequate. It’s a very bizarre series of sensations that I imagine is almost never experienced by people in an otherwise clear state of mind. I really cannot understate the significance of the psychological impact it had on me in the moment, which totally distorted my processing of physical sensation.”
  • Felt Like Nothing
    Gangrel13: “I got shot in the foot about two years ago with a .45. Went in one side and out the other, pulverized some of the bone, too. There was no pain at all. Only knew I was shot because of all the blood. At the hospital about a half hour later, it started to hurt a little. Doctor was surprised that I only rated the pain as a four out of 10. It hurt a fair bit in the days and weeks after, but never intolerably.”
  • Felt Like A Weird Wave Of Feeling Hot And Wet
    Jigur0: “About four years ago, I was struck by four rounds from machine gun fire. One actually skipped off my body armor, right into my left bicep. Honestly did not feel pain when I got hit, just this weird wave of feeling hot and wet on my left side. The pain definitely came […] once a tourniquet was applied.”
  • Felt Like A Baseball Bat Him Me, But There Was No Pain
    Ktojongolt: “I was shot with AK-47 to the leg. Felt like a baseball bat hit me, but with no pain. This was followed by a buzzing feeling for five to ten seconds, then the severe achy pain set in. Once I got back, I was diagnosed with a spiral fracture. Less painful than I thought it would be, but it was still up there!”
  • Felt Like My Leg was Heavy And Wet, But Getting Shot Didn’t Hurt
    secondhand_organs: “I took a bullet in the *ss cheek that did some kind of parabolic arc and exited out of the back of my thigh. I didn’t feel the impact, but wondered why my leg felt heavy and wet (I was on a bicycle at the time).
    Getting shot itself didn’t hurt, but getting treated for it did. The finger in the a** at the hospital didn’t help much.”
  • Felt Like Absolute Agony
    jnips: “I got shot through the thigh with a .45, [and] it burned like a motherf*cker. The bullet went through the bone completely and the tendons pulled everything out of place. That leg was about four inches shorter than the other. Trying to move it was absolute agony – I was praying to pass out, but never did.”
  • Felt Like I Was Slapped Or Punched In The Face
    Zoklett: “We were sitting on my front steps when the gun fight broke out. We stood up to run inside and I never even heard the gun go off. It just felt like someone punched me or slapped me really hard in the face and I fell off the steps and crawled (quickly) inside. When I got inside, my friend was screaming that I’d been shot but I didn’t feel anything really until I looked in the mirror and saw I was bleeding from a burn that went from my cheek THROUGH the top of my ear. I didn’t really feel anything, to be honest. Just stinging and ringing ears. The burn lasted FOR MONTHS. […] I became famous in school as the tough girl who almost got shot in the face.”
  • Felt Like A Really Weird Bee Sting
    eradicATErs: “I was shot in left foot when I was seventeen. At first, I thought it was a bee sting because it sounded like bees flying by. Two seconds later, I realized something was wrong. The bee noises were bullets flying by. It felt like a hot fire poker along the path of the bullet. We were camping and like an hour and a half [from] a hospital. The burning lasted the entire time until morphine got in. Was in a walking boot [cast] for months due to tendon and nerve damage. No bones were damaged, but my foot is still numb on top due to nerve damage and it always hurts. I always feel it and if anything hits the entry or exit points or the scar from surgery to remove bullet fragments, it send weird tingles up my leg. Definitely changed my life.”
  • Felt Like My Hand Was Slammed Between A Textbook And A Desk
    Cowboychimps: “My right hand got clipped by a .223 ricochet while shooting targets on a friend’s property. Initially felt like my had got slammed between a large math textbook and a wooden desk followed by an intense burning sensation. I will say that after the impact, I didn’t immediately think much of the injury. I checked that my firearm was still functioning and didn’t stop firing until I felt the blood dripping down my arm.”
  • Felt Like A Tight Pressure On My Arm, But There Was No Pain
    BBBBrendan: “Shot in the arm when I was young, when I got caught in the middle of a drive-by shooting.

    You know in the movies where a gun goes off and there’s a sudden look of shock on the victim’s face before he looks at the wound? That’s very accurate. I did not feel any pain or anything. I heard the gunshot and felt a tight pressure in my arm. I looked and saw the wound and how much blood I was losing, and the next thing I know I’m in the hospital.”

  • Felt Like Being Continuously Poked By Something Sharp – But Pushing, Not Stabbing
    Transam96: “It’s a bit of [a] burning sensation mainly. The quick pierce into your body hurts like hell. Best way I can describe it is that it feels like being continuously poked as if someone is holding multiple sharp pricks to you and pushing in, but not stabbing.

    Painful as sh*t, but it’s not an ungodly amount of pain to where you can’t even cope with it if it’s in an area of non-importance in your body, such as [the] arm or shoulder.”

  • Felt Like Something Blasted Into Me And Was Very Noisy
    Idiputchko: “I didn’t even really know I was shot. I felt the blast and the noise and didn’t realize until liquid was gushing onto my chest. Since I was shot in the head/face, I was worried about brain damage and kept doing multiplication in my head. It really wasn’t too bad. I was lucky and it did not affect my hearing or sight. I only have a small circular scar that kind of looks like a dimple.”

Sources: Reddit,, Steffanie Hammond

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