People Who Survived Being Shot Explain What It Really Feels Like
Max Kleinen on Unsplash


It's another ordinary day in America.

So of course that means we've already had a mass shooting or two before brunch.

And aside from the mass shootings, the number of single gunshot wounds or deaths is too high to count.

So let's discuss the aftermath.

Let's hear from the people who have faced the barrel of a loaded gun, or were just a casualty going about their day.

What happens after the bullet lands?

Redditor notaninterestingaccwanted to hear from the people who have lived the nightmare.

They asked:

"Gunshot survivors of Reddit - What does it feel like to get shot?"

Guns are not a joke. Please educate yourself before you purchase.

Then the pin hit...

"I took a 7.62 to the stomach in Afghanistan. Felt like somebody had smacked with like, I dunno, a flyswatter or something. A short sharp smack. Didn’t feel much until I tried to come out of cover and I just... couldn’t. Couldn’t make my body listen to me. Then the pain hit. I’d put it at like, I dunno, an 11/10. Bullet blew off half my liver."


Thank you EMS...

"Chest, .357 magnum, through sternum, lung, ricochet off of rib, through scapula. Still have half under my shouldblade. Felt like I was stabbed in the chest with a hot fire poker mounted to the bottom of someone's foot when they drop kicked me. Was not expected to survive (severe blood loss), of course. Very good EMS team kept the liquids where they were supposed to and great doctors and nurses kept me going."


Knocked Back

"I didn't really feel either of mine until about 10 minutes later. Took a grazing shot off my left arm and one in the right hip that went out my back thankfully missing my kidney. The arm felt like a bee sting the hip knocked me back a step the adrenalin at the time masked the pain."


The Masked Men

"I was shot during a home robbery. I’m probably one of The luckiest people alive. The bullet no joke scratched my cheek and then went through the top of my ear and also a bullet grazed my wrist and opened it up. I didn’t feel anything but just liquid running down my face and my wrist was burning."

"Scariest night of my life and RIP Christian. Miss you so much buddy. Here is proof. We... Authorities said Burke and Brandon Fries, 21, fought the suspects for their guns, which were fired during the struggle."

"The two masked men fled, and investigators initially did not have any information about which direction they went or whether they escaped from the scene by car. Both Burke and Fries had been shot and were transported to Hermann Memorial Hospital in Katy. Burke was pronounced dead upon arrival at the emergency room, less than four miles away.”


Like a Rock

"I got shot in the ankle when I was 10. Honestly I thought a rock hit me. Just a slight stinging feeling. Didn't really hurt, I even kept running with my bike. Later at the hospital was a different story. The doctor tried to remove the bullet without putting me under."

"He said the pain medicine would make me forget everything. He gave up after a few minutes of hell. And, whatever he gave me didn't work as described, but it did oddly make everyone look purple from what I remember. So maybe it half worked? lol."


People really? How in the world do y'all get firearms?

Fleshed Off...

"Right thigh, 9mm, grazing shot across the front of the leg about 4 inches above the knee. It plowed a channel of skin and some flesh off the front. It felt searing hot like someone had laid a hot piece of metal on my leg for a second. Then, the pain went away for a while until the adrenaline wore off. It honestly hurt worse 6 hours later than it did when it happened."


A slight pinch...

"I was randomly shot while walking down the street with my girlfriend in 2013. I didn't fall to the ground or anything like that. Walked into a store and told them to call the cops. It didn't hurt too bad at first. A slight pinch. The heat builds up and the pain comes in. Some throbbing as the blood pumps out. I was extremely lucky as the bullet lodged between my lower right ribs in the back just above my kidney."

"The aftermath was a really achey back. What I remember most was how everyone around me except for my girlfriend just walked around us like nothing happened. I was suffering and potentially dying and everyone just ignored it. 'Not my problem' I suppose. I lost a lot of faith in people that day."


Not the Head

"I accidentally discharged my 9 and I was hit in the head. While it was going on I honestly did not feel any pain but everything slowed way down. Healing and recooperating was the hardest. My mouth and jaw was wired shut for several months. Had to have complete facial reconstruction surgery."

"Had to take a piece of bone from my skull and graph it to my nose just so I could have a nose. I also had to have a feeding tube for almost a whole year. I've recovered fully and I'm very lucky. I remember mostly everything. Something's from the incident I don't remember, but for the most part, I have my memories in tact."


It Burns...

"My gf was shot, not me, but she said it felt hot and like impact but not particularly painful until much later. She was in shock and went to the hospital, after hours she said it started to hurt."


"This was my response too. It feels incredibly hot. It's like getting hit with a bee that's on fire. It burns like hell. But then, and only later, does is f**king hurt. The part two is that you might think you understand pressure, but get shot. It doesn't just hurt, it mashes into you."



"A good friend of mine got hit with a ricochet from a 9mm that hit his calf, there was drive by about a block down. He was outside of the bar smoking a cig when it happened, ran inside and felt his leg burning but decided to keep drinking. He had about 3 more drinks before someone mentioned he was bleeding… went to the ER absolutely hammered and was fine after surgery."


Bad Mr. Ed

"Shot twice. Second one resulted in separation from the army. The first was in my armor piece, no penetration but it felt like I was kicked by a horse. The second one was into my pelvis and it’s the worst pain I ever felt, and I still engaged in combat for the next 45 minutes before I could safely be moved back. 10/10 shi**y."



"I was shot when I was nine. I didn't feel anything at first because my mind was in fight or flight mode and my only focus was dialing 911 and saving my mother. I only started feeling the immense stinging/burning sensation when I was loaded into the ambulance. I want to say it's as if you had a hot iron shoved through you."


Lost in my Mind

"Wish I knew, I have no memory of the event. I had gotten off the rail and was waiting at a bus stop with my gf when I was struck by a stray bullet. It entered around my right shoulder and splintered across to my lower left shoulder. Ended up giving me a spinal cord injury, leaving me paralyzed from the chest down unfortunately. I just don’t like the fact that my gf has to live with that memory by herself."


Leaking Warmth

"It hurt, like, a lot. Was shot from behind, I was running away. Small caliber was best guess, maybe .22 Since it went in and out of my right arm. Entry just left and down my arm from my elbow, exit on forearm opposite side. X-rays showed hairline fracture on the ulna. Since the bone held and wasn’t shattered by the bullet, they assumed small caliber. Felt like getting hit in the elbow with a hammer."

"Then warmth.. which I later found was the blood leaking. No major arteries and lucky ricochet away from my center mass. Bloody clothes and ambulance ride. Pain killers and 8 hour observation to make sure no swelling which could lead to amputation. Trauma room for 8 hours, then sent home with pain killer prescription. Would not recommend."


Lethally Lucky

"Not me but my neighbor. He was shot in the abdomen with a .22 during an altercation. He said that he couldn’t believe how much it burned. The trauma surgeon also told him he was lucky as .22’s can be surprisingly lethal."



"Took an 7.62 round to the plate carrier, bruised for weeks, it felt like getting kicked by a mule in the chest. Took a piece of shrapnel to my ankle, felt cold then white hot pain for like thirty days, now it's just a dull ache twenty years later."


"'It's fine, it will only hurt for the next twenty years or so.'"



"I got shot through the back one time at a party just standing there it went through my back and out through right below my solar plexus. Amazingly enough it didn't really hit anything the doctors even came in and were amazed by the x-rays. When I first noticed it it was because it was a spark in front of my face where the bullet that went through me hit the wall."

"Then I remember feeling like I was being squeezed and then I remember taking a huge breath and hearing a weird noise that was air rushing into the wound. Disbelief staggered me for probably 90 seconds maybe a little more. I'm with the other guy on a scale 1 to 10 I gave it a six and if you want to know what's worse kidney stones."

"F*** kidney stones you want to torture somebody give them f****** kidney stones."


After the adrenaline runs out...

"Got shot in military, you don't feel pain at first since adrenaline keeps pain at bay for a decent time; you just feel like something hot hit you and you have a fever there. After the adrenaline runs out it will make you cry no matter how emotionless you are. I was hit in the shoulder and the bullet stopped at my bone. Until they took it out every single second it was as if there was something stabbing me from inside."



"I've been shot whilst wearing body armour during my army days, sucks about as much as getting hit by a baseball full pelt into your ribs. One of my buddies had to get a jump-start after getting a 7.62 hit on his plate carrier right over his heart. One of the few benefits of ops in urban areas, there are generally decent medical facilities relatively nearby. Was 50/50 on whether the round fractured his sternum, or our CPR."


Please stay sober when handling a weapon. Please be careful in general.

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