Airsoft is NOT paintball.
It’s a very common belief that airsoft is the same as paintball, or that you can do one and automatically do the other. That’s not the case.
There are some serious difference between airsofting and paintballing which you need to be aware of if you’re considering trying paintballing. This is written from the point of view of an airsofter, but it can be useful for anyone really.
Differences between airsofting and paintballing
We’ll get on to some more specific questions about the two later, but for now here are the main differences between the two sports. By the way, there are always exceptions to these rules, for example you might find that some airsofte guns AREN’T as accurate as paintball guns.
1: Airsofting is more accurate
In general, airsoft is FAR more accurate than paintball.
Airsoft guns and rifles are designed to fire BB pellets as FAR as possible at high power. The bullets themselves are smaller, more aerodynamic, and can travel further.
Paintball bullets are heavy, big, and easily arc downwards over distance. This means they travel FAR less distance than airsoft bullets. That being said though, airsoft bullets can travel various distances depending on their weight and the gun firing them.
But in most cases, an airsoft gun (even a pistol) will fire MUCH further than a paintball gun.
2: Paintballing is more painful
This one again is fairly subjective but in general, paintballing hurts a LOT more.
You’re fighting in close quarters, and the guns and the bullets they fire are bigger and heavier. That might be a lot of the reason they hurt more. You’re always really close to the people you’re taking fire from, whereas with airsofting, you might get shot from several hundred feet away.
You’ll always hear about how much paintballing hurts, and you’ll probably see peoples massive bruises the day after as well. Not so much with airsoft. The bullets are smaller, and you’re likely to deflect most of them with your clothing.
That being said, airsoft bullets DO hurt! If they’re fired at close range or the gun is super powerful, they’ll really hurt. I’ve seen people lose teeth, bleed and get cut up by airsoft bullets fired from the right gun at the right distance.
But in terms of pure power and force, paintball bullets are like little hammers.
3: Paintballing attracts more beginners
Because paintballing is typically seen as more fun and ‘open to everyone’, it attracts more beginners.
Airsofting tends to attract more professional and serious players who tend to own several of their own guns and play regularly. It even attracts lots of military/ex military guys and girls.
Paintballing however is very often used as a ‘one off’ weekend birthday party or something fun you do with your friends every now and then. Now of course, airsofting can and is also used in that way but I find paintballing tends to attract less SERIOUS players.
4: Airsofting is more realistic
This one you can’t really deny.
Airsofting is FAR more like real gun fighting than paintball.
The range of the weapons, the clothing you wear (camo and tactical) and the game types are FAR more realistic and serious than paintballing. Paintballing you’ll often have giant colored inflatable obstacles and fun type things, whereas airsoft is much more like a real battlefield.
And I think that’s what makes them both such cool sports, that diversity. I personally perfer airsoft (hence this site) but both have their pros and cons. If you’re looking for a real simulation of a gun fight though, go to an airsoft site.
5: Airsofting CAN be more expensive
Again this is sort of dependant on who’s playing. I find that because airsoft attracts more serious players, they’ll often spend more on going to games regularly and buying nice gear. Paintball players tend to almost always hire their gear on the day.
This means airsofting can be a lot more expensive than paintballing in general. Often airsofters will invest heavily in gear once they’ve realised they enjoy the sport. Paintballers however can often just play one or two games a year and just hire everything on the day.
What hurts more, airsoft or paintball?
By far, paintballs hurt more than airsoft ammo.
Paintballs are heavy, and displace more of your skin than airsoft bullets so they can actually leave big bruises on you. Airsoft bullets aren’t likely to bruise BUT they can cause you to bleed and even chip a tooth if it hits you hard enough, so be careful.
It’s ALWAYS worth wearing a full face airsoft mask if you can, to avoid losing teeth!
Airsoft VS paintball accuracy
Airsofting will always be more accurate than paintballing.
This is because the bullets are fired at a faster rate, the motors are more powerful and the bullets are smaller. This means they can travel through the air for longer before slowing down due to air resistance.
Airsoft guns usually fire at a rate of about 350-400 fps (feet per second) or 500 for a bolt action sniper rifle. Paintball guns however fire at about 100fps but you’ve got to remember their bullets are a LOT heavier and bigger.
So in terms of power and speed, airsoft guns win. But paintball bullets hurt more because they’re bigger and heavier, and often fired at close range too.
Is paintball more dangerous than airsofting?
This again depends on who’s playing, and how. If you’re playing with sensible people then neither sport will be dangerous as such. They’ll both hurt, but they won’t be dangerous.
With airsofting, it’s probably easier for a loose BB bullet to clip you in the ear or something.
This is because airsofting doesn’t enforce the same full face and body protection that paintballing does. This means it’s easier for a BB bullet to clip you somewhere you don’t want it to.
Paintballing hurts more in general though and you’ll be bruised from most of the shots you take. I don’t think you can really say which one’s more dangerous because it really depends on how you play the game. I’ve played airsoft games where players take stupid risks like climbing really high trees or walls to get vantage points.
If they were to fall, it would be bad. But then again, that’s their choice and that doesn’t mean the whole game is dangerous, just their actions. So think about what you’re doing and what risks you’re taking when you play.
What’s more expensive, airsoft or paintball?
Paintball ammo is a lot more expensive than airsoft ammo by the way. Paintball ammo can cost about $40 for 1500-2000 rounds of ammo but airsofting costs only $10 (or LESS) for 5000+ rounds of ammo.
It’s about the same price to hire guns but the ammo is really where the differences are apparent.
What’s better, airsoft or paintball?
That’s the ultimate question.
I don’t think you can say which ones BETTER, but it really depends on what you want fro the experience.
- If you’re after a realistic, long range experience, go airsofting.
- If you want a painful but very fun light hearted experience with some friends, go paintballing.
But if you don’t want to get hurt, don’t go paintballing. Especially if you don’t have much body fat or you bruise easily, be careful. You’ll get bruised VERY quickly and it will hurt a lot. Even if you wear lots of padding, it’s not enough.