Airsoft vs Paintball: Which is Right for You?
What is Airsoft?
A game of competitive team shooting, where players eliminate opposing teams by hitting them out of play with spherical plastic (BB) projectiles. These are fired by replica guns known as airsoft guns.
Similar to paintball in concept and gameplay, BBs don't typically leave visible markings and hits are not always apparent. Sometimes the BB can leave small bruises on the skin, thus the game relies on an honor system. The player who's been hit is obliged to call themselves out.
The majority of airsoft guns are magazine-fed, with some being spring-piston pump similar to Nerf guns. A plethora of airsoft guns features some sort of mounting platform compatible with real steel accessories. Thus cosmetically resembling more like a real firearm. You can see why this is so popular for military simulation and historical reenactments. As well as professional gun safety and weapon manipulation training, such as law enforcement, due to it being way safer and lower costs.
Pros of Airsoft
- For those on a budget, airsoft is the way to go! Airsoft replicas are generally affordable as well as fewer maintenance costs. With a spring or battery-powered airsoft gun, there's no need to get additional batteries or gas to power your gun, as most batteries are rechargeable and spring guns are cocked manually. Ammunition is much cheaper than paintball. A single paintball round costs as much as 10 rounds of BB!
- Besides low cost, BB's are small and can fit into all magazines easily. In a standard M4 aeg mag you can fit up to 450 rounds! Paintballs are bulky, requiring a large hopper and special equipment to carry.
- Airsoft replicas are easier to manoeuvre with. As they are designed after real-steel guns, made to be manoeuvrable and easy to use. There are many styles of airsoft replica available for different scenarios. Such as close-quarters combat, where manoeuvrability is important, CQB airsoft replicas have the upper hand due to their small form factor. Many paintball guns are bulky and difficult to manipulate.
- Way less pain compared to paintball, due to small ammunition.
Cons of Airsoft
- Can be expensive to run PTW or gas platforms as they require a lot of fine-tuning to be effective in combat.
- Airsoft relies on an honor system, as it's not always possible to see if you hit your opponent, other players have to be honest for the game to work and for everyone to have fun. Whereas paintball, this isn't a problem cause they leave a mark.
- BBs' trajectory not easy to follow thus corrections is difficult to make.
- Marking a hit not be guaranteed as BBs don't leave any visible mark. This may cause disagreements and heated arguments during game time.
What is Paintball?
Paintball originated in the 60s and expanding ever since. As well as tournaments for this sport, it is no doubt very popular. But with sports, they have one thing in common, injuries. During paintball games, it's common to get bruises after battling it out. Therefore, beginners or people that bruise easily should consider the paintball carefully.
It is a competitive team shooting sport in which players eliminate opponents from play by hitting them with spherical dye-filled gelatin capsules known as paintballs. Paintballs are shot using low-powered air weapons called paintball markers, powered by compressed air (nitrogen) or carbon dioxide.
Pros of Paintball
- Clearly visible mark left by the paint. Makes it easier to identify those who have been hit, goodbye to cheaters!
- High range and accuracy. Paintballs are super heavy. This is to ensure an accurate trajectory that won't be affected by side wind or small tree branches. Utilizing compressed gas to shoot, gives the shot enough power for a longer range.
Cons of Paintball
- It hurts! If your hit in a non-protected area, it will leave a mark and guaranteed a whole lot of pain.
- Paint stains. A lot of your clothes will be covered in this paint. With all the paint stains there is no doubt that you'll have to do the laundry for the next game even if it's tomorrow.
- Gas containers are huge. Compared to airsoft, the ones used in paintball are bigger as the guns use more gas for each shot. Thus making it quite cumbersome to maneuver on the battlefield.
- The price of the guns and ammunition is quite expensive unless you resort to the 2nd hand market.
What Is The Difference Between Paintball and Airsoft
Though airsoft and paintball are similar on the surface, there are many differences between the two. Because of the difference in how the guns are used and how they operate, these differences include the areas of equipment, cost to play, types of ammunition, maneuverability, and game dynamics.
People that switch over from paintball to airsoft do it because of cost. Airsoft gear and guns are much more affordable than paintball and cost less to play. Paintball markers and equipment aren't very affordable for those that want to start a new hobby!
With airsoft, the replica is made to look like real steel guns. BBs imitate bullets and are loaded into magazines just like with real guns. Paintballs, on the other hand, are loaded with paintballs through a bulky hopper. The paintball marker has to be held upright for proper loading of the paintballs. It's way easier to reload an airsoft replica.
Paintball utilizes high air pressure to shoot the heavy paintballs out which makes them superior compared to airsoft. With some fine-tuning, an airsoft replica can shoot just as well or even better!
Pain and Injuries
Airsoft generally isn't very painful and won't leave bruises after being hit. Unless your really close and get shot within a meter! But that being said paintball hurts. It hurts a lot! No matter the range you will feel that sting. After a day of gaming with paintball markers, you'll end up with at least a few bruises.
Which is more painful paintball or airsoft?
Both airsoft and paintball guns shoot at 300-400 fps, however, the main difference is the weight of the pellet coming out. The typical airsoft BB weighs .20 grams, which releases .84 Joules of energy. Whereas a typical paintball weighs around 3 grams. This releases 12.5 Joules of energy.
Paintballs have more than 10 times the energy that airsoft BBs carry. Keep in mind, paintballs are going to hurt a lot more when compared to airsoft BBs. Paintballs have more surface area than a 6mm BB. The paintballs are going to leave bigger welts, as opposed to the smaller concentrated red marks from airsoft BBs.
Both sports are a lot of fun and provide great challenges. Since the games are similar, personal preference will play a big role in which is a better fit for you. The best way to figure out which you prefer is to get out there and try them both! Most important is that you find a hobby that suits you well and enjoy. Be sure to check out our website for more cool products and more.