Airsoft vs Paintball – Difference between airsoft and paintball

Anyone looking to get into the game of airsoft or paintball would like to get some information about the two. While both are a great sport and seem similar on the surface, there yet exist tons of differences between the two.

Airsoft is a popular realistic combat simulation game which is played using guns that are very close to real firearms in look, with bullets in the form of BBs or plastic pallets. The game requires practical, tactical planning and any player hits by the shot (BBS or plastic) is assumed eliminated from the competition.  

Paintball is played using paintball marker/gun which shoots breakable balls filled with non-toxic paints and is powered by gas or co2. Just like airsoft, it requires some warfare tactical planning too although not as real as airsoft.

typical airsoft gun and paintball
from left: airsoft and paintball

While airsoft is cheaper and more realistic in terms of warfare experience, paintball is more accessible, more organized, and has larger events.

Difference between airsoft and paintball

Both airsoft and paintball are very fun to play in. They both have their differences that can be compared in many aspects, including equipment, the cost to play, types of ammunition, manoeuvrability, and game dynamics.

If one would consider the cost of the two, with no argument, airsoft takes the lead. You can start airsofting with as low as $150 at least for decent equipment that will include: eye protection, gun, BBs, and perhaps batteries if not involved. Also, if you purchase a spring or battery-powered airsoft gun, then you do not need money to power it up in the future, as most batteries are rechargeable and spring guns are cocked manually. Finding an airsoft field can be easy, too and prices are always in the range of $10 – $30 (in the US).

airsoft players vs paintball players
from left: paintball player vs airsoft player

Paintballing, on the other hand, can be a bit more expensive. You need an average of $300 for starting. Paintball guns use CO2, and when you run out of CO2, you will need to purchase more if you want to play again. 2000 of paintball usually cost from 30 up to 70 dollars, and you can shoot up to 6000 in a single battle. Although, finding a paintball field can be more natural, but again it is often more expensive and can cost $40 and above on the average.

Airsoft is considered more realistic, and you will often see players coming up with tactical plans like they are genuinely in the warfare zone; little wonders, because their gears already resemble real military gears. Paintball, on the other hand, is considered just a sport, and most people see it as such. However, there is a much more competitive scene in paintball – also, tournaments and sponsored teams are much more plentiful in it.

typical airsoft players
an airsoft player on the game

While there are always cheats in every game, it is nearly impossible to cheat in a paintball game as the eliminated participant would have a mark of paint in their uniform. In an airsoft game, however, elimination is strongly based on the “honesty” of the participant to agree they have been hit – it usually leaves no sign, and anyone can deny it since there is no proof for it.

Which is better airsoft or paintball?

Nevertheless, It can be quite subjective to tell which one is better between airsoft and paintball. But, for anyone looking to get into a combat simulation game which is cheaper and more realistic, then airsoft is the answer. Also, for anyone looking for a game that is more popular, more organized and has larger events, and is hard to cheat in then paintball is the answer.

paintball team vs airsoft team

Which one hurt more airsoft or paintball?

Often, we have seen people asking, “does airsoft hurt more than paintball?”. This most straightforward answer to this is “No.” Airsoft guns shoot in BBs and plastic pallets which are a lot smaller than a paintball. Being hit by plastic BB’s can be far from fatal, but due to the remarkable firepower of airsoft guns(especially the high-performance ones), they can still cause minor injuries such as bruises. The Paintballs are significantly heavier than airsoft BB, and thus more power is used to propel them through the air. The weight on a paintball can be heavier; hence, the impact of a paintball is often more painful than an airsoft BB.  

Which one covers more range and is more accurate:

If we would consider the airsoft vs. paintball range and accuracy, then we will have to start from considering the size of the projective (bullets) used by the two. Airsoft typically uses a 6mm or 8mm plastic BB, paintball uses much bigger 18mm-ish balls filed with non-toxic paints. Hence, the paintball game is generally played at close ranges than airsoft, and a high-performance paintball can barely hit a target at 120 feet. However, high-performance airsoft can shoot its BB plastic which is relatively smaller to cover 230 ft with accuracy.

A paintball at its very best can shoot a maximum FPS limit of 300 feet per second, hence, it is always limited to shorter ranges. Airsoft ammunition on the other can shoot as much as 500 fps depending on the outdoor fields.

airsoft's BB and paintball by size

Which one should you get into?

Both the airsoft and the paintball have their pros and cons; for anyone looking to get into either, it comes down to how much they are willing to spend in getting into the sport as well as the closeness to a field where any of the games are played.

In the last few years, a lot of paintball players have moved to airsoft due to its realistic style of play and its relatively cheaper cost compared to paintball. But, still, due to the popularity and recognition which paintball has gained over time, it’s hard for some people to leave.

However, anyone looking to get into airsoft as a beginner or as a former paintballer is advised to read information about the best airsoft brands. Airsoft can be as expensive as paintball at times, that’s why there exist the performance and the budget brands for the weapons.