Paintball vs Airsoft: What’s The Difference?

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Paintball and airsoft are two adrenaline-filled sports that involve shooting members of the opposing team and/or achieving certain objects (e.g. capture the flag). While they share some similarities, however, they each have their own unique characteristics.

In this blog post, we’ll delve into the commonalities and contrasts between airsoft and paintball to explore what each game offers.

Which Hurts More?

The answer is not so straightforward. The type of injury sustained from airsoft and paintball can vary greatly depending on the type of gun used, the distance from which it was fired, and the protective gear worn by participants.

Generally speaking, airsoft guns fire smaller and lighter pellets, making them less painful and likely to cause serious injuries.

Paintballs are larger and travel faster than airsoft pellets, so they can cause more intense pain when they hit someone directly. Paintballs are also more likely to leave bruises or welts on exposed skin due to their size and speed.

Paint vs Honour

One of the significant differences between airsoft and paintball is the game culture and rules. Both sports have their unique set of rules and regulations that players must follow to maintain safety and fair play.

In paintball, players typically wear brightly colored jerseys and use brightly colored paintballs to make it easier for referees to see if they have been hit. Once hit, a player is eliminated from the game and must exit the field. Players are also expected to call themselves out when hit, and cheating is generally frowned upon.

In contrast, airsoft players usually wear military-style clothing and use guns that resemble real firearms. Airsoft guns shoot small plastic BBs, which are not as visible as paintballs. As a result, players must rely on an honor system, which means that players are expected to call themselves out when hit. Cheating is considered a severe offense in airsoft and can result in being banned from the sport.

In airsoft, the emphasis is more on realism and simulation than winning. Many airsoft players are military enthusiasts who enjoy the tactical and strategic aspects of the sport. Players are expected to follow military-style rules of engagement, and teamwork is highly valued. Airsoft players generally have a strong code of honor and are less likely to cheat or engage in unsportsmanlike behavior.


Paintball guns (also known as markers) focus more functionality and less on aesthetics. This isn’t to say they aren’t appealing, but most markers are designed to shoot paintballs in the most efficient manner possible while minimizing the risk of jamming.

Airsoft guns, on the other hand, are designed with a focus on “looks,” with most models mimicking the appearance of actual military firearms. Airsoft guns come in a wide variety of styles, ranging from pistols to sniper rifles.

Paintball markers tend to have a lower velocity

Both airsoft and paintball guns are capable of impressive velocities, as measured in feet per second (FPS), but generally speaking, the velocity of a paintball gun is more limited.

To ensure the safety of all players, most markers are kept to a velocity limit of 280 FPS (or 250 or lower if playing indoors). This is because their heavier and larger ammunition can be potentially dangerous when shot at higher speeds.

In comparison, airsoft guns can come with a maximum shooting power of 450 FPS right out of the package! Most CQB or indoor FPS restrictions generally begin at 350-400 FPS; however, these types of weapons are still more powerful than other gun models.


Of course, another key difference between paintball and airsoft is the ammunition used. In paintball, players shoot paint-filled pellets at one another, which burst upon hitting a player or a hard surface. In airsoft, players shoot smaller plastic pellets at one another, which do not burst upon hitting a player or hard surface.

The size of the ammo affects accuracy as well; airsoft BBs tend to be more accurate than paintballs due to their smaller size and weight.


Paintball is believed to have originated in the U.S. during the 1960s. During this era, forestry workers needed a method for marking trees from afar, so they came up with the idea of using a gun that shoots paint pellets (Nel-Spot 007). It wasn’t long, however, before they were shooting each other with them; thus, the sport of paintball began. Today, paintball is a worldwide sport enjoyed by tens of thousands of people of all ages and backgrounds.

Airsoft wasn’t invented until the 1970s, when Japanese citizens sought to own replica firearms with actual firing capabilities. Due to Japanese laws, the island nation’s citizens were prohibited from owning real guns, so they looked towards replicas as an alternative. This prompted several companies to begin making replica guns that were capable of firing round, non-lethal pellets.

Airsoft Interesting Facts

Airsoft games come in many different formats, from team sports like capture the flag to close quarter battle scenarios where two teams battle it out for supremacy. Airsoft can also be used for target practice, providing an intense and realistic training exercise for those interested in self-defense or law enforcement.

Paintball Interesting Facts

The ammunition used in paintball is composed of a non-toxic, biodegradable gelatin capsule filled with a bright-colored liquid fill. The paintballs split open upon impact and leave a colorful mark on the target. Paintball guns, or markers, can fire a paintball up to speeds of 300 feet per second, and can fire a paintball as far as 50 yards.

Paintball has been found to be one of the safest sports out there with the least number of injuries compared to other sports such as baseball, bowling, fishing and many others. It’s also great for kids as it teaches them teamwork skills while having fun!


In airsoft, players are required to wear protective gear such as goggles or masks that cover the eyes and face. This is because airsoft BBs can cause serious eye injuries if they hit the eyes. Additionally, players may wear gloves, vests, and other protective gear to reduce the risk of injury from BBs hitting other parts of the body. It is important for players to wear the proper gear and ensure that it fits properly to provide adequate protection.

Paintball also requires players to wear protective gear, typically including a mask that covers the face and goggles that cover the eyes. The paintballs used in paintball can cause serious injury if they hit unprotected areas of the body, so players may also wear chest protectors, gloves, and other gear for additional protection.


Overall, airsoft is generally considered to be a cheaper option. Paintball guns tend to be more expensive than airsoft guns. Additionally, paintballs are usually more expensive than airsoft BBs due to their larger size and higher-quality materials.

Airsoft vs Paintball Learning Curve

When it comes to airsoft, the learning curve is generally considered to be shorter than that of paintball. This is due to the fact that airsoft guns are more lightweight and easier to maneuver than paintball guns, which can make them easier for beginners to use.

Additionally, airsoft pellets are smaller and less painful than paintballs, making them less intimidating for new players.


Airsoft is a game of honor and strategy, while paintball is more about speed and accuracy. In terms of gun power, ammo, and accuracy, airsoft guns generally have a higher range than paintball guns due to their lighter-weight pellets. When it comes to pain levels, airsoft tends to be less painful than paintball since the pellets used in airsoft are smaller and lighter.

When it comes to equipment, paintball guns are typically larger and heavier. Both sports require safety gear such as goggles or face masks for protection against injury. In terms of cost, airsoft is usually cheaper than paintball due to the lower cost of ammunition and equipment.

So, Which is Better? Airsoft or Paintball?

There is no clear winner in terms of which sport is better as it ultimately depends on individual preferences and needs. For example, if you’re looking for a sport that requires less equipment and has fewer rules then airsoft may be better suited for you. On the other hand, if you’re looking for a more organized game with hit markers then paintball might be the right choice for you.

At the end of the day, both sports offer an exciting way to simulate combat scenarios and have their own unique advantages and disadvantages. It’s important to consider all factors before deciding which sport is best for you!