Airsoft vs Paintball
People often ask, “What is the difference between Airsoft and Paintball?” Both activities are based on the same principle of eliminating your opponent from the game with a paintball or plastic BB, but there are several key differences to consider before planning your next outing.
Airsoft tends to be more “hardcore”.
Walking into an airsoft facility, you will often notice players clad in military-style clothing, carrying guns that look very realistic. Airsoft players often try to use military-style tactics during their games, and players are encouraged to work together in squads.
Airsoft relies on an honour system.
Since BBs leave no mark on impact, airsoft players must rely on their opponents to call out their hits. Cheating is easier in airsoft, and players might not call themselves out when hit. Paintballs are larger than BBs, and you can often follow their flight to your target. Paintballs also leave a mark when they break on impact, making it easy to see if you hit your opponent.
Airsoft isn’t for everyone.
Many players and fields regulate the age of players who can play airsoft. Since airsoft tries to simulate combat, most facilities require players to be at least 16 years of age, or older, and a parent or guardian is required to be in the building with younger players at all times. Many players prefer playing with other participants who are older than 18 years of age. Although airsoft BBs are quite small, they do sting on impact, especially on expose areas of the body.
Paintball offers Low Impact and Full Impact variants.
Low Impact Paintball is great for anyone over the age of 8. It offers the paintball experience without the sting of Full Impact Paintball, and is great for events ranging from kids’ birthday parties to corporate events. Full Impact Paintball is better suited for the more serious paintball player, since it is played with guns that shoot at higher speeds, and paintball hits tend to sting.
Paintball has a sport side.
Since paintballs leaves a splat of paint when they break on impact, it is easy to see when you have hit your opponents. This makes the game more easy to regulate, and as a result, competitive leagues exist that run organized tournaments, offering prizes for top teams and divisions, ranking from entry-level amateurs, to top-tier pro teams from around the world.
Finding a park to play at is easier in paintball.
Paintball has been around as an activity for over 30 years – far longer than airsoft. This means that there are more paintball parks to play at, than there are airsoft facilities. Many cities feature at least one indoor paintball park, as well as several larger outdoor facilities located on the outskirts, within a short drive. This gives you a wider selection of paintball parks to play on, ranging from deep-woods style fields, to urban settings, to fields filled with props, like planes and other vehicles.
Since paintballs leaves a splat of paint when they break on impact, it is easy to see when you have hit your opponents.
When choosing between the two activities, paintball tends to be the better option for the more casual player, who is looking for a fun shooting activity. Since paintballs leave a splat, it is great for birthday parties and events where you want to be able to see, and brag about, your eliminations. Airsoft is great, if you are looking for an honour-based game that relies more on military-style planning played with experienced players, but it does not lend itself as well to new players.
Paintball vs Airsoft Comparison
Recreational Game Warfare Simulation
Low Impact Option Low impact BBs
Low Impact Option
Low impact BBs
Ideal for group events Ideal for experienced players
Ideal for group events
Ideal for experienced players
Easy to see when hit Honour based system
Easy to see when hit
Honour based system
Durable Equipment Guns require more maintenance
Guns require more maintenance