Want to get into the world of shooting games, but weighing up airsoft vs paintball?

Today we’re going to take a look at the differences between the two and how you can make that all-important choice.

The Daefinitions – What Makes Them Different?

Paintball Definition

paintball game

Paintball can be played in either team or individually. The main objective is to shoot your opponent with paintballs, which are fired via a paintball marker.

The paintballs, which usually explode upon impact, ‘mark’ the player with a water-soluble paint dye. After being hit, players must leave the field.

Tippmann Gryphon FX Skull Basic Gun
  • Rigid ergonomically designed front grip
  • Center feed design to maximize mobility right or left
Empire Mini GS Marker Dust Grey/Navy C4 (17408)
  • Pressure controlled poppet engine for outstanding performance
  • Integrated break-beam anti-chop eyes
  • Wrap-around fore grip for protection from elements and increased grip

Airsoft Definition

Airsoft game

Airsoft is played in a team and has a defined set of goals. Players shoot each other with non-metallic bb pellets; each gun used is often a replica of a real firearm.

It also has an honor system whereby players must admit that they’ve been hit. The honor system is a marked difference from paintball.

Colt Soft Air RIS Spring Airsoft Rifle and Pistol On-Duty Kit, Tan...
  • POWERFUL SPRING: Rifle 300 FPS with 6 millimeter ammo; Pistol 210 FPS with 6 millimeter ammo
  • READY TO PLAY: Shoots 6 millimeter ammo in a single shot
  • RELAXATION & STRESS RELIEF – Lay back and relax onto this “bed of needles” to massage pressure points that help...
Lancer Tactical Gen 2 SPR Interceptor LT-25 AEG Aerosoft Gun, Black,...
  • MATERIALS – Designed with reinforced Nylon polymer frame and furniture; full metal version 2 gearbox with an upgraded...
  • ATTACHMENTS & EXTENSIONS – Upgraded handguard with removable handguard extension, 200mm top optic rail mounts scopes,...
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SOFT AIR USA Colt M4A1 M4 CQBR AEG Electric Airsoft Rifle with...
  • Powerful electric: 453 FPS with .20 grams ammo via 9.6v small butterfly battery
  • Ready to play: Shoots 6 millimeter ammo in full and semi-automatic
  • Style: Polymer tip

Equipment – What Will You Need?

Paintball Equipment

the paintball equipments

Many new players think that the first thing they will buy will be a paintball marker, but it’s important that the mask/goggles are invested in beforehand.

Other equipment, such as the gun, hopper, the tank, and paintballs all come after this.

Airsoft Equipment

Airsoft equipments

Airsoft players begin with an airsoft BB gun, the BBs themselves, and eye protection.

However, full facial protection is recommended, especially if the players are young.

There is a large variety of equipment that airsoft players can purchase, and the leniency in airsoft means you can wear casual clothing or kit yourself out as much as you please.

Guns – What Type is Best for the Player?

In both paintball and airsoft - players start out with a gun that matches their price range. The main difference in airsoft vs paintball is the realism of the guns.

Accessories and items can be added to make durability, performance, and accuracy better.

Competitive level paintballing requires a high-end gun because of the high level of play.

Paintball Guns

Paintball Gun

Paintball guns are comprised of the barrel, the hopper, and an air tank. They have the option of being either electronic or mechanical, with both shooting paintballs in very unique ways.

Paintball guns use either co2 or high-pressure air that in turn is used to power a mechanism pushing the ball out of the front of the marker.

Airsoft Guns

Airsoft Gun

Electric can power these guns, spring-loaded mechanisms (allowing the gun to be cocked), or gas – either co2 or green gas.

It has many replicas that mimic the design of real firearms; some of these such as the Tippman M4 and their pistol range can use high-pressure air to propel ammunition.

In the airsoft community, many of the weapons used are RIF issue. RIF issued weapons are designed to mimic the appearance of real firearms to a tee.

Conversely, if guns are colored, (known as IF) they are designed that way so that they can be distinguished as a toy.

The weapons used in these scenarios can range from pistols all the way up to sniper rifles.

Ammo – The Difference is In the Impact

Paintball Ammo

paintball ammo used is paint inside the ball

Ammunition in paintball, is, of course, paint (or rather a colored dye that looks a lot like paint). The special mixture of ingredients is easy to clean away from clothing and apparel.

Generally, the more you pay for paint, the more brittle it is for easy removal.

Airsoft Ammo

bb pellets

BB pellets are the ammunition of choice for airsoft players.

These BBs are constructed from plastic and measure roughly 6mm across. They usually have specific weights – these include 0.12, 0.2 and 0.25g.

The weight of BBs affects their trajectory and speed. Lighter BBs are faster out of the barrel but lose speed more quickly than their heavier counterparts.

Lighter BBs can also be affected more by factors such as wind, which can blow them off course.

Rules – Who Wins and How?

Paintball Rules

The ‘paint’ in paintballs will leave a noticeable mark on the player, causing them to be eliminated, although splatters from nearby objects do not count.

Players that are hit must retreat to the ‘dead zone,’ a place for those that have been successfully eliminated.

Players in the game are not allowed to go outside of the designated boundaries, use blind fire, or shoot an opponent at close range. Removing your mask is also strictly prohibited.

Airsoft Rules

As mentioned earlier, airsoft players have to admit that they’ve been hit. This requires them to shout ‘hit’ and also hold their arms up so their elimination is apparent.

However, eliminated airsoft players may ‘respawn,’ after a certain amount of time, allowing them to re-join the game.

A medic system can also be used to give players multiple lives. Rules are dependent on the organization and site being played.

Airsoft vs Paintball – Which to Pick?

When looking at airsoft vs paintball, you can see that they are both brilliant, tactical and competitive games, each with various pros and cons.

Whichever one you decide, we guarantee you’ll have a lot of fun and learn a lot about the nature of team-based strategy!

Last update on 2023-06-03 at 03:02 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API