Airsoft vs Paintball

by admin on January 1, 2012

Airsoft vs Paintball

Is airsoft or paintball a better extreme sport?

Where should I start? Most people seem to think that these sports are near identical, but that is simply not true. Airsoft and paintball have a lot of differences that will be touched on in this article. For example, paintball guns and airsoft guns look way different, and function in different ways.

As you may notice, my site is based on paintball. And yes, I personally prefer paintball. But I am not going to say that airsoft vs paintball equals paintball. First of all, that's incredibly boring. We've all heard too many arguments that are not backed up with any logical reasoning.

It's not so much a question of whether one sports is better than the other. The question is moreso which sport is better for your personal interests.

There are significant differences between airsoft and paintball. So let's take a look at what the differences are, and then decide which sport ends up on top for each one.

In this article I will explore the most common questions regarding this issue.

Which sport is more painful?

Which sport is more expensive?

Which sport is more realistic?

Which sport is more fun?

Which sport is more painful?

I do not know how this ever became a confusing issue because its not even that close. Airsoft is quite significantly more painful.

Airsoft bb's fire at between 300 and 400 FPS (feet per second)

Paintballs fire at between 200 and 300 FPS

It should be noted that paintballs can still hurt. Both sports will give you bruises, but Airsoft will lay you to the ground. There is protective gear for airsoft, but you are never fully protected.

Some people actually prefer this more. I remember the first time I got shot with an Airsoft bb. My good friend (yes, I have forgiven him) came up behind me and nailed me right in the back of the neck. I have never experienced anything more painful in my life. My body dropped to the ground, I grabbed my neck from both sides, and let out what my friend refers to as a whiny girlish scream.

Apparently my friend thought this was absolutely hilarious. And actually suggested that this is the main reason why Airsoft is more wicked than paintball.

Sorry, not for me. I do not enjoy pain, or inflicting it on others. Paintball certainly offers enough of it as it is to get through the day.

Airsoft vs. Paintball?… Paintball

If you want to check whether airsoft or paintball is more safe click the link.

Which sport is more expensive?

Both sports offer a wide range of products. Airsoft is probably slightly cheaper overall. However, it is not recommended that you play airsoft without an ample amount of protective gear. Unless of course, you are as maniacal as my airsoft bud. So when you factor in the extra price for vests and whatnot they are pretty ridiculously close.

If you are looking for a gun to shoot at targets, airoft is your most economical and best bet. You can buy a buy an airsoft pistol for under 40$. And there is no properly functioning paintball gun for that price.

That being said, if you want a professional set up for either sport, both airsoft and paintball can run you well over a grand.

Conclusion- In order to play, both sports offer a similarly reasonable minimum price. When you factor in the supplies you need they are actually both really close. If you just want a cheap economical gun to shoot at targets then airsoft is your sport.

Airsoft vs Paintball?… Slight edge to Airsoft

Update: Aisoft Is Cheaper Than Paintball

Airsoft is cheaper than paintball, but its not because of the gear, or the price of admission. In fact, there is a fairly decent selection of good cheap paintball guns out there. If there is a difference in price between airsoft guns and paintball markers, it is very small.

Paintball costs more because paintballs are more expensive than airsoft bbs.

The article airsoft bbs vs paintball bbs gives you a breakdown of the ammunition used in airsoft and paintball.

Which is more realistic?

Even paintball fanboys will admit to defeat on this one. Airsoft guns look like the real deal.

Airsoft guns are meant to be replicas of real life guns. And with some of the more expensive models, you really cannot tell the difference at first glance. Which is pretty cool, in my opinion. If you have a gun fetish, then airsoft can satisfy it.

Paintball Guns rarely try to mimic real life guns. And when they do, you can usually tell the difference. There are only a select few decent looking paintball guns, that function at a respectable level.

Aside from these exceptions, paintball guns are always more abstract. You have a hopper extending from the gun itself, which is filled with large sized balls filled with paint. Yeah, nobody is going to be fooled by this one.

paintball is a fun game.

Airsoft is a simulation of real life.

Personal side note- The military and police force use airsoft guns to practice real life scenarios.

Airsoft vs Paintball?… Airsoft! Not even close.


More and more realistic paintball guns are being developed for paintball purposes.

You can now get a lot of quality paintball guns that look like real military style weapons.

Many woodsball players are loving this new trend, and there has been a growing popularity for sniper rifle paintball guns which is very exciting for the world of paintball. Airsoft guns are still more realistic, but the margin of difference is no longer as large as it was a few years ago.

Which sport is the most fun?

Unless you have a problem with the abstractness of paintball, it is a more fun game.

I'm not audaciously suggesting that paintball is better than airsoft, only that it is more of a sport/competition/game. That in itself, does not determine which of these sports wins airsoft vs paintball. Only that if you're in it for fun times, then paintball is the way to go.

Paintballin' is a great way to spend a day. The fields are filled with players of all skill types. Fields are filled with bunkers, and there are an assortment of games available to play. Paintball has actual umpires make game determinations.

Airsoft, on the other hand, is considerably more limiting. The fields do not include as many bunkers, or other fun obstacles. There aren't any umpires or cool games to play. Nope, the reason being that airsoft is meant to be as realistic as possible. Which some may appreciate, others will just prefer to have some fun.

Also, airsoft is too hard of a sport to monitor. Part of the fun of paintball is being able to see your shots make contact with other players and objects. There's something about being in a heated duel with another player, and being able to see giant wad of your paint splatter on his mask.

Unfortunately, airsoft ammunition does not leave a noticeable mark. Which leads to cheating… a lot of cheating. Matches become near never ending when several competitive airsoft players refuse to admit being hit. This can be incredibly frustating to players who abide by the rules.

Airsoft vs Paintball?… Paintball!


And the winner is…

Airsoft or Paintball!

It really depends on your particular interests…

Airsoft is more painful than paintball. Which can be a good or a bad thing, depending on whether you enjoy pain.

Both airsoft and paintball cost about the same amount of money.

Airsoft is way more realistic. Which is a pretty cool advantage. Especially for the peeps out there that like to collect gun replicas.

Paintball is more of a sport than airsoft.

Bottom line, there's a reason why paintball has actual umpires and fields set up. And there's a reason why airsoft is used in police and military simulations.

So what kind of player would you be?

If you think that paintball is the better option, join the paintball guru, and check out my SEVEN DEADLY PAINTBALL TIPS

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What Other Visitors Have Said

Click below to see contributions from other visitors to this page…

Paintball rules. Airsoft Sucks!  starstarstarstarstar
Thank you i was playing airsoft and no one ever got out. I shot 20 of the same people.It was so unfair.Then a little get a huge sniper rifle and shots …

Airsoft Is Better! More Pain More Gain  starstarstarstarstar
i think airsoft is better…the more pain enflicted to the other players the better >:D

Excellent Article  starstarstarstarstar
I'm an airsofter and think this article hits the nail on the head. Its all in prefences. This will be an argument that will forever be debated for sake …

Pain issue.  starstarstarstarstar
The paintball may seem more painful but it is not, the pain is spread over an area where-as airsoft is in pinprick areas, I personally have had skin taken …

Ninja859  starstarstarstarstar
Hey my name is Nick I used to be an avid Paintball player up until a few months ago when a friend of mine introduced me to Airsoft and I have a couple …

paintbal = messy?  starstarstarstarstar
i personally do not play paintball, but wouldnt paintball ruin your gear and guns?

airsoft is for fun…so is paintball….. i say airsoft cuz i play it  starstarstarstarstar
LOL enjoy pain thats funny, i enjoy seeing the opposing team in pain. I like airsoft. Also when you guys are talking about bruises from paintballs, im …

Paintball Vs Airsoft – different people have different experiences…  starstarstarstarstar
First of all, you don't have to condescendingly refer to me as buddy. I've played paintball for more years (15 to be exact).

I will give credit, where …

You really should do your research before you talk…  starstarstarstarstar
Buddy at least play the sport before you try to write a review about something like this… I was a paintballer for years (6 to be exact), and then started …

Airsoft is superior  starstarstarstar
After playing both sports many times, i prefer airsoft much more for multiple reasons. First, unless you use metal bbs, paintball hurts more. Aiesoft stings …

air soft vs paint ball FPS   starstar
while airsoft guns do generally fire at high FPS the mass of the object hitting a person is much less and there for does less damage(ie. bruises welts)…

Airsoft is for the weak  star
Of course Paintball hurts more. When you play airsoft, most people aren't afraid to get hurt because they have all of that body armor. NOT REALISTIC….

Airsoft is for people that tried but didnt make it into the army  star
sport or competitive tourneys, paint ball wins. you can actually tell you hit somebody while in airsoft its easy to cheat, or even just not see that you …

paintball  Not rated yet
although airsoft guns are amazing looking, some paintball guns look like childs toys , paintball is more fun with more variety of thing, theres more competitions …

Paintball hurts more  Not rated yet
haha wow paintball hurts way more, i play sleeveless and always end up with chunks of my arm gone! and through clothing airsoft is nothing

Logan  Not rated yet
Airsoft, Airsoft runs on honor system, we don't need refs and games? Airsoft is soooo much easier to find a plus to play and not leave paint everywhere….

Airsoft is better!  Not rated yet
First of all when you say that "The fields do not include as many bunkers, or other fun obstacles",it just depends what feild you are playing in. It …

I honestly don't agree with all of it…  Not rated yet
Any time me and mah buddies get together for airsoft, we play as many simulation games as weird and more fun-centered games! I think , personally, that …

airsoft man  Not rated yet
First of u go to an area there are refes tons of games and a relistic looking battle fiel all there is in paitball are stuipd blown up barracks or crapy …

Airsoft is better!!!!!  Not rated yet
I think it's a matter of what you were introduced to first, but ask yourself this. Is a ball half an inch in diameter fired at 300 fps going to hurt more …

P A I N T B A L L  Not rated yet
I went paintballing for the very first time in my life a few days ago and I can tell you right now that I'll probably end up getting addicted to it. After …

I dispute the review on pain.  Not rated yet
Look, of course ultimately its a preference issue. Its like asking if baseball or football is the better sport. However I take my own personal experiences …

airsoft  Not rated yet
airsoft gets you adrenaline running much more and i think that back yard wars are a lot more fun than paintball but i have only shot a paintball gun twice …

undecided  Not rated yet
i my self play both sports, and i can't say if i perfer one over the other. although in the area i live in, there is more paintball events than airsoft …

Both are cool!  Not rated yet
I just got into Paintball and I have been having a blast!!! I go to my friends place every night and play in his back yard. I have to agree with everything …

A Fair Review  Not rated yet
Unlike other reviews on the topic, this article follows a logical breakdown on every aspect that affects the feelings or stimulations of either sports …

Airsoft vs Paintball = Choice  Not rated yet
It all depends as in all of those sections. If you want to be realistic play airsoft. If you like a non-cheating game and all that play paintball. I hate …

Fields  Not rated yet
Paint ball fields don't relly exsist in small towns, and airsoft, you can just play in your back yards and if your not a big stress pants and just want …

Callsign — Carcharoth Rank — Soldier  Not rated yet
IMO, airsoft is better. Where I play, everyone plays honestly and calls their hits. Also, since we're not "hardcore" airsoft players, we often play the …

i like them both  Not rated yet
im 13 and i have a wide arrangement of airsoft and paintball, airsoft you can do more around my hoiuse.. paintball you have some awesome courses. at my …

@paintball=messy?  Not rated yet
Paintballs do NOT ruin your guns or gear, most of the "paint" used in paintballs is fish oil which usually washes off. For your guns/markers? Just wipe …

Good Work!  Not rated yet
Personally, I am an airosft fan. I love the realism of the game. I found your article to be extremely accurate and correct. I have always thought the same …

Airsoft pain vs Paintball pain  Not rated yet
It comes down to science:

Kinetic Energy = 1/2 (mass)(Velocity^2)


Most indoor fields have a 350 FPS (106.4 m/s) limit with .2 grams bb'…

My opinion after being in to airsoft and into paintball.  Not rated yet
Personally paintball is my sport because my friends prefer it. I love airsoft because it looks realistic (not sure about more pain though), and is cheap,…

Airsoft  Not rated yet
Just to let you know there are a bunch of different "gameplay types" in Airsoft. I haven't played for a long time but i have played quite a few different …

Great article!!!  Not rated yet
I'm an airsofter myself however I believe you nailed the comparison between the two, great article and great work mate!!!

Both are good!  Not rated yet
I think they're both great. Paintball is more fun to play, but airsoft is cooler for it's guns which are which are less fun to fire, but can fire 130 …

Airsofter  Not rated yet
well I prefer airsoft because it is more realistic. There is no better sport its just what you prefer and with the pain thing… Airsoft CAN leave bruises …

hurts  Not rated yet
You said that u got shot in the neck from very close range right well imagine getting shot in the neck with a paintball it kills

Travcarl  Not rated yet
I personally like airsoft because i am a war fanatic and i think it feels more like war than paintball

Do The Research  Not rated yet
the guy who said that paintballs mark and have bigger fields is a fail. now of course paintballs mark but there are marking airsoft bbs.and last I read …

More painful…  Not rated yet
Are you shitting me? Paintball is definitely more painful. The airsoft guns shoot faster, yes, but paintballs weigh anywhere from 3 to 3.5 grams and an …

Gun Quality  Not rated yet
i have a very cheap paintball gun, and had 2 very expensive airsoft guns. the cheap paint gun still works perfect but the expensive airsoft guns both …

airsoft vs paintball all? airsoft  Not rated yet
airsoft is way more realistic and paintball costs load of money for co2 and balls and shit

paintball is better  Not rated yet
paitball machine guns rock and air soft huts.paintball is better because you see when you shoot someone + bigger feilds.

Whichever one you prefer, for me its airsoft  Not rated yet
You have a lot of good facts about both sports however there is one thing i must elaborate on. I have played both sports enough to say that paintball ussualy …

more pain. airsoft or paintball   Not rated yet
if you dont enjoy getting hit with an airsoft gun, which i think stings more than a paintball gun. that is a insinuative to not get hit.

I Prefer Airsoft  Not rated yet
Firstly, airsoft doesn't hurt anywhere near as much as you have mentioned. The only reason it brings you to your knees is because the majority of airsoft …

Paintball Hurts More Than Airsoft!  Not rated yet
I'm afraid you're wrong about the pain thing. Yes, at point blank airsoft guns hurt like hell. But I've had paintballs hurt a million times from a few …

This Post Is Dead On…  Not rated yet
I agree completely with this entire post. Yeah, both sports have differences, but are very good at what they provide. Airsoft is more for a military simulation …

Airsoft Is State of the Art!  Not rated yet
If you think an airsoft pellet hurts, and that you need to buy over a hundred dollars worth of gear to protect yourself as you so ridiculously suggested …

Airsoft Vs Paintball – An Unbaised Answer  Not rated yet
Which sport is more painful?
As an avid player of both, it really depends on where you are hit. Airsoft actually hurts more on boney areas on the body,…

Airsoft wins – cheaper and milsim  Not rated yet
Personally I like airsoft for the mil-sim aspect of it, and I really can't argue with it's price either. Paintball can be fun, I've played it, but airsoft …

Airsoft Is Less Painfull Than Paintball  Not rated yet
When you put in pain, even though airsoft shoots faster the mass of the pellet is much smaller. Giving about 1.8 joules on impact with a 0.2 pellet at …

What does FPS mean?  Not rated yet
FPS means frames per second not feet per second… im doing a project on paintball and this site rocks!!!

biast  Not rated yet
airsoft does not hurt more than paintball…. you had a bad experience getting shot POINT BLANK, this should never happen in airsoft. Besides, have you …

Paintball is better  Not rated yet
Paintabll all the way.. because its a sport, there are many variations, rules and its organized.

paintballs hurt more  Not rated yet
Paint balls might have less Fps but a larger mass (11mm to 6mm) which is transferred to more kinetic energy. For those who don't care about physics… paint …

Airsoft vs paintball pain  Not rated yet
Airsoft is not as painful as paintball. A paintball weighs between 2 and 3 grams, typically. A normal airsoft BB weighs between 0.2 and 0.3 grams. That'…

Wow. Airsoft Is Better Than Paintball  Not rated yet
I didn't know they let dumb people write on the internet.

Airsoft is not as painful as paintball. A paintball weighs between 2 and 3 grams, typically….

Wtffff???? PAINtball airSOFT  Not rated yet
I play both, airsoft more than paintball though. I think you are completely wrong about airsoft being more painful than paintball, unless ur friend shot …

AirsoftWins  Not rated yet
Airsoft, for realism. Although, a really good airsoft gun (full metal automatic) can cost as much as a decent paintball gun.

becaues  Not rated yet
paintball is better

Alex   Not rated yet
Paintball is a better and funner sport.

Paintball vs Airsoft  Not rated yet
I agree with whats been said. If you like running and gunning… Paintball. If you like some form of strategy… Airsoft. Simple as that.

airsoft vs paintball  Not rated yet
I used to play paintball before, and yes painball is fun, and it does hurt more because of the weight of the paintballs. airsoft tend to slow down at distance …

paintball  Not rated yet
duuh is paintball

Paint ball,booo!!!  Not rated yet
Liar,how dare you say airsoft hurts more you unstratic idiots come home with welts and bruises while I come home with red dots and don't object beckuse …

Airsoft  Not rated yet
If you are playing with people you know and trust in a local game, airsoft is a great way to spend the day. You can go fight in the woods – there are no …

Both are amazing  Not rated yet
I'm a sponsered tournament paintball player and I personally love both , I started playing paintball first and immediately loved it , i probably have well …

Thanks for the advice!  Not rated yet
Great article! I want to head out and play one of these sports with my two teenage sons on the weekend. I was not sure at all which would be best for us,…

Airsoft is cooler!  Not rated yet
You could play paintball if your a pansy…. Airsoft allows you to make other people fall to the ground. 'nough said!

RELATED ARTICLE: Which Extreme Sport Would Win In A Match?

The article on this page has been completely about airsoft vs paintball; which sport is a better option to play.

But what about which sport would win in a match?

Read The co2 paintball guru's article Airsoft Versus Paintball Competition. To find out which extreme sport would DOMINATE!

Airsoft Downsides

There are pros and cons for both paintball and for airsoft. Here's an article that focusses on airsoft downsides that are not already mentioned in this article.

Related Article: Paintball Vs Airsoft

Paintball vs airsoft is a very popular debate, so I've created more than one page :)

There are some more untouched points on my page on paintball vs airsoft


Related posts:

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