Airsoft vs Paintball
In the world of online gaming, games like Airsoft and Paintball still attract a huge mass of players to the open world of gaming landscapes. But which one’s better? Airsoft or Paintball? This is an ongoing argument among the gamers because airsoft players don’t agree with the paintball supporters and vice versa. Though the answer can be quite subjective, choosing a game depends largely on personal preference. However, before making a decision, you should know some key differences between the two that will help you choose the better one for you.
Let’s Understand the Games Before Moving Forward
Both games being challenging and exciting involve players divided into teams using weapons to defeat enemies. They include shooting members of opponent teams with replica guns and when they are hit, they are called out and removed on the spot. However, both games are played with different rules while the player’s roles, costs, and weapons are also different.
Airsoft: Airsoft is a popular game where participants shoot pellets from guns to eliminate opponents by hitting them. It is a comparatively cheaper game and provides realistic warfare experience. The pellets are made of non-metallic material used within replica firearms.
Paintball: On the other hand, Paintball allows players to compete either individually or in teams to eliminate opponents by tagging them. Balls of paint are launched from special markers or guns where balls are made in capsule form and contain gelatine and water soluble dye. This game is more popular than airsoft with more, large-scale events organized across places
The difference in Equipment Used for Airsoft and Paintball
In both the games, players use slightly different equipment, varying in terms of the cost, design, and requirement of the gameplay.
In Airsoft, electric-powered, gas-powered, and spring-loaded guns are used to shoot the ball bullets (BBs). The guns are designed as Replica Imitation Firearms that are designed to look and feel like the original weapons but used for playful purposes. The gun looks like real-world firearms.
On the other hand, paintball guns are gas-powered and use a bulky hopper to load the marker with paintballs.
The ammunition for airsoft is a small plastic 6mm BB pellet and can fit into the regular-sized magazine. Because of its small size, it is easier to carry and enables easy maneuverability.
The paintballs are larger in size and are made up of water-based paint. Heavier balls coupled with a bulky hopper make it difficult to carry through the game.
- Goggles and Masks
While playing airsoft, players must wear goggles to protect their eyes from injured by pellets.
On the other hand, paintballs are riskier and need players to wear face masks to avoid any serious injury.
- Gear and Clothes
The dress code depends upon the mode of the game. In milsim airsoft game modes, clothing can be strict variants of the military units and gear can also be of military standards.
However, in Paintball, gear includes a full face mask. In airsoft, there is no risk of paint exploding in the mouth so there is no need for face gear.
The paintball ammunition is costlier than that of airsoft. While Airsoft guns use rechargeable batteries, they go cheaper in the long-run as compared to paintball guns that use carbon dioxide gas.
Game Play Differences
Apart from the equipment, there is a difference in gameplay as well.
- Roles of Players
The roles of the airsoft players vary with the nature of the gun and the type of weaponry used. But no additional roles are there in the paintball game. In Airsoft, players using long rifles are designated as snipers, assault troops used grenades, and shotguns are used to cover corners and breach doors. For battles of longer durations, a medic team is required to revive and bring back players in the game.
In paintball, all players use the same types of weapons and their roles depend on their preferences as well as experiences or expertise. The technology deployed in this game is used by law enforcement, security organizations, military forces, and para-military forces for military training purposes and non-lethal suppression of dangerous suspects. Due to the construction of the guns, there is no scope of snipers in this game.
Chances of cheating in paintball are almost negligible as compared to those in airsoft because the same is easily detectable. When the paintball hits a player, the paint spreads and the mark is clearly visible making it harder to conceal a hit and cheat. However, in airsoft, hits are difficult to detect for both the person on the shooting side but also the one on the side taking the hit. The scope of cheating relies on the honor system.
- Player Age
Airsoft includes players of all ages starting 10. However, in paintball, most of the players belong to the age group of 16 to 30.
- Realistic Experience
In airsoft, players can spend money to buy their own equipment or can rent a gun, camo jacket, eye protection, and BBs. MIL-SIM includes realistic loadouts, behavior, clothes, and equipment.
On the contrary, the scenario of a paintball game has a non-realistic objective and anyone can play due to the different types of balls/bullets used.
Both games can be played anywhere but preferred airsoft venues include shopping malls, RAF bases, and woodland areas.
Common venues for paintball include woodland areas, speedball fields, and few farmyard buildings.
Variation of Accuracy in the Games
For both games, accuracy varies with every player and their skill in shooting at a target that sums up efficiency and success. Though quality is the most important, shooting off-target can make gamer frustrated. To compare the accuracy of airsoft and paintball, one should consider various factors that include:
The size of the balls used in paintball is bigger as compared to the BBs used in Airsoft, making the resistance of the former higher when the bullets come in contact with the air/wind. Because it covers a large surface area in connection, wind speed and air friction may cause the paintball to not reach the target after being shot. This adds a point of disadvantage to the game of paintball.
BBs, on the other hand, are smaller in size, giving airsoft an advantage of accuracy.
BBs are plastic spherical pellets while paintballs are capsules carrying dye. In good quality capsules, liquid color is filled well without leaving any space for air. But in low-quality capsules, liquid color is half-filled that causes the ball to tilt on the heavier side and effects the shot accuracy.
In Airsoft, low-quality balls have scratches, cracks, dents, and come in uneven shapes. However, good quality pellets are round and smooth with the right weight which is a necessary factor. If the bullet is too light, the chances of it getting blown away with the wind are high, causing the player to miss the target. And, if the bullet is too heavy, it may not reach the desired distance and fall within.
Poor quality bullets (paintballs and pellets) cut down the accuracy by half, no matter how advanced the weapon is.
Bigger the bullet, the chances of spotting it are higher. The paintballs have higher visibility because of their bigger size and colorful appearance. This allows the opponent to change position immediately as it is detected.
On the contrary, BBs and pellets are smaller and are white in color. In the case of Airsoft, targets are likely to get caught unaware as they would with real bullets and are not easily spottable always. Lesser visibility also adds to the accuracy of the game, while making it difficult for players to see approaching bullets.
- Airsoft and Paintball Barrel
Both games use barrels that allow the missile to travel before hitting the target because barrel directly affects the trajectory that, in turn, affects accuracy. Here is a comparison of features of the barrels used in both games:
A longer barrel ensures better accuracy of the paintball or the pellet, also making it travel farther. Though this holds true for the first few rounds, there are some drawbacks linked to the continuous usage of a long barrel. In paintball, while a longer barrel increases the accuracy of hitting a target but decreases the processing efficiency as the paintball marker travels up the barrel. This gives the opponent a good chance to change position till the time the ball gets shot.
For Airsoft, a longer barrel adds stability to the bullet and the pellet gets shot with the same speed and force after traveling up the barrel. In this case, a shorter barrel will not stabilize the BB before leaving it into the open air. Since, for both games, barrel length has some advantages as well as disadvantages, it totally depends upon your personal preference whether to choose a long or a short barrel.
The accuracy gets higher as the barrel diameter goes smaller. It holds true as long as the BB or the paintball is a perfect fit for the bore and rolls inside the barrel on its own through gravity. If the bore is too small for the barrel, it cannot route the bullet as desired. As it bounces, it loses its energy and spins through the barrel before reaching the target. Thus, the diameter affects both the pellet and the paintball in both the games. To get rid of any accumulated dust, it is crucial to polish the barrel regularly that can help reduce the impact of the barrel’s diameter on the bullet’s movement and precision.
What Hurts More: Airsoft or Paintball?
For both the games, players might argue about the pain inflicted to portray each one’s superiority. However, the inconvenience varies with the individual as some can take more pain while others find it difficult to bear a direct hit. While the level of pain is an important feature before considering the games, the below points will help you compare the games better.
The Airsoft BBs: Airsoft pellets are small in size, have less weight, and can travel at a high speed of 400 FPS. And, when a pellet hits from a close distance, the pain varies with the coverage and assaulted area. A direct hit or shot on the neck, bare face, or knuckles stings more than that on the back or legs. You can hardly notice the hit even from a close range if you wear heavy clothes.
The Paintballs: The weight of a paintball is 17 times higher than that of airsoft BBs, so their speed is lower. Paintballs can travel at the speed of 300FPS and due to a larger size, they carry more force, delivering a more significant impact in a single hit.
Apart from their weight and speed, the pain also depends on the distance, clothing thickness, courage, and ability to bear the pain when hit by a paintball or a pellet. Though players can take the pain as a mark of honor here are some determinants that influence the level of pain a hit of the ammunition can give.
- Size of Ammo
The diameter of the paintball is close to an inch while the airsoft pellets are 6 mm wide so paintballs are likely to hurt more. Due to a smaller surface, airsoft pellets cannot hurt as much as paintball.
- Shot Velocity
Due to the density, paintballs carry more energy after a shot travels far while airsoft pellets start losing power as they are shot farther. Due to the speed and weight of BBs, they will unlikely cause a painful impact, and on the other hand, paintballs will deliver more force and consequently hurt more.
- Shot Closeness
In paintball, opponents are placed at a distance of more than 10 feet and shooting in close proximity is not allowed. On the other hand, airsoft games allow close-range shots, which when combined with the pellet speed, can deliver some level of pain when wearing thin clothes. Thus, airsoft games may hurt more than paintball games.
- Protective Clothing
Paintball has a massive ball that can cause more pain as compared to the pellets. So the players have to wear protective clothing including a full face mask as well. Airsoft pellets, on the other hand, are small and not cause more pain so the players don’t have to wear protective clothing. Some players wear military clothes and protective glasses that leave their knuckles, neck, and face bare. As a result, due to the lack of protective clothing, airsoft pellets might cause more pain.
Cost is another important factor to be considered before choosing either of the games. And for this factor, Airsoft comes out as a clear winner as its various varieties are available in the market. Also, it’s spring powered guns are cheaper and easier to operate. Airsoft guns use rechargeable batteries so there is no need to purchase a new one every time. Whereas the paintball marker is a gas-powered gun and after every use, a refill is required. Its cost and operation is standard, and hence, no variation is available in the market.
Not only this, but Airsoft ammo is also readily available and you can buy lots of airsoft pellets at an amount for which you might get a few paintballs only. The manufacturing process strongly influences the cost difference because airsoft pellets use plastic and are easy to make. On the other hand, paintball uses water-soluble dye in a gelatin capsule.
However, the price can rise with an increase in the quality of material for both games. Airsoft electric guns are costlier than standard guns and operate better than spring-powered ones as well. Moreover, electric guns can work similarly to real weapons. In case of Paintball, the balls that are not well-filled are cheaper but may affect the accuracy of the shot. Contrary, high-quality paintballs are costlier but the amount seems worthy enough to an experienced player.
Comparing the Effect of Wind
You may not think about the wind’s effect if you are a new player but it matters quite a bit, especially if you are playing outdoors. However, there is no need to worry about wind speed and direction if you are an indoor player unless you are inside the arena that has a plane engine running.
From among both the games, the wind mostly affects the airsoft players. BBs are going to struggle more to reach the target when shot against the wind and vice versa. The speed of the BBs decreases when the projectile is pulling on one side while the wind is pulling on the other.
These tips can help you play better in an outdoor field:
- In windy conditions, use heavier BBs so that they can nullify the impact of wind.
- Adjust your shot according to the wind so that the wind speed and direction make it take the desired trajectory.
- You should try to get closer to your opponent as this reduces the wind’s influence.
Comparing the Pros and Cons of Both Games
- In paintball games, the mark of a hit is visible clearly which is made by the paint filled in the ball. This ensures 100% accuracy in making error-free decisions.
- As the ammunition is bigger, it is easier to track and this helps in preventing a hit
- Paintballs have high accuracy and range that ensure an accurate trajectory that cannot be changed by small tree branches and or side wind.
- Its guns use compressed gas that gives enough power to shoot the balls at a longer range.
- Players get a lot of stains on their clothes due to paintball hits. This needs them to wash the clothes after every game.
- If both the teams don’t use different paintball colors then it becomes difficult to distinguish strains from different games on the same day.
- The gas containers are big and they use more gas for each shot.
- The price of the ammunition and guns is high and cannot be reduced.
- The price of the spring-powered guns is less, making them affordable even for newbies
- Its ammunition price is also less
- Airsoft pellets are smaller in size and have less weight so they hurt less when you get hit.
- Corrections are harder to make because the BBs trajectory is not easy to predict.
- Bullets don’t leave any mark so marking a kill or hit cannot be guaranteed. This can cause heated arguments and disagreements.
- It lacks in terms of range and accuracy. Players need to use heavier BBs to prevent wind interference if they want to shoot accurately over a longer distance
- BBs hurt more at close ranges if a player hits an opponent at some unprotected area of the body.
Tips to Reduce the Exposure While Playing
If you get shot more frequently and want to reduce your visibility/exposure time then always be aware of the surroundings. Here are some tips that can help:
- You should watch your flanks and remember that the enemy might sneak up on you
- You will definitely be safe if you take a longer route but many people get tired quickly and take the shorter path.
- Watch and try to listen to the work plan of your teammates. This will help you decide when to fall back and move up.
- Your enemy may be listening to locate you so be quiet.
- Have patience
- Evaluate your exposure for an idea of how much area you cover and where you can move.
Every player should obey the field and safety rules that are made to protect you.
- You should never use a loaded weapon off the field
- Ensure that your safety guard is on during the game
- Never place your finger on the trigger except when you are ready to shoot
- If you have not used the weapon, then you have to use the orange flash hider
- While transporting, keep your weapon stored in the rifle case or bag
- Before leaving the field, unload your all magazines
- Ensure that your chamber is cleared when putting your weapon away
Airsoft and paintball are basically two similar yet unique games. With a variety of preference differences, both serve diverse groups of people and involve varied types of equipment, rules, roles, and techniques. However, sticking to rules, following useful tips, and using the right gear & equipment can add more to the level of enjoyment and excitement.