Tactical Games Mag

Airsoft vs Paintball - Difference and Comparison

Airsoft is a very popular simulation game in which people are eliminated when they are hit by pellets. These pellets are fired from guns that look a lot like genuine firearms. If you were to play paintball, you would see that paintballs are launched from a paintball marker or gun. Paintball guns are not at all like firearms, in fact, they are very different.

Airsoft is usually a much cheaper game to play in terms of equipment costs. However, paintball is very popular and there are always events taking place across the country.


The Definition

Airsoft: Participants shoot non-metallic bullets from replica firearms. There is generally no definition of a game of Airsoft as there are usually different rules at each venue.
Paintball: Participants fire paintballs from a paintball marker. There are rules that only tend to change slightly between venues. This means you can visit a different country and still play using the same rules.

The Equipment

Airsoft: When playing Airsoft participants need an Airsoft gun, eye protection, and ball bearings. You don’t need any other equipment unless you really want it.
Paintball: When playing paintball participants need a marker/gun, goggles, eye mask, hopper, and tank.

The Guns

Airsoft: Imitation firearms or colored guns are used. The guns are usually powered by a spring or CO2, or even rechargeable batteries. There are different types of guns used in a game, depending on the role that the player takes.
Paintball: The guns/markers are made up of a hopper and a tank. You can aim the gun by lining up the player’s nose with the barrel. The gun can be powered by HPA or CO2. Every player uses the same sort of gun no matter what their role is.

The Accessories

Airsoft: There are bullets that are made from ball bearings. You can also purchase magazines.
Paintball: You can purchase hoppers that contain paintballs. Some guns need the hopper to be attached to the top, the side, or the middle. Hoppers can operate very quickly or a little slower. There are many types of hopper available.

Ease of Use

Airsoft: Airsoft guns are quite hard to load. However, they are easy to carry and should not slow you down.
Paintball: Paintball guns are very easy to load, especially when pods are used. Some pods come with pod packs that enable the paintballs to be ejected very quickly.


Airsoft: Usually cheaper than paintballs. 5,000 bullets can cost up to $25.
Paintball: Cases of paintballs are usually sold and contain 2,000 paintballs on average. You should expect to pay a minimum of $30 for them.


Airsoft: Games can be very realistic. The equipment itself is very realistic and it can be hard to tell the difference between the guns and actual firearms. The clothing worn and the behavior of the players is also very realistic.
Paintball: The scenarios of each game are realistic but as there are different types of paintball most people can play. The guns/markers are not similar to traditional firearms.



Airsoft: There are usually Airsoft tournaments that can involve more than 300 people at any one time.
Paintball: There are usually many paintball events happening at any one time. Some events can have interest from more than 5,000 people. There are usually great prizes given and extreme events taking place each year.


Age of Players

Airsoft: Anyone over the age of 10 can typically play Airsoft.
Paintball: Anyone over the age of 8 can typically play Paintball. However, most players are between the ages of 16 and 30 years old.



Airsoft: Many Airsoft guns have to be upgraded if the player wants them to be good. They also tend to break a little too easily, which can affect game play.
Paintball: Most paintball guns are usually good enough once they’re out of the box. They are usually very durable and require very little maintenance.


The Safety Wear

Anyone who plays either Airsoft or Paintball will need to wear safety equipment. They will need to wear goggles to protect their eyes from injury. In addition to this, they will also need a mask to help protect their head from being injured. Not only will the mask and goggles help to protect against injury from the bullets/paintballs but they will also help during all game play. This means participants can potentially dive for cover without worrying whether they’re going to get hurt.
Most people regardless of what they play will need to wear other safety equipment. Armor can be worn on the back, the chest, and other parts of the body. It can help to protect against bruises and scrapes.


The Ammunition

Airsoft: The ammunition needed can be placed into a magazine. This makes it easy to take around with you. If you hit an opponent you cannot always tell they’ve been hit as there’s usually no indication.
Paintball: Paintballs can be quite bulky and cumbersome. Single targets can be taken out by a hit from just one paintball.


The Roles

Airsoft: Auto cannons, shotguns, grenades, and rifles can be used, depending on your role in the game. There are many roles in an Airsoft game such as snipers or assault troops.
Paintball: There are a fewer roles but they tend to be based on experience. All players have the same weapons. Paintball is often used by law enforcement and the military to train people.

As you can see, there are a few differences between Airsoft and Paintball. Airsoft can involve a lot less equipment and it can be cheaper to play. However, Paintball can be a lot more fun and you can even enjoy playing in worldwide tournaments, should you wish to. Paintball is a lot more popular than Airsoft, but both games have their advantages and disadvantages. What you choose to play will ultimately depend on how much you’re willing to spend and how much fun you want to have.