Choosing Between Airsoft And Paintball

When it comes to making a choice between two appealing and favourite things, it is a hard decision and some factors need to be considered when making the final decision. This is the case in choosing the right sports to partake in when it comes to recreational activities. The benefits recreational activities or sports provide is overwhelming.

Today, people engage in recreational sports for various reasons as this type of sports is known to improve emotional well being in adults and children alike as there is a greater feeling of happiness, confidence and relaxation alongside improved self-esteem. Recreational sports are also known to improve health as it aids healthy growth and development in both children and adults.

Mental health is also improved with constant engagement in recreational sports as concentration skills will be enhanced alongside stress and anxiety management. Cooperation and teamwork which enhances social skills of an individual is also a great benefit of recreational sports and it also increases the capacity for learning and productivity. Other known benefits of participating in recreational sports are:

It provides a work-life balance

It keeps kids away from television and computers

It can help to prevent cardiovascular diseases, some cancers and diabetes

It reduces obesity and keeps you fit

Contributes to lifelong learning

It provides a sense of belonging to a team.

How many types of recreational sports are there?

Recreational sports are of many types and can either be competitive or a team sport, indoor or outdoor. Indoor-related recreational activity does not require you stepping out of your home. Examples include: reading, writing, playing video games, playing cards, internet surfing, music, dancing and so on while the examples of outdoor related recreational activities include hiking, fishing, camping, sailing, skiing, swimming, surfing and shooting sports such as airsoft and paintball which will be the core focus of this article.

What then are shooting sports?

Just as the name implies, sports or games that entail shooting require a target to aim at. Games of this nature require control, accuracy and speed on the part of the person shooting. This sport also involves the use of guns like pistols and rifles or the replica of both. It has been around for many centuries.

Various categories, of this type of sport exist but it all boils down to the type of guns used and competition format. There are three guns that are majorly used in shooting games namely: rifles, pistols and shotguns. Rifles require a two-hand hold and are usually long and placed at shoulder length. Popular shooting games that involve rifles are benchrest shooting, high power rifle, biathlon (shooting plus cross-country skiing), full bore target shooting, popinjay (which can involve bow and rifles) and many others.

Shotguns are similar to rifles but are more often used for pump-action or single shot-and-reload actions. They are double-barrelled and also held at shoulder length. Examples of sports that use this type include: Sheet shooting, clay pigeon shooting, trap shooting and sporting clays.

Pistols on the other hand are smaller and used in shorter ranges and have much lesser accuracy. It also requires the use of one hand alone. Examples of sports that adopt this are: practical shooting, field, metallic silhouette shooting and cowboy mounted shooting.

Other general shooting sports include, Archery target shooting, hunting, skirmishes, e.g Airsoft and Paintball.

What are Skirmish Sports?

It is a kind of sports in which participants use a replica of firearm warfare. As earlier mentioned, the types of games involved are airsoft, paintball and laser tag. Let?s take a look at each of these sports:

i. Laser Tag:

In laser tag, players attempt to score points by tagging targets. It is best enjoyed as a team sport. The instrument used is a laser ?emitting devices that tag laser sensitive targets and are usually handheld. For optimal fun, it is best played indoors.

ii. Airsoft

It is a combat game which requires individuals or teams to eliminate their opponents with non-metallic pellets loaded in guns which are known as Airsoft Guns. These guns have a shooting mechanism of 6-8 mm project diameter. They can be battery-powered electric guns, spring loaded or gas powered guns. Over the years, this sport has gained a global influence and used as a recreational activity in many countries, and it is also used for drills in enforcement agencies. Other airsoft gear required for a smooth enjoyment include: Vests, Plate Camers, Chest rigs, Pouches, belts, Slings amongst others.

iii. Paintball

Here, the players involved compete as teams or individuals with the aim of eliminating opponents via tagging them with water-soluble, dye-propelled capsules emitting from guns known as Paintball Guns. The capsules are known as paintballs and are made of non-toxic and biodegradable water-soluble featuring an outer gelatin shell. Other required equipment include: Paintball Masks, Paint Grenades, Compressed air or CO2 container, hopper and body armour which is optional but advised if it is done outdoors.

What are the differences between Airsoft and Paintball?

Though they seem similar and virtually played in the same way, there are differences in airsoft vs paintball. These are:

While Airsoft gun uses ?pellets?, Paintball Guns use ?paintballs?.

Airsoft pellets do not typically mark their target but paintballs leave an obvious mark when their target is hit

Paintballs break on impact while airsoft pellets do not

Airsoft guns are more realistic as when compared to paintball guns

Paintballs are generally more expensive than pellets

In terms of usability, paintball guns are much easier to load via the use of pods which are carried by pod packs while airsoft is slightly more difficult to load due to magazines and has to be wounded constantly

Paintball guns are durable and requires little or no maintenance while airsoft guns break a lot.

To avoid injury, an airsoft player needs to wear goggle to protect his eyes when playing while a paintball player needs to wear a face mask

In airsoft, the roles of the players are based on the type of weaponry available while in paintball, roles are based on user?s preferences and experience

Airsoft guns can be toned tuned to be accurate over long distances which is crucial for larger field play while paintball guns are tuned for faster gameplay

Which is safer?

In airsoft vs paintballs, the pain each impact causes to the individual should be considered. Due to the size of the paintball ammunition and its velocity upon impact on the skin, it naturally causes more pain to the individual hit with them. The pains are magnified further if the paintballs do not break open as there will be no reduction in the force felt by the player who has been hit. Airsoft pellets on the other hand do not cause pain as they are made of softer material.

Which is more popular?

Judging by popularity in airsoft vs paintballs, paintball has more goodwill and more recognition than airsoft. This is mostly because paintball is considered safer in terms of terminologies. Airsoft is full of military aesthetics and firearm terminologies such as ?gun? which in airsoft is known as the realistic imitation firearm (RIF) whereas in paintball, it is known as ?markers?.

Firearms are loaded with magazines same as airsoft RIFs but when it comes to paintball they bare called hoopers. Firearms shoot bullets just as airsoft RIFs and are similar to shotguns or airguns, whereas in paintball they are just paintballs.

Paintball is and can be accessible to anyone who wants to partake in it. It is a common activity in social gatherings such as birthday parties but airsoft are military inclined. Also, airsoft has much lesser events and competitions when compared to paintball which has varieties of competitions and tournaments thus making them more popular.

How much does it cost?

The initial cost of airsoft is generally higher than paintball. You can get a decent airsoft ball around $200 upwards while for a paintball gun; you can get it at $100. However, recurring cost tend to be higher in paintball guns such that paint goes for $35-$120 per case of 2000 rounds of paint while airsoft is about $15 per 5000 rounds.


The beauty about airsoft and paintball sport is that you can partake in it and enjoy both. Each game is unique in its own way and it is worth trying at least once as the experience gotten differs. They are differentiated by their own rules, advantages and disadvantages.

Though, paintballs have been around for a long period of time, airsoft is gaining more reputation as it is what kids of nowadays love and prefer due to its fun activities and military inclination. The rate at which airsoft is revolving is rapid while paintball has been static during this period remaining the same year-in/year?out. Be that as it may, it finally rests on the decision or choice made by the individual coupled with other factors such as ease of location and accessibility to gear.