Paintball vs Airsoft – Which is Better in 2022

Last Updated on May 5, 2022 by Jezus Fischer

Paintball and airsoft are the two warfare-style fun games that are played the most. Both of these games are pretty similar in many ways and that’s why it becomes a tricky question for a newcomer to decide which one is better paintball or airsoft. Though the main objective of paintball and airsoft is to eliminate the opponent by hitting them yet there are many differences between airsoft and paintball.

paintball vs airsoft

Airsoft players use a gun that resembles a real firearm and this is the reason it is also called a combat simulation game. In airsoft small lightweight pellets or BBs are fired by the gun. While Paintball is a competitive shooting game in which paintball ammunitions are used which ruptures on impact and leaves paint mark. We have a bundle of information available on paintball vs. airsoft. Below we have compared paintball and airsoft along with pros and cons.

So cut to the chase and let’s dive into paintball vs. airsoft.

Airsoft vs Paintball

BasicA sport in which players eliminate opponents player by hitting them with a plastic pellet using an airsoft gun which looks like a real military gun.A competitive shooting game in which players eliminate opponent players by hitting with a dye-filled ball via paintball marker.
EquipmentAirsoft gun uses plastic or rubber ammos. Gun powered with gas, spring, and batteries.Paintball marker uses paintballs which are dye filled gelatin capsules. Paintball markers are powered with CO2 and compressed air.
Velocity of Gun200-600 FPS300 FPS
Size of Ammos6mm17-18mm
Protective GearsLimited. Masks & Goggles.Wide variety of gears. Full face mask, helmet, gloves, knee and elbow pads, and padded vest.
AccessoriesMagazine and BBsPaintball, hoppers, and compressed gas tanks.
ClothingMilitary style clothingFree style and colorful clothing
Tournaments & LeaguesVery rareIs played at the local, regional, and national level
Honor SystemPlayers have to be honest.No honesty is required since paintball leaves paint stains on the opponent.
CleaningMess-free gameA messy and fun filled game
RealismMore realistic gameMore sport supportive game

Major Difference Between Airsoft and Paintball:

These two sports might look similar to outsiders who are not sports lovers but they are pretty different. I repeat airsoft and paintball are not the same things neither they have a hair-like difference. There are major differences between airsoft and paintball in terms of equipment, accessories, cost, venue, and many others. Let’s have a look.

Airsoft gives you real warfare experience and the reason is, airsofters use guns that closely resemble the original firearms. The cherry on the top are the small pellets that look exactly like the real bullets.

On the other hand, paintball is also a warfare game but in a fun and relaxing manner. Here the players use a specific paintball marker which uses small balls made up of gelatin and are filled with dye/paints. These paintball ammo are so fragile that they rupture on impact and leaves a trace of paint.


In terms of equipment paintball and airsoft both use replica guns but the paintball gun is called marker whereas the gun used to play airsoft is called airsoft gun. The airsoft gun uses plastic pellets that look like bullets and are loaded as a magazine like real firearms. In paintball gun, a bulky hopper is used to feed the paintballs. It’s easier to reload an airsoft gun whereas you need to keep the paintball maker upright for accurate loading.

airsoft guns

Paintball ammos are dye or paint-filled capsules of about 17-18mm in size. Whereas the airsoft pellets are about 6mm in size and are made up of plastic.

Apart from the gun and ammos, there are goggles and masks too. Airsofters wear protective goggles to avoid any eye injury. In contrast to this, paintballers have to wear a complete face mask to avoid any injury to the face.

Also Read: Do Paintball Expire?


Paintball has different variants that have different requirements for the venue. For instance, woodsball is played on rough terrain with trees for hiding, whereas speedball is played on smooth terrain such as grass where inflatable bunkers are used for hiding.

On the other hand, airsoft does not have specific requirements or venues. It can be played anywhere.

Tournaments & Competition:

Paintball has more organized leagues and tournaments. It has different associations such as the United Kingdom paintball association, which offers well-structured rules for the game.

Airsoft does not have a proper organization and association that organizes different leagues. It lacks proper rules and regulations as in the case of paintball. The reason might be variation in the airsoft field. That’s why there aren’t any particular set of rules for airsoft to be followed.

Honor System:

Airsoft relies on the honor system. Players have to be honest about the game. The reason is you can’t see pellets hitting the opponents, so players can lie. Therefore, honesty is the main ingredient for the game to work. In contrast to this, paintball ruptures on impact leaving a dark and prominent stain on the opponent, so the player can’t lie.

Clothing Style:

Airsofters wear dark or camo stuff whereas paintballers choose their clothing depending upon the type of game they are playing. Speedball players wear bright and lively stuff like pink headbands, bright jerseys. Whereas the woodsball players prefer wearing dark clothes like jogger pants that are less visible in the woods.


In terms of realism, airsoft is the more realistic game as it has the same military camp-like environment. You have to behave like a soldier to achieve any particular object. So it’s a serious game.

On the other hand, paintball is a sport supportive game. it’s a game full of fun and enjoyment you don’t need to behave like army soldiers.

Pros & Cons of Paintball


  • Paintball offers multiple protective gears after which chances of injuries are almost nil.
  • The large size of balls ensures accurate and reliable trajectory. You can easily track the ball.
  • Paintball marks the player. That means, when you are out, you are 100% accurately hit.
  • Compressed gas is used to power paintball guns and this gives enough power for long-range.


  • Paintball is a messy game. It will leave paint stains on your clothes, equipment, and protective gear. Cleaning protective gear and paintball markers after the game is a challenging task.
  • Paintball Ammos are bigger in size and therefore hurts a lot.
  • The fee charged to play at the paintball field is a bit higher.

Pros and Cons of Airsoft


  • Airsoft is a mess-free game.
  • It can be played anywhere.
  • The airsoft ammos are pretty inexpensive as they are small plastic pellets.
  • Impacts of airsoft’s BB are less painful.


  • Since airsoft ammos are lightweight and small in size so it’s hard to calculate the trajectory.
  • Taking a precise shot from distance is a bit tricky task.
  • Airsoft guns are more complex, technical, and difficult to maintain.
  • Airsoft is a bit difficult game for newbies as they can’t make contact with their fired pellet. Accuracy is not maintained by new players.
  • Reloading of the gun is a bit tricky.

Which One is Better – Airsoft or Paintball

In both of these combat simulation games, it’s hard to choose the best game as both games are best at their places. If you asked any die core airsofters, he will give you thousands of reasons about airsoft being the best game. The same goes for paintballers.

So on a fair and neutral basis, we conclude that paintball is better than airsoft in numerous ways.

There are proper rules and regulations to play Paintball. This is a cool game right! it has got different leagues and tournaments which lacks in the case of airsoft. The reason is its small size and lightweight BBs that leave no mark on the player after you shoot them out. That’s why referring airsoft at the tournament level is a bit impossible. For paintball, we have got tournament-level paintball Ammos that breaks easily, so that we can identify the player that is going to be eliminated.

Paintball offers more protective gears like a full-face helmet, so there are almost zero chances of injuries in paintball. Interestingly, airsofter uses paintball masks and helmets as they provide full coverage to the face.

Paintball has more adrenaline rush. You crawl, hide behind trees or bunkers and stripe somebody, it’s like a fun-filled game.

Some people say that paintball hurts more than airsoft, that’s right to some extent. But think for a while, getting hit by a single 68 caliber paintball is less painful than getting hit by 10-15 airsoft BBs all of a sudden at a single place. It will definitely hurt more, you will be dizzy for a while.

In between 2006-2008 there were 64,100 airsoft injuries as compared to the reported paintball injuries that are 2800. After few years, the total number of paintball injuries was reduced to 600 only. The key reason for this reduction is the strict safety guidelines. 

According to Pediatrics publications, in 2019, 13,486 people were treated for injuries from a non-powder firearm out of which 80% of the cases were of airsoft BBs.

Paintball is a fun-filled game that is full of enthusiasm and enjoyment. It can be played at a low scale with your friends and family members even in your backyard. If you love messy and colorful games, paintball is the choice for you.


Paintball and airsoft both are simulation games and offer some similarities too. In fact, for fitness purposes, airsoft and paintball both are great sports. But if you are more into the real military-style game, then airsoft is the choice game. On the other hand, If you want to give a great boom to your adrenaline rush and play with colors and spend a fun-filled time with your friends, then paintball is the best game for you.

Remember, whatever game you choose to play, do wear protective gear to protect your body from accidental injuries.