What Is The Difference Between Paintball and Airsoft?

Difference Between Paintball and Airsoft
Difference Between Paintball and Airsoft

Wondering what is the difference between paintball and airsoft? Get to know about it all through this article!

With the rise of popularity, more and more players are getting into playing paintball. However, even if you did not hear about the game of paintball, there is a chance that you might know about airsoft.

Now, when you get to know that both are kinds of combat simulation games, you might ask what is the difference between paintball and airsoft.

You might even be wondering if there is any difference at all. Well, you just came to the right place to get out of the confusion you are in at the moment.

We play both regularly, and we have played both games enough to know what factor makes these different. And we are going to spill all the things we know in this article.

The Differences Between Airsoft and Paintball

As we mentioned before, both of these are combat simulators that exist under the same roof. However, they are not the same sport.

There are plenty of things that make these different from one another. And we are here to let you know about the things that make these two sports stand out.

  • General Idea

The first thing that makes these different is the general idea about the game. Let us first talk about airsoft. It is a type of sport where the participants are going to shoot non-metallic pellets.

And the launcher is going to be replica firearms. The shape and the design will be the same as the original, but they are not the real deal.


On the other hand, the paintball game will depend on firearms that will rely on balls with non-toxic paint. The basic idea is to tag the opponent with the paint.

You can easily tell who has been and who has not been tagged by seeing the color on their body.

The outside shell of the paintballs will be made of gelatin, while the inside will contain water-soluble dye.

Thanks to the dyes being water-soluble, you will not have to worry about them irritating the skin. Also, the paints are pretty easy to clean as well. However, they can settle on the fabric.

  • Equipment

When it comes to equipment, the thing that makes the airsoft stand out is the number of required gears. Eye protection, an airsoft gun, and some BBs will be enough to take part in an airsoft game. All the other equipment or gears will be optional for the game.

On that note, some of the sites might require you to wear a full face mask instead of only eye protection. However, the case will not be the same for each of the sites you visit.

On the other hand, you will require a paintball mask, a marker, a tank, and a hopper for the paintball. Also, most of the sites will offer a facemask and overalls for the body. The rest of the protective gear will be up to you.

  • Design of the Firearms or Launchers

First of all, the airsoft guns will be a complete imitation of the actual firearms. Some will even nail the hand feel and the gun’s overall weight and make it feel like holding a real gun.

Also, there are other designs available. Those are going to have bright 2-tone colors on them.

Usually, the two-tone guns are opted by the people that want to practice using the airsoft guns. And those even comply with the airsoft law that most of the states might have. No matter what the design is, these will house rechargeable batteries, spring, and CO2 cartridges.

Nevertheless, the paintball guns will mostly have a unique design. And none of the designs are going to resemble actual firearms. The thing that makes them distinguishable is the large tank on the top.

However, one thing that is common with these two is that they rely on CO2 cartridges. Some of the brands are going to use an alternative to CO2 cartridges. They are going to opt for HPA, which would make them more powerful and capable.

  • Using Method of the Firearms or Launchers

Another thing that you will find different is the using method of guns. Firstly, the process will be about 90 percent similar to the actual firearms for the airsoft guns.

You need to put the magazine in, cock the gun, aim with the sight, and pull the trigger.

However, there is no magazine in the paintball guns. Instead, you need to work with the tank and hopper.

Also, these do not have any sights. You need to rely on the nose of the sight to aim at something. Additionally, you will find all types of accessories that will mimic the original fittings of a real gun for the airsoft guns.

It is entirely different from the paintball guns. The only modification you can do for those increases the capacity of the tank and the hopper. Some airsoft guns can offer the natural feeling of handling an actual gun minus the recoil and the kickback.

But for the paintball gun, you will be constantly reminded that you are using something that is not real. Neither the design nor the using method will be the same as the real deal.

  • Accessories

As we have mentioned above, there are plenty of accessories available for airsoft guns. You can tune it to a substantial amount. Starting from the magazine to the sight to the stock, it will offer the firearm’s custom according to your preference.

On the contrary, the only modification possible for the paintball guns is the hopper or the tank. For the hopper, you can change the speed. There are different types available. Each of them has a different firing speed.

  • Learning Curve

We have mentioned before that airsoft guns kind of operate like real guns. It is a good thing and a bad thing at the same time. To get used to how it works, tons of practice is necessary.

You need to get used to the way the gun cocks, it reloads, it fires, and finally, its weight.

In comparison, learning how to use a paintball is pretty straightforward. All that requires mastering is reloading. However, that is relatively easy too.

These will need a pod. And all you need to do is empty the pod inside the tank, and the gun should be fully loaded and ready to shoot some paintballs.

On that note, both of the firearms are going to require air cartridges to work. And the process of changing the cartridges and the overall functionality for both types of firearms will be pretty similar. So, we can not consider this to be a difference.

  • Cost of Operation

When it comes to operational costs, the airsoft will take the crown. The pellets are dirt cheap compared to what the balls cost for the paintballs.

You can get up to 5000 bbs with just 10 to 20 dollars. Now, even with a fully automatic firearm, that number of bbs will last for an extended amount of time.

On the other hand, for the paintballs, you need to purchase cases. Those cases will contain 2000 balls. And each of the cases will cost you at least 30 dollars, that is, if you can find a good deal. The prices can go up with the change in the quality and the weight of the balls.

  • Rules of the Site

Usually, for the airsoft, there will be two rules. Some of the sites will implement the ‘bang’ rule. This states that you can shoot bang when you are about one meter away from your opponent instead of shooting the opponent.

It will save the target from getting the sting that the pellets can do when being extremely close.

Another rule that the airsoft sites are going to implement is the ‘Knife’ rule. This will enable you to carry a toy knife, which you can use to neutralize the enemies that are close by.

In comparison, for the paintball, the sites will allow you to make physical contact with the opponent.

Basically, you will tag the enemies with the barrel of your firearm. There is a mercy rule as well. This will apply to the opponents that are five feet apart from each other.

  • Pyrotechnics

The last difference that you will find in the games is in pyrotechnics. The airsoft will allow the players to carry flashbangs, smoke grenades, and BB grenades. Paintball also has smoke grenades. But they also have rockets and paint grenades.

Final Words

After going through the entire article, hopefully, the differences are pretty clear to you. And now you will not wonder what is the difference between paintball and airsoft anymore. Lastly, we want to state that both games are extremely fun to play even with these many differences.

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