Airsoft VS Paintball: Which is the Better Game?

Airsoft vs paintball is an endless debate. Which one is the better option for you?

We’re going to go over Airsoft and Paintball together and pit them against each other to see which is the most popular, and most appealing games overall.

Each game has it’s pros and cons, and players will argue about which is better endlessly, but we’re going to take a hard look at each game and see what the fuss is about.


Unlike water guns, airsoft guns are a military simulation sport. Airsoft originated in Japan in the 1970s when it was illegal to own real firearms. Players participate in mock combat scenarios with airsoft guns designed to look like military weapons, which encourages the airsoft vs paintball debate.

These guns only shoot small plastic BB’s though and aren’t a danger to you or your health. Each gun can be categorized into different types and players can opt to wear different armor throughout the game, though it is suggested to always have eye protection when you play.

The BB’s themselves have different brands, weights, and abilities. Some, for example, are biodegradable, so if you lose them you don’t have to worry about the environmental aspect. Getting hit with a BB though can hurt, much like getting snapped with a rubber band, this is lessened by layers and protection.

Some Basic Rules

  • Always wear your eye protection.
  • Keep the gun pointed in a safe direction with your finger off the trigger.
  • Fighting, verbal or physical, will not be tolerated.
  • Aim for center mass, not the head or face.
  • Do not shoot lights, speakers, signs, cameras, or fire safety equipment, do not shoot at props or other game enhancers, do not climb walls, windows, scaffolding or barriers.
  • Never walk into a field while games are in play. Take the magazine out of your gun when not on the field.
  • Respect your referee and other players. Do not shoot other players in the ten feet surrender distance.

These are some basic rules that provide direct safety to the players on and off the field as well as the referee if there is one. Each playing location is going to have its own rules and regulations so be sure to check on them and abide by them when you play.

Always listen to the referee if there is one on the field. Arguing with them can get you kicked off the field permanently.

What’s the Appeal?

Airsoft as a tactical game is incredibly appealing because of the fact that it’s both safe, and realistic. Some people want to know how they would do in a survival situation while others just want to shoot at an intelligent, moving target, without hurting them, and have fun.

Either way, airsoft is an interesting and competitive sport, that can be applied in a variety of ways. You can adjust terrain, buildings, rules, and teams.

The airsoft guns that are sold look very much like real weapons, and the situations resemble very much a survival situation, which makes for an interesting experience.


Paintball was born a different beast from Airsoft, created by a couple of friends who wondered if professionals, such as doctors and writers could survive like a woodsman – and they held the first game of paintball.

This altered the way ‘paint markers’ were used, changing them from simply being used to tag cattle and such from afar to be able to use them for fun. Now paintball is played regularly in many countries, and there are even places you can go to play paintball with a wide variety of strangers.

Paintballs can hurt a little more than Airsoft BB’s but they cannot hurt you severely or kill you, so long as you have the proper head and neck protection. Paintballs themselves leave welts and bruises after long hours of play where airsoft pellets don’t which is one reason people prefer airsoft in the airsoft vs paintball debate.

Some Basic Rules

  • Wear your mask at all times.
  • Don’t drink before or after you play (this keeps you from getting sick)
  • Don’t blind fire, and always allow surrenders.
  • Use your common sense, barrel plugs, and always shoot below 280 FPS for safety.
  • Don’t shoot point-blank, and clear the field when you’re shot to the dead zone.

The rules for the courses you can pay for will vary, so be sure to pay attention to them if you’re playing on one. If you’re playing on your own homemade course you can easily make your own rules, just be sure they apply to everyone.

What’s the Appeal?

Paintball is the more popular of the two, and though they share some of the customizability of the playing environment there are still a few things that are different and more appealing.

Paintballs are very clear markers, so you don’t have to rely on the honor system when someone is shot, you know because they’re covered in bright paint. You also get to make a huge mess, which for some people is incredibly fun.

Paintball also incorporates the ability to work as a team or as a solo player, so you can easily play depending on your different and individual preferences. You can play at home, or on a course, and change the dynamics between the course and the different buildings and additions to create a different experience.

Final Thoughts

Airsoft and Paintball will always be rivals and the debate of Airsoft vs paintball will always go on. Some people just prefer the military-like tactile feel of airsoft. Others deeply enjoy the bright paint and rich history of paintball.

Airsoft is a more tactile and realistic game, whereas paintball is far more popular and relaxed. Either game is a mass of fun, with different courses to play on regularly and different ways to play — overall, it doesn’t matter if your an airsoft fan or a paintball fan.

Both games are great options for large groups to play. What matters is that you are a part of a group of people that can always have a good time, so long as they follow the rules, keep safe, and never forget their gear!