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  • Paintball vs Airsoft

    airsoft v paintball, airsoft, paintball

    Stuck deciding between Paintball and Airsoft? In today's post we're going to discuss and compare the differences between Airsoft and Paintball and how exactly the two sports differ.


    In both sports the main objective is to eliminate the opposition via ammunition shot from your gun/marker.

    Paintball Definition 

    Paintball is a sport where you can either compete in a team or alone, the objective is to eliminate players by shooting them with paintballs which are propelled via a paintball gun. The paintballs will then "tag" the player via the water soluble dye that is inside the gelatin shell.

    Airsoft Definition 

    Airsoft is a team sport with a defined set of goals. Players will shoot non-metallic BB's fired via replica firearms to eliminate opponents to complete the objective. Unlike paintball airsoft has a honour system in which players must admit when they have been hit.


    Paintball Equipment

    New players often assume there first purchase will be a paintball gun (marker). In actual fact you should always purchase your paintball mask/goggle first. It’s THE most important piece of kit a paintball player can own. Other equipment such as a gun, hopper, tank, paintballs etc can come later. Check our our paintball mask buying guide and what's the best paintball gun for a beginner? blog posts for guidance.

    Airsoft Equipment

    Players will start out with an Airsoft gun, BB's and eye protection. The level of eye/face protection can vary site to site however the vast majority will recommend full face especially for children. There is a vast array of equipment available for airsofters and the flexibility allows players to be as basic as jeans and a t-shirt to a fully kitted out solider.


    In both sports players will start out with a gun within their price range, accessories and upgrades can be added to improve accuracy and performance.

    Paintball at a competitive level a high end paintball gun is pretty much a necessity and can affect things such as slicing.

    Paintball Guns

    A paintball gun consists of a barrel, hopper and air tank. Paintball markers can be either Electronic or Mechanical both shooting paintballs in unique ways. For further information on the differences check out our Electronic vs Mechanical markers blog post. Paintball guns use one of two propellant's (either co2 or High Pressure Air (HPA) to power a firing mechanism which pushes a ball out of the front of the paintball marker via a barrel.  For more information check out our blog post - The differences Between CO2 and HPA. The paintball barrel can act as an aid when aiming.

    Airsoft Guns

    Airsoft guns are powered by electric, spring (where the gun can be cocked) and gas - either CO2 or green gas. Airsoft replicas such as the Tippmann M4 and pistols can use HPA (high pressure air) as a propellant source.

    Airsoft players can use either full imitation firearms or 51% two tone guns due to law and the weapons used tend to be focused on military simulation.

    In the airsoft community the use of RIF and IF will be paramount. A RIF is an imitation firearm which has an appearance that is so realistic as to make it indistinguishable, for all practical purposes, from a real firearm. Whereas a IF is a firearm that is coloured to make it easily distinguishable - generally in bright colours.

    The weapons used can range from assault rifles, sniper rifles, pistols to revolvers and mini guns.

    From the 2nd of May 2017 the act of Airsoft and Policing & Crime was introduced. This is worth a read before purchasing a gun - https://www.ukapu.org.uk/ukapu-and-ukara-briefing-on-commencement-of-pca-firearms-provisions/


    Paintball Ammo

    As mentioned previously paintball uses paintballs as ammo. Interestingly despite being called 'Paintballs', they are not actually filled with any paint.They contain a mixture of ingredients that are easy to clean off once a player is hit. As a general guide the more expensive the paint the more brittle it will be. However to use high grade paint we would advise using a high end paintball gun. For further information on paintball grades check out our 'Different Grades Of Paint' blog post. For tips on storage check out our "How To Store Your Paintballs" blog post.

    A box of 2000 paintballs will cost around £23.00+ check out the paintballs we stock at https://www.bzpaintball.co.uk/paintballs

    Airsoft Ammo

    Airsoft players use BB's. These BB's are made from plastic and usually measure around 6mm in diameter. BB's can weigh anything from 0.12-0.48g however the most popular are 0.12, 0.20 and 0.25g.

    Lighter BB’s will achieve greater speed, however on the flip side will lose this speed quicker than heavier BB’s. The lightness can also be easily influenced via factors such as wind decreasing accuracy. Heavier BB’s have a higher momentum making the hit of the BB harder. Accuracy may also be increased due to the weight.

    It's always best to look at the fps to see which ammo will suit your gun best.

    Unlike paintballs BB'S will not break when hitting an opponent, relying heavily on players to admit they have been hit.

    A bag or tube of 3000 BB's will cost around £7.00.


    Paintball Rules

    If a player is hit this will leave a solid mark on the players body or equipment. However if there is a splatter this may be off a paintball breaking on a nearby surface which will not count as a hit.

    You can ask for a paintball check from a nearby teammate and the game will temporarily stop until you establish whether the player is eliminated or not. Game on should then be shouted for play to resume.

    Once hit players must exit the field as quickly as they can and go to the dead zone (the dead zone is where eliminated players will retreat to). Players can make it known they have been hit by holding their gun above their head.

    Players must not go outside of the boundaries, blind fire, wipe, shoot too close or over shoot.

    Paintball players must never remove their masks on the paintball field. It must be kept where it belongs, on the players face.

    Airsoft Rules

    If you've been shot airsoft relies on honesty to admit you've been hit. Once hit you can no longer play until you have re-spawned or been tagged in.

    Once you've been hit, you must shout HIT with your arms held up. You must then return to the re-spawn area where you will be able to re-join after a certain period of time. Re-spawn points and medics can be combined to give players a limited numbers of lives. The rules will change dependant on the organiser and site.

    Players can be "killed" by BB's being shot at a player, this must be a direct hit. Players can also be eliminated by explosives such as grenades - if you are in the set radius and the grenade detonates you are dead.

    So Paintball or Airsoft... The choice is yours.

    Check out - https://www.bztactical.co.uk/ for your airsoft needs. The official UK Distributor for Tippmann Tactical.

    If you have any questions or suggestions don't hesitate to email us at info@bzpaintball.co.uk.

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