So you sit down at a table with friends, on a date or with a girlfriend, and start talking about your hobbies. You inevitably mention that you play airsoft to face it as paintball, don’t you? Yes and no. Airsoft and paintball are similar in that both sports involve shooting other people for fun, with non-lethal consequences, but that’s where the resemblance ends. Airsoft and paintball players, who generally like oil and water, rarely mix their hobbies and see what both are. You probably don’t know all the differences between these two sports. If you have never played these two sports before and want to know more about how they complement each other, this article is for you.
Difference in projection and pain
The most striking difference between paintball and paintball is related to the projectile used. While for paintball 6 or 8 mm BB plastic is used, for paintball much heavier 18 mm balls are used, which are made of gelatinous leathers and coloured oil filler. Because of the way the paintballs are made, it is impossible to give them a polished and seamless appearance, seen from the top of the sniping bbs. This, combined with the increased weight of paintball, results in a game that is generally played at shorter intervals than paintball. While a high performance air rifle can be accurate to just over 230 feet, hitting targets after 120 feet with a paintball marker is due to good luck.
Since paintball is by nature limited to shorter distances due to the nature of the ammunition, the game is limited to a typical limit of 300 feet per second, while air rifles on some open fields may contain more than 500 feet per second. Paintballs hit much harder than paintballs because of their larger size and weight. So you can still feel the paintballs through your clothes as if you’ve had a heavy and brutal blow. I play on open fields where the Airsoft FPS limit is 500 FPS or less, so from that point of view the Airsoft BB’s are very sharp when hit in a busy environment.
If I had to compare them, it would hurt more to come to paintball than to play paintball unless you take strong paintballs on your shins. As the projectile is usually made of 6 mm rigid, non-flexible plastic, the concentration of force may be sufficient to break the skin. When using weapons with speeds of more than 500 frames per second, the Airsoft beads can actually be embedded in the skin. Although I never had a built-in BB, I took pictures of the hand that drew blood when I wore the shirt only in the summer and I still have some small red spots showing it! My paintball games, on the other hand, always left large bruises and scars.
One of the latest developments in paintball technology are the stabilized ribbed cartridges, which are much more accurate than conventional bullet ammunition, but at a much higher cost.
It may be a surprise that air cannons and paintball markers are built almost completely differently. Airsoft guns are almost exclusively designed according to the existing firearm, the internal mechanisms are manufactured according to the shape, the typical paintball markings are exactly the opposite, as the function has determined their shape. In fact, a smooth-bore gun is almost all they have in common. Because air guns use hard cartridges, springloaders work perfectly. Because paintball contains soft and fragile ammunition, it is usually stored in a bunker above the weapon and guided to the chamber by gravity. Some modern paintball markers use magazines to make them more realistic, but their limited capabilities are a drawback that some players find realistic paintball markers impractical.
Inside, paintball markers work a little more like a real weapon than most air guns because of the functional breech presentation, a function that in the pneumatic world is limited to the operation of the breech presentation. This bolt is operated by the integrated or remotely controlled air filling tank and after the filling cycles, a new paint ball falls into the chamber. This gives the possibility of a malfunction, unique to paintball – crushed balls. Sounds painful, doesn’t it? But that’s what it looks like. If the ball of paint is not placed in the chamber, the lock cuts the ball of paint in half when the trigger is pulled and spreads its contents over the entire inner surface of the barrel. There’s nothing a walking hose can’t clean in seconds, but it can be a little annoying because some markers do it with amazing regularity.
The difference in shape between the paintball marker and the airsoft gun should lead to fairly significant differences in the way each sport looks. The Airsoft community often strives to be realistic, sometimes to the point that it can easily be called LARPing with weapons. At the same time, the paintball community often looks for a sporty aesthetic when players wear brightly colored team t-shirts and enjoy the public recognition that comes from a marker that doesn’t look like a real, dangerous gun – perhaps the main reason for its usual popularity on the Airsoft here in North America.
At the same time, the paintball players wear the colours of daylight when they play peak – they know the value of clogging just as well as the paintball players do. On CQB fields, however, we often see paintball players with runners or boots to increase their agility, while paintball players tend to keep their walking or fighting shoes naive.
Airsoft vs. Paintball Final remarks
If you’ve never played Airsoft or paintball before, I strongly advise you to try one of them! If you don’t have a local paintball community, you probably have a few paintball players nearby. It may not be a BB scarf, but a paint scarf is better than nothing. On the other hand, if you are a paintball player who has never played paintball, or a paintball player who has never played paintball, give it a chance. You will find that you enjoy the sport more than you thought. Thank you for visiting iamairsoft.com! For great products and more information about the game, check out our Airsoft and Airsoft Upurchase guides!
- Waste paint ball:Tippmann paint ball guns
C.S. Wilhelm is a 28-year-old ex-military who has been playing Airsoft regularly in the forests of Canada’s West Coast for over a year. What’s less interesting is that he’s also a big nerd. C.S. Wilhelm has a degree in Creative Writing and English. He was editor of the magazine Portal and is currently studying information technology.
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