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Paintball vs Airsoft (the truth)? Maybe :)....

would you ever consider playing Airsoft too?

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matt gordon

Feb 11, 2005
warrington, cheshire UK
Hey all!
So I'm not new to paintball... I spent a good ten years playing rec-ball and speedball. I had the honour of being part of the planet Factory team for a couple of occasions as a reserve player so even got to mow through a millennium event now and again.

Just returning now after a small break of 10 years after deciding to have a break playing Airsoft....Yes I said Airsoft.

Any player that plays PB will have heard in some manor about Airsoft.
It seems PB and airsoft are always bumping heads... seemingly. PB players throwing low opinions about Airsoft players and likewise the other side to PB.

I myself have the utmost respect for both fields. having played both fields.

I think going to airsoft from PB was a benefit rather than starting straight to airsoft from nothing.as I played at a full pace and an aggressive manor due to my traingin and playing through PB at a casual and then a semi Pro level. The training days of practicing snap shooting and switching and sliding and Diving deffientaly were an advantage in those senario games :)

From day one playing Airsoft I was blown away by the biggest difference of all in Airsoft... The players attitudes....Airsoft is....wait for it....actually pretty fun! **** no? really? yep really!

"Airsoft is for dicks who take everything super serious and tactical!"

Although many of the player of airsoft have had some kind of military background in some way shape form or manor. There is indeed a level or Seriousness in-game. But that being said, Airsoft is so laid back you mother would wonder what you were smoking when you got home. Not ingame! Oh No. There is a hard and punishing level of play... just like a paintball field. You let your guard down for a moment and you could be getting sprayed from multiple angles... or grenaded in a heartbeat. But the moment the game is played, the second it finishes...the players are all smiles and happy and interacting with the other teams in such a friendly and brotherly (or sisterly) environment.

I manage to grenade a room and storm through it to take out a full team of 7. Admittedly I caught one of the guys in the face from close range and I felt a bit ****ty about it. so I stopped to help the guy up and apologised. And he was fine about it. I got shot by someone else for doing so and I was fine about it too. At the end of the game every one of the opposition team came straight to me (admittedly I thought for a second I was going to get punched out..hehe) They gave me so much respect and praise for rushing them alone and for stopping to help another player.

That's how most airsofters are! It's not stupidly serious and at no point did anyone ever start crying about a lost point or a cheater.

"It's easier to cheat in Airsoft!"
Yes and no. In any sport there are cheaters. small ones and stupidly go **** yourself BIG ones!

Due to the fact that airsoft is played using 6mm plastic ball bearings. there is not proof of paint. Sure in Paintball you get hit and if the paint breaks it's easy to see the paint. Unless wiped....

Airsoft due to this is more honesty based. you get shot you put your hand up to get a medic. or you walk over to the respawn. Not a big deal. Well not to most. there's always someone who thinks they're a Terminator and immune to bb's. Even after a hail of bb's hits them again they'll still carry on. And that's when the marshall's get involved. Players get warnings. and players get sent off the game. Hell as in Paintball. players call get thrown offsite and even banned,

The difference being that with Airsoft you don't have to wear a mask. just glasses. so people now what you actually look like and you can find yourself not being liked anywhere you play. (Eg.. Earl at unreal airsoft.)

I think this is what make an airsoft different from Paintball. Players are happier to admit they are hit. It gets them more respect. Winning a game only to lose the respect of the other players and team mates is worth ****.

I'm never going to say it's perfect as we all know some games never go the way they are planned. but hell if it was perfect why play?

So why did you leave Paintball?

I have to be honest People. the main reason for me moving away from paintball wasn't the price of Kit, or paint....or even the washing bill! It was the way that players played and treated other players on the field.

My fondest memories of paintball were slowly more commonly being replaced with flashbacks of a couple of my team mates screaming out to marshall's in friendly events about checking hoppers and checking feet etc.... I literally started to get more angry at my team mates that that guy that bunkered me and lit me up as I left the field.
I knew I had to get away from that view that no matter what a player is only there to win and not enjoy himself.

The one main threat to the game of paintball is not the Lack of sites, the cost of the markers, the changing rules and formats of gameplay....it's the stress of name calling, cheaters and the endless Negative feedback from other teams. I wanted out of that ****. and to bee honest when you live paintball. play paintball, work paintball...something gets lost....mostly the love of the game. And I hit that point.

I wanted out. Maybe not permanently, maybe forever. I just didn't know. But What I did know was that I still wanted to do something a little different in sport rather than 5 a side football or ****ing cricket or what ever other normal people did. That's when airsoft came in. And thankfully it came in when I needed it the most.

We're all not that different! (Common Enemies....)
We've all been through a lot over the years
. Both Paintball and airsft are viewed not as sports to the common person, but as past times. a backward aggressive sport played by people who can't play "normal" games. It;s a load of crap I know as do you. But the fact that both PB and Airsoft get this stigma should show you how similar both sports are.

Both Sports are frowned at by the government. True Paintball is less so due to the fact that AIrsoft Guns are replica based. Both sports at the basics are people shooting people with something that fires a possible damaging object at another person. And they don't like that. Because god forbid if someone were to go out and shoot someone in the streets! Which has happened in the past. and probably somewhere sometime still does. so because of the few the many end up getting a stigma against them for it. Painballers and Airsofter should look at each other as a united front against these stigmas to show them they are wrong. That both sports are an equal and entertaining sports as Football, or Rugby or dare I say it Snooker....

The goal of both games is the same. shoot....win. many of the training regiments in both sports are the same. If you can snap shoot, if you can Dive and slide. If your reactions are better than the oppisition. you're going to win. and this skills transfer over from both sports to the other. if you are good at paintball, you'll be good at airsoft. In the end. just like paintball. In airsoft it's not the kit that makes the player great....but the player and his skills.

I know this site!
another thing that might be noticable is the fact that many of the Paintball sites. and the airsoft sites are shared by both sports! sure the airsofters have some pretty snazzy sights like Tier 1 events and the Mall in Reading. but in general the sites are in the same types of areas. with the same designs and levels. even the safe zones are so similar the only difference are the weapons of choice.

Many Paintballers are airsofters too! or is it the other way around?
I live pretty close to a certain paintball manufacturer, that make unquestionably the best markers today. Many of the staff there, from the manufacturing area, right up to the MD himself, as well as playing Paintball, spend many a day playing Airsoft too! Seriously! If they can do both then really why would there be any question that so can everyone else!

So why come back?
I am in no way saying that Airsoft is better than Paintball. In fact I'd say that they are an even match. For different reasons. I wouldn't recommend it for everyone. I would definitely recommend it for most Paintball Players.

Paintball is more mainstream than Airsoft. Paintball has that drive and speed that's sometimes lacking in airsoft. Both have values identical to one another. the players are dedicated and the sport is fun. And it is set apart from the more traditional sports. It's exiting!

I'm comfortable in Airsoft. As I was comfortable in Paintball.
I wanted to come back for one reason. I missed it :)

so to those of you that hate Airsofters. don't.

They aren't that different from you after all. I always said that to Airsofters when we used to talk about Paintball.

All I will say though is this. Don't go into Airsoft and treat it the same as Paintball. it's a different way of thinking. It'll knock you back. it'll change the way you see both Paintball and Airsoft. It may even see and appreciate the game you love so much.

I know it has for me.

Thanks all!! .It's good to be back!
See you on the field :)

ps. this is my first article so be kind....or not. :) let me know what you think :) And Please if you have any views on the differences or commonalities between the two sports just thrown it on!


Canon Fodder

Go to your brother, kill him with your gun.
Oct 28, 2008
I tried air soft and personally wasn't keen on it, but I don't hate airsoft or airsofters, good post.


Aug 19, 2003
Ive never airsofted, but Im certainly not against it at all. This paintball v airsoft thing, personally I dont think exists unless you mention it.

I will however stand up for my game on the internets. Its important stuff is arguing on the internet :)

is airsofted a word?
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Don't run, you'll only die tired....
May 19, 2004
Northern Ireland
I've played a bit of airsoft, not to the point where I'd want to make it a regular thing but I have to say there are things I like, things I don't like.


Cost - it's definitely cheaper. You can buy one HELL of an airsoft gun for the price you'd pay for a mid range paintball setup. BB's are cheaper.
Kit - it looks better than paintball guns, is definitely more ergonomic and you can carry more than one firearm if the notion takes you. I tried with one main gun, a gun and a sidearm, a sniper rifle and a sidearm, and once even tried all three. For one game. Mostly I used the M4A1 I have, it was enough for me.
Range of guns available is amazing, you can basically buy an airsoft replica of any firearm in production, ever.........


The fact that cheating was so prevalant
there was an instant bias against me and my mates due to our paintball background
the people can be more snobbish (in my opinion) and cliquey. There was very much an ethos of, you're new here so I'm not going out because you shot me.
The people at the sites I played at were more interested in recreating a "look" than actually playing. I overheard them discussing which brand of boots best matched what was worn in the movie Black Hawk Down.
Too many little kids, hell I know they're the future and all but I don't want to feel bad about putting kids out and it's gotta be scary for them when an angry almost six footer comes around a corner gun blazing.
It's not as easy to buy a gun as it is for paintball, that said, there are ways and means if you are prepared to look.
relying on an honesty system for eliminations does not and will never work.

Nice article though, thanks for writing it and welcome to the forum :)
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Canon Fodder

Go to your brother, kill him with your gun.
Oct 28, 2008
I think my main problem was the issue of eliminations, not so much that people were not declaring their hits but more the following two problems:
1) people wearing so much gear they really hadn't felt a hit, when me and my brother were kids we used to mess around in a local wood with springers and the early gas powered airsofts, we had a rule that on your top half you were only allowed to wear a tee-shirt so you actually felt the hits.
2) the accusations that people were not declaring their hits, at range I could see them coming (like you can with paintballs) so I was snapping in and out between the streams of BB's, every game I was accused of not declaring my hits but I know none had hit me, my snapping was taken as flinching when I was hit since people seemed to over estimate the time between pulling the trigger and the BB getting to me and their accuracy.


Planet Eclipse
Mar 4, 2007
Manchester, Stretford
I play Paintball tournaments only I personally hate playing paintball in the Woods with big games etc

I play airsoft to play the big games its a lot different than paintball

I usally play with a load of ex paintballers mainly because they don't want to play paintball due to getting messy, Expense and competiveness the main reason they want to play is that its cheap and we can all play together and have and shoot GUNS

yes its more military based playing airsoft and that's what I like, you also get the better Urban venues in Airsoft

in my opinion its easier to cheat in airsoft as there is no visible mark like paintball, But I am trying to play the game so don't cheat

yes you get the people that think there terminator like you say but 95% of airsofters are quite honest
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Jun 16, 2007
I totally agree with the sentiment of the original post, live and let live and just enjoy whichever you play. Additionally, as someone who played airsoft for years before playing paintball I can echo many of the frustrations other posters have pointed out about the game. In my experience people wearing so much gear they couldn't feel a hit and the reenactor mentality of some (not all) sights I played at infuriated me often. But in fairness some sights that were well run and well marshalled provide me with many awesome memories. But for me personally i went to a speedball walk on and nothing can compare to breaking out to the corner and dominating the wire, I was hooked and still am!
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nick "the shadow cat"

Illegitimi non carborundum
Jun 23, 2014
The field i play at dose both. I'm afaid my only experience of airsoft is arseing about as a kid with single shot pistols.. . (Come on we all did) so looking on you tube i do do come across some vids some British, with go pro cameras and telling people about the sport and a lot of American ones....Where every one is haveing a massive dust up over 1, cheating 2,over shooting 3, god only knows what. dose this ever happen over here or is it a yank only based thing.? Dose this happen in paint ball?the guys I've met all seem civilised And I've only seen the good side but then again I've not been playing long my self. It would save me money if i don't have to learn krav magar. ( sorry about the spelling of it);)