Does Airsoft Hurt More than Paintball?

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If you’re indecisive when it comes to choosing a new hobby, this might help you. Finding out whether airsoft or paintball hurts more can be a very powerful decision-maker. Does airsoft hurt more than paintball?

It is actually paintball that hurts more than airsoft. While both games seem very similar, it is the weight and size of a paintball that makes being shot by one hurt more. 

Don’t let the pain keep you from trying paintball as a hobby. There is so much more to the game than the pain and you can read all about it in our complete guide for beginners. 

paintball vs airsoft. Which hurts more

Why Do They Both Hurt So Much?

If you’ve ever played paintball or airsoft, you’ve experienced the sharp, stinging pain of being pelted by a flying ball of destruction. 

It’s no secret that the most painful places to get shot are the eyes, ears, hands, lips, and crotch. But what makes these sports hurt so much? Let’s break it down. 

Distance From the Shooter
There is a “no shooting someone within 10ft” rule for a reason. The paintball or airsoft BB will lose speed as it travels. If you’re shot at from a distance, the speed at which you’re hit will have dropped significantly and will hurt far less than being shot at close range. 

Wind Conditions
Paintball is played in closer quarters, so the wind plays a much more important part in airsoft. The wind is going to pull, push, and guide your shot away from where you wanted it to go. Even if your shot manages to reach your target, the pushing and pulling is going to greatly affect the speed, and just like distance, the shot will not hurt as much. 

Feet Per Second
The feet per second, or FPS, is the speed your gun fires a paintball or BB. The FPS for paintball guns are between 250-300, and airsoft guns are 350-400. The higher the FPS, the more it is going to hurt when you’re shot. It might be surprising, given how much the shots hurt, but fields will have a rule that your gun has to have an FPS limit to not cause any unnecessary harm. 

The Mass of the Paintball or BB
On average, paintballs weigh around 3.0g, whereas BBs weigh .20g to .25g. The heavier the projectile, the more energy potential it carries, and the higher the transfer of energy upon impact. It’s this transfer of energy that results in pain as you physically stop the paintball or BB. 

Why Does Paintball Hurt More Than Airsoft?

 So now you know why these sports hurt, but it was said in the beginning that paintball hurts more. Why?

In general, paintball is played in much closer quarters. Because of the weight of paintballs, they just can’t cross the distances that BBs can in airsoft. Because the paintballs are being shot at a much closer range, you can start to see how paintball hurts more than airsoft. 

airsoft balls
Airsoft plastic Balls

Paintballs are also much larger than BBs. A BB has a diameter of 6mm, whereas paintballs are 17-18mm. Yes, the BBs are smaller, so you would think the damage from those would be more concentrated and leave a bigger welt. 

That isn’t true. Because of how light the BBs are, how far they are shot from, and how quickly they lose their speed, they don’t leave nearly as big a welt as paintballs. The pain from airsoft only lasts a couple of hours. 

paintballs
Paint balls

Paintballs, on the other hand, leave a huge welt. The pain from these can last for days. 

A Reddit user perfectly summed up the difference when answering what hurts more, “Paintball because I shot my brother in the neck with an airsoft gun and he laughed. I did it with a paintball gun and he punched me in the face.”

Tips To Not Get Shot As Often

If you’d like to avoid pain altogether in both sports, follow these tips.

  • Pay attention to your surroundings. Your opponents don’t want you to see them coming, so most of the time they are hoping to sneak up behind you. Don’t give them the chance!
  • Play the game as a team. If you’re not sure what you should be doing, check in with your team to find out if you should be pushing forward or holding back. There is strength in numbers and being the only person to charge forward might mean you’re the sole recipient of a barrage of projectiles. 
  • Take the long way. Tire your opponents out, or make them give up and take the easy route to someone else. 
  • Silence. Your opponents will be listening for any breathing or rustling to find out where you are. 
  • Let your opponents come to you. This way you can keep your eyes on them, and you have the advantage. 

Final Thoughts

Yes, paintballs will hurt more. They’re bigger, they don’t lose as much speed, and they are shot at closer range. But this makes the game so much more fun. Knowing that at any second a paintball can come flying toward you? Thrilling!

If you’re worried about the pain, don’t be. Many of the pain tests are done on bare skin and close range. This isn’t how the game is played, and you won’t be in nearly as much pain as the people who have participated in these tests. 

So go have fun, and don’t let the fear of pain stop you!

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