Paintball vs. Airsoft (What Hurts More and Why?)

Airsoft and paintball are often a topic of discussion because of the similarity between the two games. There has been endless debate about which one is better and why between the games’ fans.

The two games can coexist peacefully, as in reality, both the games serve different markets and different kinds of players. Airsoft is more objective-based and a realistic game, while paintball is fast-paced and involves close-quarters speedball tournaments.

So which one hurts more, paintball or airsoft? In this guide, we will provide you with all the answers to this question.


The pain of being hit can be annoying, but many players feel that it is a badge of honorThey believe if you get hurt more while playing, you are better players than the others.

Which hurts can be a personal opinion of players, and it might vary. One can hurt a lot more depending on where you get hit. If you get hit in the face, neck, or groin, that could be a lot more painful than being hit in the back.

If you get directly hit in both sports, it will inflict quite a bit of pain; however, an airsoft pellet is less power and has less impact than a paintball. Airsoft guns shoot small, 6mm plastic pellets, and they weigh between .20g to .28g at about 400 FPS.

A direct hit will deliver between 1.48 and 2.07 joules of energy on impact. If you are at a further distance, it will significantly be less painful. The BBs have lost impact, and you will feel less hurt.

If you get directly hit, it will hurt on bare skin. If you are wearing thin clothing, you may not feel it at more considerable distances or bounces off your gear.


Paintballs have much more significant than airsoft pellets, and they measure about .68” in diameter and weighs about 3.5grams. The paintball pallets are about 17 times the weight of a .20g airsoft pellet. The pallets’ larger size and heftier weight can allow the paintball guns to fire at about 290-300 FPS.

This can be considered slower than the airsoft pellet’s velocity, but the larger size has much more inertia and delivers much more force on impact.

A 3.5g paintball fired at 290 FPS will be delivering over 13 joules of energy on impact that is almost 13 times harder than that of an airsoft pellet!

This means that getting hit by a paintball will hurt more than getting hit by an airsoft gun.

Being hit at close range and on the bare skin will and paintball is much more likely to give you large, painful wounds. It can even break your skin. Paintball has a strong impact and leaves bruises, while airsoft would leave small scratches and rashes on your body.

The most painful areas to get shot in Airsoft / Paintball.

  • Eyes
  • Teeth
  • Ears
  • Hands and fingers
  • Lips
  • Crotch

To avoid permanent eye damage, you should wear a mask or goggles that are impact-rated ANZI 87.1.

For paintballers: If you are a paintball player, it would be ideal for getting the JT Spectra mask. This mask is budget-friendly, can take paintball shots, and protect your face and eyes completely.

For airsoft: If you are an Airsoft player, Revision goggles are perfect if it is your first Airsoft game. They also work well if you are a serious player. These are of very high quality.

How distance affects pain in Airsoft & Paintball

The speed of the BB depends on distance. The reason is that the BB starts to have less impact, and the velocity drops after a certain point. For example, if someone shoots at you from 150 feet, it may not affect you. It is essential to be aware of your distance. Maintaining a distance from your opponent is always a good idea. It may save you from getting hurt. Always try to keep a distance of more than 50-feet to stay safe. It is ideal to double-tap people if they are at further distances, and if you do that, then your opponents are a lot more likely to feel the second shot you hit as compared to your first.

The wind will affect the force of your Shots.

If you are just a beginner, you may not have an idea about wind’s effect on your shots. In reality, the wind matters quite a bit. Especially if you are playing at an outdoor one, then the wind could affect your game a lot. However, if you are planning to play indoors, then this is nothing to worry about. It could be an issue if you have a plane engine running inside the arena.

Always keep in mind that the wind affects airsoft players more than the paintball players. Paintball players are often playing at really close distances, so it matters less to them.

When shooting against the wind, your BBs will struggle and would not be able to reach your target quickly. The direction of the wind might delay the process of your target being hit. The reason is that the speed of your BBs decreases, and the attack becomes slow.

This is very similar to the game of tug of war. Your opposition is pulling on one side, and the wind is pulling on the other. The BB that you throw will travel faster, but the BBs will also curve depending on the wind’s direction.

So following are some airsoft tips that will help you when playing on an outdoor field:

  • Always use BB’s that are .25g or higher. The heavier weight of the BBs will work best i
  • Make sure to check which way the wind is going and, according to that, adjust your shots in that direction.
  • It would be best to get closer to your enemy because winded shots will have less power. Staying close to them would help you to hit them harder.

FPS is essential in Paintball and Airsoft

FPS refers to the speed of the gun, and if you have been playing paintball and airsoft, you will be familiar with the term already. It will tell the user how fast the speed of the shot is and if the rating is higher, that will mean that your chances of getting injured are higher. The average FPS of most Airsoft guns is 350-400. It’s is the right choice if the field requires the player to chronograph under 400 FPS. If the FPS is higher, the BB will travel faster than expected, and you will need to upgrade it if you are using sniper or DMR. You should also check the air leaks so the accuracy can be maintained.

Indoor VS Outdoor fields

Most people forget about the kind of field they are playing Airsoft or Paintball on. It is essential to know because you will analyze how close of a distance you will be shot. In the indoor fields, the average engagement from the opponents will be 25-50 feet. However, it can change drastically if you protect yourself and move around a corner. If you are playing on an outdoor field, the average engagement distance will be 100-150 feet. It can increase drastically as outdoor fields are vast as compared to the indoors. Playing on an outdoor field is a much better choice for both beginners and professionals.

Trees and bushes can absorb shots.

The only disadvantage of playing in an outdoor field is that the player finds out that the shots are not hitting the right target. It usually happens when the shot will pass through a tree or bush and hinder the target. Although the shots can pass through these trees and bushes and get to the right target, it is a little tricky. If they absorb the shots, it will reduce the energy potential. It would help if you kept this thing in mind while playing the game, and you can take it as a natural cover to save yourself from getting shot. When you take fewer hits, the pain will be lesser too, and if you plan to play airsoft, you should know more about BBs and their ratings. You should also know why you should use them while playing outdoors.

Weights of projectiles

Paintball projectiles

If the weight of the projectile is heavy, it carries a lot of energy potential. If you get shot by a.25g BB, you will feel a lot more than a.20g BB, and all this comes back to physics because it is like an equation. When you know about projectile details, the chances of winning against your opponent will highly improve. Before purchasing a gun for your game, you have to check the ratings; otherwise, your play will be hindered.

Being aware and patient is the key.

To reduce the number of shots that you get, it is always better to be aware of the surroundings. You need to check out if there is an opponent on any side and pop your head out of the tree to check the surroundings frequently. Here are some tips with which you can minimize the exposure of shots.

  • It would help if you watched your flanks as the enemy will be ideally sneaking on you.
  • Taking the longer route will be a wise idea as you will feel safer. Most of the opponents will take the short route and feel tired easily.
  • Keep a check on what your teammates are doing. You can converse and help each other to move at the right timings.
  • You can move up and fall back with proper planning among teammates.
  • Being quiet is essential as you never know when the enemy is listening to you or tracking your location.
  • Knowing your exposure well is the key, as you should always have an idea about how much area you have covered or when you can move.

Follow safety rules

If you want to prevent yourself from getting hit, following the safety rules and regulations are quite essential.

  • Never keep a loaded weapon out of the field.
  • Make sure your safety is off.
  • Don’t put your finger on the trigger until and unless you are ready to shoot.
  • Keep a barrel sock with you when you are not playing.
  • The orange flash hider on the weapon shouldn’t be used often.
  • The weapon should be stored in a rifle bag or case if you are transporting it.
  • Clear your chamber when you are putting the weapons away

Clothing to wear when playing Airsoft and Paintball

The most crucial aspect when you are trying to get away from pain is the clothing. You need to protect yourself with proper clothing and prevent yourself from getting hit. If you are a new player wearing loose clothes and sweatpants and sweatshirts will be a great choice. It will offer a thick layer to your body, and the protection level will highly increase. However, if you want to bounce shots, wearing a plate carrier or a vest will be a better option. Most of the time, you will not feel anything as the shots will bounce off from your head, and the same will happen if you wear a helmet along. You can also make use of goggles and save your eyes from getting hit.

What effects pain in Paintball and Airsoft

Below we will summarize all the factors that can determine pain when you are playing paintball and airsoft.

  • The distance from the shooter needs to be observed.
  • The condition of wind and air
  • The FPS rating of the sniper or other types of guns
  • The mass of the projectiles
  • The amount of clothing which is shielding you from the danger and lessens its impact
  • Check the objects of the impact before hitting the target.

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