Airsoft vs. Paintball – Difference and Comparison of Sports

Airsoft vs. Paintball – Difference and Comparison of Sports

Both airsoft and paintball are organized sports where players use guns to shoot projectiles at each other. Even more, both games involve tactical thinking and they are a lot of fun.
However, having played both, I can easily tell you that the experience is not the same. Each game has its pros and cons and each is worth trying at least once. Still, for those of you who have not yet decided which one is best, today I’ll make a short comparison between the two sports.
The Game
The main idea is similar in both games, but with airsoft, it is more of a combat simulation. The game offers the best military experience due to the advanced tactics it implements and each team member has a well-defined purpose.
Paintball is mostly about hitting your adversary in order to eliminate them before they eliminate you. The game is not as organized from a military point of view, but it is more popular and has more events than airsoft.
The Guns
If you take a quick look on, you’ll notice that airsoft guns are very similar to real guns. Even more, manufacturers are required to add an orange tip at the end of the barrel to make it easier to distinguish between real guns and airsoft ones.
In paintball, you use special guns, designed to shoot paintballs that consist of a tank and hopper. Also, in order to aim, you only have to line up your nose with the barrel (with airsoft weapons you can use the available sights for a better aim).
However, airsoft guns need constant improvement (accessories and better parts) to become actually good while paintballs don’t require too much maintenance. Even more, paintball guns are a lot more durable so, you’ll only buy the gun once.
The Ammo
Airsoft weapons use BBs (small, round, plastic pellets) while paintball guns use capsules with a soluble dye that break upon impact. This way, with paintball, it’s a lot easier to know when you’ve hit someone – the die spreads across your target’s equipment and it’s highly visible.
With BBs, you need to rely on your enemies’ character as they are difficult to see in the field. There are some BBs that are painted green to be easier to see, but you still need to declare yourself shot and get out of the game.
The Events
Both sports have their events and some even offer prizes, but paintball is a lot better organized on this aspect.
The Rules
Both sports allow getting close to your opponent, but in airsoft, you shout ‘Bang!’ when you’re within a meter from your enemy. This is to avoid injuring someone as BBs can bruise or even produce damages when shot from a powerful weapon. In airsoft, you can also use toy knives to take down your opponents.
In paintball, you can tag your opponent with your barrel but you can also use toy swords, lightsabers, and other cool accessories. This happens if the other player is 5 feet away from you.
Overall, both sports allow you to move around and test your physical abilities as a shooter which is pretty great. Also, both help in building cohesion between team members and teaching team members how to communicate more effectively.

Article by: William Padilla


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Written by Greg Muller 8/5/2014

30 Years Ago – Today-

While stationed about the USS Gallant, a shipmate asked me to go along with him to the Yosemite area for a bachelor party to play paintball. I asked him what was so special about playing ping pong at Yosemite? He said No – Paintball. We made the drive from the Bay Area and played 6 on 6 with PGP’s, 007’s and Uvex goggles in the foothills just west the National Park in a town called Mariposa, CA. It was probably the most fun I had in 1984.

I was hooked. – but being stationed aboard a ship, we couldn’t take paint or gear with us, so we rented every chance we could from parks all over CA such as Borderlands, Mt Diablo, SC Village, American Canyon PB Jungle, Mare Island, PB Adventures, R & R , APG, Fields Of Fire, Maximum, PB Hill, Tombstone, TAG, PB USA and many more. After my stint with the Navy, I went to the Marine Corps in Fresno, CA and happened, by chance, to meet a fiery machinist named Nicky Wilson. Come to find out, she helped machine Earon Carters first guns along with a lot of parts, barrels, and accessories that are still in use, or derivatives thereof, today. She sold me a couple of guns. That’s a whole ‘nother story!

After getting out of the military, I moved to the San Joaquin Valley in CA. and worked part time in a surplus/police supply store in Stockton, CA. The store had a few paintball items and when I eventually became Manager, paintball was 60% of gross sales. Early on, paint was very expensive and I would split buying pallets with guys named Chuck Hendsch, Craig Stott, Vu Huang and a few other store/field owners in the area. Great friends like Machinegun Mike Baird (of the original Ironmen), along with Clayton and handful of Strike Force, Constant Pursuit , Tour De Force and other “Pro” guys lived locally and hung out at the store; Kids like Dave Bains, Rich Telford, Micah McGlocklin and Neil Eberle would come in to the shop as well. Wonder what happened to those guys? Later on as more companies emerged, it was good to see Bullseye, RPS, Cal-Mag, Nelson, Team Colors, Proball, Great Balls To Fire, ZAP, Diablo and Powerball all sitting on the shelf.

Being from the West coast gave me/us the opportunity to play for and against the best teams in the world. Playing 15-man in the woods with several teams for a short time was great, but there was nothing like our store team; Eat ‘Em Alive. Cory, Brian H, Tony, Brian A, Will, Mad-dog, Santos, Chad , Rob, Tino, Dan, Matt, John, Randy, John 2, Billy Ho, Kikkoman, Shawn, Big Dan, Little Danny (RIP), Dan D, Andrew, Mike C, Mike O, Jared, Scotty P, Jeff, Troy – We were a team. We hung out, played poker, gelled and had so many wins on the field, but more importantly, had fun playing together as great friends for over 10 years. These teammates have gone on to become successful lawyers, police officers, deputies, teachers, carpenters, photographers, stockbrokers, gov’t contractors, accountants, chefs, business managers. Some still play, others haven’t picked up a paintball gun in over a decade, or longer.

My sales rep at National Paintball Supply in South Carolina was former military, one conversation led to another and I found out they were looking for a buyer. Owners Rick Fairbanks and Doug Brown flew me out to SC, flew me back to CA and then moved us out to SC when they hired me! I was there for a few years, helped design a few pieces of gear, a few guns and a bolt or 2. There’s still some original SLA models for some very well -known gear floating around in my basement somewhere. I can’t thank them enough for mentoring me all those years. After that, I moved on to the National Paintball Supply franchise owned by Gino Postorivo as a regional manager/buyer in FL and SC. I survived the transition from NPS in to KEE Action Sports and worked there about 5 more years in Operations.

With the downsizing of KEE, promises were kept, I was compensated, let go and worked out of the industry during my 1 year of non-compete. 367 days later, I was hired, once again, by Gino at his new company, Valken Sports. Gino was very busy during his non-compete after leaving KEE, as well. Things happened, (or didn’t happen) and he was back in the paintball biz and I was once again handling Operations and Logistics for Gino and Joe. 4+ years later, I’ve done 140+ events and shows for Valken and hopefully made a difference.

Throughout my 3 decades in paintball, I’ve seen so many changes, growth and progress; too many fights, so many ups and downs, so much bitterness, hatred and corporate warring and somehow it’s all overshadowed by the scores of amazing people, happiness, fun, camaraderie, memories and experiences. Would I trade it for anything? Probably Just kidding! The scores upon scores of new friends, the awesome equipment and technology…wow – it’s been a ride!

There are quite a few people that have made an impact on my life and I thank you all for making the past 30 years in this sport and industry as good, bad and indifferent, as it’s been. It’s been a learning experience and I sincerely appreciate all of my friends, family, teammates, opponents and colleagues for the past 30 years of helping me get to do what I love to do.
Much Respect and here’s to 20 more.


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How to Get a Woman ….. to Play Paintball

(to the guys from a woman’s point of view)

“I wish my wife (girlfriend) would play paintball.” I have heard this phrase at so many events that it starts to get annoying. Well guys we (the women of paintball) want them to play too! Take a look around at your next scenario event. There are not many women running around, but those of us who are there would love to have more women there. Besides it gives you something to look at and someone for us to relate to.

The question is how we get more of them involved. The craziest way would be to get them mad and then tell them they can shoot you if they come out to the field with you; but I don’t recommend this. It could be really fun for her, but the parts of you she would be aiming for might hurt for weeks to come. However, this would only be a short term solution and we need to come up with long term solutions to recruit more women.

The trick is that most women do not enjoy getting hot, sweaty, and dirty while running around in the woods; let alone with an extra 10-20 pounds of gear on. Women who play scenario paintball are a unique breed in their own, but some did not even know they would like paintball until we played. The idea of spending a weekend with 98% men, running around in the woods with paintball guns, and pretending to be in a real life version of Modern Warfare just doesn’t draw women in.

So how do we market our sport to women? First, I know we all love our “war stories” from the games, but to an outsider talking about taking out 5 guys in a tower, bombing a base, or even “taking the flag” can turn them off the conversation. They might be interested but because they lack the basic understanding of paintball they would not truly understand.They may even think it sounds fun, but the stories most likely will not be enough to make them a huge fan. Why? Because they would have no idea what we’re talking about. Share more stories about the personal connections made or – here’s a good one – about the girls you saw playing!

Secondly, do not show ladies your “paint hickies” – most women are not going to get excited about any sport that causes bruises like that. Nor will they be interested once they find out some of those bruises can last a couple weeks. Seriously, most people will not be interested in a sport that can do that. (Like I said before – we are special people)

Finally, pitch it to them right! Women tend to be swayed by things that warm the heart (sorry ladies it’s just the fact that we’re kind of mushy in the heart department). Tell them about the great friends you have met, how no one is left out, and how they care about each other. Let them know how the people you have met playing are like family to you and will be there for you if you need them. Tell them about the kids you see playing – yes, because either they will think “well if a kid can do it I can” or “how sweet is that” (which goes back to warming her heart).

I make no promises that this will work, but from a woman’s perspective maybe it will help you guys get your girls out to the field. The key is to get them out there; trying it, because I swear most people get hooked the first time they play.

Kelly ~ Pistol ~ Brennan


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From Beyond the Netting: An Outsiders Perspective.

From Beyond

We all remember when we first started playing paintball. What Our first event was, who got us started, our first marker, it remains in our memories as the start of something great. but do you remember what life was like without paintball? I cant; because it has become so much of my life that I hardly believe that I was able to function without it.

Whenever I’m out walking around in my favorite paintball clothes I get looks from people that obviously haven’t played, only hearing about it here and there or have just been under a rock all these years, and when I do get stopped, I get all sorts of questions like: “Does it hurt?” “Why do you shoot people for fun?” and the most recent one that I’ve been asked “Why do you run around promoting gun violence?“. It’s those questions that are presented to me why I want this to be my first article.

I’ll answer the specific questions first just in case you are one of the people asking. One; it will only hurt in the beginning,
but you get used to it. Two; because tossing a ball and hitting it with a wooden stick got too boring. Three; we don’t promote gun violence, as a matter of fact, we do the exact opposite, we promote brotherhood, friendship, and we make the game of paintball the  safest thing possible when it comes to ‘guns’, just in case were were skeptical, paintball is the safest sport involving projectiles ever, due to our strict rules included into the game, if you don’t think so, go read the GSRP: (

or maybe the 35 page rule book for the NPPL Series:

Paintball even has the lowest injury rate per player than the NFL, which was at 215,000 people injured during 2011 for football related injuries, and baseball, which has had 110,000 injuries in 2011. My point is we keep it safer than “Men Without Hats“.

From the outsider perspective all you see is a bunch of guys yelling and pulling the trigger like a bunch of civil war rein-actors or Keanu Reeves from Point Break, but it is so much more than just a way for men to show their aggressive and manly side, even if we throwing paint grenades, or mod out our Tippman to look like a Chain guns:


Keep in mind that, yes, we run around yelling, we shoot people, but this isn’t a twisted game of hide and seek, this is a game where people can make bonds. Paintball to us isn’t about who can shoot who first, it’s a practice of life, it’s about learning, teaching, team work, and sportsmanship.

I started playing in late 2005 with my father, now I will admit, prior to paintball our relationship was rocky at best, but through the sport, we came together, not only as father and son, but we became friends, and we made friendships, most of those people I gladly call friends still to this day. Paintball got me out of my shell as a loner high school student making E’s, to a model student, and a class A citizen. The Sport teaches you that no one is different, we all have our strengths, our weaknesses, but above all else, you can always rely on someone to have your back. 

Some of you remember when you were younger your dad waking you up before the sun even came out, packed, and ready to go on that camping or fishing trip you had been planning for months, but for me that was paintball, it is something we (The Players) dedicate our lives to. not for the adrenaline rush, but as a vacation, a time to spend with friends and family, a time to get away from the daily 9-5 grind. we do not play “War Games” trying to “Kill” the other side as an outsider sees it, we play a friendly, more intense, game of tag among those we call friends, brothers, sisters, fathers, mothers, or even grandparents. Paintball builds character, it defines generations, and above all, it promotes growth in individuals.



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