Are you a diehard paintball enthusiast? Do you and your friends like to head out on the weekends to unwind yourselves at the range? Or perhaps you prefer airsoft to paintball. Either way, shooting around with your friends or playing a competitive game can be a great pursuit for many.
While these are both great options on their own, when you are presented with a choice, it can be tricky.
Airsoft and paintball may fulfill a similar purpose, but they are built differently. One key area where the two differ is the impact on the target. This leads to a fundamental question, “Does Airsoft Hurt More Than Paintball?” Well, let’s find out.
What is Paintball and How Does It Work?
Paintball is a popular team sport involving shooting within a particular range or venue. The game involves splitting a group of people into teams, handing them paintball guns, and having them shoot at each other to determine a winner.
Paintballs are basically spherical dye-filled gelatin capsules that break after an impact. They were specifically designed to be shot using low-energy air rifles or air pistols. They are commonly used in recreational shooting in the sport of paintball.
Paintballs are designed to ensure that the impact does not cause severe impact and injure someone. The paintball itself shatters right after hit to ensure that.
However, to avoid any scope of injury, laws require players to play wearing protective goggles, paintball suits, and some additional gear.
Typically, getting hit by a paintball causes a sting-like feeling, but that feeling is only momentary. It is similar to a hard flick on the arm in terms of pain level.
However, in some instances, getting hit by a paintball can cause bruises and swelling. How much it hurts depends on a few key factors. The distance from which the paintball is fired is one of them.
The closer the distance, the more likely it is to hurt. Getting hit in a sensitive region like the eyes will undoubtedly hurt a lot more. Thus, it is highly recommended to wear some protective gear before partaking in this activity.
What is Airsoft and How Does it Works?
Similar to paintball, airsoft is a team shooting sport. Players are divided into teams, given weapons to fight it out in a venue. The difference is instead of paintballs, the players use airsoft.
Now, what is airsoft? Airsoft is very similar to paintballs in terms of the core idea, but the difference is that it does not explode and leave a visual marking. There is no apparent way to tell that a player has been hit.
Airsoft is played using airsoft guns, which are low-energy weapons and airsoft pellets. The rounds that are fired from the airsoft gun are plastic pellets. These projectiles are very lightweight, and they range from 0.12 to 0.5 grams, the average being 0.25 grams.
The average pellet is around 6 mm in diameter, making them pretty compact. Overall, the dimensions of the airsoft pellets are smaller than the majority of paintballs.
The airsoft gun typically hurts very little, causing pain similar to that of a pinch. However, to ensure safety standards, most places require you to wear protective goggles and a special suit.
The amount of pain in this case also varies based on the distance, and it is often advisable to not shoot from up close.
Which One Hurts More? Airsoft or Paintball?
Now we have arrived at the coveted question; which one hurts more or less. This question is important because many people determine which recreational activity to pursue based on intangible factors like the one mentioned. After all, why not go for the alternative that hurts a little less?
Does Airsoft Hurt More Than Paintball; this question can actually be answered in multiple ways. There is a multitude of factors involved in the process. Let us find out.
Consideration of Mass and Volume
Put a paintball and an airsoft pellet side by side, and the difference becomes glaringly evident. In terms of size, mass, and dimensions, a paintball is significantly larger than airsoft in every way.
If we speak in numbers, an average airsoft BB has a diameter of 6 mm. Flip over to the other side, and paintballs have a diameter of 18 mm, more or less. That essentially means that paintballs are 3 times the size of airsoft.
The difference becomes even more precise and stark when we move on to measuring their masses. Paintballs, on average, are significantly heavier than airsoft pellets.
The average weight of paintball ranges from 2.8 to 3 grams. Whereas airsoft pellets or BBs are ultra light at 0.2-0.3 grams.
Now that we have established that paintballs are noticeably larger and much heavier than airsoft, what is our main understanding from this? We can safely calculate that paintballs hurt more than airsoft. But why is that? Let us delve into the science behind that.
For this case, we can assume that both paintballs and airsoft travel at roughly the same velocity, and any differences are minimal. We know that when a heavier and larger projectile moves through the air and hits a target, it generates a lot more kinetic energy than a lighter projectile.
According to a basic energy calculation, straight out of the barrel, a paintball has 12 joules of kinetic energy. Meanwhile, an airsoft pellet has about 0.9 joules of kinetic energy. Assuming they have the same velocity, that is a stark difference.
Thus, based on the consideration regarding mass and volume, airsoft will hurt noticeably less than a paintball and is less likely to cause bruises.
Consideration of Velocity
The common principle is that the faster we are hit by an object, the more energy is transferred and the more it hurts or stings. This certainly applies to the airsoft vs. paintball conundrum too.
In general, airsoft pellets and paintballs both leave the gun at roughly 300fps. There are certain airsoft bolt action sniper rifles that can go up to 500fps, but usually, they hover around 300-320.
Airsoft pellets typically have a slight velocity advantage when leaving the gun. But the difference is minimal at best when compared to paintballs.
The slight velocity advantage of airsoft is negated by the fact that paintballs are heavier and bigger and generate much larger energy. Therefore, even taking velocity into account, airsoft hurts less than paintballs.
Consideration of Distance
The distance from which you are shooting at your target also determines how much it’ll hurt the target. The general rule of thumb is: the closer the distance, the more it hurts.
The reason behind this is that as a projectile travels through the air, it faces resistance, and the velocity is depleted. The more the distance, the less force it generates when the target is hit.
As a result, if you’re shooting from a longer distance or get shot from a longer distance, it will hurt less. This is true for both paintball and airsoft. From shorter distances, both have the capacity to hurt.
However, once again, airsoft is likely to hurt less than a paintball in the shorter distance or longer.
Where it Hits
Another thing that determines how much it will hurt is which body part the paintball or airsoft pellet hits. It goes without saying that if someone gets hit in a sensitive region like the chest or the neck instead of the arms, it’ll hurt a lot more.
Eyes or the groin are also sensitive regions, and getting hit in either would be a painful experience. There is a reason that paintball or airsoft venues mandate some level of protection. The more protected you are, the lesser the chances of you getting hurt.
Taking into consideration almost all the factors like velocity, mass, dimensions, and distance, we can arrive at a conclusion. As a rule of thumb, airsoft does not hurt more than paintball. Neither of these two really hurt that much on the general scale of things.
Still, without adequate protection or protective equipment, you may end up with bruises or burns, or even injuries to critical areas. An airsoft pellet is much lighter and smaller than a paintball and, as we proved, hurts less overall.
But that does not mean that you should sacrifice safety in any way. We still strongly suggest you wear protective goggles and gear, follow protocol, and respect other players. That way, you can enjoy responsibly and have quite some fun!