Does Airsoft Hurt More Than Paintball? Pain Factor 

Does Airsoft Hurt More Than Paintball.

Airsoft and paintball have gained significant popularity in recreational combat sports in recent years. 

One question that often arises when comparing these two activities is, “Does airsoft hurt more than paintball?” 

While both sports involve shooting projectiles at high velocities much like speedball and woodsball, some differences can affect the level of pain experienced. 

In this article, we will look at the factors contributing to the perceived pain in paintball and airsoft and determine which hurts more. But before we get into the nitty–gritty, here is a quick answer to your question.

Does Airsoft Hurt More Than Paintball?

Both paintball and airsoft guns have a similar velocity, ranging from 300-400 fps. However, the key difference between the two lies in the weight of the projectiles. 

The average airsoft ball bearing weighs approximately 0.20 grams, translating to an energy release of 0.84 Joules. 

On the other hand, a typical paintball ball weighs about 3 grams, resulting in an energy release of 12.5 Joules. 

The above comparison shows that paintballs possess more than 12 times the energy of airsoft BBs. Hence, paintballs will inflict significantly greater pain when compared to airsoft BBs.

Impact Force Analysis:  Airsoft Vs Paintball

In airsoft, 6mm plastic BBs with masses like 0.20g, 0.25g, 0.28g, and 0.32g are used. Some argue that Airsoft is less painful than paintball, but experiences may differ. 

Considering the kinetic energy formula (KE = 1/2mv^2), we observe that paintball has higher kinetic energy, approximately 12 times more under certain conditions.

The kinetic energy of a Paintball is calculated as (3.3g)(91.5m/s)^2/2, resulting in 13814.21. For an Airsoft BB with a mass of 0.20g, the kinetic energy is calculated as (0.20g)(122m/s)^2/2, giving 1488.4.

To find the velocity needed for the Airsoft BB to hit with the same energy as a Paintball, we set the two equations equal to each other: (0.20g)(v)^2/2 = 13814, solving for v.

However, we raise the question of determining each projectile’s force applied to the skin. We mention the equation F = ma, but the challenge lies in not knowing the acceleration. 

Additionally, we consider the impulse-momentum theorem (F = ΔP/Δt) but express uncertainty about calculating impact force, especially when altering the mass or velocity of the BB.

To accurately determine the impact force, we may consider incorporating the change in momentum (ΔP) and time (Δt) into the analysis. 

The relationship F = ΔP/Δt could be utilized, but calculating the actual force on the skin might require additional information about the impact duration or other factors influencing the interaction between the projectile and the target.

Suggested reading: How fast is paintball?

What’s Airsoft?

Airsoft is a recreational shooting sport that simulates real-life military scenarios using replica firearms. 

These firearms shoot plastic pellets called BBs, which are designed to minimize injury and maximize safety. 

Airsoft guns are powered by various mechanisms such as electric, gas, or spring and are typically used in organized team competitions or military simulation games. 

What’s Paintball?

Paintball is an outdoor recreational activity that involves players shooting each other with paint-filled capsules using air-powered guns called paintball markers. 

It can be played in various settings such as wooded areas, open fields, or specially designed arenas. 

The objective of the game is to eliminate opposing players by marking them with paint while avoiding being hit.

Painful Places To Get Shot In Paintball And Airsoft

Anyone participating in paintball or airsoft games knows that getting shot is an inevitable part of the experience. However, a shot can be particularly painful in certain body areas.

  1. Eye – Eyes are the windows to our souls! Unfortunately, they’re also quite delicate and sensitive. Getting shot in the eye during a paintball or airsoft match is not only excruciating but also potentially dangerous. 

To avoid turning yourself into a one-eyed pirate, always wear goggles or protective masks that cover your precious peepers.

  1. Ears – Getting shot in the ears might not seem like a big deal at first, but it can sting like a swarm of angry bees! 

Not to mention the embarrassment of walking around with bright red ears afterwards. So, don’t forget to tuck those ears away or invest in some ear protection.

  1. Arms, hands, fingers & legs – Our hands, arms, and fingers are prime targets for incoming projectiles. 

A well-placed shot on your delicate fingers can bring tears to your eyes and temporarily cripple your trigger finger. So, keep those hands behind cover, and wear long shirts and pants to protect your arms and legs too.

  1. Neck – A shot to the neck is not only painful but can also leave you feeling like a turtle without its shell. This is why wearing shorts with pull necks or any other gear is important to protect your neck. 
  1. Shins – Who needs shin guards when you have paintball or airsoft? Well, probably you! Getting shot in the shins can feel like receiving a swift kick from an angry kangaroo. 

So, unless you’re auditioning for a role in a slapstick comedy routine, make sure to armor up those shins to avoid hopping around in agony.

What Determines The Pain Level In Airsoft and Paintball?

In airsoft and paintball, is where grown adults wear their combat gear and unleash their inner warriors. 

It’s where pain and pleasure collide, leaving battle scars and unforgettable memories behind. But what determines the pain level in these adrenaline-fueled skirmishes?

1. Distance from the gun

It’s a straightforward concept; the farther you are from the person shooting, the less impact the projectile will have. This is because the force of impact decreases as distance increases. 

Therefore, being hit from a close range will result in a higher pain level than being shot from a distance.

2. Velocity 

Higher velocities will result in more forceful impacts, leading to increased pain. If you are hit with a gun with a higher muzzle, you will experience more pain compared to that of a gun with lower velocity.

3. Clothing

Additionally, the player’s clothing can influence the pain level experienced. Thick and padded clothing can help absorb some impact energy, reducing pain. 

On the other hand, wearing thin or tight-fitting clothing provides less protection and can result in a higher level of pain when hit.

4. Body part hit

Certain body areas, such as exposed skin or sensitive areas like the face or groin, are more prone to experiencing higher pain levels. Being hit on these areas can be more painful than hitting less sensitive areas like the arms or legs.

5. Protective gear

Wearing the right protective gear, like masks, gloves, and padding, can significantly remove the edge. It’s like having a shield in a medieval battle – it won’t make you invincible, but it sure helps.

6. Pain tolerance 

We all have different pain thresholds. What feels like a mosquito bite to you might be more memorable for someone else. It’s the unique way our bodies interpret and handle those little zings.

Paintball Guns Vs. Airsoft Guns

One of the key distinctions between paintball and airsoft is the type of “weapon” used. While neither sport involves actual firearms, paintball players use specialized markers powered by compressed air. 

On the other hand, airsoft enthusiasts wield realistic-looking guns that closely resemble real firearms. These airsoft guns are designed to replicate rifles, pistols, or shotguns and are equipped with various mechanisms such as spring, gas, or electric drives. 

Paintball Ammunition Vs. Airsoft Ammunition

The ammunition used in paintball and airsoft games also differs significantly. In paintball, the ammunition consists of gelatin balls filled with paint. 

These balls burst upon impact and show that the opponent has been hit. Airsoft ammunition comprises much smaller airsoft BBs with a 6 mm caliber. These BBs are made of either plastic or biodegradable materials and are considerably lighter. 

Both types of ammunition are safe to shoot at other players, but only within designated game areas and with strict adherence to safety regulations.

Paintball Vs. Airsoft: Role Of Players

 In airsoft, players assume different roles based on the type of weaponry they use. Unlike paintball, airsoft offers a wider range of roles to accommodate the various guns available. 

For instance, snipers rely on long-distance sniper rifles for precision shooting. Assault troops use rifles and grenades for offensive maneuvers. 

Shotguns are used for breaching doors and navigating tight corners. Heavy weapons players, on the other hand, handle autocannons to provide firepower support. 

Additionally, longer scenario battles often feature team medics who provide medical assistance to their fellow players.

The roles of paintball players are determined by their experience level and personal preferences. All players are equipped with identical weaponry. 

Paintball technology is used by military forces, law enforcement agencies, para-military groups, and security organizations to enhance military training, handle riots, and safely subdue hazardous individuals without causing harm.


When comparing the pain factor between airsoft and paintball, it can be said that both sports have their level of impact; however, paintball is a little bit more painful. 

While airsoft pellets may cause a sharper sting upon impact, paintball hits can be more spread out and leave larger visible marks. Ultimately, pain perception is subjective and can vary from person to person. 

Additionally, it depends on various factors, such as the distance from which the projectile was fired and the type of protective gear worn.

John Henrick

My name is John Hendricks, and I am a passionate paintballer who loves to play and compete. I have been involved in the sport for many years and have a wealth of experience to share.
I believe that paintball is a great sport for people of all ages and skill levels and should be accessible to everyone. That’s why I created this website – to provide a one-stop shop for all things paintball.

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