Before you start ..
This article is for information purposes only, and is largely opinion based. Paintball players should be aware that we strongly support Paintball, and believe it is an excellent sport. With that being said, our specialty is Airsoft, and we can only write about our expertise. All information regarding Paintball was acquired from real-players as well as physical data.
This article does contain a bias towards Airsoft - be advised!
What is Airsoft?
Airsoft is a competitive sport that is very similar to Paintball, and is easily one of the most exhilarating extreme sports out there. Experience unparalleled intensity as you work by yourself or with teammates to change the outcome of battle. Stay physical and active, all while learning sophisticated combat techniques that can extend your in-game life-span.
There's a lot to Airsoft, and below you will find our personal top 10 reasons why this sport is worth getting into.
Reason #1 - Realism
"If you want a genuine military experience without all the bullets, then this is it.
When you want to experience all the intensity of warfare without the danger of casualties, nothing comes closes to the adrenaline rush that you will get from playing Airsoft. Everything down to the appearance, the scenarios, and even the player discipline is exactly what you would expect to see on a modern-day battlefield. Airsoft is about pushing yourself and finding out how well you would do in a battle scenario when you are responsible for defending yourself and teammates.
Reason #2 - The Guns
"Have a dream gun? Now is the chance to get it AND use it."
Typically, Airsoft guns are nearly perfect replicas of their real-world counterparts. Higher tier guns are built from strong durable materials such as metal or various nylon blends, and can even include realistic blow-back action that gives the guns a realistic kick.
Airsoft uses 6mm plastic bbs for ammo, and because the bbs are so small, players can carry massive amounts of ammo in clips and on their person.
Airsoft guns are normally powered by either electricity, compressed gas, or a simple spring and piston assembly. Automatic Electric Guns (AEGs) are the most widely used, as they are cheap and easy to use for extended periods of time. A battery is charged and placed inside the gun to power an electric motor and piston assembly, which offers excellent fire-rates and power in high tier weapons.
Gas operated weapons are very powerful and often include a blow-back kick, but will need to be resupplied with fuel more often and will also be slightly more expensive due to the cost of replacing the gas. Gas powered weapons are usually powered by either 12 gram CO2 cartridges, or green gas - an Airsoft specific gas that is mixed with oil.
Spring weapons are the most basic type of Airsoft gun, but can also be some of the most powerful. Sniper rifles are typically spring powered to replicate bolt action rifles, and can fire close to (or over, but legally shouldn't) 500 FPS.
Reason #3 - Tactics & Strategy
"Survival of the fittest? Not quite."
If you are the kind of person who likes to make a detailed plan to make sure your team succeeds, then there will always be a place for you in Airsoft. The best teams thrive on excellent teamwork and communication, and will always be coordinated in their efforts to survive and take out the other players.
During an Airsoft scenario, there are many different types of objectives that will need to be completed. Airsoft players are very creative with their game modes, and usually custom tailor their game modes to suit the arena and number of players. Teams that fail to cooperate will never be as effective as a highly trained squad, regardless of their equipment - so play smart out there!
Reason #4 - Honour Sport
"Airsoft can really bring the best out of some, and the worst out of others."
In Paintball, it is very simple to know when you are hit. This is because the ammo fired are actually large balls of paint that explode on impact, marking the player with a blotch of paint.
In Airsoft, there are few ways to know for certain if a player has been hit unless you clearly see or hear it happen. This can be very difficult to do at a distance, and it is the responsibility of the players to call their own hits. This can be very testing of new friendships, so it is advised that you try Airsoft with a very close group of friends before anything else.
This actually works in the sports favour though, because over time, players who are caught for not calling their hits are inevitably caught. This means that the majority of the players that remain playing Airsoft for a long period of time posses a high degree of integrity and are honourable on the field.
There is now a product that can help cut down on Airsoft cheaters. They are the same sized 6mm plastic bbs as always, but they will leave a mark on players once they have been hit. The bbs are coated in a dry lubricant, that will actually help to maintain your gun by using. This will certainly assist in making matches smoother, and reduce the uncertainty of hits.
Reason #5 - Replay Often
"It's like going for a run - except you're wide awake when you're done."
Airsoft ammo is cheap and simple to replace, and the guns are easy to keep powered with their various power sources. The bbs fired are also clean and do not leave a mess at the point of impact, but will dent and break soft materials.
One drawback to the sport Paintball is the damage that paintballs can to do players. The sport is often affiliated with penny sized welts that appear as circular bruises on the skin. At close ranges on bare skin, bleeding can occur as well.
In Airsoft, the bbs fired are more accurate, yet don't have the same large size and weight, so they do not cause as much damage and hurts considerably less compared to Paintball.*
With that being said, the proper safety equipment should always be worn to reduce the risk of injury. Airsoft fires solid projectiles that can cause serious damage to the head if protection is not worn - be prepared!
*Comparison is valid when facing off an Airsoft and a Paintball gun of the same FPS at a range of 30 feet, aimed at the chest, wearing only a simple cotton shirt to protect the skin.
|Rounds||Airsoft Ammo Cost||Paintball Ammo Cost|
Reason #6 - Cost Effectiveness
"I have more ammo on me than I could use in a year."
When talking about the cost effectiveness of Airsoft, it must naturally be compared to Paintball.
The first main separation is the cost of ammo, as Paintball players spend around $30 on 2,000 rounds, while Airsoft players only spend around $10 - $20 for 5,000 rounds. The difference is small at first, but does add up very quickly for players that continue to play over a long period of time.
Airsoft guns also very in price a lot more dramatically than Paintball guns. Airsoft guns can cost less than $20, but can also go well into the thousands of dollars. This means that it is a sport that is accessible to players of all financial situations.
Finally, Airsoft guns are typically cheaper to refuel than Paintball guns. While there are plenty of gas powered Airsoft guns, the majority of them are powered by electricity or springs which are cheap and free to refuel, respectively.
Reason #7 - Modifications
"There is a monster inside of every Airsoft gun - you just need the parts to tame it."
Because Airsoft guns are so streamline in their builds, it is all too simple to attach an array of modifications to them. As well, extreme players can buy parts from other guns and build themselves something completely unique.
Airsoft guns can also be multi-purpose, and might sport a grenade launcher or shotgun attachment for certain situations. Modifications are still very possible with Paintball guns, it just becomes more difficult due to the placement of the hopper and CO2 system.
There are self-feeding ammo systems that can hold and fire thousands of rounds without ever needing to be reloaded, and even multi-shot systems that are normally used in shotguns.
Reason #8 - Accuracy & Power
"All I felt was the bb hitting me - I still have no idea where you were."
Airsoft guns are not restricted in power (physically speaking) as the bbs are solid, and can be fired at insane speeds - not only in terms of FPS, but also in rate of fire. This means that Airsoft guns can fire with impressive accuracy at long distances.
Also, new ammo is now available that has a texture similar to that of a golf ball to allow for even more stable flight. This is excellent news for Airsoft snipers, as they will now be able to hit targets more consistently and at greater ranges.
Reason #9: Environmentally Friendly
"It's like plant food - high-speed plant food."
Unlike many similar sports, Airsoft offers completely bio-degradable ammo. The ammo costs about twice as much as regular ammo, but will degrade completely within a matter of months, sometimes weeks.
Also, because the projectiles are solid, it does not leave paint stains at the point of impact - preserving the fields natural colours. While the bbs can still chip, dent, and break weaker materials, the impact marks are much less noticeable on durable sections.
Reason #10: Year-Round Fun
"Rain doesn't stop Airsoft - rain makes Airsoft better."
Airsoft guns are durable, and most can be used in any weather. (Most) CO2 powered guns can be used while completely underwater, and spring operated Airsoft rifles will fire (but not cycle) underwater as well. Even AEGs can be brought out into the rain if protected correctly.
A lot of players prefer playing in the winter because the cold weather helps to moderate their temperatures, as the intensity of Airsoft will undoubtedly raise your core temperature.
There is always more to learn about Airsoft, as the sport is constantly changing, improving, and expanding. More and more players are moving to Airsoft for the intensity and realism, but end up staying around for the memories and new friends.
This isn't just a sport anymore, it's a social revolution - so get out there and join in!
We have a (Definitive) Beginners' Guide To Airsoft coming soon, so be sure to follow us!
This article will be updated regularly, so be sure to check back often! Thanks for reading!
- Alex Chapman
Before you leave ..
What's your favourite part of Airsoft?
Harry on November 09, 2020:
I'm 69 years old and my oldest grandson is 11 and we try to play as often as possible. What a blast, a couple of weeks ago he got lit up by an SMG, he didn't like it but just jumped back it. Airsoft is also a great stress relief. Come play.
THE CATCH on September 01, 2020:
I am trying to convince my parents about letting me play airsoft and this helped thanks!
itsyaboi on September 20, 2017:
fun fun fun
best adrenaline rush you can get
OdellFan#13 on December 17, 2016:
i was already interested although imm not aloud to play airsoft i enjoy seeing this stuff about airsoft hopefully i get some airsoft guns from my nana for christmas
bgigstead on March 23, 2016:
Great article. Keep 'em coming, need to grow the sport.