The guns used in airsoft and paintball are quite different; Airsoft guns and rifles, whether gas, electric or sniper rifles or spring guns, are popular as they are highly realistic replicas of military guns and a relatively cheaper option. The main difference between the types of gun is that paintball guns have a hopper that the paintballs are poured into, whereas airsoft guns use clips. Clips make loading and unloading a straightforward process and the extra clips are light to carry. In paintball a belt or vest is necessary to hold the big cylinders of paintballs.
Start up packages for Airsoft or Paintball are around the same price, however, further costs are incurred when purchasing ammunition and carrying out any maintenance and repairs to the guns. Taken as a whole, Airsoft guns work out less expensive as Airsoft pellets are a lot cheaper to produce than paintballs are and the ammunition used makes the guns less liable to ‘jam.’ The biggest outlay is the purchase of the Airsoft gun, after this initial cost everything extra is relatively cheap.
Airsoft guns have a longer range than paintball guns with most shooting between 250fps to 600fps, an Airsoft pellet will also travel a lot further than a paintball pellet will.
Ammunition used in games is paintballs and 6mm BBs in airsoft games. Games can be played in woods/forests or in an open area, if the area is wooded the paintballs can have a problem reaching their target as the trees and bushes stop their progress and can even break them. Airsoft pellets are much smaller and the likelihood of them hitting something in the way is less probable.
Airsoft guns are more accurate than paintballs, so games are concluded faster as targets are hit. Players can also easily avoid paintballs, if they see it coming in beforehand it’s quite easy to move out of its way, whereas Airsoft pellets are too small to see when they are traveling at a high speed and would be very difficult to avoid.
Airsoft guns are much easier to maneuver with as they are lightweight and easy to hold, whilst paintball guns tend to be large and unwieldy with external CO2 and N2 or compressed air cylinders. Also, the hopper can occasionally get in the way.
Paintball guns need to be oiled, regularly cleaned and refilled each time you want to play. If you own a gas airsoft gun it will also need refilling each time you play, but electric and spring airsoft guns require no gas at all. Both types of guns will require regular maintenance to ensure they stay in good working condition. Although a simple process, paintball guns will need the barrel cleaned on a regular basis and they do have more parts than airsoft guns proving more costly to fix.
Both Paintball and Airsoft Guns each have their individual advantages and disadvantages. How the gun looks, costs, speed and effectiveness will all contribute towards the final decision you make.