What Hurts More Between Paintball and Airsoft?- Let’s Find out!

Last Updated on October 2, 2023 by Alex PT

Both paintball and airsoft can cause pain, but paintball generally hurts more due to higher impact velocities. Moreover, Paintballs are larger and hit harder, often causing more immediate pain. Airsoft pellets are smaller, making the pain less intense.

Which Hurts More Between Paintball and Airsoft

Paintball hurts more than airsoft for the following reasons:

  • Paintballs are larger and heavier than airsoft BBs. Paintballs are typically 0.68 inches in diameter and weigh around 3 grams, while airsoft BBs are typically 6mm in diameter and weigh around 0.2 grams. This means that paintballs have more kinetic energy, which translates to more force on impact.
  • Paintballs break on impact, while airsoft BBs do not. When a paintball hits a hard surface, it breaks open and splatters paint. This can cause a stinging sensation and even leave a bruise. Airsoft BBs, on the other hand, are made of hard plastic and typically bounce off of surfaces. This means that they are less likely to cause a lot of pain.
  • Paintballs can travel at speeds of up to 250 feet per second, while airsoft BBs can travel at speeds of up to 600 feet per second. However, airsoft BBs are lighter and smaller, so they have less kinetic energy at higher velocities. As a result, paintballs still tend to hurt more than airsoft BBs, even though they travel at a slower speed.

It is important to note that the amount of pain experienced from a paintball or airsoft hit can vary depending on the distance, velocity, and impact location. Getting hit in a sensitive area, such as the face or neck, will likely hurt more than getting hit in a less sensitive area, such as the arm or leg.

Comparing Paintball and Airsoft: What Are the Differences?

Reasons Why Paintball Hurts More

Paintball and airsoft are both popular games that simulate combat. They both require players to wear protective gear and use guns that shoot projectiles. However, there are some critical differences between the two games;

  • Paintball guns shoot larger pellets at a higher velocity than airsoft guns, which can cause more pain when they hit a person.
  • Paintballs also break upon impact, leaving a minor wound.
  • Airsoft pellets are smaller and travel slower, so they generally cause less pain than paintballs. However, they can penetrate the skin and cause bruising because they don’t break upon impact.
  • In addition, while paintballs may be more painful in the short term, airsoft injuries may worsen over time because they do not heal.
AmmunitionPaintballs (larger, filled with paint)BB pellets (smaller, plastic)
ImpactPaintballs hit harder, more immediate painAirsoft pellets cause less intense pain
Safety GearTypically requires more extensive protective gearGenerally requires eye protection and minimal padding
Play StyleOften involves strategic team-based playAllows for various play styles, including MilSim (military simulation)
CostHigher cost per game due to paint and equipmentLower cost for BB pellets and gear
RealismLess realistic due to paint splatterOffers a more realistic appearance
MarkingLeaves visible paint marks on targetLacks visible marks, relies on honor system

Factors Influencing the Pain Felt by the Hit

Factors That Influence Pain Felt By The Hit

The type of gun you’re shot with makes a difference- a pump-action paintball gun will hurt less than an automatic one. Airsoft guns fire at a lower velocity than paintballs, but they’re often used at close range, making the hit feel just as painful.

The type of ammunition can also affect the amount of pain felt- Biodegradable pellets cause less pain than non-biodegradable ones. Ultimately, it depends on personal preference and tolerance for pain. If you want to be able to take some shots and keep going without too much interruption, then go with airsoft. If you prefer a sport that causes immediate pain so that you know when the game is over, then go with paintball. Here are other factors that influence the pain felt:

1.     The Gun’s FPS

When determining which will hurt more, you must look at the gun’s FPS or feet per second. This measures how fast the projectile is moving when it hits you. A higher FPS means a faster-moving projectile, which will, in turn, cause more pain.

2.     The BB’s Weight

 The next aspect to look at is the weight of the BB. Heavier BBs will not only travel slower, but they will also pack a bigger punch when they hit you. So if you’re looking for something that’s going to hurt less, go for a lighter BB.

3.     The direction of the Wind Flow

The wind flow’s direction can significantly impact how much pain you feel when hit by a paintball or airsoft pellet. If the wind blows toward you, it will magnify the pain. If the wind blows away from you, it will lessen the pain. So, if you want to minimize the pain you feel, choose a day when the wind is blowing in your favor!

These small and lightweight pellets don’t hurt as severely as larger projectiles like bullets or arrows. That being said, this doesn’t mean that one is better than the other both hurt just about equally!

4.     Distance Between two Players

When playing airsoft, the average distance between players is around 50 feet. The average distance between players in a paintball game is 30 feet. So, if you want to be hit with less force and pain, it’s better to play airsoft.

Also, the type of surface you’re playing on can make a difference. If you’re playing on a hard surface like concrete, the impact will be more significant than if you’re playing on grass. Finally, your pain tolerance should be considered when deciding which game to play. If you’re someone who can’t handle much pain, it’s probably best to stick with airsoft.

How Does Distance Affect Pain in Airsoft and Paintball?

Distance can significantly affect the pain experienced in both Airsoft and Paintball:


  • Close Range: At close range (typically within 10-20 feet), Airsoft pellets can cause more pain as they have less time to disperse energy, resulting in a sharper impact.
  • Medium Range: At medium range (20-50 feet), the pain is moderate, with the sensation of being hit but less intense compared to close quarters.
  • Long Range: Beyond 50 feet, the pain diminishes significantly, often feeling like a light tap due to reduced pellet energy.


  • Close Range: At close range, paintball impacts can be extremely painful due to the larger size and higher velocity of the projectiles.
  • Medium Range: Pain remains substantial at medium range, as paintballs still maintain significant energy.
  • Long Range: Paintballs lose velocity and energy over distance, so the pain diminishes at longer ranges, but they may still sting.

Safety Precautions When Playing Paintball and Airsoft Games

It is critical to partake in safety precautions when playing any sport, especially contact sports like paintball and airsoft.

  • Wear appropriate clothing to protect yourself from being hit.
  • Always use eye protection.
  • Be aware of your surroundings and know where the safe areas are.
  • Don’t run with your gun; keep your finger off the trigger until you’re ready to shoot. Most importantly, have fun!

Paintball and airsoft games can be a great way to spend time with friends while simultaneously exercising and developing tactical skills.

Which Body Part Hurts More When Hit

Paintball and airsoft are physically demanding sports that require a lot of running, diving, and rolling around on the ground. Because of this, players are often hit in the same body areas– the legs, arms, and chest. So which sport causes more pain when you’re hit? Here are the parts that hurt the most:

1.     Eyes

When getting hit in the eyes, paintball and airsoft can cause much pain. Paintballs are larger and often break upon impact, causing shards of paint to fly into your eyes. Airsoft pellets are smaller but travel at a higher velocity and can cause serious eye injuries. You risk serious injury with either sport if you’re not wearing proper eye protection.

2.     Neck and the Back of the Head

A few areas on the body seem to be universal when taking hits from either paintballs or airsoft pellets- the neck and the back of the head. These are both sensitive areas, and even with protective gear, you will feel it when you get hit. In terms of which hurts more, it’s a close tie. Paintballs tend to break upon impact, so they can cause a lot of bruising. On the other hand, airsoft pellets don’t break but can pack a serious punch. It depends on how well protected and how direct the hit is.


In conclusion, paintball and airsoft can hurt depending on where you hit. Paintballs tend to hurt more because they are larger and travel faster, while airsoft pellets are smaller but can still pack a punch. It depends on personal preference and tolerance for pain. Whichever game you choose, make sure to wear protective gear!

You can find the necessary equipment online and in local sporting goods stores. You will want to invest in gloves, kneepads, mouth guards, goggles, masks, a gun safety kit, and extra ammo for your weapon. We recommend not aiming for the head, so the opponent doesn’t get knocked out or sustain severe injuries like blindness from the paint.

Reference 1: https://waradventures.co.nz/airsoft-vs-paintball/

Reference 2: https://johnnyholland.org/2021/08/what-hurts-more-paintball-or-airsoft/#r

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