Playing Airsoft as an Alternative to Paintball

He's waiting for the kill
He's waiting for the kill

Paintball is a great sport, and is quite possibly one of the best sports ever concieved. It combines rushes of adrenaline, lots of exercise, strategy, and an experience that few activities can match. However, paintball is not as realistic as some could hope for, and it is an expensive sport to play. Paint can cost $40 for 2000 paintballs, and many people find that they can chew through this in a single day of play. So, if you are looking for a more realistic game that is similar to paintball, or just want to stop paying so much money for paint, then you should consider playing airsoft.

This hub is for learning more about the sport of airsoft and how to play it. If you want more information on what guns to buy or just what to look for in an airsoft gun, check out this article.

What Is Airsoft?

In essence, airsoft is a sport where opposite teams fight each other using guns that simulate the look and feel of their actual firearm counterparts. The guns fire little plastic pellets that go anywhere from 200 fps to 500 fps. The goal is varied from game to game, but the goal typically is to eliminate all the team members of the opposite side.

What many people get wrong about airsoft is that the only thing you can do with airsoft guns is play elimination games. This is as untrue as saying that you can only play elimination games with paintball guns. Here are a few of the myths of airsoft that I think distort the view of what airsoft really is.

Airsoft is a game for little kids: This is false. In fact, people of all ages play airsoft. Little kids get all the attention because they are often the ones that cause problems with airsoft guns in public. This creates the false notion that...

Airsoft guns cause to many problems with police: This can only happen if you play in view of the public, which you should never do. Play in a place in which you have permission to be there, and is out of view of people. Airsoft guns look exactly like the real guns that they imitate, and it can scare some people into thinking that you are playing with assault rifles in your backyard.

Airsoft guns are cheap plastic toys that break within days: This is very far from the truth. If you go to a real airsoft store, then you will see that airsoft guns can have higher quality than the car you drove to the store with. Many have full metal bodies, licensing from the actual firearm makers, and feature the exact qualities that the real guns feature. The only difference is that they fire pellets.

Airsoft promotes irresponsibility and cheating: Not true. This may arise from the fact that airsoft relies on the honor system, and many people don't adhere to the honor system well. However, airsoft doesn't promote cheating, if anything, it negates it. Remember, if you don't call your shots, you are only going to get shot more. If you are a cheater, you are going to cheat no matter what, regardless if you play airsoft or not. If you play with responsible people, this won't happen.

Airsoft guns can get extremely close to the real thing.
Airsoft guns can get extremely close to the real thing.
They can see you, but can you see them?
They can see you, but can you see them?

The History Of Airsoft

The sport of airsoft was created in Japan due to the banning of real firearms in the 1980s. People still were interested in them, and companies started to produce guns that look exactly the same, but they shot little pellets instead. The sport, now called airsoft, took off in Japan and quickly gained attention from neighboring countries. Eventually, airsoft made it's way to the U.S and Europe, and is quickly becoming one of the alternatives to paintball.

The Differences Between Airsoft Guns and Paintball Guns

One major difference between airsoft guns and paintball guns is that airsoft guns are exact replicas of their real steel counterparts. They are the exact same size, colors, and even sometimes the exact same weight. They can have scopes and lasers mounted on them. Some can even have airsoft grenade launchers put on the front of the airsoft gun. This gives you the ability to customize an airsoft gun to no end. Most paintball guns lack this ability, except for the tippmann models.

Airsoft guns also hold much more ammo than a typical paintball gun can, in a smaller space as well. Most airsoft guns are magazine fed, and hold around 300 to 400 rounds each. However, if you want total realism, then they also make magazines that hold the equivalent amount of ammo that it normally would.

Paintball guns can weigh quite a bit. After you add the gun, paint, air, and other equipment, it ends up weighing enough to where it is grueling to run around for a few hours in the sun. Airsoft guns weigh much less, so it is easier to move around and maneuver around obstacles and what not. However, if you like something with a little more weight, then there are manufactures who make guns that have been weighted to the exact amount of the real deal.

Airsoft guns can also be as specialized to do certain tasks. Paintball guns can't really be customized to preform as many functions as airsoft guns can. There are machine guns, sniper rifles, SMG's, and even miniguns. There are also a variety of handguns as well. Every function that real military rifles preform can be simulated with airsoft guns.

Airsoft guns vary in how fast (in terms of FPS) they shoot. Paintball guns are usually shot at around 300 fps, which is the maximum speed at many fields. Airsoft guns can be changed internally to fire at speeds between 200 fps to 400 fps. If you have a sniper rifle, then some airsoft fields will let you fire up to 500 fps.

Mechanically, airsoft guns and paintball guns are very different. Most paintball guns (that are relatively cheap) operate with a bolt mechanism that fires the paintball. However, there are 4 or 5 different mechanisms that paintball gun manufactures use, which can make it difficult to work on another gun if you are used to working on a gun with a different mechanism. Airsoft is much more standardized. Most airsoft guns (even the expensive ones) use gearboxes which fire the pellet. Good gearboxes are made of metal, which you should definitely watch out for if you are buying one.

Airsoft guns, however, have a distinct advantage over many paintball guns in one key area, which would be range. Airsoft guns have a special feature called hop-up, which improves the range quite a bit. If you happen to have a sniper rifle, your airsoft gun will outdistance any paintball gun and still be accurate. This means that any game you play will have to be at farther distances than usual. This enables airsoft guns to use reflex sights and scopes functionally, instead of just for show.

What to play with an Airsoft Gun

Airsoft is much more realistic than paintball will ever be. This is why airsoft is commonly used in police and military exercises, because the guns are so close to the real thing. However, you are not limited to just elimination games or simulations just because of what your gun looks like. In fact, most paintball games can be played with airsoft guns, and vice versa. If you would like to learn more on what games there are to play, check out this hub. All the games here can be played with airsoft guns, with the exception of the slingshot game.

For more information about airsoft

Airsoft gets more complicated than what I have stated here. There are many more websites that go much more in-depth, with everything that you are going to need to know. Here's a list of the ones that have really good information for starting players.

The following video show what airsoft games can look like. There are quite a few different airsoft guns in the video, so if you want to see what might be right for you, check it out.

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