Friday, April 22, 2011

Airsoft Vs Paintball

If you are thinking about taking up a firearm sport, chances are you are considering airsoft versus paintball. Both sports can be a lot of fun and will get your adrenaline pumping, but there are some critical details that make the two very different experiences.

Paint ball guns (also known as paint ball markers) use expanding gas to propel paintballs at the target. A completely assembled paintball gun consists of a body, barrel, gas system and hopper (i.e. the loading mechanism) and is available in pump action, semi-automatic and fully-automatic. A paint ball gun feels and maneuvers like, well, a paint ball gun. Even blindfolded, no one would ever mistake a paint ball gun for the real thing. Likewise, most paintball games are less concerned with realism and usually take place in an obstacle course type environment. It will get your adrenaline pumping, but it’s not really hyper authentic.

Airsoft guns on the other hand, are highly realistic replica firearms that fire small plastic airsoft pellets (6mm or 8mm). These firearms look and operate like the real deal, and for this reason airsoft guns are very popular among the competitive firearm gaming and military simulation set. In fact, airsoft guns are so realistic in design, weight and maneuverability, that they are also used for professional police and military training. Likewise, an accomplished airsoft player who has perfected their shot through diligent target practice, will also be able to carry that skill over to real firearms. Conversely, paintball guns are so different from the real thing that an accomplished paintballer will have to learn a completely different set of skills to become an accomplished marksman. It is this authenticity is what gives airsoft its edge and separates it from the paintball community. There are a wide variety of airsoft guns styles available, from pistols to shotguns, sniper rifles and even high power airsoft electric guns (AEG’s) that shoot between 300 and 450 FPS (feet per second). You would select your firearm based on the type of airsoft skrimage you planned to participate in.

How Much Will It Cost?

Obviously it will depend on the specific gun you select, but in general, airsoft guns are less expensive than paintball markers. Very high end paintball guns can set you back as much as three grand, but you can get a good quality starter gun for around $300. Thanks to its growing popularity, airsoft manufacturers have been producing very affordable, high-quality guns in the past few years well below the $200 mark.

But Does it Hurt?

As far as pain is concerned, yes, being hit with either a paintball or an airsoft pellet can be painful. It will depend on a number of circumstantial variables including where you are hit, the distance of the shooter, whether the hit is against clothes or bare skin and the FPS of the firearm. In both sports, you should wear protective eye goggles and I personally recommend a face mask and some sort of wrap to protect your neck, because that’s where it can really sting.

About the Author: Mike Zhang is the President and COO of Airsoft Megastore, the #1 fastest growing Airsoft retailer in the U.S. Airsoft Megastore offers a full selection of gas and electric Airsoft guns including airsoft sniper rifles and spring airsoft shotguns.

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