Airsoft Vs Paintball: Where Does It Hurt More To Get Hit?

Airsoft VS PaintballAirsoft VS Paintball: Which Hurts More and Where it Hurts Most
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The proponents of airsoft and the proponents of paintball have long been rivals, and this rivalry goes back to the inception of these games as their fans debate one’s superiority over the other.

One of the things that players love to figure out is how much pain you have to suffer if you get hit during a game of airsoft or paintball.

We all like to avoid physical discomfort, but when it comes to playing airsoft or paintball, a little bit of pain is part of the fun.

Even though these balls are so tiny, getting hit by them is still not the best feeling in the world. Some of the places that you need to be wary about getting hurt include:

  • Eyes
  • Fingers
  • Groin
  • Neck
  • Lips
  • Ears
  • The back or top of the head

As for which type of ball hurts the most, most players are unanimous in saying paintball can pack quite a punch.

Where Does It Hurt More to get Hit by an Airsoft or a Paintball

If you ask die-hard fans of airsoft or paintball whether getting hit by the balls hurt, they will probably answer, “no, it just stings a bit.”

But like getting an injection, some places can hurt more than others. We have narrowed down the list to these vulnerable areas so that you can be extra prepared to avoid being hit in these places.

The Eyes

Paintball Airsoft eye protection

We all know how painful it is to get a grain of sand or a soup bubble in our eye, so imagine if you get an eyeful of paintball or airsoft?

You can bet it will hurt like anything.

Since your eye is one of the most sensitive and vulnerable places in your body, you can actually do permanent damage to it if the ball hits you hard enough.

So be careful and wear protective gear to save yourself from lifelong damage.


Paintball vs Airsoft gloves

Your hands and fingers, particularly the knuckles, are one of the most painful places to get hit — they are also the most common places to sustain an injury during airsoft or paintball games.

That may be because your hands are wrapped around your gun and are particularly exposed and vulnerable.

To avoid the pain, invest in some specialized airsoft or paintballing gloves to cushion you from the impact.


Men, in particular, know how painful getting hit anywhere in the groin can be.

It is also one of the favored target areas, especially if you are playing with your friends who like to prank you with carefully aimed shots.

So make sure you protect your groin with multiple layers.


The neck is another sensitive part of the body and is located dangerously close to your face.

It also often remains exposed, so it can be really obvious for anyone to see a bruise.

To avoid this, get yourself a full head and neck protection to avoid getting hit in the face and neck.


Airsoft mask

Getting hit with an airsoft or a paintball in the lips can really sting and release an outpour of blood.

Bruises on the lips also have the tendency to swell and make you look like a pufferfish.

So, if you don’t want to go around with eggplant on your mouth, invest in some good-quality face gear.


Wearing Protective Gear

Your ear consists of cartilage and very little cushioning of muscle, so getting hit there isn’t fun at all.

Additionally, a hard enough hit can cause damage to the internal structures like the eardrum.

So make sure your face covering protects your ears as well.

If you get hit in the ear and hear a ringing or distorted sound, go to an ENT immediately.

Back/Top of the Head

Airsoft Helmet With Ear Protection

Getting konked on the back or top of the head can make you see stars in the daytime.

A hit on the head can make you feel dizzy and disoriented for a few seconds. Make sure to wear your mask and safety goggles to minimize this risk.

Which Hurts More: An Airsoft or a Paintball?

You may think that the pain of being hit by an airsoft BB and a paintball should be a deterrent, but most fans consider it a badge of honor.

However, being hit by a paintball or an airsoft pellet has the potential of leaving welts, breaking skins, and drawing blood.

A lot of players wonder whether airsoft or a paintball hurts more. To determine this, we go back to basic physics and do the math to see which one hurts more.

Although a direct hit from either type of pellet can hurt quite a bit, airsoft pellets have a softer impact than paintballs.

Airshot guns use tiny 66mm plastic pellets that weigh about 0.20 to 0.28 grams and travel at 300 to 400 feet per second (FPS).

A hit from an airsoft pellet can result in about 1 joule of kinetic energy, though the impact will be significantly lesser if the shot is from far away since much of the energy will be lost covering the distance.

So, if you are hit from far enough, you may feel a slight sting and get a small welt through your clothing, or the shot may simply bounce off your clothes without you even feeling a thing.

However, being hit by a paintball can be a whole different story.

Paintballs are much larger than airsoft pellets, measuring about 0.68 mm and weighing 3.5 grams. Compared to the 0.20 grams airsoft pellet, paintballs are over 17 times the weight.

Because of their larger size and mass, paintballs have a slower speed and can launch at about 290 to 300 FPS. It also means they result in much larger amounts of kinetic energy at about 13 joules.

This is 13 times the amount of kinetic energy produced by an airsoft ball.

Additionally, the surface area of a paintball is significantly bigger than an airsoft ball.

So when a paintball slams into your body, it will not just hurt a lot more than an airsoft pellet, but it will form a larger bruise as well.

Being hit with a paintball at close range on bare skin can leave large and painful welts as well as break skin.

Additionally, paintball does not have a minimum engagement distance, so many unscrupulous players may practice “bunkering.”

This involves catching a player off guard and offloading a huge number of pellets to ensure that the player gets hit and remains down.

The player who is bombarded with paintballs will be covered with a large number of painful bruises.

However, this is not considered good sportsmanship and can get you in trouble on the field.

What Factors Affect Pain In Airsoft and Paintball

paintball ammo vs airsoft ammo

There are a few factors which determine how much pain you can receive from an airsoft pellet or a paintball:

  • The distance between the shooter and the player who is being shot at
  • The FPS rating of the gun
  • The weight and mass of the ammo
  • The wind condition
  • The amount of clothing and protective gear that shields you from impact

Distance Matters

Paintball range

The higher the speed of the airsoft pellet or the paintball, the harder will be the impact, and the more pain you will feel.

The speed of your ball depends on the distance.

If you are shooting from afar, your pellet will decrease in velocity before it reaches its target.

For example, if a person targets you from a distance of 130 to 150 feet, you may not even feel the impact.

However, if someone hits you from less than 50 feet, you will definitely notice it. You always keep your distance to stay safe and avoiding pain.

The Wind Can Favor You — or Not

Which direction the wind is blowing in can have a significant impact on your shots.

Paintball players engage at a close distance, so the wind factor may not affect them as much as longer-distant games like airsoft.

If you shoot against the wind, the force of the wind will make you struggle to reach your target. It will decrease the speed and distance covered by your ball, and may also pull your ball into an entirely different direction.

However, if you are shooting with the wind, it is a different story.

The wind will make your pellet travel faster to your target and hit it with more impact.

But again, it can also make your shot go awry. So if you are playing outdoors, it can be a bit tricky to gain control of the game.

To lessen the impact of the wind, you can use heavier airsoft pellets or try to get close to the enemy so that your shot doesn’t lose power before it reaches its target.

How to Avoid Pain During Airsoft or Paintball

Thicker Airsoft Gear

If airsoft or paintball hits you at close quarters at high velocity, they will definitely hurt.

However, this can be avoided if you wear the right type of clothing and protective gear.

It is a standard that you wear goggles and headgear to protect your eyes, nose, face, and head from injury when paintballing.

You should also wear thicker sweatshirts and padded trousers to prevent bruising.

However, in airsoft, most players forego wearing pain-prevention clothing and simulate military soldiers. This leaves them vulnerable to sharp stings, and if they are shot at close quarters, pellets may even get lodged in their skin.

You should also take care to wear thick gloves to protect your hands since they are closest to your enemy and hurt like anything if they get hit.

Parting Shot

While it is agreed that paintballs hurt more than airsoft pellets, to die-hard fans, it hardly matters.

What is important that you wear as much protective clothing and gear as possible.

Unless you are hit in a particularly sensitive area — which should not be the case if you are wearing the right clothing — the pain you feel during the game shouldn’t amount to much, and should not hinder you from playing.

In case of serious pain though, do see a doctor.

If it does hurt, laugh it off. It may not seem funny at the moment you get hurt, but days later, you can look back and laugh at yourself.

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