Airsoft Injuries vs. Paintball Injuries: The Breakdown

Engaging in combat simulations like airsoft and paintball is a thrilling experience. Yet, there’s an ongoing debate: Which is more painful and which is safer? Let’s delve into the research to uncover the truths about airsoft and paintball injuries.

Comparative Pain: Airsoft vs. Paintball

Energy Differences

The average airsoft BB weighs around .20 g, releasing about .84 Joules of energy. In contrast, a regular paintball weighs about 3 grams and releases 12.5 Joules of energy. That’s a significant difference, with paintballs having over ten times the energy of airsoft BBs. Given this disparity in kinetic energy, paintballs tend to hurt more than airsoft BBs.

Type of Pain

While almost every paintball shot causes some level of pain, many airsoft shots might feel negligible, especially if it strikes gear rather than bare skin. However, getting hit by a paintball can result in severe bruises, while an airsoft BB can cause more significant skin damage due to its higher surface pressure.

Injury Statistics: Airsoft vs. Paintball

Reported Injuries

Between 2006 and 2008, there were 2,800 reported paintball injuries compared to a massive 64,100 in airsoft. Notably, paintball injuries in the UK are a fraction of those experienced in the US, making paintball one of the safest activities in the UK.

Importance of Safety Standards

Delta Force, a leading paintball provider, boasts stringent safety standards, contributing significantly to the safety record of paintball. Safety measures include full head protection goggles, body armour, and full-length combat suits.

Other Considerations

Player Role in Safety

Players’ attitudes and play styles play a pivotal role in ensuring safety. Taking unnecessary risks, such as close-range shots or aggressive tactics, can escalate the chances of injuries. It’s crucial for participants to communicate and understand the intricacies of the game, including muzzle velocity and optimal shooting range.

Protective Gear

Wearing protective gear is vital in both sports. Even so, no gear can completely mitigate injury risks. While airsoft offers a more realistic warfare experience, it’s crucial to decide if one values realism over a safer recreational activity.

Quick Comparison Table

Projectile Weight0.2g3g
Energy Released0.84 Joules12.5 Joules
Injury NatureSkin DamageBruises


1. Is paintball safer than airsoft?

Paintballs carry over 10 times the energy that airsoft BBs do. It’s essential to note that paintballs will generally hurt more compared to airsoft BBs due to their larger surface area. While paintballs can result in bigger welts, airsoft BBs will leave smaller, concentrated red marks.

2. What hurts more, airsoft or BB guns?

Being shot with a plastic airsoft BB is considerably less painful than being shot with a steel BB from a BB gun. This difference is attributed to the material of the BBs and the fact that steel BBs are often discharged from more powerful airguns.

3. What is safer than airsoft?

Getting shot with a plastic airsoft BB is again, much less painful and potentially safer than getting shot with a steel BB from a BB gun. The material and the power of the airguns used for steel BBs make them more hazardous.

4. Is airsoft OK for kids?

The idea of kids playing with guns might raise concerns for some. However, with proper education from parents or knowledgeable adults, airsoft guns can be as safe for kids as they are for adults. As long as children are taught the right way to handle and use them, airsoft guns are quite safe for them.


Both airsoft and paintball have their pros and cons, and the experiences they offer are distinct. When it comes to pain and injuries, paintballs generally hurt more due to their greater kinetic energy. However, airsoft can cause skin injuries in focused areas. Always prioritize safety, wear appropriate gear, and play responsibly to ensure a fun and injury-free experience.

Harrison Baxter
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