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Laser tag vs. airsoft

Updated: Jun 10, 2020

We are happy to present you an article in which we compared laser tag and airsoft. It has been written by a person who knows a lot about recreational activities and has devoted a great deal of time to studying the aspects and details of paintball, airsoft and laser tag. We are talking about Vladimir Zamotin. I have already compared indoor laser tag and paintball before. That material evoked certain response and I drew great pleasure from browsing the web and reading what people write and think about. I even took part in some really hot discussions.

They asked me – why didn’t you consider airsoft and why didn’t you go for it – for isn’t it akin to paintball? I will undertake an attempt to explain this.

I learnt about laser tag accidentally – as to airsoft, I had been familiar with it for ages. I made a conscious decision to not play it. I went back to that decision again and again, I tried playing, I gathered and analyzed a huge volume of information that is available to everyone. I talked to players that rent equipment and visited clubs. I talked to members of professional teams and owners of shops selling airsoft equipment. Each time I analyzed the information I had gathered I understood that it was not me, I don’t want, I can’t do it! In order to support my words by facts, I will explain my point step by step, just as I did with paintball. As my experience with the previous article shows, describing each point is more constructive – it does not let one drop down to the level of “I know what I like but I cannot explain why”!

I would like to point out that I am not a professional airsoft player – my point of view is just an “image” seen by an average player who wants to play airsoft or is in the process of choosing a military game for himself, seen by a person who starts searching for information. It is a cast of what anyone can read on forums of airsoft players, the echo of what I hear after watching videos about airsoft.

The compared points have been slightly changed and more info has been added to them… as to the parts concerning laser tag – I left them almost unchanged.


Airsoft – data varies a lot, but an effective range of over 100 metres has hardly ever been mentioned. The average combat range is 30 – 60 metres.

Laser tag – the effective range of some blasters comes up to 500 metres. Combat held at a distance of 150 – 200 metres is a norm. At times, it comes down to knife fighting.


Airsoft – a ball hits the body or equipment. Registered by a player. The game is based purely on trust, which often results in conflicts and arguments. The hit may not be felt in the heat of the fight or due to coming from a long distance, or is the result of a ricochet. Yet this will be discussed later…

Laser tag – the electronic system detects hits and the amount of inflicted damage. If the damage amounts to “game death”, the equipment gets automatically switched off and there is no need for a referee.


Airsoft – the whole of the body can be defeated. Selective strikes. The weapons are precise enough for pinpoint firing.

Laser tag – in the majority of cases, hits are registered by a headband. Vests with sensors on the chest, back and stomach have come up. The further away the target, the bigger the defeat area. But as a rule, it does not exceed 1.5 metres. At a distance of 100 metres away from the target one can just aim into the chest and if the blaster has been set up correctly – you will not miss. It does not feel adequate at first, yet one gets used to it soon enough. When firing powerful blasters inside premises there are ricochets. In my opinion, this is quite realistic – I would have lowered the power of ricochets though. There is a special function for this, lowering the power of infrared diode firing significantly lowers the power of ricochets, yet the effective range decreases and aiming becomes harder.


Airsoft – all is as simple as it is in paintball. The rival is where balls are coming from. Besides, the firing sound is well heard from as far as 40 – 50 metres away (the average fighting distance).

Laser tag – it’s all quite different here. The sounds produced by a rival’s weapon firing can be heard at a distance of 20 – 40 metres. In the dark one can see lamps flickering on a gun barrel. Yet at a distance of over 50 metres one must prepare oneself for an attack that may come from any direction. The sounds that are produced by own blaster are of great help – “whizz of bullets” warn about fire that is held in one’s direction. Sometimes you may hear – “killed in combat” – and not know where the fire came from. It reminds of combat actions where special unit fighters use weapons with silencers. The shooter can normally be located thanks to a special shot illumination – this is a really cool function.


Airsoft – this is the most delicate subject matter for airsoft. Honesty is really important in airsoft. Despite the claims made by players and organizers that absolutely everyone in airsoft is honest, there are in fact no airsoft competitions, while arguments and disagreements at various events are always present. This is one of the reasons why those who rent airsoft equipment are rarely admitted to games in which professional teams participate – professional players do not believe that those who rent equipment are honest. Besides, there is hardly anyone who believes them to be honest, for the desire to win will most probably outweigh their ability to be honest. So, the player will highly likely pretend to not feel the ball hit their clothes. As for me, I could have never understood why – while I do not cheat anyone, there was no ball hit – yet I must leave the game just because a rival believes that he has hit me?

Just take the excerpt form an article written by an airsoft player about the game: