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Laser Tag vs. Airsoft: Which is Better?

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If you’re planning an event, one of your priorities should be entertainment. Both children and adults will have more fun if there’s something to participate in. Some of the most popular activities that span generations are laser tag and airsoft.

However, choosing between these two is easier said than done. Both are extremely fun and give a fantastic adrenaline rush.

So, which is better – laser tag or airsoft? Laser tag is better than airsoft for several reasons.

  Laser Tag Airsoft
SafetyUtilizes infrared lasers, which have no adverse effect on the eyes and there’s no risk of injuryThe projectiles used can hurt and can get under the skin if shot in close range.
CostSince it doesn’t require too much equipment, it’s cheaper to set up or play at an arenaIt’s more expensive because you need safety gear, guns, and special clothing, among other items.
ConvenienceIt’s easier for a beginner to join because of simplified rules and straightforward game-play.The rules are stricter due to safety precautions and the teams’ insistence on uniformity.
Ease of playingThe rules are simple, and it takes a short time to get the hang of it.The rules are a bit more complicated, and it may take time to master the different types of airsoft.
RealismLess realistic since you can’t feel the impact of being shot.It’s resemblance to real combat makes it more realistic
Weather limitationsYou can play all year round except during heavy rainfall.The equipment is affected by heavy snow, frost, and rainfall, and the wind blows the projectiles away.
Freedom of movementBetter freedom of movement due to lightweight equipment and no need for safety gear.The special outfits, protective gear, and heavier equipment limit movement.
Fun Gives an incredible adrenaline rush.Gives an incredible adrenaline rush.

The last thing you need when you’re planning a fun day is something that requires too much planning and makes you fear for the safety of the participants.

Fortunately, with this comprehensive laser tag versus airsoft guide, you’ll be able to make an informed decision. Keep reading for a detailed comparison of these two games.

Laser Tag vs. Airsoft: What’s the Difference?

To decide between laser tag and airsoft, it’s crucial to understand both games. Here’s a closer look at laser tag and airsoft.

Laser Tag

Laser tag is an indoor and outdoor game that uses the most up to date electronics. Instead of bullets, players use guns with infrared beams to tag their opposing teams. Each player commonly wears an infrared-sensitive signaling device that goes off when they’re hit by their opponent.

Indoor Laser Tag

This is a type of laser tag that is set up in an indoor arena. The arenas are well-equipped with high-end equipment, and an area is designated for the “combat.”

Here’s a video illustrating indoor laser tag:

Outdoor Laser Tag

There’s no difference in game-play between indoor and outdoor laser tag. The only significant difference is that the guns have a further range to accommodate large outdoor areas. (Source: BattleField Houston).

The features of the combat area may also be different based on your tastes and preferences.

Here’s a video illustrating outdoor laser tag:

Both indoor and outdoor laser tag are safe since they don’t utilize real lasers. However, there’s a higher risk of injury with outdoor laser tag since players run in an open area.

You should also know that laser tag games are quite different in terms of application and technical capabilities.

Some of the key differences include:

  • Effects of being tagged
  • Number of lives
  • Rates of fire
  • Objectives

Another essential detail you should know about laser tag is that the players are not allowed to have any physical contact. Coming into contact with another player can lead to penalties and disqualification.

Airsoft

Airsoft, on the other hand, involves players engaging in mock combat using military-style high-powered BB weapons and tactics. Airsoft is quite similar to paintball in the sense that players are organized into teams, and they play in a designated outdoor area where they try to shoot projectiles at their opposing team. (Source: Abbey)

The main difference between these two games is that airsoft is more military-stimulation-focused. Unlike paintball guns, airsoft Realistic Imitation Firearms (RIFs) are hard to differentiate from the real thing because they’re modeled after real firearms. Not to mention, in airsoft, the teams are more focused on dressing the part – they often dress up in military-style gear, including vests and helmets.

However, there are different types of airsoft play styles (Source: Instructables). These include:

  • Skirmish: This is the most popular type of airsoft. It involves teams of players shooting at each other in a military combat style. The last team standing wins the game.
  • Capture the Flag: Both teams have a flag (or another item if there’s no flag available), which they must retrieve within the shortest time possible, competing against their opponents. The first team to reclaim their flag wins.
  • Milsim: It’s similar to skirmish but pays more attention to the aspect of military stimulation. In this type of airsoft, players are grouped in a hierarchy, where each member has a role. The games are often longer and more realistic – they can take several days to complete.
  • Team Death Match: Players compete to kill all the members on the opposing team. The first team to kill all the players on the other team wins.
  • Speedsoft: This version of airsoft doesn’t take into account the military aspect of the game. The primary focus of the game is fast shooting – players run after each other and aim to shoot down their opposing team in the shortest time possible.
  • Alien: One player takes up the “alien” role, and the rest of the players are “humans.” The game ends when all the players have either turned “alien,” or all aliens have been shot down. A player turns into an alien when they’re shot anywhere by the alien. But to kill the alien, the players must shoot them in a designated body part such as the arm, chest, or leg.
  • AIPSC: This is a target shooting type of airsoft game. Players use their guns to shoot at targets while being timed and scored.

The video below illustrates how to play airsoft as a team.

Laser Tag vs. Airsoft: Which is Better?

Now that you know the primary differences of these games and how they are played, you can take a closer look at each game to determine which is better.

For this comparison, the following factors were considered:

  • Safety
  • Cost
  • Convenience
  • Ease of playing
  • Realism
  • Weather limitations
  • Freedom of movement
  • Fun

Safety

Your priority when you’re trying to decide between laser tag and airsoft should be the safety of the games, especially if you plan to have children involved.

Airsoft is less safe compared to laser tag. The projectiles used in the game hit the skin, and they hurt. If the weapons are fired at high velocity at close distance, they can get under the skin or even knock out your teeth (Source: Laser War).

For this reason, every player is required to wear protective gear when playing airsoft. Some of the safety equipment includes:

Laser tag, on the other hand, doesn’t include many safety precautions. For starters, the equipment uses infrared light instead of real lasers. Therefore, you don’t have to worry about the laser beams affecting your eyes. (Source: LaserMaze).

Not to mention, laser tag is mostly played indoors and is always supervised by experts. Nonetheless, there’s a risk of falling or tripping while playing the game, just like any other physical activity.

Cost

Another factor you may want to consider when choosing between laser tag and airsoft is how much it will cost you to organize both. When it comes to laser tag, you have two options. You can either buy your laser tag equipment or play at a laser tag arena.

Getting your equipment can be quite expensive. You need a standard laser tag vest, the laser guns, and all the additional equipment for setting up.

The cost of playing at a laser tag arena varies depending on where you’re playing. The price can be increased if there’s a special event taking place, or the game is incredibly popular in the area. For instance, most arenas charge a lower fee on regular days compared to during special events (Source: BattleField Sports).

Therefore, if you’re thinking about choosing laser tag, it’s advisable to find out what different arenas charge and go for the most affordable one depending on your budget.

You also have the option of renting or buying your equipment for airsoft. Most people prefer to buy their equipment because it allows them to play often without the need for additional investment. However, if you’re planning to try airsoft as a one-time thing, it may be better to rent the equipment.

If you decide to buy your own airsoft equipment, you should also factor in customization costs if you want the gun made to your liking. You must also figure in additional expenses such as the cost of buying extra magazines and weapons like a pistol. Also, you need to include the costs of protective gear and clothing.

The cost of renting airsoft equipment will vary depending on where you play and the time of year and is much cheaper if you’re not an avid player.

Convenience

As we mentioned, airsoft mainly focuses on military simulation. Therefore, the players’ main priority is to make the game as realistic as possible, which includes having realistic equipment, outfits, and everything in between.

For this reason, airsoft is less convenient in terms of planning. You need to invest in an outfit that says you’re going into military combat, have the right protective gear, and also set up in a manner that makes the game more realistic.

Compared to laser tag, this is much more work. If you’re playing at a laser tag center, all you have to do is show up in whatever clothing you’re most comfortable in, and everything will be set up and ready to go. You don’t have to think about the military aspect, whether you’re dressed the part, or whether the area looks anything like a military combat field – the main idea is having fun.

It’s the same for outdoor laser tag. Because you don’t need safety equipment and unique outfits, it’s not only cost-effective but also easier to set up.

Therefore, if you’re looking for something that doesn’t involve so much planning and can be implemented without investing too much, laser tag is the best option for you

However, it’s advisable to explore different laser tag arenas before making a final decision because all arenas are not the same. Ensure there’s ample space, that they use high-tech equipment, and that the experience will be worth every dime.

If you opt for an outdoor laser tag experience, ensure you invest in high-quality equipment and laser tag vests.

Ease of Playing

If you’re planning on having kids involved, it’s best to go for the easiest game to play. In this case, laser tag would be the best choice. (Source: Steradian Laser Tag).

Several things make laser tag easier to play. These include:

  • You don’t need bulky outfits or protective gear to play. As a result, you’re better able to handle your laser tag gun
  • It’s easy to participate in laser tag without any prior experience because the rules are simple, and there are no strict guidelines on who can join a team.

Things are quite different in airsoft. It’s harder for a beginner to join because:

  • A beginner may not be familiar with the safety rules, which means there’s a likelihood of endangering your teammates.
  • Teams are particular on who can join the team. They require you to have similar equipment, ways of dressing, and the same skill level.

Therefore, if you’re looking to join an airsoft team, you may want to familiarize yourself with their rules and requirements before requesting to join. Alternatively, you can opt to start your team (Source: Gun Gamers).

Realism

It’s also essential to consider whether or not you want the game to be realistic or merely fun. If you’re more interested in a realistic game, in this case, airsoft is the sure winner. As we mentioned, the guns are modeled to resemble real ones, and the outfits resemble military-combat outfits. Also, some of the different types of airsoft games are planned to be like real combat.

With airsoft, you feel the impact of the projectiles on your skin, which makes it even more real. Therefore, airsoft is more realistic compared to laser tag. With laser tag, there’s no impact of the beams on your skin, and the rules are quite laid back compared to airsoft.

However, the simplicity of the game is an advantage in a sense. Because there’s a low risk of injury, less competition, and not so much going on, laser tag is the preferred option for younger kids or family activities

Weather Limitations

A good game is the one you can play all year round without weather interference. Laser tag is one of the games you can play most times of the year.

Laser tag doesn’t have many limitations when it comes to weather:

  • Because the guns use laser beams, you don’t have to worry about wind interference.
  • Laser tag equipment is also not prone to damage caused by snow, frost, or heat.
  • The only time of the year when it may be impossible to play laser tag is during seasons of heavy rainfall.

Airsoft, however, has several weather limitations:

  • It’s not advisable to play where there’s snow, frost, or too much heat because these elements may damage the delicate equipment used for combat.
  • The wind is also an issue. When there’s a strong wind, it’s harder to hit targets because the projectiles are light and are easily blown away by the wind.

Therefore, when you’re trying to decide between laser tag and airsoft, it’s crucial to consider the time of year and how that will affect your experience.

Ease of Movement

There’s greater freedom of movement in laser tag compared to airsoft. Since the game doesn’t require any safety equipment, there’s no danger of getting hurt when you’re shot, and there’s no risk to third party observers. For these reasons, players have the freedom to move freely.

This isn’t the case in airsoft. The safety equipment, guns, and special outfits add to the weight of the players, thereby restricting their movements. Because there’s a risk of injury, even to observers, players need to be extra careful about their movements to avoid hurting each other and onlookers. Players are also more careful when moving around the designated area of combat because of fear of being shot and the risk of getting hurt.

Again, when it comes to ease of movement, it boils down to your preferences and what you’d like to achieve. Do you want something realistic and close to real combat or a simple and fun game?

Fun

When it comes to fun, it’s a matter of preference. Both of these games give an adrenaline rush, but the rush is different. In airsoft, you get an adrenaline rush from the thrill of chasing down your target and the fear of pain. According to Laser War, pain is a motivating factor for some people when it comes to the choice between airsoft and laser tag.

However, you don’t have to be in pain to enjoy the adrenaline rush. In laser tag, the adrenaline rush comes from not only trying to shoot down your opponent but also the thrill of trying to stay safe and be the last man standing.

Therefore, it suffices to say that both airsoft and laser tag are adrenaline-filled games. Your choice between the two will depend on your preferences in terms of game-play.

Verdict

As you can see, laser tag has more advantages compared to airsoft. Laser tag is not only easy to play but also cost-effective, can be played almost all-year-round, is convenient, and is safe for all age groups. You won’t need much planning, and everyone can get in on the fun because the rules are simple and the game is beginner-friendly.

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