I got reamed by both the paintball and airsoft community in my area for suggesting that airsoft requires honor in order for play to take place whereas paintball doesn't because of the paint.
To me the opportunity to excercise of honor is what makes airsoft a military experience more than the realism of the guns or any amount of kit or props. I wrote an article in response that I posted on several sites. My favorite version is here
The cops in the area apparently feel somewhat the same way. This happened to me not too long ago.
We'd arrived at one of our airsofting areas in a small town nearby. It's next to a gunrange so the ambiance is real nice!
We call it "The Benches" (www.tac4airsoft.com)
. As I pull out my gear I note a sherrifs deputy parking, then footing it toward where we play. I can see whats going down already so I decided to approach him.
Here's how it went.
"Excuse me officer!"
"I'm betting you're going down to run off the paintballers?"
"Ha! Well I guess I better not bother going down then cause I'm one of 'em!"
"Yeah, a paintball gun is considered a deadly weapon within the city limits and this park area is inside of that."
I had to smile a little at that "Oh so I'm deadly now? Hehe"...(he had a little grin about it as well as I'm 40ish, a little overweight, and about as harmless looking as it gets). Well I understand officer, you don't make the rules but when you lay down the smack it's time to vacate, my apologies. Oh by the way, it's not actually paintaball I'm going to play it's airsoft."
"Well thats different! Airsoft is just fine!"
"Oh I'm sorry, I always tell people paintball cause not too many people know what airsoft is. You're welcome to check out my equipment if you like."
"That won't be necessary. Are you telling me there aren't any paintballers down there?"
"Well sir, all I can say for sure is about 30 of our boys are down there playing airsoft. I don't know if there's any paintballers cause I haven't been down there yet."
(he stands there for a minute looking down the trail and I KNOW he doesn't want to make the climb down into the play area in those shiny shoes so I chime in again)
"I'll tell you what I'll do if you want. I've got a cell phone, give me your number (by this time a city police officer had joined him) and if I SEE a paintballer down there I'll tell them what you said, and if they DON'T vacate I'll give you a call."
He looked me in the eyes for a second...
"Do it." he said. He gave me his phone number and walked off. The city officer did the same.
And THAT is currently a big difference between airsoft and paintball in my area.