In regards to paintball: Golgo-13 is right on the penetration thing. What will protect you from paintball/airsoft may not protect you from a real round. That is a serious limitation. That said, some of the newer paintball guns are very realistic. Armotech makes several M16/M4 copies that are very close, and some semi handguns that are in the MK23 size range. Nothing really smaller yet. Tippmann A-5 is a close copy of an MP5-PDW (especially if you add an aftermarket folding stock), and you can get a cap that limits it to 30 rounds capacity. We use such markers for CQB/Urban Rifle training and night training mainly because you do know immediately when you screw up. Range is under 30 yds, not "sniper" shots. USCG uses them for boarding party practice, or they did a few years ago. I put a rail on mine so I can take off my Surefire from my 870 and put it on my marker for low light.
As for Airsoft, I just spent an enjoyable afternoon teaching my pre-school son how to shoot with one. We used safety glasses, but no hearing protection was needed. We used a 1911 copy (train 'em right while they are young) and after some practice, he was keeping them all on a 4" shooters spot at 3 yds. Not bad for a 5-year-old.
EDIT: Wouldn't that freak out the Gun Control people!!!!
Last edited by smince; March 27, 2005 at 06:10 PM.