Anatomy of a Paintball
Posted by Joshua Silverman on 5th Aug 2021
What are Paintballs Made of?
And other Paintball Questions - ANSWERED!
Paintball is played around the world by people from all walks of life – young and old, tall and short, male and female, of all races because paintball is safe and fun! The adrenaline rush and camaraderie of paintball, whether it’s played in the woods, on tactical urban style fields or in tournaments is like nothing else in the world. But many who hear about paintball for the first time or who are considering playing or allowing their children to play often pause to ask some of the most basic questions in paintball – what is a paintball? What are paintballs made of? Are paintballs safe for me, my family and the environment? The great news is paintballs are safe, environmentally friendly, non-toxic, non-staining and once they splatter and spray, easy to clean as well! But if you’re still curious and asking what paintballs are made of, read on!
Many of our favorite games are named for the ball used to play them, like Basketball or Football (it gets weird if you start throwing soccer in there). While the game of paintball wasn’t originally named for the projectiles known as paintballs, the game has evolved from humble beginnings in the woods of New Hampshire in the early nineteen eighties to become a sport played on the professional level, and enjoyed recreationally by millions each year around the world! But what are paintballs? To directly answer the question, a paintball is a small, round gelatin capsule containing a liquid paint that is designed to be launched out of an air-powered paintball gun and then split or break open when it reaches its target, splattering and marking that target with paint. If that target is an opponent in a game of paintball, wearing proper safety equipment of course, being struck by a paintball that breaks on impact and leaves a splat eliminates that player from that particular game! Paintball spray and splatter is easily cleaned from clothing and equipment with a rag and warm water between games!
Paintballs are available in various sizes including .43 caliber, .50 caliber and, most commonly, .68 caliber, and are sold in various shell colors and patterns, with various colors of liquid “paint” called fill. Generally, brighter colored paintball fill is preferred by players as this allows both players and referees, responsible for conducting games of paintball safely and within the rules, to more easily spot when a player is marked and eliminated from the game. Most modern paintball guns used at professional paintball fields are either .68 caliber or .50 caliber. While younger players and those new to the game may be introduced to the game and amazing world of paintball with .50 caliber paintball guns and paintballs due to their gentler impact and lower cost, competitive paintball and the players who enjoy it will generally use .68 caliber paintballs and paintball guns as this has been the paintball industry standard for decades. All paintball guns at professional, safe paintball fields are regulated for safety by shooting over a measuring device called a chronograph that ensures all paintball guns fire each paintball at a safe speed, generally under 300 feet per second. All paintball players must wear proper, ASTM-tested and approved paintball safety equipment like paintball goggles and full facemasks at all times while playing paintball or shooting paintball guns!
Are paintballs safe for the environment?
But what about all those paintballs after they’re fired? Are paintballs safe for the environment? Are paintballs safe for animals that may come across them in the woods? What is a paintball made of? These are all great questions, and the direct answers are all great news! Paintballs are completely safe for the environment as they are non-toxic, water-soluble and completely biodegradable! To directly answer the question of what a paintball is made of, a paintball’s shell is composed of gelatin, while the shell and fill contain other ingredients including polyethelene glycol, sorbitol, canola oil, colorings and starch depending on the manufacturer. These ingredients are all considered completely safe, even if ingested! Cleaning paint and shell from clothing requires a simple wash, while paintball equipment is generally cleaned with warm water and a rag!
Paintball is safe! And so are the paintballs!
So it all means that paintballs are safe for the environment and safe for everyone to shoot back and forth at each other as long as proper safety equipment is utilized! So head to the local paintball field, gear up and have fun!