Do Paintballs Hurt?

Do Paintballs Hurt?

Posted by Josh Silverman on 21st Jul 2020


The short answer to paintball’s most-asked question is “they don’t have to!”

Do paintballs hurt? It’s the most popular question asked by new players of the game and the short answer is, they don’t have to! Now here’s the long answer that gets us there! By definition paintball is an adrenalin-pumping, action-adventure sport played for fun and camaraderie, and what gets that adrenalin pumping is the rush of marking your friends with paintballs while avoiding the incoming paintballs they meant for you! While every precaution is taken by professional paintball field owners to ensure each and every player is safe and enjoys a pain-free day of play game after game, each and every paintball player bears a little bit of the responsibility of ensuring they have a fun, painless time too!

Each and every paintball gun used during a game of paintball at a professionally-operated paintball playing park must be fired over a speed-measuring radar device called a chronograph. The chronograph ensures both fair play and safety by ensuring all paintballs are flying at or below the field’s safety limit, understood industry-wide to be 300 feet per second, though many fields like it a little lower. This ensures that the paintball safety equipment each player must wear, like paintball-approved goggles and a facemask system, will do their job to protect the wearer from paintball impacts. When a paintball impacts the hard plastics and protective materials of each player’s facemask and paintball goggles, it’ll strike hard protective materials or the lens, never the player’s eyes, ears, forehead or neck.

As for the rest of the paintball player’s body, they can help take the sting out of incoming paintballs in many ways. During cooler weather, players will be outside and will likely bundle up with jackets, sweatshirts, coats, gloves and other items, making paintball impacts almost unable to be felt at all! During warmer months like Spring and Summer, players should still take care to protect themselves not just from paintballs flying around, but from other things that can happen outside, with items like a longsleeve shirt, jeans or other long pants and a pair of gloves to keep those sensitive knuckles covered. The local paintball park’s pro-shop will also offer items like camo coveralls, protective vests, padded gloves, neck protectors and even knee, shin, hip, elbow and forearm pads, all designed to help each player run, slide, dive, creep, crawl, kneel and generally have a blast outside without the worry of incoming paintballs, turf burn, twisted ankles or putting a knee down on a rock or root.

For newer players or those still hesitant about whether paintball is the thing – the paintball industry has created new options that take practically all the worry out of the game, low-impact paintball! Low-impact paintball is a new style of paintball games utilizing paintball guns that fire smaller, .50 caliber paintballs. These smaller paintballs fly more slowly and weigh a great deal less than the standard, .68 caliber ball used since the early days of the game and this drastically reduces the amount of impact energy with which they land. Unlike .68 caliber paintballs that land with a splat, these smaller .50 caliber paintballs make less mess and can barely be felt on impact at all, making them ideal for new players, the youngest players or anyone who just isn’t quite sure if paintball is the thing for them just yet, allowing players of all ages to fall in love with the game and have fun, worry-free!

Finally, the rules of the game of paintball help to keep the sting out of the game. Paintball games enjoyed by players of all ages and skill levels at the local paintball park are officiated by referees who ensure the rules are followed and the players remain safe. This means players are generally not allowed to approach within ten feet of one-another during play, ensuring enough distance is between players battling it out to keep the game safe and remove the concern of physical contact, while letting the flying paintballs slow down a little before impact. Newer and younger players are evenly matched, and more experienced players with better equipment either play in their own separate games or are evenly mixed between opposing teams to keep things fair and safe while everyone enjoys a great day on the field!

Yes, the paintballs are out there flying back and forth at 300 feet per second when the game is on, but that doesn’t mean there needs to be pain in the game! Protect your bare skin and follow each and every direction the referee and paintball field staff provide, keep the goggles on at all times and all you’ll remember about paintball is the fun!