Does Paintball Hurt?

There is one question that crosses the mind when deciding to play paintball: 

Does paintball hurt?

The professionals know the answer, but the beginners usually find out the hard way. The simple answer to it is, ‘Yes, it hurts!’

A paintball can hurt badly at times, but there are ways to minimize the possibility. The instructors will talk about safety recommendations to help you protect yourself. Based on those adaptations, you can reduce the intensity of pain that you will experience when a paintball hits you.

The color splashes on your outfit will let you know where you’ve been hit. You might not feel the bruises during the gameplay, as you are totally into the game. But you will surely feel the slight sting when it hits you.

In most cases, the paintball pains are minor and fade away quickly. But some of the hits are significant and can result in bruises & welts. The severity of the hit depends on the paintball’s speed and the distance it travels before hitting you. Hence, the chances of getting bruised are higher when you’re hit from close-by than when you’re shot at from further away.

There is more to this simple answer that beginners will know further in this pain guide. Follow on till the end to get complete knowledge on whether does paintball hurt or not. Even though you know its answer, refer to the guide to know the intensities of pain that you can experience and suppress.

Paintball Hit on Bare Skin will Make you Shiver in Pain

If you aren’t following the safety precautions explained to you at the start, you are in the most vulnerable position of getting hurt. It is because if you walk into the paintball ground with your regular clothes that are exposing your bare skin by any means, then you might get seriously hurt. The bruises might be even severe if the paintball hits your bare skin but does not break and bounces off the body. It will give you a massive bruise and long-lasting pain.

The game supervisor will explain the necessities of all the gears you should wear to cover your complete body. It is because there is no single vulnerable spot that you should protect on priority. Instead, you should protect your complete body from paintball attacks. There are gloves, thick pants, thick top wears, facemasks, thigh pads, waist pads, ankle pads, and other gears to make the game memorable until the end and not painful.

Hot Shooting Results in Bleeding and Bruises

“Shooting hot” means to shoot with a paintball gun that is calibrated to shoot over the allowed velocity. There is calibration for the gun to make sure that the paintball shots are at a controlled speed. Let the professionals calibrate your gun for you to ensure that the gun intends to fire within the safe range: around 280 fps (frames per second). The default allowed speed changes from field to field.

Check out the rules and regulations for the field and let any professional do the calibration for you. Hot shooting, even from a distant range, can bruise the opponent. And if you are hot shooting from a short-range, then the pain for the opponent will be unbearable, and they may even bleed. 

Therefore, if you don’t want to turn the fun game into a painful one, count on calibrating your guns before the game commences. Bear in mind the general rule of the game and never shoot any opponent who is closer than 20 feet from your location.

The reason for implementing this rule is that the longer paintball travels in the air, the slower it hits opponents. As a result, your shots won’t hurt as much! Even for the sake of fun, you should not try shooting your opponent or friend at close range, as that would give rise to a long-lasting bruise and pain.

The Pain Threshold Varies from Person to Person

Every individual has a different pain threshold. People react differently to different intensities of pain. Most people don’t feel much even when hit on the skin, but others can’t handle it. 

There is no pain scale for measuring the intensity of pain when you get hit by paintballs. Some people just let go of the pain and move on to continue with the game. There have been instances where the players get hit by paintballs from close ranges, and still, they didn’t show the pain expressions but continued with the game. You can call it sporting spirit or high-level pain endurance. But either way, they have a better pain threshold!

There are instances where the players complain of immense pain, even after the balls hit them from a distant range. But one evident fact is that irrespective of the tolerance level, you will at least feel a slight sting upon getting hit by a paintball. It is because anything that travels at 200mph and hits you, irrespective of distance, you will feel it.

So, don’t get nervous right from the start by worrying about the pain. Instead, think about the past sports you have played and the injuries you have faced. It will help you motivate yourself to take on the stinging pain throughout the paintball game. If everyone follows the rules of the game, then you won’t be experiencing any kind of bruises. But if your body is too sensitive to even slightly-intense blows, then you might have lightly visible ones.

The Spot You Get Hit Decides the Pain’s Intensity  

The spot where paintball hits you will decide the intensity of pain. If paintball hits you on your back, the outcomes will be quite painful. There are fewer muscles on the back for protecting the spine. And if it hits you on any of the bare flesh regions, such as the bare neck, then you will experience unbearable pain. There is a very small chance you will get hit on your neck, which isn’t protected by any gear. Getting shot on the neck hurts a lot.

If you wear paintball pants without crotch guards, you risk hurting your genitals. Paintballs that hit your crotch area will restrict you from moving any further. Also, due to the thick clothing on your body, the paintballs hitting your chest, stomach, arms, and thighs won’t give rise to much pain but will feel like a bee sting. But if you aren’t wearing proper gear to attain flexibility on the field, you are knowingly compromising your safety! And the pain you experience will be at your own risk!

The complete concept of the paintball game is to not get shot by the ammunition. But there will be some point when the opponent will overpower you and shoot you with their guns. There is a possibility that you might take a shot at some point in time. Therefore, you should not keep a mindset of not getting hit at any time. But instead, you should have a mindset of suppressing the impact. And it is only possible if you add up more layers to your gears.

Factors that Affect the Pain Ratio on Getting Hit by Paintballs

Like any other injury, the pain after a paintball hits the body also depends on certain factors. By now, you are already aware that every paintball impact won’t hurt in the same way. However, as there is no precise answer to the question, ‘Does paintball hurt?’, some factors decide the pain ratio you will experience upon getting hit by paintballs.

Paintball Quality

There are different qualities of paintballs that you are using in this field game. It depends upon the game organizers to pick good quality paintballs. Lower-quality paintballs are somehow less dense but come with a harder shell. As a result, those balls might not break upon impact on your body and might bounce off! Hence, that will cause immense pain and possibly bruise the hitting spot.

Therefore, most paintball game organizers make sure to use good quality paintballs and add up the cost to the participating cost for the players. It is better to pay a few extra bucks to stay safe from the after-game pains. It is well-known that high-quality paintballs hurt less upon impact than low-quality paintballs. The paintball shell shouldn’t be very hard to ensure it breaks easily upon hitting.

Sensitive Skin and Weak Muscles

Many people have sensitive skin conditions that make it difficult for them to even withstand the pain of a human pinch. If you pinch such people, you will see the area bruising immediately. Hence, such people should stay away from paintball because they will get lots of bruises if the paintball hits them constantly on the game grounds. Even with all the protective gears, such people will experience bruises, even if the ball hits them from a far range.

Similarly, people with weak muscles will also experience the same pain when the paintball hits them on muscle regions. Athletes and sportspersons who have tight and flexible muscles can typically withstand the pain of getting shot. But most of the people who don’t do much of sports have weak muscles that cannot take even the slightest of blows. Hence, they have bruises and sprains after finishing a game. 

Range of Shooting

The shooting range during the paintball game decides the intensity of pain you will experience. Just take an example of a simple plastic ball! If someone throws a plastic ball at you with full force from a 50 feet distance, the impact will probably hurt less. But if the same throw with full force is from a distance of 10-20 feet, the impact will hurt more! The same goes with paintball as well!

The further the shot is fired, the lesser the pain you experience. The closer the shot is fired, the more pain you experience. Everyone should follow the field rules to avoid hitting someone at close ranges. And that will help reduce the pain scenarios from the paintball games.

Number of Shots at Same Spot

If you get hit on a muscle part from a distant range once, you will not feel the pain at all. But if you get multiple shots at the same or surrounding spot of your body, then the pain will arise. The possibility of pain increases if you take the shots on bare skin. The neck and legs are the exposed regions of the body while playing paintball. And the shots that accidentally hit the bare skin regions will hurt more than the covered parts.

If the shots are repetitive upon the same spot, there’s a good chance the area will get bruised badly. The instructors guide the players to keep their shots away from the neck and feet. But during the gameplay, it becomes difficult for the beginners to direct their aims before shooting. Hence, in some cases, the feet and necks experience bruises due to the direct hit of the paintballs.

These four crucial factors decide the pain ratio for people experiencing an injury with paintballs. The guns are calibrated according to the size and scheme of the game area. It helps control the range shooting adversities and bruising outcomes in players.

Is Paintball Considered a Safe Sport?

Paintball is safer than many extreme sports, but it is an extreme sport at the end of the day. So, you can expect to get hurt. If you talk to professional paintball players, they will tell you a different definition of pain in the game. They will explain that most injuries in the game are not solely because of the shots by paintballs. Instead, the major injuries are due to just running around the field. There are many cases where players have reported ankle twists, tripping falls, elbow slams, and other such accidents during the game.

And as of surveys, it is evident that these accidents are often more common than getting hurt by paintballs. Further, paintballs typically just sting, but you could break a bone if you fall. Therefore, there are medics around the field to take care of such injuries. If you are wearing all sorts of paintball gear, you should finish the game without hurting yourself much. But if players decide to be careless and, say, take the safety mask off, there might be some severe injuries, such as players getting hit in the eyes. 

Paintball Injuries

There has been some statistical analysis to explain the dangerous outcomes of paintball sports. In a 2012 report by JABFM, there is a brief upon the injuries caused by the paintball guns and BB guns. The statistical insights are:

  • Six hundred fourteen people required emergency care due to paintball injuries.
  • 12% of those people were admitted to the hospitals for further treatment.

The numbers indicate that most injuries weren’t severe and never fatal. Hence, the injury aspects aren’t much serious with the paintball and airsoft games. In the US, around 4 million people play paintball every year. With the above statistic, it is evident that for every 16,000 players, only one will end up reporting emergency care. Moreover, only one in 135,000 players will admit to the hospital.

So, you can count on the fact that the possibility of serious injuries is less in paintball games. But these reports are saying just one part of the story. It is because some players decide not to seek medical treatment after experiencing an injury. And most of the cases that got the emergency treatment might not have been the players of this game. For instance, people accidentally shoot themselves when working on paintball guns in some cases. Sometimes, people accidentally get shot when they’re passing by an active paintball game. 

Moreover, the report also lacks information on the types of injuries that the players have experienced. Therefore, you can count on paintball as a safe sport, but don’t neglect the rules and regulations of this game. Avoiding the game rules and being careless might result in some serious and possibly irreversible injuries. So, as long as the players wear their masks and protective gear, this game is safe to play. Minor injuries are still part of this sport, but major injuries are a rare occurrence with safety measures.

Things to Do for Preventing the Paintball Injuries

You can do things to prevent paintball injuries, including taking some precautionary steps. They are:

  1. Wear the Protective Gear 

Wear thick clothes to cover your entire body, wear gloves and robust shoes. These gears will help you head out to the ground with confidence and safety precautions. Other gear you need to wear includes a paintball jersey, groin cup protection, helmets, neck protector, facemasks, and others.

  1. Follow the Safety Guidelines

Like in any other sport, the players need to follow a few guidelines to be safe from injuries. These guidelines include gameplay rules, player-tagging rules, shooting runs, and gun calibration. The instructors will calibrate your guns depending upon the field size. You should not change it mid-game as it might cause some serious injury.

  1. Improve your Pain Threshold

Go into the game bearing in mind that it’s a real-time action game. And there is a possibility of experiencing some injury throughout the game! It might not be just due to the paintball shots but also from running across the paintball field. So, prepare your mind to withstand minor pains in the game, as they are common. If you cannot take the slightest pain, this game is not for you.

  1. Ensure High Paintball Quality

You need to talk to the paintball organizers to discuss whether they have the right quality paintballs. The low-quality balls have hard shells that don’t break easily and increase the chance of bruising when you are hit with them. So, high-quality balls are essential for safe gameplay.

Final Thoughts

So, if you had the question in your mind, ‘Does paintball hurt?’ then this guide is the evident answer for you. You are possibly a beginner to the game and want to participate someday soon. So, this bit of information is for you to understand that pain is inevitable in the game, but the intensity might vary depending upon your adaptations of the safety measures. You can suppress the pain outcomes to the least by taking care of some important factors.

Keep your children away from paintballs, as they might not be able to take the discomfort due to paintball shots. But as per the professionals, there is no such difference in pain in adults and children. If your children are afraid of the paintball shots, let them take their time to develop acceptance towards it before you ask them to participate in the game.


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