Yes Paintball Hurts and how much so will vary on a lot of factors so keep on reading to understand more
As most things in life go, the scale of ‘hurt’ or sensation varies on a bunch of factors each one altering how a paintball is felt.
Factors such as
- the type of gun.
- the caliber or size of the paintball.
- the distance you were shot from.
- the armor or protective clothing you were wearing.
- the part of the body you were shot at.
- wind factor
- How the Paintball impacts (whether the paintball broke on impact).
- The individual
- Situation or environment
These factors affect the speed and force of the paintball and or how the energy of paintball is absorbed upon impact.
I always joke that getting shot by a paintball is like a snowflake, no two paintball shots are the same.
Types of Paintball Guns
Paintball guns are classified by how they are powered (What propels the paintballs). And they are basically two types
1)Spring Powered Paintball Guns
These guns fire the slowest and hurt the least. They are the Paintball guns that I used to safely get my two sons into paintball.
They are powered by a spring which is pulled back (Think Pump Action Shotgun) to add energy to propel the paintball forward.
How does it feel to get Hit by a Spring Powered Paintball
Getting hit by a Spring Powered Paintball feels like getting hit by a fast moving snowball and rarely ever cause bruising.
And because of this, they are the safest paintball guns and the best for kids and early teens now starting paintball.
They are very affordable and require no compressed air.
My recommendation for a good spring powered paintball gun is the JT Splatmaster Shotgun.
You can read more about why I chose the Splatmaster in my article on The Best Paintball Guns for kids.
How it feels to Get Hit by A Compressed Air or Liquid CO2 Paintball Guns.
You will definitely feel a shot from a Compressed air paintball gun. It feels kinda like a thump and has a sting like sensation especially when it hits an exposed body part from a large rubber band (Varies based on distance and clothing).
These Paintball guns fire paintballs faster than a spring powered paintball gun averaging 270 to 285 feet per second. They can go faster but most paintball fields restrict the speed to around 280 fps. And I urge you to keep within this speed limit to avoid heavy bruising.
Compressed air Powered Paintball guns are the most commonly used paintball guns.
My recommendation for a good starter Compressed air paintball gun is the Tippmann Cronus.
It is a semi-automatic paintball gun so it is slower and safer (shoots around 270 to 280 fps) than high powered paintball guns that rely on fancy electronics. You can read more in my article Best Paintball Gun for Kids
Factors that affect How much a Paintball will Hurt
Caliber or Size of Paintball Pellets
Currently, there are two sizes of paintball pellets used; the .50 cal and .68 cal
The .50 cal is a smaller paintball that is used mostly in the spring powered paintball guns. Because they are smaller the impact of a .50 cal is barely felt making it perfect for kids and teens now starting out on paintball.
Please ensure your paintball guns can use a .50 cal round before purchasing.
These are the standard Paintball Pellet size used in most compressed air paintball guns.
They are larger than the .50 cal and the impact is felt a lot more (Sting from a big rubber band) and can cause bruising if shot at a close distance with no protective clothing.
Because of this more safety precautions such as masks and protective clothing need to be used.
The closer you are to the person firing the paintball the more it’s gonna hurt. When a paintball has to travel a further distance some of that energy is dissipated along the way.
Most paintball fields mandate for compressed air paintball at least 20 feet between you and the person you are shooting at or being shot at.
I urge you to respect this rule if you are playing at home and when you are visiting paintball fields ensure that fields have adequate space.
If you are fully suited up in a basic paintball protective suit the amount of hurt and pain will be minimal.
At all paintball field, it is mandatory to always wear at least a mask whilst playing paintball.
I am gonna discuss my recommendations on the basic paintball protective gear later on in the article under the section How to reduce pain when playing Paintball so keep on reading.
Part of the Body
The amount of hurt will vary greatly depending on the part of the body you struck on.
The absolute worst area to get hit on is the unprotected head or face. This can cause serious injury sometimes permanent damage such as losing an eye.
That is why masks are mandatory at most paintball fields. Most good masks absorb most of the impact shielding your face.
In other areas the general consensus is the more fat in the area, the less it will be felt since fat acts as a cushion to soften the blow of the paintball.
Whilst getting hit on the bone sucks. I am sure you can all attest getting hit on the thigh is better than getting hit on the ankle.
So areas like the neck, elbows, knees, and fingers are high ‘hurt’ areas that should be protected.
The wind affects the speed of the paintball and anything that affects the speed of the paintball will affect the degree of hurt the paintball will cause.
Even bullets fired by real guns at a long range are affected by the wind
How the Paintball impacts on You
If a paintball hits you and it doesn’t break on you and instead bounces off all the energy of the paintball is concentrated in one area and you will feel it a lot more.
On the other hand, when a paintball breaks and the paint is splattered on you it spreads out the force of the impact over a wider area.
Most paintballs tends to break upon impact though it can bounce off you because of bad paintball with extra tough shells.
Situation and Environment
Imagine you are in the heat of battle paintballs flying everywhere, your heart and lungs racing and all of sudden you are hit by a paintball. Are you in pain? no, you are angry and upset and can’t wait to start the next round.
Adrenaline has a tendency to dampen the pain. Whiles if you are just casually walking and get hit by a paintball by accident, its gonna hurt a lot more.
How a paintball will feel when it hits will vary for each individual.
Everyone has a different pain threshold based on things such as
- how much fat a person has (Skinny people have it rougher)
- the amount of physical activity an individual takes part in. The more the better, since they are more acclimatized to physical stress.
And I think a person’s personality contributes a lot to how much paintball hurts.
If your kids are the kind of kids who see challenges as excitement and embraces a bit of pain and discomfort as part of life, it will hurt a lot less.
Ways to Reduce the Pain when playing Paintball
Now that you understand the various factors that affect the amount of ‘hurt’ paintball can cause. I would like to suggest some simple ways to reduce the pain and thus making paintball safer and more fun.
Use Good Paintball Guns
I am not gonna dwell on this since I already covered this early but its worth mentioning twice.
For kids ages 9 to 12 I would advocate the A Spring Powered Paintball gun. My recommendation is the JT Splatmaster Shotgun.
For teens and of mature beginners of all ages, a compressed air gun like the Tippmann Cronus, that fires around 280 feet per second, any faster and your gonna feel a lot more pain.
Read more about both of these guns in my article Best Paintball Gun for kids.
Enforce a Distance Rule
Most paintball fields stipulate that paintballers should not fire at opponents that are too close; 20 feet and closer.
Stick with this rule and you can minimize the pain and any bruising.
Use a Good Mask and Protective Clothing
The Mask I would recommend is the JT Premise.
Though you can find cheaper mask the JT Premise provides full head coverage rather than just your face like most paintball mask. You can read more in my Article on The Best Paintball Masks for Kids where I outline my choices from the best to a very Budget Friendly Masks
Neck Protector Getting hit on the neck with a paintball hurts a lot this can be avoided with a low-cost neck protector.
Padded Vest has extra paddings (Think Bullet Proof vest for paintball) which absorb the impact of the paintball making it hurt a lot less.
Padded Pants with pads to protect the knee.
Tactical Gloves the fingers and hand have little to no fat to protect them and can be extremely vulnerable to paintball. Imagine a door squeezing your fingers.
My recommendation is a pair of half gloves. They provide adequate protection by having paddings and yet at the same time leaving the fingers, mobile enough to operate your paintball gun.
You can read more about these Paintball Gear and where you can get them plus a great combo package in my article Does Paintball Still Hurt with Armor?
If you can afford protective clothing I advise adding extra layers of clothes to soften the impact of the Paintballs.
But beware if its summer things will get hot.
Does Paintball Bruise?
Yes, playing paintball with a compressed air paintball gun can cause bruising to happen this very unlikely if you use a Spring Powered Paintball Gun. You can read more about this in my article where I tackle this question in more detail click here to read Does Paintball Bruise.
To end I would like to say yes indeed Paintball will hurt though I think this doesn’t mean we should shield ourselves or our kids, just because of a bit of discomfort.
To achieve anything great in life you must be prepared to take risks and embrace discomfort. Paintball I think is a simple and safe way to do introduce ourselves and kids to this lesson.