There is a common myth that paintball hurts. It doesn’t, at least not the way you think it does. When you get shot with a paintball, your skin stings as if you were sprayed by a skunk or hit with pepper spray. In fact, the pain is very similar to getting sprayed by a skunk.
How Can Paintballs Sting So Much Without Breaking the Skin?
The answer is simple: velocity.
The average paintball leaves the barrel of a marker (paintball gun) at around 300 feet per second or faster. If you shoot someone with a .68 caliber paintball and they were to catch it and throw it back at you, the velocity would be roughly 220 feet per second. To put that in perspective, a Major League pitcher throws a fastball at 90-100 mph, which is half of where most paintballs leave a marker.
The sting is caused by the paintball’s kinetic energy pushing on your skin as it leaves the gun and hits its target. It’s a bit like getting hit with a fast-moving ping pong ball. The harder the paintball, the more kinetic energy it carries and the larger welt it will leave behind.
Low quality paintballs often break while going through the barrel due to bore size, temperature changes, or humidity which reduces their velocity and kinetic energy down to roughly 100 feet per second which are about the speed of an average fastball. While these low quality balls can’t carry enough force to break the skin they do cause severe pain and discomfort.
A paintball needs to be over 300 feet per second in order to leave a sting on the skin. If you just got shot with one that didn’t break, you probably aren’t feeling much pain at all, but you would likely see some bruising where the ball hit you.
If you are playing paintball, the best way to prevent pain is to use quality paintballs and play in a field that doesn’t allow low quality balls. If you’re worried about the sting of getting shot with a paintball, don’t be. You will barely feel it and if you do, it’s not going to hurt very much. Just remember to bring some bandages with you in case you do get hit, just in case.
Every paintball player knows the sting, whether it’s from a direct hit to the bare skin or an errant shot through your clothing. While paintballs don’t hurt when you get them, the welts they leave behind might be enough cause for pain in some people.
How Can I Prevent Getting Stung?
To prevent getting stung by a paintball, you need to make sure the quality of the balls is good. Low-grade paintballs are more likely to break in your marker or if they hit the uneven ground they tend to ricochet which can break them inside your gun’s tube.
All reputable fields will only allow high quality paintballs through their markers, although occasionally a bad batch can slip through. If you’re playing at home, make sure the balls are of good quality and if they break in your marker, don’t use them.
Regardless of what kind of paintballs you’re using, always wear long sleeves and pants to cover your skin as much as possible. While this won’t keep all of the paint off of you, it will reduce it a great deal.
Is It Okay To Use Paintballs That Have Been Shot Before Being Reloaded?
While re-using paintballs is frowned upon in most disciplines of the sport, some fields allow players to use paintballs that have been shot from their markers but have not been collected by the referee. These paintballs are often allowed because the field is trying to make a profit and would rather not spend money on new paintballs.
You should avoid using these types of paintballs if possible because they could break in your marker or tank causing damage. Even though this type of broken paintball can’t cause a sting, it could do serious damage to your equipment.
What Type Of Stinging Precautions Should I Take?
When you first start playing paintball, you will notice the sting on the skin more than anything else. This is simply because you are not used to getting shot with each ball carrying a velocity between 300 and 500 feet per second.
The stings can be almost eliminated by the use of long sleeves and pants. If you’re feeling especially sting-sensitive, you can wear a jersey under your paintball clothing to add an extra layer of protection.
How Can I Prevent Getting Hit By A Paintball?
There are two ways to avoid getting hit by a paintball: don’t play or make yourself very difficult to hit. of being eliminated quickly means fewer people are shooting a
Every time you play paintball, there is a chance that someone will shoot you multiple times since not everyone aims well. If you want to avoid getting shot as much as possible, try hiding behind things most of the game and only run really fast when your team needs help taking or defending an objective.
Some players try to use cover to avoid getting shot, although this can be dangerous since you are often exposed for a very short period of time. The only sure way to avoid getting shot is to play somewhere with poor footing or no cover at all. While this does make it easier for others to hit you, the possibility for injury is much lower.
Is It Okay To Keep A Collection Of Paintballs Shot At Me?
If you can collect the paintballs that have been shot at you, it’s usually okay to keep them for use later on. Some players don’t like shooting at anyone who has a collection of balls that have been shot into them, although others have no problem with it.
The stinging sensation from a paintball is caused by getting the paint inside your clothing and onto your skin, so if you keep your shirt on during a game, there’s no need to keep a collection of balls shot at you. If you take off your shirt when playing paintball, those balls can sting just as bad as those that have hit you.
What Does A Paintball Burst On Contact Mean?
A paintball bursts on contact when it hits something and breaks into pieces leaving a large mark with most of the paint inside. This is most common when players shoot each other with markers within twenty feet since the players are moving fast and the paintballs are moving much faster.
Paintball bursts on contact when you shoot someone in the face or neck because there is no time to react and change course. This can be extremely scary, but it’s also an accident that cannot easily be avoided unless players wear masks while playing.
When To Wear A Mask?
You should wear a paintball mask any time you are playing airsoft or paintball with other people. Shooting someone in the face with either is very painful and dangerous since it’s easy for paintballs or BBs to go into the eyes.
Masks also help prevent injuries that could occur when players run into branches, electric wires, trees, hoses, or other objects. For a more comfortable mask, you can attach a facemask of the same material as your paintball shirt once you know what kind of face protection works best for you.
Is It Okay To Wear A Jersey In Paintball?
It is usually not rare to see someone at a paintball field wearing just a jersey even when it’s extremely hot outside. This is because most players like to use their clothes to stay cool, but still want some sort of protection against paintball fire.
Jerseys are thin enough that they will not provide much protection against shots fired from any gun, but they do work for anyone using a marker with lower velocity. A paintball shirt with a collar can also help keep you cool since most jerseys are made of cotton and can trap heat.
When Should I Wear A Full Suit Of Paintball Gear?
A full suite of paintball gear includes a helmet, mask, and padding for the chest, legs, and arms. This is best worn when you are playing in a competitive tournament or with people who shoot very accurately since it’s much harder to hit someone with padding on.
Even if you are playing with friends who like to shoot accurately, it’s good to wear some sort of paintball shirt since the impact from a shot can still sometimes cause bruising or bumps on your skin. If you start doing well at tournaments and want more protection, adding padding to your legs, arms, and chest is always an option.
How Does A Full Suit Of Paintball Gear Protect You?
A full suite of paintball gear protects you from being hit in the face, neck, and any other place on your body where a paintball can burst on contact or break into pieces before hitting something else nearby. Injuries that occur when players get shot in the neck or face can be extremely painful and cause more damage than a shot to an arm, leg, chest, or back.
Padding for the neck isn’t as common since it can make it harder to breathe and see clearly when playing paintball, but some players use it if they are going against other people who wear padding that covers their necks. It’s also wise to wear padding for your elbows, knees, and feet.
One Last Thing You Should Know
Paintball injuries are very rare when players follow all of the rules and only play with other people who take safety seriously. If you plan on wearing a paintball shirt or jersey, make sure it’s thin enough that you can still see your opponent so you can avoid shooting them in the face or neck.
It’s also important to use a paintball gun with a velocity below 300 feet per second when playing with anyone, including friends who are used to wearing masks at all times. Most shots occur because players speed up when they get nervous, but shooting someone in the neck or face is never worth it since they could be injured for life.
Hopefully, you have a better idea of when to wear a paintball mask and when to choose something lighter depending on your comfort level. In the end, always consider safety before having fun in any sport!