Does Paintball Hurt? What does it Feel Like to Be Hit?

man with paintball gun

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Paintball is a sport where you shoot at enemies using a paintball gun loaded with paint capsules. But does paintball hurt? The impact of the paint capsules can range from a mild sting to a sore bruise. How much it hurt is still dependent on the speed, distance, and projectile of the ball – that’s physics! Where the ball hits the body also affects its impact. When it hits bare skin and does not disintegrate, the paintball hit may sting a lot, but only for a while.

Since every person has a different threshold for pain, there is no specific answer to the question “Does paintball hurt?”. The perception of hurt can be subjective. There is no actual scale that will gauge its severity. Often, it may hurt less than you expect, but it is all part of the sport. Players, however, should anticipate getting those shots during the game and need to prepare for the impact.

Paintball is generally safe, but to protect the players, protective armor is a must. Paintball goggles or masks and other paintballing gear are necessary for preventing game injuries and minimizing the tendency of bruises. However, you will likely bruise especially if using the fastest or most powerful paintball gun. Just because paintballs are made of paint, doesn’t mean they don’t hurt!

Does Paintball Hurt Children?

Paintballing is not just a leisure activity for adults. Children as young as 10 or 12 years old can also get involved in the game. They may play in a group their age and enjoy low impact paintball instead of teaming up with adults.

Does paintball hurt children too? Even for children, paintball is not entirely pain-free despite the less powerful rifles they carry. The element of risk is as present as the thrill of the game. So, parents should expect some pain and minor bruising that comes along with it.

How to Lessen the Impact of Paintball

Protection is everything in the world of paintball. The most important protective gear is the mask for preventing eye and head injury. Other armor includes a paintball-proof vest, neck guard, and padded pants.

The trick in paintball protection is to wear clothing that will cover up most skin. Some players opt to wear several thin layers together. This will give them the option to remove layers when the weather gets warm. Thick padded suites, however, offer double protection although they may also affect the motion and maneuvers in the field.

If you are a novice player, stick to padded tracksuits. You will never know what you will experience how much pain the sport can create until you try it. Read more on common paintball injuries here.

Here are some of the protective basics of the game to survive it with less pain and bruising.

Wear Paintball Mask or Goggles

According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, paintball, airsoft, pellet, and BB gun-related ocular injury has risen to 30% since 1990. It is, therefore, imperative to wear face and eye protection at all times.

Paintball goggles come in different sizes, but for full protection, opt for a mask that can cover the whole face from the forehead down to the chin. Some masks are designed with better breathability, visibility, and sound perception. It will ensure maximum protection without getting in the way of the paintball game.

Neck Protectors

Does paintball hurt when you are shot in the neck? A neck shot may seem less common, and players pay little attention to this hazard, but a direct hit of a paintball to the bare neck can hurt a lot. Some players may use a baseball cap worn backward to protect the nape. But a sturdy and lightweight neck protector is the best choice. Not everyone may feel comfortable with a neck guard, but if you truly want body protection, it is still a viable investment.

Chest Protector

A paintball hit in the chest or back can send the player reeling in pain. Most importantly, it is necessary to cover the back to protect the spine. A paintball hitting an unprotected back squarely puts the player at a risk for spine injury. So, get a suitable chest protector that fits well, is lightweight, and can provide maximum protection.

Padded Pants

Thick pants with padding are the ideal suit for lower body protection. These will save you from the welts from shot paintball pellets. There are lightweight and flexible pants with added functionality that are good for leg protection. They should also come with pads that will protect the knees, hips, and crotch area, which are crucial spots prone to injuries.


The hands are also the exposed part that needs covering up. There are different options for gloves like the full-finger, half-finger, or two-finger open type. The choice for gloves boils down to comfort and personal preference. You will need something that can protect your hands without hampering your feel and pulling of the trigger.

Other implements that a player needs for further protection are shoes, knee pads, and arm or elbow pads. While it does not directly protect from the paintball hit, it offers protection against injury while moving around.

Conclusion to Does Paintball Hurt

Paintball is a fun and exciting game across all levels of experience for players. So, does paintball hurt in general? Unfortunately, the nature of the game does not exempt anyone from paintball bruise or pain from the hits. Full body protection can lessen the impact of the paint capsule and save players from any substantial injuries. At the very least, you might end up with a paintball stain on your clothing.

Playing by the rules and following the objective of the game is also key to maximizing the fun and minimizing pain. Players should abide by the “hit rules” to safely exit the game to the dead area. They should also have a clear location of the dead area to avoid shooting in that direction.

Make sure everyone knows the rules of the game and abides by all the safety rules. Do not, in any way, remove your protective gear, especially the mask, while still on the game. Minor pain may happen, but it is often worth the fun that the players experience in the field. Like what most tactical pursuits always say: no pain, no gain!

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