Does Paintball Hurt? You Should Read This Before You Play

  • Updated February 14th, 2023

Does Paintball Hurt? You Should Read This Before You Play

So you’re thinking about playing, and you’re wondering how much does paintball hurt?

Imagine that you are:

  • Running around
  • Jumping over obstacles
  • Paintballs splatting all over the place

Also, there is an enemy who wishes for nothing more than your total annihilation.

Sounds fun, right?

Sure it does.

Getting dressed in tactical clothing and stepping onto the battlefield causes an extra dose of adrenaline.

You feel it in your body, making you feel ten feet tall and bulletproof.

Paintball is such a fun sport.

Thousands of people gather every weekend to participate, rain or shine.

The-Painful Truth About Paintball
The-Painful Truth About Paintball

The question, however, that most people have when they are considering playing the great sport of paintball is:

Does paintball hurt?

The short answer to that question is:

Yes and No

However, to tell you an exact amount of how much it hurts would be impossible.

You have to consider that each person has a different level of pain tolerance.

How much does paintball hurt depends on many factors.

What factors determine if paintball:

  • The shooters gun
  • The velocity of the shot
  • The distance of the shot

This Video Answers the Question Well

Depending on your situation, one of these resources will help you make the most of paintball:

Lessen the pain – what to wear for paintball
Impress your friends – how to use a paintball gun
Don’t look like a newbiehow to play paintball
Become a paintball ninjaultimate paintball guide

What makes paintball hurt?

Before we discuss just how much paintball really hurts, let’s look at some of the factors that cause it to be painful.

Quality of the Paintball

You wouldn’t think so, but the quality of the paintball used to shoot you can be a big factor in how much the shot hurts.

However, the impact of the quality is different than you may assume.

Lower quality paintballs contain a less-dense material but a harder shell.

This material makes it tougher to break on impact.

Manufactures design high-quality paintballs not to break in the gun and to break on impact easily.

Therefore, lower quality paintballs will often hurt worse when you get hit when compared to higher quality ones.

Velocity of the opponent’s gun

Simply put, the harder the paintball is shot at you, the more it is going to hurt.

Most fields have a limit to how much velocity can be used on a paintball to keep everyone safe.

Distance of the Shot

As the paintball travels through the air, it loses power.

Therefore, the further away the opponent is from you when they shoot you, the less it will hurt.

In fact, most paintball fields limit the closest you can be to shoot to 10 feet.

Any closer than that and the shot could cause a considerable amount of pain.

Point of impact

The place on your body where you get shot will significantly affect how much it hurts.

Where does paintball hurt to get hit?

For example, a shot to the back where there are less muscle and fat is going to hurt worse than a shot to the stomach.

Also, any paintball you take to your bare skin is going to hurt worse than if the shot is to a covered portion of your body.

That’s why, when you see an experienced paintballer, there is little to no exposed skin.

How many times you get hit

While it may not hurt to get hit the first time, if you continue to get hit in that spot, you may start to feel more pain.

If you keep getting hit in the same spot, then change up your strategy and play style.

You have to make it harder to get hit there.

How much does paintball hurt?

The entire principal behind playing paintball is to avoid getting shot.

However, it’s inevitable that at some point, no matter how good of a player you are, you are going to get shot.

How painful is a paintball?

The degree to which the paintball hurts can vary.

It also depends on many factors such as how far the shooter is from you and where it hits you.

What does getting hit by a paintball feel like?

Many players compare it to the feeling of getting hit by a rubber band or stung by a bee.

However, the pain usually only lasts for a second or two before fading away.

You may have a bruise, but the pain will be a distant memory.

Does paintball hurt more than a tattoo?

Again, this depends upon several factors.

However, in general, unless you get hit point blank on your bare skin, then the answer is simply no.

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Now, everything you’ve just read is entirely dependent on you, and the other players, following all of the safety rules while on the field.

The reason for that is because getting hit in the face, or worse the eye, is not only extremely painful but can be dangerous as well.

A shot to the eye can cause your eye to swell, burst your eye socket, or worse, cause you to go blind in that eye.

That’s why it’s always important to follow the rules and have a mask that will protect you.

How to prevent the pain

The first and foremost way to ensure paintball doesn’t hurt is not to get shot.

If you find that you get shot an excessive amount of times, it may be wise to change up your playing style and strategy.

Again, as stated before, it is inevitable that at some point you will get shot.

So, then the question arises:

How do you stop paintballs from hurting?

There are several things a player can do to prevent the paintball from hurting severely.

The first, and perhaps best, way to avoid the pain is the type of clothing you wear.

Playing paintball in shorts and a t-shirt is not only stupid but will cause the other players to target those areas just to inflict more pain.

The ideal clothing for playing paintball is thick and loose; usually a long-sleeve shirt and pants.

Teams will usually have a distinct style of clothing they wear.

Some even have jerseys that have special padding built into the fabric, softening the hit.

We have a complete guide about what to wear for paintball

Does paintball hurt with armor or extra padding?

While everyone may not need this extra padding, it is an excellent way to decrease the level of pain you feel.

If you’re hit directly on your armor, you may barely notice that a paintball hit you.

You have to be careful, though, when dressing in layers to ensure you don’t get too hot.

Considering that most paintball matches occur in the summer, layers may be a problem.

Too many layers on will cause you to sweat more and run a higher risk of getting dehydrated.

However, clothes specifically designed for paintball play are breathable while protecting you as well.

A word about distance

Another great way to decrease the pain of a paintball hit is to stay as far away from the enemy as you can.

As stated above, the further the paintball has to travel to hit you, the less velocity it will have.

Sometimes, the style of play that you are involved in requires you to be close to your enemy.

Other times, you may be able to play at a greater distance.

If you are close to the enemy, expect the shot to hurt a little more.

Always wear your safety gear, especially your mask.

You may also want to ensure you wear something to protect the back of your head and neck.

While shots to the neck are rare, they can be painful.

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Also, if you are the type of player that likes to dive and crawl under and behind obstacles, we recommend wearing knee and shin pads.

While this isn’t necessarily to prevent a shot from hurting you, a bruised knee can be more painful.

What about children?

Does paintball hurt 10, 11, 12, 13-year-olds

As for children, the pain is always going to be increased but still depend on the child.

When children are playing, always be sure to match them up together.

Never let a child play with adults.

Also, it may be wise to limit the power on the guns to accommodate the children.

As always, ensure the child is of the legal age to play, both in the jurisdiction you’re in and the range.

Some fields will require the child to be 14 or 16 before they are allowed to play.

Regardless, always ensure the child understands, and follows, the rules of the game.

All in all, the anticipation of getting shot is perhaps what causes it to be so painful the first time.

After you get shot for the first time, you then have something to compare ensuing shots to and how they feel.

You then realize there isn’t any pain.

You’re then able to enjoy the game and inflict the pain rather than receive it.

Though it’s not that painful, it’s always fun when you get to inflict the pain on another player.

How dangerous is paintball?

As we’ve mentioned, if all players follow the safety rules & you wear the proper gear, then you should be fine.

Will you experience pain at times?


Paintball is a contact sport so you may experience pain from:

  • Getting hit by paintballs
  • Falling on the ground
  • Running into something

However, we encourage you to go out there & enjoy yourself!