How Bad Does Paintball Hurt?: Reasons It’s Not Hurtful

How Bad Does Paintball Hurt

How bad does paintball hurt? This is perhaps the most frequently asked question about paintball. Paintball is a game that has become popular over the last decade. It’s a game that tests your speed, accuracy, and strategy. 

However, many people are discouraged from playing paintball because they think it will hurt their skin as much as getting shot with an actual bullet. But is this the case? 

If you don’t know much about the paintball game, it’s easy to imagine that getting shot must hurt like crazy. 

So, how bad does paintball hurt?

Paintball will sting, but it’s nowhere near as painful as you imagine. And although they’re significantly smaller than a pellet from a real gun, they’re still pretty painful when they hit you. 

The pain you experience will depend on where the paintball hits you, the speed of the ball, and the distance it travels before hitting you. You are unlikely to experience serious pain unless hit directly in the skin on a particularly tender spot. 

Does Paintball Cause Bruising?

Unlike getting hit with a regular bullet, getting hit in paintball doesn’t cause deep bruising. Even though paintballs are much smaller than real bullets, they still have enough force behind them to break your skin upon impact. 

Even if you don’t get shot directly in the skin, there is still a chance that the paintball might leave a mark. 

Reasons Paintball Doesn’t Hurt As Much As You Think

After getting hit with a paintball, you may experience slight discomfort, particularly when moving around. 

However, the level of discomfort you might endure can sometimes be insignificant because of the following reasons;

Paintballs don’t break the skin

Most paintballs are smooth and cannot break the skin as the paint is not very thick or sticky and breaks apart relatively easily when it hits your skin. 

Therefore, you are unlikely to experience the intense burning sensation and stinging that you might have with a rubber bullet wound. 

The adrenaline in your system will help to reduce pain

Paintball is a very physical game that requires a lot of running, crouching, and climbing. Adrenaline flowing through your body when playing paintball can help to reduce the amount of pain you experience when you get shot.

Factors That Determine How Much a Paintball Hurts

Many factors affect how much pain you’ll feel after being shot. No matter how experienced you get with paintball, getting shot hurts in various ways. 

From bruising to breaking the skin and everything in between, here are some factors determining how much a paintball shot hurts.

Distance Travelled by the Paintball

The distance from where the paintball was shot plays a big role in determining the amount of pain inflicted by a paintball shot. 

Most paintball guns do not have the power to deliver a strong kick over a far distance. A close-range shot will hurt more than one taken over a longer distance.

Marker Type

When it comes to the force of a paintball shot, the type of paintball marker you use can make a big difference. 

High-quality markers made of gelatin capsules that easily rapture on contact with your skin. This ensures that the least amount of pain is inflicted on you whenever you get hit. 

On the other hand, low-quality markers have tougher shells that hit harder, causing more pain.

Your Clothing

Protective gear, like best paintball gloves, can go a long way in reducing the pain you endure while playing paintball. 

If a paintball hits you in an area of your body with something covering it, the shot will hurt less than when it hits an uncovered part of your body.

Wearing loose clothing will cause the paintball to penetrate less deeply into your skin, making you feel less pain. 

Wearing tight clothing, on the other hand, will cause the paintball to penetrate more deeply into your skin, which will cause more pain. 

Consider checking out these best paintball jerseys and paintball pants for ultimate protection.

Body Part Hit

If the paintball hits you in an area with a high concentration of blood vessels or nerve endings, you will also feel more pain.

A paintball hit on your hand will hurt you more than one on your foot. This is because your hands contain more nerve endings than other body parts. 

Playing style and position.

Your playing style and position can also cause you to feel more or less pain when you get shot. If you play a more aggressive position, such as defense, you will experience more pain than those who play less aggressive positions. 

This is because aggressive positions will cause you to get hit more often than other positions. Your position may also cause you to feel more pain. 

However, the position requires a mask protecting your face, meaning you will experience less pain than other players on the field.

Skin Type and Color

The type of skin you have and the color of your skin will also affect the amount of pain you feel after being shot. 

If you have very thin skin on your hands and face, it could even cause a small cut after being shot. 

Ways to Help You Reduce Pain When Playing Paintball

You won’t be able to avoid the pain when playing paintball. However, you can manage it. The challenge is that every player responds differently to pain and injury. 

We all react differently to physical activity and stress on our bodies, but there are things you can do beforehand to reduce the pain of being shot with paintballs. Here are some tips on how you can reduce the pain of playing paintball:

Use Groin Cup Protection

There’s no reason to leave your groin exposed to paintball fire. Groin cups are cheap and easy to protect yourself from getting hit in the family jewels. 

They can be worn over or under your underwear, depending on what you are most comfortable with. 

If you are playing in a field where you are allowed to wear protective gear, groin cups are a great investment for reducing pain and protecting yourself.

Change Your Perception of Pain

Pain is subjective, and a highly individualized experience, meaning everyone will have different thresholds for pain and suffering.

If you are new to paintball and experience a lot of pain when playing, try to change your perception of it. 

While pain is not something you would normally want to seek out, it is your body’s way of letting you know that you are doing something harmful to it. 

When you experience pain, try to think of it as a warning sign rather than something you must be distracted from.

Take ibuprofen before playing

Taking an ibuprofen tablet before you play paintball can help to reduce pain and swelling. You can take the ibuprofen beforehand, so you are less fazed by any pain you experience during the game. 

Take ibuprofen about 30 minutes before you hit the field so that it has time to kick in before you start getting hit by paintballs.

Wear the right gear

The best paintball gear will protect you from getting hit in sensitive areas like your head and your groin. You should also be wary of wearing loose clothing and baggy pants. 

You don’t want to restrict your movement, but you also don’t want clothing that will easily get shot full of holes. 

If you are playing in a field where you can wear protective gear, you should invest in a pair of knee guards and a protective paintball mask. A good pair of knee guards will protect your knees from getting hit by stray paintballs. 

Apply a hot or cold compress

It is always a good practice to apply a hot or cold compress to parts of your body that are hurt. Even though this is not a preventive measure, it does a good job of reducing the pain inflicted by shots.

Warm compress allows for increases in the flow of blood in the affected areas, whereas cold compress reduces swelling and pain.


When you think of paintball, it’s easy to imagine it being a very painful experience. After all, players are shooting one another with paintballs, which are essentially small chunks of paint. 

But in reality, paintball doesn’t hurt nearly as much as you might expect. Even though paintball doesn’t hurt as much as you might expect, it requires a lot of physical movement, leading to fatigue and soreness. 

If you’re curious about why this game does not hurt as much as you think, read on to find out. 

John Henrick

My name is John Hendricks, and I am a passionate paintballer who loves to play and compete. I have been involved in the sport for many years and have a wealth of experience to share.
I believe that paintball is a great sport for people of all ages and skill levels and should be accessible to everyone. That’s why I created this website – to provide a one-stop shop for all things paintball.

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