Paintball is an exciting sport that involves shooting paint-filled pellets at opponents. While getting hit will always sting a bit, some paintballs hurt more than others. When selecting paintballs, you’ll want to balance factors like durability, accuracy, and pain level. Here is an overview of how different types of paintballs compare for pain and performance.
Paintball Caliber and Shell Materials
Larger calibers tend to hurt more. Paintballs come in three main sizes:
- .68 caliber – The standard and most common size. Medium pain level.
- .50 caliber – Smaller, so they hurt less but can break more easily. Good for close-range games.
- .43 and .38 caliber – Very small, producing a sting rather than a throb. Required for high-velocity markers.
Thicker shells reduce rupture. Paintball shells can be made from gelatin, plastic, or acrylic. Gelatin shells are the thinnest and most prone to breaking on impact. Plastic and acrylic shells are stronger and less likely to rupture against your body.
Liquid paint hurts more than powder. Paintballs are filled with either:
- Liquid paint – Creates big splats but maximum pain on impact.
- Powdered paint – Less messy and produces a duller sting. Recommended to reduce pain.
Thicker paint fills make tougher shells. More viscous paint fill allows for thicker outer shells. This makes the balls sturdier so they rupture less.
Factor in Paintball Velocity
Higher velocity equals greater impact pain. Paintball markers can be tuned to different speed settings, normally around 280-300 fps. High rates above 300 fps should only be used for distant shots, as they really amplify the pain at close range. For less pain, use lower velocity settings.
Good Paintballs for Reducing Pain
Based on the above factors, here are some good options to reduce paintball pain:
- .50 caliber plastic or acrylic shells with powdered fill – Smaller size and powder fill creates low pain profile.
- Thick-shelled .68 caliber with higher-quality liquid fill – Larger caliber but thick shell prevents breaking.
- Low velocity settings around 280 fps – Slows the paintballs down for less impact.
The size, shell material, fill, and velocity all contribute to paintball pain levels. For minimal pain, use the smallest caliber possible, powdered fills, durable shell materials, and lower velocity. Larger calibers with thin shells, liquid fills, and high speeds hurt the most. Balancing these factors allows you to fine-tune the paintball pain to your preferences.
What is the least painful paintball?
The least painful paintballs are typically .50 caliber, powder-filled, and fired at lower velocities around 280 fps. This produces more of a sting than a throb or bruise.
Do thicker shells make it hurt less?
Yes, thicker gelatin, plastic, or acrylic shells are less likely to rupture on impact, reducing pain. They also allow for pressurized liquid fills without bursting.
Why do smaller paintballs hurt less?
Smaller calibers like .50 have less surface area and mass, so they don’t hit as hard. Less force equals less pain on impact.
Should I use oil-based or water-based paint?
Oil-based paints are thicker and more likely to break on target. Water-based paints make more fragile shells that hurt less.
I’ve been consumed by the thrilling world of paintball for over a decade. As an avid player and team captain, I’ve experienced firsthand the unique mix of teamwork, strategy, and marksmanship that makes this sport so addictive.
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