The popularity of paintball and paintball guns has exploded over the years, and with the proliferation of new paintball gear comes an increased awareness of safety. As a paintball beginner (or someone looking to get into paintball), you may have heard horror stories and might be wondering “is paintball safe?”. After all, some criticize paintball for the safety of players due to its physical nature, which can result in serious injuries, especially when brought into a competitive environment. While the injuries are not as life-threatening as in other sports, they can still be extremely painful, and even lead to long-term physical problems.
So, is paintball safe? Yes, paintball is safe as long as you always take the proper precautions. Paintball players can still sustain some degree of injuries depending on several factors. However, the injuries are rare and often come from the carelessness of players on the field of play. The most severe injuries are a result of players taking off their masks and playing without protective gear.
While not likely, you can also have some severe damage if you get hit in the head without your mask. Over time, we’ve had more reports of injuries due to on-field accidents than direct shots. So, we typically recommend reasonable fitness for players, considering the amount of running, maneuvering, and ducking involved.
Read on to learn more about potential safety issues in paintballing and how to stay safe from them.
Is Paintball Safe for 12 Year Olds? (Younger?)
Yes. Most paintball facilities require that kids should be at least 10 years old to play paintball. However, age requirement often depends on insurance coverage. So, players that are not quite ten years old can get other alternatives that offer the same thrills as paintball.
Despite pegging the minimum age for playing paintball at 10, most fields will still require parental consent of up to 17 years old to allow kids to play paintball. We recommend checking a facility’s rule on age before taking your kids there for paintball. Another alternative is to let your kids play at home under strict guidance.
Are Paintball Guns Safe?
Yes, paintball guns are safe when you adhere to the following paintball marker safety rules:
- Use a barrel blocking device when not using your paintball marker.
- Make sure all screws are tight on your paintball gun.
- Wear paintball-approved goggles (yes, eyeballs are the worst place to get hit with a paintball).
- Aim before shooting. In other words, never fire your paintball gun without looking.
Potential Safety Issues When Paintballing
Like most other activities, paintball comes with its own set of dangers. A proper understanding of potential dangers will help you avoid them when playing. Here are some of the most popular dangers in airsoft.
1. Eye and Ear Injuries
The most common injuries from direct shots are eye and ear injuries. They often occur as a result of direct shots on the eyes or ears. Paintball pallets contain chemicals that are dangerous to sensitive organs, and their firing speed means that they can cause serious injuries to the eyes and ears. There have been reports of permanent loss of vision and hearing in the past, so this is something you would want to be careful about.
Although often rare, it is also possible to sustain bruises from paintball guns. Most paintball guns fire at approximately 300 ft/s. This speed may be safe to the skin, but it still leaves you prone to bruises when shot at close range.
3. Breathing Difficulties and Concussions
Again, shooting at close range is often discouraged, especially when using high-speed markers. Medical experts often explain that a close hit on the throat can cause a choking sensation, making it difficult to breathe. A direct headshot can also cause concussions and possible loss of consciousness. Therefore, it’s often advised to maintain a reasonable distance from your target before shooting.
This is the most popular type of injury in paintballing. Paintballing is a very mobile game where you’ll need to turn and duck at high speed. This leaves you with the possibility of tripping over, especially when playing in an open field. Therefore, we often advise players to ensure that they are totally fit before playing paintball.
Safety Tips For Paintballers
With recent reports showing a rise in potential paintball injuries, there’s no better time to be more cautious about safety than now. Fortunately, staying safe doesn’t cost much. Here are some simple tips that will help you play safe.
1. Wear Protective Gear
Jeans and t-shirts leave you with more chances of getting injured. Most playing fields only allow certified safety gear with lots of padding. Such a kit would help you stay safe as the paintball pallets hit you. However, in situations where you can’t afford professional padded gear or can’t find one close, you can turn to a sweatshirt or any other thick cloth to protect your body from injuries.
2. Protect Your Hands
Many players neglect their hands when covering themselves up for an airsoft game. Unfortunately, this can be a costly mistake for anybody. Remember that your hands and fingers are particularly vulnerable when you play. We typically recommend protective gloves to cover the hands when playing. Your hands are the closest part of your body to your opponent, and you’ll often need to use them to protect yourself from shots.
3. Cover Your Eyes and Head
We can’t overemphasize this point. Your eyes are the most sensitive part of your body, and direct contact with paintball pallets can cause different degrees of eye problems. Therefore, it’s one of the first places you’ll want to protect. Fortunately, there are protective glasses made for this purpose. You can wear them to cover your eyes from potential injuries.
Don’t forget your head. Wear safety helmets to protect yourself from potential injuries and concussions.
4. Pay Attention To Your Environment
As explained earlier, most paintball injuries come from tripping over. Apart from injuries like fractures, a loss of balance can also leave sensitive parts of your body prone to receiving shots from enemies. Therefore, it’s essential to pay attention to your environment while running around. For example, remove slippery objects from the playing field.