How to Play Paintball Safely

Safety is the primary concern in Paintball. This article will teach you how to be safe.


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    Wear all appropriate safety equipment (headgear, barrel bag, barrel sleeve, etc.). Purchase your own equipment or use the equipment provided by the event organizer. If you're not happy with the safety equipment provided, don't participate. The paintball Mask is the most important piece of equipment. You must always wear your mask when on the field. Do not remove it on the field at any time, even if it fogs up. If your mask fogs up, call yourself out, and ask for a ref to escort you to the deadbox. Keep everything on until everyone is in and the barrels are plugged. It could cause serious injury.
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    Play at a certified course with responsible refs and strict rules. This will increase your chance of NOT being hurt in paintball.
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    Never shoot at wildlife or stray domestic animals however irritating they may be. That crow that is blowing your cover, might give away an enemy position later so leave it alone! Cruelty to animals is illegal. Paintball should not be played in areas where wildlife is protected or where rare plants or trees grow.
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    Watch out for natural hazards (roots, animals, cliffs, etc.).
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    Have your CO2 tank inspected as recommended by the manufacturer. If the nozzle comes off, there is a high risk of serious injury and/or death.
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    Keep eyes away from the air release valve.
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    Wear a cup/jock strap, if you are a male. This will help prevent pain, if hit.
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    Do not necessarily believe the 'facts' that paintball is safer than tennis or bowling. Paintball is a young extreme sport and has no mechanism in place for proper reporting of paintball accidents. So we have no statistics, therefore there must be no injuries, has been the idea so far. In reality, field owners frequently admit to the increase in injury over the past three years. You are responsible for your safety and that of the others around you.
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    Goggles must be worn anytime you're on the field of play or in a place where guns are being fired in unsafe condition. A paintball travels at 200fps (feet per second) and can do serious damage to your body. Without proper goggle safety, you can lose an eye. Or worse, you can shoot someone else's eye out because you're too lazy to be safe.
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    Barrel bags and barrel plugs stop balls from being shot out of the gun. With the increase in electronic triggers that can be fired with even a light touch, barrel safety using plugs and condoms is vital. Accidental triggering happens ALL the time even among veteran players. When you are not in the game, you must put the barrel condom or plug into the barrel. Even if the gun is not loaded, or there is no air in the air tank. Again, how YOU play affects many other people, not just by being safe, but also by being a good example to others. If you do NOT use a plug or condom because you know the gun is unloaded, someone else may decide to copy you except his gun may be loaded. Be smart. Keep our sport safe!
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    Do not overshoot people. Overshooting occurs when you shoot someone more times than needed. Not only is this behavior reserved for mules, it also can be dangerous. Often players make the excuse that the overshot player was cheating and wouldn't call himself out. This may be true, but as often if not more often, the player who's being shot at is afraid to leave cover. It's not appropriate for a 12 year old kid to be cowering in cover, while some 28yr old pounds his position like an insane person because he is certain the kid is cheating and not coming out even though he was hit. Don't overshoot. It takes the fun out of playing paintball.
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    Do not shoot people up close. If you're in the heat of it, things can get hard fast and sometimes close. That's okay, it's paintball. But if you come up on someone and shoot him from point blank instead of calling out Surrender first, then you're messed up. Shout out surrender, it's much more satisfying and if they don't surrender IMMEDIATELY shoot them once or twice and apologize for shooting at them so close. This is paintball, and it's supposed to be about FUN. Shooting someone at very close range is not fun, it's inflicting pain and physical damage. (If you shoot someone close range a lot of times, they'll be hating you after the game; if you make them surrender, you can all laugh and be friends after the game because you made him JUMP! and it was pretty funny.)
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    Know your gear. Read the manual if you own your own gear. It's easy to read, and will teach you how to take care of your gear. Paintball uses gear that is heavy duty, not kids toys at all. Treat your gear with respect.
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    Unscrewing your HPA or CO2 bottle from your gun takes about 3-4 full turns. If you are turning the bottle more than 4-5 turns, you must stop and inspect the bottle. The valve of a HPA or CO2 bottle holds back up to 4500 pounds per square inch of pressure, if you are unscrewing the valve by accident, you will soon have a murderous rocket in your hand that will fly out and destroy things and kill people. This is serious. There were two sad deaths in 2005 because of bottle flying off and striking people. One was a mother, the other a young player. Learn how to properly remove your bottle and pay exemption to the 4-5 full turns is a paintball gun like the Tippman 98 custom which says on the owners manual to unscrew it 3/4 turns then use up the rest of the gas and before you unscrew the air tank mark it with paint just a thin line
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    Do not shoot anything except paintballs or practice balls.
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    Do not shoot at anyone not wearing proper paintball goggles. If you're on the field and you see someone without goggles on, yell at them to put them on and go make sure.


  • Do not play when you are angry; if something goes wrong there is a chance you can hurt yourself.
  • Your field may use the word "mercy", instead of "surrender".
  • Go to your sporting goods store and, if old enough, volunteer as a ref; you will learn much about safety.
  • When playing, don't stress or panic if a bruise or welt hurts. Instead, consult a teammate, or if it is an every-man-for-himself match, your referee.
  • It may seem funny to shoot someone at close range, but it really isn't. The hit is much more painful and is exceptionally dangerous when it's a hail Mary shot that could potentially blind them . Know where that paint ball is going to hit at least, a welt on the behind is one thing a hit in the neck, face etc. is another. Remember at close range anything moving 2-400 feet per second can be deadly.


  • Make sure there are refs that have paintball experience.
  • the only case that you should set your the velocity to less than 300 feet (91.4 m) per second is to save from more than just pain...if you want
  • ALWAYS WEAR YOUR MASK. Ok, if your mask is broken then you can always buy a new one, however if you become blinded or die... you cannot buy a life or an eye.
  • Wear appropriate clothing. Don't be stupid and go out half naked into a paintball game. Wear at least one layer of clothing in a game that's a minimum of 1/2 a cm thick or more worth of clothes, it will save you much pain.
  • If you joined a team who asks you to shoulder the bulk of the financial costs, leave the team. It is not for your physical but your fiscal safety. They may get you to the point of buying the team equipment and then just kick you off the team. Make sure every team member chips in the costs 50-50%.

Things You'll Need

  • Optional but HIGHLY recommended: a cup or a jockstrap for boys/men. Note that getting shot in the groin by a paintball flying at over 250 feet (76.2 m) per second is MUCH worse than getting kicked there.
  • Face mask
  • Other appropriate gear
  • Paintball gun

Article Info

Categories: Paintball