Paintball is supposed to be a fun and safe sport. However, some paintball players tend to get experimental and try using ammunition other than paintballs in their guns. Some kinds of ammunition, like marbles, are especially dangerous.
Why shouldn’t you shoot marbles from a paintball gun? Paintball guns have not been built to shoot marbles. The weight and shape of marbles can damage your gun and even cause it to recoil. Also, marbles shot from a paintball gun can seriously injure others – in some places, it is even considered assault.
Even if they fit into your paintball gun, you should never use marbles as ammunition.
This guide explores the different dangers of using ammunition. It also explores what you can use as alternative ammunition if you don’t have paintballs. Finally, we’ll also discuss other ways that you can stay safe while playing paintball.
How do paintball guns work?
To help you understand why you shouldn’t shoot marbles from a paintball gun, it helps to know a little about the mechanics of how a paintball gun works. A paintball gun is made up of a collection of different parts:
- The body. The body is the main part of the gun and contains the trigger, the valve (which releases air), and the bolt.
- The hopper. The hopper sits above the body and stores the paintballs – or whatever other ammunition you are using.
- The tank. The tank is filled with high-pressure air (HCA) or carbon dioxide, which is instrumental in creating velocity for the ammunition to move.
- The barrel. The barrel is the long cylinder you attach to the body of the gun, which your ammunition moves through before it enters the free air.
When you press the trigger on your paintball gun, here’s a step by step insight into what happens.
- Pressing the trigger will open a valve in the hopper, which will release the ammunition from the hopper into the body of the gun.
- A valve in the body will open and release highly compressed air or carbon dioxide into the barrel of the gun.
- As the air moves through the barrel, it will carry the ammunition with it.
- The ammunition will pass through the end of the barrel into the open air.
Paintball guns, as their name suggests, are designed to use paintballs as their ammunition and shoot them through the air. Using other ammunition is always risky, as your gun is not equipped to handle it.
Why shouldn’t you shoot marbles from a paintball gun?
There are a variety of reasons you shouldn’t use marbles as ammunition for your paintball gun.
Paintball guns shoot paintballs at a high velocity. When paintballs come into contact with something solid, they splatter. While paintballs may sting slightly when they hit another person, they very rarely do any serious damage.
Marbles are a whole different ball game. Marbles are made of hard, unyielding materials like strong glass, stone, or aluminum. When they are shot out of a paint gun, they travel at high speed and can seriously damage anything they come into contact with.
Marbles shot out of a paintball gun can cause even strong glass to shatter. If a marble shot out of a gun hits a person, it can cause bruises, bone injuries and can even be lethal if it hits someone’s head.
It’s against the rules
Because they’re so dangerous, it’s against the rules to use marbles as ammunition when you’re playing in a paintball field. In fact, paintball fields only permit the use of paintballs as ammunition.
If you use marbles in a paintball field, you can be charged a heavy fine, or may even be arrested. Even if you use marbles in your paintball gun outside of a paintball field, you can be charged for using a lethal weapon or charged with assault if you hit someone.
You may damage your gun
Marbles can also seriously damage your paintball gun. Paintball guns are not built to discharge solid, hard objects like marbles. Here’s what can happen to your gun if you use it to shoot marbles:
- The marbles can get stuck. Paintballs are flexible and can compress or expand slightly to move efficiently through the paintball gun’s barrel. Marbles, on the other hand, are completely inflexible. If they are too big or small, they may get stuck in the body or barrel of the gun, damaging it.
- You need to increase the gun’s velocity. Marbles are heavier than paintballs and need more force to be pushed through the gun and into the air. This extra force required can put pressure on your gun’s springs.
- Recoil. Because of the weight of the marble, your gun may recoil when trying to shoot it. This not only affects your shot, but it can be dangerous for you.
Marbles aren’t as efficient as paintballs
As well as being dangerous, marbles aren’t a great ammunition choice as compared to paintballs. Here’s why:
- They’re more expensive. A pack of marbles can be double or even triple the price of paintballs.
- They make for less accurate shots. Because they don’t work well in paintball guns, marbles can impact the accuracy of your shot.
- They move slower, and over a shorter distance. Marbles are heavier than paintballs and will, therefore, move slowly and cover less distance as compared to paintballs. If you’re playing in a tournament or even shooting at home, this can be frustrating.
What other ammunition shouldn’t you use in a paintball gun?
As well as marbles, there are other objects and ammunition types that you shouldn’t use in your paintball gun. These include:
- Bullets. You should never use real bullets in your paintball gun, even if they fit in your gun’s hopper. Real bullets are too heavy to be properly propelled through your paintball gun, and the shot’s accuracy and speed will be impacted.
Because they’re unpredictable, bullets can also be extremely dangerous. The bullet’s weight may also cause recoil, which may eventually lead to your gun breaking apart.
- Projectiles and shells. Projectiles, shells, and other types of ammunition will typically not work in paintball guns because they’re the right size.
Even if they are appropriately sized, their weight and shape can damage both your shot and your gun.
- Stones and pebbles. Stones and pebbles should never be used in your paintball gun. They won’t be the right size or shape and can seriously damage your paintball gun.
Where can you buy paintballs from?
There are plenty of places you can buy paintballs from, so you don’t have to resort to using marbles and other harmful ammunition.
For starters, you can visit your local sporting store or paintball field. Both will have a wide array of paintballs available. Experts at stores and fields will also help you select the right caliber of balls to use in your gun. You’ll also be able to choose from a collection of different colors!
You can also buy paintballs online on websites like Amazon. Some of the best paintball brands available are:
- Valken Infinity Paintballs
- GI Sportz XBALL Certified Midnight Paintballs
- Mary Vay Paintball Pellets
- Wrek Elite Premium 1000 Count Paintballs
There are 3 types of paintballs you can choose from. Those are recreational, tournament and reusable paintballs. Read this article, to know the differences between them and how to choose the right ones for you.
What other ammunition can you use in a paintball gun?
Even if you don’t have paintballs on hand, don’t turn to marbles as alternative ammunition. There are several other safer alternatives to consider.
Pepper balls are made with powdered chemicals, the same chemicals which are used in pepper spray cans. They’re used by law enforcement professionals and the army during training exercises as they’re safer than pellets.
A pepper ball can, technically, be used in a paintball gun. At 0.68 calibers, pepper balls are a similar size to paintballs, so they can fit easily into the gun.
They are also designed to shatter when they come into contact with something, so they are not as dangerous as marbles when shot. However, when they come into contact with something, the chemicals in the pepper balls can irritate people’s mouths, eyes, and noses.
Because of this, using pepper balls in your paintball gun is legal when you are using them for self-defense. Pepper balls have the same legality as using pepper spray; you can find out more about whether pepper spray is legal in your state here.
Be sure that you aren’t using pepper balls in a paintball field as you’ll probably get banned!
Water balls have been specially designed to act as a replacement for paintballs. Like a paintball, they splatter when they make contact with anything hard. But, they are completely hypoallergenic and don’t leave any stains behind.
Water balls typically come in a 0.68 caliber, although you may find varying sizes. They can be bought online or from special sporting stores.
They’re being used for training in the military and law enforcement as they’re completely safe. However, they’re also great if you want to practice your technique without making a mess!
Soft Rubber Balls
You can also use soft, appropriately sized rubber balls in your paintball gun.
Some companies have created extremely small (0.68 calibers) rubber balls to use as alternative ammunition.
These rubber balls don’t shatter upon impact but are much safer than marbles because they’re soft. Because they don’t shatter, they’re reusable, making them more cost-effective than paintballs. They also don’t leave behind stains and messes!
If possible, set your gun on a low velocity so that they don’t hurt anyone they come in contact with.
Glass Breaker Rounds
As their name suggests, Glass Breaker rounds are a type of ammunition that has been designed to shatter glass.
Glass breakers are rarely used in recreational situations. They are mostly used by the police and army when they are conducting an attack.
How else can you stay safe when using a paintball gun?
Making sure you’re using the right ammunition is one way to stay safe while using paintball guns. However, there’s a variety of other ways to ensure you and the others around you stay safe.
Wear the right protective gear
No paintball field will allow you to play if you’re not wearing the right gear. Here’s what will help keep you safe:
- Wearing long sleeves and pants. Completely covering your body will help protect your skin from bruises caused by paintballs hitting your body. The cloth will also stop your skin from staining. If you’re a regular paintball player, there are special paintball jerseys and pants you can wear that are stain-resistant and durable.
- Wearing a paintball vest. Most paintball fields will offer paintball vests for hire. These will offer you an extra level of protection. They also have lots of pockets that are ideal for storing extra rounds, maps, water bottles, and other things you may need while playing.
- Hardcover gloves. These gloves will protect your hands from hits, but also help you handle your gun better as most gloves have anti-slip properties.
- Combat boots. Most paintball fields are out in open forests or fields. Wearing combat boots will protect your feet and calves and make it easier for you to move and run.
- Goggles or masks. Every player needs to wear a mask or goggles. They protect your eyes and face from getting hit. They also have anti-fog properties that will improve your vision.
- Neck protector. A neck protector is made out of foam and protects your neck from close quarter shots.
You should never take off any of your equipment while you’re in a paintball field. Most paintball fields will have ‘safe zones‘ where you can remove your protective gear without worry about getting hit.
Handling your gun
Always treat your gun with care and respect. Here are some things to keep in mind when you’re using your gun:
- Check the barrel plug. When you pick up your gun, make sure that the barrel plug is in place – the barrel plug prevents shots from accidentally getting fired. Only take the barrel out when the game is about to begin.
- Check the settings. Before taking your gun out onto the paintball field, make sure you’ve checked that it is not firing at a velocity higher than 300. A very high velocity may cause recoil or may injure other players.
- Check that you’re using the correction ammunition. Even if you are using paintballs, you should check that they are the correct size for the paintball gun that you’re using.
Once the game is over, make sure you have unloaded your gun and put the barrel plugs back in. If possible, remove the gas from the gun, in controlled conditions. If that’s not possible, check the chamber that stores the compressed gas for wear and tear or leaks.
Once every three months, you should take your gun in for servicing.
Respect the game rules
Every paintball field will have similar rules that are in place to protect players. Before beginning to play, be sure to read the rules carefully. Here are some general guidelines to keep in mind:
- Don’t fire from close quarters. Paintball guns are designed for distance shooting. Firing at someone who is less than six feet away can cause injuries.
- No substance abuse. As with all sports, don’t drink or take any drugs before heading out onto the paintball field. Your judgment will be impaired, and you’ll be a hazard to yourself and other players.
- Don’t blind fire. Never shoot if you can’t clearly see your target. You may accidentally hit an animal, a referee, or someone from your team. In a best-case scenario, you’ll unnecessarily waste paintballs and run out of ammunition.
- Surrender when you’re hit. In most paintball tournaments, a player who is hit is automatically out. When you’re hit, throw your hands in the air and make your way over to the safe zone. If you don’t clearly signal your surrender, you can be vulnerable to more attacks.
- Don’t shoot out of the field. As far as possible, aim your shots within the clearly marked paintball field. If you shoot out of the field radius, you can catch someone unaware and hurt them.
- No physical contact. You’re not allowed to touch anyone else while you’re playing. If you do, you may be disqualified.
You should never shoot marbles from a paintball gun, even if they fit into the ammunition slot. Shooting marbles can:
- Damage your paintball gun
- Cause your gun to recoil
- Seriously injure others
- Get you banned from a paintball field or even arrested.
Along with marbles, you should never shoot real bullets, shells, or stones from your paintball gun. If you can’t get paintballs, you can try using water balls or soft round balls. If you are using your paintball gun as a defensive tool, you can also load it with pepper balls.
As well as using the right ammunition, it’s important to follow all the rules at your paintball field to stay safe while playing.
Make sure you’re using the correct gear, the right ammunition, and are following the rules, and you’re sure to have a fun paintball experience!