Are paintball guns legal and are women better than men at paintball? We answer 6 more paintballing questions that some say were better left unasked... | Paintballing Ltd

Are paintball guns legal and are women better than men at paintball? We answer 6 more paintballing questions that some say were better left unasked...

Another red-hot paintballing FAQ that answers 6 more burning paintball questions

1. Are women better at paintball than men?

A controversial question, but one that needs to be answered in the name of paintball science. The answer is… well it depends. An easy way to answer this question is to look at the best paintballers in the world and see how many of them are men and how many are women. If we look at three of the best paintball teams in the US, Los Angeles Infamous, Huston Heat and Dynasty, we see that they contain no female players, suggesting that men do have an advantage.

But that might not be a fair comparison. After all, as more men spend more time playing paintball, it should be no surprise that men tend to be better due to greater participation (and therefore more practice). But if an equal number of women played for an equal number of hours, it’s possible that some female players could go head-to-head with the world’s best.

In 2013, Destiny, an all-female paintball team, made history by winning the non-segregated National Professional Paintball League, beating plenty of all-male teams in the process. Some speculate that their smaller size gives women an advantage, while others note that the wider hips give women a more stable shooting stance which results in higher accuracy (in professional biathlon at least).

2. Which is better, paintball or airsoft?

Paintball, obviously! Nuff said.

For those of you that don’t know, airsoft is a “poor cousin” of paintball played with realistic military-style weapons that fire 6mm plastic BB pellets. Because the pellets are much smaller than paintballs, they can be fired with more force and at a faster rate. This means that you can imitate actual real-world guns much more accurately than you can when playing paintball, and this is really the key difference.

But are realistic guns really that much fun? If you are into military hardware and military simulations, airsoft is probably much more appealing to you than paintball. But while airsoft is more realistic, we’d argue that paintball is a lot more fun. This is because a paintball splat is much easier to detect than a BB pellet ping, making for much better games that can be refereed fairly and accurately. Airsoft, on the other hand, can easily devolve into the “I shot you!” “— NO I SHOT YOU FIRST” debate that we’re all familiar with from childhood.

3. What to wear for your first game of paintball?

A lot of people come to their first game of paintball wrapped up in fifteen wooly jumpers and their favourite bobble hat. This will certainly make getting hit by a paintball unnoticeable, but it might also put you in real danger of heat exhaustion! We suggest that paintball players wear the following:

  • sports-suitable clothes that you don’t mind getting muddy
  • shoes/trainers with good grip that can be done up tightly

That’s it. We provide camo overalls and facemasks at all our sites so you don’t need to worry about those. If you are really worried about getting hit by a paintball, you can wear an additional hoodie or cap to protect your ears and a thin pair of gloves to protect your hands. As a general rule, the more layers you wear the less it will hurt, but the less freely you’ll be able to move. These extra layers are not necessary, but they help some people feel more confident going into their first few games.

While paintball professionals do protect their nether regions with a cup (or a chest protector for the ladies), the paintball markers that we use on our site do not fire with enough velocity to do any lasting damage.

4. Are paintballs edible?

Really guys? You’d be surprised by how often this question is asked. I think what people really want to know is whether paintballs are toxic or not and the answer is no. Paintballs are made of a biodegradable, water-soluble polymer, which means that they will just dissolve harmlessly in your stomach. Technically you won’t come to any harm if you do eat paintballs (unless you ate way too many), but we certainly don’t recommend it. Trust me, I know from experience that they taste gross.

However, paintballs should not be consumed by dogs (or any pets really). While it (probably) won’t kill them, it may cause vomiting which could lead to problems with dehydration.

5. Are paintballs the same size?

Not all paintballs are the same size, which is why it’s important not to load your paintball marker with any old paintballs you find lying around. A paintball marker that is loaded with paintballs of the wrong size will jam or misfire. You might be familiar with the term ‘calibre’ from just about every action film of the last fifty years. What calibre actually refers to is the size of a bullet (or in this case paintball). A 0.68 calibre paintball measures 0.68 inches in diameter. For those of you that fell asleep in geometry, diameter measures a straight line that passes completely through the fullest part of a circle or sphere.

6. Are paintball guns legal in the UK?

In the UK, paintball guns (known as markers) are not classed as ‘firearms’ because they fire frangible rounds. Frangible, our new favourite word, means that the paintball breaks up when it comes into contact with something. Non-frangible rounds (such as bullets) are usually illegal, for sensible and obvious reasons. Instead, paintball markers are classed as ‘air weapons’, and therefore users do not require a license so long as the rate of fire (amount of paintballs fired) and velocity (speed of paintballs fired) both stay under strictly controlled limits. The markers we use on our Paintballing Ltd sites are all well under these limits.

The other law that paintballers need to be aware of is the Anti-social Behaviour Act 2003. This act makes it illegal for anyone to possess an air weapon in a public place without a reasonable excuse. Playing paintball on a paintball site is a reasonable excuse, but trying to shoot the neighbour’s cat is a good example of an unreasonable excuse. It is also illegal for someone under the age of 17 to possess an air weapon unless they are on private premises and have the owner’s consent. We give children aged eleven to fifteen permission to play paintball on our sites so long as they have a parent or guardian sign a consent form.

Got a paintball question that we didn’t answer?  Send us an email ( or Facebook message and we might even make it into a blog post just for you.