If you ask someone who wants to play paintball what their biggest concern about playing is, they will most likely say that they are afraid it is going to hurt. Thankfully, there is a way to play paintball with about 1/3 the impact of a regular paintball!
Low Impact Paintball, also called Paintball Soft and 50 Cal, is played exactly the same way as regular paintball but with smaller paintballs typically shot at a lower velocity. Using these smaller paintballs drastically reduces how hard the paintballs hit, resulting in less pain.
Playing Low Impact Paintball is a great way to introduce young players, families, and birthday parties to the sport of paintball.
Difference Between Low Impact and Regular Paintball
The biggest difference you will notice between a regular 68 cal paintball and a 50 cal paintball is the size and weight. Just the reduction in mass of the 50 cal paintball alone accounts for the majority of the pain reduction and increased fun.
Here are the primary differences between Low Impact Paintballs and Regular Paintballs.
|Low Impact Paintball||Regular Paintball|
|Size||50 Caliber (0.5″ diameter)||68 Caliber (0.68″ diameter)|
|Weight||1.21 grams*||3.2 grams*|
|Impact Strength (Kinetic Energy)||5.1 Joules*||13 Joules*|
|Max Distance at 300fps||130 feet||150 feet|
|Cost Per 2000 Count Box||$35 to $45||$40 to $70|
|Typical Minimum Participation Age||7 Years Old**||10 Years old**|
**Age requirement will vary depending on the paintball field.
Does Low Impact Paintball Hurt?
Now, lets answer the biggest question, what does it feel like to get hit by a low impact paintball?
Getting hit by a 50 cal low impact paintball feels like someone tapping you hard on the shoulder. If you are wearing a thick shirt, you may not even notice that you have been hit. There is little to no issues with bruises or welts and the game is overall safer, allowing players to focus on having fun instead of worrying about getting hit.
Younger players will most likely be surprised by getting hit then registering pain, and this alone can make them want to stop playing. Because of this it is advisable for them to wear thicker clothes or maybe an extra layer just in case.
Low Impact Paintball Is Fun for Kids and Families
Lots of families and kids want to play paintball, and low impact paintball is the best way to enjoy all that paintball has to offer without worrying about the pain.
Low impact Paintball is fun for younger kids as they are free to run around and enjoy themselves instead of being scared. They will quickly loose any worries about being hit and are running around on the field chasing each other. Afterwards, there is no issues with bruises or welts to explain to other parents after the party.
Every single time I go to my local field, they have at least one Low Impact Paintball birthday party being held. The kids are all so happy to play paintball with each other and thoroughly enjoy watching the regular players play after them. This makes
Low Impact Paintball Age Requirements
One of the best parts about Low Impact paintball is the reduction in age requirements.
Because of the reduction in pain, the minimum age to play Low Impact Paintball for many fields can be as low as 7 years old. Low impact paintball has about 1/3 the impact energy of a regular paintball and allows kids to focus on having fun.
You will need to check with your local fields as to what their minimum age requirement is and if they require you to book a group ahead of time. There are a few fields that only do Low Impact Paintball but most will offer the service, keeping the group separate from the regular paintball players.
Low Impact Paintball Safety
Let’s address some possible safety concerns that parents may have.
Low Caliber Paintball is safer to play than regular 68 caliber paintball primarily because of the smaller, lighter paintball that is used. This eliminates any chance of serious injuries from the smaller round when wearing the required safety mask.
I did a test to see if the impact causes any skin damage by shooting the bare skin on the inside of my arm at point blank range. There was only a little pain and minor redness where the paintballs hit. There were no cuts or buses from the paintballs.
Every field I have gone to has a mandatory 10 foot rule where players are not allowed to shoot at each other. This is further helps reduce any pain that may be felt when being hit by a paintball.
The kids will have at least one safety ref with them on the field that is tasked with starting the game, making sure everyone is safely playing, making sure nobody removes their masks at any time while on the field, making sure the appropriate barrel blocking devices are installed off the field, and that everyone is having fun.
It is highly important let the paintball field employees take charge of the games so that they can quickly resolve any issues if they see something unsafe or if the game needs to be paused. Doing this lets the players on the field have no question who to turn to if something is wrong and who to listen to without any questions.
The paintball field staff will provide all the players with the fields safety rules and inform them of any repercussions if the rules are not followed. The paintball field will want everyone to enjoy themselves but not at the expense of anyone’s safety.
What to Wear for Low Impact Paintball
Because Low Impact Paintball has about 1/3rd the sting of a regular paintball, you don’t need to worry about wearing layers of clothes to reduce the pain.
Most players will wear a regular long sleeve shirt and pants when playing Low Impact Paintball. You don’t need thick clothing but it is advisable to wear loose clothing over form fitting clothing for comfort and to further reduce feeling the paintball hit.
It is also a good idea to bring spare clothes to change into after playing paintball so that you don’t have to worry about getting the car dirty on the way back home. You can also bring several towels or old blankets for everyone to sit on to protect the car seats.
Low Impact Paintball At Home
As the 50 cal paintballs typically shoot at a slower velocity and won’t travel as far as their 68 cal counterparts. This allows you to set up a fun paintball arena in your back yard!
In order to safely play paintball in your back yard, every participant will need to have a paintball mask. This is a requirement of the sport as a whole and prevents any eye and face injuries.
You don’t need much to create a field, just some plywood, barrels, old tables, or even just some natural bushes and trees! This is perfect for small games with friends and families.
Best Low Impact Paintball Guns for the Backyard
If you are playing in your back yard and want to keep it cheap, look no further than the JT SplatMaster Z100 and Z200 Duel Kits. These come with everything you will need to start playing in your back yard. They come with 2 paintball guns, 2 paintball masks, and 1000 50 cal paintballs.
1000 rounds may sound like a lot, but if you have 2 kids playing they will go faster than you think. You may find that the kids will have more fun just shooting them at targets than each other, which makes the paintballs run out that much faster.
These kits can easily be found on Amazon:
Click here to pick up the JT SplatMaster Z100 Pistol Kit.
Click here to pick up the JT Splatmaster Z200 Shotgun Kit.
It is also a good idea to pick up a barrel cleaning tool to remove any paintballs that might break in the barrel. This is a common problem with all paintballs guns and the best way to clean it is by using a 50 cal barrel swab like this one on Amazon.
Can You Use 50 Caliber Paintballs in a 68 Caliber Paintball Gun?
There are lots of people that already own a regular 68 caliber paintball gun, but you can’t use 50 cal paintballs with them.
If you already own a paintball gun, you need to use the caliber paintball that the gun was designed for. Conversion kits are rare and expensive, it is always best to only use a 50 cal paintball in a 50 cal paintball gun.
More Paintball Information for Parents
Most of you reading this article are probably parents and are trying to learn what paintball is and if you should let your child play. I made a complete parents guide that will give you an idea of what to expect at the field, what to bring with you, and more general information if they want to play regular, high impact paintball. Click the Link below to read the article: