Can a Paintball Gun Kill You?

Can a Paintball Gun Kill You?

Paintball is a very safe sport and generally does not cause any long-term injury. Paintball guns are controlled in such a way that the paintballs do not fly fast enough to inflict any long-lasting injury. Additionally, players are required to wear protective equipment, which further reduces the amount of damage that someone can suffer from playing the sport. 

However, anyone who has shot a paintball gun before has wondered, “if you got hit in just the right way, could you die from this?” The short answer is that paintball guns just are not powerful enough to kill someone with a single shot. However, that doesn’t mean that paintball guns are dangerous or that there haven’t been fatal events during paintball games.

How Dangerous Are Paintball Guns

Just because paintball guns can’t kill with a single shot doesn’t mean that they aren’t capable of maiming or seriously injuring someone. Paintball masks and other protective equipment are mandatory on nearly all paintball fields since the misuse of paintball guns and protective equipment can be dangerous. Even while using all of the correct protective equipment, paintballs can still hurt and even leave welts and cause occasional bruising. 

Direct shots to the face and eyes from a paintball gun can cause serious injury. Additionally, direct shots from a distance that’s too close are extremely painful and can cause bruising that lasts for a week or two. However, these incidents usually occur when players misuse paintball markers or don’t adhere to close-range surrender rules. Overall, the sport of paintball is incredibly safe and injuries serious injuries are incredibly rare.

Has Anyone Ever Died During Paintball?

While nobody has died from direct shots from paintball guns, people have died on the paintball field from other causes. In 2008, a 39-year-old man from Victoria, Australia, died from a heart attack after playing paintball. Reportedly, the man was hit in the chest from a surprise paintball shot. After the game, the man collapsed in his car and was later found to be deceased.

While paintball may have contributed to the man’s death, it is likely that there were other contributing factors. Any 39-year-old who suffers a heart attack is generally not a healthy individual and direct shots from a paintball gun, even from close range, should not cause heart attacks. Players who are concerned about dying in a paintball match should make sure that they take care of themselves–avoid eating processed foods, drink sufficient water, avoid vices, and exercise regularly. If the body is regularly placed under cardiovascular stress in a gym or while running, then it is unlikely they will suffer any severe complications on the paintball field.

The Population Bias

As with anything, if a high enough number of people engage in an activity, someone at some point is likely to die doing that thing. Even if it’s just doing something mundane like mowing a lawn or making cookies, someone at some point in time has died while doing those things. This same idea can be applied to paintball. If enough people play paintball, at some point, someone will eventually die during a paintball game or immediately after a paintball game. This doesn’t mean that paintball is a deadly activity any more than mowing a lawn or baking cookies is deadly. At some point, it is just bound to happen.

Paintball May Actually Help To Keep You Healthy

Instead of paintball being a cause for concern for safety, paintball can actually help keep you healthy. Paintball involves a lot of sprinting, diving, and squatting. By the end of a day of paintball, players are generally sweaty, tired, and ready for a hearty meal with their friends. Engaging in the type of exercise that paintball promotes can actually help you stay healthy and lead to a longer life. Of course, if a player is unhealthy or concerned about any condition, he or she should check with their doctor before playing paintball. Some people may be too elderly or have too many risk factors to be able to engage in paintball in a safe manner. If you have any questions or concerns, contact your doctor before playing paintball.

How to Stay Safe and Avoid Injuries While Playing Paintball

The best way to stay safe and avoid paintball injuries is to make sure that you are in good shape. Those who take care of themselves physically will generally be less likely to injure themselves. Additionally, recovery from any injury will take less time than if a player were unhealthy.

Another way to stay safe and avoid injuries while playing paintball is to wear all of the suggested safety equipment. Players should use gloves to protect their hands as well as a mask to protect their faces and eyes. Some of the different masks offer more protection than others, so players should be sure to pay attention to which mask they purchase. There are also chest/torso protectors, which help reduce the amount of shock delivered to a player's chest when they get hit.

CO2 Tanks: The Real Danger

The one conceivable way that someone could die from a paintball gun is an explosion of the CO2 or compressed air tank. These tanks are under extremely high pressure (4500 psi). Scuba tanks, by comparison, are only pressurized to about 3000 psi which is a full 30% less than a paintball tank. If an air tank at full pressure exploded or suffered a catastrophic failure while a player uses it as a stock, that explosion could conceivably kill you. Since the tank is located very close to your head and chest, an explosion could damage critical anatomy and kill a player. This is why it is so important to use an ASA and properly store an air tank after every use. Additionally, if your tank has several years of wear and tear already, it’s important to cycle through tanks and change them out once they’re old.


While it’s almost impossible to die from paintball, it is possible to get injured, which is why players need to take safety seriously. Lone Wolf Paintball has the biggest and best selection of paintball safety equipment on the market to help players stay safe and perform at the highest level. To see a full selection of our products, please visit our online store. Happy paintballing!