Paintball rules

Last updated on May 5, 2019

Basic Paintball Rules

Paintball players generally have a high standard of sportsmanship. Everyone has the same goal: an action-packed day of friendly competition. A fun game of paintball can quickly turn into a disheveled mess and a rotten time if no one is on the same page and no paintball rules are in place.

Fortunately, paintball isn’t a complicated sport. In fact, there are only a few basic rules and best practices to follow in order to play paintball the right way and make the most of the experience.

There are many individual games and scenarios that can be played, each with slightly different rules. All games have a few things in common. Respect the players, respect the game, and you’ll have a great time.

Each game of paintball is different but to avoid inconsistencies and to keep players with a basic understanding of the game, a few basic paintball rules must be followed. Here are a few rules you must know before playing paintball.

Be a good sport

We know it’s a competition and you want to win. Strategize the heck out of the game, but don’t get too aggressive to the point that you risk injury. Congratulate the winners with a “good game” even if you’re unhappy you lost.

Marking Boundaries for the Field of Play

If you’re interested in paintball for beginners and want to learn the rules of paintball and how to play paintball the right way, the very first thing that should be done and remember is for both teams to come together and clearly establish the boundaries and paintball can be played in almost any environment, so if you’re wondering where can you play paintball, the answer is simply anywhere you set the boundaries!

When establishing boundaries, you need to establish starting bases at each end of the field or playing area as well. If possible, try to make sure the bases aren’t in view of one another. If you’re playing speedball with no trees or structures, however, this more than likely won’t be possible.

Respect the ref

The referee’s ruling is the final word. Signal for the ref to judge if there are any disputes during play. The ref can eject you from the game for breaking any rules of the field.

Setting up a Time Limit

When playing paintball, a time limit should be set for each game. After all, nobody wants to play a game that drags on forever with little to no action. There are two basic ways of timing a paintball game; you can either begin the clock right from the start or after the first person is eliminated.

While paintball is a blast to play, just remember longer games can be a real drag for players who get eliminated right away. Therefore, it’s best to keep them short and action-packed for everyone if possible.

Mind your fire

Never blind fire. If you can’t see what you’re shooting at, don’t shoot. You could accidentally hit the refs or local wildlife. Paintballs can hurt at close range, even with protective gear! Allow opponents the opportunity to surrender if you have a clear shot within a range of 10 ft. If the player doesn’t surrender, aim for a shoe, gear, or padded area.

Fair Division of Teams

Now it’s time to divide up the teams. If there is a mixture of experienced players and newbies who are only one step ahead of asking what is paintball, divide up the teams evenly so there is a mix of beginners and seasoned players on each team. It goes without saying, but each team should have the same number of players.

Surrender Rules

Recreational fields often suggest a player within a certain distance of an unaware opponent, usually 10 to 15 feet, should offer the unaware player’s surrender by yelling “Surrender!” (or Point Blank or freeze) before they may open fire. If the opponent complies, either verbally or by raising their hand or marker, they are considered marked and are out of the match.

Some players use the term ‘mercy kill’ rather than ‘surrender’. However, the industry itself is trying to drop the term ‘mercy kill’ in an effort to distance itself from a militant image.

In tournament play there is no enforcement of surrender rule. When a player catches an opponent of guard, they will fire until they see that the paint breaks, or until a referee calls the opponent out. Player also sometimes call themselves out if they are the last player, just in plain fear of getting hit.

Getting Hit

A player is considered hit and subsequently eliminated if a paintball leaves a mark anywhere on his or her body or gear. Some paintball game variations require a player to be hit multiple times in the legs or arms before being eliminated. However, most professional matches count any hit anywhere on a player or their gear. It’s important to note that splatter and spray doesn’t count as a hit, only direct hits that leave a solid mark.

Give Respect, Take Respect

Always respect your teammates and opponents. No pushing, shoving, or any physical contact at all. Don’t bonus ball just for amusement. It only takes one solid hit for a player to be out. Shooting players multiple times unnecessarily is an easy way to discourage beginners from coming back.

Paint Checks

When you’re hit, you’re hit. Don’t wipe the paint off and keep playing; this is considered cheating. Hits a quarter size or bigger on anything you carry (gear, paintball mask, marker, hopper, etc.) count. If you’re unsure of whether or not you’ve been hit, you have the right to call for a paint check. If this happens, the closest player to you from either team will come and see if a ball broke on you or your gear.

Establishing Dead Zone

Also known as the staging area, the dead zone is a dedicated area for players to go to after being eliminated from the game. After establishing boundaries for the field of play, everyone needs to agree on the spot of the dead zone so they know not to shoot around it.

In most cases, the dead zone is simply the area where all of the extra gear is put between matches. Ideally, it should be far enough from the field of play for eliminated players to go to safely without worrying about getting tagged by players still out on the field.

If you are hit, then you’ll simply exit the field and go to the dead zone. If not, the game will resume when all of the players return to their previous positions and you shout out “Game On.” It’s a pretty straightforward process that only takes a minute if that.

Leaving the Field

Once hit exit the field as quickly as you can. If you are tagged by a paintball and have to leave the field, you must immediately hold your paintball gun up over your head, shout out that you’ve been hit, and exit the field to the dead zone. This will ensure you don’t suffer any additional hits as you leave the field.

Defining the Objectives

Everyone needs to know what the goal or objective of the game is. Are you playing capture the flag or paintball war games? Is it going to be a simple elimination game? The objective of the game and any rules should be clearly broadcast to all players before the action starts.

Declaring Victory

When a team has eliminated all of the players from the other team or completed all of the game objectives, everyone on the field should be told of the victory. If you need a breather, which you probably will, make sure you keep your mask on until you plug or cover your paintball gun.

Safety first

Set your marker to shoot at a maximum velocity of 300 fps as required by law (At ACP we have a strict limit of 280 fps and we use pre-game velocity check technology). Anything higher can cause welts and broken skin. It’s a good idea to double check your marker’s velocity is at a safe limit before each game, even if you recently adjusted it.

Observe Safety Measures

While these basic paintball rules are to be observed, there are also safety rules that must also be followed. One of the most important things is to wear your mask no matter what as this gives optimum protection from pellets. Paintball guns fire fast which means your eyes and face must be properly protected.

Paintball Safety Rules

The most important paintball rules are the safety rules. The risk of injury is low when using the proper safety equipment and following these rules. Now that we have you up to speed on the basic rules, let’s talk about the safety rules of the game.

Keep your mask on

If there’s one rule in paintball that MUST be followed EVERY time you step on the playing field, it’s the mask rule. Keep your paintball or airsoft mask on at all times when anywhere in or around play. If a stray paintball could possibly reach your location, keep your mask on. The greatest danger of paintball is an eye injury, including blindness. Keeping your mask on protects you from these possibilities.

Be Safe with grenades

When using grenades, be sure to throw them near your opponent, not at them.

Proper Gear Usage

Know that to take part in any game, you must have the correct equipment. The first thing you need is a paintball gun or marker. Depending on the game, your choice of a marker might be different. You will also need a mask to protect your eyes and face from pellets. Paintballs are non-lethal but can still cause serious damage if not wearing proper gear. In addition to having a reliable gun and face gear, you will need paintballs or pellets, air tank, and hopper.

Paintball fields take eye protection very seriously. Players caught lifting their mask, or removing the goggles away from their face, can expect to sit out a game or two

Keep your marker safe

Another danger results from misfires when not in play. If you are not in play, you should always have some sort of barrel cover or barrel plug and your gun should be on safety

Use Barrel Cover

The other safety item that all players must be aware of is the barrel cover. The barrel cover is a device that goes over your paintball gun’s barrel when you’re not playing. Adjust the tension of the barrel cover to shorten the cord if it appears too loose. It is intended to catch a paintball, should the gun be accidentally fired. The barrel cover has an elastic cord on it that is used to keep the barrel cover in place.

Barrel covers must be used whenever you’re not playing. Make sure your barrel cover is properly attached before leaving the playing field. If you lose your barrel cover, do not leave the field with your paintball gun. Instead, bring the issue to the attention of your referee. Most referees carry spare barrel covers with them.

Limit Paintball Speed

In addition to the mandatory use of masks, the markers must not fire paintballs above a certain speed. The paintballs fired more than 90 m / s can cause large bruises and broken skin and even your fingers. Many commercial facilities of paintball demand a lower speed, usually about 65-80 m / s, and having an extra margin of safety. Speeds may be even less painful short distances. So you should avoid shoot too close. The speed limit is standardized to a ball 300 feet per second (90 m / s).

Use Barrel Lock

All players must wear some type of locking device of the gun in his markers when they are not actively participating in a game. These devices usually take the form of a small bag or cap (known as the barrel condom or pacifier) covering the end of the tube and fastened by an elastic cord wound around the marker. The average catch any paint ball gun fired by accident. Before its introduction in late 1990 of the barrel blocking devices were used more caps (also called dummies), pieces of hard plastic with rubber rings were introduced by the end of the tube. Because these caps could fall out or fired the gun if accidental shootings occurred, force fields used socks as a standard measure of security. The markers have a modern security locking system, in which a button on the side of the marker blocks the trigger. However, even with this tagline, players should always use a locking device of the canyon.


A Paintball is a fast growing sports in the world with increasing number of players on daily basis. Even it’s a popular game but still there are some basic rules and safety issues with this game. It will be safe as long as you follow proper rules and regulation of this game.

Injuries can happen and you will not have fun at all when you ignore the basic rules mention in the article above. So in order to avoid any injury and to enjoy this game to the fullest extent, follow the rules we gathered for you and have a great time with friends or family.

Happy Hunting!

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