Good question, and one which no doubt every seasoned player has their own answer to. We discussed the debate a couple of months ago on does paintball hurt and mostly the evidence points towards no. Sure it stings, but as soon as you’re hit you forget about it almost instantly. But, like getting a tattoo, there are probably some places that sting more than others.
Legally, paintballs can have a top speed of around 200 miles an hour, but most sites thankfully cap this to a far lower speed, as to the uninitiated that velocity of paintball can really sting. However, paintballs are designed to be squashy and their speed is immediately absorbed on impact, bursting on you (or occasionally bouncing off you) instead of causing you any actual pain. On top of this, any good paintball site will rig you out with all of the safety gear you need – with goggles, mask and gloves being essential wear wherever you’re playing.
I’ve been chatting on the forums and pulling together people’s opinions on just where the worst place to get a direct paintball hit is, and here are the results.
At number 5…the neck. Getting hit in the neck can really sting, plus you get the added disadvantage of everyone thinking you’ve got a love bite for the next week! If possible, try and find a mask or helmet with full head and neck cover…to avoid the embarrassment if nothing else.
At number 4…the inside of your leg. As paintball markers have no recoil, you can fire them in virtually any position. However, thanks to watching too many movies, a lot of players hold them like a gun and therefore either leave their underarm exposed or, whilst kneeling down on one leg, their inner thigh. Both places can really sting from a hit as, for some reason, the skin there is just so much more sensitive.
At number 3…back of the head. Of course players should always wear a mask to protect their eyes, nose and mouth, but many players choose not to wear a helmet for some reason and, as such, are leaving themselves open to a head shot. A paintball to the back of the head doesn’t sting so much, but it does bleed easily and would leave most players a little disorientated afterwards. Better safe than sorry, wear a helmet.
At number 2…the, ahem, groin. Don’t really need to explain this one. If you plan on playing paintball regularly, and your mates have an immature sense of humour, wear a cup.
And the number one worst place to get hit by a paintball is…the hands. The hands, and particularly the fingers, have a huge number of nerve endings in them, so receiving a direct hit there can really shock the whole system for a second. On a cold day it can often be a real game-breaker too, especially as you need your trigger finger working at least. You should never play paintball without gloves, and this is why. A pair of good quality paintball gloves, like Sup Grip Armor gloves, will give you all the flexibility and protection you need against paintball’s number one worst hit.