Should You Wear A Cup For Paintball? Pros & Cons Of Wearing One

Should You Wear A Cup For Paintball Pros & Cons Of Wearing One

Do you ever wonder what it feels like to be shot during a paintball game? Paintball is one of the more active games out there – giving you the chance to sweat it out outdoors while exercising your mind to formulate strategies.

Like most games however, paintball is not perfectly pain-free. Yes, they’re not shooting actual bullets but these guns are shooting balls of paint in accelerated speed. It’s bound to hurt even if it won’t pierce the skin.

How Painful is a Paintball?

How Painful is a Paintball

There’s no straightforward answer to this question. The intensity of pain really depends on each person, where you’re shot, and even how far away the shooter is from your location. It bears noting though that paintball shots CAN cause bruises. Think about the last time you got hurt and bruises came out the next day – this is essentially how it would feel like.

Note that the bruises can appear even if you’re wearing clothes. When unclothed, the paintball will definitely hurt but rarely breaks the skin.

Of course, that doesn’t mean that it will hurt all the time. Paintball players usually wear protective gear to minimize the pain. When you’re in the middle of the game and fueled by adrenaline, all you’ll really feel is a distinct thump on your body as the paintball hits.

Is Paintball Dangerous Enough to Need a Cup?

Is Paintball Dangerous Enough to Need a Cup

You’ll usually find paintball players wearing protective gear which includes thick clothes that cover the whole body, goggles, head covering, gloves, and sturdy shoes. Every inch of exposed skin is usually covered to limit the pain. After all, not everyone hits what they aim for. Let’s say your opponent wants to hit your chest but hits your face instead – wouldn’t it be safer if you we’re wearing a helmet?

This is the argument most male players have for wearing a cup along their crotch area. After all, the family jewels are the most vulnerable portion of the male anatomy. One wrong aim and a paintball gun can severely damage a man’s ability to have sex or bear children.

So should you invest in a cup? Yes – definitely. It doesn’t matter if you’re playing with beginners or you’re playing with pros – a protective cup on the groin area will help minimize whatever pain you may experience from the game. 

What are the Benefits of Wearing a Cup?

What are the Benefits of Wearing a Cup

Obviously, protection is the primary reason why wearing a cup should be a priority if you’re a male paintball player. When asked about the most painful places to get hit by a paintball – the groin takes the number two spot which means that you definitely do not want to get hit there. If you’re wondering what’s the number one spot – that’s the hand.

This isn’t surprising since the hand is heavily exposed and has lots of nerve endings that can stimulate pain. Plus, since you’re using your hand all throughout the game, the pain is much more obvious.

Pain minimization is just one of the reasons why you should wear a cup though. Along with injury to the crotch area is the risk of having more permanent damage. For example, the hit could cause numbing of the penis, some erectile dysfunction, impotence, or even infertility. Of course – all of these things are small risks but still worth noting if you’re considering paintball without crotch protection.

Finally, there’s the added security of just knowing that you’re safe. With a protective layer around your crotch, you can stop worrying and just focus on the game. Remember – a stray paintball is just one of the possible things that could hit your crotch during the game.

Since you’re out in the elements, there are rocks, twigs, and branches that you could encounter while blending in your surroundings. A protective wear could help ensure that your family jewels don’t get hurt along the way.

Are There any Cons to Wearing One?

Are There any Cons to Wearing One

Protection is crucial if you want to enjoy paintball as much as possible. Knowing that there won’t be permanent injury can help you keep your head focused on the game and eventually aim for a win. Note though that it’s still important to be mindful of some drawbacks associated with wearing a cup. Here’s what you should know:

It can be hot. Combined with the fact that there’s ton of physical activity going on – wearing a cup can cause the groin area to heat up to uncomfortable levels.

Unfortunately, most paintball matches are done outdoors where the temperature can easily soar high – especially since you’re wearing a full-body coverage. Some equipment today allow your skin to breathe even as it keeps you protected – but note that they’re usually more expensive. 

It takes some getting used to. This is the most common problem men face when wearing a cup for the first time. The fact is that it’s a very confining undergarment – especially if you’re used to wearing boxers. 

It can chafe. Chafing happens if you’re not wearing the right size of cup. It could be too tight around your groin so that even with a protective layer, a lot of friction is still happening in between.

This can be helped by wearing the right size for your groin area. Immediately treating the chafed part with some balm can also help minimize the tenderness if you’re wearing it for long periods of time. Always remove the cup when you no longer need it to speed up the healing process.

Other Safety Gear You Should Wear

Other Safety Gear You Should Wear

Of course, the cup is just one of the safety pieces you should wear. Here are the other items that will complete your paintball gear:

Goggles. Your eyes are perhaps the most vulnerable part when playing softball. There’s something about the splash of the paint that can hit the eye and cause damage – even if the actual ball doesn’t smack you right in the middle of the iris. Make sure you’re buying sturdy goggles with a good fit – preferably one that’s made specifically for paintball.

Full Body Coverage. Think overalls or something the military would wear. Usually, paintball suits are also made with dark green colors in order to help you blend in with your surroundings. Bright colors would make it very easy for you to be spotted.

Helmet. Getting hit at the back of your head is not only painful – it’s also dangerous. A helmet that offers a degree of full protection should be perfect, especially if it encompasses even a small portion of the neck. As a rule, it’s not a good idea to aim for the neck when you’re playing paintball. However, there are instances when a person could miss.

Sturdy shoes. There’s this unwritten safety rule in paintball where a person could “surrender” if they’ve been cornered. If the other person has a clear shot of you in just 15 meters, you can surrender so that the opponent doesn’t have to hit you anymore.

If you don’t surrender however, common courtesy states that the shoes would be shot to minimize pain. This is why pro players often wear sturdy shoes with a thick exterior. This at least keeps the pain tolerable should there be no surrender rule agreed on beforehand. 

Gloves and additional padding. The last thing you want exposed would be the hands because hits here are terribly painful. If you’re unsure about the thickness of your gear, it’s also a good idea to put in additional padding – especially if for the sensitive areas in your body.

Women for example should wear a good bra with a thick layer to minimize pain when shot along the chest. Using several layers of clothing is always a good idea if the weather permits it. 

Additional Tips for Safety

Additional Tips for Safety

If you and your friends want to keep the fun high and pain low, it’s best to stick to certain rules during play. For example, the “Surrender Rule” is a good way to prevent unnecessary pain.

Once you’re hit, it’s also a good idea to yell this fact to everyone else so that there would be no duplicate shots fired. Raising your marker in the air while walking towards the safety zone also indicates to everyone that you are out of the game.

The guns should also stay under regulation which is typically 280 frames per second. A paintball gun that shoots faster than this is called a “hot gun” and would be painful enough to cause a lasting injury on the skin. Make sure that everyone playing knows that a hot gun is NOT allowed on the field.

Also understand that each playing spot has its own perils. You’d want to listen to the instructor beforehand so you know what you can and cannot do in this new space. Finally, have a plan with your fellow teammates. Maintaining strategic positions can go a long way in keeping your protected in-game.


To wrap it up – there’s nothing like being fully prepared for pain when outside playing paintball. Even if it’s just a friendly match – you want to make sure that all your extremities are well protected to avoid any sort of injury to yourself. Only with this can you truly enjoy the game and appreciate its intricacies!

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Lisa Hayden-Matthews

An avid Skier, bike rider, triathlon enthusiast, amateurish beach volleyball player and nature lover who has never lost a dare! I manage the overall Editorial section for the magazine here and occasionally chip in with my own nature photographs, when required.
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