Running out of paintballs and wondering what other alternatives can you use? Here, you’ll realize that paintballs aren’t the only things you can place in a paintball gun.
Common sense will tell you that as long as it fits in the paintball gun and isn’t harmful, then you’re good to use those alternatives. However, that’s not always the case as some items don’t look like they’re harmful, but they can be when they’re shot with high velocity. So what are these alternatives and what are the things you can shoot out of a paintball gun? Read on to find out.
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How Does a Paintball Gun Work?
To give you an idea on why there are things that you can’t place in a paintball gun, here is a brief explanation on how a paintball gun works.
First, just like any other gun, it has a barrel and a body. The barrel is where your ammunition passes before it goes out to open air. The body, on the other hand is where you’ll find the trigger, the valve, and the bolt. Take note that the body does not produce the air. Instead, the tank does that. This tank has high-pressure air that creates the velocity of the ball when the trigger is pulled.
And where, do you ask, are the paintballs placed? They’re in the hopper. The hopper sits right on top of the body and this is where you store all the paintballs.
What happens when you pull the trigger? First, the valve opens letting a paintball down to the barrel. Almost simultaneously, another valve opens releasing highly compressed air into the barrel. That air pushes the paintball out of the barrel.
What Can You Shoot Out of a Paintball Gun?
Now that you know the basics, it’s time to know which other things you can shoot out of a paintball gun. Keep in mind that although these are alternatives, they don’t have the same performance with paintballs because they are of different materials.
1. Hard Rubber Balls
The most popular alternative is a rubber ball. There are different types of rubber balls, so if you’re not sure, ask the store staff about the best alternative to paintballs. It might help to tell them what caliber your paintball gun is. Usually, paintball guns are at 0.68 caliber so if you tell them that it’s the standard paintball gun, then they might assume this type of gun.
Why rubber balls? Rubber balls are hard, that’s for sure. Even if you try to squish one with all your might, it’s not going to get squished. Now you might be wondering why that’s allowed for paintball knowing that it’s going to be painful when you get hit by it.
The reason behind rubber balls being good alternatives is that they are soft enough to not give you any serious bruises. They don’t shatter unlike a paintball, too. And since they don’t shatter, you can use them for every game unless you lose them all.
If you want a clean game (literally), then a rubber ball is the best alternative for you. Of course, you still have to wear protective gear to make sure you don’t get hurt while playing.
2. Soft Rubber Balls
You might be wondering why there had to be a separate discussion about soft rubber balls when they’re just rubber balls. Yes, they’re the same because they’re made of rubber but the thickness and the squishiness of the two are very different.
Soft rubber balls are ideal for training because when you don’t know a lot about paintball, chances are that you might someone straight on the face or in some no-go area. When you’re still getting the hang of it, using soft rubber balls can be a safety precaution.
Just as the name suggests, soft rubber balls are a lot softer than hard rubber balls. You can squish them, but they won’t be as soft as a paintball.
3. Pepper Balls
If you’ve ever heard of pepper spray, then you know about pepper balls because they’re almost the same thing except, well, the others are balls. Pepper balls are soft just like paintballs and they also shatter upon impact. If you’re looking for that shattering experience, then pepper balls are a good choice.
However, there’s a catch. Since pepper balls have the same powdered chemicals found in pepper spray cans, they should be used for self-defense purposes only. These pepper balls abide by the same laws surrounding pepper can sprays, so be cautious when you use them. For this one, it’s best to check your state’s laws on pepper balls.
4. Water Balls
What about water balls? It’s good that you’ve thought of that because water balls are perfect substitutes. Why? They shatter just like paintballs and they only have water inside them, so they’re completely safe! What’s even better is that water balls are the ones used by the military for precisely that reason.
If you ever want to retain that splattering effect of balls on your opponents, then you’ll love water balls. They’re safe and clean, and they don’t leave any stain on your clothes.
The only caveat is that they’re not as easily found in most stores, so you have to look around a couple of specialty sports stores or some online paintball stores.
5. Glass Breaker Rounds
And then you have glass breaker rounds. While this can be shot using a paintball gun, this is not a good alternative if you’re only playing paintball for leisure. In fact, glass breaker rounds might not even be legal when used in recreational activities, so better check your state’s laws on them,
What are glass breaker rounds? They’re literally balls that can break glass. They are rarely used in practices and recreational activities, so you can just steer away from using them to be safe.
What Can’t You Use as Paintball Alternatives?
If you think about it, there are so many things you can shoot out of a paintball gun, but not all of those will be safe. Here are some of the things you should never use with a paintball gun.
For some reason, marbles are always thought to be a good alternative to paintballs. However, marbles should never be used for playing paintball because they’re dangerous. Yes, an innocent marble can turn your game into a disaster once it hits a person. Compared to rubber balls, marbles are often made from glass, aluminum, or steel. Just knowing that will already give you an idea on how painful it is to get hit by one.
If it’s speed you’re looking for, unfortunately, marbles aren’t good here, too. Since marbles are heavier, they don’t fly far since gravity will keep pulling them down because of their weight. Needless to say, marbles will be a lot heavier than a rubber ball.
Common sense dictates that you should never use a bullet for playing paintball. Even if they’re not made from metal, the fact that bullets aren’t shaped as balls makes them very dangerous. Besides, bullets often have legal implications with them, so why go through all the trouble just to play paintball? You’re better off using water balls if you want to stay safe.
3. Rocks or Pebbles
Even if there are rocks that don’t have corners in them, rocks can be very dangerous. They’re solid and they aren’t soft even when they’re small. If you try to shoot using a stone or a pebble, you will only cause serious harm to your opponent. Moreover, a paintball gun is not built to have stones and pebbles in it. Not only will it get damaged, but it might not also give the same performance as you would expect.
Similar to rocks and pebbles, shells are solid. They may be thinner and more fragile but the problem with shells for paintball is that they have corners. There is a higher chance that you’ll get bruised in the wrong places because a shell can easily scratch or slice you. Besides, shells don’t have a standard size. Using them as paintballs will just damage your paintball gun and you definitely don’t want that.
There are so many other things that you can place in a paintball gun but as long as they are solid and sharp, they’re not allowed for recreational games. When in doubt, it’s best to stick to paintballs or alternatives that have no edges (even if they’re blunt), not 100% solid, can shatter on impact, and are not illegal to use for games. The worst-case scenario here if you can’t find any alternative is that you just end up buying paintballs which isn’t a bad idea in the first place.
Paintball is a fun game but you will reach a point when you will have to buy more paintballs. You can always use alternatives like rubber balls, water balls, and pepper balls since they are safe to use. Other than those, there aren’t any other alternative for paintballs. Paintball is not a dangerous sport but it can be if you use the wrong items as paintball alternatives.