3 Types of Paintballs and How to Choose Which to Get

Ready to go paintballing, but don't know which paintballs exactly you should get? You've come to the right place. Paintballs directly affect your shooting technique as well as the speed and velocity in which your paintball gun fires. Therefore it is important to choose the right kind of paintball depending on the paintballing you are looking to do.

So, what are the different types of paintballs, and how should you choose the right one?

The different types of paintballs are:

All of these are available with different calibres, with .50” and .68” being the most common. Choosing the right paintball for you ultimately comes down to the kind of paintballing you are looking to do and what kind of paintball gun you will be using.

What are paintballs?

Paintballs sometimes referred to as “paint,” are spherical gelatin capsules containing biodegradable polyethylene glycol, other non-toxic and water-soluble dyes, and other substances. These capsules are designed in such a way to hold the fill and not break unless it makes a heavy impact with a surface.

Paintballs consist of the same materials we found in food items. They are non-toxic and are considered edible – we wouldn't recommend consuming any, though, since they do not taste very good. Therefore, if you get some paint in your mouth during a paintballing game, you are not at risk of any serious health issues and can continue playing. Since polyethylene glycol is a laxative, paintballs can cause gastrointestinal distress when ingested. You should keep them out of reach of young children.

What to Look for in Paintballs

The kind of ammunition you use is one of the most important aspects of paintballing. It's important to consider certain details about the ammunition you are using to ensure greater accuracy and minimize errors.

You want to make sure that any paintball you choose doesn't break when exiting the paintball gun. Broken paintball can damage the gun itself and create a chaotic, messy situation in which you get struck out instead of eliminating an opponent.

Here is what you want to look for in a quality paintball:

The 3 Types of Paintballs: Recreational, Tournament, and Reusable

Let's separate types of paintballs into:

Recreational Grade Paintballs

Recreational (or field) grade paintballs are paintballs designed for general play or practicing and are best for popular, less intricate tactical markers most often used in scenario games. These are the paintballs most commonly used in commercial fields, and you can buy them in boxes of 2000+ at major sporting goods stores.

Recreational paintballs have a thicker, firmer shell and are compatible with almost any kind of marker as long as the calibres are the same. Since recreational paintballs have slight inconsistencies in their shape that can cause inaccurate flight patterns, they are the least expensive kind of ammunition. They would be a great option if you were looking to buy bulk paintballs at a nearly wholesale price.

This kind of ammunition is available in a bunch of different colours, along with some neon fluorescent options as well.

Tournament Grade Paintballs

Tournament grade paintballs are the highest quality paintballs, made for professional woodsball or speedball tournaments, and designed for use with the top-of-the-line paintball guns. Due to their quality, reliability, and increased accuracy, tournament grade paintballs are more expensive than recreational paintballs.

One of the biggest features of tournament grade paintballs is their thin but firm shell that breaks more easily on impact more consistently. Additionally, one can expect better performance in the form of a straighter flight leading to improved accuracy due to the remarkably consistent size and shape throughout.

Tournament grade paintballs have bright fills that make marks on targets easily visible. On the other side, neon colours are not available as these are prohibited for use in professional competitions.

Reusable Paintballs

The last kind of paintball is the reusable paintball or reball. Reballs are foam substitutes for paintballs. These balls are the same size as paintballs, but they don't have a paint filling and weight slightly more. These were initially designed by manufacturers to allow teams that are practicing to save money on ammunition. However, nowadays, some paintball parks have dedicated reball fields.

Reballs are most often used in indoor facilities where paint splattering out of broken paintballs could be a problem since they have no paint filling and do not break open. The downside of this is it makes it easier for players to cheat since there is no visible mark of paint to prove whether or not someone was shot.

Reballs are more expensive than paintballs, but since one can clean and reuse them many times, it ends up costing less over time. Reballs must be fired at a lower velocity than regular paintballs (about 65 feet/s less) to compensate for the fact that they don't break on impact.

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