What are Paintballs Made of – The Best Paintballs

what are paintball made of

How Paintballs Are Made & What Is The Best Paintballs?

Hmmmmm…you may be having a hard time trying to figure out the answer to this question.

Yes, you probably participate in this game often but have never thought about what materials are used. What excites you more is shooting your opponents and avoiding getting shot at. Truth is that paintball is becoming popular by the day. You will see children and adults taking part in the activity. Some use it to break the monotony of life and do something completely different. Other people enjoy the thrill of being outdoors while there are those who want to be part of a growing trend. Companies also use this activity for team building.

A brief Paintball History 

Records indicate that paintball was invented in the 1930s by Charles Nelson and his brother, Evan. The two ran a paint company and at some point were using this activity as one of their marketing techniques. Later on, the two brothers working with forestry engineers started using paintballs to mark trees. They also targeted cattle ranchers who found the r technique easier when it came to marking their cattle. This was helpful when distinguishing their animals from others or when counting them.

However, it is Charles Gaines who invented the game of paintball in 1981. Gaines together with a New York stockbroker called Hayes Noel and Robber Rumsey, a ski shop owner, had always discussed shooting paint guns from an air gun. Their goal was to have a tactical or combat experience. Paintball started gaining popularity in 1989 and has become a popular sporting and fun activity today.

What exactly is paintball?

Paintball is a sport which entails two opposing players or team of players shooting each other with miniature balls that contain paint or dye. The balls are pebble-sized and are shot from a specially designed air gun. It relies on carbon dioxide cartridges that force the balls out of the gun towards the chosen target. Upon firing the gun, the ball will move from the gun towards the player or object and will burst open when it hits its mark and release the color. The ball comes in round shape and features different colors and compromises of a shell and fillings.

What are paintball shells made of?

If you look closely at a paintball after it raptures, you will notice that it comprises an outer shell and the fillings or “guts” as some people prefer to call them. The outer section holds and protects the paint or dye and will burst open after it hits the target.

In the beginning, the shell was made from glass. This was when it was used for cattle and tree marking. The glass was very thin and easily broke on impact releasing the dye. However, this changed over time especially when it became a sporting activity. Gelatin is now the material of choice and is fairly strong but safer than glass. It’s the same material that makes liquid pills, liquid vitamins such as vitamin E, capsules and more. Gelatin is lighter than glass meaning it travels faster and isn’t as painful as glass because of its elastic nature.

What is paintball filling made of? 

The filling comprises the color or dye which is found inside the encapsulated shell until it breaks open after firing from the air gun. In the beginning, the gut was made from oil-based paint. The paint was hard to wash from clothes, was messy, had some odor and also was not environmentally friendly or biodegradable. Because of these setbacks, manufacturers went for more user-friendly and eco-friendly compounds.

Nowadays, they use compounds which are water soluble and biodegradable. In fact, truth is that they don’t contain any paint although they are known as paintballs. The most common ingredients include Mineral Oils, Iodine, Calcium, Food Coloring, and Ethylene glycol. These filling make the balls lighter and also save you from angry stares or frown from environment conscious people. This because they easily dissolve in water, doesn’t contain any toxic compounds, and are biodegradable.

Are paintballs toxic to humans the people and the environment? 

Lately, many people who participate or are planning to take part in paintball are asking whether the activity is safe. As I told you earlier, paintballs have become much safer than they were at the beginning. Gone is the time when real paint or oil-based paints, which was harmful to both people and the environment, was the key ingredient.

Nowadays, manufacturers are using water-soluble compounds which are actually not paints. The Mineral oils, food coloring, iodine, or ethylene glycol which makes the fillings and the gelatin that makes up the shell are completely safe. They can easily be washed from clothes and won’t cause stains, don’t emit any bad odor or fumes, and also won’t mess the ground. Besides being human-friendly, the paintballs are also biodegradable and environmentally-friendly.

Choosing the best paintballs

Paintballs come in many sizes, colors, design, and brands. They nevertheless are different and if not cautious, you may purchase the wrong product. When hunting for a product, you should look at these aspects:

  • Good performance: Pick balls that will deliver top performance. They should move fairly fast, follow a straight pattern, and won’t lose effectiveness over time. Talking to professionals as well as reading reviews helps.
  • Reliability: The appropriate product is reliable and also durable. It will maintain its shape and effectiveness for a long time won’t harm the target person or the air gun, and bursts without any risk of injury. It also won’t mess your clothes or other things.
  • Safe and hygienic: You should ascertain that the item is completely safe for human beings, adults, and kids, as well as pets. Ensure it is made of water-soluble materials, doesn’t contain toxic ingredients like lead, phthalates, petroleum, mercury, BPA among others.
  • Environmental friendly: The best paintballs are made of biodegradable compounds. The materials will degrade over time and this reduces pollution or damage to the environment.

Other vital consideration includes brand reputation, type of air gun, design, color, and price.


After reading this article, questions like what are paintballs made of? Are paintballs safe for babies? Is it safe to use paintballs? Or who invented paintball will be less frequent. We believe that you have a better understanding of paintball. And with this knowledge, you will be able to appreciate and enjoy the game better. Go out there and have the time of your life.

  • Updated 6 days ago
Anthony Maldonado

Smith Brown is a 23-year-old Blogger from the USA. He works for the hunting and self-defense related fields. Now he keeps on doing it through teaching others about how to prepare and DIY.

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