Developments in Paintball Fill Technology


Developments in Paintball Fill Technology

Have you ever noticed how bright the color inside a paintball is?  The objective in a game of paintball is to “tag” the players of the opposing team. Using a bright colored fill in a paintball can easily be seen when an opponent is shot, whereas, if the paint fill was a dull color, it would take many shots to mark the player and could possibly cause injury. 

Paintball manufacturing companies use a tool called a spectrophotometer. It is a device that measures the color to achieve a vibrancy that won’t fade during productivity. Higher quality paintballs are filled with a thicker, not runny, gel that makes the paint stay in one place with more visibility.

Paintballs are made of gelatin, a 100% biodegradable substance that won’t affect natural environment. Most paintball parks are outdoor, so filed owners and players should care about the terrain, trees, and plants that can get splattered with small amounts of paint.

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The vibrant colors are beneficial for players, however, there are colorless paintballs that are filled with clear as opposed to colored paint. The purpose for using colorless or clear paintballs is not to leave any markings on trees and terrain, however, they are not allowed in recreational or tournament paintball games.

Apart from vibrant paint fill colors, there are a few things that you should look for when buying good quality paintballs.

  • Consistently round shaped in size.
  • Breaks easily on target, but not brittle.
  • No dimples, dents, or lop sided.
  • The paint is a bit thick when it hits a target, as opposed to runny.

Paintballs must be engineered and tested so they are strong enough to be shot from a marker at a velocity of at least 180 feet per second so they can burst open on target without causing serious injury such as tissue damage or broken bones.

The chemical make-up of the paintball shell is an elastic gelatin with the process of encapsulation, similar to the way soft shell vitamins and supplements are produced. The paint in the center is a liquid substance made from pig skin and gelatin.

Although some refer to paintballs as “soft gels”, there is nothing soft about a paintball, especially when hit with one being shot from a marker. Paintball “soft” refers to the .50 caliber marker and smaller paintballs than the standard size.

There are 3 sizes of paintballs.

  • .43 caliber for paintball pistols.
  • .50 caliber for smaller, lighter weight markers.
  • .68 caliber standard sized balls, close to the size of a small marble.

Paintball manufacturers classify their quality by the star system. There are 5 quality levels.

  • Level 5 is more frequently used by tournament players because the paintball breaks on impact and shoots very accurately.
  • Level 4 still breaks on impact, brightly colored and uniform in size.
  • Level 3 is used by tournament players for practice and is less costly.
  • Level 2 used at most paintball parks, a better grade than level 1, holds up well in rental markers, fair priced.
  • Level 1 is fine for recreational players and the lower price at paintball parks can be passed along to the consumer.

When playing paintball in winter cold, the shell of the paintball becomes brittle and you will experience less pain when hit. It is impossible to shoot a frozen paintball because the ball will burst before it comes out of the barrel.

In hot summer months, the paintball becomes more bouncier because the shell is softer. Paintballs should always be stored in room temperature to keep them pliable.