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Can a Paintball Break a Rib?

Yearly, there are a recorded eight million Americans who participate in paintball events. Among the millions of Americans, there are a reported 21,000 injuries.

The main equipment used in games is paintball markers. These markers, or guns, utilize compressed air or CO2 to fire projectiles into targets. In this case, paintballs are used as ammunition.

Paintball Break a Rib

There are multiple types of markers in the market. The three main types include:

  • Pump – With each shot, the player must pump the rifle. This pump cocks the gun and loads the next paintball into the chamber.
  • Mechanical – Better known as semi-auto, these are the most popular guns among paintball players. This type of gun is what is usually available in commercial playing grounds.It offers one shot per pull of the trigger. All players have to do is point and shoot.

Mechanical markers operate on tanks filled with CO2 (carbon dioxide) or HPA (high-pressure air).

  • Electronic – Electronic paintball guns use an electromagnet to fire. 9-volt batteries usually power these markers. It also requires users to point and shoot.However, unlike mechanical makers, the triggers on these guns aren’t designed for deeper pulls.

These are some powerful weapons. It is no wonder there are injuries reported in playing the game.

Paintball is considered a sport. Like any sport, we run the risk of injuring ourselves.

But are these weapons enough to cause serious bodily harm to its players? There must be a reason why we’re required to wear protective gear.

With kids as young as eight years old, you might be wondering if all those pads can protect our bodies from severe pain or injury.

This may lead you to think…

Can a Paintball Break a Rib?

Before we answer this question, let’s take a look at these three contributing factors: the rib, your gun, and your ammo:

The Rib

The Rib

While fracturing a rib is a common injury in contact sports, what exactly does it take to break one?

In terms of bone density, the strength of bones differs from one person to the next. But, generally speaking, the ribs in your body are relatively thin and have less mass compared to other major bones.

Because your ribs are thinner and have less muscle surrounding them, they are more susceptible to fractures and other injuries.

While it is arguably weaker than other major bones, ribs are still pretty sturdy. The average rib can take pressures weighing up to 742 lbs, or 336.5 kg.

The Gun

The average muzzle velocity permissible on paintball playing grounds is 280 to 300 feet per second. Smaller indoor playing grounds restrict the use of markers with a velocity higher than 250 feet per second.

While some markers have a muzzle velocity of higher than 320 feet per second, they are deemed unsafe.

If you are looking for a paintball marker with superior velocity, you can check out the Empire Axe 2.0. It is lighter than other markers but offers users impeccable accuracy.

The Ammo

the paintball can break

The average paintball measures 17 mm, or .68 caliber. Paintballs fired from markers at high velocity can hurt.

Although paintballs are designed to burst on impact and release paint onto the targeted surface, they are devised to mark a surface with paint, applying the least amount of harm possible.

The paintballs are made out of non-toxic and food-grade materials. They are gelatine capsules filled with dye.


If we consider all these and add them up, we can deduce that the answer is no.

A paintball can cause bruising and even cause welts, but it is improbable that a paintball fractures a rib.

Because of the material that makes up a paintball, even shot at close range, the paintball will burst upon contact. Thus, applying less impact pressure.

The force applied by the paintball upon contact does not come close to the amount of pressure an average rib can take.

What Can Break Your Ribs?

We have a total of twelve ribs, six on each side, acting as a cage for some of our major organs. Trauma can cause one or more of your ribs to break.

Impacts our bodies could go through, like a car crash, an accident during contact sports, or a falling from great heights. Even repetitive movements causing a build-up of micro-traumas can result in a fracture.

Those with osteoporosis or certain cancers that affect bone density can break a rib by coughing too hard.

You can watch this video to learn more about fracturing a rib.

Is It Hard to Break a Rib?

Yes, for the average adult who doesn’t suffer from an illness affecting bone density.

The ribs that children have contain more elasticity. Because the ribs are more elastic, they can absorb and respond to impact better. Kids are less likely to acquire rib fractures than adults.

Bones are more resistant to vertical compression. However, bones are considerably weaker against horizontal impacts.

Substantial blows directly put upon the rib cage horizontally are the most common reasons for rib fractures.

If you are suffering from a broken rib, you can learn how to treat your rib fracture here.

Can You Feel When a Rib Breaks?

treat your rib fracture

You cannot ignore the pain of a broken rib.

Fractured ribs are painful with every breath. Depending on the severity of the fracture, it may affect your internal organs.

If you feel intense pain in your chest area, notice bruising or tenderness on your torso, and/or possibly hear cracking, notify your physician.

It would be best if you treated the affected ribs immediately before they caused any further damage.

Final Words

You can sustain a fractured rib playing paintball when you go through the motions of the game, such as running or dodging bullets. It is implausible that a paintball itself causes a rib fracture.

If you are still wary about playing the game, you can better protect yourself with sturdier gear.

You can wear something that is specifically designed to protect your ribs. Jellybro’s Rib Protector can help boost your confidence in the playing field.


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