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Can You Use a Paintball Gun for Self-Defense (US, UK)?

Paintball guns are more than just tools you can use for recreational purposes. They can be great backup equipment for self-defense use.

However, because of the varying laws surrounding paintball gun  ownership and utilization, plenty of people end up scratching their heads and asking:

Paintball gun for defense

“Can you use a paintball gun for self-defense?”

Today, we discuss the laws that determine the legalization of paintball gun usage and ownership. Furthermore, we dive into the probability of a paintball gun being an ideal choice for self-defense.

Read on to learn more!

Getting to Know the Laws Surrounding Paintball Guns (US vs the UK)

Depending on which state you’re from or which country you reside in, the laws related to paintball gun ownership and usage will vary. In the United States alone, there is no single encompassing law that states whether it’s legal or illegal to use paintball guns as self-defense weapons.

Most US states forbid the public carrying of paintball guns . However, it’s perfectly fine to own one, as long as you don’t shoot the thing in public.

Tippmann A-5 .68 Caliber Paintball Marker

Therefore, the only way you’d be forced to use a paintball gun for self-defense is if someone were to break into your home or property.

In the UK, paintballs aren’t considered firearms (unlike in the US), which is why using them in public might be more openly accepted. The only rules you’ll need to keep in mind if you wish to use paintball guns in public in the UK are the following:

  • Make sure to only fire “certified” or approved paintballs
  • Your paintball gun should not be fully-automatic
  • Regular testing of air cylinders and CO2 bottles must be adhered to
  • A restriction on tournament guns of 300fps should be followed

Paintball laws in the UK are governed by the United Kingdom Paintball Sports Federation (UKPSF). They’re a voluntary body that’s committed to promoting sports and making them safe and fun for everyone participating.

Can You Use a Paintball Gun for Self-Defense?

Generally speaking, paintball guns can be used for self-defense. However, it might not be the most efficient way to do so.

In the US, laws about shooting an intruder or trespasser with a paintball guns  are complex and can cause you more harm than good.

For instance, although trespassing into someone else’s property is considered a misdemeanor in the US, discharging weapons like a paintball gun (which is considered a firearm by most US states) can easily be seen as a felony.

In other words, the other person can press charges against you.

Shooting a paintball guns  at an intruder also has its complexities. Several states require residents to first try to retreat from a dangerous situation before engaging.

If you don’t take careful action and align your movements with this requirement, you could end up getting sued by the intruder instead of the other way around.

In the UK, the laws surrounding using paintball guns as self-defense measures are much looser. They don’t require you to have a license to own and carry a paintball gun. Furthermore, the UK doesn’t see paintball guns as lethal weapons.

How Effective Would Paintball Guns Be for Self-Defense?

People consider paintball guns when looking for non-lethal ways to defend themselves from would-be attackers, mainly because paintball guns don’t cause nearly the same amount of physical harm as other weapons.

However, there are several reasons why a paintball gun might not be the most effective alternative weapon for self-defense:

Paintball Guns Are Inconsistent

Paintball guns aren’t the most accurate weapons, and this may be because they don’t have a consistent flight pattern, unlike actual guns.

Paintballs  tend to swerve away from your actual market. So, you can shoot a dozen paintballs at one time and be lucky that half of them hit the target.

too small paintballs

It Won’t Deter an Attacker From Hurting You

While paintball guns are non-lethal, they also do very little in terms of stopping your attacker from hurting you. It might probably stun your aggressor for a short moment, but it does nothing to make them flee or disable them.

Unless you have incredible aim and can shoot your aggressor somewhere that can hurt them but not kill them (e.g., eyes, throat, or nose), a paintball gun won’t be of any use to you.

Furthermore, you have to think about the possibility of your assailant having a weapon of their own. Your paintball gun won’t stand a chance against someone holding an actual, lethal weapon.

Is There Any Alternative Ammo to Make a Paintball Gun More Reliable for Self Defense?

There is one alternative that may be able to improve your chances of safety. The .68 PepperBall Marker  contains a tear gas-like compound that works similarly to how a pepper spray would work.

PepperBall Mobile Lightweight Personal Defense Launcher Kit

Once shot, the PepperBall releases a 12-foot cloud of smoke that stings the eyes. It can fit your typical paintball gun; however, the manufacturer also sells a PepperBall Launcher if you’re interested in getting their products in a set.

Can You Load Marbles Into a Paintball Gun?

The idea of marbles being a great alternative ammo  for paintball guns has been popularized by movies and TV shows. And while some can use marbles as ammo for their paintball gun, it’s not the safest thing for anyone to do.

The likelihood of marbles causing a jam in your paintball gun’s receiver is very high. When this happens with a paintball, all you need to do is clean it out with a squeegee, and you’re good to go.


However, when a marble is stuck in there, you’ll have a hard time getting it out. You might try shooting it out with another marble.

But this action would also put you at risk of the marble ricocheting back at you. Or worse, it could even cause your paintball gun to explode, leaving you with injured hands.

Final Thoughts

It’s possible to use paintball guns for self-defense; however, they might not be the most effective weapons.

You can use alternative ammo to make your paintball gun more reliable.

However, make sure that you choose ammo that is specifically designed to be compatible with an airsoft weapon like your paintball gun.


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