Army Training With Paintball Guns

Paintball is getting new recruits in gear.

No one ever said military training was safe or easy, but with the rising popularity of paintball, many organizations are teaching students and recruits about this safer form of combat. Several military organizations use paintball as a training exercise to supplement the more dangerous exercises where live ammunition is used. The safer alternative gives recruits a chance to get acclimated.

Paintball Background

Paintball has been around since the early 1980s, and these days people of all ages can participate in paintball at several public facilities. However, many paintball supplies are made with regard to military tactics and attention to detail. Both the weapons and the paintballs simulate the activity of real weapons. Some paintballs are made with regard to precision, while others carry qualities of some lethal weapons, exploding on contact or emitting powder into the air to simulate poisonous gas. Paintball guns may be designed to resemble specific guns used in battle but can never be modified to hold real ammunition.

Army Training History

In the past, the military did not have the luxury of engaging in combat training with a realistic alternative to bullets. Though training programs still incorporate training with live ammunition, some programs may choose to start off training with paintball guns–particularly while recruits are learning to work their equipment safely and effectively.


Unfortunately, real guns have a margin of error. Particularly with those who are not used to handling them, mistakes happen. Though it rarely happens, training exercises do go wrong, resulting in injury or death. This would not be the case with paintball guns.

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Training with paintball guns instead of real guns diminishes the sense of danger that recruits will face when fighting with real ammunition in defense of the country. Rather than providing practical experience, working with paintball guns makes training a mere “exercise” in combat. While it’s risky for new recruits to use real guns without the utmost caution, it’s even riskier for them to get used to guns that don’t carry the danger of real weaponry.

Current Practices

Paintball companies and the U.S. Army are working together to recruit members and plant a seed about participating in combat. Many companies flaunt the official Army logo on their web pages and make reference to actual military practices. Several basic ROTC courses use paintball to integrate the idea of combat into their training programs.