Official Paintball Tournament Rules

Paintballs are not allowed to be covered, hardened or altered in any way prior to or during game play.

Paintball is a fast-paced sport requiring skill, agility, marksmanship and teamwork. There are paintball teams across the United States of America, as well as in other countries. The American Paintball League is the official authority on paintball and makes a rulebook available to the public that details all rules for tournament play. The main idea behind these rules is maintaining safety and ensuring fun for all participants.

Equipment and Supplies

Each player is only allowed to carry one marker, which is the “gun” and one barrel for the marker during each game, and these both must be inspected beforehand. There are no fully automatic markers allowed, only semi-auto and pump. Any player using a full-auto marker will immediately be disqualified. Each player and spectator must wear goggles, and all players must wear long pants and a long-sleeved shirt or jacket. All paintballs must be purchased from the American Paintball League(APL).


The teams are broken down by their classification: Pro, amateur, novice and rookie. A pro team is considered any team with more than one member who has participated in a “pro” division tournament. An amateur team may only have 7 members and is allowed one pro player. Novice teams are allowed one amateur player and are limited to 7 members. For pro, amateur and novice teams, only 5 members can be on the field at one time. A rookie team is allowed one novice player, but is only allowed 5 members, only 3 of which may be on the field at one time.

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Elimination and Marking

Any player who goes out of bounds–or causes any of his equipment, his marker or part of his body go out of bounds–is immediately eliminated. Altering the terrain or features or climbing on any terrain or features results in elimination. Any mark or combined marks from a single paintball splat larger than a quarter results in the marked player’s elimination. Deliberately hiding, concealing or removing a paint mark counts as an infraction and may result in elimination.

Miscellaneous Rules

Paint checks may be called by an active player to see if her own or another’s markings are adequate for elimination. At the end of a game, a signal whistle will be blown by an official or referee. Any player who signals end of game will be penalized. Unsportsmanlike conduct, such as cursing at or insulting other players, will incur penalties during scoring and may result in elimination.