Gone Outdoors

How Does a Paintball Grenade Work?

by Gregory Hamel

About Paintball and Paintball Grenades

Paintball is a recreational sport that simulates armed combat via the use of CO2-powered guns that fire balls filled with paint that break on impact, marking any players struck. Normally, any player marked with paint is considered dead for that round, and must sit out until a later round. The most common types of paintball games are: Capture the Flag, in which two teams attempt to capture a marker and bring it back to their starting point; and Team Deathmatch, in which two teams attempt to mark each player of the opposing team without being marked themselves. As paintball evolved, more powerful rifles and weapons that better simulate true combat came into use--including paintball grenades, hand-thrown objects that simulate the effect of real hand grenade by spraying paint around a localized area. In games in which paint grenades are allowed, being marked by the paint grenade on any part of the body usually counts as being killed for that round.

Non-Explosive Paint Grenades

There are two types of paintball grenade: explosive and non-explosive. Non-explosive paint grenades are somewhat similar to water balloons, in that they involve a flexible bladder (often made of rubber tubing), which is sealed off tightly on one end and more loosely at the other end. The paint in the grenade is under pressure, and secured with a pin that, when pulled, further loosens one end. After a pin is pulled and the grenade is tossed, the end opens at it strikes the ground, and it spins due to the release of the pressurized paint inside, splattering the paint around in radius similar to the explosive radius of a real hand grenade. Although not perfect in their distribution of paint, most modern grenades produce a fairly uniform scattering of paint, which will almost certainly mark an uncovered player who is too close to the grenade.

Explosive Paint Grenades

An explosive paintball grenade is even more similar to a real hand grenade in that it uses a fuse and a small amount of explosive black powder to spread the paint. A core of black power with a fuse is contained inside a pouch of paint, which is then placed inside an outer casing. A fuse topped with a friction igniting material extends from the top of the grenade, and is lit by striking it like a match. When the grenade is thrown, the fuse burns down; the black powder then explodes, spreading the paint around a localized area. Non-explosive paint grenades are more commonly used, as they do not produce a loud bang (which can be strategically detrimental), while non-explosive grenades are easier to make.

About the Author

Gregory Hamel has been a writer since September 2008 and has also authored three novels. He has a Bachelor of Arts in economics from St. Olaf College. Hamel maintains a blog focused on massive open online courses and computer programming.