How Fast a Paintball Gun Can Shoot

Paintball player with paintball mask and paintball gun stained with paint

Westend61/Getty Images

How fast a paintball gun can shoot all depends on the situation. Generally, the rate of fire is ultimately limited only by how fast you can load paintballs into the chamber.

Fast Fingers, Fast Hands

In general, a paintball gun can fire as fast as you can pull the trigger. Some paintball guns have long, hard trigger pulls that the effective rate of fire is about 5-6 shots per second. Other paintball guns are fired with circuit boards and can fire up to 30 or more times per second. This, though, is only how fast the guns can cycle and not how fast they can actually shoot paintballs.

The problem comes when you try to load paintballs into the gun. A gravity-fed hopper is limited to about 8 balls a second while some motorized hoppers can feed over 20 balls a second. Many high-end and lower-end guns are now capable of shooting as fast as any hopper can feed the paintballs.

Additionally, many people can't move their fingers fast enough to fire more than about 10-12 BPS. Many players claim that they can fire over 20 BPS in semi-auto, but very few can actually back that up on a timed chronograph. Extreme rates of fire are almost always dependent on ramping or fully-automatic firing.

Firing in a Game

During games, the rate of fire is typically much lower. Many fields cap the rate of fire while others disallow automatic firing and ramping. Additionally, in a game, people typically are more concerned with trying to hit the opposing team rather than maxing out their rate of fire. Most players with mechanical guns will never shoot faster than 7-8 BPS in a game and those with electro-pneumatic guns will never shoot much higher than 15 BPS. Such fast bursts of fire will only last briefly and cannot be maintained.

Compressed Air

To fire very quickly you need to use compressed air. CO2 will cool your gun to the point that you are no longer able to shoot consistently or even completely cycle your gun.