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How Many Paintballs Should You Bring? It Depends on Your Playstyle

Have you ever seen the poor guy on the field who has to go around begging for paint? Have you ever been that person after failing to bring enough rounds? Bringing enough paint for yourself means planning out your day, knowing your playstyle, and adding on a reserve supply. Here are a few of the most common ways to play, and how you should estimate your paint supply for each one.

Milsim Events

Large-scale milsim paintball events can be the toughest to plan out. Every event has different intensity, length, and requirements for each participant. Thus, your ammo needs may differ significantly from one event to another.

I always recommend bringing much more ammo than you think you need to these events – around twice as much as you think you will use. Carrying some extra rounds in a backpack is way less trouble than having to scrounge around or head back to the staging area after you run out. Plus, if friendlies run out of paint, you can resupply them on the spot.

If you don’t even know where to begin with your estimations, start by considering the length of time you plan to be out on the field. If the event is an all-day thing, or even an overnight camp-out in the woods, then you should probably carry hundreds of paintballs with you since you may not have an opportunity to resupply in between multiple fights. Many milsim events I attend involve separated operations lasting an hour or two at a time, with breaks in between. For these events, I only take a few tubes or magazines with me, since I am unlikely to need more in each round.

Bring at least a full case of paintballs in your car for milsim events like these. I usually take about 1,000 rounds for a single-day event, just to be safe. After all, the unused paint can be brought home and used later. Having a surplus at the end of the day is much better than being forced to go home early because you forgot to bring extra paint!

Competitive Events

Many competitions provide paint, sometimes requiring that you purchase your ammo from them. For those events, you can obviously leave your boxes at home and stock up when you arrive. For other events, though, you should plan a bit more carefully.

To start, make sure you only bring competition-grade paint like the Valken Graffiti to any level of competition. Entry-grade paintballs just do not make the cut, here. Next, analyze the type of event you plan to attend; many competitions revolve around single-hit elimination. With fewer players on the field, fewer shots tend to be fired. Other tournaments, however, may utilize respawns. For these, your ammo usage may be far higher.

Once again, bring more paintballs than you think you need for a tournament. If you expect to only use a couple hundred throughout the whole event, then bring at least 500 rounds. If you think that 500 might not be enough, then grab a case of 1000 or more.

Casual Play

The number of paintballs you should bring with you for a casual day of play depends on your personal style and preferences. What I mean is, if you find yourself holding indoor areas and setting up ambushes, you may use far fewer paintballs than someone who likes to push aggressively and lay down suppressing fire. Prior experience on the field should give you a good estimate of how much paint your typical playstyle consumes. If you lack the experience to estimate this, then assume that you have a more aggressive style and bring extra paint to accommodate that.

Setting influences ammo usage, too. I find myself using less ammo when I play in the woods or my backyard as opposed to a general-admission arena. Those professionally-run arenas have more players, more places to engage enemies, and a dynamic experience that increases action and devours paint. I usually bring about 2,000 rounds with me when I visit a local public paintball field. Most of the time, I head home before using anything close to that number, but on a few occasions I have used it all up. In my backyard, the garage is never more than a short walk away, so I can always tap into my reserves. If I had to estimate, I would say that I use a couple hundred rounds on an average day of backyard paintballing.


If you only take away one bit of my advice, it should be this: bring more paintballs than you think you need. Extra paint can be used on your next outing but having to head home early or beg other people totally sucks. Use good paint, and a lot of it, and you’ll surely have a great day out.