Those stupid kid paintballers we've all seen


March 26, 2003, 09:00 PM
Ok, we've all seen it on 60 Minutes, 48 Hours, Real TV...the video clips where those dumb kids drove around and paintballed homeless people, people waiting for the bus, and other innocent people who happened to cross these jokers' paths. (for those who don't know--these teens drove around in a car while the passenger paintballed people and the rear passenger video taped their antics)

My question to my fellow CCW's: if this happened to you, you were walking along the sidewalk and all of a sudden you were "drive-by shot at" by a teen with a paintball gun (of course, all you hear is *bang bang bang*, would you draw and fire back, seek cover and try to get a plate, or run like the Dickens? Assume the kids pause for 2-3 seconds to get a few rounds off, then speed off.

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March 26, 2003, 09:15 PM
If the kids are in the process of speeding off, I'd be looking for a plate, not fumbling for my piece.


March 26, 2003, 09:19 PM
You'd be pilloried by the media for shooting an "innocent" teenager pulling a "prank." Probably by the liberal DA, too.

It may be over-reacting to shoot in self-defense, but I'm not so sure that everyone would analyze the situation to determine that they're being shot with paintballs before reacting.

March 26, 2003, 09:20 PM
There's quite a bit of difference between a gunshot and the air pop of a paintball gun.

I'd get the plate number.

To twist this around on ya...

If it was a real drive by, would you shoot back?!?! Trying to hit a speeding car that's zipping past PEOPLE, I don't think it'd be a good idea to fire back....drop to ground and try to get the plates.

Joe Gunns
March 26, 2003, 09:24 PM
Get that plate!

March 26, 2003, 09:34 PM
In some of the instances I saw, the perps got the victim's attention before firing. If I'm walking alone at night and a car pulls up with the window down, my hand is my weapon. I'm a righty and I usually walk on the right side of the road, so this subtle action is hard neigh impossible to witness.

I take into account the circumstances, of course. If I'm walking by a stop sign I won't worry, but if there's no other obvious reason for the car to be pulling over, I have to assume that I'M the reason. I also rule out whether or not the vehicle is a police vehicle, if not by markings than by the occupants.

This has happened before, but the carload of teens must have thought I was someone else, for they left without a word.

If I saw the barrel of a paintball gun, I'd be hard pressed to identify it instantly. "Roll perception" as we say in the gaming world, and hope you roll well. If fired upon, I would return fire. IMHO you don't have time to determine whether or not the projectiles headed your way are paintballs or hardball. I played a lot of paintball during my college days, and I know that getting hit at close range hurts like hell. In such an emergent situation it would be reasonable to think you've been shot by a firearm.

Let's not forget that paintball guns can relieve you of use of an eyeball rather quickly. Considering the circumstances I believe most of the victims that we witnessed on the videotape would have been justified in using deadly force.

It could be debated that paintball guns don't sound the same as firearms. This would be the best clue in determining whether or not to use deadly force, but like I said, time is the greatest factor here. By the time your ears inform you that it's just a paintball gun, you may already be hit, hurting, and attempting to return fire.

Once the car begins to draw away, then your only recourse is to get the tags and call the cops.

Double Naught Spy
March 26, 2003, 09:37 PM
"It was dark. The car pulled along side and some dude leaned out with what appeared to be a suppressed rifle I decided as I heard the sound and felt the impacts. Fearing for my life, I drew and fired on the fleeing gunman as I believed they were still shooting at me."

It would be a good comment, maybe, but no doubt there would still be some legal hassles. The real problem would come from knowing they were shooting paintballs and admitting it. No doubt there is plenty of information to substantiate a claim of fear of bodily harm, serious bodily harm. Specifically, you can do seaches and find stats for the types of unprotected eye injuries from paintball projectiles and that will usually be from nominal pressures. Some paintball guns can have their pressures turned up quite a bit above competition levels (which I understand are something like 300 fps or less) with some approaching 500 fps.

You could argue that you had no idea that it was paintball at first and by the amount of pain you experienced, you felt that you were not being shot by normal competition velocities as you experienced significant pain you felt was serious injury.


You could be justified in firing to stop an attack on you, but would likely have a lot of trouble in firing on suspects fleeing in a vehicle after the actual attack had stopped. You would have a tremendous amount of trouble justifying shooting back at fleeing suspects in a car if you weren't hit, I would think. You might have been in fear for your life and the punks might have deserved it, but especially if they didn't hit you and you did hit them, there would be complications and in the short run the criminal complications for you might work out, but the civil ones may be a really long and painful experience for you.

If you know it was paintball and are not shooting to stop an attack on you, shooting back is not going to be very beneficial to you in the long run.


added comment...

Another thought is that paintball guns may not sound like firearms, but they may sound like air rifles. There are some really amazing air rifles out there. This is one of them and it can shoot a .22 caliber projectile at over 1000 fps. Even wilder is that there is even a suppressed version...

This gun would literally have the potential of being more lethal than some firearms.

I originally marked this site after somebody had posted that they found a great in-city varmit gun that was perfectly legal in places where shooting an air gun is legal, but has the power, accuracy, and extended range more in line with a small .22 rifle.

March 26, 2003, 09:41 PM
This is why people should carry paint ball guns along with their daily carry. Paintball people giving you problems? Give their car a new paintjob :evil: :evil: :neener:

March 26, 2003, 10:14 PM
This is where being a "civilized" nation gets you.
It protects the people who are attacking you, and puts you in jail.
What is amounts to is, if someone pulls up next to you and shoots at you with anything other than a water pistol, then that shows a complete lack of respect for the welfare of others. IMO, those kids deserved to be shot. Same with the stupid little jerks who throw bricks off of overpasses.
I say shoot them as you catch them.
But the law would disagree.

Having said that, I know that when adrenaline is rushing through you, the sound and recoil of a gun are dramatically different. I would bet that you could mistake the report of a paintball gun with that of a real gun.
Like I said, your body plays tricks on you.
Depending on where you live, you would be justified in firing as soon as you saw a muzzle sticking out the window. If you live in CA or NJ, you have no rights, so you would just have to allow them to beat the snot out of you, and hope that they got tired and left you live.

March 26, 2003, 10:16 PM
There actually was a case in CO last year along the lines of what you described, IIRC the paintballer was killed with one shot to the head, but I don't know what ended up happening to the shooter.

Can anyone say Darwin?

George Hill
March 26, 2003, 10:18 PM
Turn your head away from the fire and cover your eyes.

Then when it's safe to look - see if you can get the plate. Call the police ASAP.

But no - Don't shoot back. A welt from a paintball isn't worth a life. Even a stupid punk's who one day will feel very very guilty about doing that.

March 26, 2003, 10:33 PM
They interviewed one of the men who got shot with a paintball. He thought the paint was blood. Very difficult to tell in the heat of the moment like that. I have often heard accounts of shootings where the shootee did not hear the shots because of the rush.

I had a similar incident where a car drove by my when I was walking with a black toy rifle stuck out the window. I thought it was real and I hit the deck. I was not old enough to own, let alone carry at the time.


March 26, 2003, 10:39 PM
Here's ( a link to a couple of articles about that Colorado case.

March 26, 2003, 10:41 PM
don't shoot, as much as i'd want to shoot these idiots, the hassel you would go through isn't worth it. i can vouch for the morons that do this though, these type of people deserve exactly what they get, be that a bullet from a citizen defending himself, or a fine and comunity service. the people that pull that crap are the same types that do the things that make sane gun owners look bad and cause all sort of brainless laws that hassel us good folks. this stuff keeps up, my fave sport is going to have more dumb laws than guns. In fact, australia supposedly has laws so strict on paintball guns, that you are only permited PUMPS (which are awesome BTW, stock class all the way!), and these pump only guns are required to be locked up at a local field when not in use, ALL OF THEM, even privatly owned.

March 26, 2003, 10:46 PM
I play paintball so i would know the difference from the sound of the paintball marker and a real gun!!

But if it was NOT firing and it was dark, i would go for the gun and have it ready if i need it!:uhoh:

Mike Irwin
March 26, 2003, 11:11 PM
"There's quite a bit of difference between a gunshot and the air pop of a paintball gun."

But there's not a lot of difference between a paint ball gun and a clumsily suppressed firearm, actually.

There's also not much difference between feeling the pain of a bullet strike, followed by the wetness of blood, and the pain of a paintball strike, followed by the wetness of possibly red paint.

The person on the receiving end of the situation only needs to be in fear of his safety or life, not confirm that an actual mortal threat exists. The mere possibility of the threat is reason enough to use deadly force in some states.

I've thought about it a lot, and I know that were I in that situation I'd likely return fire unless something absolutely tipped me off that it was a paintball gun, say, yellow paint, they miss and I see the paint splatter, etc.

But, that still doesn't negate the threat of serious bodily injury that a paintball gun can pose.

People have been gravely injured when sick bastards freeze the paint balls, too.

At that point, in essence, it's no longer a paintball gun. It is a firearm.

March 26, 2003, 11:36 PM
I think we can all agree that once we know that the weapon in play is a paintball gun (or correctly "marker" as Aztoy says), use of force is not justifiable.

But I stress again that it would be very difficult to determine the report of the weapon in an emergent situation, especially if you've been hit and are feeling pain.

March 26, 2003, 11:58 PM
we had that happen up here a year or two ago. kids froze the paintballs and went around only shooting drunk natives (we have a lot of drunk natives wandering the streets).

they videotaped it as well. it was prosecuted as a 'hate crime' because they only targeted natives.

March 27, 2003, 09:41 AM
In a 1999 Thornton case, paintball shooters were charged with battery, illegal discharge of a firearm and criminal mischief. Witherwax and the Mace brothers could face similar charges, authorities said.
So Denver law considers the paintball gun to be a "firearm". Interesting.

I also play paintball and own PB guns. The actual shooting aside, have you guys ever looked at the end of a .68 caliber paintball gun? It looks an AWEFUL lot like the barrel of a shotgun!!!

So I guess, as has been mentioned, if I'm already shot, and the paint is yellow or whatever, I'm probably going to know from the paint. But if the PB gun hasn't been fired yet, I'm looking for cover and reaching for my pistol to defend against what looks like a 12 gauge drive by!

Also, as for the sound... some PB guns are louder than others. Having been in the fleeing presence of "unexpected gunfire" as a teenager, as well as suffering the eternal shame of having an ND on my conscience, I can tell you that it doesn't sound ANYTHING like it does at the range. It sounds like firecrakers at best... Not loud at all. You can't count on the sound to differentiate. The sound is over and done with BEFORE you knew it was coming, so you have to try and recall what it sounded like. It's more complicated than you'd think.

March 27, 2003, 10:05 AM
Out here, kids have been loading their paintball guns with appropriately sized marbles and shooting out windows in cars/businesses.

How are you to know that they don't have a mix of marbles and paintballs? Could the next one be a ball of glass coming at you at 600fps? That could cause some serious damage I'd think.

Oleg Volk
March 27, 2003, 10:16 AM
Ballistics of a paintball gun with a marble in it compare to .450 Bulldog...not very powerful but enough to kill or injure. And muzzle side looks quite similar to a shotgun...take cover, present, fire if necessary. My guess is that seeing the target move to cover and poke out a sidearm would change the plans of would-be paint tangos. Pity that stupid politicians blame the entire sport for a few retards' actions.

March 27, 2003, 10:26 AM
I play paintball so i would know the difference from the sound of the paintball marker and a real gun!!

Yes, but do you hunt?
Or, have you ever been in a live fire exercise?
I know that the sound of a high powered rifle is very muffled when fired under such conditions.
An M-16 can sound like a cap gun, as can a 308.
No one will dispute that there is a difference, but it is your perception that screws you up.

Mike Irwin
March 27, 2003, 11:44 AM
For all those who are saying "I KNOW THE DIFFERENCE IN SOUND!"

Great. I'm sure you do.

But, in the dark, are you going to be SO cocksure that it's a paintball gun? "Oh, it's OK, it's a Phantom Extreme Splatmaster 2500. I've nothing to worry about..."

Or, knowing that someone's shooting at you, fear taking over, survival instinct dialed to high, and cold sweat running down your back and pooling in your buttcrack, are you going to be so certain about that?

What if you heard wrong? What if it's not a paint ball gun, but someone with a .22 "silenced" with an old soda bottle?

Are you REALLY so sure?

Willing to bet your pretty face, or an iliac bypass and colostomy bag, that you're 100% certain you know what you're talking about?

Ugly fact of the matter is there are people who have been involved with firearms for years who can't identify a gunshot under similar circumstances.

Joe Demko
March 27, 2003, 12:17 PM
I was the victim of a driveby with a paintball gun a few years back. It was one of my students. He got me several times in the legs and then they took off. It stung a bit and I wasn't happy about the paint on my slacks. If it had been a real gun, I don't know if I'd have been able to react. They eased up behind me as I was out walking and opened fire while still behind me. Before anyone criticizes my situational awareness, this was on a fairly heavily travelled street where traffic is heavy enough that you can't possibly turn and look at the sound of every car coming up from your back. Anyway, if it had been bullets instead of paintballs, I'd have had several gunshot wounds before I was aware I was even in trouble. I didn't even reach for my gun. I was too busy diving for cover. As they drove off, I recognized the car and knew who was responsible. I took it up with him at school, but didn't remand hom to the cops.

March 27, 2003, 12:36 PM
I read the linked story to the Colorado incident. Seems to me that the OLDER of those involved was the one shooting paintballs.

The 21 year old shot paintballs at some TEENS, who then returned fire with real firearms, striking the guy in the head.

The police are more concerned with the teens who fired in apparent self-defense.

This bothers me just a little, and let me tell you why. Granted, it's against federal law for anyone under 21 to possess a handgun, so I understand that they are in violation of that law. No problem.

BUT if a guy with what appears to be a rifle is shooting you and you have a firearm (albeit one you shouldn't have) and you fire back in what you think is self-defense, is that so wrong??

The guy brought it on himself. This is *almost* like the fellow in NYC who defended himself with a firearm in his home, and then was charged for having an unregistered gun. I mean come on.


March 27, 2003, 12:50 PM
Beats me. I have no plans on shooting paintballers. Then again, I also have no plans on being shot at. Seeing as how my datebook doesn't show that I'm going to be shot with paintballs on such and such date, I don't really know how I will react. Will I be able to determine its a paintball? Hell if I know. Will I react in some way? I hope so. But if on such and such day, my scheduled paintball shooting happens and I see a barrel of an unknown gun coming out of an unknown car being held by an unknown person and it is my honest assessment that my life is in danger, then I expect that if I cannot escape the situation that I do draw and fire. If that gun turns out to be a paintball gun, I sincerely hope I miss. If that gun turns out to be a .17 or larger, I hope my aim is true and quick. But if I can't figure out what it is prior to needing to react, upon which side do I err? Caution for them or caution for me? I'm not trying to shoot anyone ever. But more importantly, I'm not trying to get shot either.

March 27, 2003, 01:21 PM
If I saw the barrel of a paintball gun, I'd be hard pressed to identify it instantly.

Off the paintball field and when looking down the muzzle, in my book, a .68" paintball barrel is too close to a ~.750" 12ga barrel to warrent spending more than a nanosecond contemplating it. I'd worry about the distinction after the smoke clears.


March 27, 2003, 01:40 PM
cops have shot people who pointed their paintball guns at them during traffic stops, the same applies to you if you're afraid for your life or great bodily injury

March 27, 2003, 10:36 PM
I wanted to post about two articles in local so cal "Easy Reader" paper tonight, two different perspectives:
First on page 10 "Fatal Gunfire Sounds Like Toy Gun" . A drive-buy on Pacific Coast Highway in Hermosa Beach resulted in the death of a 25 yr old male sitting at a stop light in his BMW. The witnesss comments "I heard four shots - bang bang bang bang. I thought it was a toy gun, it didn't sound like a real gun. Then I saw his head he had been shot".
Second article is page 16 "Airsoft Abuse's Hard Lesson" , a Manhattan Beach Officer confronted a suspect on a school yard roof at night. He fired at her twice. She heard the pops that sounded like a BB gun to her and did not return fire with her P-226. His goggles fogged and he did not see she was LEO, thought she was another friend he was gaming with. All four kids playing with airsofts were charged but I think lucky to be alive!
My concern is that if it had gone the other way , she might have been shot instead while she hesitated....

Double Naught Spy
March 27, 2003, 10:51 PM
I would most hardily have to disagree with Devonai that use of force against a paintball attack is not warranted. Use of DEADLY FORCE may not be warranted, but the paintball attack on you is a use of force against you and you should have the right to stop that use of force against you. Plus, you can be totally justified in being in fear of serious injury to justify he use of force.

Paintballs are projectiles traveling at some pretty substantial velocities. And so you know it is a friggin' paintball gun, who says they are shooting paintballs and not harder objects like marbles?

Use of force is justified.

March 27, 2003, 11:16 PM
Here's a hot survival tip:

Do not point vaguely gun-shaped objects at strangers who might not get the joke.

Here endeth the lesson. ;)

March 27, 2003, 11:37 PM
Okay, I guess that's the last time I'll assume those involved in discussions ever agree on a single point.

Let's look at this situation by flow:

1. You see a car slow down and a barrel stick out of the window. Is it a firearm or a paintball gun? If it's a firearm, go to step 5. If it's a paintball gun, go to step 2.

2. The occupant begins to fire at you. You are hit. If you have been hit in the eye, go to step 5. If you have been hit elsewhere, go to step 3.

3. You have been hit. It hurts like hell. If you have reason to believe that the paintballs have been frozen, or are in fact marbles, go to step 5. If you believe that they're normal paintballs, go to step 4.

4. Duck, protect your face, and move away.

5. Present your weapon and fire if necessary.

In my mind this is the best way to proceed in such a situation, and gives you the best chance of avoiding prosecution. Anybody disagree with this flow of action?

March 28, 2003, 12:51 AM
Step 6- After ducking for cover, atempt to get liecence plate #'s

Step 7- If you feel the need, call the police, if not, get on with life IMHO.

Step 8- if you took step 7 and the perps get caught, press all charges posible, the only people that do this garbage are not only stupid, reckless and malicious, they also have no regard for the sport of paintball which is threatened by their actions.

March 28, 2003, 01:53 AM
Your input does not constitute a disagreement, only an addendum to which I entirely agree. I would file a report and take a day off to go to court, if it came down to that.

March 28, 2003, 02:25 AM
Not exactly sure what I would do. If I am really as aware of my surroundings as like to think that I am, then surely I will notice a car pulling up behind me. Given that tiny habitual caution/paranoia that comes from living in a big crime-infested city, I would hope that I turn in time to catch the muzzle pointing at me. At that point, all bets all off.

How would I react if I sat on a jury in a case in which a pedestrian attacked by a paintballer returned fire and was subsequently charged? I can tell you right now that the defendant would walk.

March 28, 2003, 10:22 PM
Step 7- If you feel the need, call the police, if not, get on with life IMHO.

there was an article on somethin like this in handgunner, you show your gun and you don't call the police and whoever you pointed it at calls the police and tells em there's a guy wavin a gun around and they pull YOU over. i'd call em and tell em what happened

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