Feel the adrenalin rush as you stealthily move through the woods in pursuit of your quarry and open fire..on your friend!
Paintball is a sport where players compete, in teams or individually, in a number of scenarios in which they may need to eliminate opposing players by shooting them with a paintball marker(gun) or complete a given objective which also entails shooting players in the opposing team! Either way it’s a chance to really indulge in that cops and robbers, cowboys and indians scenario we played out when we were kids.
The sport can be played indoors or outdoors. Indoor areas may have lots of inflatable objects for cover like in the video below or can be something elaborate like the mock interior of a building. Outdoor fields may have artificial or natural terrain or a combination of both which players use for tactical cover.
If you haven’t played paintball then your first time to do so will probably be similar to mine. A referee was assigned to the large group I was and began by giving us an introduction to the game as well as some general rules. These covered things like the need to wear masks, how to exit the field if hit and players with certain health issues were discouraged from playing.
Each time we were taken to a different field they told us the rules of the particular scenario we were playing. The first was a simple game of elimination on natural terrain that had a number of artificial structures to use for cover. The second was to capture the opponents flag and bring it back to our base. Trenches had been dug and there were only a several obstacles above ground on this barren landscape that we could use to take cover. The third was fierce fighting held on a much smaller field with lots of barrels and old tires to hide behind. The goal was survival. The team with the most players still playing at the end of 18 minutes were declared the winners.
Other scenarios include ammunition limits, defending or attacking a particular point or area or capturing objects of interest hidden in the playing area.
Woodsball is where large teams of players play in a wooded or natural environment that encompasses a large area. They are given various goals and objectives to fulfill.
Speedball is played in an open field that has many obstacles for players to take cover behind. Fighting is usually fierce and has a time limit.
Scenario is where players participate in a scenario, or story, that may include historical re-enactments, futuristic or video game simulations. These games can last for hours or even days.
MiniBall is a new modified version of paintball introduced in Victoria and the ACT in Australia for people 10 – 17 years old.
Regulated games have referees or marshals who enforce the rules of the game and make sure everyone stays safe. Below are the general rules of the game.
Masks must be worn while in the playing area. Outside of the playing area on the property where paintball is being played everyone may be required to either wear a mask or all players must have the barrel block in place or be disconnected from their gas source.
Minimum Shooting Distance
A minimum shooting distance of around 4.5 meters may be enforced. An attacking player that comes closer than this may not fire on the opponent. Sometimes a minimum distance surrender rule is in place where an attacking player within a certain distance must offer his opponent the chance to surrender. In the case of sneaking up on an opponent tapping the player with the barrel of the marker is generally considered the equivalent of marking him with paint.
A player is considered hit if a paintball leaves a solid, quarter-sized mark anywhere on the player’s body or equipment. If you pick up an object from the field to shield yourself and it gets hit it’s also counted! When a paintball hits a tree or some other object a player may get splattered by it. This only will count as a hit if it leaves a solid mark on the player.
This is where players continue to shoot at an eliminated player. It’s not allowed and a referee may step in to discourage it.
Many electronic paintball markers will after a certain number of continuous shots fired start firing faster than the trigger is being pulled. It’s usually either prohibited or limited on most paintball fields. It may, however, be allowed under certain conditions in tournaments.
Wiping the paint off your clothes during the game is considered cheating! If you get caught you will be called off the field. In some paintball games the wiper and his two closest teammates might be called off the field.
Paintball is for the most part a non-contact sport. The only two forms of contact allowed are firing paintballs at each another or barrel tagging when you are very close to an opponent.
The main three kinds of equipment are …
A paintball marker is a kind of gun used to mark your opponent with paint which will automatically eliminate him or her from the game. Guns usually either have a loader attached on the top where balls are gravity-fed into the loading chamber or are electronically force-fed. Most markers use a compressed air tank, a Co2 tank or to a much lesser extent a propane tank as part of their propellant system. The muzzle velocity of paintball markers is around the 90 meters per second mark (300 ft/s).
If you are wondering as to the origin o f these unusual guns and why they’re called a marker they were originally used as a means for forestry personnel to mark trees and for ranchers to mark wandering cattle.
Paintballs are a spherical gelatin balls containing mostly polyethylene glycol and a water soluble dye inside. They’re non-toxic and biodegradable.Players are required to wear a protective mask on the playing field at all times. These masks cover the eyes, mouth, ears and nostrils of the wearer. Some masks have a throat guard.
Plastic containers containing paintballs that are ready to use.
If a paintball breaks inside the barrel of the paintball marker it can effect the accuracy of the gun. A squeegee is used to clean the barrel.
Paintball jerseys and pants
These have integrated padding that not only protect players when they get hit but from the terrain as well.
Elbow & Knee Pads
To help protect the player’s elbows and knees.
Padded or armored gloves protect your hands.
Protects sensitive areas of the body.
Scenario Paintball Equipment
In scenario paintball you will see equipment that is usually not allowed in tournament play. These include paint grenades, paint throwers and vehicles. These simple ‘armored vehicles’ are sometimes outfitted with paint-discharging weaponry.
Injuries occur in all active sports like soccer, baseball and basketball and paintball is no exception. From 1997-2001 it was estimated that as many as 45 injuries per 100,000 players happened per year in the United States. The Minnesota Paintball Association pegged it one time at 20 injuries per 100,000 participants. Some of these injuries were caused by tripping during the game while others were by players who weren’t wearing masks when they should have been.
A little foresight and preparation can ensure you’re well-protected in a game. Wear paintball jerseys and pants that have integrated padding. Elbow and knee pads in case of a fall. Padded or armored gloves to protect the hands and athletic protectors that cover sensitive and vulnerable areas of the body. You may also wish to wear a wool cap and put something around your neck as getting hit there could be particularly painful. Bringing a small tube or tin of ointment to soothe the pain of a stinging hit is a good idea and sharing it with other players will be much appreciated!
Laws Governing Paintball
In many countries there are laws in place regarding paintball. They usually state the minimum age players need to be before they can play and may require children of a certain age to have written consent of a parent to play. Paintball guns may need to be licensed and in some areas private ownership may be illegal. Paintball markers may have to be safely stored away according to state law on storage of weapons.
Using a paintball maker outside the confines of a sanctioned game or field can result in criminal charges such as disorderly conduct, disturbing the peace, criminal mischief , vandalism or even aggravated assault.
For those seeking to purchase their own paintball marker I suggest you check the up-to-date laws in your state or country.
Paintball Related Products
US Army Alpha Black Tactical Paintball Marker Gun Sniper Set – Black
JT ER2 Pump Paintball Pistol Kit – Smoke