So you want to play paintball? Of course, you do!
What better way is there than to spend the afternoon firing high-speed capsules of stinging paint at your friends?
We can’t think of anything else!
The game of paintball is an intense and exciting experience.
It has the ability to turn your best friends into your sworn enemies while giving you the opportunity to show off your glory and courage in the face of unspeakable odds.
It will challenge you and force you to make “life or death” tactics and decisions on the spot all while getting down and dirty in the fresh air.
So it should come as no surprise that it can all feel extremely overwhelming for a first time player to the game.
Not to mention that the idea you are about to walk out into a field of gunners ready to shoot you is intimidating, to say the least.
But don’t let it get the better of you!
A paintball gun hit is not as bad as it looks.
Take our word for it. Don’t let the fear of the unknown prevent you from trying out this fun and exciting sport.
The Game Of Paintball
Paintball focuses on three main things:
- Fair play
Although the sport of paintball appears to be a dangerous, extreme sport, it's a safe and fun activity that you share with family and friends.
The game is open to all ages ranging from 10 years to 60 years and older.
Paintball does not promote any form of warfare or acts of violence such as killing.
In reality, the sport is basically just a simple game of hide and seek with a little bit of tag thrown into the mix.
It is also often compared to a first-person shooter video game, but instead of sitting at home in a computer chair, you are actively on a real field playing with real people.
So you actually get to experience what it is like to run and dodge, hide and stealth your way through the battlefield.
And there are some extremely cool battlegrounds!
To sum it up:
Paintball is a sport that involves nothing but having fun.
It is a team sport with a simple goal that the players must reach in order to win the game.
A typical game of paintball splits a large group of players into individual or two separate opposing teams.
Next, the players take a particular position out on a field full of artificial barriers, bunkers, and other obstacles to hide or take cover behind.
The game will begin once the referee calls it out.
Once the game starts, players are to make their way around the barriers individually or as a team on the battlefield.
They have to locate and eliminate opponents from play by shooting them with round, gelatin capsules that have dye inside, known as paintballs.
You are "eliminated" and out of the game when a paintball hits you.
The Health Benefits Of Playing Paintball
Needless to say, paintball is more than just an entertaining game where adults can be children all over again.
There are also many health benefits when it comes to playing as well.
Paintball is an intense sport and demands a lot of physical activity.
This exercise can aid in weight loss and has even been proven to reduce the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, and depression.
Some people even prefer to play a few sessions of paintball instead of working out at the gym.
But that's not all:
Apart from the physical exercise the game can provide, paintball also offers mental health benefits by relieving the stress of the player and promoting strong social interactions and leadership skills.
A game of paintball often brings out the best in many players and boosts their self-confidence.
Before You Start The Game
It is always important to research the field where you are planning to play because specific locations may have slightly different requirements that they expect of their players.
Finding a local paintball field is easy:
All you have to do is search online using Google. Most fields have websites that list their rules and regulations along with their contact information.
Specific rules might apply per paintball field, but typically every field will stick to the same dress code.
What To Wear To Paintball
As stated, your attire may change depending on the field where you decide to play.
Some fields are strict with their dress code and won’t allow any bare skin to show. Others won’t even require the men to wear shirts.
It is never a good idea to go shirtless into an active paintball field for obvious reasons.
Most first time players of the game will feel more secure while wearing jeans and a thick sweatshirt.
Thicker clothing will help to absorb the impact of the paintballs, but there are many options of clothing that you might want to consider wearing.
Tops and sweatshirts
When you choose what to wear for your upper body, it is always best to go with long-sleeves to ensure that you expose as little skin as necessary.
It is usually not advisable to wear a short-sleeved t-shirt even on the hottest of game days.
With that in mind:
Baggy sweatshirts with hoodies are also an excellent choice for paintball.
In some cases, the player might want to wear more layers for extra protection.
This statement also applies to women who should always wear a supportive sports bra or some other means of protecting the upper areas of their body.
The game of paintball is a dirty one, so make sure you wear something that can withstand getting exposed to the various elements.
Never wear shorts to a game of paintball.
Loose sweatpants, jumpsuits, jeans, cargo pants or paintball-specific pants are your best options. These types of bottoms will be able to handle the roughness of the game.
Make sure that the pants you choose are comfortable because you will be wearing them for a while. Your goal is to give your lower body as much cover as possible without restricting any movement.
It is important that your pants are thick and sturdy enough to handle activities such as crawling, kneeling, and sliding on the ground.
Having a good sturdy pair of gloves is also a good and cheap investment and will help protect your hands while playing paintball.
Your hands are one of the most common places to get shot because you must continuously expose them while handling and pointing your gun at your targets.
Some of the ideal choices of gloves you can use are typical golfers and gardening gloves. You may also use leather bikers gloves and paintball-specific gloves
Avoid using gloves that are too thick or are made out of latex because they can impair the sensitivity of your trigger finger.
Other things to consider
Whatever you decide to wear, make sure your footwear covers your entire foot.
Old sneakers or combat boots are ideal.
You should also avoid wearing any loose jewelry such as necklaces or earrings to prevent getting snagged or pulled out.
Choose comfortable and basic clothing that you won’t mind getting dirty.
Although most paintballs will not stain, it can still happen. So it is best to wear something that you wouldn’t mind having a permanent paint mark on.
It is also highly recommended to bring a change of clothes just in case your clothes get too dirty to wear home.
What Other Equipment Do You Need?
Fortunately, public paintball fields do not require you to purchase or bring your own equipment.
Everything that you need to play the game will be provided to you by the field in the form of a rental package.
All personal supplies are optional, and it is up to you on what you want to do. However, if you are playing the game for the first time, buying your own equipment is not recommended.
You will do much better using the rental gear offered to you by the field.
Using the rental equipment will give you time to get a feel for the game before you decide that you want to invest money into getting your own supplies.
A typical field rental package should include the following items:
- Face mask
- Hopper (paintball container that attaches to the gun)
- CO2 or compressed-air tank to power the gun
- Paintball gun or marker
Paintball fields will also have paintball pellets that you must purchase to load up your gun for play.
Know your different types of guns
There are many different makes of paintball guns or markers.
Each type has their pros and cons depending on the player but they are all broken down into three basic types.
Pump paintball markers
This gun is simple but reliable and the most basic.
It is also the only type with a pump trigger. You have to pull the pump backward and forward to set the next paintball after you make a shot.
Players who choose to play pump must learn how to use tactics over speed since they have to make every shot count.
Mechanical paintball markers
Easy to maintain, mechanical paintball guns are the most common marker used in recreational play.
They are typically semi-automatic, which means that they fire one shot per trigger pull.
Electronic paintball markers
Popular and fast to operate, a circuit board controls the electronic paintball gun. And they are powered by a 9-volt battery instead of a long and heavy trigger.
Pulling the trigger of this type of marker is as simple as clicking a button on a computer mouse, resulting in very high rates of fire.
Safety Rules On The Field
As a whole, playing paintball is a relatively safe sport, but as it goes with all sports, accidents can happen. So it is crucial for all players to know the rules and use common sense.
You can avoid most paintball accidents when you follow the rules.
Wear your headgear
The number one required rule of playing paintball is that all players must wear their specifically designed protective headgear, such as goggles or face masks for the sport of paintball when out on the field of play.
This rule also applies to a player who has been shot and eliminated from the current game.
Players may not remove their headgear while an active game is in play under any circumstances.
There are no exceptions to the rule, and if you are caught violating it, you will likely be asked to sit out the next game.
In the case where a player continues to disobey this important rule, they might even get ejected from the day’s play without getting a refund.
You may only remove your headgear once you are in a safe zone away from the paintball field and the barrel covers and plugs are back onto all the loaded guns or markers.
The cause of the most severe paintball accidents is because of someone removing their mask, which makes this rule the most essential to follow.
Use barrel plugs
All paintball guns or markers come with a barrel blocking device and should be blocked with a barrel plug or sock when not in use during a live game.
Players may never remove their barrel cover unless at the target area or when told to do so by a referee.
Safeties are allowed along with the plugs, but they often fail if not used properly and are not as safe as the barrel blocking devices.
The barrel blocking device should remain inserted whenever protective gear is not being worn, before and after the paintball game, and in any location away from the specified paintball field of play.
For very good reason, actually.
Do not blind fire
Players must always have a target in their sight while shooting.
Many players want to stick out their guns and fire wildly into the field hoping to get a lucky shot without the risk of getting hit.
This action is known as blind fire.
You must always avoid firing in a direction without looking.
Players are never to fire a paintball gun or marker unless they are firing at a player target.
Blind firing can lead to the accidental shooting of bystanders, referees, or other players who are leaving the field.
Never play when impaired
Drugs and alcohol are not permitted.
If you are under the influence of alcohol or any type of drug, including prescription medications that can impair your judgment or make you drowsy, they will not let you play paintball.
It is never safe to play a game of paintball if you are not entirely coherent.
If caught under the influence, the referee will immediately remove you from the premises without a refund.
Always shoot less than 300 FPS (feet per second)
Players must ensure that the velocity of their guns or markers is under 300 FPS.
Checking this isn’t a major concern unless you bring your own equipment since in most cases you will be renting from the field.
If you are unsure, call for a referee to look over your gun before starting a match.
Keep in mind:
They may randomly check players throughout the day to ensure full compliance of this rule.
The surrender rule
It is customary to offer a player the chance to surrender before taking a shot at close range.
Most paintball fields use the standard rule against shooting an enemy player that is within 20 feet or less from you and has no idea that you are there.
You should call out for the enemy player to surrender, but if they refuse or don’t respond fast enough, you can still shoot them.
And one more thing to remember:
You may not aim for the head or shoot a player multiple times when in close range.
If the player chooses to surrender they may call back out to you that they are, “out,” they have been “hit,” or they could just say that they surrender to you in order to convey a positive response.
If you are caught in a hopeless situation and are asked to surrender but refuse to respond or attempt to bluff your way out of it, you will most likely end up getting hit.
Just keep in mind that close range paintball hits feel much worse than shots taken from a long distance away.
Don't say that we didn't warn you!
But Do Paintballs Really Hurt?
Now, let us be serious for a moment.
One thing you must know is that no matter your experience in the game, you're going to get shot.
Whether you are a paintballing expert or just a beginner at the sport, when you play paintball, you will get hit.
And yes, it will hurt.
Although it is not going to hurt as bad as one would think. You will come to a new understanding of the game when a paintball hits you.
You will reach that moment of clarity when you realize that the anticipation of the hit is far worse than the actual pain itself.
Your mood can also play a significant role in how strong the impact of a paintball will feel.
If you are actively out there in the field running around with your adrenaline pumping the hit will seem less intense compared to someone nervously hiding behind a bunker.
So how does it feel to get hit by a paintball?
Although getting hit for the first time will undoubtedly be a shock, it won’t hurt much more than getting stung by the snap of a rubber band.
On the other hand:
If you disregard the rules and refuse to wear the proper clothing and protective gear, it’s going to hurt far worse.
You do not want to experience getting shot by a paintball on your bare skin.
But you don’t need to worry about that, right?
Of course, you don’t!
What are the risks of playing paintball?
The most common injuries you will see while playing paintball usually are the result of simple mistakes people make.
Players may hurt themselves by falling or running into the obstacles on the field. They may even accidentally twist their ankle or slam into another player.
Anything can happen, and minor injuries are just a part of playing the game.
Fortunately, severe injuries are extremely rare in paintball, but they do happen.
And the majority of these come from players removing their masks or other safety gear, which leaves their body open to exposure.
As long as players follow the rules and play safe, they won't need to worry any more than say, crossing a busy street or going running, about getting severely injured when they play paintball.
Let The Game Begin!
Right before you are about to start, the referees will go over and explain the rules of the specific game mode you are about to play.
The game of paintball will begin once the objective is established and all teams are in position.
The different game types
Some fields also offer privacy games for specific events such as bachelor and birthday parties, team building, or corporate outings.
In the game of elimination, it is all about knocking out the enemy players so that you are the last one standing on the field.
This game mode also gets played in teams, where the goal is to eliminate all players of the opposing team in order to win.
Capture the flag
The goal of this team orientated game is to cross over into the opposite teams’ territory to seize control of their flag and bring it back to your base.
The first team who controls both flags or succeeds in eliminating all members of the enemy team wins.
Speedball is a less specific form of gameplay and covers any game played on a uniquely designed speedball field.
Compared to a typical paintball field of play, a speedball field is much smaller and flatter.
It rewards players for their teamwork and aggressive tactical plays over the usual stealth and patience aspects.
This category of gameplay covers a wide variety of games.
Scenario games involve setting up a specific situation, with certain rules to complete different goals such as a team having to escort and protect a given player across the field.
The scenarios are often recreations of real world or video game situations.
Just have a look at this fun paintball level scenario of “Nuketown” from the popular game of Call of Duty.
After the game
On average, a typical game of paintball can usually last around 15 to 20 minutes per session. But it isn’t uncommon for the more intense and competitive games to last much longer.
Some games can even last up days!
But no matter how long a round takes, following each game, the referees expect all players to stop what they are doing and place their barrel cover on or the plug back over and onto their gun.
Plugging it back up prevents the paintball gun or marker from accidentally triggering when the game is not in session.
Although you are probably going to be sweaty and you may feel like getting out of all that hot gear, you can't remove any of your equipment, especially your headgear, until after you entirely leave the field.
The removal of your face mask while still on the field of play is the most dangerous and risky thing a player could ever do.
If you do happen to forget and remove your headgear while still in the field, even after the game has ended, a referee may tell you to sit out the next game.
Or they may keep you out even longer.
There will usually be a short period before the next round begins to give the players a chance to rest.
It is essential to keep yourself hydrated so make sure that you get some water between games, even if you don’t feel thirsty.
Typically, players can continue playing as many games as they want until they run out of paintballs or until the field decides it's time to close down for the day.
So What Are You Waiting For? Get Out There And See It For Yourself!
Playing paintball is one of the most exciting and heart-pounding experiences that you will ever get to have.
It is all about the thrill of the game, the rush of adrenaline in the field of glory. The possibility of getting shot and eliminated from play at any given moment, and the courage you show.
Paintball is the true immersion, a survival game brought to life.
Whether you are young or old, trying to take it to the next level or just starting out in the sport, paintball is an entertaining experience for nearly anyone to enjoy.
Although every person on the field will have their own moments, their own goals, and their own wins and losses, in the end, a game of paintball is all about fun and laughter.
At the end of the day, the only thing that really matters is for everyone to have a fun, safe, and exciting experience.
What is your favorite piece of paintball gear? Let us know down in the comments!
Featured image CC0, via Pixhere