What is Paintball

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Ever since its inception over three decades ago, paintball has grown to be among the most intriguing participation sports that you can find today. It is played by millions of people around the world and the best part is it doesn’t discriminate against age or gender. 

Anyone who appreciates adventure and the fun of competition is certain to have a blast in this remarkable team activity. If you are keen on joining the sport and can’t wait to start getting your feet wet, here is all you need to know about paintball.

What is paintball?

Paintball is a competitive combat sport in which participants compete, either individually or as a team, to eliminate their opponents from the game by hitting them with dye-filled capsules known as paintballs. These break upon impact and are usually shot from a low-power air weapon referred to as a paintball marker.

The paintball gun is propelled by compressed air (CO2 or nitrogen) that was initially designed to mark trees and cattle from a remote location. The game was first introduced in the early ‘80s for recreation, although it is now common to find people playing it at a formal sporting level. 

There are various organized competitions involving major tournaments, pro teams, as well as players. The application of paintball technology has spread to law enforcement agencies, military forces, and other security organizations where it has been adopted in training drills. 

Authorities can conveniently use these paintball markers in crowd control and non-lethal suppression of escalating situations. A game of paintball can be played on an indoor or outdoor field, which may vary in size. The field is characterized by either artificial or natural terrain where players take cover from the enemy.

You’ll also find additional inflatable objects, bunkers, of various shapes and sizes that are put in place to create a layout that allows players to come up with different plans and strategies. The rules in a paintball game can vary from one style of play to another.

Generally, you’ll find endgames such as attacking or defending a particular area in the field, eliminating your opponents or capturing objects of interest that have been hidden in the arena. Depending on the style of play you choose, the game can last from a few minutes to even days, as is the case in scenario play.  

Paintball is an exciting sport that promotes teamwork and strategizing among players while fostering good-natured competition. That is why more and more companies, education institutions, as well as youth groups are beginning to adopt it as a powerful tool in their strategy development and team building sessions. 

Its application is not limited to companies; even churches, boy scouts, self-help groups are also some of those who swear by the benefits of playing paintball. 

How to play paintball

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Paintball is simply a reinvention of some of the many well-known childhood games you played. It is often considered to be a combination of “hide and seek”, “tag”, and “capture the flag”. However, the actual game is more sophisticated and challenging than it sounds, given the many different formats it can take. 

Typically, participants will split into two teams to play this real-life version of capture the flag video game. The number of players on either team may differ depending on a number of factors. In most cases, it is limited by the size of the playing field available.

While some games will have just a handful of players, it is possible to find more than 1,000 players on each team. A good example is the Oklahoma D-Day, a week-long event that has been held since 1997 which targets an average of 4,000 participants.

The rules and regulations that govern a game of paintball are potentially limitless; these are usually spelled out before the start of the game. Nevertheless, the most basic rule involves players trying to accomplish a specific goal without getting hit or marked with a paintball. 

There are also rules governing the legality of a hit, which may range from “anything counts”-hits result in elimination whether or not the paintball broke and marked you- to the most commonly used variation- the paintball has to break and leave a mark for the hit to count. 

When a player is hit, the opposing team earns points and the eliminated player has to leave the paintball field. But depending on the set rules, the person may rejoin the field of play at a later stage. 

A paintball game can take different variations as a result of what the participants prefer. The most popular paintball variants include:

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  • Woodsball

Also referred to as Rec Ball, this takes the original form of the game and is usually played in a natural environment that covers a large geographical area. The pace here is generally slow because of the distance that players have to cover on foot and the strategies involved are more meticulous.

  • Speedball

This version of paintball is played on smaller and leveled fields with either grass or artificial turf. The field can be the size of a soccer field and features air-filled bunkers artificially made out of fabric. Speedball is played at a fast pace and uses more paintballs compared to woodsball.

Overall, the games are short and can last as little as three minutes to just under an hour.

  •  Scenario Paintball

Here, participants in a paintball game attempt to reenact a fictional or historical setting. The Oklahoma D-Day is an example of scenario paintball whereby players recreate World War II.

Before you step onto the paintball field, you will need various paintball equipment and gear to meet the safety requirements. The most important gear to have will include things like:

1.     Paintball marker– also known as a “paintball gun”, this is the primary piece of equipment for any player and is used to mark the opposing player with paintballs. The paintball gun must have a  “hopper” or magazines attached to feed paint into the marker. 

2.     Mask and Goggles– The most essential safety rule dictates that you should always wear EHPD devices that have specifically been built for paintball to protect your head and eyes. These should strictly be worn whenever you are on the playing field, and anywhere else where shooting is permitted. 

3.     Clothing– Getting hit by a paintball at close range can be painful; that’s why aside from the mask, you’ll also need to wear the appropriate outfit. It is recommended that you have a long sleeve sweatshirt and a pair of baggy pants to cover your skin. Extra padding underneath your clothing makes it even better. 

You’ll also have to learn the rules to play a game of paintball appropriately. While these may vary depending on the style of paintball and the set regulations, some of the universally recognized rules include:

1.     Minimum distance– There is a minimum distance rule that determines whether you can shoot at an opponent or not. This could be something like 15ft away, and it serves to protect players from close paintball impact, which can be painful.

2.     No-contact– Although paintball involves tagging the opposing player with a paintball, this is the only form of contact that is allowed. You are not expected to physically tackle an opponent or perform anything to that effect. 

3.     Overshooting– This happens when you continue shooting at a player that has already been tagged and eliminated. Most fields will discourage this kind of activity by players. 

4.     Wiping– Some players may lack integrity and try to avoid elimination by wiping off the paintball marks. This is considered to be a violation of the rules and may lead to penalties. 

Finally, a strategy is what will win you a game of paintball. Whether you are playing individually or as a team, your strategy will mainly depend on the layout and size of the field of play, as well as the experience level of your opponents. The most basic tactic is to coordinate with teammates to strategically distribute members across the field.

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As a result, communication will remain key! You also want to control as much of the play area as possible. This will mean taking charge of advantageous bunkers and obstacles before your opponents get to them. The more territory you have under control, the more options you’ll have over your enemies. 

Another important thing is to remember to remain stealthy and always pay attention to your environment. Keep moving if possible and last but not least; don’t forget to have fun! 

What is the best paintball gun/marker?

A paintball gun is commonly also referred to as a “paintball marker” and this is your main offensive tool on the field of play. Whether you are an experienced paintballer or a beginner who has developed an interest, having a superior marker will give you an edge over your opponents. 

There are so many models available in the market today, and choosing the best among them is not an easy task. After all, several factors will make you consider a certain model to be top of the pack. These may range from the features it has and power type, to your level of experience and budget.

Nevertheless, if you asked me about a paintball marker that offers the best value for money for beginner and intermediate players, I’ll say it’s the Tippman Cronus.  Let us look at what it has to offer:

Tippmann Cronus

The Tippmann Cronus is an upgrade of the Tippmann 98 Custom and serves as a great choice for both beginners and intermediate paintball players. It has been customized to fit the needs of a player with an in-line bolt system to give you a better grip when playing for prolonged hours.

It features a durable construction yet remains lightweight to keep you mobile while in the playfield and cope with any falls, rolls, and crawls associated with the game. It also boasts a high firing rate and doesn’t chop paintballs when you fire. 

The Chronus is a gas-powered marker that uses CO2, which is fed from a 20Oz gas tank. When you buy it, you also get a paintball harness containing six standard paintball pods that can carry 140 rounds of ammunition. 

For a cheap price of around $200, you get an additional paintball gun mega set that comprises an anti-fog paintball mask, as well as a 200-round loader which is gravity fed. 

What is a paintball?

A paintball is a spherical capsule that is filled with a water-soluble dye and breaks upon impact when it is shot from a paintball gun. It is used as ammunition in a paintball marker to tag the opponent and eliminate them from the game.

Paintballs are available in two different sizes; small, low-impact paintballs that are used with .50 caliber paintball markers and larger paintballs used in the standard .68 caliber. The paintballs are biodegradable and won’t stain your clothes when they break.  

Several factors determine how good a paintball is. That’s why you’ll find a case of paintballs selling for $30 and another with a $60 price tag. So, what affects the quality of paintballs?

Shape– Superior shooting accuracy is achieved when the paintball is perfectly round with a smooth and sleek shell. The shape of high-quality paintballs is remarkably consistent and can go down to a thousandth of an inch. Also known as “Bore Size” of the paintball, this is a parameter that experienced players use barrel kits to match with their markers.

Fill Color– The best paintballs have a bright color that can easily be picked out from a distance. It doesn’t matter how far the enemy is, you should be able to see it in an instant. The color should also be able to wash off easily without staining your clothes when you clean them.

Brittleness– This refers to how easily the shell of the paintball will break upon impact. In speedball, players use electronic paintball markers that are relatively gentle on even the most fragile paintball. 

On the other hand, woodsball players use mechanical markers that require thicker shelled balls that can shoot through leaves and branches but break upon hitting the target.

What is in a paintball?

Paintballs are made up of two parts namely the “shell” and “fill”. The shell is the brittle outer portion that usually breaks on impact. This is made out of gelatin, which can be compared to a large supplement capsule. 

Gelatin has a range of interesting qualities, but what should concern you the most is that when dropped, it tends to absorb water. This is not something that you want happening to your paintballs as it can cause swelling even with limited contact time.

This subsequently alters the round shape of the paintballs and reduces your shooting accuracy. 

The paintball “fill” is made of water-soluble dye and an ingredient known as Polyethylene Glycol (PEG). This dye is what leaves behind trademark splatter upon contact and is used to mark players that have been hit. 

In most cases, the fill is non-toxic and biodegradable. You shouldn’t worry when you get some of it in your mouth while playing since it is entirely made from food-grade materials, so ingesting it will have no harm. Maybe just a “yucky” taste!

Apart from the PEG fill, you might find some cheap variants being sold in the market that utilize an oil-based fill. There isn’t much good that comes from such fills and most paintball fields will discourage players from buying them.

The oil-based fill tends to be harder to wash off your clothing and other gear that you might be wearing. Not to mention that it can harm the environment. 

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There are so many reasons why anybody would want to join a paintball team. It is a fun sport that keeps you entertained while helping you to grow as a person. In case you are new to the game, the above post should give you a general idea of what paintball entails.