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The Paintball Guide

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Paintball is a relatively simple sport to understand but takes a lifetime to fully enjoy as you can constantly learn more. These basics of paintball will help you as you play

1. What is Paintball?

Paintball is nothing more than a game of tag. Imagine a group of people running around and tagging each other with their fingers. Then, imagine that they are holding paintball guns that shoot projectiles that can mark the other person to tag them. That, at its most basic, is paintball.

2. Paintball Safety

Paintball is a very safe sport if you follow the safety rules. Above all, keep your mask on at all times. It is true that paintballs can bruise, but as long as they don't hit your face or ears they will not cause any permanent injury.

Wear masks at all times

When a game is being played, wear your mask at all times. Do not remove your mask in the dead zone if the dead zone is within range of the field. There are no exceptions to this rule. Keep masks on until barrel plugs have been placed back on all loaded guns. Remember that most severe paintball injuries occur because someone removed their mask at an inappropriate time.

Do Not Drink and Play

If you are under the influence of alcohol, illegal drugs, or prescription medicine, DO NOT PLAY PAINTBALL. Keep things safe and only play if you are fully coherent. Read More

3. How do you Play Paintball?

The simplest form of paintball just involves getting two group of players on the field who try to hit each other with paintballs. When you are hit you are eliminated and you leave the field. The team that is completely eliminated first loses.

1. Establish Boundaries

Before any game begins, be sure to talk a walk around the field and clearly indicate the boundaries to everyone who will play. Make sure that your field is not too big or too small. A field a hundred yards long and fifty yards wide is great for 3 on 3, but if you have sixteen people, you need more room. Establish starting bases on opposite sides of the field and, if possible, make it so they are not in view of each other. Note that if you are playing on a speedball course with no trees or brush, this won't be possible.

2. Mark Dead Zone

Make sure everyone knows the location of the dead zone (or staging area) and knows to not shoot in or near it. The dead zone is an area that is off of the field where people go after they are eliminated. Typically it's also where extra paintball gear and paint is left between games. The dead zone should ideally be far enough off the field that eliminated players can remove their masks to clean them without risk of being hit by players still on the field. Read More

4. Paintball is for Almost Everyone

Paintball is really a game for about everyone. While the very young and the immobile don't generally play, the rest of the population can find fun and excitement on the paintball field.
More than just action and adventure, paintball lets you mix and match and create the ideal equipment setup for you. Do you want to blend into the trees and silently eliminate players from a distance? Do you want to shoot 18 paintballs a second and drown opposing teams with overwhelming firepower? Or do you want to flank the opposing team through the trees with a small group of fleet-footed comrades? Different equipment setups can make any of these scenarios possible, and a proper setup can be established for any of these, or countless other, playing styles. Read More

5. Equipment: The Mask

The first piece of equipment you need for paintball is the mask. Once you have protection for your face and ears, you will be able to move onto other gear.
Masks are designed to protect your face, so the first thing you should look for is well designed face and ear protection. All masks will protect you from serious injury, but more rigid masks will better protect you from smaller bruises, though they are also more likely to crack. Make sure that your mask adequately covers your ears and chin (if you have a long face, get a bigger mask). If you are very worried about getting hit on the head, there are some masks that will cover your entire head, similar to a motorcycle helmet. Read More

6. Equipment: The Hopper

To shoot paintballs you must first load them into your gun. A hopper or loader is a container that sits on top of your gun and feeds paintballs, one at a time, into the firing chamber of the gun. Hoppers can be as simple as a plastic holder or much more complicated with motors which force-feed paintballs at a blinding rate to increase your rate of fire.
A gravity-fed hopper is simply a container that holds paintballs and sits on your gun; it is the simplest, cheapest hopper available. The rate that paintballs can load into your gun is not based solely upon the speed of gravity, but on the rate of the balls inside the hopper bouncing off of each other. When a player is firing rapidly, the balls still in the hopper will form a sort of an arch over the feed hole, and no more paintballs will drop through. This is easily remedied by shaking the hopper, disrupting the arch and freeing the balls, but it is a hassle and slows down the rate of fire. To prevent this slow down in firing, the agitated hopper was developed. Read More

7. Equipment: The Paintball Gun

The piece of equipment that truly differentiates paintball from all other sports is the paintball gun or marker. With countless models to choose from, the paintball gun comes in many shapes and sizes, but all of them are designed to do the same thing.
In its simplest form, a paintball gun is nothing more than a device that directs compressed air behind a paintball which sends the paintball flying. In slightly more detail, a paintball gun is shaped like classic guns and is attached to a source of compressed gas and is actuated by firing a trigger. Think of it just like a traditional gun, but, rather than firing bullets with gunpowder, it fires paintballs with compressed air. Read More

8. Equipment: The Tank

Paintballs are fired by compressed air pushing the paintball down the barrel of the gun. To take the air with you on the field you need to compress it into a transportable tank. Paintball guns run on CO2 or compressed air which can fit in conveniently sized tanks which screw into your gun.
Carbon Dioxide (CO2) is in a compressed, liquid state inside a CO2 tank. When it is released from the tank, it expands into gaseous CO2, which propels the paintball out of the chamber. It works in much the same way as a steam engine: fire heats water to boiling and the resulting steam expands and propels a turbine. Read More

9. How Much does Paintball Cost to Play?

The cost of paintball varies widely. If you borrow equipment and play on private land you can spend just a few dollars to play for a day. If you buy your own gear, participate in tournaments and shoot professional-grade paint, you can expect to spend thousands of dollars. While paintball is definitely not one of the cheapest activities, its cost does not have to be prohibitive.
Paintball can cost as much or as little as you are reasonably willing to pay. Similar to many other action sports, it can be relatively inexpensive to begin, but the more involved you become, the more you can expect your costs to rise. The costs of paintball can be divided into two categories: initial costs and recurring costs. Initial costs are the price of your equipment while recurring costs are costs you'll have to pay each time you play. Alternatively, if you want to avoid initial costs, you always have the option of renting. Read More

10. Your First Time Playing Paintball

The first time you head to a field can be a little intimidating, but it doesn't have to. If you know what to expect before you go, your first trip will be something worth remembering.
The first time you head to a paintball field you really have no idea what to expect. While each field is different, there are some similarities between fields that you should expect.

Pre-Game Day

The first thing that you need to do is to figure out if you need to make an appointment to play. Many fields have scheduled times when you can walk-on and be put with a group, but some require you to make an appointment or come with a group.

What to Wear

Depending on the field that you play at, your attire may change. Many first-time players feel most comfortable if they wear jeans and a sweatshirt. The jeans are generally appropriate for most fields and the sweatshirt helps calm the fears of many new players about getting hit with a paintball. Read More

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