Paintball is a fast and furious
sport. It is played on both a
social and serious level by over 16
million people around the world
(Cooke,11). It is one of the
fastest growing sports on the
planet. Paintball’s history, games,
guns, and safety are all part of
the fun.

In 1970, James Hale, an engineer,
invented and patented the first
commercially successful paintball
gun. Paintball guns were first used
by the National Forest Association
to mark trees that would be cut
down. Then, it was used to mark
cattle by cowboys. One night while
sitting around a campfire, one
cowboy shot another and that is how
the game of paintball got started.

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This “splotchmaker” can rightfully
claim to be the grandfather of
modern paintball guns (Peters, 73).

Over the next two decades, Daisy
Manufacturing Co. Inc. of Airgun
Frames manufactured these guns
under contract for the Nelson Paint
Co. During this twenty year span,
paintball evolved from a
“survivalist” game into the
wholesome, exciting, family game it
is today.

In paintball, there are two teams
equipped with paintball markers.

These are basically low-powered
airguns that fire small capsules of
paint. It is not a dangerous sport.

The only real danger is getting hit
in the eye with a paintball.

Wearing specific goggles made for
paintball easily stops this danger.

This rule is strictly enforced at
all reputable playing fields
worldwide. Obviously if a player is
out of sight of the referee and
takes off his mask, then he is
looking for trouble. American
Insurance statistics show that it
is safer to play paintball than to
play golf or go fishing (Pierce,
17). Getting hit by a paintball
generally does not hurt. You may
get an occasional bruise, but on
the whole the game is not painful.

The excitement certainly outweighs
any momentary discomfort a player
may feel. To lesson the chance of
being bruised, long sleeved shirts
and pants are highly recommended.

To be on the safe side, more than
one layer should be worn. Bright
colors should be avoided, purely
because the more visible you are,
the more likely you are to be shot.

Most people like to wear camouflage
clothing. This helps them to blend
into the environment and not be
easily shot. Also, good quality
hiking or trail boots with ankle
support is a good idea to protect
both feet and ankles.

There are many different leagues
and tournaments you can participate
in as a player. In a league
setting, you usually play a round
robin. Each week you play a
different team in the league until
you have played all of the teams.

Then, whoever has the best record
wins the league. In a tournament,
it is usually single elimination.

If your team loses, then they are
done. If they win, then your team
gets to keep moving on. When it is
finally down to two teams, they
play for the championship. Whoever
wins is the champion and they get a
prize. Sometimes, it is money (up
to five thousand dollars), cases of
paintballs, or free entry into the
next tournament.

There is a wide range of paintball
guns on the market today. There are
also various price ranges to go
along with the various types of
guns. The first kind of gun is the
pump-action. This is the least
expensive of the three types of
guns. It is made of hard plastic
and very little metal. The
pump-action gun costs between fifty
to one hundred dollars and shoots
about 100 to 150 feet. This is a
good gun for beginners or younger
player because it is inexpensive
and easy to use. Do not expect to
be able to compete in tournaments
with this gun. The next and most
popular type of gun is the
semi-automatic. It will shoot as
fast as you pull the trigger. These
are good; reliable guns made mostly
of metal and very little plastic.

This gun costs between two hundred
and one thousand dollars and is a
lot more accurate than the
pump-action gun. It shoots over 300
feet per shot. Most people use this
gun when they play. To make this
gun last as long as possible, it
should be oiled after every one
thousand shots. The third and most
expensive type of gun is the fully
automatic. It costs between one
thousand two hundred dollars to
over two thousand dollars and is
made of lightweight metal and
plastic. All you have to do is hold
the trigger and it will shoot six
to eight shots per second. Only
professional players use these guns
because most people cannot afford
them. These guns shoot between 300
and 350 feet per shot and also
should be oiled after every one
thousand shots. Choosing the right
paintball gun is one of the most
important decisions before playing

CO2 tanks power most paintball guns
but a few are powered by N2 tanks.

You screw the tank into the back of
the gun and this provides you with
power. The tanks come in four
different sizes: 7 ounce, 9 ounce,
12 ounce, and 20 ounce. You must
remember the bigger the tank the
more it will weigh.

There are thousands of different
accessories for a paintball gun and
the game of paintball. Here are a
few that will improve your
performance the most. First, you
should get a better barrel. A
longer, better made barrel is the
best way to improve your gun. It
will make the ball shoot farther
and make it a lot more accurate.

The next basic need for your gun is
a hopper. This is what holds your
paintballs on top of your gun. They
come in three different sizes, the
45 round hopper, the 150 round
hopper, and the 230 round hopper.

The 230 round hopper is the most
popular hopper in the game. The
last accessory that most players
need is a ball hauler or carrier.

This is a nylon pouch that straps
onto your back and carries your
extra balls. You need this because
you do not want to be in a game and
run out of balls.

Safety equipment needs to be worn
and rules must be followed to be
safe. When playing paintball, never
take off your masks. If you take
off your mask, you are
automatically disqualified from the
game. A paintball mask is made of
soft foam padding, rubber and
plastic. It covers from forehead
all the way down to the neck. There
is a goggle system built into the
mask that will not break if you get
hit in the face. Although, you
should never shoot within 10 feet
of someone. If someone yells,
“hit”, do not continue to shoot at
him or her. If you are hit, be a
good sport and walk off the field.

The last and most fun part of
paintball is the games. There are
five basic games in paintball. The
first and most popular game is
capture the flag. You need at least
five people per team, but the more
the better. This game is best
played in a wooded area. You must
place a bright color flag at each
end of the field. Once teams are at
the opposite ends of the field, the
game can begin. The object of the
game is to capture the other teams
flag and return it to your base. If
you are shot while returning the
flag, you must drop or hand it to
another player. You can also win by
eliminating the whole other team. A
variation of this game is called
spy versus spy. You first must
gather teams at their respective
flag stations. Then, each player
must leave the group and walk past
the referee, who at random picks
the spy. The selection process must
be done in such a way as to
guarantee that no one will know who
the spy is. Once everyone is
regrouped at the flag station, the
timer is started and the game is
on. Each team has a spy who must
work secretly to ensure his or her
team will win. Game strategy
dramatically increases. Not only
are players trying to discover the
spy, they are also trying to get
the opposing teams flag. Each game
is timed to ensure that the spy
will begin to convert operations
before it is too late to do so. A
special emphasis must be placed on
having the spy always use the
courtesy of politely asking a
player to surrender rather than
giving him a painful shot at close
quarters. Also, a player eliminated
by a spy cannot in any way alert
their team members to the existence
of the spy. This means no cheating
and yelling “traitor” after you
have been eliminated. The spy,
however, cannot abandon his mission
and flee to his own side. His sole
purpose is to work towards the
capture of the flag from the
The next game is called seek out
and destroy. This game is played by
at least six people (three to a
team). On team must go and hide.

Then, the other team will come in
and try to find them. A time limit
is set at thirty minutes. The
object of the game is to eliminate
the other team before time is up.

There are two different stratagies
in this game. The first is to keep
your team together and try to
outnumber them. The second is to
split your team up and have each
person try to take another person
out. This is a very easy game to
play for a beginner because there
are not many rules.

A third game is every man for
himself. This game is played the
same as seek out and destroy except
each person plays alone. The game
begins by each person walking in a
different direction. After a few
minutes someone can blow a whistle
and you can start looking for other
players. The game ends when there
is only one person left.

A fourth game is called relief
force. Here is how the game is set
up. One-third of the first team is
allowed a head start (10 minutes)
to place themselves in a defensive
position within an area chosen by
the referee. The players in this
force are allowed only twenty
paintballs apiece. Once in place,
this unit is then surrounded by the
entire opposing team, at a range
chosen by the referee. The
remaining two-thirds of the first
team starts at the far end of the
field from their encircled
teammates. The teammates of the
surrounded unit must break through
and evacuate as many of their
trapped buddies as possible. They
may bring extra ammunition to
resupply the trapped unit should
they reach them in time. Surrounded
players play on normally at all
times until eliminated. A variation
of this theme assumes the encircled
troops have captured some item such
as secret plans, represented by a
briefcase or notebook. To win, the
relief force must keep this item
from falling into the hands of the
surrounding team. If the
surrounding team captures the item
and returns it to their station,
they win. Also, surrounding players
alive at the end of the game can be
assigned a point value to make
their rescue even more important.

The last game is a continuous play
game. The only extra items you need
are a paper punch and a player
card. This is a great game to play
when you have a continuous stream
of experienced players arriving on
the field at different times. Each
player is given a card to keep
track of how many times he or she
is eliminated. When eliminated, the
player comes off the field, punches
the card and returns to the game.

The team loses points every time a
team member is eliminated. The team
gains points every time they bring
back the opposing side’s flag.

Paintball is a fun and serious
game. It does not glorify war. It
is an old paintball adage that the
sport actually proves how easy it
is to be shot. The supporters of
paintball like to prefer the sport
as a tactical game of skill.

(Cooke, 93) You need to wear
protection and play fair so
everyone stays safe. Also, you can
play the regular, basic games or
make up your own. The most
important thing is to have fun and
play responsibly.