What New Paintballers Should Know Before Their First Game

It would be easy for any new paintballer with no previous shooting experience to feel a bit overwhelmed or removed from their element. After all, coming under live fire is not an everyday occurrence for most people. At the same time, the adrenaline rush of fast-paced, safe combat can be an addictively fulfilling, fun exercise in team-building and healthy competition. Being ready for your first day on the field doesn’t have to be nerve-wracking. In fact, many facilities pride themselves on catering to and accommodating first-time combatants to create the most enjoyable sporting atmosphere possible. Here is a quick rundown of the barest basics you will need to familiarize yourself with before firing a single round.

Bring the Right Clothing

Wearing a mask will prevent you from sustaining head injuries. If you attend an organized match, officials and staff will provide headgear. The rest of your clothing may change depending on the playing field, but layers such as heavy sweatshirts and jeans will generally lessen the incoming projectiles’ impact. Dark colors and camouflage will make your body harder to pick out against most backdrops. Instead of sneakers, forego footwear with smooth soles in favor of shoes with ridges or cleats for more reliable traction on rugged terrain. Whatever you do, don’t wear clothes you will miss if they become irreparably soiled. Not all paint washes out.

The Equipment

No matter where you play, expect to run down the same equipment checklist. If you don’t bring your own gear, most paintball facilities will provide the same basic package including a paintball gun, hopper for additional ammunition, protective mask, compressed CO2 or air tank and a barrel plug or cover (Black Tree Paintball provides this). The staff will likely also provide an overview explaining each piece’s proper, safe use. If you pack your own ammo, don’t overdo it. Most combatants will burn through around 200 paintballs over the course of a 30-minute match but hauling too much surplus ammunition will only weigh you down. We also recommend you wear something around your neck and gloves! 

How the Game Works

Paintball games are typically very simple. Depending on the actual game’s objective, referees will assign and divide teams either with distinctive armbands or simply sending players to opposing ends of the field and kick off the action once everyone is in position. Regardless of the specific objective each team much capture or achieve, players are eliminated and must call themselves out once a single paintball makes impact and breaks. Each eliminated player covers their barrel, and moves to a “dead area” usually designated behind a protective net. After each game and when eliminated, players must equip their barrel covers or plugs on their muzzles. After exiting the field, they may remove their mask during the rest period between matches. In most cases, players may run through as many games as they like until the field closes or everyone runs out of paintballs.

Friendly, thrilling and cooperative competition doesn’t get much safer or more satisfying than when playing paintball. Anyone from veterans of law enforcement or the armed forces to weekend warriors who spend five days a week behind a desk can enjoy an electrifying combination of controlled combat and camaraderie together any time and walk right back into the world with barely a scratch. The game entails a flood of live fire with no casualties, a culture of sportsmanship and the chance to even make new friends across “enemy” lines. Casual gunplay doesn’t get better than this.