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Articles November 9, 2004

Newbie FAQ

This is a Frequently Asked Questions thread pertaining especially to new players in the sport of paintball. I am going to try to cover most concerns and common questions... but if you have anything else to ask that's not listed, post it or use my contact info at the bottom to get ahold of me and I'll do my best to answer your question. Now for the questions.

What is paintball?
Paintball is a sport that invovles firing gelatin capsules filled with a water-based paint pneumatically from a kind of air-rifle called a marker. These capsules are used to mark players during a short round of a type of game. Once a player is "hit", he alerts everyone to the fact that he is now "out" verbally and physically and exits the field.

Is paintball safe?
Suprisingly, paintball is one of the safest sports in the world! It's injury rate is lower than that of bowling and any other contact sport (based on yearly averages). Unlike other sports such as football and soccer, paintball is not a contact sport. If physical contact is made in any un-accidental way, the player making the harmful contact is ejected from the game, if not the field. Now, in order for paintball to be safe, protective devices must be used properly. Two such items are the barrel plug and the mask. The barrel plug is placed (more like jammed) into the end of the barrel before any mask is removed to ensure that any paintballs fired with the barrel plug in place will not exit the marker. The mask is to be worn anytime the barrels are unplugged, protecting the eyes, face, ears, and neck. The lenses on the masks WILL NOT break under normal conditions, although they need to be inspected if they are hit. Finally, there is a speed limit to how fast a paintball can travel. The US limit is 300 feet per second (fps), but most fields keep it under that.

Does it hurt?
Well... this is a tough question to answer. Not wanting to provide those susceptible to mild pain with false information, i can only answer with: somewhat. Take a rubber band and snap yourself with it, that is about what getting hit with a paintball will feel like. Not too bad if you ask me. Sometimes close shots will leave welts or bruises, but they will clear up within 2 days.

Okay, you mentioned games, so what types of games are there?
This variable usually depends on the field you are playing at. Most fields, however, offer most of these game types:
Elimination- Basically, whichever team loses all their players first loses.
Capture the Flag- There is usually a flag in the center of the field. Whichever team removes the flag and carries it back to their starting area wins, although there are variations on this game.
VIP- (aka President) One person is designated as the VIP. He is given some sign that states what he is and has his marker taken away from him. Teams are then split up, and one side protects the VIP, while the other side tries to mark him. When the VIP is hit, the game is over.

What should I wear?
Most professional players, or just experienced players wear jerseys. These clothing itemss wick away sweat and keep you cool, while protecting your skin. However, you don't need these if you are just starting in the sport. If its summer, throw on some dark-colored pants and a longsleeve t-shirt with a t-shirt of a different color ontop of it. Stick to natural colors (green, brown, black, grey), try to not wear anything of the same color. If it's cool outside or winter, wear a sweatshirt with a t-shirt underneath, long pants (perhaps long johns) and thin gloves. You can wear a hat if you wish to protect you from the sun and cover the area on the back of your head where the mask does not protect.

Okay, so I've played a few times and I like it. What should I get for equipment?
Make sure you've played more than once, heck I advise playing 3 times before you purchase anything. If you're ready, hold your horses about purchasing a marker, get a mask first. Make sure you get a nice and comfortable mask, one with dual lenses and adequate venting and coverage. You will not regret it. Now, if you want to purchase a marker, I would suggest something on the low-end side of the market. Get a Spyder (Compact, TL Plus, Xtra) or a Tippman (Pro-Carbine or Model 98 Custom), maybe look into other markers such as those made by ACI (Griffen) or the Black Dragun. Get to know the marker well, and learn how it operates. This will help you a bunch in the future. You will need a source of air, look into CO2 tanks, a 12oz or a 16oz should be plenty. 20oz in my opinion, are rather heavy and bulky.

What are these wacky terms I'm hearing?
Well... I've compiled a list of "Terms You Should Know On the First Day."
Hopper- The plastic container that connects to the feed of the marker where the paintballs are stored.
Velocity- The rate in feet per second (fps) that the paintballs are exiting your marker at.
Wiper- A person that cheats by wiping off the water-based paint, making it appear he wasn't hit.
Pull- To grab the flag.
Hang- To place or take the flag back to your starting area or other designated area.
Bunker- verb=A way of ridding somebody from their hiding spot by running up to it and elimating at a close range. noun=a barricade on the field.
Gog- To eliminate somebody by hitting them in the mask or goggles.

Well... I think that just about covers anything general you should need to know. If you have questions on a specific marker or product, take it to the respective forum. Questions or suggestions are welcome. Bon Appetite!

Written by NotPhatBoy from

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