Paintball is one of the fastest growing sports in the country, and it’s a great way to get outside, get physically active, and spend time with friends and family. It’s also a very social sport, and paintball tournaments are one of the best ways to hang out with a group of people that share your interests. This guide on how to get into paintball is a must-read for all paintball newbies!
Here’s how to get into paintball (in 4 easy steps):
- Learn the paintball games (and decide which interest you)
- Buy the right paintball gun, equipment, and gear
- Learn how to use your equipment
Getting into paintball is easy, as long as you have the right equipment. It’s just like any other sport you’ve done before—baseball, football, even hockey or soccer, really—in that you need some gear to get started. Keep reading and we’ll outfit you with everything you need!
1. Learn the Paintball Games (and Decide Which Interest You)
There are several types of paintball games and ways to play. Knowing which interests you will help guide you to the kind of paintball gun and other equipment you will need.
Paintball tournaments usually involve the bracket system and are designed to test skills. Events may be held throughout the year, depending on the field type and season. There are a variety of tournaments with multiple skill divisions that allow for amateurs to professionals to compete.
Played on an open field, speedball uses obstacles for cover. The obstacles were originally flat and wooden, but the game has evolved to use inflatable fabric ones instead. These may be referred to as bunkers and are safer for players who may inadvertently run into them in the middle of play. They can also be reconfigured on the course to change things up.
Woodsball comes from the original game, teams playing in a natural environment using various stealth and concealment tactics. It now refers to paintball games played on natural-terrain fields, usually with trees, berms, and other covers.
Scenario games are played where each side is given tasks throughout the game. It is a live-action role-play with a storyline. Depending on who is producing the game, this type can vary greatly.
MilSim stands for “Military Simulation” and does what it says: simulates military reality. Meeting objectives is an essential part of this type of play. The focus is on logistics, mission, and how to address limited resources. Over time, changes have been made to the way paintballs are fired from the gun. This type of military simulation play now rivals that of airsoft, another shooting game that uses more realistic weaponry.
MFOG stands for Mag-Fed Only Game, meaning markers cannot use bulk loading devices for their paintball ammunition. They can only use a magazine, limiting the marker capacity, which adds another level of logistics.
As technology has evolved, it only makes sense it would trickle into games like paintball. In this type of play, each player uses smartphones to interact with the game they are playing. The app provides access to many features, including live scoreboards, artificial intelligence, location and mapping, and more.
This type of play is all about who can be the fastest and most accurate. Each player is individually moving through a course, shooting at targets. The runs are timed, and all players compete against each other for the fastest time.
Popular around Halloween, this is a fun concept where people dressed as zombies attack participants on a “hayride.” Paintball markers are mounted on the trailer players ride on, and the goal is to defend themselves with paintballs as the zombie’s attack.
2. Buy the Right Paintball Gun, Equipment, and Gear
Once you’ve decided which direction you want to go in regards to the type of games you want to play, you will have some initial costs to buy the right equipment.
Before you invest a bunch of money, you may want to consider renting equipment to start, so you can get a feel for the different games and what appeals to you.
Once you know the direction you want to go, the equipment you will need includes:
- Paintball gun (these are the best paintball guns for kids and beginners)
- Face mask
- CO2 or compressed air
- Safety vest
You may also choose to buy specialized clothing and various accessories, although these aren’t necessary.
Costs to get into paintball vary greatly, depending on the level you wish to play and how much you intend to play. You can expect to spend anywhere from around $150 at the bare minimum to over $3500 if you want to get crazy!
Also, remember you will have recurring expenses, such as paintballs, CO2 or compressed air, and field rental.
3. Learn How to Use Your Equipment
Perhaps you rented equipment to begin and have played a little. That doesn’t mean you still shouldn’t spend additional time doing the following:
- Learn how to use your paintball gun and how it functions to avoid mishandling, jamming, or breaking it.
- Practice your aim. Set up targets in your backyard and practice shooting your paintball gun.
- Practice reloading. This will be immensely helpful in the middle of a game. Practice a few times per week until you get the hang of it.
- Practice running and shooting simultaneously, which is more complicated than it looks.
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions of more experienced players!
Now that you’ve figured out how you want to play, you have the appropriate equipment and know-how to operate it, and you’ve done some practicing, get out there and play!
Practice makes perfect, and the more experience you get, the better you’ll be.