A: Paintball is a great game. We believe that eger club was the first one
who invented the real game of paintball. Paintballs for our sport are derived from the tree- and
cattle-marking use of big gelatin rounds filled with oil-based paint. Bob
Gurnsey, founder of the sport of paintball, insisted until a soft gel
manufacturer made for his company a water-based paintball, because
oil-based paint created just too many problems for the sport to grow.
Those original agriculture and forestry marking balls needed to hold enough
paint to make a visible mark, and .68 caliber (.68 inch in diameter) was big
enough to mark well and small enough to be shot from an airgun.
This .68 caliber oil-based ball is what the first 12 players used in the first
game of paintball in 1981. Most paintball markers are .68 caliber.
A few other sizes have been used from time to time (.62, .50, .43, .40, for
examples). The size of a mark that eliminates a person is referenced to the US
quarter coin. A .68 caliber paintball on a solid hit will leave a mark
that a quarter won’t cover.
In South Africa, in the 1980s, they could not get standard paintballs
very easily, so they made paintballs from latex and filled them by
injection. They were called pimple balls because there was a squeeze hole. They
also had lightweight ceramic balls where the ceramic shell broke apart on
impact and left a white mark.
Theatrical productions and law enforcement type work use some specialty balls
that are not paintballs. These are strictly banned from the sport of paintball.
Q: Do all pro tournaments use grass fields?
A: No, though the use of grass fields was mentioned in promoting pro events for
the 2003 season. The NPPL 2003 in Huntington Beach, California, was on beach
sand; the NPPL 2003 Las Vegas tournament was on grass. NPPL Chicago 2003: grass.
PSP Los Angeles, grass; PSP Las Vegas, grass; PSP Chicago, grass. The remaining
events for the season had not been played when this went to press. Both leagues
have been working hard to find venues with playing surfaces that the players
will like, and right now a good, lush grass turf is considered ideal. Follow
the PSP and the NPPL pro and amateur events, and X Ball, at WARPIG.com.
Q: I am a complete newbie to the sport of paintball. I have no idea
what I'll need in order to play. What do I need to get started?
A: FIRST get good goggles that fit you comfortably. This is more important than
a marker or any other gear. Protect your eyes.
Then work through this list, adding other things as you find out you need them:
marker, loader, elbow for loader if needed, paintballs, harness, hand
held chronograph from Sports Sensors, pods to carry extra paint, squeegee, swab,
neck protector, knee pads, cup for guys, chest protection for women, essential
tools, tool box, supplies such as paper towels, marker oil, shoes (maybe cleats
like football cleats, not metal cleats), jersey or uniform top, comfortable
pants with room to make killer moves.
Take a notebook. Make notes of what other items you see players having, and
decide if you want to get those also.
Q: OK, so what does it feel like to get hit with a paintball?
It depends. It depends on how fast the ball is traveling, what you are is
wearing, if you are making a move. If you're full of that great adrenaline rush,
you might not even feel a hit at all! Ever get popped with a wet towel? Lots of
hits feel about like that. Some say it's about like putting a rubber band on
your wrist, pulling it out, and popping it onto your skin.
You might not feel a hit if the balls lands on thick clothing or loose clothing.
That's why camouflage is great. Cammies are sort of baggy, most of the time.
They have thick seams so the clothing lasts longer, and a hit on a seam is
harder to feel. A camouflage jacket over a t shirt can give protection from
hits and also, by being loose, lets the air circulate. On bare skin, you should
feel a hit. It usually stings.
The world gets an interesting color when you take a goggle hit, but you won't
feel much. Usually you head a "thwack" as the ball hits the goggle
facemask or lens. Not always! Balls that hit the visor, lots of times you don't
Back to the bare skin thing: if you're really worried about getting hit, cover
up that bare skin. Wear a neck protector, gloves, long sleeves, long pants, and
a head covering.
Protect those sensitive body areas with padding or hard protection, guys and
gals. Do not deliberately shoot at sensitive body areas or bare skin. Avoid
head shots, too–a hit to the back of the head can be a thumper.
When might a paintball hit feel "really bad?" A close up hit on bare
skin. How do you avoid this? Cover up the bare skin. Another thing to avoid is
any close up hit on skin-tight material, so dress accordingly.
Avoid close up hits. Don't get into places where someone has to come get you
out with a closeup shot. You have the option to call yourself out any time. If
you know you're going to get shot, and you know it will be up close, get out of
there. Give it up. It's no big deal and there's another game in a few minutes
Think about racquetball. Ever been hit by one of them? Think how big a
racquetball is. How about getting hit with a baseball? A soccer ball? Football?
Tennis ball? Ever been tackled in football, or knocked off your feet going for
the ball in soccer game? It's not much to get hit with a paintball.
The speed of a paintball affects how "hard" it hits a target.
The worldwide safety standards say to chronograph all markers before play and
chrono them regularly during the day. Re-chrono any time a change is made the
marker, such as filling the air tank, changing a barrel, changing a part, etc.
The maximum speed limit worldwide is 300 feet per second (fps). Many fields
have a lower limit outdoors, such as 285 fps. Ask for a lower speed limit if
you're playing in a newbie level game or if the group is all young players. The
slower the ball travels, the less energy it has when it hits: less sting
Remember to wear those goggles! Paintball goggle systems are mandatory
worldwide. Paintball goggles are specially designed for use in paintball.
Do not wear any other kind of goggles (do not wear ski
goggles, sunglasses, shop goggles, etc., because these will not protect the
eyes from the impact of a paintball).