What is Paintball?

Since its humble beginnings over 30 years ago, paintball has become recognized as one of the world's most exciting participation sports that can be played both indoors and outdoors. Paintball is played around the world by millions of people of all ages and lifestyles each year. Anyone who enjoys completive sports and loves adventure is certain to enjoy this fun filled activity.

Paintball is the reinvention of many well know childhood games, often referred to as a combination of "tag," "hide & seek," and capture the flag. However, paintball is much more challenging and sophisticated due to the many different game formats. Typically, a group of players will divide into two teams to play this video game brought to life version of capture the flag. The number of players on each team can vary from just a few to over 1,000 on a side; limited only by the size of the playing field. Oklahoma D-Day is a week-long event that has been held continuously since 1997 with more than 3000 participants attending in recent years.

The most common objective of the game is to go out and capture the other team's flag while protecting your own. While you are trying to capture the flag, you also try to eliminate opposing players by tagging them with a paintball expelled from a specialized airgun called a paintball marker. Games run from as short a few minutes to several hours, depending on the size of the field, number of players and complexity of the scenario. Players participate in several action-filled games while at game field.

One of the most enjoyable parts of the day is to share stories about the thrills of victory and the usually funny agonies of defeat while taking a well-deserved break between games. Win or lose; everyone has a fantastic time, and there's always the next game waiting for you.

The actual paintballs are a fragile round gelatin capsule with colored liquid inside. Paintballs are similar to large round vitamin capsules or bath oil beads. The fill inside paintballs is non-toxic, non-caustic and water-soluble allowing it to rinses out of clothing and off skin with mild soap and water. Paintballs are available in every color under the rainbow. Many players like bright colors as it allows them to see better where they are shooting. When a paintball tags a player, the paintball’s gelatin capsule splits open, and the liquid inside leaves a noticeable paint mark. Once a player is marked by a paintball they are eliminated from that particular game.

Every player is equipped with a paintball marker at the beginning of the day's play. Paintball markers come in a variety of shapes and styles. Most paintball markers are classed as semi-automatic operation. The first time you want to shoot your paintball marker, you must cock the marker, but after you shoot the first paintball the markers action will re-cock the unit for you. All that you need to do is simply squeeze the trigger each time you want to shoot a paintball.

To operate the paintball marker, you will need an air system which is pressurized with carbon dioxide (CO2), nitrogen (N2) or compressed air. The air system used with a paintball marker can provide over 1000 shots before requiring refilling. In the early days of paintball, the first paintball markers used disposable 12-gram cartridges which limited the number of shots to between 10-25 before your needed to install a new cartridge. The current state of the art paintball air systems simplifying the playing process and make the game more enjoyable for all participants.

Paintball markers range from simple to sophisticated, but what they all share in common is a limitation on their power and range. Based on ASTM Standards the maximum limit on the speed (measured in feet per second, "FPS") at which a paintball marker shoots a paintball is 300 fps. An electronic device called a chronograph is used to test the speed of each paintball marker before play each day, and allows all paintball markers to be adjusted to shoot under the speed limit. A paintball markers' range is limited as well based on shooting at or under the 300 fps. A paintball marker can shoot between 25-30 yards accurately, and with practice, you can lob a paintball about 50 yards under the correct conditions.

Paintball is a very safe sport as long as safety requirements are followed. The most import safety rule requires paintball players always to wear eye and head protective devices (EHPD) specifically designed for paintball to protect their eyes and head. The EHPD must be worn at all times when a person is in an area where shooting is permitted, which also including areas other than the playing field, such as the target range and chronograph area. Insurance statistics have shown that paintball is safer than golf, jogging, tennis, swimming and many other sports.

On the field, specially trained referees enforce safety and game rules. No physical contact is permitted during play, and players can be ejected from a particular round or the days play for not following the referee's instructions. Referees on the paintball field control the play to ensure everyone has an enjoyable and safe experience.

Paintball such an attractive sport because it can be played by people from all walks of life and ages. It is a sport where women and men compete equally, and your age is not a primary factor in determining your success on the field of play. Like a game of chess, being able to think quickly and decisively is what makes you a star in paintball. Intelligence and determination, not merely strength, speed or agility, are the keys to success on the paintball field.

Paintball is a character-building sport where participants learn about teamwork, self-confidence and develop leadership abilities while having fun and getting some exercise. Many companies, clubs, and church groups are discovering the benefits of having their staff or members participate in paintball games. Paintball is an exciting sport, and above all paintball is fun!