The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide To PaintBalling

The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide To PaintBalling

Paintball has been around for a few decades now and shows no signs of going out of fashion or decreasing in popularity. 

If you have ever wondered what it is like to go paint balling, wonder no more because we have your ultimate guide to paintballing!

Whether you are a complete novice, or you’ve been paintballing a few times, this article will answer all the questions you may have. 

Paintball is not as violent as you may think.

Many people avoid trying paintballing because they are under the mistaken impression that it is violent and promotes fighting. 

This cannot be further from the truth and paintballing is nothing like this at all! In fact, paintball is one of the safest sporting games out there and it can be played by people as young as 10, right up to the elderly. 

Research has shown that taking part in paintball is incredibly safe: it is much safer than skateboarding, motocross, wall climbing, mountain biking and other similar sports. What makes paintball even safer is the fact that all players are obliged to wear the correct personal protective equipment (i.e. knee pads, head gear, masks, etc). Wearing safety equipment is required, even if you are only trying it out for a while or messing around. 

When you take part in paintball, there is no violence and it doesn’t simulate a war or using warfare, killing shooting or hunting. What it does simulate, however, is a great deal of fun and camaraderie between friends! 

What exactly is paintball? 

In terms of a definition, paintball is a fun activity that is similar to your average tag or hide and seek game in that you are using strategies to hide from the competing team and sneak up on them when they least expect it.

The paintballs themselves are quite interesting and are round, gelatinous capsules that contain the “paint” (which is water-soluble, eco-friendly and non-toxic). 

When you shoot a paintball, the delicate gelatinous capsule breaks open and the paint is then squirted, hopefully onto someone in your opposing team. 

Using a paintball gun is part of the enjoyment of paintballing and you can go ballistic by firing off paintballs at a speed of up to 300 feet per second. You can also easily shoot someone with a paintball, as long as they are 50 yards or less away from you. 

How is paintball played

Some Interesting Stats

Number of paintball players in the US in 20213.41 million
Wholesale sales value of US paintball equipment in 202153.6% lower than in 2007
Paintball fields industry market size in the US in 2020$1.2 billion
Average price per day to play paintball in the US$30-50
Number of paintball fields in the US in 20231,200+
Percentage of paintball players in the US who are male90%
Percentage of paintball players in the US who are under 25 years old60%
Most popular paintball game types in the USCapture the flag, scenario, speedball
Average number of paintballs used per player per game200-500
Estimated number of paintballs sold in the US in 20231.5 billion

Reasons to go paintballing.

There are countless reasons to enjoy a great paintball session. The majority of people at paintball venues are there for a bachelor’s party, a team building event or they are celebrating someone’s birthday. You will often also see families enjoying some healthy competition with some paintballing and it has also become more popular among the female population in recent years. 

So, what are some compelling reasons to go paintballing? The following are just a few reasons why you should definitely consider paintballing…

It’s a whole lot of fun. and extremely exciting.

Once you have tried paintball for yourself, you will understand why so many folks are hooked! Right from the start, you will experience a thrilling sensation and you will love the feeling of shooting someone in the opposing team. 

It is a great way to get some exercise. 

If you’ve been struggling to find a form of exercise you enjoy, why not try paintballing? As you run around dodging and running after your enemy, you are getting an excellent cardiovascular work-out. There are also plenty of times when you’ll be jumping out the way to avoid being shot and hiding behind trees, making it one of the best ways to get in some exercise. 

There are many paintballing enthusiasts who consider the sport to be their main form of exercise and they make sure that they fit in a paintball session whenever they can!

It is a wonderful way to socialize and make new friends. 

Paintball is very much a team sport and requires participants to work together toward a common goal. Whether you choose to go paintballing with a group of friends, you see it as a way to get to know work colleagues better, or you simply feel like showing up at a paintball venue and joining a team, there is no doubt about it that it is an amazing way to socialize. 

Ironically, many introverts love paintballing and they often come into their own while having fun as a team.

Girl involved in paint ball activity

It provides a huge adrenaline rush. 

One thing that paintball is not is boring! There will be no opportunities to sit back and yawn because paintballing is extremely active and action-packed. While you are running from your enemy, hiding behind obstacles and trying to shoot someone, you experience a huge adrenaline rush but in the best way possible. 

It is definitely a thrill a minute and you will never grow tired of coming up with new strategies to try and win. 

Healthy competition. 

By its very nature, paintballing is extremely competitive, but in a healthy way. It’s a wonderful way for families to compete against one another and groups of friends to work together as a team. 

As long as you exercise good sportsmanship and try your very best, you are guaranteed to have an amazing time. 

Paintball equipment could be a hobby in itself. 

In addition to paintballing itself, there are many paintball equipment enthusiasts around. Some people absolutely love making their own paintball gear, modifying existing paintball equipment and experimenting with new gear. This is a great way to spend some time when you are unable to get to you favorite paintball venue. 

It’s a great way to build teams. 

Paintball requires that team members work together and come up with innovative strategies in order to win the game. If you are trying to make your work team more cohesive and stronger, paintball is a great way to do this. 

As you work together to try and annihilate your opposing team, you are strengthening existing team relationships and simply having good, old-fashioned fun together.  

You will love wearing and using your paintball equipment. 

As mentioned, paintball equipment and gear should be an entirely different hobby. First time paintball players often comment that they love using their paintball guns and wearing the protective equipment as it makes them feel like soldiers going into a battle! 

Paintball is a great way to destress and release tension. 

Do you have a stressful job or are you going through a particularly stressful time at the moment? Paintball is a highly effective way to burn off excess nervous energy and tension. If anything, it can help you to forget about your problems for at least an hour or so. 

It’s healthy to get outdoors and enjoy the fresh air. 

So often, we spend most of our days indoors and we even exercise inside. Paintball offers you the unique opportunity for getting outside and enjoying some healthy, fresh air. Being surrounded by nature (albeit with the danger of being shot by a paintball) is a tonic in itself and it can help to improve your mood and overall wellbeing. 

Adds variety into your normal life and routine. 

Having a good paintball session every now and then can add some excellent variety into your daily life and routine. It is something that is so completely out of the norm for most people that it adds excitement and a new lease on life! 

Paintball gear and equipment.

Paintball gear and equipment.

This beginner’s guide to paintballing would not be complete without a section of gear and equipment. 

If you will be playing your first paintball game, it is important to know what you need and what the various forms of equipment are. 

The good news is that paintball equipment may seem overwhelming at first but it is definitely not complicated and you will soon get used to it. 

The first (and most obvious) piece of equipment you’ll need is a paintball gun, or a paintball marker as it is also called. There is an extensive range of paintball guns available and if you are unsure, you could always ask someone who plays paintball often to make a recommendation. 

Most paintball venues have paintball guns that you can rent and they will also be able to guide you in selecting the right one. 

The next piece of equipment you’ll need is a good mask. This is one object that you cannot do without as it helps to protect the various parts of your face from high-speed paintballs that could otherwise cause injury or damage to your eyes. Like paintball guns, you can pick one up at your paintball venue but ensure that you choose one that feels comfortable and sits flush with your face. 

Paintball goggles protect your eyes and should be high quality and offer sufficient protection against flying paintballs. 

A helmet is another essential piece of paintball equipment. You never know when you may trip and fall or when you will be hit in your head by a devastating paintball. 

The clothes that you wear to your paintball session is also very important. Since this is a beginner’s guide to paintballing, we need to point out that if you get shot with a paintball at close range, it’s going to hurt so dress accordingly. 

Paintballs are water soluble and non-toxic and they do not permanently stain your clothing. The paint stains should come out after a wash in the washing machine, so you don’t have to wear your oldest and shabbiest clothing to you paintball game! 

We recommend wearing at least a long-sleeved shirt (and possibly a sweater as well if the weather is not too hot) as this will give you added protection against all those fast-traveling paintballs. 

Wearing a pair of pants and another layer underneath (such as a pair of sweatpants) will give your legs additional protection. If you don’t like the idea of wearing two pairs of pants, opt for a pair of baggy jeans as these should offer the same protection. 

Dressing in layers is key to protecting yourself from flying paintballs: remember that the more layers you can comfortably wear, the better! If you find yourself feeling too hot or you feel like you can’t move around as much with so much layers on, you could always remove a layer. 

Loose fitting clothing is great as it gives you a better range of motion and also absorbs a lot of the energy from an exploding paintball that hits you. 

The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide To PaintBalling

When it comes to clothing for paintball, you should always aim to leave as little skin exposed to potential paintballs as possible. Vests are a big no-no, as are short-sleeved shirts, shorts and sandals. If you struggle with the heat, you may want to leave your paintball sessions to the colder months. 

Jeans or pants made from thicker fabric is ideal for paintballing as they offer more protection from flying paintballs.

If you normally wear glasses, you may be wondering if you can wear these while paintballing. Well, you definitely can wear them while paintballing and the only problem you may encounter is having a mask fitting you comfortably. Try and fit on a few mask options and pick out one that works well with your glasses. 

The only other downside to wearing glasses while paintballing is that they may fog up during the game but this can’t be helped. 

Many guys worry about their, ahem, sensitive areas getting hit while paintballing. You don’t need to wear a cup when playing paintball and if you are still worried, you could wear a thick sock for added peace of mind. 

If you are a girl looking forward to her first paintball experience, there are a lot of options for you in terms of clothing. Most girls choose to wear comfortable pants, such as jeans or leggings. We recommend wearing a padded bra, if possible and comfortable shoes that you can run around in. If you have long hair, try and tie it back into braids or into a bun as it may irritate you while you are trying to defy your enemy!

Be aware that in addition to getting your clothes stained by non-permanent paint, you will also likely stain them in other ways. For instance, it is very likely that you’ll be running through the woods and then hiding on the ground or behind trees. Expect to get muddy, dirty and grimy and select clothing that you don’t mind getting a bit dirty. 

A great tip that many paintball enthusiasts use is to wear dark-colored clothing as this tends not to show the paintball and dirt stains as much as lighter-colored clothing. 

If you can wear camo, even better! Camouflaged clothing will help you to blend in with your surroundings and make you less noticeable by your opposing team. 

Finally, remember to also bring a change of clothes with you as you will be a scary sight going out in public with paint and dirt-stained clothing and skin!

Avg Pricing Chart

PaintballsAverage cost per case of 2,000 paintballs$30-50
Paintball gunsAverage cost of a beginner paintball gun$100-200
Paintball masksAverage cost of a paintball mask$30-100
Paintball hoppersAverage cost of a paintball hopper$10-50
CO2 tanksAverage cost of a CO2 tank$20-30
Compressed air tanksAverage cost of a compressed air tank$50-100
Paintball vestsAverage cost of a paintball vest$30-100
Paintball podsAverage cost of a paintball pod$1-3
Paintball barrel kitsAverage cost of a paintball barrel kit$50-150
Paintball glovesAverage cost of paintball gloves$10-30
Enjoying Paintballing Experience

Enjoying your paintballing experience.

In this beginner’s guide to paint balling, we have outlined the equipment you need and how fun it is to play in a paintball session. However, one thing we need to make clear is that you should try and not be afraid! 

It is understandable if you feel scared about being hit by a paintball for the first time. This is a common fear, but you should note that paintball is a combat and strategy game, and being hit is part and parcel of the fun! 

To answer a common question, no, it doesn’t hurt much at all when you get hit by a paintball so try and be confident and brave! The stinging sensation that you feel when being hit by a paintball is momentary. 

You may have one or two bruises after your paintball session, but these are almost never serious and don’t warrant concern. 

As long as you wear the correct protective equipment and try and layer your clothing, you should be just fine. 

Many experienced paintball players mention that the game has taught them to embrace fear, be more confident and approach things wholeheartedly. 

Communication with team members is an important part of a successful paintball session. 

One of the most important aspects of every paintball game is clear communication. 

Communication goes a long way to helping your team be successful in their strategies and, ultimately, winning. It also helps you to protect yourself and fellow team members. 

Before you begin your paintball session, have a brief meeting with your team members and discuss any relevant strategies or options you can think of. Try and have a clear plan and make sure that everyone understands what is required of them. 

Good paintball strategies always start off the paintball field as you won’t have time to discuss in-depth game plans when you are in the middle of a paintball battle. 

Be stealthy yet vigilant. 

A large part of the fun of paintball is how the unexpected can happen at any time. If you want to have a good chance of winning, try and be as vigilant as possible! 

This means never running out of paintballs and trying your best not to make yourself vulnerable to the opposing team. Always being aware of your surroundings is a great way to avoid an unexpected attack. 

Be aware of what the entire paintball field looks like and take note of where the opposing team likes to hide and how they tend to move around. 

Whenever there is a break, remember to stock up on paintballs. 

Be a good sport. 

Yes, paintball is quite competitive- there is no getting around this. However, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be a good sport when you lose. At the end of the day, it is just a game and what is important is not who wins or loses, but how much fun you have. 

Another point on sportsmanship is not to cheat and to follow the rules. It is simply not cool to break the rules so that you have the upper hand. For example, don’t pretend that you have been shot when you haven’t. When everyone follows the rules, things run smoother and the whole group has more fun. 

Remain positive. 

If is easy to become negative when you are in the losing team and when things don’t seem to be going in the right direction. 

When you bear in mind the whole aim of paintballing is for everyone to have fun and an exhilarating experience, you may change your outlook. 

Go into the game with the goal of having fun no matter what! 

Are there any things I need to know or do before I start paintballing

Be strategic with your shots. 

Running out of paintballs is one of the worst things that can happen in a game! Of course, it is important to always have a good stock of ammo but what happens when this runs out? 

The key is to be clever with your shots! Don’t ever get trigger happy because this will haunt you later on. 

The following are some scenarios where you would definitely fire off a shot (if it is for anything else, think twice):

  1. You feel that you need to shoot to provide distraction while a team member moves to a safer place. 
  2. When you can see your opponent and you believe that you can shoot them from that position.
  3. To check whether or not your paintball gun is working properly before you start the session. 

Try and avoid shooting at places that are too far away or that appear to be too sheltered: you’ll probably be wasting a shot and it’s not worth it. 

Remember to always be as quick and as swift as possible, while at the same time moving quietly and having a bit of patience. 

It’s all about how you execute your strategy and work synergistically as a team. 

If you keep the above pointers in mind, you should have an amazing time, regardless of whether you win or lose! 

Things Need To Know For Paintballing

Are There Any Things I Need To Know Or Do Before I Start Paintballing?

When it comes to paintball, there is not much preparation necessary (apart from wearing the correct clothing and protective equipment). 

The only things you really need to remember are that you will do just fine, even if you have no experience and have never played before! Remember to communicate clearly with your team and know that it is inevitable that you will be shot at some point!

Experienced paintballers know that practice really does make perfect and the more you do, the better you will get. 

What If There Are Only Two Of Us Wanting To Go Paintballing?

This is normally not a problem at all. Even if you are the only one wanting to go paint balling, you could always ask if there is a team that you can join . Most folks playing paintball would be happy to have larger teams as this makes the process that much more fun! 

Can A Paintball Marker Cause Damage To A Car? 

This all depends on how far away the paintball gun has been shot. If it is at close range, you would definitely see some damage in the form of a dent. Your car should be perfectly safe in the parking lot of your favorite paintball venue and the owners of the venue have probably already thought about potential damage to cars.

Now that you have read this beginner’s guide to paintballing, you are probably quite keen to enjoy your first session! 

Most local communities have at least 1 or 2 good paintball venues so finding a fun place shouldn’t be hard at all. So, why not round up a few friends and arrange a session? 

Whether you are young, old, fit or unfit, paintball can offer you a wealth of benefits and bring some more joy into your life! 

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Picture of Lisa Hayden-Matthews

Lisa Hayden-Matthews

An avid Skier, bike rider, triathlon enthusiast, amateurish beach volleyball player and nature lover who has never lost a dare! I manage the overall Editorial section for the magazine here and occasionally chip in with my own nature photographs, when required.
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