So you want to play paintball...
Safety and the Mighty Dollar
- SAFETY SAFETY SAFETY! I apologize for yelling, but i need to get your attention. Rule #1 - Keep Your Mask On. Paintball isn't particularly deadly, but a paintball is a poor substitution for one or both of your eyeballs. Or so doctors say. Rule #2, there is a legal velocity limit for paintball markers, which is 300 feet per second or fps (how fast a paintball is allowed to fly through the air). Paintball parks often go a step further by limiting velocity to something around 285 fps, for several reasons. Maybe i'll post a hub about it.
- MONEY MONEY MONEY! Not a huge revelation, but paintball costs quite a bit of money. Just for a one-time experience, a day of paintball can cost $80+ per person. Rental fees, tank refills, paintballs. Many soon realize the major expense in paintball is the swiftly consumable product that is the paintballs themselves. Suckers aren't cheap, and you can't re-use them (well, there are reusable ones for practice or tech work, but i digress). Getting your own gear saves money in the long run, but only if you continue to play in the long run. Initial gear can be $100-200, to thousands, but you pay less when you play, with the biggest savings being that many fields allow self-equipped players to bring their own paint, giving you the ability to find paint at lower prices. Self-equipped players also have the ability of choosing gear they like, and works better than rental gear.
- PAIN PAIN... Pain? Well, yes, getting hit with a paintball isn't like a massage (unless you're really into extreme deep tissue rubs). But it's not like getting hit with a hammer, either. Or a baseball rocketing at 98 mph. True, a paintball travels faster (300 fps roughly translates to 200 mph), but a paintball is small, and usually breaks on contact. Hurts much less, i assure you. At the moment of impact, it comes as more of a shock or surprise than a rush of pain. The hits will be tender later on, as they form quarter-size, ring-shaped welts, but you can pretend their hickeys if anyone asks.
How To Tell If You Like Getting Shot At
Ah, the glamorous life of a paintballer, spending 6-8 hrs a day dodging hundreds of thousands of flying balls of gelatin filled with brightly colored oily goop. Sound interesting? Well, you've come to the right place!
First and foremost and fiscally feasable, you should visit the nearest paintball park and rent gear. Many people may think, "i'll get something cheap at Wally World Sports Palace, and have my brother shoot me in the backyard to see if i like it." Allow me to shake my head - *shakes head*. Best experience you can possibly have is on the field, at a reputable paintball park, where they have referees enforcing safety rules, staff knowledgable (most of the time) of the sport, actual fields with bunkers, other people willing to shoot and get shot at, and the structure of scheduled games. Did i mention referees enforcing SAFETY? Good.
As previously mentioned, a day of renting will run a person $80+. The rental gear itself, often costs about $40, often consisting of a mask, a marker (or gun, if you prefer the term), a hopper (the thing on top of the gun that holds balls), a tank (the thing on the back of the gun that holds gas), and a handful of paintballs. Tank refills are an added cost (depending on how much gas you go through), and so are extra paintballs (depending on how much you use; most people use well more than initially provided).
By the end of the day, as you're covered in sweat and maybe a half dozen paint stains, you should have an idea of how much fun - or misery - you've experienced. Maybe another visit on another day is in order to really decide. Maybe you're already searching for paintball package deals on your smartphone. Who knows... well, i certainly hope you know.
Time To Invest?
Decided you're done renting gear and want a sweet setup of your own? Look for my next hub, My (Your) First Paintball Kit!