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Playing Paintball for the First Time? Youíll Need All This Stuff...

by Hank Taylor,

If it's your first time paintballing, you'll need a few things. First, you need some people to play with. You may have been invited by some friends who play. Cool, they take care of you right up until it's time to shoot you. If you can convince some friends or family to go with you, that's great, too. Another option is becoming a "walk-on" with others at a commercial field. Call the place before going and ask when walk-ons are allowed, otherwise you might end up going during a team practice or tournament and not get to play at all.

Great, now that you've got people to paintball with, all you need is the right gear. The big things are: a mask, a gun, air, and paintballs. Most places where you can play paintball, you can buy or rent the gear. I would advise against buying any gear until you've gone a few times and decided whether or not you really like it, and whether you have the money and/or friends to go enough to make a purchase worth it. The most important piece of gear is the mask. Itís your only protection; try to get one that doesnít fog up and provides a large peripheral. Next you'll need a gun, aka a marker. The Tippmann 98 and Tippmann A5 are good markers that you can rent almost anywhere you can play paintball. Youíll need an air tank to go with it; itís the compressed air that shoots the paintballs in your opponents face! These usually come with the gun. Finally, get some paintballs! A hopper (the thing that holds the paintballs on top of the gun) should come with the rental; you donít need one of those fancy electronic ones until youíve learned to do some fancy shooting! Since itís your first time and you wonít notice any difference, buy the cheapest balls. How many balls, you ask? A hopper holds about 200. Iím a rather conservative shooter, so thatís about how many I use in a few games. Most others are more trigger happy and use a few to several hundred in a day. Start buying low, then buy more as needed, or buy a box of a couple thousand with your friends and split it up.

Youíre going to want appropriate clothing. And youíre gonna get down and dirty, so make sure what you wear can get dirty, really dirty! The paint shouldnít stain anything; itís really just soap, but if you want to dodge bullets, youíll want to stay on the ground. Long sleeves and pants are best, but donít wear underarmour unless underneath another layer or youíll be coming home with some nice and clean welts and bruises. Loose clothes are the best. Sometimes a ball will hit you, but if your clothes absorb enough of the shock, it wonít break, and youíll still be in the game! Wear good shoes that you can move around in; remember to think about how dirty you can get them. You may also want a bandanna for your neck and a beanie (if itís not too hot). The most annoyingly painful places to get hit are on your neck and in your ears, so cover those if you can without losing any hearing ability.

The only essential left is to have fun destroying those who oppose you! Bwahaha!