What is Paintballs?
Paintball is a sport in which players compete, in teams or individually, to eliminate opponents by tagging them with capsules containing water soluble dye and gelatin shell outside (referred to as paintballs) propelled from a device called apaintball marker (commonly referred to as a paintball gun). Paintballs are composed of a non-toxic, biodegradable, water soluble polymer.
Games can be played on indoor or outdoor fields of varying sizes. A game field is scattered with natural or artificial terrain, which players use for tactical cover. Game types in paintball vary, but can include capture the flag, elimination, ammunition limits, defending or attacking a particular point or area, or capturing objects of interest hidden in the playing area. Depending on the variant played, games can last from seconds to hours, or even days in scenario play.
The legality of paintball varies among countries and regions. In most areas where regulated play is offered, players are required to wear protective masks, and game rules are strictly enforced.
EQUIPMENT AND SAFETY FEATURES
The paintball equipment used may depend on the game type, for example: woodsball, speedball, or scenario; on how much money one is willing to spend on equipment; and personal preference. However, almost every player will utilize three basic pieces of equipment:
Paintball marker: also known as a "paintball gun" or "marker", this is the primary piece of equipment, used to tag the opposing player with paintballs. The paintball marker must have a loader or "hopper" or magazines attached to keep the marker fed with paint, and will be either spring fed, gravity-fed (where balls drop into the loading chamber), or electronically force-fed . Modern markers require a compressed air tank or Co2 tank. In contrast, very early bolt-action paintball markers used disposable silver capsules (12 gram CO2 cartridges) normally seen in pellet guns. In the mid to late 1980s, marker mechanics improved to include constant air pressure and semi-automatic operation. Further improvements included increased rates of fire; carbon dioxide (CO2) tanks from 3.5 to 40 ounces, and compressed air or nitrogen tanks in a variety of sizes and pressure capacities up to 5000 PSI. The use of unstable CO2causes damage to the low pressure pneumatic components inside electronic markers, therefore the more stable compressed air is preferred by owners of such markers.
Paintballs: The ammunition used in the marker, paintballs are spherical gelatin capsules containing primarily polyethylene glycol, other non-toxic and water-soluble substances, and dye. The quality of paintballs is dependent on the brittleness of the ball's shell, the roundness of the sphere, and the thickness of the fill; higher-quality balls are almost perfectly spherical, with a very thin shell to guarantee breaking upon impact, and a thick, brightly colored fill that is difficult to hide or wipe off during the game. The highest-grade paintballs incorporate cornstarch and metallic flake into the fill to leave a thick glittery "splat" that is very obvious against any background color, and hard to wipe off. Almost all Paintballs in use today are biodegradeable. All ingredients used in the making of a Paintball are food grade quality and are harmless to the participants and environment. Manufacturers and distributors have been making the effort to move away from the traditional oil-based paints and compressed CO2 gas propellant, to a more friendly water based formula and compressed air in an effort to become more "eco-friendly". Paintballs come in a variety of sizes, including of 0.50" (.50 Caliber) an 0.68" (.68 Caliber).
Mask or goggles: Masks are safety devices players are required to wear at all times on the field, to protect them from paintballs. The original equipment used by players were safety goggles of the type used in labs and wood shops; today's goggles are derived from skiing/snowboarding goggles, with an attached shell that completely covers the eyes, mouth, ears and nostrils of the wearer. Masks can also feature throat guards. Modern masks have evolved to be less bulky compared with older designs. Some players may remove the mouth and/or ear protection for aesthetic or comfort reasons, but this is not recommended nor often allowed at commercial venues.