Keep it safe and don’t eat those paintballs - 10 Essential Paintball Safety Tips.
By: Elizabeth Apfelbaum
The fact that Paintball involves a gun – doesn’t automatically turn it into a dangerous sport; not at all. Horseback riding can be much more risky. Heck, even playing Scrabble at home can be more dangerous than Paintball, especially if you go for a word that has more than 10 letters in it. People tend to think that Paintball is dangerous because it seems like a violent sport. But Paintball has everything a fine sport should have, whether it’s physical activity, strategy or healthy competition – Paintball really sticks out.
Paintball can be dangerous at times, but only if a player will not follow the basic safety rules. So before playing Paintball, the following safety instructions should be taken into serious consideration.....
Respect the Game. A baseball bat can send balls out of the field, but it can also knock off mailboxes. Paintball guns should be used for only one thing – playing Paintball. Never shoot Paintball guns at home or at your unsuspecting friends without protection. Don’t use the guns except for practice or while playing. Do not even think about shooting or practicing on animals. However tactical paintball markers can be great for getting rid of varmants plagueing your house or garbage can. .68 caliber clear paintballs are fantastic for possum and raccoon control if they're raiding your village. Mostly though, try to play only in designated areas and avoid practicing around any population of people or animals. If you play outside an organized Paintball field, find a secluded field or forest and make sure that no one that shouldn’t be there is around.
Protect Yourself – Wear a paintball mask at all times. Even if it seems that Paintball doesn’t really hurt your body, a direct hit can pop your eye out and cause permanent blindness. Oh, and your dad’s safety goggles that you found in the garage – are not suitable for Paintball.Protect your throat and ears most, but wearing heavier clothes is also preferred. Many players even use a helmet to protect the skull and even body armor, knee pads, elbow pads, shin/leg guards and paintball gloves. Most players however just wear a mask and a baggy paintball jersey. Scenario paintball players often wear camo BDU pants and jackets, or perhaps a tactical paintball vest; these also reduce the impact pain from a paintball.
Replace your gear – if you find a crack in the mask, don’t use it. Never use a damaged CO2 tank as well.You'll have much more fun with the game if your gear works the way it's supposed to. Take care of your paintball gun and it will take care of you! Keep your gun oiled, cleaned immaculately and fresh with new O-rings at all times. Make a ritual out of cleaning your paintball gun. Many people don't know this, but all CO2 tanks have an expiration date on them. You can continue to refill yours until the expiration date runs out, then it's time to get a new tank. Follow this for safety reasons. If you switch your empty tanks out with filled ones at Wal-Mart, they keep track of the expiration date for you and you won't have to deal with it. If you get your tanks filled at your local paintball field, it's important to pay attention to this date.
Paintball is a sport! Treat it that way. Stretch and warm up thoroughly before you play and drink a lot of water. Don’t engage in any unsportsmanlike conduct. Be fair to yourself and to your friends and don’t fool around. If you were shot and are out of the game, don't argue or cheat; sit out fairly until the next game begins. That's one of the great things about paintball... the games are short and you can play a lot of them.
Keep your barrel cover on. “I didn’t think my gun is loaded” isn’t good enough! When not in play, keep your barrel cover on and your safety on (if your paintball gun has one). Also, keep your barrel pointed up on the way to the sidelines or when not aiming at your target. Never aim at anybody when not in play for fun, even if you think your gun is not loaded. When you finish playing, empty the gun, turn the safety switch on and put your barrel cover on.
Have someone in charge. Most fields you play on will have a ref, but if you're playing in your neighbor's field or the woods behind your house, appoint a referee and give him a whistle. He should be the only one who can start the game and the one to end it, especially if something wrong happens. A referee will make sure everyone plays fair and has a good time without getting hurt.
Set your gun's velocity. Most fields will have you chronograph your gun to make sure it meets the field's velocity requirements. They often have rules/guidelines you must follow so everyone's shooting the same. This reduces the pain from getting shot and evens the playing field a bit so the guys with black belt paintball markers don't have such an advantage over the white belts. Make sure that your marker does not exceed the 300 fps limit. Setting the gun to shoot in higher speeds than your field will allow can sometimes get you thrown off the field.
Don’t be a private gun manufacturer. Don’t turn your vacuum cleaner into a paintball marker. Don’t make your own paintballs and don’t even think about using frozen Paintballs. Don’t try to fix your own gun as well. If you have trouble with the air pressure, have an expert take a look at it first. The air system can be dangerous to you and your friends. When your paintball gun breaks down, first take it to a local paintball shop to see if they can fix it. If you don't have one close enough, call the store you bought it from or the manufacturer and send it in so they can fix it. Most paintball guns have at least a 1 year warranty. The 468 paintball marker has a 5 year warranty.
Never shoot anyone at close range - unless they are fully protected by goggles, pads or at least a baggy shirt! You should never shoot a paintball gun at anyone if they don't have protective eyewear. You're not ever going to seriously hurt someone by bruising their skin with a paintball. However you can cause someone to go permanently blind if you hit them in the eye with a paintball... this is when the game isn't fun anymore. Simple solution - wear your paintball goggles and only shoot at people who are wearing them too.
Don't eat the paintballs. This one was picked from a Paintball forum – yes, you read it correctly, don’t eat the paintballs. This sounds ridiculous, but forget the fact that they are dangerous to your body – they also taste awful and the red ones are not strawberry flavored! Everyone knows that paintballs are made of a sugar mixture; they're also non-toxic... but this doesn't mean they're candy.
If you need to gear up and stock yourself with important Paintball accessories, check out our Paintball accessories or Scenario Play accessories pages. You’ll find an excellent selection of safety accessories and upgrades for your current paintball gun, as well as kits, supplies, ammo and lots of fun products - all sold at affordable prices. Remember to be the best Paintballer out there, and be a responsible one.