Playing Paintball In The Rain
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So you planned a big weekend of paintball fun, only to find the weather is supposed to be nasty.  Don’t let a little rain ruin your weekend, however – just change your approach a bit.  Playing paintball in the rain can add an extra element of fun you don’t normally get when playing in dry weather!  The good news is, you can still play paintball even when it’s raining outside; this article will give you a little information about how to play in the rain, what to expect and what precautions to take.

Playing paintball in the rain can be very different than playing on a nice sunny day.  Precipitation can make it much harder to see; rain (depending on how hard it’s coming down) can build up on your paintball mask and also make it more likely to fog.  A mask visor, mask fan or other accessory to help keep moisture off your mask shield will help, but it will still be much more difficult to see than usual.  Remember, though, everyone will be dealing with this same challenge, so you won’t be the only one with a handicap – it is just a change you will have to adapt to.

Also, realize that your paintball gear will behave differently and require a bit of extra care.  Even if it’s raining heavily, you must keep the inside of your marker completely dry.  Paintballs will also act differently when they are wet – if their shells get too wet, they are useless and will cause your gun to malfunction.  Don’t forget, paintballs are filled with ‘water soluble’ paint; so keeping them dry is important for the integrity of your ‘splat’ when they hit.  The outer shell of the paintball will not break down immediately when in contact with water, however they should still be kept dry so they don’t contaminate the insides of your marker with moisture.

Some players use tape to cover the ports on their barrel and any other moisture entry points (except the end of the barrel, of course).  This helps prevent moisture, but it will also impact the shooting velocity and range, so be sure to test your marker before using it if you make these modifications.  Often, the openings on your marker are there for a reason, so be careful and use common sense if you decide to do this.  After every game, you will need to take your paintball marker apart and clean it, then dry it.  This includes the hopper and any other equipment that will be in direct contact with your paintballs.  

Also, pay special attention to the clothes and shoes you choose for playing paintball in the rain.  Which ones you decide on really depends on the terrain, how wet it is and how dirty you want to get.  Good traction is a must, especially if you’re playing on a field that tends to get slick (mud, wet grass, etc.).  Many players wear baseball cleats, golf shoes or spiked track shoes when playing in the rain.  Some fields restrict what kind of shoes you can wear, so you may want to bring a few options.  As far as the actual clothing, just wear whatever is comfortable and doesn’t restrict your movement.  Some players wear a poncho or full raingear.  Others just wear their normal gear and plan on getting wet.  This is simply a matter of preference.

Your playing strategy may also need to be modified for paintballing in the rain.  If you play with someone who’s played in adverse conditions before, you will likely see him run farther out to cover than usual because he’s learned paintball markers are less accurate at a distance in the rain.  You will also find it more difficult to accurately and quickly hide behind cover when the ground is wet or slick.  You may overslide or try to duck behind the cover only to slip and fall.  Sometimes, this is somewhat comical to watch, but can also be a bit aggravating.  Just like the other elements of playing in the rain, though, this is not a disadvantage – just a change. 

Since you will also have a harder time seeing, you will likely also have a lower accuracy rate in general.  This is due to both the weather interfering with your marker’s accuracy and your ability to hit the target while you have reduced vision.  Reduced shooting distance and precision will often lead to using much more paintballs to hit your target.  Don’t get frustrated by this; just expect it and plan ahead by bringing extra ammunition.

The only real way to become better at playing in the rain is to do it.  While it may be a little more dangerous to play paintball in the rain because of the slicker conditions, this also adds an extra element of unpredictability and fun.  Remember, everyone on the field will have the same challenges, get as dirty and muddy as you, and hopefully also have a blast like you.  Pack an extra outfit for after the game, a few towels and a plastic bag for your wet gear and enjoy the weekend of paintball, despite the rain! 
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