The Full Wiki

Paintball: Wikis


Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.

Did you know ...

More interesting facts on Paintball

Include this on your site/blog:


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Illinois State paintball team during the 2008 NCPA Finals.
First played June 27, 1981, Henniker, New Hampshire
Contact No physical contact between players
Team members Varies, depending on game format. 3, 5, 7-man teams common in tournaments
Categorization Extreme; indoor or outdoor
Equipment Paintballs, paintball marker, CO2, compressed air, mask, hopper

Paintball is any game[1][2][3] or sport,[4][5] in which players compete, in teams or individually, to eliminate opponents by hitting them with capsules containing paint (referred to as a paintball) from a special gun called a paintball marker.[6] Depending on the venue, games are played on either indoor or outdoor fields of varying size. A game field is scattered with natural or artificial terrain, which players use for strategic play.

Rules for playing paintball vary, but can include capture the flag, elimination, 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.



In 1976, Hayes Noel, a stock trader, Bob Gurnsey, and Charles Gaines were walking home and chatting about Gaines' recent trip to Africa and his experiences hunting buffalo. Eager to recreate the adrenaline rush that came with the thrill of the hunt, and inspired by Richard Connell's The Most Dangerous Game, the two friends came up with the idea to create a game where they could stalk and hunt each other.[7] They used a special gun, a "Nel-spot 007" pistol (which was normally used by farmers and ranchers for marking trees and livestock), to fire balls of paint. Twelve people participated in this first game, which was a "capture the flag" scenario between two teams. The winner captured all flags without firing a shot.[8]

As national interest in the game steadily built, Bob Gurnsey formed the National Survival Game company, and entered a contract with Nelson Paint Company to be the sole distributor of their paintball equipment.[9] Thereafter, they licensed to franchisees in other states the right to sell their guns, paint, and goggles. As a result of their monopoly on equipment, they turned a profit in only six months.[9]

The first games of paintball were very different from modern paintball games; they often threw the paintballs at each other, and Nelspot pistols were the only guns available. They used 12-gram CO2 cartridges, held at most 10 rounds, and had to be tilted to roll the ball into the chamber and then recocked after each shot. Dedicated paintball masks had not yet been created, so players wore shop glasses that left the rest of their faces exposed. The first paintballs were oil-based and thus not water soluble; "turpentine parties" were common after a day of play.[10] Games often lasted for hours as players stalked each other, and since each player had only a limited number of rounds, shooting was rare.[11]

Between 1981 and 1983, rival manufacturers such as PMI began to create competing products, and it was during those years that the game took off.[12] Paintball technology gradually developed as manufacturers added a front-mounted pump in order to make recocking easier, then replaced the 12-gram cartridges with larger air tanks, commonly referred to as "constant air".[13] These innovations were followed by gravity feed hoppers and 45-degree elbows to facilitate loading from the hopper.[13] In 1984, paintball was established in other countries outside the United States; with Skirmish Paintball setting up fields in Australia and England.[14][15]

Paintball equipment

The paintball equipment used depends on the game type, for example: woodsball, speedball, or scenarioball, and how much money someone is willing to spend on equipment. Every player however, is required to have three basic pieces of equipment:

  • Paintball marker: also known as a paintball gun, this is the primary piece of equipment, used to tag an opposing player with paintballs. The paintball marker must have attached a loader or "hopper" for keeping the marker fed with ammunition, and a compressed air bottle for propellant.
  • 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.
  • Mask or goggles: Masks are safety devices players are required to wear at all times on the field, to protect from paintballs.[16] They completely cover the eyes, mouth, ears and nostrils of the wearer, and some masks can also feature throat guards.


Paintball players, mid-game
A woodsball player firing at opponents from behind cover. Note the stock and sights for woodsball style play.
A paintball team prepares to breakout.

Basic flow

Paintball is played with a potentialy limitless variety of rules and variations, all of which are specified before the game begins. The most basic of all game rules is that players must attempt to accomplish a goal without being tagged with paintballs. When a player is shot, they must raise their marker to indicate that they are out, and leave the playing field.[17] Depending on the agreed upon game rules, the player may return to the field and continue playing, or is eliminated from the game completely.


Paintball can be played using different variations of its basic rules, including Capture the flag[18] and Elimination.[19] Paintball has spawned several popular variants, including woodsball, which is played in the natural environment and spans across a large area.[20] Conversely, the variant of speedball is played on a smaller field and has a very fast pace (with games lasting up to five minutes).[21] Another variant is scenario paintball, in which players attempt to recreate historical, or fictional settings; the largest being Oklahoma D-Day's World War II re-enactment.

Enforcement of game rules

Regulated games are overseen by referees, who patrol the course to ensure enforcement of the rules and the safety of the players. If a player is marked with paint, they will call them out, but competitors may also be expected to follow the honor code; a broken ball means elimination.[22] Some field operators may specify variations to this rule, such as requiring a tag of paint more than a quarter sized area before being eliminated.[citation needed] There are game rules that can be enforced depending on the venue, in order to ensure safety, balance the fairness of the game or eliminate cheating.

  • Minimum distance - When being tagged, depending on the distance from where the shot was fired, getting marked can feel like a firm pinch. Being marked may even leave a welt. Because of the pain associated with being hit by a paintball, commercial venues may enforce a minimum distance rule (for example, ten feet or eight meters), whereby players cannot shoot an opponent if they are closer than this distance.[23]
  • Overshooting - Some fields discourage players from overshooting (also regarded as bonus balling, "overkill" or lighting up), which is to repeatedly shoot a player after they are eliminated from the game.[24] It is also considered overshooting if a player knew the opponent was eliminated but continued to shoot, disregarding the safety of the opposing player and risky dangerous injury to others.
  • Ramping - Ramping refers to an electronically controlled marker increasing its rate of fire (or ROF, in balls per second or BPS) when a player reaches a certain number of trigger pulls per second and then maintains that trigger pull speed his marker will increase its rate of fire. Ramping of rate of fire is widely prohibited at most paintball fields, however it is allowed in some tournament formats.[25]
  • Wiping - Players may attempt to cheat by wiping paint from themselves, to pretend they were not hit and stay in the game.[22]

Playing venues

A typical speedball field, consisting of inflatable paintball bunkers, often used for tournaments.

Paintball is played at both commercial venues, which require paid admission, and private land. Venues are either outdoors or indoors (allowing play when it is too hot, wet, or dark outside), and may include multiple fields of varying size and layout. Fields can be scattered with either natural or artificial terrain, and may also be themed to simulate a particular environment, such as a wooded or urban area, and may involve a historical context.[26] Smaller fields (such as those used for Speedball and tournaments) may include an assortment of various inflatable bunkers.

Regulated fields

Commercial venues may provide amenities such as bathrooms, picnic areas, lockers, equipment rentals,[27] air refills and food service. Some countries may have paintball sports guidelines, with rules on specific safety and insurance standards, and paid staff (including referees) who must ensure players are instructed in proper play to ensure participants' safety. Fields may choose to only allow players to use their own paint, to offset insurance costs and other expenses.[28][29][30]

Unregulated fields

Playing on a non-established field is sometimes referred to as "renegade" play or "outlaw ball" (with the players nicknamed 'renegade ballers').[31] Though less expensive and less structured than play at a commercial facility, the lack of safety protocols, instruction, and oversight can lead to higher incidence of injuries.

Organized play

Many used or smashed paintballs

The first organized paintball game in record was held Charles Gaines and friends in New Hampshire in 1981, with the first paintball field opening approximately a year later in Rochester, New York.[32] In 1983 the first National Survival Game (NSG) national championship was held, with a $14,000 cash award for the winning team.[33] As of 2010, tournaments are largely organized by paintball leagues.

Paintball leagues

A paintball league is an organization that provides a regulated competition for paintball players to compete. Leagues can be of various sizes (for example, regional, national or international) and offer organized tournaments for professional, semi-professional, and amateur teams, sometimes with financial prizes.[34][35] As of 2010, major leagues include the USPL and PSP in the United States,[35][36] the Millennium Series in western Europe,[37] the Centurio series in Eastern Europe, and the National Collegiate Paintball Association in the US and Canada.[38] They are supplemented by various regional and local leagues spread worldwide.

Tournament format

The nature and timing of paintball events are specified by the league running the tournament, with the league also defining match rules - such as number of players per team, or acceptable equipment for use. The number of matches in a tournament is largely defined by the number of available teams playing.

A match in a tournament is refereed by a judge, whose authority and decisions are final. Tournament rules can vary as specified by the league, but may include for example - not allowing players to use any device to communicate with other persons during a game, or not allowing players to unduly alter the layout of terrain on the field. In contrast to a casual game designed for fun, a tournament is much stricter and violations of rules may result in penalties for the players or entire teams.[39]

Though tournament paintball was originally played in the woods, speedball became the standard competitive format in the 1990's.[35][40] The smaller fields made use of artificial terrain such as bunkers, allowing symmetrical fields that eliminate any terrain advantages for either team; woodsball fields having no such guarantee.[32]

Professional teams

A professional paintball team is one that plays paintball with the financial, equipment or other kind of support of one or more sponsors, often in return for advertising rights. Several professional teams have different names in different leagues due to franchising and sponsorship issues.

Paintball culture


Due to the unique nature of paintball and paintball equipment, players have developed a large body of jargon to describe the special kinds of tactics, equipment, phenomena, and even people found in the game. While most of the terms are neologisms, many are also borrowed from gamer and military culture.

Military theme

Paintball is played by over 5 million people in the United States each year.[41] As of 2007 all major militaries, including the U.S. military, Canadian forces, and British forces, have used training on paintball ranges to supplement combat training for their soldiers.[42] In many cases, paintball games and players take on a military theme, especially regarding camouflage and terminology.[43]

Paintball supporters have combated negative perceptions in several ways.[44] Some attempt to de-emphasize military themes, for example by using less violent terms such as "marker" instead of "gun",[23][31] or by wearing colorful athletic uniforms instead of camouflage.

Safety statistics

The rate of injury to paintball participants has been estimated as 4.5 injuries per 10,000 participants per year.[45] Research published by the Minnesota Paintball Association has argued that paintball is one of the statistically safest sports to participate in, with 0.2 injuries per 1000 players annually,[46] and these injuries tend to be a result of tripping. An international study using 288 incidents has shown that of modern sports, paintball is responsible for 20.8% of all eye injuries.[47] Furthermore, a one-year study undertaken by the Eye Emergency Department, Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary in Boston has shown that most sports eye injuries are caused by basketball, baseball, hockey, and racquetball.[48] Another analysis concluded that eye injuries incurred from paintball were in settings where protective equipment such as masks were not enforced, or were removed by the player.[49] Although eye injuries can occur when protective equipment is not properly used, such injuries often cause devastating visual loss.[50][51] For safety, most regulated paintball fields strictly enforce a 'masks-on' policy, and most eject players who consistently disobey.

Regardless, paintball has received criticism due to incidents of injury. In Canada in 2007, an eleven year old boy lifted his mask and was shot point blank in the eye by an adult playing on the same field,[52] leading to calls by the Montreal Children's Hospital to restrict the minimum age of paintball participants to 16 years. In Australia, the sport attracted criticism when a 39 year old man playing at a registered field in Victoria died of a suspected heart attack, after being struck in the chest.[4][53]

Additionally, the use of paintball markers outside a regulated environment has caused concern. In the United States in 1998, 14 year old Jorel Lynn Travis was shot with a paintball gun while standing outside a Fort Collins, Colorado ice cream parlor - blinding him in one eye.[54] In 2001, a series of pre-meditated and racially motivated drive-by shootings targeted Alaska Natives in Anchorage, Alaska, using a paintball marker, and paintball ammunition which allegedly had been frozen solid. In Canada in 2007, Ashley Roos was shot in the eye and blinded with a paintball gun while waiting for a bus.[55]


United States

In the United States of America, some cities such as Minneapolis, Minnesota, have banned the public possession of paintball guns[56] along with other devices that look like lethal guns capable of firing bullets. The concern was prompted by gun look-alikes being used in a threatening manner, and the difficulty of determining whether a person carrying a paintball gun is actually carrying a lethal gun.


In Germany, Paintball markers are classified as weapons that do not require a license or permit. They are legal to buy and use, but restricted to adults[57].

In May 2009, reacting to the Winnenden school shooting, German lawmakers announced plans to ban games such as paintball as they allegedly trivialised and encouraged violence[58][59] but the plans were retracted a few days later.[60]

See also


  1. ^ "Defined by the OXFORD ENGLISH DICTIONARY as a "war game"". Retrieved 27 December, 2009. 
  2. ^ "Game as defined by". Retrieved 27 December, 2009. 
  3. ^ "Game as defined by". Retrieved 27 December, 2009. 
  4. ^ a b "Push to legalise paintball". Retrieved 12 September, 2009. 
  5. ^ "Sporting Goods Group Dissects Team Sports". Retrieved 12 September, 2009. 
  6. ^ "Recession blots out local paintball". Retrieved 12 September, 2009. 
  7. ^ Davidson, Steve, et al. The Complete Guide to Paintball, 4-12. Hatherleigh Press, New York. 1999
  8. ^ "Paintball History - How it all started !!". Retrieved 19 March 2010. 
  9. ^ a b Davidson, The Complete Guide to Paintball, 8.
  10. ^ Davidson, The Complete Guide to Paintball, 17.
  11. ^ Davidson, The Complete Guide to Paintball, 22.
  12. ^ Davidson, The Complete Guide to Paintball, 10.
  13. ^ a b Davidson, The Complete Guide to Paintball, 19.
  14. ^ "True History of Paintball (with note to Skirmish AUS)". Retrieved 19 March 2010. 
  15. ^ "Skirmish News Feed". Retrieved 19 March 2010. 
  16. ^ Barrett, Lindsey. "Aiming to please: Paintball Club geared toward beginners". Retrieved September 12, 2009. 
  17. ^ McCarthy, Chris. "Paintball Planet features competitive fun". Cherokee County Herald.,13377142&dq=basic+paintball+rules. Retrieved September 16, 2009. 
  18. ^ Billard, Mary. "The Executive Life; The Satisfying Silliness Of the Paintball Wars". Retrieved September 15, 2009. 
  19. ^ Ewing, Bill. "Indoor paintball site targets the rapid growth of sport". Retrieved September 15, 2009. 
  20. ^ Peters, Kristina (28 September, 2007). "Paintball addictive to players". Retrieved September 15, 2009. 
  21. ^ "Paintball warriors embrace fast and furious version known as 'speedball'". Retrieved September 15, 2009. 
  22. ^ a b "Ready, Aim ... Paint?". Retrieved 16 September, 2009. 
  23. ^ a b Fowler, Hart. "Paintball: There's a little pain, but it's a ball". The Roanoke Times.\wb/83060. Retrieved 18 September, 2009. 
  24. ^ Santschi, Mark (April 18, 2001). "Ready, Aim, Paint!". The Daily of the University of Washington. Retrieved 21 September, 2009. 
  25. ^ (2006): Paintball Dictionary
  26. ^ Smith, Rain (7 October, 2008). "Video Report - Blountville-based paintball team ranked fifth in nation, heading to World Championships". Retrieved 16 September, 2009. 
  27. ^ "Paintball - Cover Me, I Lost My Guppy!". Retrieved 31 October 2009. 
  28. ^ "Field Paint Only Policy - see number 24". EMR Paintball. Retrieved Tuesday February 16, 2010. 
  29. ^ "FPO? What is that?". Gatsplat. Retrieved Tuesday February 16, 2010. 
  30. ^ "Both locations are now Field Paint Only (FPO). You can no longer bring in your own paint (BYOP).". Lehigh Valley Paintball Inc. Retrieved Tuesday February 16, 2010. 
  31. ^ a b "SPLAT! ; South Sound Plays Host to Some of the Best in the World of Paintball". News Tribune, The. Retrieved September 15, 2009. 
  32. ^ a b "Styles of play". St Petersburg Times. 18 May 2006.,2199580&dq=paintball+tournament+symmetrical&hl=en. Retrieved 17 February 2010. 
  33. ^ "The True History Of Paintball". Retrieved 17 February 2010. 
  34. ^ Rivera, Andrea (November 29, 2007). "Paintball: It's Assault and splattery". Arizona Daily Star. Retrieved 23 December 2009. 
  35. ^ a b c Alvania, Rebecca (May 23, 2007). "In The Paint". Retrieved 23 December 2009. 
  36. ^ "NPPL Info Dump". December 9, 2009. Retrieved 23 December 2009. 
  37. ^ Davidson, Max (03 May 2008). "Paintball: gunning for the games". 
  38. ^ "Pro Paintball - News, Teams, Industry, Leagues, Gear, and more". Retrieved 18 March 2010.  See list of current leagues under North American Leagues menu
  39. ^ "PSP Point Rules". Retrieved 18 February 2010. 
  40. ^ "National Pump League Goes Back To Paintball’s Roots". .68caliber. 2 February 2010. Retrieved 17 February 2010. 
  41. ^ (2008): SGMA Reports Paintball Growth
  42. ^ "Canadian forces training by playing paintball". Retrieved September 15, 2009. 
  43. ^ (2007): The Allure of Airsoft
  44. ^ "With Image Brush-Up, Paintball Moving From Military to Mainstream" Los Angeles Times, Jul 15, 2000
  45. ^ Conn JM, Annest JL, Gilchrist J, Ryan GW (June 2004). "Injuries from paintball game related activities in the United States, 1997-2001". Injury Prevention : Journal of the International Society for Child and Adolescent Injury Prevention 10 (3): 139–43. PMID 15178668. PMC 1730099. 
  46. ^ (2003): National Injury Information Clearinghouse of the U. S. Consumer Product Safety Commission in Washington D.C. (Published by Minnesota Paintball Association) [1]. Retrieved 2007-02-19.
  47. ^ Capão Filipe JA, Rocha-Sousa A, Falcão-Reis F, Castro-Correia J (November 2003). "Modern sports eye injuries". The British Journal of Ophthalmology 87 (11): 1336–9. doi:10.1136/bjo.87.11.1336. PMID 14609827. PMC 1771879. 
  48. ^ National Center for Biotechnology Information "Sports-related ocular trauma" [2]. Retrieved 02-19-07.
  49. ^ Fineman MS, Fischer DH, Jeffers JB, Buerger DG, Repke C (January 2000). "Changing trends in paintball sport-related ocular injuries". Archives of Ophthalmology 118 (1): 60–4. PMID 10636415. 
  50. ^ Alliman KJ, Smiddy WE, Banta J, Qureshi Y, Miller DM, Schiffman JC (February 2009). "Ocular trauma and visual outcome secondary to paintball projectiles". American Journal of Ophthalmology 147 (2): 239–242.e1. doi:10.1016/j.ajo.2008.08.007. PMID 18835471. 
  51. ^ Pahk PJ, Adelman RA (April 2009). "Ocular trauma resulting from paintball injury". Graefe's Archive for Clinical and Experimental Ophthalmology = Albrecht Von Graefes Archiv Für Klinische Und Experimentelle Ophthalmologie 247 (4): 469–75. doi:10.1007/s00417-008-0985-2. PMID 19034480. 
  52. ^ DeMelt, Annie (June 28 2007). "Doctors say paintball too dangerous for kids". Retrieved 16 September, 2009. 
  53. ^ "Paintball organisers defend sport after death". Retrieved 13 September, 2009. 
  54. ^ Langer, Sara (July 17, 2002). "Paintball Suit Results in Defense Win - Case against a youth who hurt a girl settles". The National Law Journal. Retrieved 21 September, 2009. 
  55. ^ "Paintball gun shot could leave woman blind in one eye". The Ottawa Citizen. Retrieved September 14, 2009. 
  56. ^ Minneapolis Paintball Gun Ban on Star Tribune. Retrieved 01-09-08.
  57. ^ Anlage 2 zu § 2 Abs. 2 bis 4 WaffG Abschnitt 2, Nummer 1.1; accessed 2010-02-22.
  58. ^ "World | Europe | Germany moves to outlaw paintball". BBC News. 2009-05-09. Retrieved 2009-05-27. 
  59. ^ Last Updated: 5:15PM BST 07 May 2009 (2009-05-07). "Germany to ban paintball in wake of high school shooting". Telegraph. Retrieved 2009-05-27. 
  60. ^ May 14, 2009 (2009-05-14). "AFP: Paintball dodges bullet in Germany". Retrieved 2009-05-27. 

External links

Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address