Paintball has rules, just like any other game. To get the most out of your day of play, we’ve put together a short summary of the most important paintball rules.
The most important paintball rules are the safety rules. The risk of injury is low when using the proper safety equipment and following these rules.
Eye Protection — If there’s one rule in paintball that MUST be followed EVERY time you step on the playing field, it’s the mask rule. Paintballs travel at speeds up to 300 feet per second (roughly 200 MPH). That’s enough energy to severely damage your eye. Only eye protection designed for paintball is adequate. Shop goggles or shooting glasses do not provide adequate protection.
Paintball fields take eye protection very seriously. Players caught lifting their mask, or removing the goggles away from their face, can expect to sit out a game or two. Repeated violations of the mask rule can result in a player being ejected from the playing facility. The best way to make sure you don’t break this rule is to watch your referee. If your ref has his paintball mask on, make sure your mask is on.
Barrel Cover — The other safety item that all players must be aware of is the barrel cover. The barrel cover is a device that goes over your paintball gun’s barrel when you’re not playing. It is intended to catch a paintball, should the gun be accidentally fired. The barrel cover has an elastic cord on it that is used to keep the barrel cover in place. Adjust the tension of the barrel cover to shorten the cord if it appears too loose.
Barrel covers must be used whenever you’re not playing. Make sure your barrel cover is properly attached before leaving the playing field. If you lose your barrel cover, do not leave the field with your paintball gun. Instead, bring the issue to the attention of your referee. Most referees carry spare barrel covers with them.
Clothing — Proper clothing is important when playing paintball. Clothing will help to protect your skin from close shots. It will also provide some protection when running around on the playing field. On cold days, consider dressing in layers. Most players have a tendency to overdress for the weather. A t-shirt, with a sweatshirt or two over that is better than one heavy layer. Most paintball facilities offer rental jumpsuits that are ideal for paintball. Not only does the jumpsuit provide a layer of protection, it will help to keep your clothing clean. The jumpsuit will also help to keep the dirt and paint on the field–and not in your vehicle.
Footwear — The footwear you use while playing paintball is very important. Water-resistant hiking boots are best, as they provide ankle support and will keep your feet dry, should you find a puddle. If you don’t have hiking boots, use the same shoes you’d wear when hiking in a park.
Now that we have you up to speed on the safety rules, let’s talk about the basic rules of the game.
Marking Your Opponent — All of the games you’ll play will involve shooting paintballs at the other team. Players are eliminated when a paintball hits and breaks on them, leaving paint on their body or equipment. Rules may vary slightly, so listen closely to your referee and don’t be afraid to ask questions. At most paintball fields, a ball must directly impact a player and leave at least a quarter sized splat. Spray from paintballs hitting nearby doesn’t count.
What To Do When You’re Hit — When you’re eliminated, yell out LOUDLY, “I’m hit” and waive your arm above your cover to signal your elimination. Step away from your bunker and raise your gun over your head. Make your way over to the side of the field, but keep in mind that firefights probably won’t stop if you try to walk through them. If you encounter a firefight, keep your gun over your head and work your way around the firefight, or wait for the firefight to stop.
The Option To Surrender — If you find yourself closer than 20 feet to your opponent, give them the option to surrender. Close shots aren’t fun and you’ll appreciate the option to surrender if the tables are turned in a later game. To surrender a player, point your paintball gun at them and yell, “surrender”, or, “you’re out”. Watch out, your opponent may spin and attempt to shoot you. If they turn and try to point their gun at you, don’t be afraid to shoot them.