If you are like me, and your child is playing or wants to play paintball, then you have questions. As a parent, it’s your responsibility to make sure that the sports your kids play are as safe as they can, and that your child has (and uses) the gear necessary to minimize the chance or severity of injury. With that in mind, we’ve compiled a list of frequently asked questions, by parents, about paintball. It covers everything from safety to choosing a gift. If you don’t see your question here, be sure to check out our other resources, or send us an email. We are happy to help.
Let’s get started . . .
1. Is paintball safe for my child?
One of the most often asked questions is whether paintball is safe for children. I’ll answer this two ways. First, the sport of paintball itself is very safe. In organized play there are rules defined to protect the players, and any official field with insurance is required to follow these rules. These include things like “turning down” the guns so that they don’t shoot paintballs too fast (you may hear your child mention the “chrono”, wearing facemasks anytime you are on the field and keeping your barrel sleeve on the end of your barrel when you aren’t on the field to prevent accidentally firing a shot in someones direction. In this sort of controlled environment it’s very unlikely that anyone will be injured.
When injuries do happen, they are typically the result of irresponsible play off the field. While it’s cheaper to get a group together to play in someones yard or woods, it’s also more likely that players will be less inclined to maintain the highest standard of safety without some supervision. In this environment it is important to set boundries with your child and to explain the importance of safety and the risks associated with play. Facemasks are important. Challenge your child to be a leader in this area and to hold his or her friends to high standards.
2. Does getting shot with a paintball hurt?
Although where you get shot has much to do with how much it hurts, the simple answer here is yes. Part of what makes paintball so fun is the associated risk of getting shot and the resulting sting. It’s certainly not unbearable, as evidenced by the number of people playing and the range of ages, but it’s not unexpected to have some bruising or welts when you get hit. There are vests and jerseys which provide some protection. For younger players, it is suggested that you invest in some sort of protection to dampen the sting.
3. What’s the difference between CO2, HPA (High Pressure Air)?
These are just two different forms of propellent for paintballs. CO2 is generally a cheaper investment and involves a tank filled with liquid CO2. As the liquid is released from the tank, it converts to a gas and expands, which pushes the paintball out of the marker. CO2 tanks are sold in weights measured in ounces. The weight describes how much liquid CO2 can be safely stored in the container.
High Pressure Air works just like a scuba tank, where pressurized air is pumped into the tank and released to fire a paintball. This may also sometimes be referred to as “nitrogen” which is just another gas that can be used. HPA tanks generally cost more than CO2 tanks, and can be considered an upgrade that many players will opt for as they get more into the sport. HPA provides more consistent and reliable firing and is less harsh on the marker itself.
4. Can a tank explode?
No. All tanks have a built in safety features called “burst discs” These are set to release the pressure if it exceeds the rating for the disc. This prevents someone from over-filling a tank to the point that it ruptures. It is possible to drop a tank and damage it such that it releases it’s gas so it is important to handle them with care.
Tanks also have dates printed on them (usually every 3-5 years) when you should either replace the tank or have it “hydro” tested to ensure it is still in good working order. There are a number of places that provide this services for a reasonable fee.
5. My kid wants to start playing paintball… what do they need?
If it’s their first time playing, most fields offer rental gear so you can try it out. This is usually a good first step. If they are ready to jump in though then you need a paintball gun (marker), a mask and an air tank. We have a number of kits already put together in a variety of price ranges. Here are a few examples:
Spyder Paintball Kits - Spyder markers are great for the beginner. They are primarily targeted at people who are playing speedball (field with inflated “bunkers”). The Spyder Sonix Value Pack is a great starter kit for the money and includes everything needed to get started.
Tippmann Paintball Kits - Tippmann markers are more durable and targeted more toward the woodsball player. Their markers are all very customizable and they step up in features/quality/price beginning with the Tippmann 98, then the Tippmann A5, and the top of the line Tippman X7. The 98 Custom Power Pack is a great starter kit and is very similar to what most fields would provide as a rental.