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Team Wolfpack: Paintball FAQ Information

We try to answer the most common paintball questions. If your question isn't listed, please feel free to contact us.

What is paintball?
Paintball is recognized as one of the world's most exciting outdoor participation sports. Paintball is played in over 50 countries by millions of people of different ages and lifestyles. Whether high-school students or homemakers, professionals or retiree, all paintball players share a love for adventure and a strong competitive spirit.Paintball is a combination of tag, hide & seek, and capture the flag. Paintball is challenging and extremely fast paced. Each player is equipped with a paintball marker that shoot paintballs as well as a paintball mask for safety. The object of most games is to eliminate your opponent from the game by "tagging" them with a paintball. Being "tagged" refers to having been hit by a paintball. There are many (almost infinite) game variations, but most games revolve around a "capture the flag" theme.Paintball is a sport played by people from every lifestyle and profession imaginable. Women and men can compete equally, and the average player age is not dominated by youth. Physical size and strength are not as important as intelligence and determination. Paintball is a game of proper tactics and team cooperation. Like a game of chess, being able to think quickly and decisively is what makes a good player. Paintball is an exciting sport, and above all paintball is fun! It's a chance to shake off your day-to-day responsibilities and satisfy your spirit for adventure. Once the adrenaline starts pumping, you can't help but become addicted to the rush, the thrill of the game!

Is it safe?
Like all action sports (football, basket ball, etc.) paintball can be very dangerous unless adequate protection is worn and safety rules are understood and followed. Most paintball guns shoot 68 caliber (0.68 inch diameter) paintballs. A paintball is essentially a paint pellet. The pellet is composed of a thin plastic shell filled with a water soluble, vegetable based dye. Paintball guns, often referred to as "markers", shoot paintballs at a speed of 200 to 300 feet per second. To give you a better idea of the speed that paintballs travel, 300 fps is about 205 miles per hour. Since paintballs are fairly light (only weighing a few grams each), they have little momentum while in flight, and thus are non-lethal.Paintball players must *always* wear protective goggles to protect their eyes and usually wear masks covering the rest of their face as well. A paintball impact with the face can easily cause serious injury to the eyes and ears. Safety is highly stressed at most fields. Most fields require goggles be worn at all times unless in designated areas. Many fields also require that paintball barrels plugs (plastic inserts that prevent paintballs from leaving your gun's barrel) be used while players are not playing in the actual game. Ignoring safety is a good way to get yourself ejected from a field and seriously injured. If all the safety rules for paintball are followed, paintball can be a very safe sport.

Does it hurt?
Paintballs are designed to break open upon impact, and generally cause very little pain. What pain is experienced is more of a stinging sensation from the pellet's impact against the skin or through clothing. In most cases, the stinging pain goes away after a few seconds and almost always within a few minutes. Of course, the closer you are to the muzzle of the gun, the higher the velocity will be when the paintball hits you. Thus, more pain may be experienced when shot at close range rather than farther away. Most fields have a mandatory surrender rule to prevent players from being shot at closer to 20 feet. In general, a player can count on coming off the field with a few welts from paintball hits accumulated over the day. Many players are proud to show off any bruises they have and are often more than willing to share their stories about each one.

How much does it cost?
The average field in North America will cost approximately $15-25+ for a 1 day rental of goggles, gun and some, usually 100-200, paintballs. Extra paintballs are usually 5 cents or less each. Some players will find themselves using less than 30 paintballs per game, while some players at the other end of the spectrum can be using over 200 paintballs per game. Better guns and face paintball masks are usually available at an additional cost. A beginner should plan on using 200-500 paintballs for the first day of playing. A day of play is usually from 9:00am to 3:30 pm. If you start playing regularly and would like to have your own equipment, you have several options open to you. Buying a used pump action gun and a new pair of goggles is a good start. You can buy a used pump for $50 to $150. You can buy an entry level semi-automatic for $100 to $300. A new pair of goggles might cost $20 to $40. Buying yourself a new pair of goggles designed specifically for paintball is a must. On average, field paint cost about $.03 to $.06 per ball. You may go through several hundred paintballs over the course of a single day, so this cost should be a long term consideration. Depending on the type of gun you're using, the cost of CO2 (or compressed air) should also be a long term consideration. If you're using a constant air tank, you should be able to get it refilled at your local paintball shop or field for about $3-$5, depending on its size.

Whats the difference between speedball, hyperball, woodsball and recball?
Speedball is a game of close quarters paintball. Games usually last between five to ten minutes and call for quick thinking,adrenaline,speed and some sharp shooting if you want to come out alive. Rec-ball, short for recreational paintball, is a catch-all phrase meaning just about any paintball game that you don't play for money (ie, tournaments). Rec-ball can include big games, scenarios, walk-ons (where you just show up at a field and get put with other players to form a team), etc. There are a wide variety of rec-ball playing fields. It is often played in the woods, but can also be played in outdoor concept fields (ie, urban assault, village) or in indoor fields. Rec-ball is the kind of playing you do for fun, without permanent teams, and where the slate of wins and loses is wiped clean at the end of the day. Dedicated rec-ballers usually think tournament play is too serious.

What should i wear
This is really a two part question. The most important thing you will wear is your shoes. Bring something that has traction, ankle support, can get really dirty and won't hurt your feet! Don't get a new pair of boots on the way to the field unless you bring an ample supply of Band-Aids! If you do get new footwear, wear it at home for several days before you bring it to the field. Also, invest in a pair of socks designed (yes, socks are technological wonders, just like paintball gear!) for sports use. I have seen people wear lots of different things while playing. The happy people tend to wear light hiking boots or football cleats. There are some very nice shoes made for paintball (I don't own any, but if you know the folks that make them, I'm a size 10 1/2 or 11). Check with your local store for more info about paintball specific footwear. Alternatives are high top sneakers, but remember, they will get dirty (often very dirty). Wear gloves if you have them. If you don't, buy a cheap pair of brown cotton gardening gloves. You can cut the gloves to allow you to "handle" things better. I would suggest that you cut the top half off of the glove finger that you use to pull the trigger. A lot of people wear hats when they play. I do, it keeps the paint splatter out of my hair and keeps me out of the sun when it is out. Bring one. Remember, you can always take something off, but if you don't bring something, it could lessen your enjoyment. Now here is a very controversial area, what clothes to wear. Wear cammies if you have them. PaintBall players do not wear cammies because we want to pretend to play war or pretend to be in the army!! We wear them because we play in the woods. The green and brown of the cammies makes it harder for our opponents to see us (you know, they match the color of the trees and stuff). As a matter of fact, the army only has cammo's because they match the environment that army men and women work in, not because cammo's inherently make someone want to partake in warfare. The important thing is to cover everything! Long pants and long sleeves. Go for a couple light layers vs one heavy one. This minimizes the impact of a paintball. If you don't have cammies, wear something that is dark, comfortable to move in and appropriate for the weather you will be playing in. I can eliminate you just as well wearing a dark pair of sweats as I can in my nifty paintball outfit.

Does the paint wash off?
Most brands of paint are water soluble and should wash out of normal clothes. Paintballs, for the most part, are vegetable based dyes in a colored gelatin shell. However, it is recommended you wear old clothes or clothes that you don't mind seeing a few stains in. Some professional grade paints are harder to clean from clothes, but most paint will wash out.

What's the difference between Nitrogen, C02 and HPA?
1. CO2 (carbon dioxide)
Stored as a liquid in cylinders and expands into a gas,
Cannot fill compressed air or nitro into CO2 tanks,
Cylinders typically can screw right into an ASA and has a pin valve,
Output pressure depends on environment temperature. 80f is about 950psi, 40F is about 550psi,
Capacity of tanks is measured in ounces,
This gas causes velocity jumps due to liquid expansion,
Most are made of either steel or aluminum,
Aluminum cylinders over 2" in width needs to be tested every 5 years by hydrostatic testing,
You can get CO2 in disposable 12g cartridges to a refillable 20oz tank,
You can get refills pretty much at any field or store,
When shooting with CO2, the tank will get cold. The colder the tank, less air pressure.
2. Nitro/Compressed Air (N2/HPA)
Both N2 and HPA can be used interchangeably in N2/HPA specific cylinders in a gas state,
When speaking about these tanks, both the terms N2 and HPA mean the same thing,
Depending on size, the small units are all steel construction. More common is an aluminum cylinder wrapped in a composite or fiberglass material,
All cylinders needs to be tested every 3 years with a maximum life of 15 years,
All Nitro systems can typically screw into an ASA and has a built in pressure regulator (can be purchased as a fixed or adjustable output) to reduce the internal pressure of 3,000 or 4,500 psi inside the tank to around 850 psi output on a non-adjustable tank or a wide range on an adjustable tank,
Using a HPA tank, you are not severely effected by temperature,
HPA/Nitro tanks come in 48cu to 114cu refillable tanks in either 3,000 or 4,500 psi,
PSI means "pound per square inch",
not all fields can supply you with refills,
When shooting tanks filled with N2, the tank will gradually warm.
CU and CI mean the same thing. Just different units of measurement used. CU means Cubic Units. CI stands for Cubic Inches. This refers to the area inside of the tank that is filled. So, 68CI means there is 68 cubic inches inside of this tank. A 68CU tank has 68 cubic units inside of the tank... basically, the same size area. This term describes the size of nitro tanks.
OZ stands for ounces. This is how much liquid CO2 the tank is filled. From 4oz to 20oz.
HPA stands for High Pressure Air. Same thing as compressed air. This is the type of gas used when filling these types of tanks. Basically, it is the same air we breathe in everyday. A compressor will suck in air and jam in into the tank your filling.
A Nitro system is just another term used for HPA tanks. It is a type of gas used to fill a tank. Instead of the atmospheric air that is used to fill these tanks, it is almost pure nitrogen, or N2, that is used to fill the tank. HPA and Nitro can be use to fill the same tank specified as such. You cannot fill CO2 into a Nitro tank. Same is true about not able to fill HPA into a CO2 tank.
The difference between Nitro and HPA is when you fire a tank filled with Nitro; the tank will get a little warm as you fire it. A tank filled with HPA will not. And as many of you already know, CO2 slowly chills a CO2 tank.
So, CU and CI mean the same thing. It is the area inside of the tank to be filled. HPA and Nitro system means the same type of tank.

How many shots can I get from my tank?

CO2HPA 3000HPA 4500
Tank SizeShotsTank SizeShotsTank SizeShots
7 Oz300-40044cc400-50044cc600-700
9 Oz400-45053cc600-70053cc800-900
12 Oz500-70068cc800-90068cc1200-1400
20 Oz1200+114cc1250-1500114cc1500-2000

How do I play?
Beginner Paintball Strategies
Here are tips and tactics to help you take your game to the next level.
Basic Do's and Don'ts
Learn paintball's basic ground rules for safety and sportsmanship. Be Unpredictable! In everyday life, it helps to have a routine. But paintball isn't everyday life. Learn some new moves and make yourself unpredictable.
Beware of Tunnel Vision! Have you ever gotten shot seemingly out of nowhere? If so, you probably fell prey to that common newbie mistake - tunnel vision. Find out what it is and how to avoid it.
Crawling 101! Crawling is a slow way to move on a paintball field, but it can give you a great advantage by allowing you to stay hidden. Learn when and how to crawl during a paintball game.
Don't Be a Hoser! Think there isn't a paintball gun out there that could shoot fast enough for you? Go through a case of paint in one day? Then you should learn that shooting well is much more impressive than shooting frequently
Shoot Long! New players love to shoot at targets that are out of range. Stop it!
Don't think twice! As a new paintball player. It's only natural to hesitate. Don't! There's only one way to learn and win this game - by doing.
Eliminating Your Opponents! Hitting another player and eliminating him or her is not the same thing. Paintballs have an annoying habit of bouncing off your opponents.

Help! I don't know how to play!
You've never played before, and you're afraid you're going to get pounced on the field. Don't let it stop you. Paintball basics are simple.

How to Improve Your Aim
These paintball drills are easy to set up but challenging to do. Keep on practicing and soon you'll notice the difference in your aim (and in the amount of paint you need!)
Keep Your Sights on the Goal! Many players tend to make up their own objectives when playing paintball. Make sure your personal goal isn't going against the true objective of the game - to win!
Play as a team! Take advantage of the fact that paintball is a team sport by using these quick strategies.
Play tight! Tired of those chest shots? Learn how to make yourself a small target out on the paintball field.
Stop and Check Yourself! Some players are too quick to yell they are out when they feel a hit. Before eliminating yourself, make sure the paint actually broke on you.
Teamwork 101! How do you make a good team on the field? By being friends off the field, communicating, trusting each other to watch your backs, and sharing credit for a job well done.

What happens when i get hit?
Remember, hits only count if the paintball breaks and marks you with paint, Splatter from near-misses does not count. At this field, gun hits also do not count. Some hits are immediately obvious, such as on the goggles or hand, in which case you should call hit, plug your barrel, hold your gun pointing up, and walk off the field. Call yourself dead man if it looks like you're walking into a firefight or someone's line of fire. Other hits are not so obvious, such as on the back or side, or the paintball may not break. If hit in a place you cannot easily see, dive for cover and check yourself, or have a teammate do it, or call paintcheck to the referee, who will call you neutral and determine if you're hit. Do not advance on a neutral player. Above all, paintball depends on the honor system to work and be fun. Be sure to call hits loudly if you are marked. Also, some hits cannot be seen or felt by the player, such as on fanny packs or boot soles, and the player may continue on, unaware they have been hit. If you see a teammate or opposing player with such a non-obvious hit just inform them or the referee.

What's the difference between pump, semi-automatic and full automatic paintball guns?
A pump gun is a type of marker that must be manually re-cocked every time you shoot a ball. It is not like a BB gun that has to pumped up to shoot. A semi-auto gun re-cocks itself every time you pull and release the trigger (cycle one time). With full-auto, once you pull the trigger it will continuously discharge paintballs (repeat cycle) until you release it.