What is Paintball?


Paintball is an exciting sport played with an unlimited amount of participants indoors or outdoors. Gameplay involves players shooting a compressed-gas gun at the opposing team to win. Paintball guns propel dye-filled gel capsules that explode upon impact after hitting a surface or body part. Paintball guns, also referred to as markers, are low-energy game weapons that vary in price depending on play level.


Paintball is a relatively new extreme sport created in the early 1970’s by Hayes Noel and Charles Gaines. The original intended use of paintballs by the Nelson Paint Company was to mark livestock or agriculture. Loggers, ranchers, and other outdoorsmen used paintballs with  an oil-based paint, making it more difficult to be rinsed off with water. After Nelson developed a gelatin film infused with paint that explodes upon hitting a surface, the creation of paintball soon followed.

How To Play

how to play paintball

Paintball is a game that can be played any time of the year. There are many different types of playing surfaces, such as grass, dirt, snow, and indoor artificial materials. Traditionally, indoor paintball requires a higher level of skill because of limited space. More advanced players use astroturf sneakers when playing indoors to ensure both safety and silent movement. This allows players to sneak up on the opposing team and eliminate players more easily. The playing surface of outdoor paintball can consist of hills or a large field with man-made shelter-blockers.

Paintball Equipment

Paintball Equipment

To ensure safety, all players must wear a mask to protect the eyes and face. A mask protects one’s face and eyes as paintball guns fire off around 190MPH. An air tank is what allows the paintball marker to shoot paintballs. Other protective gear consists of elbow pads and knee pads, allowing players to roll, duck, and dive at a high speed.

Here is the essential paintball equipment you should have:

  • Air Tank
  • Mask
  • Paintballs
  • Paintball Gun or Marker
  • Protective Gear


Paintball is an extreme sport that can have multiple objectives based on the game mode that both teams want to play. Common game modes are team deathmatch and capture the flag. The objective of team deathmatch is to eliminate all players on the opposing team. The objective of capture the flag is for a team member to steal the flag from a set location on the other side of the map and return it to their side without being shot.

Rules and Regulations

paintball Rules and Regulations

The primary basis behind all paintball rules and regulations are to ensure maximum safety. Important rules that both teams should agree on are boundaries, out of bounds lines, where the dead zone is for players who have been shot, and time limits.

Here are the most important Paintball rules you should know:

  • The maximum speed a paintball gun can be set to is 204.5 MPH.
  • There must be a dead zone for players who have been hit
  • Any player is allowed to surrender themselves in order to not be shot by the opposition


The top strategies of paintball involve effective communication. A basic communication tactic is hand signals. Hand signals enable teammates to tell each other when to run or when to shoot without giving up their location. More game-oriented strategies include flanking, runners, and leap-frogging. Flanking involves teammates splitting up on both sides of the field to try and corner the opposition. Runners are the fastest players on a team who gain an aggressive location early on to surprise the other team or capture the flag. Lastly, leap-frogging requires some teammates to advance upwards while the other teammates cover them from behind. 

Here are the most important Paintball strategies you should know:

  • Flanking
  • Runners
  • Leap-Frogging


paintball lingo

The following list consists of paintball lingo that describes a game action or terminology referring to paintball equipment.

Here is the common lingo and slang in paintball:

  • Barrel Break: a paintball gun that has a broken paintball in the barrel, decreasing the capability of the gun
  • Bounce: refers to a ball that has hit an opponent but hasn’t exploded, allowing the player to still be in the game
  • Dead Man Walking: a phrase yelled to alert the other team that you are surrendering
  • Grenade: a balloon like structure filled with paint that is able to be thrown in the vicinity of the other team
  • Point Blank: a phrase shouted at the opposition, allowing the targeted player to give themself up without being hit.


paintball players

Oliver Lang is one of the greatest paintball players of all time. At the age of 22, he was awarded the International Paintball Player of the Year award. He made Paintball history in 2006 by accepting a $100,000 buyout contract to play for Dye Action Sports. He went on to win the first ever Paintball Sports Promotion (PSP), the 2011 PSP Galveston Island Open, and the Millennium Series event. Konstantin Federov is regarded by many as the most versatile player to ever play paintball. He is 35 years old and still in the top ten ranked players in the world. He started playing with the famous Russian Legion at the age of 16. Nicholas Neival cannot be left off this list as he has earned multiple teams and 1v1 championship wins.

Here are the most famous paintball players you should know:

  • Oliver Lang
  • Konstantin Federov
  • Nicholas Neival


There are many recognized paintball leagues throughout the world and throughout the United States. Every country has many independent leagues. Below is a list of the most popular paintball leagues to know.

Here are the most popular paintball leagues you should know:

  • American Paintball League (APL)
  • National Xball League (NXL)
  • National Speedball League (NSL)

Events and Competitions

paintball Events and Competitions

Below is a list of the most popular paintball tournaments from around the world.

  • Champions Paintball League (CPL): The Champions Paintball League has the best 20 teams from Europe compete and the top four advance to qualify for the Intercontinental Cup. The bottom two teams are relegated to the SPL division.
  • Division 1: This league varies in league size every year. The top 8 teams advance to the SPL league
  • Paintball Sports Promotion Finals (PSP): The Paintball Sports Promotion is regarded as one of the most competitive competitions every year. The PSP holds 5 games a year and is divided by league competition


Is there a certified instructor to teach how to shoot a paintball gun?

There will always be a certified instructor or paintball worker on site to teach the proper way to hold and shoot a paintball gun. The instructor will demonstrate how to change the safety mode of the paintball gun on and off as well as how to run with it.

What does it feel like to get hit by a paintball?

Those who a paintball has hit describe getting hit as a slight sting. The sting is similar to getting flicked and is only temporary. It is important to wear protective gear and pads to help reduce the temporary pain of getting hit.

How heavy are paintball guns?

Standard paintball guns are 3 to 6 pounds. More advanced players and paintball enthusiasts tend to have paintball guns that weigh 7-9 pounds.

How many paintballs does a paintball gun hold?

A paintball gun stores bullets in a place called the hopper. A standard hopper holds anywhere between 200 and 300 paintballs. This should last most players a few games.