Paintball Guns - Our First Time
By: Tim Hoss
We have heard about all the hype. Paintball is becoming an exciting, exhilarating extreme sport. It is an extreme sport and sounds intimidating. In fact it is intimidating and this is exactly what this article is about. For those of you wondering about the experience and if you should try it, the answer is a simple yes!! We are going to share our first time experience with you and hopefully, the decision will be an easy one for you to join the ranks of a paintball enthusiast.
There are many approaches to starting out. We offer two for you to consider. Obviously, the approach you take is a personal choice. One is definitely more expensive and risky but it really depends if you are committed to trying the sport or not. The second is cheaper and easy, but may be higher on the intimidation factor as you will not know anything about the equipment before you play.
The first approach is to go to your local field and rent some equipment and get started. This is not the approach we took. We had already decided that paintball was a sport we were going to do no matter what. So in our case, my son and I decided to take the plunge and buy some equipment. He purchased an Ion and I purchased a Tippmann 98 Custom Pro. I decided to immediately upgrade by adding a Cyclone Feed Hopper and an Electronic Trigger. What in the heck was I doing? I had no idea, but the type of person I am makes that decision an easy one.
I wanted to know about the marker I was going to use and I thought there would be no better way than to install the upgrades myself. I could have easily purchased one already upgraded but I wanted to learn myself. That is a whole other story that we do not want to get in to here. Rest assured I was able to do it myself. Again, this was my personal approach that you may or may not want to follow.
The second option of owning the equipment first allowed us to spend adequate time at home familiarizing ourselves with the paintball marker and safe handling. We studied the manuals and procedures for loading and unloading.
General gun safety applies. Make sure you are not pointing it at anyone and goggles are always worn even when you are just handling the marker. A barrel sleeve is on at all times and if applicable, safety applied or marker powered down. We purchased some reusable v-balls (for some at home backyard fun and learning about firing our markers).
Finally, the weekend arrived and the anticipation and intimidation factor were both peaked. We arrived late to the field and so we were walking in on a scene that had numerous players waiting to start another game. It was raining lightly. We were tempted to just pack up and go back home as we were not sure what to expect.
The first thing we did was go to check in with the field operator. He gave us the general run down on what to pay and if we needed to rent equipment. We informed him and others that we were new and that we appreciated their help and guidance. The players were awesome. The field operator told us our markers had to be checked for velocity and we did that. He quickly adjusted the markers to ensure that we were safe and within field limits.
The players decided that the next game would be Woodsball. In woodsball, it is basically as the name sounds - a game in the bush where cover and camo rule. The players were quick to explain the basic rules and mostly safety. Always wear your goggles!!! (A tip here is to buy a good quality double thermal mask. Fogging your mask up and problems with your goggles will take away from the paintball experience.)
Walking in towards the field and well away from the field, we were told that from a certain spot we must keep our masks on at all times. When we arrived at the field we split in to teams. My son (aged 12) and I were on a team of 4 against 4 that were decked out with markers, nitrogen, remote lines and camo. Well did I mention our intimidation was peaked!!
We had never been hit by a paintball, let alone shoot anyone. We were not army veterans, marksmen, or athletes. We were just a father and son wanting to shoot paintball but at that split moment, we new we were in too far to back out and not far enough to stop. They told us some more basics like what "army rules" meant. The term is used to describe the rule that we would only be out if we were hit on the torso or head (not limbs). They told us not to remove our mask and to raise our arms if surrendering or hit. We were told to walk out with your arms raised until you are off the field. Do not shoot anyone too close and ask them to surrender.
If you run out of ammunition or air, you are also out. This would explain why the "intimidator" team had gear belts that held extra paintball "pods" (plastic tubes that hold a fill of paintballs for your loader) and a place for an air tank or extra air tank.
Okay we were positioned. We were split up and both teams had called out to the referee that we were ready to play. It was game on. Instantly the excitement peaked and we were in the game. My son flanked to the left. We stuck together and moved forward until we found some cover. All of our "Call of Duty" online experience flashing before our eyes. Don't give away our position, be patient...ah just shoot!!!! One of us hit a player...a head shot. We both took credit for that one!
We felt cocky now. Shooting and exhilarated. I decided to move to another spot. Started to move and then in an instant ouch! I was hit in the back and out. I raised my hands over my head and called myself out. Moved to the edge of the field and watched from the sidelines. Reflecting how stupid I had been to just move without being more stealth like. Crap, now I had to wait until the next game. The earlier "ouch", was not too bad. We felt our wounds but they were not very painful. We could describe it as an isolated almost sunburn feeling.
Soon after my son was also hit and he came out. Both of us could not wait to go again and like the first dive in to a pool - our hearts beating with excitement and exhilaration, we were hooked!
The author is the owner of an online paintball store. At RedDotPaintball.com, you'll find a wide selection of paintball guns
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