Teachings of paintball

Paintball, like everything else, has its name-callers and down-talkers. There are those who see paintball as a violent and politically incorrect past time ... and they couldn't be further from the truth!

Paintball isn?t violent

The very foundational rules of paintball seek to limit personal injury and violence:

  • Paintball markers are restricted to low velocities.
  • Players must wear protective eyewear. The use of eyewear specifically designed for paintball, is strictly enforced.
  • Close-range shooting of an opponent is discouraged and players find this type of behavior unacceptable. Most fields have a "surrender rule."
  • No physical contact between players is allowed, other than a "hand tag" (if players can even get that close!). These four things show that paintballers are not out to hurt each other.

Paintball isn?t mock war, nor is it a metaphor for war

At first glance it may not seem this way because some scenario games revolving around historic battles and campaigns are popular. This is not the industry's or players' way of glorifying war. It is simply playing "make believe." Many of the organizers of these events use the scenario to proclaim the gallantry shown by our fighting men and women. No one who plays paintball would relish going to war. Other than the combat veteran, the paintballer knows how quickly luck can run out when projectiles start flying. If anything, paintball gives players a sense of their own vulnerability and mortality.

Paintball isn?t bad for kids

Provided the safety equipment fits them properly, there is no reason people under the "legal age of consent" shouldn't play paintball - with parental permission, of course. In fact, paintball just may teach kids some important life skills. Winning doesn't matter, race/creed/age/religion/size doesn't matter. Respect for authority, safety, and determined effort brings reward. Best of all, it teaches them to see a loss not as failure, but as a learning experience. TEAMWORK is essential.

Paintball isn?t dangerous

The safety equipment is designed to withstand multiple impacts from paintballs that are traveling far above the industry safe standard. (In other words they hold up over and above the "worst case scenario" like all safety equipment should.) Few people have been injured playing paintball. Accident statistics show that paintball has fewer injuries than bowling!

Paintball isn?t training people for the overthrow of the government

We're not a bunch of paramilitary commandos. We are not using paintball to train ourselves in military tactics. In fact, military tactics don't seem to work in paintball. The reason is that military tactics require a highly disciplined group of people, and that's not paintballers! We are a large collection of fierce individualists, and we don't take orders very well.

Paintball isn?t training people to kill, nor does it make people "get used to" shooting someone

It's only a game. Shooting someone is more representative of a tag. Besides, paintball is the ONLY team sport where you can LEGALLY eliminate your opponent from play. And best of all: no one gets hurt.

We don't want to sugar-coat it - some players do refer to eliminations as "kills". But it's just an expression! Comedians "kill" you ... that can hardly be a metaphor for murder. A headache "kills" you sometimes. Does it really? The basic thing is that paintballers are NOT actually thinking, "I'm killing this guy," when they shoot somebody. They're more likely thinking, "Aha! One step close to that flag!"

Paintball doesn?t promote violent tendencies in people

In fact, psychologists have seen it to be a catharsis. It is a safe and healthy way to blow-off some of the everyday tensions in life. Violent tendencies? Most likely, players have absolutely no tendencies towards anything after a day of paintball other than tendencies towards a hot bath and a warm bed!

Paintball isn?t teaching people how to use firearms

Yes, paintball markers share the same basic features as firearms. Both markers and firearms have triggers, grips, barrels, sears, bolts, hammers and sights. However, people can't learn how to use real firearms by using paintmarkers. Think of it this way: how much can you learn about a computer by using a pocket calculator?

There are paintmarkers which emulate the weight, design and operation of firearms, but they are specifically designed for police and military training, and are not used by most organized fields. Nor are they available to the general paintball playing public. The ones that are available have been modified to better suit paintball. The design parameters between paintball and training are totally different. What would be good for a tactical training emulator isn't necessarily good, or even desired, in a paintmarker.

Over one million people in North America play paintball. Paintball has been around since 1981 and no one has been able to link violent crime directly as a result of playing paintball. Why? Because there is no direct relation.