Top 10 Paintball Safety Tips
Before you can have fun playing paintball, you have to be safe. Safety is extremely important in many aspects of daily life and activity, and paintball is no different. Much like driving among thousands of other drivers, you can’t control what some common sense-deprived people will do, but you can control what you do when you step out onto the paintball field.
Without further ado, your paintball safety tips.
1. YOUR PAINTBALL MASK MUST REMAIN ON AT ALL TIMES
Your paintball mask is the #1 most important piece of paintball gear you will use. Anytime you are in an area where a paintball marker is being fired they need to be securely on your face. This means before you step onto the field of play, while walking off the field after being hit, and at the chrono station. If you are ever not sure then leave them on until you are.
Remember that a paintball can ultimately travel up to 100 yards.
Most paintball masks today come with a chinstrap. It is HIGHLY advised that you use it! Tripping and falling down or a low tree branch can dislodge the mask from your face in play. The chinstrap will prevent this.
2. WHEN GOGGLES ARE OFF, YOUR BARREL BLOCKER MUST BE ON
A barrel blocker is designed to keep a paintball from exiting the barrel. This device needs to be securely fastened any time you are in a non-shooting area where players can take their goggles off. It goes on before you screw the air tank into your marker and it is the last thing to come off at the end of the day. When in doubt, keep the cover on.
The two main types of barrel blockers are a barrel plug and a barrel cover (also known as a barrel condom). A barrel plug is device that slides snugly into the muzzle of the marker. To ensure proper safety the barrel should be clean of broken paint inside. A barrel cover is the safer alternative, especially with paintball guns set to burst or full auto mode. This is a sleeve that slips over the muzzle with a retaining strap or cord that secures around the back of the gun. Before play you should always inspect your cover for any frays or tears in the material and cord.
3. ALWAYS CHRONOGRAPH YOUR PAINTBALL MARKER
The velocity that a marker fires a paintball is adjustable and many other factors can affect it as well. Ambient temperature, elevation, a change in paintball brands, barrel bore diameter, etc can cause drops or spikes in the Feet Per Second (FPS) of the ball. The paintball industry determined that the absolute maximum a paintball should be fired in play is 300 FPS, and safety gear is engineered around this. Many paintball fields are lowering the max velocity as low as 275 FPS for outdoor play and 230 FPS for indoor play.
A chronograph is an electronic device that measure the speed of a paintball fired over it. You should always chrono your marker before play and throughout the day as temperatures warm up. A commercial field is required for insurance reasons to have a chronograph. People playing on private property need to acquire one for safe play. The game is more fun and your marker will shoot much more accurately at safe velocity.
4. CHANGE YOUR PAINTBALL MASK LENS AT LEAST ONCE A YEAR
A paintball lens needs to be changed at least once a year, regardless of amount of play. Before a day of play you should always inspect your lens for any cracks, gouges or excessive scratching. You also need to replace your lens after taking a direct hit from 15 feet or less.
A lens is cheap to replace; your eyes are irreplaceable!
Take proper care of your lens as per the manufacturer’s instructions. Only use approved goggle lens cleaners or water and not Windex or household cleaners. Always clean all paint and shell residue from the entire lens including the channels where the lens fits inside the mask.
5. KEEP YOUR AIR TANK OUT OF THE SUN AND AWAY FROM HEAT
CO2 and compressed air (HPA) tanks need to be kept out of direct sunlight and away from extreme heat when off the field. Excessive heat can cause internal pressure to rise, resulting in the safety burst disc to blow and vent the pressure. Keep your marker and air tanks in the shade.
6. OBSERVE YOUR AIR TANK WHEN REMOVING FROM THE MARKER
The valve on your CO2 tank or regulator on your compressed air tank is installed with thread locker at the proper torque from the factory. Despite this, proper procedure is to observe where your valve meets the bottle to ensure that the valve is unthreading from the marker and not the bottle unthreading from the valve. If you observe this happening immediately stop, retighten it back onto the valve, and consult a pro shop.
7. MAKE SURE YOU CAN SEE
Playing with a dirty or fogged mask is virtually the same as playing blindfolded. If you cannot clearly see then you run the risk of injury from trips and falls. Get a dual pane thermal paintball lens or use a good antifog spray or paste. Clean your mask of any paint splatter with water or approved lens cleaner and a soft lint-free or microfiber cloth. Never use toilet paper or paper towels; these are actually very abrasive and will leave fine scuffs like sandpaper that
obscures your vision.
8. WEAR THE PROPER CLOTHING AND PADDING
Paintball is a physical game and often played in places full of hard terrain and tripping hazards. Wear clothing that is comfortable but not so baggy that you can get caught up and trip. Consider wearing boots, high top shoes or ankle supports to prevent rolls and sprains.
Kneepads and elbow pads absorb the impact of contact with the ground from falls, dives or crawling. Gloves, especially those with padded palms, protect the hands from scratches and cuts. If you have a history of back problems then consider an elastic waist belt-style paintball harness or wearing a back support belt during play.
9. STAY HYDRATED
Dehydration can strike at any time of the year but especially in the summertime. Heat casualties can be prevented. Begin by drinking extra water several days before if you know you are going to go play paintball in advance. Avoid soda, energy drinks or excessive amounts of sports drinks. Drink plenty of water the morning before play and continue drinking water regularly, even if you are not thirsty. If you get thirsty then you have probably waited too long. A backpack-type water bladder with a hose and bite valve will let you drink during play with minimal effort.
On high temperatures days you need to take more frequent breaks out of the sun. Avoid excess clothing; those long sleeves and heavy pants might help pad hits but it also promotes overheating. If you start feeling dizzy or fatigued then stop playing, go relax and cool down.
10. DON’T TINKER WITH THINGS YOU ARE NOT SURE ABOUT
Before you do any maintenance or installations to your paintball marker you need to be sure the marker is completely degassed! With a barrel cover on the muzzle, remove all air sources and dry fire the marker to ensure all pressure is vented from any regulators. Safety glasses are recommended in the event of springs or other parts popping out of place. When maintaining, tuning or upgrading your paintball equipment you should always stick to what you are sure about, as the high pressures involved with paintball markers and tanks can cause injury if not handled properly. When in doubt, consult a pro shop.