There are thousands of people taking part in paintballing games every week in the United Kingdom and each and every one of them will be kitted out with a set of equipment that is aimed at giving them the best experience possible, whilst keeping them safe in the same time.
The one piece of kit that is essential if you are going to take an active part in proceedings is the actual paintball gun, or paintball marker to which it is also often referred to. These weapons will be of differing standards, with those intended for tournament play having a faster rate of fire and accuracy. They all however are classified as air weapons, since their ammunition breaks up once it makes contact with its target.
The paintballs themselves are non-toxic and contain water soluble substances, together with the dye that gives it the great splattering effect. The quality of the ball itself is determined by the thickness, with, in this case, the thinner the better. The ingredients used are totally harmless to both the contestants and the surroundings. To load these balls into the gun each marker must have what is known as a hopper to feed them through the loading chamber. The highest standard loaders can feed as many as 30 balls per second.
So that covers the offensive side of things, but what about your own defence and protection? Well any reputable paintballing course will insist on participants wearing both masks and goggles as an absolute priority. Statistically, paintballing is a very safe recreational activity and much of this is down to the protection afforded by these items of equipment. Some of the more sophisticated versions even have thermal lenses to prevent the fogging effect that can occur, especially in colder climates.
There are additional items of clothing and equipment that some choose to acquire, usually those who return having sampled the sport and decided it is something to take up more regularly. Pod packs are very popular, giving players access to a store of up to 140 paintballs in a ready-to-fire setting.
Specially designed outer clothing integrated with padding gives a participant added protection from both the paintball and collisions with the terrain, especially if it happens to be rocky. Pads can also be worn separately on elbows, knees and hips. They will be made from a soft foam material and designed to give comfort rather than hindrance.
Gloves are not essential, but are highly recommended. Taking a hit on the back of the hand or tip of the finger can be incredibly painful, so wearing padded protectors over your digits should be a given. The private regions are also well catered for, in both male and female versions and anybody who has been on the receiving end of a blow to such areas will appreciate the importance of this kind of protection.
Some take it a step further and use paint grenades, which are basically lengths of hose filled with paint, and the equivalent of a flame-thrower in the shape of a paint thrower, which is in effect a water cannon spilling over with paint. In tournament play people also use go-karts and similar vehicles and mock them up as armoured cars, as they move around the field of play, each with mounted weapons.
If a game is worth playing then in this case it certainly is worth playing to the maximum!
The items of clothing and equipment used in UK paintballing range in quality, determined by the level of intensity of the game and competition. At http://www.paintballskirmish.co.uk/ there is a breadth of information to delve into to learn about this terrific activity.