Taking aim

Paintball players hide behind tires for cover during a round of paintball at Mount Pleasant Paintball.

Paintball can be played by any person at almost any age. It is an exciting sport that touches on a primitive side of people. Anyone can come out to the field and play. The only requirement is that players bring a good attitude with them.

I remember playing paintball when I joined the Marine Corps in 1981. The sport is played individually, depending on the fields, or as a team sport. Paintball can pit a few people against each other, or engage hundreds of players. You can play to attrition, where players have to completely eliminate the other team by hitting them with paint. Another popular paintball game is called speedball. Typically, speedball is played by teams with three to five members each. These matches are normally played as capture-the-flag-style games.

Paintball can be played by beginners; players simply need a marker and a mask. A marker (a paintball gun) shoots a .68-caliber paintball round. The game is simple, if the paintball breaks when it hits you, then you’re out.

Most games are played with rental guns and a rental mask. Players can also bring their own equipment and invest in higher-end markers and masks. The better the equipment, the better chance the individual has of performing well during a game. Higher-end gear typically fires more rapidly, giving you a competitive edge.

At Mount Pleasant Paintball, we use an entry-level marker called The BT-4 Slice. The marker uses compressed air to push the paint into the chamber and out the barrel. The marker allows the paintball to fall into the chamber as fast as gravity allows through a holding bin on top of the gun — this is called a gravity-fed hopper. More expensive markers use electric hoppers, which force the paintballs into the chamber more rapidly and allow players to shoot at a higher rate.

Most rental masks are single-pane and have a tendency to fog up. We use a double-pane thermal lens that allows a first-time player to play the game with less risk of fog clouding their vision.

You may want to wear more equipment depending on your skill level and desire to perform. You can wear elbow pads and knee pads. You can strap on a belt that holds pods, which carry additional paintballs. You can even choose a higher-end air tank that holds more air.

The game of paintball offers great exercise and an engaging activity for the whole family. It’s a fun group outing for everything from birthday parties to corporate training events.

In closing, regardless of whether you are a first-time player, a casual player or a veteran player, paintball is a great sport to have a great time playing.

Ken Glasson is a retired Marine lieutenant colonel and owner of Mount Pleasant Paintball.