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How to Play Paintball – Beginner to Pro Guide+Tips & Trick

I have tried hard to make this article useful and realistic about how to play paintball if you are a beginner or even a pro. I have added a ton of information that might help you to kick some butt out there.

 What is paintball? 

Paintball is a fast-paced combat sport in which players can compete in a team or play solo.

Paintball is a stunningly enjoyable sport that is filled with the adrenaline rush.

Whether you are going paintballing for an office outing, bachelor party, birthday party, Sunday evening, or for the first time, the fun and excitement that paintball offers is second to none.

Paintball is a very intense game where not only beginners but pros can also get nervous.

  How to Play Paintball – Step by step guidelines

The tips and set of rules will be explained further down below, but first, let’s discuss the gear and other stuff to get your mindset ready.

Don’t be afraid to get hit

sad face

Before getting to the gear and safety rules, you need to get your mind ready.

You will get hit that is for sure, you cannot avoid paintball shots no matter where you hide or curl up in a defensive position behind the trees.

You need to clear your doubts and fear of getting hit. Getting hit is not that bad and it doesn’t hurt at all. Paintball is one of the safest outdoor sports in the world. The injury rate is even lower than soccer.

You will be wearing a ton of gear and the referee’s instructions will be in your ear all the time so don’t worry about getting hit.

If you are scared of getting hit, just win the Goddamn game. The best way to avoid the paintball pellets is to win the game.

I emphasize newbies to play fearlessly and get some battle scars (hits). It is the only way to break the fear and to play efficiently after that.

Have some balls and move on.

Paintball Gear

 Rental gear: 

For a first-timer, rental gear is also fine. You don’t need to buy a bunch of expensive gear at this point.

You will be given a paintball marker, a hopper, a mask, proper clothing too on some fields, and arm and knee pads.

Play with your rental gear because newbies have the tendencies to ruin the paintball marker and other gear while playing.

It is obvious that you will not be moving, sliding, rolling, shooting, and using your gun and other gear properly because you are new to the game.

It takes time to adjust to the terrain, how to move roll, or slide while not hitting the gun barrel on the ground, and how not to mess up.

Rental gear is cheap. You will not be charged a lot even if you damage your mask or marker.

Rental paintball guns are mechanical and easy to operate. Those expensive electronic models are very complex to handle.

Don’t worry, we will explain all the technical details about the paintball gun and mask.

 Personal paintball gear: 

If you are choosing to go with your paintball gear, you gotta make it right. I will help you to choose the perfect gear at an affordable price tag.

  • Paintball gun
  • Paintball mask
  • A hopper and air tank
  • Proper clothing

 A paintball gun: 

For beginners, a paintball gun must be lightweight, easy to operate, accurate while shooting, it should have a comfortable grip, it should be easy to clean and maintain, doesn’t chop a lot of paintball, and most importantly, it should be budget-friendly.

Mechanical markers are best for first-timers and beginners according to in my opinion.

These are easy to use and operate. They are hard as a rock so they don’t break easily.

Tippman Cronus is a legendary mechanical gun that is durable and easy to maintain and feels like a real rifle. It is super budget-friendly as well.

EMEK 100 is considered the best mechanical gun by many experts including me. It has accurate shooting, adjustable sights, comfortable grips, and it consumes less air.

Planet Eclipse GTEK 170R is also a lot like EMEK 100. Both are budget-friendly as well. Good old Tippman 98 custom is also fantastic for beginners.

I know a lot of guys who are playing with these above-mentioned markers and they haven’t complained.

Expensive electronic models like CS2 PRO and DLX Luxe X  are super-advanced markers and they are not for beginners in my opinion. Most tournament guys use electronic markers due to their rapid firing ability.

Stick to affordable mechanical guns at this point.

 A quality paintball mask: 

The most important safety equipment in the paintball is the mask. You need to be extra careful while choosing a paintball goggle.

It should protect your jaw, eyes, and cheeks. It should never create vision distortion due to fogging or a bad lens otherwise you will get a lot of hits because you will be unable to see anything.

A goggle should be lightweight and comfortable because you will be playing for the entire day.

Nobody wants a heavy burden on their head. You will feel dizzy if you go for a heavier one.

Make sure to choose a model that has proper ventilation. No big holes otherwise you will be eating paint the entire day.

A good paintball mask has the following qualities:

  • Thermal lens – anti-fog
  • 360-degrees coverage
  • Spacious so that you could squeeze your glasses inside
  • Proper ventilation to remain cool inside and to prevent fogging caused by breathing
  • Durability
  • A lightweight frame
  • Dual-pane lens
  • Comfortable foaming inside
  • Ant-Sun coating.

A direct hit at the face can be brutal and dangerous. A good quality paintball mask is more important than you think.

 A hopper and a tank: 

A quality hopper is one that never jams on the field and provides fast feeding rates. That hopper shouldn’t be a lot noisy while working, and it should be easy to clean.

You should start with a basic hopper that isn’t much expensive. Loaders like Proto Primo is a standard gravity loader which is beginner-friendly and affordable.

Other choices like Virtue Spire IV Electronic, Bunkerkings CTRL Electronic, and Empire Paintball Halo Too a bit too advanced and expensive for beginners.

Although these expensive units are stunningly good while shooting but try proto primo for a couple of weeks, then you can switch on to electronic loaders.

I would never suggest shooting with CO2. It is cheaper than compressed to Compressed air tank, but it is inconsistent, depends on the atmospheric temperature, and will never give a fixed pressure while shooting.

Your shots will never be accurate. You can try Co2 just for the sake of trying different things, but compressed air should be your primary choice because it provides many stable shots, and it doesn’t depend on the atmospheric temperature.

 Proper clothing: 

It is extremely important to wear proper paintball clothing if you are just a beginner in the game.

We want to avoid paintball hits but at the same time, we want to look cool, after all, paintball is a badass-looking game.

Let me highlight some stuff on the proper paintball clothing.

  • A sweatshirt that will absorb most of the impact of the shot.
  • A paintball jersey will also provide extra protection. Paintball jerseys have good ventilation properties too. Remember to get a full-sleeve one.
  • A quality vest. It will not only provide solid protection, but you can use its several pockets to carry extra pods of paint, for keys, water, and whatnot.
  • Just like a sweatshirt, don’t forget sweat paints or thick jeans. You will be crawling and kneeling a lot, so think jeans will help you to protect your legs. It tends to get messy, so an old pair of jeans would work.
  • Wear a groin/exalt cup at all times. Trust me, you don’t want to get a shot at balls. I am not gonna say much. I hope you are smart to understand this.
  • Pads on knees, shins, and elbows are also important because you will be crawling, sliding, jumping, rolling, and running all day long. Protect your joints from the ground and the shots.
  • Wear gloves too. Paintball shots between the fingers can severely cut the fingers. It also protects your knuckles.
  • Avoid Sandal, Slim jogging shoes, Open toes, Flip flops. Wear shoes with closed toes. Get a pair of quality shoes that are flexible enough to support bending while sliding.

How to play paintball – complete guideline

When you walk on the field for the first time, the following things should be taken care of.



  • Mask and the barrel cover are the most important factors of the entire day.
  • The mask must be on an entire day while the game is on. It must not come off whatever happens. If your face is in the dirt, call for help, the referee will come they will stop the same if they have to.
  • Ref: will stop the game for you if you take the mask off. Don’t take it off even off the field until you are back in the staging area.
  • Your barrel cover must be on if you are not playing. There is no way around it.
  • You should point the gun sideways not at somebody if you are not in the game. By the way, you will be shooting at the ground not a person in case of an accident.
  • Turn on your gun’s safety. Black means safety is ON, and red means you are good to go.
  • Take your fingers off the trigger when you are not playing.
 Paint check: 
  • If you call yourself out you are done. You can’t tell the referee that you are done and hope to return. NO. You are done for the game.
  • If have any question or trouble, you either call for the ref: or call your friend which is called Paint check.
  • The best way to check on your friend if he has paint on his/her head or anything else, you call the ref: for the paint check and have he/she check on your friend.
 Paint and Co2: 
  • The rental loader/hopper will give you about 180 – 200 shots approximately and will shoot about 2 – 3 full loaders on a filled co2 tank before you have to refill.
  • When you hear the flutter, it means you are running out of Co2. In most paintball fields there is a general rule is if you run out of paint or co2, you have to leave the field.
  • So the tip is to gauge the tank between games to fill it.
  • Use compressed air if you have it.
  • Most fields won’t allow the dropped paint on the loader. So if you have dropped your paint on the ground, it stays on the ground even if the guns are durable and will shoot dirty paint.
 Blind firing: 
  • Blind firing is shooting behind a bunker when you don’t know what you are shooting at. It is illegal because there are safety issues.
  • You could shoot a teammate at the back of the head, you could shoot a referee and they will be mad at you.
  • Don’t be disrespectful toward the rules.
Pro-tip: After filling the paint on the loader, make sure to shut the lid properly, and slap it after shutting it (hearing a snap). I have seen people spilling paint all over the ground thinking they shut the lid. Always listen for the snap and give it a snap.

Types of paintball games you will be playing

There are several types of paintball games that you can enjoy on the field. Although you don’t need to do anything crazy at this point, you can try each after a couple of days of practice.

 Capture the Flag: 

I love this mode. There is stealth, head-on compact, and strategies involved in this type of game.

You will need to infiltrate the enemy (opponent) territory, capture/seize their flag, and return to your side, you can also win by eliminating all the players of the opposite team as an alternative.

You need to be stealthy, and precise because your opponents will try to do the same to you. Enjoy this game while you at it.

 Elimination game: 

Elimination means, one team completely out of the game. It can also be played individually. The last man standing will be the winner.

 Scenario game mode: 

Things get a bit serious real military in this mode. If you are good at a scenario, you will be good at paintball in general.

In this mode, each team sets up a specific situation. For example, your team is assigned to escort a specific person (VIP) to a certain place which we call as “endpoint”, and the opposite team will try their best to eliminate the “VIP”.

Teams can assign each other different types of goals and stuff. Things get pretty much realistic in this mode.

 Speedball mode: 

Speedball is more like a chaotic, fast-paced game. You don’t have much time to think and act. Most speedball games are for indoors.

The field is artificially filled with bunkers and obstacles you hide behind. The terrain is flat and the distance is shorter between and are the opponents.

Normally the teams consist of only 6 – 10 people. You need to move fast and shoot fast otherwise you will getting your ass kicked throughout the day.

There are a lot of variations on how to play paintball with Different fields have their own set of playing rules and scenario types, but I have touched on the major types.

How  to play paintball on the field  – Playing tactics

How to play paintball

 Never stop moving: 

Paintball sport is all about agility and rapid movement. If you are behind a bunker, you wait and pick your target, but if you are in the open, shoot and move. Always aim, don’t lower your paintball marker, and don’t stand or sit there like a sitting duck.


Communication is an important factor if you are part of a team. This is a combat sport and you can get some bruises and welts if you take it easy.

Paintball is the real thing and by far the most exciting shooting game in the World.

Make it real, use code words, sings, or vocals to communicate with your team.

Call out a teammate if you are outnumbered, if you have spotted someone, and if you have any trouble with your gear.

Pro players are active communicators. They rely heavily on teamwork. If want to learn this game, try communicating with your mates frequently. Don’t be a lone ranger.

 Use of cover: 

As I have mentioned above, don’t stand in middle like a sitting duck. Hide behind a tree, bushes, bunker, or anything that might provide cover.

 Broader vision: 

Be aware, don’t focus on only one player that is right in front of you. In scenario games, players tend to surround you from all directions using camouflage techniques, check for the movement in the trees, and focus on your surroundings. Communicate with your mates to watch your back.

 Use camouflage: 

If your opponent can use ghost techniques, then you can too. You should wear camo and keep quiet. Restrict your movements and hide behind bushes.

 Work with your partner: 

Work in a group of 2 – 3 people. If one of you is in trouble, others can help and provide some backup.

 Check if you are out: 

When you get hit, check if there is any splash left from the paintball paint because pellets tend to bounce off too. Don’t walk off the field think you got hit, check yourself if the pellet broke and left a splash/mark.

 Go around the edges: 

While the rest of the guys are battling in middle, you and your partner can go around the edges of the field and try to sneak on the opponent.

Catch them by surprise and score some hits. It is a proven technique but remembers that other players might think the same. Be on your guard.

 Cover fire and when to run away: 

Another teamwork tactic. Provide cover by shooting at the opponent so that your teammate can sneak on the enemy, and ask your mates to provide cover fire while you enter the enemy territory.

If you are outnumbered, run away. Simple as that. Don’t push yourself out there trying to be a hero. Live to fight another day.


Paintball is a very exciting sport filled with an adrenaline rush. If you are a newbie, try to follow all the safety rules and playing rules. Listen to your Marshal and don’t try to hurt anyone deliberately.

Have some sportsman spirit. Respect your opponents, they are humans too. While you are out there, enjoy as much as possible because it is the name of the game.

Read other articles in this series about how to paintball:

An Energy and Environmental Engineer, athlete, and social worker. I love the grittiness and thrill of paintball. Nowadays I am reviewing paintball products with an open mind & honest words.

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