I’ve been blogging about quite a few frequently asked paintball questions lately, and it’s about time I tackled one which is particularly popular with those of you who haven’t had the chance to play yet.
Is paintball safe?
I’ll try to look at all sides of the question, but the short answer has to be yes. Sure the idea of running about woodland whilst shooting tiny balls of paint at your mates may sound a little dangerous but, compared to most sports, it’s a complete walk in the park. In fact, I remember reading an article a year or so ago that reported that golf was in fact far more dangerous than paintball…wish I could find the link to it now!
Compared to sports like rugby, golf and football, it’s easy to see why paintball is so safe. Think about it. You wouldn’t go hiking in the Cairngorms without all of the necessary equipment and all-weather clothing would you? Likewise, you wouldn’t step into a game of paintball without all of the required safety gear either. With a mask, goggles, overalls and full safety training, I’d say it would actually be pretty hard to injure yourself playing paintball – of course everybody’s going to get the odd bruise though, but that’s just part of the fun!
Looking at the equipment in a little more detail, markers are tested to make sure that they fire at the optimum speed to maintain distance and accuracy, but without being fast enough to injure anyone on the receiving end of things. And of course, they all come with safety catches too. Similarly, paintball sites always have a ‘safety zone’ and a ‘game zone’, often with a marker hut in between them. This eliminates any chance of stray paintballs being fired when people don’t have their masks on.
Like all sports and games, injuries are far more likely to happen when they are played in unregulated conditions. Unfortunately it is surprisingly easy to set up your own paintball site, so there are many cheap and inexperienced ‘paintball companies’ that perhaps don’t regulate their equipment as much as they should. Likewise, buying your own paintball marker and just playing in the woods can also be pretty hazardous, as there are no safety professionals around and there are no rules to be followed.
In all seriousness though, paintball is probably most realistically just as safe as going for a jog through woodland. With all the safety precautions and measures in place, the most likely accident there could possibly be is perhaps someone tripping over a tree root or diving onto some particularly jaggy branches.
Play safe though everybody!