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Experience | Paintballing

Paintball originated in the 1970’s as a way for forestry and agricultural workers to mark trees for to fell and for planning trails. It was the same foresters and farmers who began shooting the paintball markers at each other, realising how much fun was to be had!

From here, in 1981 a group of enthusiasts in America obtained some of the forestry markers and started to set-up games amongst themselves, before realising that they had hit upon an idea for a new adventure sport. They purchased a large quantity of the guns directly from the manufacturer and began selling these to the public. In 1982 the first paintball arena opened in New York and the game began to take off not just across the USA, but world-wide.

In the UK paintball has really taken shape as an adrenaline sport and Devon provides ideal terrain in which to play. Players compete, either individually or (more often) as part of a team, to eliminate their opponents by shooting them with pellets that contain water-soluble, non-toxic, biodegradable dye. The paint washes off of skin and clothes easily and the pellets remain intact if they are handled or dropped. It’s only when they are fired from the paintball marker that they explode, leaving a 6-inch splatter of paint on impact.

As the sport has developed, various types of paintball marker (more commonly known as a paintball gun) exist: from the simplest forms which you tend to find available at paintball sites to rapid-fire automatic versions which can be purchased for those who are keen to compete in tournaments and who play regularly. The gun uses compressed gas as a form of propulsion and a hopper, attached to the gun, stores the paintballs ready for firing.

Once released, the paintball travels at speeds of up to 300ft (91 metres) per second and therefore safety is paramount. Protective face masks and goggles should always be worn and even if goggles fog during play, they should never be removed during a game. It is also usual that heavy-duty overalls are worn to offer some level of protection to skin as, even at distance, paintballs hurt when they make contact! However, the distance that a paintball can travel is far shorter than a projectile which is streamlined and designed to travel a greater distance, such as a bullet.

Games generally consist of capture the flag, defence of a base camp, limited ammunition and even groups against a singular person (read the groom at his stag day), as examples.

It’s usual for games to take place in woodland or fields although it can also be played indoors, where paintballs are replaced with hard rubber balls which do not explode on impact.

With it’s abundance of forests and fields, Devon provides some excellent outdoor paintball arenas to enjoy.

Contact a local paintball adventure centre to find out more and go paintballing, in Devon Outdoors.

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