Miniball, Splatball, underage paintball – there are many names people are using to describe it.
Whichever name you want to run with, it seems that we are probably the last paintball in the field to not start running the “underage paintball”. Particularly in school holidays we seem to constantly get calls from parents looking to have their kids have a go at paintball in Melbourne.
Before we get into the reasons that we are not running this form of paintball – lets start by looking at the differences in the 2 types of “paintball” that are being run at the moment.
1. Miniball or SplatballThere is no official name for this type of game and I hesitate to use the word paintball to describe it. All operators running the same “guns” to run their games. The reason that this form of paintball has been unrestricted in terms of age is that Victoria Police who enforce the laws relating to paintball have confirmed that they do not consider them a paintball marker as defined in the legislation.
Victoria Police gave a few reasons that they are not defining the splatmaster as a paintball marker.
a. They do not have a gas bottle – so their is no “stored energy”b. The velocity is much lower than regular paintball
c. The fact that they are made of plastic makes serial numbers very difficult to maintain.
The splatmaster guns look like the pic below. They also fire a paintball of about half the volume at 1/3 velocity on average.
2. Real Paintball
Proper paintball uses very different equipment. Over the last 10 years most Melbourne Paintball fields have used Tippmann 98 markers although there has been a shift to a the FT-12 and the BT Slice. At Snipers Den we were one of the first paintball fields in Melbourne to use the FT-12s and we use them for many of our groups that play with us.
As opposed to the “miniball” guns paintball guns are designed to shoot up to 300 feet per second and have an effective accurate range of over 70m. They also shoot a much larger paintball – over double the volume of the other type.
The main reason that we did not chose to go down the road of the underage paintball in because we did not want to put our name behind a product that we couldn’t stand behind. The online feedback for the underage version of paintball so far has been pretty horrible. The experience is never going to be the same as the real thing but many businesses are still willing to offer an inferior version of the game.
One issue is that the reduced velocity and volume of the paintballs dramatically reduces the distance and accuracy of the shot. Sadly these issues make them closer to a nerf dart gun than to a paintball gun. And with some paintball Melbourne fields charging up to $1 per paintball it is very different to the $15 per 100 we charge for regular paintball.
The last thing we want is for first time paintballers to play with splatmaster paintball guns and judge the experience from that experience. They are certainly words apart. With the age limit of paintball expected to drop to 16 in early 2015 we have decided to wait until then to introduce customers to the real thing instead of pushing an inferior version.
If you have your heart set on the underage version of paintball please do your homework and read the online feedback of the business before you book. Also make sure you look at the price for extra ammo – there is a massive difference in the quality and price of venues.
Thanks for reading – Matt