Let’s face it, some people wonder about paintball for kids and if it’s right for their family. It’s an adrenaline sport, and it’s understandable that you might be a little cautious before letting the kids jump into a paintball game the first time. You’re not alone, but a lot has changed over the years, and paintball isn't the same game it was when we opened our doors to the public in 2006.
Years ago paintballs were lower quality, the shell was not as brittle and it used to hurt. If you ever google paintball bruises (don’t) you’ll think that people are crazy to play. Today, however, paintballs are much better. The shell is thinner, more brittle, and it just isn’t nearly as intense as it used to be. While some paintball fields still use low quality paintballs, Urban War Zone uses only the highest quality gear and paintballs.
Urban War Zone is pushing a movement in the paintball industry to continue to reduce the intensity of paintball even more so that it’s even more accessible for people of all ages. For years, major manufacturers have been testing different ways to reduce impact while keeping paintball fun, exciting and affordable. Results have been mixed and there are two conventional ideas today.
There are two types of low impact paintball. The first type is called .50 (pronounced fifty) caliber paintballs. 50 caliber paintballs are about 40% smaller than a standard .68 paintball. The other type of low impact paintball is done by using the standard .68 caliber and making the shell thinner, more frangible, and more uniform in shape.
.50 caliber paintball comes in two variants, Traditional and SplatMaster. One drawback they both share is how quickly humidity causes them to swell and break in the barrel when you try to shoot it. .50 caliber paintballs can be frustrating to use in the Houston humidity but Urban War Zone is pioneering the use of and development of a .50 caliber paintball that doesn't swell.
.50 caliber paintball uses a traditional air driven system to shoot a smaller paintball. The idea is that the smaller, lighter, and more fragile paintball will hurt less. Traditional .50 caliber uses a heavy paintball gun built for 11+ kids and adults.
Splatmaster uses a spring driven system to shoot a .50 caliber paintball at slower speeds. The idea is that reduced flight speed will further reduce impact. The Splatmaster gun is difficult for small kids to use though because the spring loaded cocking mechanism is very strong making it difficult to reload. Splatmaster is also prone to jamming.
Several years ago we set out on our own journey to reduce impact and make paintball more fun for players. We started the process by testing the major paintballs brands sold on the market. What we discovered is that there wasn't a ball on the market that met all of our needs, a low impact ball with a bright fill that wasn't overly brittle and could be made on a consistent basis.
Once we had the ball that we wanted we had to find a way to make sure it was consistent. Paintballs are dramatically altered by temperature changes. They are less brittle when warm and more brittle when cold. They swell and become rubbery when exposed to humidity. To tame the temperature swings Houston experiences, we built a gigantic cool room to store our paintballs. This keeps them warm when it's cold, cool when it's hot, and away from the damaging Houston humidity.
While there are couple of advantages to shooting a .68 caliber paintball, there are 2 major drawbacks that really suck the fun out of playing. First, .68 caliber paintballs shoot very fast. Second, they carry a lot more weight behind them.
The combination of high speed and increased weight of the .68 caliber paintballs delivers more force than a .50 caliber paintball and the result is a higher impact paintball.
Urban War Zone has achieved the best of both worlds by manufacturing a custom made .50 caliber paintball that is resistant to the swings of the weather while still delivering reduced impact. We routinely review our safety and impact standards to make sure that we are delivering the best product of any paintball park in Houston.