When you think of paintball, generally the first thing that comes to mind is an outdoor game involving creeping around in the foliage. This, of course, is a variation of the game but is by no means the only way. There are so many ways to play, and so many different games, each incorporating a different aspect of indoor and outdoor paintballing.
It’s likely that if there is a dedicated paintball range near you, it’s an outdoor one. However, indoor tracks are also to be found, it just might take little more effort to find them, or a little longer to get to them. In this article, we’ll go through the pros and cons of playing indoors and outdoors, and then we’ll see whether where you play impacts which games you can play.
If you have never played before, and are just looking for where to begin, it might also be worth it for you to read on. It is important to know what will work best for you. Matching what you are looking for with the advantages of indoor games and outdoor games can really help you enjoy the game even on your first go.
Indoor vs Outdoor – Which Is Best for Paintball?
Indoor Paintball – Pros
Indoor paintball places have a lot of advantages, even if die-hards don’t think so. They are generally lit very well, so you won’t have trouble playing your games until closing time, which is usually after it gets dark outside. This is a huge plus, as sessions can last a lot longer if you want them to, and you can play long after it would be impossible to in open air. Depending on what paintball gun you have, you’ll find different environments are better than others.
The field is usually set up with obstacles and hiding spots. Generally, it is more densely packed than an outside range. This means less long-distance running if that’s your thing, as your enemy is within a reasonable distance from you at all times. It is easier to spot people, and easier to hit with each shot since you’re at close range.
Another great thing about indoor fields is that they are often climate-controlled. This is really good for those of us who live in either a cold climate where it can get cold, icy and snowy outside. Dangerous conditions often shut down outdoor places. Rain is another thing that you can avoid by having a roof over your head. Of course, this works against climates that throw heatwave after heatwave at you as well. You wouldn’t want to be exerting yourself too much in extreme heat outside. With an indoor field, you never have to worry about mother nature’s plans.
The downside to indoor turfs is that they are much, much smaller than outside ones. Indoor Paintball spaces are generally at least 3 or 4 times smaller than an average-sized outside field. If you don’t like running around too much, then this turns into somewhat of an advantage, but in general, this means you will get to know the course really fast, and it could turn boring sooner than in the great outdoors.
The floor in indoors fields is either astroturf or artificial grass. Astroturf hurts to fall on a lot more than natural turf does. Artificial grass is not as soft a landing as dirt and can be very slick with not much traction. Both of these are nowhere near as good as real outside grass and dirt are.
Lastly, because of the close range at which you will be shooting compared to when you play at an outdoor range, the paintball ‘bullets’ will hit from close by. It can really hurt and bruise when someone hits you from at most half an acre away (sometimes much closer) with a paint cartridge.
Outdoor Paintball – Pros
Playing paintball outside is the classic game experience. The greatest advantage of the game outdoors is space. There is a huge playing area filled with natural barriers, ditches, trees, and rocks. Add to this the man-made structures like bunkers and walls, and you have a much richer experience. The distance helps to blunt the blows from incoming shots at you, too. Paintball is a lot less painful outside for this reason.
Besides enrichment, outside games are played on real ground. Grass and dirt are much more forgiving when you’re skidding and sliding around. They don’t hurt to fall on as much as astroturf or artificial grass (with concrete under it), either.
Games on an outdoor field generally tend to be a lot more stretched out than those that are played indoors. This is because people are much further from each other, and so tend not to shoot as soon as they spot another player. Paintball can stretch on for two or three times the length as indoors, like a marathon. This can be either a pro or, if you like rapid-fire games, then it could be considered a con.
The best of indoors games have all the things that are missing from outside games. One of these things is a roof. It is much less fun to play in an environment where you are exposed to the weather, especially in areas where it rains a lot and gets really muddy. It can be fun, but at the same time… who wants to deal with that kind of clean-up?
If it gets really dark early where you live, then outside paintball could mean a really short game. Of course, this doesn’t apply if the range near you is equipped with adequate outdoor lighting, but not all do.
The distances involved with outdoor paintball are both a blessing and a disadvantage. If you don’t have stellar aim, you might find it difficult to hit targets at such distances. This can be overcome with strategy, but for beginners, it could be offputting.
Indoor and outdoor paintball are actually both suitable for most games. The tactics and game dynamics will certainly change depending on where you are playing, and what is available to you. However, any game can be adapted to either environment without much hassle.
Whether you like it better outdoors or indoors will ultimately be determined by a couple of different things. One thing will be whether you like a fast-paced, high energy game or an epic saga of shooting instead. Another is whether the local weather patterns ruin your day, or make it. Playing in the rain and snow can be fun! But only if you like that kind of additional hardship in your games. Some people prefer the naturally rugged feel of playing under the open sky, others prefer the constant reliability of indoor places. Comfort, cleanup, and convenience will also have a say in whether you opt for an indoor field or an outdoor one.
The choice is yours, now that you have all the details!