Paintball and clay shooting, categorised as sport shooting, is among the sports that have significantly grown in popularity since their inception in the early 1980s. In fact, in 2006, paintball was thought to be third in popularity among the extreme sports category, with over 40 countries playing it. This sport is further classified into sub-categories, depending on the type of equipment used, the shooting distance, the time limits allocated and the running speed.

What Is Paintball and Clay Shooting?

So what exactly is paintball and clay shooting? It is a sport that will require the use of guns referred to as paint guns and sort of ‘bullets’ called paintballs. Most people might be terrified when such words like ‘gun’, bullets, and ‘shooting’ are mentioned, probably because they are associated with violence. However, this is not the case because in this game, you can shoot at an opponent or target without killing them. This is because the bullets are made of thin gelatin capsules filled with a coloured, non-toxic liquid normally. The shooting element is what makes the game fun and interesting.

For clay shooting, however, the target is not humans but rather flying or static objects, which are referred to as clay targets or clay pigeons. The fun in this game comes when people compete to exhibit their prowess in focus and shooting accuracy.

The Origin of Paintball and Clay Shooting

It is thought that this sport began about 1981 in New Hampshire, with about twelve (12) players. However, the gun used was invented earlier on about 1960 for a different use. It was originally designed to be used by the U.S Forestry and Livestock department in marking trees for timber from a distance and straying cattle respectively. The gun was named paintgun because it was used to shoot the paintball, leaving a paint mark on the target.

The Rules of Engagement: Playing Paintball and Clay Shooting

Paintball has a game format commonly referred to as ‘capture the flag’. This format requires two teams, say ‘A’ and ‘B,’ where each team aims to capture the opponents’ flag while protecting their own flag. In addition, it is expected that if one belongs to say team ‘A,’ he or she will attack the opponents by shooting them with a paintball using riffles like airguns as they advance towards their opponents’ territory. The winners will be those who clear their opponents and take their flag. This game takes about 20 to 45 minutes.

For clay shooting, however, things are quite different. They use real guns – though deactivated – so that they cannot fire real cartridges. Here, one scores if he or she hits the clay target more than others, within the set time. The participants may range from two to five players, who are positioned at different places but simultaneously shoot at the same target, at different speeds.

In summary, though paintball and clay shooting are fun games, they can be noisy and also hazardous if care is not taken. Therefore, it is good to dress appropriately for safety purposes.