The night is cool, you can feel the breeze against your skin and hear almost any sound in the distance. Your eyes slowly adjust to the dark as you creep into the building, careful not to stand on anything that might give away your position.
All of a sudden a massive firefight erupts, tracers are going everywhere, spotlights searching the area where you are hiding and red dot sights lighting up targets. Welcome to paintball at night…
What Equipment Gives You The Edge at Night?
Your choice in goggle lenses makes a huge difference for a couple of reasons. Firstly mirrored lenses are likely to reflect light and give your position away. Secondly tinted or mirrored lenses are designed for playing in bright conditions and make it incredibly hard to see in low light conditions.
Generally speaking yellow, amber or rose are considered to be better coloured lenses for using in low ambient light conditions. In completely dark situations clear is probably the best. Regardless, use common sense and leave the mirrored and dark lenses at home, and if you normally use them, make sure you wear your glasses or contacts!
Keep it simple, dark, neutral colours – avoid anything that is reflective or light coloured. Cheap or knock off camouflage can actually appear similar to day glow under night vision equipment so be very careful what you are using if the other team is geared up.
Black also isn’t always best as it can stand out depending on ambient light or under some night vision gear. Make sure that you cover up any shiny or reflective parts on your marker and equipment, black powder coating is the best, while black anodising can reflect night and give off a glow in dark appearance with night vision gear.
Special paintballs like GI Sportz Craze glow in the dark paintballs can be used as tracers in night time games. To make them glow, place them under torchlight before loading them into your marker. Typically you would mix them in with your normal paintballs at a rate of around 20 for every 100 shots.
Tracer BBs work in a similar fashion to the glow in the dark paintballs. They are first charged with a torch or a barrel mounted light unit, and should be mixed in with your ordinary airsoft BBs (these are more expensive). Tracer rounds enable you to track where your shots are going in a night time airsoft game.
Barrel Mounted Flashlight
A barrel mounted flashlight with a switch located next to your trigger is a must have upgrade for any paintball or airsoft player engaged in night time operations. Be careful though, while a flashlight gives you the ability to see in front of you, it also makes you stand out as a target, so use it wisely. Ideally you should limit your gun mounted light to fast searches indoors where giving away your position isn’t a bad thing.
These are easy to mount if your marker or gun has tactical/weaver/pitticarny rails on it already, if don’t find yourself an aftermarket shotgun mount that will fit around your paintball markers barrel.
Night Vision Goggles & Scopes
Its very hard to find night vision goggles that work safely with paintball or airsoft goggles, though there are some available from Milsim sites such as RAP-4. You need to ensure that whatever equipment you purchase can handle being shot at by paintballs as NVG gear (even first gen) is still very expensive, and older equipment can be very bulky. Its also easy to defeat someone using night vision simply by shining a torch at them!
Other scopes such as red dot scopes or laser sights are cheaper and possibly more effective, just remember to have an on/off switch near your trigger so that you don’t stand out in the dark!
During a night time game, stealth is more important than ROF. Do you really need that high end electronic loader? Remember that electronic loaders often have a LED lights that give away your position, and the motors have a nasty habit of turning on when you want to remain silent!
Night Time Rules
Night time games often result in firefights at a much shorter range, for this reason you’ll want to run a much lower chronograph speed. Our day time field limit is 300FPS, while night time games we run a lower speed of 260FPS on guns.
All Hits Count
Normal paintball games typically only count paintball hits that break as an elimination, however during the night time its much harder to referee and see if a hit has broken or not. for that reason if you are hit, you are expected to call your elimination straight away. We recommend that you have some sort of light signal (perhaps a strobe light) that signifies an eliminated player.
Barrel Tagging and Surrenders
Night time paintball gives you the chance of getting real up close and personal when playing. To keep things safe, players can “barrel tag” which is where you eliminate someone simply by tagging them with your barrel – no shots fired. Always give people a chance to surrender at close quarters too.
Tips for Night Time Paintball
- Keep Quiet – Listen to your gear, does it make a sound when you move – if so take it off and replace it with something quieter. Noise discipline is important.
- Use torches and light sparingly, if possible use a red or blue light rather than white or yellow. Ensure light discipline at all times.
- Let your eyes adjust to the dark, close one eye if going into a well lit area
- Make use of the shadows, they are your friend
- Dress appropriately for night time games, wear dark, natural clothes and avoid things that are light in colour or reflective.
- Find a way of IDing friendlies, this could be old school like a click or whistle call sign, using light flashes or even reflective tape on your back.
Night Time Operations at Asylum Paintball
Asylum Paintball will be hosting special night time paintball games from April 4 2014 onwards. Imagine night time operations in a haunted former insane asylum, it doesn’t’ get more intense than this!
Our games will feature smoke machines, smoke grenades, building mounted spotlights, sound effects, strobe lights, tracer ammunition and more to make for the ultimate night time scenario. Rental players will have the option of upgrading their markers with special glow in the dark tracer paintballs and tactical flashlights.
What are your tips for night time paintball?