CQB (close quarters battle) sports are real-world games set up to simulate military gunfights. The most classic example is paintball - but there are many other similar sports.
CQB sports offer the adrenaline of being in a battle without having to actually worry about getting shot and killed. They’re often fought in specialist arenas and can be set up around various scenarios from ‘capture the flag’ to ‘protect the president’. Below are just some of the most popular examples and why you should give them a try.
Paintball involves shooting balls of paint at one another. The advantage of paintball is that it’s easy to tell when you’ve clearly shot someone - in most cases, balls burst on impact leaving a splatter of paint. Paintball is typically played outdoors in specialist arenas. Paintball guns can be hired here or bought, while paintballs are bought individually. Helmets are worn to protect the face. Getting shot can be painful, but will generally only bruise at close quarters.
Laser tag involves shooting each other with laser guns. Unlike paintball and many other CQB sports, it doesn’t hurt when you get shot. Players often wear signalling devices that can record when a player has been shot. Continuous games may be played in which players can be shot many times until the round is over - sometimes with penalties (such as not being able to use your gun for several seconds or having to go back to base). Laser tag is often played indoors but can be played outdoors too. You can find out more about laser tag here at Laser Tag Source.
Airsoft involves using tiny pellets or ‘BBs’. These are shot out of airsoft guns. When hit by airsoft pellets, it can sting a little, but you generally won’t get the bruises that you do when playing paintball. Airsoft tends to require more integrity than paintball or laser tag - you have to call out when you get shot. It’s sometimes fought in the same arenas as paintball, although there are some specialist arenas used purely for airsoft. As with paintball, you should wear a mask to protect your face.
Gel balling uses balls of gel. They explode on impact much like paintballs but are much smaller and similar in shape to airsoft pellets. They don’t leave bruises like paintballs and they don’t leave as much mess. You can buy gel balls and gel blasters at sites such as GBU. Gel balling can be played in arenas used for airsoft and paintball. It is less popular than the aforementioned CQB sports but is growing in popularity. You should wear a helmet when playing.
Nerf guns fire soft rubber darts. They don’t hurt all at all unless shot at someone’s face (nerf arenas tend to supply helmets for this reason). Nerf guns have long been a popular kids’ toy, but it has recently been turned into a CQB sport with many specialist arenas being set up. It tends to be played indoors simply because it’s easier to retrieve nerf darts afterwards.