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Paintball Netting

Well, the next thing to go up is your paintball netting. It is important to note that there are some choices here. First, since light is so very important, I'd highly suggest you go with white netting. It is a little more expensive, but some companies make white paintball netting specifically for indoor use. The white net helps bounce the available light around the room and make for good even lighting without shadows.

Also, you will probably have to submit MSDS (Material safety data sheets) on your netting to show that it is made from flame retardant material. The white netting we got is. Now the other thing concerning netting, is there are 2 different types as far as the density of the weave. If you look at outdoor netting, you will see they use a very tight weave, heavy mesh for the netting that is near the ground, but once you go 12 feet or so up, they use a very open weave. We attempted to use this open weave net on our ceilings at first - as it's cheaper.

In fact we got some of it for free when we purchased some use bunkers off a field that went out of business. We stretched up the open weave net, and fastened it to the ceiling, then we took a gun and popped off a shot. The paintball went flying right through the net and nailed a 8 foot fluorescent tube and shattered it. We looked at each other for a moment, then with a sigh of disgust, started pulling down all that net - just to have to start over.

Ended up then buying netting from K Pro Paintball Netting, and they were great with information, MSDS for us (fire marshall wanted that), custom sizing, putting grommets where we wanted, etc. And they were fast to get it to us. (Editors Note: We have not had their net up for 5 years... not a problem 1 with it. Still going strong.)

In this photo, you can see the two types of net sewn together. This is known as hybrid netting with the tight mesh low, and the lighter stuff would go up high. That is typical outdoor setups. Indoors the rules all change. First you have to determine if it's allowed - fire marshal again - permits, flame retardant, etc. Then determine which you want - heavy or light. Turns out some insuance will dictate what type of net you can use dependent on where you will have maskless spectators. So it's impossible to say what net you need until you have your building desing done, the permit requirements, fire marshall requirements, and then you can make those decisions.

So get the right paintball netting from the start, and you'll save money in the long run. I've seen lots of threads on forums about "can I use fishing net?" or "This kind of net??" If you don't get made for paintball, paintball netting, you are just asking for trouble from a liability standpoint. Get the stuff that is made for this use.

To hang the net, we ran cables along the ceiling, hooking them onto the metal structure that holds the roof up, and then you use a special cable tightener to make the cable taught. Then you pull the net on top of the cables, so it is help up with long runs of cable, instead of just at a few points. When you have to splice together, simply roll up a bit of net from each side, then using long cable ties (zip ties) you can stitch them together.

We also ran the net to the ground at the sides, leaving a dead space of about 3-4 feet between the net and the walls. In our facility, this works well for 2 reasons. We leave cuts in the net every 30 feet or so, that way when someone gets shot out, they can go to the closest side and move behind the net. It also makes for a walk way to the back field so we can send people to the other field, even if a game is in play, and they shouldn't get hit. (Unless there is a very unlucky shot through one of the slits.)

You can also see for the above shot, that we have long fluorescent lights that are attached to the ceiling. The way the net hangs, it fives about 2-3 feet of space, which even when a paintball hits the net, it will not move it far enough to risk your lights getting hit. You might get an occasional break that will send some spray through - but not much at the angle people will be shooting at.

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Important Note: After your netting goes up, it will be much harder to change lights, run wires, etc. So make sure you have all your lights set up, and any electrical wiring you want to do. Don't forget wires for speakers, alarm systems, video camera lines, etc. It can be done after the net, but a much larger Pain in the ass.

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