Warning Devices for Paintball

By Tackleberry -

With a lot of help from OSOK Community


            Snipers in paintball often operate alone, in groups of 2, or with a small reaction team spread out over a distance.  Watching your own back isn’t easy, especially if you find yourself in a situation where observing or attacking a target takes priority.  This can be disastrous if someone stumbles upon you from behind.  Warning Devices can help give you an advanced warning in this and many other situations.  Remember Safety First!  Check with the field officials if your Warning Device is allowed before hand.  There are two major variations of alarm methods which WD’s use to alert you of someone setting it off.  There are Visual alarms and Audible alarms or sirens.


Visual Alarms:


            Visual alarms notify you of the enemy crossing the perimeter sometimes without alerting them that they have been discovered.  Some visual alarms aren’t so discreet.  Pin activated smoke grenades fall into the non-discreet category obviously.  If your field allows Smoke ‘Nades take one and duct tape it to a tree about a foot above the ground (don’t use flammable grenades unsupervised or close to dry leaves) then run a piece of fishing line or string from the pin in the grenade across where ever you expect or don’t want the enemy to walk through.  Find a sturdy tree to tie the non-grenade end of the string to and make sure it is tight with no slack in it.  Camouflage the grenade so it isn’t spotted (you don’t want it disarmed, stolen, and give the opponent a clue that someone is in the area).  One last reminder is to not place the smoke grenade where it will mask an enemy movement or your position; leave it somewhere where the enemy can’t cross if possible.


            Another visual alarm is a trip wire activated glow stick striker.  This is a metal glow stick holder with a spring operated striker.  A tip wire attaches to a   mechanism which lets the striker arm snap the glow stick when tripped.  Do this with an infrared glow stick and Night Vision Goggles and you decrease the chances of the enemy spotting your alarm.  Regular light sticks work just as well and don’t alert the whole neighborhood as smoke grenades do.  This only works at night obviously, except for the fact that the metal striker does make a loud “Snap!” noise when it is tripped, so you can set-up the device without a glow-stick during the day and use it as an Audio Alarm.


            It is also possible to make a blinking light or LED circuit which when pulled will blink, run a long electrical wire from the actual trip switch and battery set-up to your position and attach the light to that and you eliminate the ability of the enemy to see the light.  With a little ingenuity you can make one of these from scratch.


Audio alarms:


Audio alarms are a second category of Warning Devices.  Then range from the home made age old setups to the high tech goodies often used for home security.  Audio alarms have the disadvantage of warning the enemy that they have been detected and more importantly for the sniper, warned them that you are in the area.  Adjusting the volume can keep them from noticing if the option is available (it usually isn’t).


            The “old school” device which is often talked about is a trip wire tied to aluminum cans as the alarm.  Stick two sturdy branches deep in the ground, then take a piece of string/fishing line and cut it to the length of the area you want to monitor.  Place the string over the sticks leaving a few inches over each end and tie three cans onto each end so they are suspended above the ground by the string.  The trip wire should be tight without any slack in it, this way when someone agitates the string by touching it or knocking it off the sticks the cans rattle and notify you about the intrusion.  These must be setup right or they malfunction.  If you intend to use this against paintball tanks or vehicles make sure the string is higher than ankle height, 1 foot works well, this way the trip wire catches on the vehicle and makes 10 times as much noise as it rides along.  The tank crew may decide to send a crewmember outside to unhook the trip wire giving you an opportunity to eliminate a tanker.


            “Jingle bells” can be used instead of cans; they make more noise and are agitated easier than cans.  Go to any craft or fabric store (Gasp!) wearing all your camouflage and face paint and look for the small bells which are used on wreaths during the holidays.  Another option is to tie a bell every 10 feet on the string and make the area you secure much longer without worrying about it failing to make noise like cans can do.


            Personal safety alarms are a great option for trip wire alarms also.  For around $12 you can purchase a pin activated 120 Decibel alarm which works on a 9 volt battery.  They were intended to be attached to a belt and the user can pull a lanyard which yanks a pin from the device and emits the siren to draw attention if attacked.  They also include a wall mounting bracket with certain models so for our purposes it could be attached to a tree more securely without the aid of duct tape.  The loop isn’t needed for our purposes so remove the loop and tie the trip wire directly to the string/fishing line which you use for the trip wire.  They weigh about 2 ounces and are all black.  Here is an example of one such alarm.   http://www.sportsmansguide.com/sps.html?s_id=2788

NOTE: Radio shack also makes a 9 volt alarm which uses a pin activated alarm and works very well.  The 100 decibel alarm is ear shattering especially when used in doors.  Go to www.radioshack.com and type “trip wire alarm” into a product search to check out that as well.


Some noise making greeting cards can be applied to make audible alarms also.  Take one apart and remove the battery operated sound device, they usually have a lever which when pulled plays a short song as if the card were opened.  Tie a string to this and use it as a trip wire and your set.



Motion Sensor


Trip wires aren’t your only options for Warning Devices.  Some other alternatives exist.  One unique option is a 9 volt battery operated motion sensor alarm.  It senses movement without a trip wire within a certain range.

“Safe-T-alert” Intruder Alarm is one example.  It goes for 35 bucks and has a 105 Decibel alarm which is armed and disarmed using up to a 6 digit combination (of your choice).  It comes with a wall mount and has the option to wait 0, 30, or 60 seconds to go off if the de-arming code is not successfully entered.  This delay gives you time to set the alarm and de-ass the place.  It also gives you time to disarm it when you decide to move it without it sounding immediately.  Here’s the link for that particular model, radio shack makes a similar alarm as well.  http://www.sportsmansguide.com/showad.html?promo_code=WX1&item_id=57056&ticket=14156594&urlseq=1111401844



Cost Effective Warnings


            Pistachio nut shells can be thrown on pavement to make a crackling noise when someone approaches much like broken glass does (But that wouldn’t be safe would it!)


            Tie a long string around the perimeter around your hide, attach the end farthest away to a tree so it is secure.  Tie a loop in the other end and slip your non-gun hand pinky finger through it.  If someone hits the string it will tug the line, the harder the tug the closer the person is to you.  If you decide to tie the string to a skinny tree in front of you instead of your finger you can keep both hands free, if the tree/weed moves you know something is up.


            All of these devices can work well if used right and with a little imagination.  Remember that safety is top priority, always check with the field owner before using these.  Warning devices can’t replace the buddy system, but if you’re alone they are better than nothing.

            Most of these ideas are not mine; most were shared by members of the OSOK community when I brought up the idea of writing this for the Paintball Zone web site.  Special thanks to all the OSOK’ers who helped out.


            For more info on scenario game rules go to http://www.scenariopaintball.com/rules/gamerulles2.html.