November 04, 2014



Operation End War is a Mag-fed game put on by RAP4 at the Snake Pit Training Center in Cooperopolis, California.  This year the event was held from October 3-5.  

In the past, I have not written an entire blog post focused on any particular scenario event.  I am breaking with that tradition to write about Operation End War.  I am doing this for a number of reasons.  Firstly, I believe that Operation End War has the potential to be one of the very finest scenario paintball events in the country.  I want to talk a bit about my observations concerning this year's game.  There is a lot of love about Operation End War just as it is, however, for it to reach its true potential I think there are some ways that it could be better.  I want to venture some ideas for fine tuning.  Know too, that a lot of what I am putting forward comes out my discussions with DJMatt, the guys from Team Lockdown, and other players who shared their thoughts.

The second thing I want to do with this posting is to encourage players who have not yet participated in the event to think about doing so next year.  I didn't ask RAP4 for attendance numbers, but I would guess that there were between 200-300 players at this year's event. For reasons I will discuss a bit later, this event will improve dramatically when there are more players on the field.   That's because this is a huge place and it can handle a lot more people. In that vein, I want to give players who have not yet participated in this event an idea of what to expect and why they should work this game into their respective schedules

Finally, I had the opportunity talk with Omar, from RAP4, at length about the RAP4 line in general and his new shaped projectile.  I also had the opportunity to observe it being fired by a very good sniper.  I have some thoughts on that as well.


Yup, that's me.  I have such a graceful on-field persona.  For players old enough to remember the very old 'Gunsmoke" western series, it looks like I am doing my best impression of Chester hobbling down the street looking for Matt Dillon.  Actually, I and the guy from Fatal Paint are just entering the field at the start of the game.  You can see my rifle is still barrel bagged.  What I am attempting to do (not knowing the RAP4 photographer was even back there) was to reach back and turn on my air.


I want to start off with my general impressions of the game itself.  After that, I will move to the things that, at least to my way of thinking probably need to be fined tuned a bit if OEW is going to continue to draw the caliber of people who participated in this year's event.

While we are on the subject of players, let me talk about that aspect of the game for a minute. From a sniper's perspective, this was the game that shouldn't be missed. There were a lot of top-flight shooters on the field and many of them from the Eastern United States.  For example, I got to meet Lou Arthur from the East Coast. We had the chance to sit around and talk about a lot of shooting-related topics.  There are not all that many serious 80+ yard shooters in the game so its wonderful to get the chance to see them and shake their hand.  By the way, Casper and JJRon, you really need to get to this one.  You were missed.   

Looking past the people, however, there is also the terrain in Copperopolis.  This field is just plain huge.  It is simply an awesome place to play  Who could not love playing mag-fed paintball in a place called the "Snake Pit Training Center"? 

Let's start with the basics.  This is not a commercial scenario field.  Snakepit really is a training center used by Calveras Tactical.  The field is large.  It covers (as I remember) about 550 acres.  At the safety briefing, the briefer said that about 100 acres are actually in play, and what a beautiful 100 acres they are:

Anyone with an ounce of sniper blood running through his/her veins can't help but look at this kind of terrain without getting a thrill of anticipation.  Yes, the ranges across that piece of ground are, indeed, just as long as they look.

At the safety briefing, a guy from Caleveras Tactical made a point of talking about the fact that they would have people on the field to provide medical assistance for anyone needing it.  The heat and ruggedness of the field make for the very real possibility of someone needing to be evacuated from the field.  Quite often I saw the medical guys running around on quad runners and it was nice to know that if I needed it, help was close by.  Wear good boots with good ankle suport for this one.  This is not a sandals kind of field.

One of the first things I want to point out is that this game is hosted by Calveras Tactical and RAP4. Mag-Net Scenarios actually structured the event itself. What really gives Operation End War its unique flavor is that it is a mag-fed only game.  For anyone who hasn't played that way, it is a completely different experience.  Players generally don't just spray and pray because there are no hoppers (although there were a few box mags).  I actually saw players moving in tactical formations and relying on each other for fire support.  What a welcome change.  

As you might expect, first-strike ammunition played a huge role during this event.  I never saw so many little black boxes getting passed out at registration.  

That meant that fire fights were often going on at much greater ranges than you would expect to see on a scenario field where players are mostly using round paint.

While first strikes were there in a big way, RAP4 also provided round paint and it was paint with a red fill.  Bet you haven't played like that before.  In fact, full-auto rates of fire were permitted but not for anyone shooting first strikes.

The game organizers made arrangements to have meals delivered to the field and you could order breakfast, lunch, or dinner menu items.  That was a nice touch.

The staging area is, how do I say this gracefully, rustic.  It is basically just a large parking area with lots of dust and rocks.  Don't expect a refined camping area or running water.  My suggestion is to stay somewhere in Copperopolis, if for no other reason than to get out of the heat at the end of the day.  

On the morning of the game, RAP4 did a nice job of getting the registrations taken care of and distributing paint.  That seemed to be a very smooth part of the operation.

One thing I do want to mention is the heat.  It was close to, or just over, 100 degrees for this year's event.  This is a hot, dry place to play.  The walking distances on the field are long.  Start hydrating the day before the game.  You want to be fully hydrated going into this game.  Don't even think about stepping on the field without some method of carrying water.

The hard fact is that once you start playing you will, no matter how much you try, not be able to stay fully hydrated.  Your plan should be to go into the game with as much water in your system as possible and then work hard to take in enough water during the game to slow your dehydration as much as possible.  After all, your stomach can only absorb water just so fast and while you're playing in that kind of extreme heat, your body is losing more water than you can take in.  It's key that you start drinking water from the minute you step out of your car at the staging area.  If you find yourself getting thirsty during the game, then you are already behind the hydration curve.  At that point, the only way you have of bringing your hydration level back up is to take a break and let your body catch up a bit.  You're also in real danger of suffering heat exhaustion if you ignore those dehydration symptoms.   

Hydration becomes an even more important factor because of the game rules.  The game organizers decided not to have any breaks during the first day of play.  I will discuss that issue a bit more fully further on in this posting.

One of the things that RAP4 does well with this game is the extensive photo and video work they do during the game.  Much of the photo work you see on this blog was done by those guys and my thanks go out to them for that. I am attaching a very long RAP4 video of this year's Operation End War.  I would encourage anyone thinking about travelling to this event to take the time and watch the video.  It contains lots of worthwhile information , and you can also derive a lot about the terrain too. 


RAP4 takes care of the registration details and posts game information on its website.  Here is that link;

Maybe it's just me, but I have registered for a lot of paintball events over the past several years and I found RAP4's process kind of clunky.    For example, when you registered, you (as is normally the case) were given the opportunity to purchase paint, but first strikes were not part of the offering at registration.  I finally emailed the registration people and they told me that I had go to the RAP4 store and buy them there.  Even then, it wasn't clear whether my paint was going to be shipped or whether i was supposed to pick it up at the field.  

I never did find a game schedule posted anywhere.  In other words, what time am I supposed to be there for the safety briefing on that first morning.  There was some cryptic mention of someone meeting the players and taking them to some mysterious assembly point but that never happened to my knowledge.  

I will say that when I emailed the RAP4 guys to ask questions, they were very responsive.  Here, however, is my point. This is the fifth year for this event.  Just smooth out some of the details guys.  

It was apparent to me that the game organizers were going out of their way to make this game feel as realistic as possible.  I understand the desire to make things feel real.  A lot of little things were done to help that impression along.  Red fill paint was one such thing.  Permitting full-auto play, smoke grenades, and flash bangs were also nice to see.  

Unfortunately, I think the desire for absolute realism also went a bit too far in some cases leading to some bad decisions too.  For example, at this year's event there were no sanctioned breaks from the moment play started in the morning until the end of the day. I like a challenge as much as anyone else, and there was clearly a lot of testosterone in the air at the Snakepit during this game.  Nothing wrong with that.  

The safety briefer stressed that players should play their own game but the temptation is for players is to stay in the game as long as their paint and air hold out.  I can appreciate that, but I also know that no matter whether the promoters scheduled breaks or not, people left the field.  It was simply too hot not to.  I saw players who probably stayed on the field longer than they should have with hydration bladders sucked dry because they believed the positions they were holding were important to the team. So they stayed. 

Making it feel real can be a good thing, but so is being realistic about the people on the field.  Not everyone out there is in great physical condition. The vast majority are going to, at some point, leave the field because of the heat, because they want to eat, or because they need to rearm, or they have run out of water. It is a given. At a minimum, I would suggest that the event promoters work a lunch break into the schedule.  If I am out there playing and I know that I am about 45 minutes from the scheduled lunch break, then I will try, for my team's sake, to stay on the field till then by watching my ammo expenditure.  It probably also makes sense to have some kind of mid-afternoon break as well and for the same reasons.  

Yes, I understand that leaving the field for lunch isn't macho nor does it reinforce the feeling of things being "real."  In truth, however, this is just paintball.  There are no live rounds, no one gets shot or captured.  In my opinion, it makes for a far better game for players to all leave the field at one time for lunch than just having people come and go on their own schedule.  

What I saw happening was that people were straggling on and off the field throughout the day.  That will always happen, to some extent during a scenario event, but scheduled breaks tend to keep the majority of players actually on the field while the game is really going on. Otherwise, what happens is that the teams swing back in forth in strength in response to how many players have decided to take a break at any particular time.

Here's the other thing that should be kept in mind.  Because it is paintball, players find it nice to socialize once they have played awhile. If everyone is on the field all day and there are no breaks when everyone leaves the game, then the only time left to talk is at the end of the day after the game is over.  At that point, it is still hotter than blazes and a lot of people leave because they are thinking about a shower and a beer.

Playing hard on tough terrain in asphalt-melting heat is actually pretty cool.  Those conditions are part of the draw for me.  My conditioning and hydration were up to the challenge, but I think it has to be remembered that this isn't a military training operation; it is just paintball.  I think you can have a better, safer game by building in a couple of breaks in the schedule.


Another decision that seems to have been made to further the goal of keeping things "real"  was the decision to count bounces.  Let me say right up front, I don't have a problem with counting bounces. A sniper shooting first strikes at long distance loves the fact that bounces count.  Counting bounces as hits, however, is somewhat unusual.  As a result, I watched dozens of players getting hit with bounces who checked themselves for broken paint and, after not finding anything, continued to play. Obviously they knew they had been hit but when they determined the paint had bounced they ignored the rules.

If you are going to make rules that you consider necessary to keep things real, but that are not the norm for scenario events, then you need to have enough refs to make sure the rules are being followed.  After the safety briefing, I saw a total of two refs on the field all day long.  One was at the chrono station and the other I happened to see across a gully probably two-hundred yards away. Now, I understand that this field is not generally used as a commercial paintball field so it doesn't have a cadre of refs at its disposal.  I also understand that when you are playing on 100 acres of rocky, hilly terrain that refs can't be everywhere.  

Here is another rule that led to some pretty severe rule breaking.  Players who were hit, were supposed to go back to their own CP and wait for a certain period of time before reinserting.  There were no flag stations where players could tag back into the game.  Re-insertions could only be done at the CP.  

The decision to do things that way may have furthered someone's vision of more realistic game play, but what gets forgotten here is the sheer distance players had to cover to get back to their own CP and the heat of the day.  What I saw happening was that players who were a long ways from their own CP simply held their hand up to signify being hit, but never left the field.  They simply stood back and waited a few minutes behind their front lines.  When they thought they had waited long enough, they reinserted.  

In one situation, I shot a player who raised his had to signal that he was hit. This player was a very long ways from his own CP. I was puzzled because he milled around about 30 feet behind his teammate, who was hiding behind a berm and still in the game. After a few minutes of him standing around, I shot him again because I couldn't figure out why he was still on the field.  In response, he got angry and yelled,"I'm out." (even though neither his hand nor gun were raised in the air)  I yelled at him to leave the field but he ignored me and just continued to stand around behind the other player.  

Subsequently, I engaged in an intensive firefight with another the player who had been hiding behind the same as the player I had first shot,  We exchanged lots of rounds and suddenly I was hit by someone other than who I was shooting at.  It turned out to be the player who was out and who had never left the field.  Apparently, he decided he had waited long enough and reinserted himself into the game. 

Again there were no refs on the field to enforce the rules.  In one instance, a player I shot kept on playing despite my efforts to tell him that the big white paint splotch on his leg was a hit. A nearby photographer, who had been watching the exchange, joined in and began shouting at him that he was hit and that he needed to call himself  out. Obviously embarrassed, the player then called himself out, but he did not leave the field.  

Yes, I know this happens in every paintball game, but I have never played on a field with so few refs and, if there was one complaint I kept hearing voicing by players, it was players not calling themselves out when hit or when paint bounced on them.  In most games these types of events are the exception.  At Snake Pit they were the rule.  

I actually saved the worst rule decision for last.  It was, without doubt, the craziest thing I have seen in all my time on a paintball field.  Apparently, because taping players takes away from the game's realism, players didn't have to tape if they wore a game patch visible somewhere on their clothing.  I can't begin to describe the frustration of trying to examine other players patches (and some of them had lots of them on their vests - both front and back) to try and determine if the player was a friendly or not.  Actually it was DJMatt who first pointed to me that very few players were taping up.  That's because when you and the other team are in some form of battle lines, it is easy to see who the enemy is. He is the guy shooting at you.   Maybe that is what Mag-Net Scenarios envisioned when they originally created this rule. Unfortunately, when there are no lines and you are sniper moving through the bush, you often stumble on one or two players and you need to figure out whether they are friend or foe.  In this case, the chore was virtually impossible. What a mess.  

I couldn't believe that game organizers were actually permitting this situation.  Then I checked the rules put out my Mag-Net Scenarios and, sure enough, there it was in Rule 8.5.  In their words, adding colored tape to the mask or arm of a player is "emersion (p.s. guys it should be "immersion) breaking," (no I am not making this up).  Clearly, this was a matter of contention, because rule 8.5 had a line running through the text to signify that it had been deleted.  Rule 8.5.1, (not lined out) said that RAP4 would provide team markings but it made no mention that players were required to wear them.  

Let me give you an example of what kind of confusion this led to on the field.  I was approaching my own CP and happened to see two players standing on a hill talking with their backs to me.  They were probably 150 feet from my CP.  I low-crawled to within about 60 feet of them with a clear, unobstructed few of their backs.  Neither player was wearing tape.  I couldn't see any patches but I also couldn't see the front of their vests.  I hesitated to pull the trigger.   I really didn't know how to proceed because I didn't want to friendly fire my own guys.  I wasn't inclined to say anything or give them the chance to surrender because there were two of them and I knew that what should have been clean kills would end up in a close-range gun fight. Frankly, they weren't paying attention and didn't really deserve the chance to return fire. In the end, I shot both of them and they did turn out to be enemy players, but it was one of dumbest positions I have ever been in on a paintball field. It sure was 'emersion" breaking for me.  

I could care less whether next year's OEW event decides to count bounces.  It doesn't matter to me. What matters greatly is that whomever is putting on the game have enough referees to enforce whatever rules they decide to use.  

I don't like to just complain about things; I think it is important to put forward suggestions for how to fix the problems.  In that vein, I do have some ideas. 

(1) I think having regen. flag stations and not requiring players to go all the way to their respective CPs will help the cheating problem.  Doing so, will remove some of the resistance players had to calling themselves out because they won't have to face a long, hot slog to reinsert.  Having flag stations also provide a focal point as teams battle to control each station.  With a limited number of referees, creating focal points for the battles is important because refs stationed at the flag stations will be in the thick of the action.  Missions can set up so whichever team hold a specific flag station at a certain time gets points.   

(2) The game needs to have more specific missions that focus on known parts of the field.  For example in this year's event, one mission was to find a dummy that was a simulated down pilot.  We had no clue as to where in 100 acres this dummy was located.  If teams are given the mission with a known location then that will become another focal point and refs can be on site to oversee the action.

(3) Everybody tapes and there should be only two colors.  Having a third color (as was done with year's surprise white color - without tape) just completely confused things.  Because there were no breaks in the action, no one on the field had any idea about what the "white" team was doing or whose side they were on.  If the event promoter needs to make on-the-fly changes to the rules or the teams, having a lunch break is the perfect time to do that by calling everyone together to tell them about  the change before they restart the game.

(4) Tape should applied to either the left or right arm of each player depending on team color.  For example, if I am a red player then my tape will be on my right arm and only my right arm.  That means if I encounter another player on the field all I need to see is one of his arms to know whether he is friend or foe.  If I can see only his right arm and there is no tape, then he is the enemy.  If I can only see his left arm, I will either see blue tape (and he is an enemy) or no tape at all which means he is a friendly. 

I believe each of these changes would be beneficial and strengthen the game.  I do know that if the event promoters don't do something about the taping issue, I won't be returning to next year's OEW despite the fact that it is the game I look forward to most of all.  That is a deal breaker for me.

For players who haven't yet played in Operation End War, I would suggest two things.  First, review the video below of this year's event.  

Second, take a careful read of the rules so you have an idea of what to expect.  I have included a link to them.

Operation End War Rules


Magfed paintball is a different animal.  From my perspective, it is one giant step up from the regular style of scenario play.  Within reason, I like the more realistic style of play and I really appreciate the tremendous increase in tactical play that happens on the field when you have 20-round mags and not 200 round hoppers.  First strikes go from being a curiousity, as they usually are in a typical scenario game, to being an integral part of the event.

Operation End War has the potential for being the mag-fed equivalent of D-Day.  Snake Pit is so head-and-shoulders above any other field I have ever played on.  I really hope that RAP4, Calaveras Tactical, and Mag-Net smooth out the rough edges on this game because I think this event could be much, much bigger than anyone is anticipating.  After all, if thousands of people can travel to the middle of nowhere to play in D-Day, then Copperopolis, in the foothills of the Sierras, looks downright easy to reach in comparison.  

Make this work well guys.  Please. 


So, let's talk about what's on everybody's mind - RAP4's shaped projectiles.  Prior to the game, the rumor had circulated that RAP4 would have these new rounds available for inspection.  As you might expect, when I met Omar at the field that was one of the first topics of conversation.

I did get the chance to look at them and handle them.  Our conversation with Omar about them was in depth.  We pushed one of them through a rifled barrel a few times to check on rotation and he convinced Lou Arthur to test fire a few at about 30 yards with his SAR12.  We broke a few the rounds apart and looked at the drive bands very closely.

Omar told me that the rounds we were looking at were just prototypes.  RAP4 hasn't completely settled on the method they are going to use to seal the back portion of that round to the payload portion at the front end.

Let me start off by reminding people of one immutable fact.  Perfect Circle owns the patent on first strikes.  What's more, they have clearly shown that they will will actively defend that patent against anyone who makes a round with fins that resemble a first strike.  I know some people hate that, but I am not one of them.  That's just how the business world works and there are good reasons for permitting someone to patent something in the first place so that they can prevent someone else from infringing on their patent.  We can agree to disagree on whether it's a good practice (and I know some of you don't like it), the bottom line is that any challenger to the first strike round is going to have to have a different design.  Anything even resembling a first strike is going to generate a lawsuit.

The good news is that RAP4's shaped projectile is different.  The drive band is its answer to not being able to put fins on the round.  This new shape immediately raises three questions.  The first is how accurate is it going to be?  The honest answer is that it is too early to tell.  What I saw and what was shot by Lou were prototype rounds.  Omar says they are still refining them.

The test firing we did was done on the spur of the moment just to satisfy our curiosity.  I wanted to see them go down range.  Lou shot 6-8 of them out of prone position.  His target was nothing more than a specific branch on a tree.  They all fired without problem as I recall.

How accurate were they?  I think there may have been one flier in the bunch.  The rest were pretty consistent.  After watching this very preliminary test, here is what I would say just eyeballing the rounds going downrange.  It was not as accurate as a first strike but more accurate than round paint.

The second question, and maybe almost as important as the first, is how well will they load from the current crop of magazines that are out there?  When Lou was shooting these rounds he was breach loading them so those tests didn't provide any answers to my question.  I did see another one of RAP4's guys firing a few of the shaped projectiles rapid fire from a magazine.  The rifle seemed to jam at first but then fired correctly.

The third question is price.  As we all know, we are paying about .40 cents a round for first strikes. Omar is pretty confident he take the price down to somewhere about 10-12 cents a round.

So what does all of that add up to.  If you were looking for definite answers, it's still too early for that. Only extensive testing is going to give us the information we all need.  Omar and I talked about intensively testing the rounds and he assured me that we were approaching that stage in product development.  Look for that next. During the testing and refinement of the product, I will pass my results and thoughts back to just RAP4.  I want them to be able to experiment with this round without being afraid of getting a scathing article about the rounds.  I am doing this because of how important i think it is that we get a competitor to the first strike round. If better ammunition (or at least cheaper ammunition of the same quality) can be made, then I want it to happen.

That approach will continue until RAP4 decides that its shaped projectiles are in its final form and begins to market the rounds. At that point, you will hear exactly what I think about the current round that is going to market.  I don't think I can be fairer than that.  They get the results of my testing for free and maybe, just maybe, we get a new round.

I have been thinking about this round a great deal.  Let me just lay out a hypothetical.  What if these new rounds don't test out as accurate as first strike rounds.  Let's say they end up somewhere between first strikes and round paint but that they do feed well and cost about ten cents a round.

The term "mid-range round" has been extensively bantered around.  Initially, I was not optimistic about the changes of something like that succeeding.  After having played in Operation End War, my opinion has changed.  Lots of players in End War were using first strikes.  It was my observation that many, many of those players were using first strikes as mid-range rounds.  In other words, they were using assault rifles and mainly firing at distances of 20-60 yards.  Yes, they did some long-balling but they were not actual striving for real accuracy at 70 and 80 yards.

I can help but wonder whether many of those same players would have used the cheaper shaped projectiles.  What's more, how many of the people using round paint were doing so simply because of the cost of first strikes?  What if they could buy a thousand rounds of shaped projectiles for $100.00. Projectiles that wouldn't dimple or deteriorate quickly like round paint?

I think as mag-fed games increase in popularity, so does the potential market for shaped projectiles. Mag-fed games are limited-paint events in the sense that 20-round magazines restrict a player's ability to just send streams of paint down field. A thousand rounds would get most mag-fed players through an event with paint to spare. Of course all this speculating is completely premised on the fact that the shaped projectile actually does feed reliably using today's magazines and that its per-round cost is significantly below that of  first strike rounds and close enough to round paint prices to be viable in limited-paint events.

Stay tuned and keep your fingers crossed.


Interestingly enough, Omar told me that he is an avid reader of my Blog.  He said that after finding it he went through it and read all the articles.  Not being able to help myself, I asked him what he thought. He was very complimentary and specifically mentioned the "Tiberius, Are You Hearing Footsteps?" article.  He said that it was an accurate piece as far as it went, but he then took me to task over one thing.  Omar said he felt that I had left out his contribution which was the development of the DMag.  

In retrospect, I think I agree with him.  Omar's DMag inspired a whole host of copiers.  The Dye mags on my Dye Dam are clear examples of that.  In thinking back to the introduction of the DMag, I remember the excitement circulating through the forums about its introduction but, to be honest, it was a non-event for me to two reasons.  

First, I was completely invested in shooting the SR1.  No magazines required.  Yes, I was using a Tiberius T9.1 as my back-up, clunky mags and all.  DMags weren't going to fit that gun so a new kind of magazine was not something on my radar screen.

Second, I have not been a RAP4 user.  Candidly, the RAP4 products I have purchased in the past have been all show and no go.  Meaning, they looked nice but didn't function well.  Therefore, when RAP4 introduced a new product, it was not something I was going to invest a lot of energy in researching.  

So Omar, consider this my acknowledgement that I inadvertently left you out of that article and that the creation of your DMag was a milestone in first strike (and mag-fed) play.  


Omar, at one point during our discussions, asked me if I was currently using any RAP4 products.  I said that I did have a RAP4 barrel bag, but that was it.  He asked me why that was and I told him roughly the same thing I said above concerning my experience with the Company's products.

He surprised me by acknowledging the Company's checkered history.  He says he is working hard on trying to turn things around but he readily admits he has a long way to go.  I told him he has his work cut out for him because the players who have been in this game for a long time have some bad history with RAP4 and that he is going to somehow have to overcome all that to get where he is trying to go. 

I have managed organizations in the past and I know how difficult it is to take a poor performer and turn it around.  A culture develops in which nobody much cares about the products or services being turned out.  He and I talked about that and just how hard it is to replace people and change attitudes. Nobody likes change. It takes time and a determination to bend people to your vision of how thinks should work. Convincing people that what might have been good enough in the past is no longer an acceptable thing, is tough. That kind of sweeping organizational change doesn't happen overnight.  

Omar's candor was refreshing.  I will be watching RAP4. 


Enough of discussing the details of Operation End War.  I want to pass on something that happened to me during the game concerning battery failure.  When I am prepping for a scenario event, one of the things I routinely do is to change out batteries in my Dye DAM, my scopes, and my mask fans.  I did that prior to OEW.

During, the afternoon of the first day, I was working a hill with DJMatt.  Slopping up the terrain in that heat wearing a ghillie suit necessitated the use of my mask fans. About halfway to the top of the ridge we were climbing, the twin fans inside the mouth portion of my mask suddenly went dead.  I still had the Fanz on the top edge of the mask so I ignored it until I left the field.  My mask fans are powered by a 9-volt battery contained in a small plastic box that is velcroed to my mask strap.  I remember thinking that the battery must have come lose inside the box and lost its connection.  

Later, when I check the battery box this is what I found.  

The battery exploded out the back of its case.  In addition, it also melted the wires connecting it to the fans.  It is a little freaky to realize that this battery was (although contained in a plastic box) resting against the side of my head.  The truth is, however, when it happened I neither heard (although I was probably huffing like an old steam engine) or noticed anything other than the fan going quiet.

You can obviously see that the there is an old expiration date on this battery.  I have never paid much attention to dates like that on batteries as long as whatever I am hooking it up to seems to work correctly.  In all honesty, one of my old teammates on the Fogdogs had access to the Duracell Procell at a great price and I am sure this came from him back in 2009.

Did I just use a battery that was long past its prime?  Was the intense heat and constant use on that day the reason this happened?  Who knows.  What I do know is that I went through the battery box in my gear bag and got rid of the one other old Procell I still had.  Just though I'd pass it on.


While I was putting the finishing touches on this piece, someone sent me this video and I just had to include it.  It is a slo-mo video of a paintball hitting bare skin.  Do those welts look familiar?  

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