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The Reactive Tactic - finding the soft side

This is a quick review of the Reactive Tactic originally published in the book "Paintball Warrior Tactics". Have a look through the tactic and try have your team apply it in your next game.

In the past few weeks playing at Panther Paintball games (BC, Canada) I have personally used this tactic several times and in it can be very effective.

The basic premise of the Reactive Tactic in paintball is this:

  • Do not commit (substantially) until you see which side the enemy is strong and weak on. Then, defend and hold off the enemy strong side and commit most of your firepower to quickly overwhelming the enemy weak side. Once you are deep enough into the enemy weak side, begin to shift your fire and attack infield - toward the flanks (and eventually rear) of the enemy strong side. 

Now, in this article, I refer to a "commander". Of course, I simply mean the leader at that point in the game and since this tactic can be used by a sole player - I am really just referring to you and your teammates.

In other words: The Reactive Tactic is one where the commander of a team does not commit the bulk of his players to a particular tactical maneuver on the field before he has intelligence on what the enemy is doing.

When the commander commits the bulk of his forces, he will employ a tactic designed to take advantage of the weaknesses in the opponents (perceived) tactics.


  1. If the teams are very large, the bulk of the force must be under control of the command structure. A commander will not be able to coordinate and control a massive number of individuals just out to run and gun. However, this can work very well with small squads and fireteams. Even a lone gunman can use the tactic.


  1. The commander designates a portion of the team (15%-30% but no more) to move out, up the field to just inside the engagement range of the enemy to defend and observe only. One or more scouts may be sent to key observation areas where they can observe the enemy movements. If the teams start within view of each other, this is not necessary of course.
  2. The job of the forward team and scouts is to relay information back to the team commander as quickly as possible about opponents troop movements. Again - based on the size of the field, the commander may be able to visually see exactly what the enemy disposition is right off the horn.
  3. The commander directs the team to act according to weaknesses he sees in the enemy plan. Normally, this involves sending the remainder of the team (the bulk) towards the weak spot in the enemy lines or flank.

    For example, if the enemy decides to send most of its players up the right, the forward 25% of our team is instructed to only defend and try and keep the enemy back as long as possible. Meanwhile, the bulk of the team 75% is directed to move swiftly up the left side in a rush maneuver and wheel towards the opponents flank when they have travelled behind their lines.

    There are other weaknesses which might be exploited based on intelligence your commander has about the opponents, depending on the scenario, situation, team composition, field size, etc – but this is the most common.


The best way to react to the reactive strategy is in fact – the reactive strategy.

The reactive strategy is really a game winning method you can use at all times by observing the enemy team and players and acting according to the weaknesses you see.

Always try and find the soft side.



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