I'll be the first to admit it. I love barrel tagging. Absolutely love it. The problem is, it seems to be one of the least understood rules of paintball. This can lead to some ruffled tempers, arguments, and general issues on the field. So, Here's the general synopsis of the rule.
If a live player from Team A gets close enough to a live player from Team B, he may "tap" (note, not smack, hit, clobber, or knock unconscious.. you laugh, but I've seen some pretty strong "barrel tags") the player from Team B with his barrel. At this point, the player on Team B is out, and must leave the field of play without alerting his teammates, granted two provisions:
Most fields require the player on Team A to say the words "Barrel tag" or "Barrel tag, you're out" while performing the tap.
Most fields require that the barrel be attached to a complete marker (no running around with only a barrel).
Once this is complete, the player on team B is out, no questions asked, no fussing, no telling teammates "hey, there's a guy from A around here". End of story. Rule of scenario paintball.
The problem is, oftentimes the player on Team B feels cheated or disappointed that he has been outfoxed (or they just don't know the rule). Player B then puts up a fuss, turns and shoots, yells at other players to turn and shoot, or the like. This is both unsafe, illegal, and downright poor sportsmanship.
Once again, I don't have a solution to this. I've taken to only barrel tagging where there is a ref nearby who can sort things out if they go poorly. Course, that assumes the ref knows the barrel tagging rules also. Doh.
But, here are some tips for the barrel taggers and their attempted targets.
Don't do anything even remotely near what would classify yourself as a dead player. No walking with other dead players, leave your gun all the way down, your other hand down. No barrel sock on the marker. Don't say anything even resembling the word out. Don't explain you are out of air, say you are low on air. etc. Make it as tough as possible for anyone to accuse you of cheating by calling yourself out, then coming back into play. Also realize, by attempting to barrel tag people, you are resigning yourself to possibly getting shot at close range if they catch on. Hopefully they'll be nice about it, one or two shots, but no guarantees. If you don't want that risk, don't go barrel tagging.
Also NEVER, NEVER impersonate a ref or media person. That's either illegal or downright lousy, and gets players shooting at field staff who really don't deserve it. Just a bad move in general.
If you suspect someone (on the opposing team) is attempting to approach your position for barrel tagging (or any other purpose similar, as an enemy spy perhaps), follow a pretty simple procedure.
Check to see if they have a marker over their head, a barrel sock on their marker, or a hand raised to indicate they are out.
If not, ask verbally if they are out, preferably while they are still 15 yards or so away.
If they do not say the words "I'm out" or "Yes", tell them to stop, and ask again.
If you still don't receive a proper response, put one (ONE!) shot on them. Preferably aim for something like a pod pack, to be courteous. But if they are in fact trying to be sneaky, they've accepted the fact they may be shot. Don't let them sweet talk you into not shooting, unless of course, they say those magic words.
Now, either you'll hit them (they are definitely out), or you'll miss. If they scramble for cover and start firing back, congrats, you just caught him. If he doesn't, chances are he isn't a spy, while you should still proceed with caution, you should be alright.
Hopefully this will clear up some confusion, and lead to an easier time and more fun for both sides.
Yes, this is an open invitation. If I'm wandering around aimlessly behind your team lines, I am barrel tagging. I will get shot because of this article. Oh well.