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What Is Paintball?

Paintball is a fast paced sport that started in the 1980’s. I don‘t feel like giving you the complete history from green gas all the way up to Constant Air and Electro Markers. Suffice it to say that paintball is played in countries around the world: United States, Russia, Australia, Mexico, and England to name a few.

What do I need to play Paintball?

First and foremost is a FACE MASK!!! I can’t stress safety enough. It’s important to have eye protection. Why you ask? A paintball ideally travels between 280 and 300FPS (feet/second) on regulated fields. When players get together and play outlaw ball (No sanctioned field with refs and chronos) it’s possible for them to travel in excess of 450FPS. So please protect your eyes and the reputation of our sport. Another piece of safety equipment would be the barrel sock or barrel plug. These are to avoid any physical or property damage from an accidental discharge outside of the playing area.

Secondly you’ll need a Marker (paintball gun) these can range anywhere from mild to wild. The old adage holds true to paintball as with any other hobby. “You wanna play you gotta pay.” Markers start as low as $50(check EBay and to name a few) and go all the way up into the thousands.

You’re going to need something to hold your paintball in, 140 round pods (tubes) and some sort of harness you can see what they look like at

You’ll need some form of air to charge the marker either CO2 for those on a budget, or H.P.A. (high pressure air) for those who want the finer things in paintball.

You’ll also need something to hold your paintballs in its called a Hopper, Loader but it sits on top of your paintball and uses gravity (not true in all cases) in most cases to keep your paintball gun loaded with ammunition.

Also bring with you some comfortable shoes with ankle support as most fields are rough terrain it’s very easy to sprain or twist an ankle. You should also bring pants and a long sleeve t-shirt that you won’t mind getting dirty in.

Keep in mind these are just the very basics of what you’ll need.

What kind of Marker should I buy?

This is a question that’s always asked, and hardest to answer. There are many aspects and a lot of research that must go into this question before a solid answer can be given. You need to ask yourself several questions before you can come up with the best answer for you.
• How often do I go to play?
• How much do I have to spend?
• Do I want mechanical or do I want electro?
• Do I want to use CO2 or N2?
• Do I want open or closed bolt?
• Am I mechanically inclined enough to get something that’s very complex?
• Am I just a rec player or do I want to go up to a tournament level?

How often you play is a big determinant since if you only go once a month there may not be a reason for you to buy a $1500 marker when you can get away with a $300 marker. What does your budget look like? Do you have a good paying job with disposable income or will you likely be begging, borrowing or stealing to get this paintball gun? Do you want your gun to work on the sear and spring principle, or do you want it to be like a giant switch?

CO2 and N2 are a big part of the paintball gun so I’ll talk about those separately from the rest. CO2 stands for Carbon Dioxide (Sometimes called dirty gas) CO2 is an inexpensive way of getting a lot of air for your paintball gun. The typical paintball gun can go a whole day on only 20oz of CO2 (over 1000 shots). This gas is cost effective and easily accessible at most major fields and works on almost any low end and most mid range paintball guns. Now for the downside to CO2, CO2 is actually a liquid that needs to be charged into gas in order to go through a paintball gun. This being the case, the temperature plays a major part in how CO2 works. The colder the tank gets the less efficient your marker will be. Once your tank gets cold enough your gun will take in liquid CO2 and jam up until it warms up again. So if you live in a cold area 50* and bellow you probably don’t want CO2. Though they’ve taken steps to prevent this with Anti-Siphon tanks no plan is full proof. With CO2 you’ll notice erratic shot drop off and poor accuracy. HPA is a more consistent type of gas, since its composed of roughly 80% nitrogen there’s no need to worry about it freezing the internals of your marker and freezing it up. Most HPA tanks are regulated to somewhere between 400psi and 850psi. This means that no matter what your gun will ideally put out that much pressure with only a small ± factor. This creates more consistency shot to shot. The downside to HPA is that is very expensive tanks start at $100 and go upwards of $400.

The difference between an open bolt marker and closed bolt marker is simple. Think of a semi-auto pistol. Regularly it cycle starts with the slide forward, you pull the trigger the slide goes back and then slides forward again, that is the action of a closed bolt marker. Start forward, slide back (load ammunition), slide forward (fire round). An open bolt marker is the exact opposite. Start back (load ammunition), slide forward (fire round), slide back (reload). Some would argue that a closed bolt style marker (i.e. Autocockers) is far more accurate than open bolt markers (most other markers) but I’ve not done any tests myself.

Autocockers for example need to be mechanically timed in order to fire properly. Other markers require that you take them apart every so many shots and after each time you play in order to clean and in some cases lubricate the moving parts. Are you confident with your skills of taking apart and putting back together things that have springs, screws, sears, bearings in some cases, and triggers?

Once you’ve answered these questions you can start to make a decision as to which way you want to spend your money. Once you’ve decided which way to go its time to start researching the markers in your given range. You can check out to get reviews from people who actually use the products and get an idea of how much it costs. The biggest suggestions I can give once you’ve narrowed down your choices go to your local field and see if someone has the gun you want, ask them if they’d be willing to let you put a few rounds through it to see how it shoots. Also make a trip to the local paintball shop and see if they have one so you can hold it and feel how it sits in your hands.

So these things shoot paintballs right, well what exactly is a ‘paintball’?

Those little roundish balls your shooting don’t actually contain paint. That nasty tasting substance (Yes I have unfortunately tasted a paintball before) is actually vegetable syrup and dye mixed together and sealed in a gelatin capsule. The original paintball was first made by RP Schere. They were (or still are I’m not quite sure on that) originally a pharmaceutical company. The contents of a paintball are non-toxic, though their taste would make you think otherwise. Its also washable though sometimes it does stain. Some paints actually contain a little bit of iodine in them to make wiping, a form of cheating by which a player wipes paint off themselves to make it look like they were never hit, more difficult.

How dangerous is paintball?

Paintball is as dangerous as any other sport, if not played within the rules it’s very easy for someone to get injured. This is why all professional fields require you to wear a face mask. Again I can’t stress enough that a mask is probably the most important part of any paintballer’s gear. Outside of that the most common injuries seen on paintball fields end up being sprained or twisted ankles and knees. Though just as in any other sports it is possible to break bones or tear things that your body needs. Please consult a physician before undertaking a strenuous activity such as paintball.

Does it hurt to get shot with a paintball?

I can tell you “no it doesn’t hurt that bad” till I’m blue in the face but nothing will make up for the actual experience of being shot with one for the first time. It’s kind of startling at first, and it smarts for a few seconds then you realize its not that bad to get shot with a paintball unless you’re a complete sissy.

Ok, I’ve bought all my gear, I have a MASK, marker, and paintballs harness and I want to go paintballing what do I do?

Ok, now you need to find your local field, and find out what it costs. I won’t lie to it its not going to be cheap for a day of paintball. I’ve spent as little $40 as much as $120(I had a break down and a repair).

The good fields will have more refs, smaller games and less wait time. Find out if you can bring your own paint, or if you need to buy field paint. If you need to buy field paint, watch out its going to be expensive as hell.

Now that you’ve got the costs settled, its time to look at what to take. Keep in mind games last usually from 8am to 4pm so you’re going to be there pretty much all day unless you leave early.
• Paintball Equipment (Mask, marker, barrel sock or barrel plug air container, hopper, pods and harness)
• Paintballs if you can bring your own otherwise its field paint.
• Comfortable shoes with ankle support (or cleats depending on terrain)
• ID for proof of age (If you’re under 18 you’ll need to have a parent sign off for you.)
• A lunch if you don’t want to go buy your own from somewhere
• Plenty of water (paintball takes place mainly during the summer months where dehydration can become a real issue if you’re not careful)
• A change of clothes unless you like having paint and all over your car
• Money and a cell phone for emergencies.

Common Problems you’ll run into at the field with your marker

Problem: Can’t get the FPS down to an acceptable level

• Turn your velocity screw all the way down.
• Get an inline regulator and use it
• Cut the velocity spring 1 ring at a time.
Becareful when turning your velocity screw, as not all models work the same (i.e. Tippmann) when doing any adjustments on your marker make sure you read the manufacturers instructions on how to do it.

Problem: Paint keeps breaking in my barrel
Get a larger bored barrel for a better paint match. Unscrew the barrel and run your pull thru squeegee through the barrel (On field fix) Once the game is over, take the barrel off and clean it completely with water, run the squeege through and dry completely, then recheck chrono. Also check to make sure the timing on your bolt is accurate that may be another cause.

Problem: Paint keeps breaking in my breech
• Stop buying seconds at the shop
• Get a motorized hopper to keep up with your finger
• Check your gun’s eyes or anti-double feed system

Problem: My paint keeps hooking and I can’t shoot straight
Stop Using Rentals, Get better paint, get a better barrel, or get a better marker (in that order.)

Problem: My gun isn’t shooting.
Turn it on, Un-safe it, Turn your air on if you're using N2 and an on/off with it. If those don't work you'll need to step off the field and do some further trouble shooting, something may have happened to your trigger/sear mechanism, or your solenoid may have broken(on electros). Also with electros check to make sure that your batter has a charge, it may be that its discharged and you need to recharge it.

These are just some common problems you might run into on the field the solutions I’ve given are from personal experience alone. If you are afraid or unable to field strip your paintball gun, do not attempt it, you’ll end up doing more harm than good. Take it to the field shop and tell them, or leave for the day and go to your local pro-shop and have them trouble shoot it.

Useful links:

Manufacturer links: (Autocockers) (Tippmann) (Spyder/Raven) (Angel), DM4, DM5(coming soon) and Proto) (Intimidator AKA Timmy) (Impulse/Shocker attempted Monopoly ) (AutoMag, E-Mag) (BKO, Bushmasters (B2Ks), and Freestyles) (Redz Harness and Pods)

This is all based on my personal knowledge and understanding of things, if you see something wrong, please let me know and I’ll make the addendum. If you want to add anything I haven’t covered let me know I'll add it in.

Thanks to Praxis for the additional information on the field problems section.
Sodomy, its the one solution to all of lifes problems. ~ GERMAXICAN
Gen[M]ay Paintball Club
-Angel Speed
Fat Mexican of Team OWK

Last edited by Plazmattack; 11-27-2004 at 12:47 AM..
Old 11-17-2004, 10:12 PM Plazmattack is offline  
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