Paintball is one of those games, where you feel the adrenaline and you just cant stop. This game is becoming more and more popular around the world, day by day. The game is fun, it is safe and it keeps you fit! What else do you need from a hobby?
Producers of the following paintball guns follow the latest trends in the industry. They develop the most advanced paintball guns that offer players a number of cutting-edge functionalities. We’ve got tons of reviews and guides for the best paintball guns on the market but THIS guide is a comprehensive resource on everything you need to know going into this sport.
What Is A Paintball Gun
A paintball gun is a special device that directs compressed air onto a paintball. This forces the paintball out of the device at a high speed. As is obvious, most usually, paintball guns are used during a paintball game.
The game involves a process, where players intend to tag or mark each other with paintballs by shooting with these guns. The paintballs are little paint-filled gelatin capsules that blast, when they touch/mark a player’s body.
This sporting game has a number of different variations and is popular all around the world. One thing stays the same – the paintball gun.
The paintball gun is shaped like a classic gun. The device is attached to a source of compressed air, where the shooting process is activated through a trigger pull. If you like, think of it like a traditional gun, but instead of shooting bullets, it shoots paintballs with compressed air.
Normally, paintball guns use an expanding gas, such as carbon dioxide (CO2) or compressed air. Sometimes, paintball guns are called paintball markers. The term marker originated from its original use.
Prior to being the main equipment for a paintball game, these guns were used by forestry personnel to mark trees with paint. Moreover, ranchers used the paintball guns to mark wandering cows.
The muzzle velocity of these guns stand at circa 90 m/s (300 ft/s). Even though some have greater velocity, producers rule that it may be unsafe. When a paintball hits an objective at high speed, it may cause damage. Specifically, when the paintball collides with human flesh. This may cause bruising or more serious tissue damage.
The damage is dependent on the velocity of the paintball gun, its impact angle, the distance between the objects, and which part of the body it hits. Thus, because of potential soft tissue damage, players are recommended to wear protective masks and costumes. We will discuss safety matters at the end of this article in more detail.
Key Types Of Paintball Guns
Paintball guns are normally divided into three basic types: pump, mechanical and electronic.
Pump Paintball Guns
Pump paintball guns are the oldest type of markers are not so popular now. They require manual operation to fire. Usually, the user has to perform a shotgun-like pump to cock the gun and chamber for the next paintball to shoot. Pump paintball guns are quite reliable and accurate. They do not provide the player with much fire power, yet, they allow for a better focus.
Mechanical paintball guns are the most common markers on the market. They are normally seen in a recreational game. These guns are normally semi-automatic. This implies that they fire one shot per trigger pull. Mechanical paintball markers are very easy to maintain and use.
Most of the mechanically operated paintball guns operate on CO2 or compressed air. It is very easy to get the paintball tanks refilled in case you are playing on a commercial field or have a special shop nearby.
A large number of mechanical paintball guns on the market feature the blowback design. This means that when the trigger is pulled, it moves a sear catch. This releases a striker or hammer that is located under the spring tension. Next, the striker hits the valve, which opens it long enough to force the paintball out the barrel.
The pressure from this also pushes the striker back until it is caught by the sear, while the next paintball falls into the breech, getting ready for the next shot. The blowbacks are normally broken down into two types: stacktube design and an inline design.
Electronic paintball guns are now becoming a more affordable option for players. Before, these type of guns were considered a luxury.
Electronic paintball guns use electronic solenoid to fire paintballs. These guns are normally powered by a volt battery or a rechargeable alternative. Their trigger clicks a microswitch or trips a laser beam. Pulling the trigger on an electronic paintball gun is like pressing a button on a computer mouse. This allows users to achieve very high rates of fire.
The circuit board on the gun controls all the commands for the solenoid. Therefore, almost all electronic paintball guns offer a number of firing modes: burst, full auto, ramping and other.
Electronic paintball guns can be further broken down into electro-mechanical or electro-pneumatic. The first type of markers are mechanical markers that feature an electronic trigger frame that fires the gun.
Electro-pneumatic paintball guns shoot by activating the solenoid valve which allows compressed air to pass through and force the ball out.
Parts Of A Paintball Gun
A paintball gun consists of a number of essential parts that work together in order to propel the gun. In addition to the main parts, there are some accessories that are necessary to effectively play the game.
The body of the paintball gun includes an internal mechanism that loads the paintballs into the firing chamber and activates the firing mechanism. The device that loads the paintballs is called the bolt.
Loaders are another important part of paintball guns. They are also known as hoppers, and they hold paintballs for the gun to fire. The key types of loaders are gravity feed, agitating and force-feed. The stick feeds are sometimes used to hold paintballs, yet they are not considered to be hoppers.
The agitating and force-feed loaders are able to deliver a higher rate of fire, yet they are exposed to the risk of battery failure. Also, they are subject to the degradation in case of contact with moisture.
At the front of the gun is a barrel. The barrel helps aim the paintball and also directs the expanding gas. In this way, energy of the expanding gas is concentrated on the paintball. Most of the barrels feature small holes on the sides near the front of it. These holes are used to cushion the sound and the recoil after firing the gun.
There are many lengths and styles of paintball guns. The most advanced paintball guns have barrels that screw onto the front receiver. Usually, barrel lengths vary between 76 mm (3.0 in) and 530 mm (21 in) long.
Some custom barrels can be up to 910 mm (36 in) long. The longer the barrel the quieter the paintball gun will be. The most popular lengths of barrels are between 300 mm (12 in) and 410 mm (16 in). This length allows for the best balance of accuracy, range, and portability.
The tank holds the compressed gas that is used to push the paintballs through the gun barrel. It is normally filled with carbon dioxide or compressed air.
Below the firing chamber, there is a handle and a trigger. The trigger is the player’s primary mean of interaction with the gun.
At the top of the gun, there is a part that is called the feedneck. This part is basically a hole for paintballs to roll down before the bolt forces them into the firing chamber.
The bore is the interior diameter of the barrel. It must properly match the type of paintball. In case of a mismatch, potential velocity issues can occur.
Firing And Trigger Modes
Sine the inception of semi-automatic paintball guns in the 1900s, these type of guns were ruled as the industry standard. Semi-automatic guns allowed only one paintball to be fired per trigger pull.
However, with the development of electronic paintball guns, their standardization became irrelevant. These days, electronic paintball guns have a shot ramping feature that allows the weapon to shoot more than once per trigger pull.
Paintball Guns Manufacturers
Now, when you are familiar with the basics of paintball guns, it is high time to take a look at the manufacturers that produce these guns. There are a lot of paintball gun manufacturers on the market today.
However, there are some that are best and stand out. Their guns are considered to be reliable and durable. Also, they use high-quality materials to produce their guns. Let’s have a look.
According to industry experts, Tippman produces some of the best guns on the market. Tippman guns are very affordable and they require less maintenance in comparison to some other paintball gun brands. Tippman paintball guns are available on the market since 1986 and are usually used for as field rentals.
The product range of this manufacturer includes paintball guns, paintball markers, and paintball gear. Tippman also produces military simulation kits.
Spyder produces some of the most reliable and pocket-friendly paintball guns on the market. This paintball gun brand is highly dedicated to the sport. The company works with the best engineers to design the highest-quality paintball products.
Spyder is an American brand producing Paintball Markers, Paintball Marker Kits and Paintball Gear. The company claims that it offers the best air efficiency on the market through it’s so-called “DLS” Dual Loading System.
The system enables you to interchange the loading system of your paintball gun with a quick turn of the barrel. Moreover, Spyder’s paintball guns offer a First Strike feature that provides advanced accuracy and longer range.
Empire Paintball is a global leader in the manufacturing of paintball sporting goods. The company strives to provide the highest of quality and workmanship.
The brand produces high-quality paintball guns and paintball gear. The company has various lines of paintball guns – for beginners, the tournament line, the recreational line and others. All of Empire’s paintball guns are very stylish and look just like real guns.
Paintball is a safe game when you follow the rules. Paintball guns’ gelatin bullets are not capable of damaging soft tissues of the skin unless fired too close. Industry experts believe that a paintball is even safer than bowling if played by the rules. Injuries are easily avoided by following simple paintball etiquette.
In order to make sure you are playing by the rules, follow the below presented safety measures while playing paintball:
Always Wear A Special Paintball Approved Mask
When you are in action and the paintball game is on, always make sure you are wearing a special protective mask. Moreover, you would want to wear special goggles that are designed for paintball as well.
Do not remove your mask at any time until the game is finished. There are no exceptions to this rule. Keep the mask on until barrel plugs are placed back on the paintball guns and you are in a safe zone.
The mask is intended to protect your eyes and face from being shot at with a paintball. While being hit by a paintball on any other part of the body will not hurt as much and wont be as serious. Being shot in the face with a paintball gun can lead to some issues.
Never Blind Fire During A Paintball Game
Do not fire your paintball gun blindly, this could cause you to shoot at players that are leaving the field, bystanders, or referees. Make sure you have a target.
Most paintball field referees always have a rule against shooting at a player of another team when he/she appears within 10 feet from you. Make sure to get familiarized with these close-range rules beforehand. It is usual to offer a surrender to any player from another team that comes within 20 feet. Close range paintball shots can be very painful.
Make Sure To Shoot Less Than 300 FPS
When adjusting your paintball gun before the game, make sure to set your gun’s velocity at anywhere under 300 FPS. The shooting velocity can be checked with the help of a paintball chronograph, which should be available at almost all paintball fields and specialized shops.
Always Use Barrel Plugs
When not in use, all paintball guns should be clicked with a barrel plug or barrel sock, even during a live game. Some high-quality paintball guns com standard with special barrel blocking devices. These device should be used when paintball goggles are not worn by other players, before and after paintball games, and in any location away from a paintball field.
Other Paintball Precautions
Most injuries can be avoided by just using common sense. It is forbidden to:
- Shoot in private property at any location away from a specified paintball field
- Look down the barrel of a loaded/unloaded paintball gun
- Shoot out of a moving vehicle
- Test-shoot yourself or any other player
How To Clean A Paintball Gun
Cleaning a paintball gun is not hard at all. But it will definitely have an enormous impact on how your gun operates and responds. In order to properly clean your paintball gun, you will need a couple of things that will help you in the process. The supplies are not expensive, and I am sure you have most of them in your house already. You will need:
- Special manual for your paintball gun
- Cotton swab and a toothbrush
- Paper towels
- A set of Allen keys
- Warm water
- Pull through squeegees
- Lubricant that is recommended by the manufacturing company
Now, let’s move on to the actual process of cleaning. We will proceed step-by-step:
De-Gas Your Paintball Gun
Prior to cleaning the gun, it is vital to ensure that there is no gas inside the tank of the gun. This will protect you from misfire risk. To de-gas your gun, you will need to remove the fuel canister and then locate the ASA lever.
In case your gun does not feature an ASA lever, check the de-gas instructions provided by the manufacturer’s manual or find them on the official website of the manufacturer.
Taking The Paintball Gun Apart
Begin with the hopper, then remove the barrel, bolt, hammer, and grip frame of the gun. As you detach each piece, set it aside along with its screws/fasteners so as to not get confused when putting the gun back together.
Clean The Body
In order to safely clean the body of your paintball gun, check with the manual whether it is okay to run a squeegee through your gun or not. In case it is permitted by the manufacturer, begin with this step. Then, proceed with a wet cotton swab or toothbrush to make sure the body is completely clean. Finally, wipe the body with a paper towel and make sure it is completely dry.
Clean The Barrel
Again, use a squeegee to clean the barrel from the inside. Make sure it is 100% clean, as any residue can cause jamming and decrease the paintball gun’s accuracy in the bargain. Wipe the barrel with a paper towel.
Clean The Bolt And Hammer
Clean the bolt and hammer with a paper towel. Check the O-rings on both of them for wear and tear.
Clean The Grip Frame
Clean the grip frame with the help of cotton swabs or a toothbrush.
IMPORTANT: do not take the trigger assembly apart. It usually appears to be very hard to put it back together in a perfect manner and mismanagement may result in gun malfunction.
Check The Gun For Any Issues
Firstly, replace any broken or damaged O-rings. This will provide you with proper paintball velocity. Damaged O-rings might increase the waste of fuel.
Then, inspect all the springs to make sure that they are straight and are not broken or bent.
Finally, check all the screws to make sure they are in good shape. Replace anything that needs to be replaced to maintain utmost performance reliability.
Lubricate The Paintball Gun Parts
After you are done with cleaning and drying the parts, start with lubricating them. The O-rings require just light lubrication. Make sure you use the right lubricant recommended by the manufacturer. Any mismatch of oil might lead to damage in parts due to non compliance.
Put The Paintball Gun Together
When you have lubricated and checked the gun’s parts, you can start putting them all together. Here, make sure you closely follow the assembly diagram that is illustrated by the manufacturer.
As we stated at the beginning of this article and will do so again – paintball is here to stay. This active and entertaining way of spending time with friends, community members, team members etc. is gaining popularity at a remarkable pace.
Paintball gun engineers work hard to deliver the best possible guns to the market and the experience keeps only improving.
Presently, there are several paintball gun manufacturers that produce and supply high-quality paintball markers to the market. You are spoilt for choice with the wide variety of shapes, sizes and types of paintball guns available. Thus, I assure you that you can definitely find the perfect gun for yourself.
To help you find the paintball gun that meets your needs and preferences, we carried out a thorough research of the paintball market segment. We went through the most popular models of paintball guns and highlighted their functionalities, pros/cons and more! Find the results of our research in the Best Paintball Gun Buying Guide.