Paintball guns are popularly referred to as “markers,” having been used in earlier times to mark cattle. They have been around for a long time and are available today in a variety of types: pump-action, automatic or semi-automatic. If you have all the necessary components, you can even assemble a paintball gun yourself. Alternatively, you can have one made to your specifications.
A paintball gun, or market, is filled with compressed air, carbon dioxide or nitrogen, and launches a small plastic ball of paint at a target when the trigger is pulled. The pump-action version is the most basic and common one in use today. It is akin to a traditional shotgun, whereby only one paintball can be fired each time the gun is cocked. The semi-automatic version allows one paintball to be fired each time the trigger is pulled, whereas an automatic paintball gun fires paintballs repeatedly while the trigger is kept depressed.
The Main Components
The firing mechanism of the paintball gun consists of a bolt, valve and frame for the trigger. To save on cost and reduce weight, these components are usually constructed within an aluminum body. Other important components are the loader/hopper and the barrel.
The Trigger Assembly
The trigger frame is basically constructed from either aluminum or plastic. The trigger is hooked to a set of springs and levers within its frame, which launch the hammer forward each time it is pulled (after cocking the paintball gun). As a safety precaution, the trigger is enclosed by an aluminum or plastic frame that permits a player’s finger to fit comfortably between it and the trigger.
The Bolt/Valve Assembly
The bolt is primarily designed to control the direction of compressed air filled in the tank. The valve determines whether the paintball gun is firing efficiently or not. While these are two separate components, most paintball guns today are built by combining both, whereby the bolt has an in-built valve. These components form the heart of the paintball gun.
The Main Body Assembly
The main body of the paintball gun is constructed from tough and durable material, usually PVC, lightweight metal or aluminum. This is because it must be strong enough to hold all the components of the paintball gun. The main body includes a handle, a chamber for the valve/bolt assembly, in addition to precise space to fit the compressed air tank, the loader/hopper and the barrel.
Custom-Built Paintball Guns
There are several companies that manufacture complete paintball guns, specifically the body and all other important, in-built components. They also supply the loader/hopper and barrel. However, there are other companies that manufacture paintball guns to a customer’s specifications, particularly the barrels, loaders and compressed air tanks (see Resources below).