How Paintball Guns Work

How Paintball Guns Work


Paintball is as much about tactics as it is about the use of the guns that make it so unique. Paintball guns shoot just that, paintballs. These are reminiscent of gel caps in that they are balls of liquid paint that are surrounded by a thin membrane. When they are fired out of a gun and come into contact with something, they burst and splatter a 6-inch mark of paint. Paintball guns can shoot paintballs at about 300 feet per second, but how do they do this?

Paintball Gun Composition

To begin to understand how a paintball gun works, understand the components. A paintball gun looks very much like a regular rifle, only the barrel is shorter and there are a couple of extra attachments. A handle and trigger is attached to a barrel. On the back end of this is a container that holds pressurized gas, which is what propels the paintballs out of the gun. The gas can be carbon dioxide, nitrogen or regular air. Usually located on the top of the paintball gun is another container that holds the paintballs themselves. Inside the gun is a bolt that controls and loads paintballs into the main chamber of the gun, a hammer that exerts pressure on the valve seat that controls the intake of gas from the pressurized gas container. These all work along with a caulker and a trigger to allow the gun to shoot paintballs.

How the Gun Fires

The first step in using a paintball gun is to caulk it. There is a handle on the side of the gun that is attached to the bolt inside. The bolt is usually positioned so that it covers a hole that is large enough for a paintball to pass through between the paintball container and the gun tube.

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When pulling back on the handle, the bolt will move back as well, allowing a paintball to load into the gun barrel. At the same time, the bolt will push against the hammer behind it and drag it away when it moves back into place. This sets the hammer. When the trigger of the gun is pulled, the hammer is let loose and moves back into its original position with great force, which is increased with the help of pressure from a spring located between the hammer and the bolt.

The hammer then slams against the valve seat, which compresses and allows the release of some pressurized gas to flow through the gun. This gas then propels the paintball out of an opening at the other end of the gun.