Paintball is a entertaining game of strategy and gamesmanship that can become a fast addiction. Before you get started some basic equipment is necessary, which can be purchased for anywhere between $200 for a lower-end gun and accompanying equipment to upwards of $2,000 for top-of-the-line setups. Equipment can also be rented at playing fields.
Obviously, the first piece of equipment that any paintball player will need is a paintball gun, also called a marker. Guns use a pressurized air tank, generally carbon dioxide or nitrogen to fire paintballs. The main decision to be made when choosing a gun is whether you want a pump, a semi-automatic or a fully automatic. A pump is inexpensive, but it requires that you cock the gun every shot and can be inefficient during games. Certain game play allows only the use of a pump and some prefer the slower, more challenging style of play. A semi-automatic allows you to simply press the trigger and fire shot after shot. This is the most common type of gun and is a good all-around choice. A fully automatic allows you to fire a stream of shots by holding down the trigger. Rules of organized play may prohibit or restrict their use. Electronic paintball guns allow you to adjust the number of shots that you fire in a round and may include both semi-automatic and fully automatic modes.
Next is pressurized air that provides the propellant to fire paintballs. The most common types are carbon dioxide and nitrogen. Carbon dioxide can be purchased in small 12-g cartridges or in larger tanks. Nitrogen is stored in tanks. Nitrogen tanks are considered preferable because they fire more reliably and uniformly. On the other hand, nitrogen is more expensive and difficult to upkeep than CO2. Carbon dioxide is widely available, inexpensive and easy to refill and maintain.
A mask is an important safety precaution when playing any paintball game. Masks are designed specifically for paintball and have goggles to protect the eyes as well as plastic that protects the face. It’s important to get a mask that fits comfortably without any pressure points, and provides full coverage of the face and good visibility. Masks should always be worn on the field of play.
A container to hold paintballs allows for seamless firing without constant reloading. Containers come in various sizes, and rules of the specific game may limit how many paintballs that you play with. A hopper is a larger container that holds a lot of paintballs (50, 100, 200). Hoppers may either allow paintballs to drop into the gun manually or use a motor to induce motion into the gun. A tube is another type of container that looks like a plastic test tube and holds paintballs in a stacked, linear form. Tubes hold less paintballs than hoppers.
Of course, paintballs are a necessary part of the game. Small, plastic, paint-filled balls designed to shatter on impact, paintballs come in a variety of colors.
Various accessories and tools are also available. A squeegee is a basic tool used to clean the barrel of a gun, particularly useful if a paintball explodes in the gun. Hoses are available as an alternative to a direct connection of air tank to gun, making the gun lighter and more maneuverable. Other accessories include paint grenades, sights and tubes to carry additional paintballs.
Paintball equipment can vary both by user preference, budget and style of play. Before purchasing any equipment, consider how seriously you’ll play, what type of games that you intend to be involved in and how much money you have. For example, Stock Class is a discipline that has strict equipment rules: only pump guns are allowed, 12-g cartridges must be used instead of larger tanks and the gun can only hold 20 paintballs at a time. Knowing this ahead of time would clearly influence your equipment purchases.