Glossary of Paintball Terms - Part 1

Valken Blackhawk Paintball Gun


Part 1

It's always daunting to walk into anything new - especially a new game or sport like paintball with its own terms, own words and own phrases! It's hard to relax and have fun when you don't speak the language! Learn what everyone at the paintball field is talking about in our 3 part paintball glossary!

Air Ball

Paintball games played using inflatable objects (bunkers) as cover to hide behind. Air ball is the preferred style of play for most paintball tournament competitors and professional tournament paintball in the United States and Europe is played using Air Ball bunkers.

Air Bottle

Power source for most modern paintball guns. Most modern paintball guns use either a CO2 air bottle or a regulated compressed air bottle to provide air power to fire paintballs down the barrel, and in the case of semi-automatic and fully-automatic paintball guns, to recock the paintball gun as well.


Air Source Adapter. The piece of hardware on a paintball gun into which an air bottle is threaded to power-up the paintball gun for play. Generally found at the bottom of the paintball gun’s grip frame.


Mechanical paintball gun created by Bud Orr and his company, Worr Game Products, in the 80’s that has lived on into the modern era of paintball thanks to its distinctive look, unique pneumatic and mechanical operating system and extreme accuracy derived from its closed-bolt firing system. Made legendary by top teams who used it in pro-level competition like the Ironmen and Aftershock. The Autococker style of paintball gun is now made by several high-end custom paintball gun companies including Inception Designs, Freeflow, Shocktech, Empire and others.


Mechanical paintball gun created by Tom Kaye and his company, Airgun Designs, in the early 1990’s that utilized a unique blow-forward operating system in an attempt to overcome several perceived mechanical issues with blowback designs and CO2 air sources popular at the time. Featured all-steel and aluminum construction and a short trigger pull allowing high rates of fire. Used by numerous top professional teams through its heyday in the mid-90’s including members of the All Americans, Bad Company and Jax Warriors. Remains popular today due to its simplicity, rugged design and simple maintenance.


Popular mid-level electronic paintball gun made by Empire Paintball. Uses a simple operating system developed from the Invert Mini paintball gun that preceeded it, and which is still made today.

Barrel Cover

Extremely important paintball safety device. A barrel cover slips over the muzzle of a paintball gun’s barrel and is secured to the paintball gun with an elastic cord or tether. Should the paintball gun be accidentally fired, the barrel cover will catch and stop any paintballs before they leave the barrel, preventing injury or damage. Must be used at all paintball playing fields and paintball events.

Bore Size

Term used for measuring how a paintball best fits in a paintball gun’s barrel. Serious, experienced paintball players know that while paintballs are .68 caliber, they are not all the same size at the next decimal point: some are .684 and others are made larger, closer to .689 and so-forth. For the very best accuracy and air efficiency, paintball players test their paintballs using a paintball gun barrel kit to determine the very best fit, then use that bore size to tune their paintball gun for the best consistency, accuracy and shooting performance.


Term used when a paintball bounces off its intended target, allowing that person to remain in the game and continue playing, as the paintball did not leave a paint splat or mark on the target.


1. An item used for cover on a paintball field. Paintball players use anything from stacked logs to barrels, cable spools, corrugated piping and even custom-made inflatable bunkers to hide behind as cover.
Example – “go hide behind that stacked log bunker and shoot towards the left!”

2. Verb – the act of moving aggressively towards an opponent hiding behind a bunker and shooting him with a paintball at very close range. While “bunkering” an opponent is common in competitive, tournament paintball, many paintball fields do not allow this type of play during recreational games to ensure safety and fair play. Example – “I had to go and bunker that guy in the snake so we could move up on that side of the field!”


A paintball brand started many years ago by Max and Alex Lundquist, professional tournament paintball players for such teams as Stockholm Joy Division, Ground Zero, New York Xtreme and the Russian Legion, most famously known for their Leopard print designs and “We Kill Suckers” slogan. Now operated by Virtue, Bunkerkings manufactures such popular items as the CTRL paintball loader, the CMD paintball goggle, packs and other items.


Radar measuring device used to check the speed at which a paintball gun is firing paintballs. A must-have at all professional paintball fields, all players participating in each game must shoot their paintball gun over a chronograph to ensure safety – measured in FPS or feet per second, the chronograph limit at all paintball fields is 300feet per second or less. Also commonly known as a “chrono” or “Chrony.”


CARBON DIOXIDE. For years the most popular and commonly used propellant for paintballs, CO2 was (and is) used for paintball in both 12gram CO2 cartridges and in larger CO2 tanks like 12ounce CO2 tanks or 20ouce CO2 tanks. Used in both liquid and gaseous form in paintball, CO2 has been widely replaced by HPA (high pressure air) as it is much less susceptible to state and pressure changes caused by rapid fire and weather conditions.

Compressed Air

Propellant source of-choice for most modern paintball guns, compressed air at between 3,000 and 4,500psi is used in HPA (high pressure air) tanks to provide power to shoot paintballs and re-cock paintball guns. Much cleaner and more reliable than CO2.


Type of paintball bunker used for cover on inflatable paintball fields used in competition style play, known as such because of its large, triangular shape that resembles the popular “Dorito” snack food.
Example – “He’s behind the 50 yard line Dorito!”


Popular paintball gun, paintball gun barrel, paintball loader and paintball clothing brand based in California. Dye began making paintball gun barrels and later became one of the most popular style brands in paintball, making everything from paintball goggles to paintball pants and paintball jerseys. Sponsors of such successful and legendary pro paintball teams as the Ironmen and Aftershock, Dye now manufactures the Dye M3 paintball gun, the Dye Rotor line of paintball loaders, the Dye i5 paintball mask and a full line of impressive paintball products including the Dye Ultralite paintball gun barrel.


The most successful professional tournament paintball team of all time, with more wins than any other professional paintball team across multiple tournament formats, San Diego Dynasty roared onto the pro paintball scene in the early 2000’s and continues to be a force in professional tournament paintball today in the NXL (National XBall League) professional paintball league, sponsored by HK Army and Field 1. Dynasty shoots the Field 1 Force paintball gun and wears HK Army goggles and gear when they compete.

Glossary 2

One of the most respected and successful paintball brands of all time, Eclipse, also known as Planet Eclipse, began in the United Kingdom and rapidly grew to become a manufacturer of highly reliable paintball guns and equipment by the mid-2000’s. Eclipse now manufactures such top products as the Eclipse Geo4, Eclipse LV1.6 and Eclipse GTek 170R paintball guns along with the Eclipse EMek, plus the magazine-fed Eclipse EMF100 paintball gun, along with a line of clothing and gear bags. Planet Eclipse sponsors such top paintball teams as Edmonton Impact and San Antonio X-Factor, with numerous top professional wins.


One of the most popular and successful lines of tournament paintball guns ever, the Ego was launched by Planet Eclipse in the mid-2000’s and rapidly earned a reputation for its fast rate of fire and durable reliability. The Ego was quickly adopted by such teams as XSV and was used to compete at the highest level by numerous teams. The Eclipse Ego lives on today in the form of the Eclipse LV1.6 paintball gun.


Popular brand manufacturing paintballs, paintball goggles and paintball guns currently operated by G.I. Sportz. The Empire brand currently sells such products as Empire Evil and Empire Marbalizer paintballs, the Empire Axe, Empire Syx and Empire Resurrection paintball guns and the Empire EVS paintball goggle.


One of the most popular brands of tournament paintballs made, originally produced by PMI. Became widely popular for its “Evil Wins” advertising campaign and sponsorship of numerous top pro paintball teams, Evil paintballs are currently encapsulated and sold by G.I. Sportz under the Empire brand.

First Strike

A paintball brand made extremely popular for the manufacture of their unique and effective .68 and .50 caliber First Strike projectiles that are fin-stabilized for extremely accurate flight and longer range. First Strike rounds are fed through special magazine-fed paintball guns and widely used in military-simulations and scenario games. First Strike also manufactures a wide variety of products including the First Strike T15 paintball gun and First Strike FSC paintball pistol, as well as First Strike air tanks and parts.


An extremely successful line of tournament paintball guns manufactured by Planet Eclipse, the Geo line was quickly adopted by numerous competitive paintball teams and players as a spool valve alternative to the Eclipse Ego. The Eclipse Geo line continues today with the recent release of the Eclipse Geo4 paintball gun.

G.I. Sportz

Parent company of numerous major and influential paintball brands including Tippmann, JT Paintball, Empire, VForce and Spyder, G.I. Sportz recently declared bankruptcy and has re-organized as Kore Outdoor, Inc. Kore Outdoor Inc manufactures many popular paintball products like the Tippmann 98 Custom paintball gun and the Axe paintball gun, popular paintball goggles like the JT Pro-Flex, the Empire EVS paintball goggle and the VForce Profiler and VForce Grill, along with various paintball brands like Evil paintballs, Marbalizer paintballs and 3 Star paintballs.


A popular line of entry level paintball products aimed at paintball for kids, Valken Gotcha paintball gear including the Valken Gotcha spring-powered paintball gun, are intended to introduce young and new players to the fun and enjoyment of paintball at a very low cost, with almost no felt-impact when players are struck with Gotcha .50 caliber paintballs and rubber balls. The Valken Gotcha line also includes Valken Gotcha party kits for birthday parties complete with paper plates and napkins, along with paintball gear like chest protectors, paintball goggles and more!


68 caliber paintballs produced by Valken, Graffiti paintballs have become an extremely popular among paintball field owners and producers of major paintball scenario events due to its consistent, round shell and thick, bright-marking fill. Valken Graffiti paintballs are environmentally friendly and completely biodegrade after use.


One of the most popular paintball masks of the last decade, the VForce Grill was released in the mid-2000’s and rapidly rose to popularity in competitive tournament paintball thanks to its sleek look and fog-free performance. Numerous top paintball players and teams have used the VForce Grill in competition and the goggle continues to be sold today as part of the G.I. Sportz family of brands.


The first widely accepted, internationally-adopted and wildly successful force-fed paintball loaders, the Halo and Halo B paintball loaders allowed paintball guns in the mid-2000’s to reach, and then pass, 15 paintballs per second rates of fire and sustain them. While this loader has been eclipsed at the top levels of the game by newer paintball loaders like the Dye Rotor, Virtue Spire, Bunkerkings CTRL and others, the Halo continues to be manufactured and sold today.


Piece of paintball clothing used to carry extra paintballs onto the field, a paintball harness wraps around the waist of the paintball player and secures with either a buckle or Velcro, and holds numerous tubes called “pods” filled with paintballs behind the player, where they present less of a target to an opponent. Modern paintball harnesses, also known as paintball packs, hold between 2 and 11 pods or more and even incorporate back support belts and pads, hold paintball air tanks and are offered in various colors and camo patterns.


One of the most successful and competitive professional paintball teams in recent years, Houston Heat’s roster is packed with talent like longtime professional champions including Ryan Moorhead and Chad George, along with an impressive contingent of Russian talent. The team’s recent Paintball World Cup wins have cemented them as one of the top professional teams of recent years. Houston Heat shoots the Luxe paintball gun and uses HK Army and Virtue paintball equipment.

HK Army

One of paintball’s most popular brands, HK Army grew from a small apparel company to a West Coast force producing everything from paintballs to the HK KLR paintball goggles, paintball air tanks, paintball loaders and much more!


Code name used by tournament paintball players for the back center bunker on a speedball-style paintball field, close to where the team’s starting station is located, generally a large bunker players can stand up behind allowing players to see a large amount of the paintball field.


Device used to hold and feed paintballs into a paintball gun during play, a paintball hopper, also called a loader, holds paintballs and allows them to fall into the paintball gun either by gravity or in the case of electronic paintball hoppers, by being fed mechanically down the feed neck and into the paintball gun. Paintball hoppers can range in price from five dollars for simple gravity-fed hoppers to over two hundred dollars for high-end, tournament level paintball hoppers like the Bunkerkings CTRL loader or Dye Rotor paintball loader.


High Pressure Air. Term used to describe compressed air at between 3,000 and 4,500psi used in paintball compressed air bottles to propel paintballs and re-cock semiautomatic and fully automatic paintball guns. All paintball HPA compressed air systems are regulated, thoroughly tested and certified for safety and re-tested every 5 years.


Type of speedball game created in the 1990’s based around the “hyperball” field, designed and built from large sections of corrugated black drainage pipe with the intention of appearing futuristic. The style of game was a hit and quickly spread with large Hyperball fields and arenas popping up at such famous venues as The Badlandz in Chicago and SC Village, which were used for legendary tournament competitions in the National Professional Paintball League. The format has been revitalized in the present day with fields used at the Iron City Classic paintball tournament and several large paintball fields.

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