Top Paintball Questions Answered - Part 1

Paintball FAQ

Top Paintball Questions Answered – Part 1

Paintball is an amazing, action-packed game that plays like a cross between capture the flag and a first-person shooter video game! Challenging two teams of players to capture the other team’s flag and eliminate opponents from the game by tagging them with paintballs fired from specially-designed air guns, paintball has exploded in popularity since the first official game was played in 1981, with paintball played around the world for fun and even for money in professional paintball leagues in the United States and Europe! For new players, though, paintball can be a little daunting, with its own language, specialized equipment and rules to learn! Valken answers some of the most popular top paintball questions here, so learn and enjoy the game of paintball!

Paintball Gear for Kids

What to wear to play paintball?

Paintball is an incredibly fun, adrenaline-packed adventure sport that gets people of all ages, sexes and colors off the couch and into fun, safe, exciting exercise! But when you you’ll go play paintball for the first time at a friend’s birthday party, at a church outing, with your company’s team building group or with a group of friends, the question immediately comes up: what to wear to play paintball?

First the good news- paintballs are environmentally friendly, biodegradeable, machine washable and completely safe – even when ingested. Then the better news – if you’re renting paintball gear at the local field, they’ll provide you with a complete set of paintball gear including a paintball gun, air tank, hopper and paintball mask and goggles to ensure your safety. So all you have to worry about it what to wear to play paintball! Knowing the paintballs will wash out is a great start. Past that, remember what paintball is: an action adventure game! You’ll likely be in the woods and on other kinds of paintball fields where you’ll be running, crawling, creeping and generally having an amazing time. You might get sweaty. You might get grass stain. You’ll likely get shot with paintballs. So wear old clothing you won’t mind getting dirty.

Wear a good pair of shoes like hiking boots or high-top athletic shoes so you’ll have plenty of ankle support – don’t let your day of paintball fun be ruined by a twisted ankle or slipping and falling in the woods. Protect your bare skin, not just from incoming paintballs that might sting the first time or two you get hit – but from the great outdoors like bugs, rocks and grass or things growing in the woods you might be allergic to, and the sun. In cooler weather, a hooded sweatshirt and an old pair of jeans is a great choice, and in warmer climates, a longsleeve t-shirt and those same jeans again. 

Consider a change of clean clothes so you don’t get all that paintball fun all over the inside of your car on the ride home! Finally, as an added bonus, some paintball parks and paintball fields will even sell or rent you a set of paintball coveralls to help you stay clean! So don’t worry about what to wear to play paintball – go have fun!

Paintball guns in action

How much is a paintball gun?

There are paintball guns available from various manufacturers to suit any budget or style of play! For new players, especially young players, low-impact spring-powered paintball guns like the Valken Gotcha gun or a JT Splatmaster, that fire .50 caliber paintballs or foam balls at low speeds are a great way to get into the game at a price under fifty dollars, with no bulky air tank needed! Basic blowback paintball guns, powered by CO2 or high-pressure air and built to be simple, rugged and affordable, like the Valken Blackhawk, Tippmann 98 Custom series or the Spyder, can be had for well under $200 depending on packages selected with them, accessories at other factors. At just a few bucks more, entry-level pneumatic, mechanical paintball guns like the Eclipse EMek or the GOG eNMEy are great choices and allow players to upgrade as they fall in love with the game, and these are generally available at under $300, again depending on features and packages.

Then, there are the more competitive paintball guns. Electronic paintball guns like the Eclipse Etha2, Dye Rize CZR and Empire Mini cost well under $500 but offer impressive performance like ultra-fast rates of fire, various programmable firing modes and features designed to help a player be more competitive on the paintball field, like improved barrels for greater accuracy, simpler and faster disassembly for maintenance and cleaning, lower pressure operation and more. Above this there are the tournament-level paintball guns, like the Eclipse GTek170R, Shocker AMP, Dye DSR and Dye M3+, the Eclipse Geo4, the Field One Force and the Luxe, that can cost several hundred, to well over a thousand dollars and more! These paintball guns are used by top professional paintball players and those who are devoted to the game of paintball, looking for all the performance, features and style a paintball gun can deliver – some even talk or have full-color computer screens built right in!

The good news – you don’t need to spend a thousand dollars on a talking paintball gun to go have a great time on the paintball field this weekend: as long as you’re playing safe and having fun, you’re doing it right!

Valken Blackhawk Paintball Gun

How does a paintball gun work?

The modern paintball gun is a remarkable device – the culmination of years of design, evolution of function and form, and millions of dollars in research and development. But the question is often asked by new players: how does a paintball gun work? 

In broad strokes, a paintball gun is an air powered marking device, originally designed for use in marking trees by forest servicemen, that fired permanent, oil-based paintballs powered by 12 gram CO2 cartridges. It was with these simple, bolt-action pistols from Nelson that the first game of paintball was played and a whole new world was created! Since then, bolt action pistols have been replaced with pump-action paintball guns, semi-automatic mechanical paintball guns, and most recently, electronic paintball guns that use high-pressure air and electronic solenoids and circuit boards to control the firing cycle. At the end of the day, though, they all do perform the same basic function – a paintball gun is powered by air to shoot a paintball that way at around 280 feet per second in order to mark an opponent with a splat, eliminating him from the game.

In a basic paintball gun like a Valken Blackhawk or a Tippmann 98 Custom, the operation is simple enough. A player grabs the gun’s side cocking handle and cocks the hammer where it catches on a sear and is held back, ready to fire, then threads a paintball CO2 or high-pressure air tank into the gun’s air bottle adapter, generally at the bottom of the grip (making sure, of course, that the paintball gun is pointed in a safe direction). Once air power is added, they can twist a hopper, or paintball loader, into the paintball gun’s feed neck, flip the hopper’s lid open and pour in .68 caliber paintballs. They’re not permanent or oil-based anymore, modern paintballs are water-based, biodegradeable and safe for the environment, and wash right out of clothing! Paintballs poured into the hopper feed down the hopper’s feed neck and the first one down falls into the paintball gun’s breech, waiting to go for a ride. At this point, the paintball gun is considered loaded and ready to fire! When that loaded paintball gun’s trigger is pulled, the sear holding the hammer back is lowered and the bolt flies forward under spring pressure where it strikes the paintball gun’s valve, opening it. The open valve allows are to flow out, through the paintball gun’s bolt, while it pushes the paintball in the breech into the barrel. Air then takes over, sending the paintball downrange where it can strike fear into the hearts of bad guys, while the paintball gun then re-cocks itself, ready for the trigger to be pulled again!

How a paintball gun works
Questions Answered? Let's PLAY!


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