Halo and Call of Duty might be exciting, but nothing beats the real experience of playing “Catch the Flag” or “Bomb the Base” with your best friends. As much as paintballing is fun, paintball guns can be quite intimidating, especially if it’s your first time using them.
In modern paintballing, being a good player is not enough. You need to know how to properly use your paintball gun, the different paintball gun parts, and how they work.
Knowing all the paintball gun parts will not only earn you bragging rights among your friends but also come in handy when cleaning or upgrading your marker.
Here are the key components of a paintball gun and their functions.
The body of your marker houses the valve, the bolt, and the trigger frame, as well as holds most of your gun’s aesthetic features. In most paintball guns, the body is made of light aluminum to reduce the marker’s weight.
The body of a paintball gun can be the defining line between an expensive and a cheap marker. In many high-end models, the trigger frame is shifted towards the front to allow a more central positioning of the HPA tank.
This allows the top manufacturers to design a compact, well-balanced marker without necessarily having to add extra modifications that may increase the gun’s profile. A large gun is disadvantageous in a game of paintball because it’s difficult to carry around.
Also known as loaders, hoppers hold the rounds of paintballs in a marker. There are three types of hoppers – force-feed, gravity-feed, and agitating loaders.
With agitating and force-feed hoppers, paintballers enjoy a higher firing rate. However, compared to gravity-feed hoppers, these hoppers are prone to battery failure and moisture damage.
On the other hand, gravity-feed hoppers may be more durable but they lack photoreceptors, a lapse that predisposes them to ball breaks.
In the event of a ball break, the resultant paint leak deteriorates the gelatin shells of other rounds, making them stick together. This jams the barrel, and as a result, your gun stops working.
The tank propels the paintballs out of the barrel when you pull the trigger. Depending on the type of gun you are using, a marker’s tank can either use High-Pressure Air (HPA) or carbon dioxide gas.
Unlike HPA tanks which mainly use nitrogen, carbon dioxide tanks have an inconsistent firing power due to the instability of the gas.
This means that shooters using HPA-propelled paintball guns have a slight advantage over their counterparts when it comes consistent paintball velocity and precision. Furthermore, HPA markers don’t need an evaporation system to shoot, making them more reliable on the battlefield.
This is the part through which a paintball travels when you pull the trigger. The loudness, accuracy, speed, and distance of a paintball shot are determined by your gun’s barrel.
Longer barrels – especially those with ports – fire more quietly compared to their shorter counterparts, making them ideal for stealth operations. Moreover, markers with long barrels are more accurate and perfect for sniper shots.
Short barrels are more gas-efficient and suitable for close combat as they are easy to maneuver with. However, they are less accurate than long barrels, and therefore unsuitable for long shots. Even worse, they are very loud, hence, unsuitable for stealth operations.
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These three parts are used to cock the paintball gun. In an uncocked gun, the bolt projects into the barrel to stop paintballs from entering the firing chamber.
To cock a gun, you have to pull the bolt back towards the hammer and then push it forward together with the hammer. Pulling the bolt back opens the ammo intake, allowing balls into the barrel. The sear latches onto the bolt and binds it with the hammer to facilitate a tandem movement of the two components.
Barrel covers, or barrel sleeves, are covers that protect the end of the barrel to prevent errant rounds. Ensure that your barrel cover is always on whenever you are not using your paintball gun. In fact, most paintball companies will not let you in the field, if your gun doesn’t have a barrel cover.
Barrel plugs are also used for this purpose, but they tend to fall out of the barrels, hence, not as effective.
Paintball markers are a lot more interesting if you know how they work. And while each model is a little different, they all work the same. All you need is a little bit of understanding.
To keep all these parts functional, regular paintball gun maintenance is a must. Make a habit of oiling your gun’s front and rear bolt O-rings before you head out to the battlefield. Also, clean your marker after every paintball game and, if necessary, replace any worn out parts to keep your marker in optimal condition.