Whether you are new to paintball or a seasoned veteran, accuracy can mean the difference between scoring kills and wasted ammo. Missed shots may also expose your position, leading to a shorter lifespan. But how does one go about improving their accuracy in the field?
Choosing a More Accurate Paintball Gun
Unfortunately, one cannot simply go out and purchase the most accurate gun on the market. If you were to ask ten veterans which marker is the most accurate, you will likely get ten different answers. Thankfully, there are ways to weed out inaccurate markers before making a purchase.
One of the most basic guidelines when selecting a new gun is to consider how you plan to use it. Running around and firing in close quarters requires a lighter gun than one used for defending from a sheltered position. Pay attention to product reviews online and avoid purchasing from sites which give positive-only information in their product descriptions. Finally, be sure that the gun you purchase is easy to perform maintenance on, as this plays a major role in maintaining accuracy over time.
Long-Range (Sniper) Markers
The further your target, the less accurate a projectile becomes due to gravity and deceleration from air resistance. First Strike paintballs have fins to improve accuracy over long distances, but the guns and ammo are expensive. A cheaper solution is to invest in a marker which utilizes a backspin barrel system (e.g. Flatline or Apex). These guns use standard paintballs, but add a spin which creates lift, carrying the paintball much further before it begins to lose altitude.
Tips for Improving Accuracy
While searching for a more accurate paintball marker may narrow down your choices, there are several ways to improve accuracy using the gun you already own or plan to purchase. Some of these methods require additional parts, while others simply require a little time and dedication.
Purchasing Parts to Improve Accuracy on Your Current Marker
Consider purchasing a separate barrel to further improve a gun’s accuracy, as the included barrel is often of lesser quality. Be aware that barrel length does not necessarily have an effect on the accuracy or range of your marker. Instead, focus upon the type of barrel, whether it requires special ammo or additional modifications, and how easy it is to keep clean.
It is also useful to purchase a good scope for longer-range weapons. Test your scope outside of the field at different ranges to fine-tune its alignment. Once you have adjusted the scope, store the gun in a case to prevent accidental jarring of the scope between games and during transport.
Maintaining the Accuracy of Your Gun
The single most important method of improving accuracy with your marker is regular maintenance. Proper lubrication and undamaged O-rings keep air pressure and functionality at their best. Air leaks cause a reduction in velocity, which in turn leads to a shorter range for accuracy.
Another common cause of reduced accuracy is a dirty barrel. Burst paintballs and grime can slow or obstruct your ammo. This may not only hurt your accuracy, it may also result in a jammed gun or more paintballs breaking within the barrel. By cleaning your marker after each game and storing it in a protective case, you will find even an older paintball gun performs smoother and more accurately in the field.
Caring for Ammunition
Unless you are required to use field-only paint, you will likely be purchasing and storing cases of paintballs between matches. The quality of paint will have an effect on your firing accuracy, so purchasing decent ammo is a necessity. The brand name doesn’t dictate how well the paintballs will perform, however. Decent shipping and proper storage help prevent your ammunition from damage.
Locate a cool, dry place for storage. If you are storing them in multiple layers, be sure to rotate the paintballs to avoid dimpling or breakage. Dimpled or old paintballs are more likely to burst prematurely, have unwanted spin, or even leak into your hopper and barrel.
Custom ordering your paintballs instead of purchasing them from a store may reduce the risk of old or improperly stored ammunition. When purchasing from a store, be sure to carefully check the contents of each case before purchasing to avoid damaged goods. The more spherical a paintball is, the more accurate it will be when fired.
Improving your Personal Accuracy
One of the best ways to improve accuracy over time is to stick with one marker. By continuing to use the same model, you become used to the way it fires paintballs and learn to automatically compensate for minor deviations in trajectory. You will also be more aware of any maintenance issues than with an unfamiliar gun.
Practice is the other key to accuracy. Locate a shooting range or other safe location where you can practice. Begin by firing at a stationary target. As your skill improves, begin working with a moving target. Finally, incorporate your own movements along with the mobile target until you have a high hit rate.
When it comes to having the most accurate paintball gun on the field, brand or model tends to play the smallest role. Instead, proper care of your gun and ammunition, as well as regular practice with a specific marker, will cause a noticeable improvement to both accuracy and performance. Even a cheaper model may out-perform high-end markers if the other player fails to maintain his weapon or frequently upgrade to the newest gun available. Thus, consistency and maintenance are the keys to greater accuracy and supremacy on the field.