Splatter ball guns, also known as paintball markers, are recreational guns that fire paint-filled capsules called paintballs. They allow participants to engage in paintball games and activities. This comprehensive guide will provide everything you need to know about splatter ball guns.
|Markers||The actual paintball gun, comes in various styles like pistols, rifles, machine guns, etc.|
|Paintballs||Gelatin or plastic capsules filled with water soluble paint, the ammunition.|
|CO2 or HPA||Power sources that use CO2 canisters or HPA (high pressure air) tanks to propel the paintballs.|
|Masks/Goggles||Crucial protective gear, must be worn to protect eyes and face.|
|Barrel Socks||Covers the gun barrel to indicate a player is out of the game.|
|Velocity||Speed paintballs travel, typically 200-300 fps for recreational play.|
|Modes||Settings like semi-auto, ramping, burst, and full-auto firing modes.|
|Accuracy||Affected by quality of paintballs, barrel bore size, and consistency of velocity.|
|Range||Distance a paintball can travel, affected by velocity and environmental factors.|
What is Splatter Ball Guns?
Splatter ball guns, commonly called “paintball markers”, are recreational pneumatic guns designed to mark players with paint for sport and games. They use compressed air or CO2 to propel capsules containing water soluble paint, called paintballs, through the barrel at speeds of approximately 200-300 feet per second. When the paintball hits a target, the gelatin or plastic capsule ruptures and leaves a bright smear of paint marking the target.
Paintball markers come in many styles modeled after real firearms like pistols, rifles, submachine guns, sniper rifles, and even grenade launchers. However, they are designed specifically for paintball sports rather than inflicting harm. The ammunition itself stings briefly on impact but rarely causes injury when safety regulations are followed. This combination of exciting firing systems and simulated combat makes splatter ball guns an enjoyable recreational outlet for sport shooting and simulated battle games.
While often associated with organized team sports played on dedicated paintball fields, splatter ball guns can also be used informally in settings like woodsball games, target shooting competitions, and simulated war games. Their versatility supports a range of applications. However, they do require safety precautions and supervision to use responsibly.
Whether you’re a beginner getting started in recreational paintball sports or an experienced player looking to upgrade your markers and gear, this guide will walk through everything you need to know about splatter ball guns. We’ll cover key terminology, components of paintball markers, types of guns, required equipment, where to play, safety and regulations, tactics, maintenance, and much more. Let’s get started understanding the world of splatter ball!
Splatter Ball Gun: Key Components and Terminology
Splatter ball guns have some specialized components and terminology related to their design and function. Learning the key terms will help you understand how they operate. Here are some of the main components and phrases:
- Marker – The paintball gun itself, which uses compressed air to mark players with paintballs. Also commonly called a “paintball marker”.
- Paintballs – Gelatin or plastic capsules filled with water soluble, non-toxic paint. They are the ammunition of splatter ball guns.
- Loader – Holds extra paintballs and feeds them into the marker through the feed neck. Loaders can be gravity fed hoppers or electronic hoppers that automatically load paintballs.
- CO2 vs HPA – CO2 (carbon dioxide) and HPA (high pressure air) are the two main power sources used to propel paintballs. CO2 is cheaper but less consistent.
- Tank – The cylinder that holds compressed air, either CO2 or HPA. Tanks come in various sizes.
- Regulator – Controls airflow from the tank into the marker at consistent pressure to stabilize velocity.
- Velocity – The speed at which the paintballs travel, measured in feet per second (fps).
- Accuracy – The precision and consistency of paintball flight path towards an intended target.
- Range – The maximum distance a paintball can travel in flight before dropping. Higher velocity increases range.
- Modes of Fire – Electronic markers offer different firing modes like semi-auto, burst, ramping, and full-auto.
- Trigger – Button that activates the firing sequence when pulled. Some triggers allow faster rates of fire.
- Bolt – Moves back and forth, allowing paintballs to enter the barrel before firing.
- Barrel – Hollow tube that guides paintballs downrange towards targets.
- Goggles – Crucial protective gear that must be worn at all times when using splatter ball guns to prevent eye injuries.
Familiarizing yourself with these key terms and components will provide a solid overview of how splatter ball markers function and what features contribute to their performance. With the basics covered, let’s move on to the different types of splatter ball guns available.
Types of Splatter Ball Guns
There are many styles and varieties of splatter ball guns on the market. While specific models come and go, these are the main categories of paintball markers:
Pump Paintball Guns
- Oldest and simplest type of marker
- Manually “pumped” to chamber each paintball
- No electronics, tanks, or regulators
- Lower rate of fire
- Reliable performance
- Affordable price
- Great for beginners
Semi-Auto Paintball Guns
- Fire one shot per trigger pull
- Uses compressed air tank for power
- Still reasonably affordable
- Allows faster shooting than pumps
- More upgrade potential
- Popular starter choice for recreational play
Electronic Paintball Guns
- Advanced markers with electronic firing systems
- Multiple firing modes like semi-auto, burst, ramping, full-auto
- Programmable circuit boards and sensors
- Require battery packs
- Higher performance potential with tuning
- More expensive but highly customizable
Magfed Paintball Guns
- Able to switch between traditional loader and magazines
- Realistic military simulation style
- Lower ammo capacity than hopper-fed
- Heavier than standard markers
- Affordable to high-end models available
MilSim Paintball Guns
- Designed for military simulation players
- Realistic scales and materials like metal
- Authentic gun models like M4, AK-47, etc
- Higher quality and price tag
- Advanced capabilities for immersive simulation
This covers the major types you’ll encounter when browsing splatter ball guns. You’ll also find specialty models like sniper rifles, pistol carbines, machine guns, and grenade launcher style markers. There are plenty of options to suit your style and budget.
Required Gear for Paintball
In addition to the marker itself, there is other essential gear you’ll need for a safe, complete setup:
- Must wear eye protection designed specifically for paintball
- Full face masks provide the best protection
- Anti-fog lenses help maintain visibility
- Holds extra paintballs in the marker
- Gravity fed hopper or electronic loader
- Typically mounts on feed neck of gun
CO2 or HPA Tank
- Carbon dioxide or compressed air tank
- Provides power source to propel paintballs
- Various sizes measured in ounces
- Gelatin or plastic shells holding paint
- Mark opponents they hit through splatter
- Non-toxic and water soluble
- Variety of bright color options
- Placed over barrel when not shooting
- Indicates you are out of play
- Required safety measure
- Usually bright colored fabric socks
- Athletic style jersey provides some protection
- Sliding pads for knees/elbows optional
- Camouflage patterns common
- Layer clothing under jersey
- Kit for cleaning and lubricating marker
- Includes squeegee, oil, grease, pads, brushes
- Keeps marker operating smoothly
With this full setup of marker, paintballs, loader, tank, mask, and other gear, you’ll be ready to dive into the sport! Safety should always come first when using splatter ball guns.
Paintball Safety 101
While splatter ball guns provide fun recreation, they do shoot projectiles at high speed and require safety measures. Follow these basic guidelines:
- Always wear ASTM approved goggles designed specifically for paintball. These must be worn at all times when anywhere near markers in use. Eye protection is by far the most critical element.
- Use barrel plugs/socks when not actively shooting or on the field. This includes keeping them on in staging areas. Only remove them when ready to begin a game.
- Treat markers as if they are loaded at all times, even if paintballs are not present. Avoid looking down the barrel.
- Keep your finger off the trigger until ready to shoot at targets on the field. Do not point markers at anything you don’t intend to shoot.
- Set your marker to “safe” mode when not aiming at targets between games. This prevents accidental discharge.
- Follow all posted safety rules and listen to field referees. Rules are in place to prevent injuries and maintain fair play for all participants.
- Use low impact paintballs only, specifically those formulated for recreational play. Do not modify paintballs.
- Maintain control when shooting. Avoid excessive velocity “hot” markers that increase risks of harm.
- Remove paintball tank before transport and storage. Do not transport pressurized markers.
- Store markers and paintballs securely and prevent unauthorized access. Follow local regulations.
- Drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration and take breaks between games to rest.
Following basic safety protocols helps ensure paintball remains an exciting but responsible recreational activity everyone can enjoy.
Choosing a Paintball Venue
Once you have the proper gear, one of the first decisions is choosing a location to experience paintball games and test out your new marker. Here are some of your main options:
- Dedicated commercial outdoor fields designed for paintball
- Offer varied terrain with inflatable bunkers, buildings, etc
- Staff provide refereeing, rentals, air fills
- Provide full service play for casual participants
- Offer competitive team tournaments and scenario events
- Range from affordable to premium facilities
- Public land like forests and abandoned areas
- More natural terrain and features like rocks, trees, streams
- Requires more self-supplied gear and preparation
- No staff oversight or maintained fields
- Fun for informal games with friends
- Check local laws and get landowner permission
Indoor Paintball Arenas
- Contained indoor space with maze-like layouts
- Close combat style of play
- Less affected by weather conditions
- Typically smaller than outdoor fields
- Fast paced games in close quarters
- Rentals and staff often available
- Set up homemade field on private property
- Only practical with large rural properties
- Allows practice and casual games at home
- Needs netting or barriers for safety
- Convenient but very limited space
With public paintball fields, you’ll get a full experience but at an hourly cost. Private land options are cheaper but require more responsibility. Choose based on your budget, desired play style, and access to land.
Paintball Regulations and Legal Issues
While paintball equipment is largely unregulated at the federal level in the USA, you still need to follow some guidelines depending on where you live and play:
- Transportation – Paintball markers may be classified as “firearms” in some states when transporting outside of property where they are used. They must be unloaded and securely stowed.
- Public Lands – National parks and public lands often prohibit recreational paintball. Always check regulations before playing in public spaces.
- Minimum Age – In most states you must be at least 18 years old to purchase a paintball marker, though younger ages may participate under supervision.
- Velocity Limits – Most commercial fields limit velocity to 300 fps or less. Markers shooting hotter than local limits may be chronographed and prohibited.
- Goggle Rules – Failure to wear proper masks/goggles everywhere on a field will get you ejected from a facility. Eye protection is heavily enforced.
- Insurance – Some locations may require paintball liability insurance for those providing equipment or setting up private fields.
While infrequent, poor behavior with paintball guns can also lead to criminal charges like assault or property damage. Responsible and legal use is expected at all times. Overall, simply use good judgement and respect safety regulations on any paintball lands or venues.
Improving Your Paintball Accuracy
When you first start playing paintball, it’s common to struggle hitting your targets consistently, especially at long range. Here are some tips to improve your shooting accuracy:
Use Quality Paint
- Cheap paintballs are prone to veering off course and chopping in the barrel
- Spend a little more for roundness, smooth shells, and bright fills
Size Your Barrel Bore
- The ball should have just a little wiggle room in the barrel
- Too tight and balls will break, too loose affects trajectory
Clean Your Barrel
- Clean out paint and oil buildup with squeegees and swabs regularly
- Keeps the inside of your barrel smooth
Use a Quality Loader
- Gravity fed hoppers lead to more ball breaks
- Electronic loaders feed smoothly and consistently
Maintain Consistent Velocity
- FPS constantly spiking up and down reduces accuracy
- Quality regulators help maintain steadier muzzle velocity
- Develop skill at different ranges and shooting positions
- Get a feel for how to aim your unique marker
While practice makes perfect, quality gear optimized for your marker will take your precision shooting to the next level.
How to Increase Your Paintball Gun’s Range
When paintball guns are stock out of the box, their effective range is typically 100 to 150 feet. With some simple tuning, you can stretch out the distance your markers can shoot and hit targets further downfield. Here are some effective ways to increase your splatter ball gun’s range:
Use Premium Paintballs
Higher end tournament grade paintballs hold their shape better in flight for maximum distance. Avoid cheap paints prone to dimpling.
Max Out the Velocity
Safely turn up the velocity to the maximum legal limit for your field, usually 300 fps. This adds energy to the paintballs.
Upgrade to a Longer Barrel
18 to 24 inch barrels allow more time for acceleration resulting in higher muzzle velocity. Just don’t go too long.
Overbore the Barrel
Using a barrel where the bore is slightly larger than the paintball reduces friction for added speed.
Use Light Paintballs
Look for paintballs around .50 to .68 caliber rather than heavier .69+. Lighter paint can travel further at the same velocity.
Add a Vertical Grip
Vert grips help keep your marker steadier for better aim at long distance targets. Reduce wobble for tighter groupings.
Use HPA instead of CO2
High pressure air offers more consistent velocity for accuracy and range versus fluctuating CO2 output.
Angle Your Shots Upwards
Aim slightly high to compensate for gravity over longer distances. This helps you place shots on target.
With the right tuning and quality gear, you can stretch your effective range without compromising too much on accuracy. Just be sure to chronograph your velocity and obey field limits.
Top Paintball Tactics and Gameplay Tips
Succeeding in paintball games requires skill, strategy, and knowledge of effective tactics. Here are some key tips:
Communicate with Your Team
Constant verbal coordination of positions and engagements helps win games through teamwork.
Use Cover and Concealment
Only expose yourself when ready to shoot. Use terrain, buildings, and props to hide your movement.
Suppress and Pin Down Opponents
Lay down rapid fire to pin opponents behind bunkers while teammates flank their sides.
Watch Your Flanks
Don’t get tunnel vision. Periodically check your sides and rear to avoid sneaking opponents.
Save Paint When Pinned Down
If cornered, don’t waste all your ammo. Hold your position and wait for backup.
Rushing often leads to fast eliminations. Let opponents make mistakes first.
Keep Your Gun Clean
Clean your barrel regularly to avoid chopping balls in key moments. Carry squeegees.
Carry Plenty of Paint
Bring more pods and reloads than you think you’ll need so you don’t run dry at bad times.
Make Each Shot Count
Aim carefully and don’t spray and pray. Conserve ammo for decisive engagements.
With practice and experience, you’ll refine tactics that take advantage of terrain and teamwork to outmaneuver opponents. Paintball rewards both individual skill and team coordination.
Maintaining and Cleaning Your Paintball Marker
Investing in a quality splatter ball gun is the first step, but keeping it in top condition is equally important. Follow this maintenance routine:
Keep your marker unloaded in a secure case when not in use to prevent damage. Remove air tanks.
Check O-rings regularly for cracks, replacing any damaged ones to avoid air leaks or velocity issues.
Use paintball oils and greases on the bolt, trigger, regulator, and moving parts to prevent sticking.
Clean the Barrel
Using barrel swabs and squeegees, wipe away any paint, oil, or debris buildup after each day of usage.
For electronic markers, swap out worn batteries in the marker and loader to prevent power loss during games.
Check the Loader
Inspect loader feed necks, shells, motors, and sensors. Replace worn parts affecting loading.
Use a chronograph regularly to verify your muzzle velocity hasn’t deviated from your field’s limits.
Inspect Air Tanks
Look for any corrosion or leaks around the valve. Tanks may need hydrotesting after several years.
Wipe down your marker with a damp cloth to remove dirt, paint splatter, and debris after play sessions.
Vibration can loosen grips, rails, and screws over time. Tighten anything loose before playing.
Test safety modes and trigger function to ensure nothing is sticking or malfunctioning.
Replace Worn Parts
As internal components like seals wear out, replace them to keep your marker firing consistently.
With regular cleaning, testing, and replacement of damaged components, your paintball gun will deliver reliable performance for years of recreational play.
Splatter ball guns provide exciting opportunities for sport shooting games and simulated combat using paintball projectiles. With proper safety gear like masks, paintball markers allow participants to enjoy the thrill of shooting and marking opponents without injury.
When starting out, focus on established fields with rentals, training, and referees to learn safe practices under supervision. As you advance, upgrade to your own personal marker and equipment optimized for factors like accuracy, range, and rapid firing. Practice both individual shooting skills plus team tactics.
While challenging at first, paintball is an extremely rewarding recreational activity with gameplay accessible to almost anyone. With the right gear and safety practices, splatter ball guns offer fun for all ages under proper supervision. The sport continues growing as technology makes markers more affordable, customizable, and capable. Just be sure to maintain your equipment and follow field regulations.
With this guide’s help understanding the basics of paintball guns, gear, venues, safety, and gameplay, you’ll gain confidence getting into the sport. Now grab your splatter ball gun marker and get ready for some paint-slinging action on the field!
Frequently Asked Questions About Splatter Ball Guns
Here are answers to the most popular questions people have about splatter ball guns:
What is the best beginner splatter ball gun?
A solid starter marker is the Tippmann Cronus which offers a semi-auto mechanical system at an affordable price. It’s easy to use and customize as skills develop.
How much does a good splatter ball setup cost?
Expect to spend $300 to $500 for a complete beginner setup with mask, marker, tank, loader and paintballs. Higher end electronics, rifles and gear run over $1,000.
How much do paintballs cost?
Paintballs are usually priced around $30 to $60 per case of 2,000. They can be purchased at most paintball facilities and many sporting goods stores. Expect to go through at least a case playing regularly.
What velocity do most fields allow?
Typical recreational paintball field limits are 280 to 300 fps maximum. Anything over 300 fps is generally prohibited for safety reasons. Velocities are checked with chronographs.
How accurate are paintball guns?
With quality ammunition and properly tuned equipment, markers can achieve 2-3 inch groupings at distances up to 60 yards when used by experienced players.
How many paintballs can a person carry?
Players often carry 100-140 paintballs in standard loaders. Additional pods allow another 140-180 balls. A full recreational setup allows 300+ shots before reloading.
Does weather affect paintball guns?
Moisture and humidity can cause paintball breakage, reducing performance. Cold temperatures may also lower gas pressure from CO2 tanks. Use high quality paint.
Can you play paintball alone?
While more fun with others, you can practice shooting alone on private property safely with proper protective gear. Public fields require groups.
How long do paintball games last?
Most recreational games designed for beginners run 5-15 minutes. More advanced tournament games feature shorter 2 minute rounds.
How old do you have to be to play paintball?
The minimum age is typically 10+ years old for recreational play and 18+ years old to purchase your own markers. Always check field rules.
What gear is absolutely necessary for paintball?
Paintball masks/goggles, a paintball marker, paintballs, and an air source like CO2 or compressed air are the minimum essentials to safely play.
Do paintballs hurt a lot?
Paintballs will sting briefly on impact, especially at close range. Bruising is possible. Proper protective gear prevents serious injuries.
How many rounds fit in paintball loaders?
Standard gravity fed hoppers hold about 100 paintballs. Electronic force fed loaders can hold 200+ balls for more firepower before reloading.
What clothing should you wear for paintball?
Wear durable athletic clothing that can get stained by paint. Long sleeves/pants help prevent welts. Some fields require specialized jerseys.
What is the effective range of most paintball guns?
With stock setups, expect an effective range around 100-150 ft. Upgraded barrels, paint, and velocity tuning can extend range to 200+ ft.
Can you bring your own paintballs to fields?
Some commercial fields require you to use their own paint. Others allow you to use your own quality paintballs that meet safety standards.
How many people are needed to play paintball?
You can play 1v1, but 3v3, 5v5 or more is ideal. Larger organized games sometimes feature 20+ players per team.
Is paintball a good workout activity?
Definitely! The running, diving, and intense action provide great physical exercise. Expect to be worn out after a long day of play.
Can paintballs stain clothing permanently?
Quality water-soluble paint made for recreation will wash out of clothing. Avoid oil-based paints that may leave permanent stains.
How often should you clean a paintball gun barrel?
Cleaning the barrel every 1,000 shots or at the end of a full day of play ensures paint and oil buildup doesn’t impede performance.