Introduction: Paintballing

About: Cutting things and cursing.

This guide was made by the Special Ops Paintball community. I am posting it because I have noticed that some people don't realize what paintball really is.

This was found at -

EDIT-- This is no longer in the green contest.

Step 1: Table of Contents

1. The Gun Itself
a. Gun Maintenance
2. A New Barrel
3. Camouflage
4. The Mask
5. Sights & Scopes
6. Stocks
7. The Blackcell...The Future of Woodsball?
8. Mental Tactics
9. Tactics & Strategies
a. Communication
b. Wedge Formation & leap frogging
c. Flanking
d. Shadowboxing
e. Cover/Suppressive fire.
f. Blitzkrieg
10. Miscellaneous
a. What Makes the Player
b. Snap Shooting
c. Remote Coils
d. Game Types
e. Buying a squeegee
f. Physical Fitness
g. Peripheral Vision
h. Patience
i. Mini Tips
j. Chronographs
k. Speedball & Woodsball
l. Sound Testing
m. Web Dog Radio
n. Awareness
o. Aiming. Down the side of the gun or Above?
11. Further Notes

Notes: Under "The Gun Itself", there is information on the difference between co2 and HPA

Step 2: The Gun Itself

The Gun Itself

From past experiences with Brass Eagle, Viewloader, and Spyder brand guns - I haven't had too many good memories personally. The guns I've used are now old models, so I'll give them the benefit of the doubt that they may have gotten better, but in my personal opinion, I suggest taking a look at other brands of paintball markers before considering these brands. But in the end, its your choice. Others would say different and swear by their reliability. Some people love them, others can't stand them. But I guess that’s the case with Tippmanns as well. Like I said - Look into them for yourself, ask a friend if you can shoot his. See if its an old/lower-end model, or if its one of their top-of-the-line's.

But these brands also have their strong-points. The Spyder line has a very simple quickstrip feature. Pull one pin and you can easily pull out all the guts. ViewLoader guns are pretty much Spyders with a few less features, just as easy to strip in general, and most use Spyder threads.

Tippmann guns are a pretty good starting point. Most players who own one – plays woodsball pretty much hands-down. Tippmanns are known for their extreme reliability, and military-simulated (mil-sim) look.

They are not as legendary as people say though. If you take a Dye DM5, or Smart Parts Ion, or Shocker, it will perform just about the same+. The speedball markers, however, are designed to shoot at incredible rates of fire(ROF). Un-capped(capping a marker is an electronic safety that only allows a marker to shoot up to a certain bps(balls per second) mark) markers have been able to fire upwards of 26bps. Most tourney leagues limit the markers used by capping them at 15bps.

Mechanical Markers aren’t as bad as they may sound. If you get a good barrel, and match the paint diameter to the diameter of the barrel (see: A new Barrel), and take care of it, it should perform fairly well. Plus, to get a high-end marker, you would be looking at investing $300-600+. By the time you get an HPA airtank (costing anywhere from $100-250), a hopper that can throw the balls in the chamber faster than the gun can shoot (Halo B, or Q-Loader, costing from $80-120), plus any of your other small upgrades. But those two are essential. Plus you’ve got the gun itself, a pretty hefty chunk taken out of your shiny penny collection.

If you use Co2 with a high-end marker, it could possibly freeze the O-rings causing them to shrink, and lose the seal, and perhaps ruin them for good, because of the typically - high ROF it uses; it also has the potential to possibly ruin the solenoid, and electronics due to the fluids (and extreme cold) that could possibly leak into the gun. When deciding whether or not you are going to use Co2, Consult your OWNERS MANUAL, always look at your manual before making decisions about marker upgrades. If you're going to use a high-end marker with Co2, you should probably consider getting an Anti-Siphon tube. This puts a tube down into the tank, and when it is pointing directly up, it will only take the gaseous Co2 out, and not the liquid. However, this is still a pretty poor alternative, because the faster you shoot, the less time CO2 has to expand, therefore remains in its liquid state, and shrinks, breaks, and weakens o-rings. HPA (High Pressure Air) has no liquid in the tank, due to it only being air, and does not cool down when used rapidly. It actually warms up a little. HPA is also known as NITRO, because the air that we breathe, and the air that is put into your tank, is actually almost 80% nitrogen, 19%oxygen, and 1% just about everything else.

Also, when getting a gun, consider how the paint is fed into the marker. If you are going to be playing a lot of vertical bunkers and leaning out to the side a lot, think about how an elbowed hopper will affect this. A right-hand feed marker will have the hopper pop out of the bunker on the right side before the barrel, and this could be a disadvantage, same with the left side for left-hand feed markers. For playing vertical bunkers, consider a center feed marker, or a warpfeed / qloader hopper. However, if you are going to be taking more time on your shots, and sitting out in the relatively open spaces, consider a elbowed feed. This will allow you to have a clear sight down the top of the barrel.

It is almost inevitable that the barrel your gun comes with - will be pretty bad. You will almost always have to upgrade to get the performance you want.

Make sure the gun you're getting will be around for a while, and you can get parts for it if you need too. Make sure, it has a lot of upgrades you can choose from. The 98 Custom, and A-5 probably has the most useful upgrades for woodsball. But there is also the Blackcell body kit for the Ion - for example, to add plenty of upgrades to it if you choose. Speedball guns are pretty standard, so you’ll be able to get just about anything from anywhere.

Step 3: Gun Maintainence

Maintenance, on your gun, is crucial - believe me. I didn’t maintain my favorite paintball gun for a year or so, and an O-ring broke inside, and it’s a discontinued model, so now I can’t use it anymore…If you don’t lubricate/oil the O-rings on your gun, the O-ring’s seal weakens; they dry out, and usually cripple, or snap when under pressure. Causing leaks of co2/hpa.

These are the following Symptoms for a broken O-ring.

You hear an air leak in your gun somewhere-Immediately take the co2 out of your gun, and see if the co2 tank’s o-ring is bad, those are easy to fix, you can buy them anywhere (PEE SHOOTER’s, Gander Mountain, Walmart, K-Mart, e.t.c..) spare co2 o-rings are easy to find

If your gun fires, and it acts like the co2 is empty-if you played a lot already and your co2 may be low, this obviously happens, but when you just put in a-just filled co2, and it makes that “automatic sound” and your bolt goes forward, and you have to keep re-cocking it, than one of the internal o-rings are bad somewhere on the bolt.

I recommend you lubricate your gun’s O-ring’s at least every 6 months (that’s when playing 3-5 large games each month) but I recommend you do it much more than that.

Now, some gun’s need more maintenance than others. The Tippmann guns probably need the least-but still! Lubricate it. The A-5 self-lubricates, as with most guns - when you put some oil on the ASA adapter. However, to get old dirt, grime, and perhaps paint that got inside your gun internals (the bolt assembly, striker, e.t.c..), you usually have to take it completely apart. Don’t always be afraid to take your gun apart...Make sure you have the schematics from your instructions booklet; (most paintball gun’s have the schematics of the gun) and if you’re really worried about taking your gun apart, do it with your dad or someone else for the first or second time. But its crucial you learn how to do it on your own so you may field-strip it on…Well the field.

Step 4: A New Barrel

The most common, and useful upgrade is the barrel. It will affect your accuracy the most drastically of any upgrade you can put on your stock marker. However, people typically become to cautious when picking out a barrel.

The best advice you can get is that the best length for accuracy is 14-16"; however the longer the barrel, the more co2/air required.

Not only the length of the barrel is important, but what barrel you purchase from what company. Smart Parts, Site(Stiffi), J&J, and Lapco – are all popular barrel manufacturers.

Look to for some specific barrel reviews.

Whatever barrel you get, just make sure you match the bore size you are getting your barrel in - with the bore size of your favorite paint. This is an important factor.

- Find your barrel on this chart here:

Then find your favorite - most commonly used paint here:

After understanding bore sizes of the barrel and the paintballs, there are barrel kits. Most famous are the Freak kits, Hammer Head Kits, and the Evil Pipe Kit. These come with different bore-inserts so you can use practically any type of paint.

There is also Tippmann's Flatline, and BT's Apex, which allows the ball to travel much farther distances than 150 feet. Giving you distance advantage over the enemy. There are threads all over the place asking if they really work, and its very controversial. Some believe that they are the greatest thing on the market, others say they are ball choppers and are completely inaccurate. Look further into them for yourself to see what you think.

Step 5: Camouflage

Obviously an essential part of woodsball is camouflage. But there's not just one type; there's bdu's and Real Tree and Digi and Ghuillie and many others. Bdu's are the old standard issue for the US army. Many people including a few on our team have these because of their cheap price and availability at army surplus stores. These work well in a lot of different environments. The US army is switching to digi which leads me to believe it is more effective. The best digi camo is probably SpeOps Marauder or Fusion. But there are many other types as well. Real tree is hunter’s camouflage which has pictures of logs, leafs, sticks and such on them. These work but are usually cheap and rip easily. Last is ghuillie, which really can be anything that helps break up your outline. These come in pre-manufactured suits or you can build one yourself. They are the most effective of all camouflage but greatly restrict your movement. I use SpecOps Action Ghuillie because it gives you the great camo of a ghuillie without restricting movement. However, the full suit does cost $215 so spend your money where you need it. There's also "3d" camouflage, which is basically, half ghuillie, half bdu. It works well for players who need the good camouflage, but nothing too heavy or bulky, or expensive for that matter, so they can still maneuver well.

Step 6: The Mask

Masks are typically under-rated, and most people don't take them seriously. That is, until their first or second game, when they realize the rentals just aren’t cutting it anymore.

When looking for a mask, you want to consider the following:

-Field of View
-Lens Type (Thermal? Fog Resistant?)
-Material of the Mask

The size (or profile) of the mask, meaning how well it conforms to your face is important for making your head's profile small, and as unnoticeable as possible. Dye and V-Force has some amazing masks on the market. V-Force is considered to have the best with their Profiler. It comes at a price ($80), but it is well worth it.

Field of View is more important than it sounds. Some masks hardly have any peripheral vision capabilities. Again, good examples of what mask to buy are: JT Spectra, Proto, the V-Force Profiler, Dye Invision, or Empire Event. The larger field of view, the more things you'll notice. Believe me, it’s a lifesaver.

The Lens type is important. When out behind enemy lines, after running a lot, on a hot summer day, breathing heavy into your mask -its bound to fog up(making seeing the broad side of a barn difficult honestly), unless you pick the right mask/lense-type. A lot of masks of Wal-Mart brand quality will have a sticker on the lens saying "Fog Resistant". There is little truth to “fog resistant”, Thermal lenses are much lower maintenance for a better result. If you get a Thermal Lens, your mask will almost never fog up, and when/if it does - it will rapidly go away. Thermal Lenses are double paned like your windows at your house, the air in between the lenses acts like an insulator and keeps your mask from fogging up.

The Material of the Mask is important, you don't want it to be all soft rubber, and easily bendable, true this will perhaps help cause ball bounces, but it is also more likely to just ignore the rubber, bend it back, and hit your face...This has happened to me...It should be a blend of hard plastic, and hard rubber. The Profiler is a good example of this. My mask, the JT Spectra, is becoming outdated. It has a thermal lens, but its profile, and material isn't top-quality, so I'm going to replace it, and most likely get a profiler myself eventually.

Step 7: Sights & Scopes

Besides a lot of practice, nothing improves your first-shot-accuracy better than a sight. Red dots are great as long as you sight them in. Scopes however are more complicated. Some players will swear by them saying they are the best investment they ever made. My opinion is this: a red dot for shooting and a scope for reconnaissance. I have a both scope and sight on my gun. I only aim and shoot with the red dot however. Paintballs just don’t have the range to make a scope practical. But a scope comes in handy when your watching enemies approach or your trying to find someone. In the end the decision is yours, if you go for a red dot good for you. If you go for a scope good for you but don’t expect it to be accurate. Or many of you may not take either and leave the top of your gun empty some people like it like that. It’s personal preference really.

Step 8: Stocks

Stocks come in all different shapes and sizes and almost everyone wants to get one. However before selecting your stock decide if you even need one. Don’t run out and buy a stock because you think it looks cool. Play a few games, first find your position and just get a feel for your style of play. If you feel that a stock will significantly improve you accuracy, or it will help you bring your gun to firing position faster you can move to the next step: selecting what type of stock to buy. Depending on your marker there are numerous options available. For Tippmann markers there are too many to count. The many types of stocks include three basic types folding, collapsible, and solid. Each has advantages and disadvantages. For a front or point player or if you don’t want something sticking out on the back of your gun constantly, so a folding stock may be your choice. It as the ability to well... fold onto the side or under your gun, which can be handy for close quarters situations. The next type of stock is a collapsible which can adjust to different lengths incase you want a shorter length stock for close quarters instead of getting rid of it entirely like with a folding. The final type is a solid stock, which stays one length. Its only advantage is a more solid feel.

Finally the disadvantages to all stocks, the first of which is weight. Anything you put on your gun will weigh it down and that can slow down your movements so keep that in mind. The last disadvantage is the fact that you will be unable to put you face behind your gun with a mask on. This will prevent you from using a red dot sight unless you buy some type of raised sight rail or offset rail. Specops paintball has come up with a solution called the dogleg stock.

This allows you to put your head behind the gun easily with a mask on.

Step 9: Communication

Communication Is probably the most important (as well as most overlooked), and most useful thing you could add to your team. Moterola walkie talkies, or PTT Headsets - it doesn't really matter. Being able to split up, and still stay in contact is an enormous advantage. Or against another organized team with walkie-talkies, it will at least make you equal to them. Now lets think about how necessary headsets are to just push-to-talk (PTT) walkie talkies. If an enemy is close enough to hear your radio, you probably should've seen him and shot him, or vice verca, if you're walking, and a sniper lying in ambush hears your radio - he most likely will have already heard you walking, or caught sight of you, and you're already dead. Its just easier to use hand-held walkie talkies. In the rare cases that - that could happen and perhaps* get you shot...Which is even unlikely, the advantages the walkie talkies can give your team is enormous.

I've taken this out of a book I read: Ender's Shadow:

"You Learn
You Analyze
You Choose
You Act"

And from Brothers in Arms:

Find 'Em
Fix 'Em
Flank 'Em
Finish 'Em

these both apply to paintball perfectly.

Adapt, and follow procedure for that adaptation. Find the opponenet, by sending some scouts out to run through the woods fast, or send a lone sniper (fast scout typically works better). Fix them, by supressing them so they can barely breathe let alone fire back a whole lot or fallback or advance. Flank them with another squad or player (depending on how many teammates you have). This will get them in a crossfire, and cause them to divert a great deal of their attention to the flanker, while also demoralizing the hell out of them.

Step 10: The End

I hope this has helped you know more about paintball, and I hope you try out this awesome sport.

P.S. I will post tactics in about a week. Right now I'm busy getting in 4 Instructables And moving into a new room downstairs.


Discover Green Science Fair for a Better Planet

Participated in the
Discover Green Science Fair for a Better Planet