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What You Need To Know About Mag-Fed Paintball
Mag-fed paintball is quite new. It uses a different type of loading mechanism and is preferred by some players because it offers a more realistic experience. Mag-Fed is growing in popularity, so here’s the lowdown on how it works, what you need to get started, and the pros and cons associated with this new and exciting play style!
What is Mag-fed paintball?
To answer this question, we need to take a deeper dive into how traditional paintball guns work. Standard guns are loaded via a hopper, which can contain up to 200 paintballs at a time. That means you don’t have to reload as often and you can maintain a high rate of fire. Mag-Fed weapons are loaded by a magazine, which means slower reload times. Magazines also have a much lower capacity, usually of up to just 20 paintballs.
Mag-Fed guns like the Tippmann Stormer Tactical need reloading much more frequently. That inevitably puts increased emphasis on every shot and encourages players to adopt a more tactical mindset. Therefore, Mag-Fed play is considered more advanced and is often preferred by more serious competitors taking a step up.
What are the advantages?
Many players choose Mag-Fed play because it’s more realistic and truer to how real guns fire in a combat situation. This feeds into how the guns look, too. Most Mag-Fed guns like the Tippmann Stormer have a truer-to-life, more military aesthetic that appeals to purists.
Mag-Fed also encourages a deeper tactical element than your usual paintball match. Since the guns need to be reloaded more frequently, it is not really an option simply to spray some shots and hope for the best. Mag-Fed demands a careful assessment of the opponent's position, deeper tactics and an “every shot counts” mindset.
Mag-Fed is particularly popular in woodsball matches. The presence of dense foliage, obstacles and lots of cover can create a very compelling tactical environment. Reloading your gun and taking aim through an overgrown arena feels uniquely exciting, and it's probably the closest that most people will safely get to a real-life military experience.
Advanced players who are already familiar with how paintball works often find that they want to take their experience to the next level. The hyper-realism and tactical edge of Mag-Fed paintball is widely considered the most strategic matchplay of all.
What are the downsides?
Players who prefer the “spray and pray” approach to matches might not have a great experience with Mag-Fed play. You’ll find yourself reloading far more frequently, and Mag-Fed rewards accuracy rather than high rates of fire. This also makes it slightly more expensive than traditional hopper-fed paintball matches.
Along similar lines, Mag-Fed play requires lots of extra carry space. Guns are loaded with individual magazines like the Dye DAM Tactical, but since these are low capacity, you’ll need to carry a lot. That can translate into additional spending on new equipment. Additionally, some players prefer the liberating nature of traditional paintball, which allows them to move about unencumbered.
Purchasing more magazines eventually adds up, so Mag-Fed might not be the best option for casual players who are budget-conscious. Mag-Fed guns tend to be more expensive, too, since they’re designed for a serious audience. That premium military look doesn’t always come cheap, but it certainly looks impressive!
Generally speaking, Mag-Fed guns are best for more advanced players, while anybody taking their first steps into the paintball world should opt for the tried-and-tested hopper. Since Mag-Fed means longer reload times and additional complexity, beginners can be caught out and left open to attack. Once you’ve gotten to grips with the finer tactical elements of paintball, it might be a good time to consider Mag-Fed.
Is it safe?
Yes! Paintball is a safe sport, and Mag-Fed matches carry no extra risk. All that’s changed is how the paintballs are loaded, so you don’t have to worry about additional pain when you take a hit! Nonetheless, getting struck with a paintball from any kind of marker is bound to sting a little, which is why it’s always a good idea to bring the right kind of proactive equipment to a match.
Coveralls and chest protectors are a great way to shield yourself. Gloves and cushioned jerseys will offer some additional protection, but correct facewear is a must. Your eyes are your most vulnerable point. A robust, high-quality mask like the Empire Helix will keep you safe and allow you to concentrate on the match.