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The gas tank is a fundamental part of any paintball setup. Without it, you won’t be able to fire a single shot, so choosing the right one is important! There are plenty of different tanks to choose from, so if you’re new to paintball, the sheer volume of choice can seem baffling.
Tanks contain high-pressure gas, which is used to shoot. Every tank will be good for a certain number of shots depending on capacity, and then it will need to be refilled. Tank selection depends on a whole host of factors, including the type of marker you use, your style of play and, of course, where you play paintball.
Here are a few main points to consider.
There's a paintball tank for any budget. Economy options like the Maddog are at the cheaper end of the scale but can still hold an impressive 20 ounces of pressurized gas. That equates to around 800 to 1000 shots, which is more than enough for the casual player! Even cheaper options like this will last for a solid five years.
There are plenty of paintball tanks in this entry-level price bracket, but more serious players will eventually want to migrate to something more advanced. Higher-end tanks like the Ninja Paintball HPA offer unprecedented levels of control. These tanks aren’t cheap by any means, but they allow players to adjust psi and, by extension, how their markers behave. The Ninja HPA has four different pressure settings ranging from 450psi up to 800psi, so it’s perfect for more technical players.
Which tank you choose depends on budget, but also how seriously you take your paintball. Casual players will find cheaper tanks more than sufficient, but an advanced competitor will be far more demanding.
Gas tanks come in two main types: Co2 and air. As the names suggest, Co2 bottles contain pressurized liquid Co2, whereas air tanks contain highly pressurized air. The main difference between the two is consistency. Liquid Co2 is influenced by ambient temperature, which causes pressure to rise and fall. This means that shots will be more inconsistent, so Co2 isn’t always relied upon in professional tournaments.
Compressed air tanks such as the HK Army aren't affected by ambient temperature. Their internal pressure remains consistent, which translates into a more uniform rate of fire. Co2 tanks are generally cheaper both to purchase and refill, whereas compressed air is favored by more advanced players.
More importantly, not every paintball gun is compatible with both types of tank. Electronic paintball guns shouldn’t use Co2 tanks. Compressed air is more universal, however, and a good fit for both electric and mechanical markers.
These are the two metrics that you should pay special attention to when you choose a tank. Psi stands for pound per square inch - it’s basically a measurement of gas pressure within the tank. Since pressure determines how powerful your shots will be, it’s an important figure. Some tanks allow players to adjust pressure up and down, although this feature is usually reserved for more advanced models.
Capacity is simple. It just means how much gas your tank can hold. The higher the capacity, the longer you can compete without needing to refill. Depending on where you live and how easily you can access compressed gas, this can make a big difference. Tanks can be refilled in a variety of locations including sports, paintball and even scuba stores.
Pay special attention to your tank’s psi when you refill it. If, for example, the tank is pressurized up to 3000 psi like the Ninja Paintball 48, refilling it with a 200 psi pump won’t be sufficient. That, unfortunately, means you won’t be able to refill your tank at the local garage. These types of pumps don’t supply anywhere near the required pressure for a paintball marker.
It’s important to match the tank with the pump. Failing to fill up your tank on a routine basis will cause your gun to lose pressure. That means more erratic shots, decreased range and eventually no firepower at all!
Buying a paintball tank isn’t the end of the story. Keeping your tank in optimum condition will give you the best experience. Check the parts regularly, paying special attention to the rubber nipple and valve. Tanks usually have a lifespan of around five years. After that, they will require a hydrotest or need to be replaced.
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