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What Equipment Do You Need For Paintball?
Here's our guide on to how to equip yourself like a pro to win at paintball.
If you’ve been to a paintball game before, you’ll know that the essential equipment is supplied by the folks organizing the event. If you’re just trying paintball out for the first time, don’t panic - there's no need to supply anything other than yourself and sensible footwear (ankle support is important).
But you’re reading this, so we guess you’ve got the paintball bug and you’re ready to tool up like the pros. Let's look at what you’ll need to play with the big boys and gals.
The most important piece of equipment you need to invest in for paintball is a mask. Paintballs hit hard and fast, and the most important part of your body is your face. Protect your eyes! A good mask is also vented to stop misting and keep communication lines clear. With masks starting from less than $50, like this Empire Helix Paintball Mask, the mask is an essential, affordable way to start building your paintball equipment. They can be personalized with a thermal lens in a range of colors or teamed with a neck protector for warmth and a bit more protection.
Called marker guns, or markers, after the farm guns used to tag livestock that featured in the very first paintball match, these weapons pack a powerful punch thanks to the compressed gas tanks attached to them and can fire a small ball of paint at terrific speed. You can get tactical MilSim markers or super lightweight speedball markers in a whole range of colors. The choice is yours, but many serious paintballers opt for a good all-around semi-automatic that can perform well in the Woodsball or Speedball arena.
Combining a low-profile hopper for a clearer view and an e-grip trigger with five automated or semi-automated modes to fire up to 15 paintballs per second, the Tippman A-5 is a true all-arounder and can really help you power up the field or lay down covering fire.
Pods and Harnesses
The best marker in the world is useless if you run out of paintballs. Do you really want to worry about how many paintballs you’ve got left in the final minutes of an elimination game? Harnesses hold, on average, 4 to 6 pods, and a good pod takes 150 paintballs - that's a lot of shots you’re packing over the next player and it will make a difference. Pick a harness that can carry pods, your tank and everything else you need, so then your attention can be on your sights and trigger. The best pods come with grips and easy-open lids like the Maddog Bones 150-round pods. Match them with a vertical holder harness and you won’t even need to take your eyes off the field to load.
Your marker can only fire as fast as the paintballs are fed into it, and that’s where your hopper comes in. It's not just a tank of balls perched on your marker. The motorized models keep paintballs coming in a steady feed at high speed. No delay and no jamming means you can take out multiple targets in a sweep or keep the opposing team’s heads down as you barrel towards their flag. Look for a low-profile, lightweight model to further help with balancing your marker; the GI Sportz LVL Version 1.5 ticks all the boxes.
This is the powerhouse of your marker gun. Without a tank, your marker just can’t shoot. CO2 tanks come in a range of sizes, and generally speaking, the bigger the tank, the longer you can shoot. However, the preferred tank for paintball is the compressed air tank. Lightweight in either aluminum or carbon fiber, the higher the pressure in the tank, the faster and further the paintballs will fly. The top-of-the-range HK Army AeroLite Compressed Air HPA packs an impressive 68-cubic-inch capacity with 4500 psi to shoot further for longer.
Is protective gear essential? Some play in a mask, shorts and a tee, but most of us don’t want a bruise pattern visible from space, shredded knees from undergrowth sniper crawls, or our clothes filthy, so good protective gear can help. In addition to protective pads for your knees and elbows, a thick pair of trousers paired below an HK Army Crash Chest Protector with its dual-layered pad system and breathable side panels will keep you protected, cool and mobile.