Introduction
The Pump Revival
Identifying Configurations
Preparation
How to Play
What Are Stockguns?
How to Play With a Stockgun
Play Using an Open Pump
Playing With Semi-Auto Players
Playing Against Stockguns
Playing Against Open Pumps
Using Pumps Against Semi-Autos
Why Use Modified Stockguns Today?
Guerrilla Warfare
Fields
Paintballs & Barrels
Hassle-free & Fun-focused
Paintguns
CO2 & Nitro
Upgrades & Conversions
My Paintguns
Field Owner's Guide
Referee's Briefing
Gametypes
Store Owner's Guide
Conclusion

The Book on
Pump Paintball

written by
Erik "Sherbet" Tilton

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"The Committee wants represented a variety of professionals and personalities and seeks in common among the Players only a demonstrated tendency towards wit, variety, and savage competitiveness....

"A few of you are acknowledged woodsmen and/or hunters; others of you are not. The Committee deems that neither woodsmanship nor marksmanship is as important to the effective playing of The Game as the wiliness and a sharp instinct for survival that might have been as finely-honed in the streets of New York as in the woods of New Hampshire."

- Charles Gaines
in his invitation of Sports Illustrated to the Survival Game in 1981

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"Business is not that much different than a paintball game. Someone sets the rules and you do the best you can within the rules."

- Bill Gardner of Smart Parts

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"You never win a game unless you beat the guy in front of you. The score on the board doesn't mean a thing. That's for the fans. You've got to win the war with the man in front of you. You've got to get your man."

- Vince Lombardi

Introduction

This is a book about the game of team elimination using pump-action paintguns. How to make good purchasing decisions, code of conduct for pump players, and how to achieve pump glory in the pure game of paintball are also topics which are covered in this book.

Rules

It's a good day of paintball when all participants involved were 100% safe, nevermind winning or losing or even firing a single shot.

Rule #1: Do not be intimidated away from the game by safety rules, only abide strictly to them and all is groovy.

Always wear paintball-approved eye goggles. I'm wearing mine right now as I write this.

Clear thermal lenses give you a perfectly-clear view downrange no matter how overcast or cloudy the weather is. It's as close as you can get to perfect vision while still having protection for your eyes.

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Always cover the tip of your barrel with a "barrel sock" when the paintgun is not in use.

While playing, do not shoot another player in the eye goggles when they are within 10 feet away ("point blank"), aim elsewhere instead. This is not so much for the other players' safety but rather to protect their equipment from needing to be replaced.

Avoid causing "unnecessary suffering": do not shoot paintballs beyond 300 feet-per-second, and never shoot beyond the "field limit" imposed by the field owner, even if the feet-per-second limit is a number below 300.

Always listen and adhere strictly to the safety rules and regulations dictated by field operators, staff, and referees; or risk ejection from the field property (without refund).

For maximum enjoyment, wear knee and elbow protection. These give you greater mobility on the field. Additional between-the-legs athletic protection, gloves, and ankle-wraps are also highly-recommended.

When sticking to these above rules, one will never get injured, and no one will never injure anyone.

It's liberating to know what your limits are in a game. You are now cleared to enter.

The Stress-Free Competition Game

Please don't take paintball seriously. Give it 100%, but don't care.

For a game intended to be fun--sort of like a snowball fight or playing tag--it's awfully silly that nowadays those who play take winning and losing so seriously that they feel compelled to cheat. Paintball is child's play for otherwise mature-minded kids and adults.

How in the world can such a physically-involved game like paintball possibly be considered stress-free? Mentally-removing the stress and just playing for the joy and the adrenaline rush will do the trick! Paintball improves your mood and spirit long after a day of play. It's good for your health, if you truly put in the effort required to play it well.

Before Quitting Paintball

Lots of players take paintball too seriously and "burn-out." These players get to competition-level where it's possible to have a bad day, or a bad streak, or bad luck, and then quit the game forever after having spent lots of money trying to correct what are their own imagined performance issues.

Below is a list of things I believe all paintball players should experience during their stay in the game. These are wonderful, positive, or interesting pleasures and luxuries that truly add spice or excitement to the game of paintball.

Hold and use a WGP Slider Frame

Use both a VL200 and a vertical 3.5oz CO2 tank on a single CO2-efficient paintgun (they're a perfect combination)

Use a Flatline Barrel / Apex Barrel Tip for a day of play

Have a Tiberius Pistol / Stockgun Pistol ready inside an APP (Allen Paintball Products) holster

Use a thermal lens and microfiber lens wipe

Use an SL-68II with Marbalizers for a day of play in the woods (ensure beforehand that they are matched paintball-to-barrel first)

Shop at www.Palmer-Pursuit.com

Try same-size V-1 paintballs and All Star paintballs in a barrel that fits both and note the difference in flight behavior (V-1s fly straighter while All Stars always break on target)

Use a scope zeroed at 75 feet and note the accuracy of paintballs at their best and worst

Play 1-versus-1 or 2-versus-2 on small fields

Capture a flag and bring it successfully to base

Give away old and unused paintball parts and gear to younger players

Properly-assemble and disassemble a Sniper II (but not an Autococker)

For those that consider quitting, I urge you to do the following: sell all your gear except for your protective and cleaning equipment, start completely over, establish and maintain a weekly budget for paintball ($50 per week is do-able), and re-enter the game. Match paintballs to barrel. Wear a pull-thru barrel squeegie around your neck. Have a microfiber lens wipe in your pocket. Don't play to win, play to eliminate. You will explore the game as furthest you can while at the same time restricting your spending, limiting yourself to certain ways of playing, and increasing your enjoyment as you create for yourself this personal challenge.

If you cease to try to impress others, and seek to impress only yourself and attempt to make this paintball game a challenge only for yourself, you will gain followers as you get better and better on your favorite fields.

Against Military Simulation

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So, you want to get into pump? Because with it, you'd be like some stone-cold elite sniper that shoots from great distance and eliminates with one shot?

Allow me to crash through this thought bubble abruptly, crush your hopes and dreams, by saying there's nothing really fancy or special about pumps. They are the simplest, yet at the same time the most accurate paintguns you will ever use. OK, sure. It wouldn't be wrong to say they're the most pure. But that doesn't mean what you'll have in your hands is the paintball-equivalent of a bolt-action rifle, and now suddenly you can perform spectacular feats and instill fear into other players. The only way you could possibly affect another player's feelings towards you is the shame they feel after "lighting you up" with an electronic semi-auto. Sorry.

Rather than just disappoint you and then walk away, ending the book and leaving you sad, I will say that pumps are super-accurate--enough for them to do what you need them to do. But all that accuracy comes not just from the paintgun, as you will soon learn. A good paintgun is only Step #1 on the path towards straight-shooting.

The Focus of Paintball Players

What you must do, once you've purchased a pump and this pump book, is cleanse your mind of childish ideas. Take a deep breath, and as you breathe out just release all the weird, imaginary ideas you conjured up on your own or with the help from friends about this game. Cleanse your mind of any preconceived notions about the game, the game, and you. You're not playing the game to impress anyone else, only to impress yourself. The paintgun you're holding is not important to focus on. It's there, it's important, and hopefully you've determined its reliability on the field. But what's more important is you.

What is important is trying to outsmart--and sneak up on--guys on the other side of the field, and when you succeed you shoot them! If the paintballs can't fly straight, buy the best paintballs you can that fit your barrel. Have confidence in your paintgun. If you can't, then you've got the wrong one!

The Proper Introduction

It's not all about the paintgun. How you see is extremely-important, perhaps even more important than your other equipment. If your paintball mask lens fogs up, get a better lens or a new mask and save the old one so a friend can use them, if the mask isn't entirely terrible. But perhaps it would be better to let your friend use the good mask so that they can be properly introduced to the game.

How in the world did the topic change from "paintball \91sniper' fantasy" to seeking purchase of high-quality paintballs and masks? It's because you can't live in a fantasy world playing paintball! Many people go into this game thinking now they can pretend to participate in strategic battle, be a soldier in a platoon or a mercenary, and pretend to be an action hero. Paintball's none of those things. It's a personal challenge.

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As a paintball player who's just getting in, you've got to be choosy. I'll explain what I mean by "being choosy" later on. In this game you should be all about trying to strip away any and all the variables that negatively affect your chances of winning, until all that's left is your pure skill versus the opponent's. Who's going to be the better player next round? You don't really think that a player who has a "better" paintgun will consistently beat everyone else all the time, do you?

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Everything has to line up right. Everything has to be in your favor and, heck, everything should be going well on your opponent's side also. The opponent should be having just as good of a day as you are. You don't really want an easy game, do you?

All it takes is one single paintball splat to prove your skill and accuracy. Give that paintball all the right reasons to fly straight and true and it will--that's all you need to do. The rest is stuff you learn according to the field layout, that's stuff I can't really teach you. I can certainly motivate you to jump right in and strive to do the very best a pump player can do.

Is It A Game of Wasteful Spending?

Paintball is all about shooting straight and being sharp. It is itself a world to be wrapped-up in, not fantasy military garbage that sucks your money away.

Paintball is being marketed towards inexperienced suckers who think it's all a war simulation.

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On the other end of the spectrum, in the vibrant and colorful tournament scene, it's telling you to spend wildly on paintballs per game. It's also telling you to be afraid, and ashamed, of losing.

Combine these two ends, and what you've got is a lot of money being flushed down the toilet. This can also mean a lot of bitterness and regret. For many who play, paintball is a game of wasteful spending. Not so with pump.

It really doesn't have to be this way. Trim away the excess, the fakeness. The game of paintball is simple and pure. It's a blank canvas, a clean slate for you.

You can spend under a buck per game (after paying the price of entry, of course). That's like a couple of rounds at the arcade. A day of pump paintball should only cost you no more than if you were to treat a couple of friends to the movies. That's right--pump paintball is geared towards you, the regular person who enjoys a fun challenge from time-to-time, who wears a silly grin on his or her face because they know something that the others don't know.

Read this book, and you will know it, too.

Spend Your Money Right

To truly enjoy this paintball "world," you must begin by first treating yourself to honestly-good gear and paintballs that won't fail you. The best way to do this inexpensively is through pump.

The Pump Revival

Other Options besides Semi-Autos

Electronic semi-autos expend paintballs faster than some players are willing to stomach, and too much is being spent to "stay competitive." Because of this, some players have chosen to go back to the root of the game which is "stockgun play." This style of paintball is played with small-capacity paintguns.

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Others find difficulty in accepting the burdens and limitations of that style, and instead go for "open pumps" which uses the typical paintball tanks and hoppers they're already familiar with.

Both formats are great in their own way, but the game changes for each style. More on this later.

Quick Explanation

What many find when doing pump is that the game seems to blossom up to the player for the first time. Because pumps shoot straight but not fast or far, pump players develop an impatient manner in-game that they reward with courage and being the ones that make the game play events happen.

As a pump player, when you run low on paintballs or propellant, you can behave drastically and run up on the opponents and try to surprise them, rather than call yourself out once your reserves are all gone. And, as a pump player, you will be counting your paintballs.

The level of alertness is also increased in the pump player, since they are focusing less on things downrange, and the lapse between their shooting gives them an opportunity to better observe the field surrounding them.

Permanent Markers

Pumps can be battery-free and lightweight, and are more reliable and accurate than mechanical Tippmann semi-autos, with fewer moving parts and no self-actuating mechanisms. They require zero maintenance, except for the occasional barrel squeegee and bolt-wiping.

Often these closed-bolt straight-shooters can be had for cheap, letting you spend your hard-earned money on other worthwhile indulgences. Things such as knee-pads, elbow-pads, a face mask with thermal lenses, top-dollar paintballs, a handheld chronograph, a pull-thru squeegee, and whatever else you can think of that will make paintball more enjoyable, and--most importantly--more comfortable to you.

Once you get your paintgun and find that it works as it should, you need not ever think about it anymore. When it works it works, and when it looks good it will always look good, even when it's coated in grimy-slimy paintball goo on the outside, and has developed what is called "honest wear" over time and with use.

You could toss it around and bury it in the dirt, but likely you will be too proud to mistreat your pump this way. Likely, after a day of play, you will place it gently (but not too gently) on a table, and it'll sit there ready-to-play, once again, whenever you're ready.

A pump paintgun will give you a start into the game, and it will be what you finish the game with. They are guilt-free paintguns that won't fail you.

That is what makes them worth their price, whatever it may be.

Why Pumps?

The tournament scene and its high-demands on the player, both emotionally and financially, have made it hard for new players to take to the game and stick with it.

Pump is a way for everyone to play, old and new alike, which is why it's becoming popular again. It's cheap (and classy) to play pump, so pump players don't have ill-feelings when they lose or feel compelled to cheat. There's not a whole lot at stake in pump play. And, when people play for fun, it doesn't matter who got who first, because at the end of the round one player can give to the other a high-five and say, "Good game!"

Pump play also gives the referees a little break by letting the players play for fun in the most gamesmanlike way possible. It's easier to tell who shot who first when everyone's "shooting darts" rather than "ropes" or "laser beams" of paintballs at each other. If you put a successful hit on someone and they didn't know, and you become "out," as you walk off the field eliminated you can point out to the player where you shot him or her. They may agree, put their hand up and call themselves out also. What you just did there was good for you and good for them; you both got your shots accounted for.

Even though you are playing to eliminate players, it's not about the eliminations so much as knowing you were successful, and that what you did you did with skill. You'll feel good, even when you see the paintballs sink into the folds of their clothing or bounce off, because they were good shots.

The Pump Players' Mindset

It's good to give an opposing player a win if they got a fair shot on you; it makes them want to play the game more. Be generous in kindness and gamesmanship if you want pump to represent the game of paintball.

Doing More With Less

If you shoot only a hopper's-worth of paintballs in a day of play, you'll begin to see the point in all this. Shooting with a pump makes this concept easier to swallow. Two-hundred is how many paintballs a standard hopper can hold. It's also $6 worth of paintballs.

Two-hundred is a big number, but it's also not too many. Do you want to spend more than six bucks to eliminate maybe up to a dozen players in a day?

Quantify everything, that's the pump player's way. Spend 50\A2 on that guy; spend another 50\A2 on that other guy. 50\A2 is the most I'd want to spend shooting somebody. That's when I'm out shooting in the woods, mind you. It's much cheaper to play when everyone's within range, like on an indoor field.

When you're shooting the best paintballs, would you feel good wasting all those straight-shooters on players who won't be hit by them?

If you're not careful, get too blithe on the trigger, you might as well be throwing your money down the toilet, waving remorsefully as all that swirling green disappears down the drain. You're not dumb, are you?

Limit what you bring with you to the field--it's your "no regrets" way.

Identifying Configurations

Paintguns come in many forms...

Stockgun

Stockguns are paintguns that you tag your opponents with, using a combination of field-mastery, stealth, and quick reflexes. While distance-shooting is possible, it's not recommended except to perhaps test one's luck.

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Stockguns should be treated as entirely-different from open pump paintguns of any type and from any other paintguns. Stockguns are good for eliminating players... but not in a go-about, casual sense. Stockguns are for the very-aggressive player who uses their paintgun not as a shield but as a tool for marking players who are unaware of the operator's presence. Stockguns are not competitive paintguns, they will not compete against anything mainstream or fast-firing.

Use a stockgun to eliminate the easiest of opponents, or to eliminate opponents who are completely-clueless to your existence on the field. If you are unable to satisfy these conditions, use an open pump instead, either regulated or unregulated. Do not use a Phantom stockgun against a group equipped with CCM open pumps--instead just "tag" newbie players or semi-auto players who are clueless to your whereabouts.

Use a stockgun to goof around with and be OK with making a fool out of yourself and out of others. I feel this is most important in paintball, to keep it from being anything more than a fun pasttime. It looks good and is well worth the money you spend on it, and it shoots straight and saves you money each day you play with it. If you're going to bring a stockgun with you to the field, then leave your brain at home. But don't ever switch away from the stockgun until you're done playing! You don't want to give the impression that the stockgun isn't good enough to have a fun time.

Stockguns are for claustrophiles (players who love CQB). Used in any other way, don't say I didn't warn you!

Vertical Stockgun:

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Rat-Attack Stockgun:

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Drop-Out Stockgun:

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In-handle Stockgun:

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Modified Stockgun

Modified stockguns are 12g-powered open pump-style paintguns for casual outdoor play, or they are stockguns which are powered by tanks for when 12gs are not allowed or are unavailable.

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What's a "12g," you ask? They're disposable CO2 gas cartridges, and they're awesome. Stockguns use them.

Back-Bottle Stockgun:

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Spring-Fed Stockgun:

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Spring-Fed Open Pump:

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Elbow-Feed Stockgun:

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Bulk Hopper Stockgun:

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Open Pump: Hi-Pressure & Lo-Pressure

Open pumps are for distance-shooting while indoors or on a tournament-layout field, and perhaps for woods-play as well against mechanical semi-auto players.

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Phantom:

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Sniper II:

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CCM:

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Hi-Pressure Nelson-type Open Pump:

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Mid-Pressure Sterling-type Open Pump:

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Lo-Pressure Sheridan-type Open Pump:

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Mechanical Semi-Auto: Hi-Pressure & Lo-Pressure

The mechanical semi-autos are paintguns for rugged outdoor play on unstructured fields, or used less-competitively on tournament-style fields.

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Autococker:

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Automag:

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Tippmann Flatline:

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Blazer:

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Spyder Xtra:

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Semi-Auto

The electronics-powered semi-auto is the most powerful of all paintguns; these are for holding positions and guarding over areas of the field while teammates take turns moving up.

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Ego:

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Intimidator:

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Luxe:

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Select-Fire:

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Y-grip:

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Pistol

Pistol paintguns are ones that can be holstered. They are either a tiny stockgun or a 12g-powered and spring-fed semi-auto, serving as a backup for when the player's "primary" paintgun misfires, jams, or otherwise fails to perform. However, there are some who would choose to use a pump pistol as their primary.

Some tournament formats will not allow more than one paintgun to be carried per player, making pistol sidearms useless.

Baby Duck:

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PGP:

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Tiberius:

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Pistol-style

"Pistol-style" paintguns are like compact-versions of regular pump or semi-auto paintguns, except they lack any and all shoulder-support. These are meant to be easily-carried in a backpack, duffle bag, or foam-padded gun case fully-assembled. They're also made for youngsters, women, or anyone with shorter arms.

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On the field they are for accurate yet casual close-range shooting and for bunkering players. Pistol-style paintguns are much easier to "switch hands" with. One can easily swap the paintgun to the left or to the right hand without having a shoulder stock get in their way. Pistol-style can also help you to turn around quicker in a tight situation.

Use a pistol-style paintgun if you find the other types to be too long or too burdensome to use.

I would most-certainly avoid pistol-style if you have a large tank or if the vast majority of opponents you come across are well out of range. Pistol-style is more for maze-type play or for securing a base. In other words, pistol-style is most useful for defense or for claustrophiles like the stockgun players.

Classic Sniper:

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Super Stocker:

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Mokal Titan:

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A good analogy to compare "Pistol-style" to is if you watch action movies from the 80s or 90s, you see the main characters carrying fully-collapsed MP5s and the primary bad guys carry their AKs with stocks folded closed. That is a casual Pistol-style carry. Nowadays in action movies, the characters have an intent and exaggerated "Rifle-style" posture when it comes to carrying weapons that seem to be picked up from SWAT/military consultants.

Preparation

Intro to Pumps

So here we have this lo-tech, inexpensive way to fully-enjoy the game of paintball. It is a more "gamesmanlike" way of playing. One tags another, rather than defeating by firepower and subduing by force.

Before the games start, if you're new, shoot at something once at a comfortable distance. If you see it hit what you had hoped, you are ready to play. If you're not new, you knew it would've hit where you wanted it to, and you were already ready to play--You were just showing off to the other players.

You're the field's pump player, but don't let it get to your head. You're still going to play terrible and be very sloppy, but what makes you different from everyone else is that you have confidence and are always the first one in line.

In your hopper there are the finest paintballs one could possibly have. Maybe they have little stars printed on them? Maybe they look a little like marbles? They're all perfectly round straight-shooters, because you only shoot the best.

On your knees and elbows are some slip-on pads you wear under your clothes. Like Kevlar armor they make you invincible.

Around your neck is a pull-thru squeegee to swipe clean a misbehaving barrel. In your pocket is a satiny-smooth microfiber cloth for cleaning your goggles.

On your face is a thirty-dollar lens. You don't skimp on yourself anymore.

What you have in your hands is your paintgun. You called up Mr. Casady, told him exactly what you wanted, gave him your credit card information, and he sent you exactly what you wanted. Or, perhaps you had gone online, scavenged the web for paintguns and parts, and you ended up putting something together yourself. Or you went to CCM and told them to put it together however they wanted, and threw some money down. Maybe it's a custom piece from Carter Machine or Palmer's that you waited months for. Or maybe it was a gift from someone who had too many? Maybe it came to you as a broken semi-auto and you "fixed" it. Maybe you stole it, you damn dirty S.O.B.!

(Thievery is rampant in paintball. Always carry your paintgun in one hand, and only keep easily-replaceable items in your gearbag. Trust no one!)

However you obtained your paintgun, it's a gem-- because it's a perfectly pure Nelson or Sheridan. How could it possibly fail you? How could you possibly break it?

Paintball can be this simple.

What Paintball Is and How to Undo the Military Fantasy

Even though paintball is often viewed as a combat game, it would be better defined as an extreme game, a hyper-competitive win-or-lose one involving quick strategy, athleticism, field memorization, and hand-eye coordination. It's not about dress-up or play-pretend. It's not about guns and killing, or stylized violence.

You aren't Rambo, and this is not a pretend war battle. This is supposed to be a very fun and simple win-or-lose game.

Don't climb trees to shoot at people, or climb up into a tower to shoot at people--they are not very safe places to get into and out of, and when you are in them you are very vulnerable to the other players.

You need to always give yourself room to move swiftly around the field, and be able to change your mind on-the-fly. Don't let yourself stagnate. Don't wall yourself in.

I said something there just then--"Move swiftly." If all you do in paintball is move swiftly and be unburdened by gear, you will enjoy paintball everyday, no matter if you win or lose.

Pump Not as A Way of Making Money

Before moving onto the next section, let me just add that you shouldn't play for money, as in a tournament. Nor should you spend money to play in these tournaments. This just makes the game way too serious. You should get away from seriousness, and turn off the parts of your brain that pertain to it. Only challenge yourself and have a fun time at it.

Loosen up for Christ's sake.

And play pump paintball to save money, not to earn or waste it.

How to Play

In this chapter I'll first introduce what a pump is, generally speaking, and then how it's to be used on the field.

What Is A Pump?

Pumps feel less like toys or firearms, and more like tools for mark-making. Their light weight ensures that the player will not tire from using them.

With a pump, the user must move the bolt back by hand in order to allow a paintball to load. That's the one and only rule needed to make a paintgun a pump. Stockgun play, however, is a more specific style of pump with special rules that will be covered separately later in greater detail.

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You'll be relieved to know that pumps shoot just fast enough to eliminate somebody, whoever you want, as long as they are within comfortable shooting range. The more paintballs you carry in your paintgun, the greater your "comfortable shooting range" is. Any misses at distance can be corrected, but know that constant correction will waste your paintballs, and it would be more economical and effective for you to move in closer.

Pumps are simple enough to only need the barrel and bolt cleaned every so often, and they can be cleaned easily between rounds. You service a misbehaving pump paintgun with just a yank of the pull-thru squeegee through the barrel (and the wiping of a bolt in your armpit if you use a Sniper II) and away you go.

If you're lucky, you can even clean your paintgun in the middle of a game as well. The primary concern of the pump player is to be able to shoot straight, so having a clean paintgun is top priority.

Not a Winner but an Eliminator

The goal for the pump player is not to win, or to even outlast your opponents, but to eliminate as many of them in a round as possible. Eliminate them without thought or focus on mission objectives, or winning, or teamwork, or other such distractions. It's a mindset you must understand at the most basic level, you are not playing to win at all. It's all just a test of your accuracy and of your guts. Imagine the field as a test. Imagine the other players as just being part of the scenery. (Cue soft guided-imagery music) imagine the wind in your hair...

Mission objectives like "capture the flag" are set to compel opposing players to meet nearest to the objective to face off against each other and create the conflict necessary to make paintball exciting. But this can be done just as well if you capture the flag, hand it off to a team mate, and in your mind change the mission objective to "eliminate as many opponent players as possible."

This may come across as ruthless, self-sacrificing behavior, but when you are equipped with a pump paintgun you only view paintball as a personal challenge. In the beginning, the players you play with and against are neither lasting nor important to you (unless they show up next week because you were there) so feel free to approach the game with only self-determination. In the end, you will become skilled with your equipment and with the playing field.

That alone may gain you friends and people who side with your reasoning and way of play.

The Rules on Being Good

You just have to shoot the opposing players. Your team players merely exist to distract the opponents from noticing you. That is an extremely-big deal for you as a pump player. Your teammates are there for your support, to make your job of eliminating easier.

(See if you can coordinate with a fast-firing teammate to form a two-person "hunter-killer" team, where one person pins the opponent players down behind their bunkers while the other player--you--closes in and "bunkers" them.)

Getting hit that leaves paint means you're "out" and will have to wait to play until next round, so signal you are out to everyone around and get out of the field before you get shot some more! Don't be shocked if you do get shot some more, just wave and go.

I can't explain further how simple this all is. You play for fun, are generous in kindness and gamesmanship, and give the other guy the win if they earned it. Don't be soft, though! Be an aggressive player in the way you play, but still polite and gamesmanlike with what you say and how you behave.

Shoot them until they call themselves out.

Pump Mentality

These people you play with become your friends when the game is over, and you talk about things that happened in a positive way. Though some may complain about losing or feeling hurt, be happy and smile in order for them to see things from your side.

You're a selfish go-getter, yet still generous in kindness and a supportive player.

Being a Good game

If someone nailed you with an amazing shot or if you take part in the most insane 1-versus-1 battle you've ever played, complement the other player or congratulate them on the win. If you didn't put in your best, and neither did they, just play some more until amazingness begins to show. There's no need to build-up another player's self-esteem unless they are incredibly new and nervous, or if they really did play the round amazingly and deserve congratulations.

Be Someone Who's Fun to Shoot

Earlier I mentioned that you should imagine the other players as "being part of the scenery." You should do that so as to not to attach too much emotion to them, or feel any emotion when you shoot them, or attach any emotion to being shot yourself. Your goal is to be carefree and fun (and safe)! You should be fun to shoot and so should your opponents be.

Feeling bitter or vengeful will never make you a good player. If you ever have such feelings toward another player, turn in your paintgun and gear and walk away from the game of paintball.

To avoid bitter feelings about the game and its players, equip yourself with fine gear and even finer paintballs, so that nothing except the opponents' skill level may stand between you and your eliminations.

Keep things simple and light!

When you get shot, you are giving the other player the satisfaction they are looking for when they play the game. It's good for business.

"Take No Prisoners" Approach

Many places implement a "10-foot rule," where if you "bunker" someone (or surprise an opponent player at point-blank range) you should shout "surrender!" before shooting. If they then call themselves out, you get the elimination without having to fire a single shot, which works out pretty good if you're actually out of paintballs!

But you might not want to trouble yourself with telling the other player to surrender, even if you are less than 10 feet away from them. It's probably better to shoot them in their leg or foot and ask kindly if they are OK afterwards. That way, you'll keep paintball hyper-competitive and not let it become too soft.

However, I would say that if you are coming over the top of a low bunker, with a cowering opponent being beneath you--that would be the time to ask them to surrender. There's something about shooting down on people directly below you that just seems unethical. It wouldn't be right to unload on someone who's curled into the fetal position. But if you're coming around the corner and they're right there, bang! They love that, and it's a funny way of eliminating people.

The main problem is, is that new players don't know what to expect when they are shot by a paintball. They don't know if it will hurt or not. If they perceive you as being too rough, they may be too discouraged to continue playing. Be all-smiles before and after the game so that others who play with you know that they are safe and that this is a friendly game.

The Problem with Surrendering

When you go to "bunker" a huddled group of players behind a single bunker, sometimes if you are too-accustomed to shouting "surrender," you may wildly shout "surrender-surrender-surrender!" as you blast each of them and knock them out of the game. This may come across as rude, telling people to surrender but instantly shoot them anyway. In this situation you might be better off being completely-voiceless as you eliminate each of them, and then afterwards ask if they're all OK, because you can't count on them all to surrender to you.

Never hesitate to play the game this way, pump player.

My policy is to even make the girls shriek in paintball. Don't let off on the trigger just because your opponent is female. Give them a nice shot on the foot--or if they are just too scared to get out of the fetal position, surrender them with a pat on the shoulder. If they're younger they might be buddy-buddy with you afterwards for showing compassion.

Helping Scaredy-Cat Players

New players who are afraid of getting shot stay in the back of the field and don't have the winner's mindset which is to be fearless.

They are uncomfortable, and not thinking clearly.

They think they're in a fantasy setting, not at all considering this to be a competitive game but rather a make-believe war based on their inexperienced assumptions. These people don't yet play to win, but play cautiously and are anxious about what happens when they get shot. They worry about getting hit more than getting the win or eliminating players.

To break the ice with these new people, ask them if they would like to shoot you a few times in the back at distance and you can shoot them once. That way they can sort of get a feel for their paintgun's accuracy, know that there's nothing to fear in getting shot, and know firsthand what it's like being shot by a paintball. Then they can really jump into a game prepared.

You're going to get shot later on anyway, why not get shot by those few who may never get the chance to later?

Getting Over the Fear of Being Shot

I believe that the fear of being shot by a paintball prevents a lot of players from progressing or playing well. I also believe that this fear creates tension in a lot of people and is what sometimes sparks irrational, aggressive, adrenaline-fueled behavior. Paintball can be a stress-free game if you can allow it. It can actually sometimes be quite hysterical.

There's hilarity to be had in this game. Sooner or later, someone's going to trick you, or you'll pull a trick on somebody else. These become stories that will be brought up about you time and time again by the regulars that took part in these experiences. "Remember that time when you ...?"

There will be times where there's nowhere left for you to turn, and your only course of action is to get eliminated by one of the two players who had you cornered. Don't think too hard about what happened but remind yourself where that was on the field and perhaps avoid it next time. Every field has "bad spots."

Don't Be Tense, Be Fluid

How you train your body and self off the field will expand your capabilities on the field. Aim to be more flexible and agile.

If that cannot be done, whether it's because of a physical limitation or by choice, train yourself mentally to be fearless. Walk towards your opponent. If you are slow, be strong. Most of all, you should be happy. In your mind: eliminate that guy.

Adhering to the widely-accepted tournament-style form of posture causes you to kink your wrist unnaturally as you hold the pistol-gripped paintgun close to your body. You will be straining your back as you slouch along on the field, and when you lean to snapshoot out of a bunker you will be pulling muscles in unintended ways. Until you gain strength, it would be best to be more ergonomic than athletic. Let your playing posture develop naturally with experience.

Do only what you are comfortable doing, just let yourself get shot and be OK with that. This is also to conserve your energy so you can play more games--because individual games are not important, it's the fun you've had in a day that is.

Better Yourself

If you know what to expect on the field, you will not be jittery. You will be smooth, calm, and you will operate at your very best. Before the game begins, your teammates are fidgety and nervous--while you are perfectly still, calm, and collected. You just want to play.

The same foods that boost your wit and make you a fun person to talk to will also help you play paintball at your very best. Find out what foods clear your mind and make you feel happy without intoxicating you, and play. Protein and water keeps you eagerly ready to play from game-to-game. Maybe avoid common food allergens even if you aren't allergic, because they may slow you down without you knowing. Maybe avoid convenience foods and soft drinks. Avoid them only for a couple of days prior to playing. They could be negatively-affecting your brain-waves and the frequency of your thinking power in subtle ways you don't even realize.

It's not always just about the paintguns and gear; you yourself can be a finely-tuned, well-oiled machine. When you are optimized, you are a beast in every area of life. Pamper your body, blood, and mind. What is a man or a woman besides a collection of parts? A living, breathing person is a machine more complex than any other, and more important than any other. When you fully-understand your own individual biology, you will cater to it, and you will never have a bad day in your life.

Diet is important and so is posture and bodily strength. Exercising twice or three times as a weekly habit makes you last longer on the field, while everyone else wants to throw in the towel. Core and leg exercises are said to be a definite-plus for making you play paintball better than anyone else. These exercises strengthen you so you can better support yourself in the sometimes awkward situations that playing paintball can put you in.

Don't Be A Fake Player!

True "agg," or pro paintball player swagger, comes from the confidence and athleticism one has and their surety in-game. From this self-confidence, they can propel themselves into chaotic game-play situations and be comfortable with however it will turn out, whether it results in win or loss.

Good players can't sit in the back of the field and wait until the opponent comes to them. With a pump, other players who see you at distance can react to you and will dodge your shots almost endlessly. You can't win at distance or by playing passively. You have to get closer to them.

What good is a straight-shooter if those you're shooting at can dodge your paintballs?

You can only defeat other players with gutsy movement, stealth, and surprise close-range appearances. That's why those who try pump, and earn success in it, begin to enjoy paintball and the effort that's required to play it well. It requires the player's manual input, their effort, and their reflexes.

It's also best to use the element of surprise, or shoot them when they are totally-unaware of your presence. Those are your easiest and most common hits, and they won't be worth bragging about.

Don't Be an Inconvenienced Semi-Auto Player

Pump players: if you adopt the martial arts of those with semi-autos, you are only going to play like an inconvenienced semi-auto player. Unable to hide behind your trigger, you will never be as successful as they are--so instead you should take a totally-different approach in order to play paintball with a pump effectively. It's an approach that semi-auto players can also adopt to bolster their own way of playing.

Semi-auto players who play like pump players would be an unstoppable breed, but only when mixed in with the characteristic semi-auto players who "turtle" along on the field and play like they usually do: holding spots and cautiously guarding over areas of the field.

Be an Individual Player

As a loose, freely-moving player, you don't want to commit to a predetermined tactic; you want flexibility within your structured environment. It's like a playground, really. You really are very different from other players. Other players warn you to play the game their way. You ignore them--you are on a mission and you don't care if you get shot, as long as you get one or two out beforehand. Even if you don't, aren't you just refining your style? Aren't you just teaching yourself how to win? Don't you want to see how much you can get away with? By being an individual player, you discover you are just as good as everyone else. You neither lead nor follow; you are your team's "tagger."

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Have you ever noticed that the only ones who promote teamwork are the self-designated team leaders? You could bark orders about where the opponents' positions are, but if you can get them yourself then why bother? It'd be better to save your breath and quietly make your surprise. It'd be best to be selfish with eliminations on the field. It'd be best to leave your teammates in the dust and go for the win.

I find I help my team and create a sense of teamwork best when I simply use hand signals such as "left," "right," "far down," and "come on down closer to here." What they do after seeing me use my hand signals is their choice.

Don't Be a Team Player

There's lots of overemphasis and seriousness when it comes to playing as a team and using teamwork. The fact of the matter is... you can do whatever you want! Take opportunities, move in. Don't let your teammates direct you. If you wanted to use teamwork, you would have gotten a semi-auto like everyone else. If you want to eliminate players and are good at it, then show your team you are confident enough playing to do what needs to be done.

Be fluid, not static. Then you will have fun. The only structure to follow is your environment. The environment is your only guide to winning, not what people say for you to do. Learn the field, don't "camp" or stay in one spot for too long unless you are reloading or cleaning your barrel. You can also stay in one spot to let an unknowing opponent pass by you. Then, shoot them all up and down while their back is turned!

Paintball Trickery

Players, especially inexperienced ones, are easy to trick in the chaos that is called paintball.

Pretend to go into somewhere, but while any vision of you is obscured from the opponents' view, suddenly change your mind and direction and instead go in a completely-different and unexpected way--in order to trick them and have them looking for you where you aren't going to show up.

It's very important to do what is not expected. If your opponents see you come up one side, duck down and without being seen shimmy your way around the other side of the bunker, perhaps even go to the next bunker over, to get them from another unexpected angle. Likely they will "hose down" the area where you were last seen and will still be looking for you there, but they may wise up and look around to see where you relocated--so stay low and crawl up closer.

They can't possibly imagine you actually getting closer to them, but you are. That's ninja talk, nobody's an awesome paintball ninja like that. But you are outside of their imagination. You really are thinking outside the box, and being risky with "field control."

As soon as you're able, keep an eye out for what may be happening across from you. Ready up your paintgun to get that guy who spotted you earlier! It's going to be the first shot that counts when you're in such close range.

If more people spot you, get low and move to a bunker that offers you a more relaxed position, to better see what's going on; or squirm around the bunker you're in now to go someplace unexpected.

You see, you are all about movement now that you can't shoot as much.

In short: do what is not expected, make it look like you are heading somewhere that you aren't actually heading, and be less obvious in your decision-making.

Also, the opponents will be counting on you to "snapshoot," or poke out of one spot repeatedly. Don't do this as a pump player, because they will just pin you down in that one spot, and as you return fire they will endlessly dodge you. You need to not react equivalently to them, but differently to what they expect. That means going back when they expect you to go forward, going right when they expect you to go left, refrain from shooting when they expect you to shoot, and be wide open to being hit when they don't think you'd ever risk such behavior.

X-Ray Vision

Half of the game of paintball is the imagining of the unseen.

Probably the best ability you can have in paintball is the ability to imagine where the opposing players are without actually seeing them. I call this "x-ray vision." This skill is very helpful for when if you need to reload your stockgun, you can slowly turn and quietly sidle around your bunker like a fiddler crab when you imagine an opposing guy is coming up from the other side, to avoid being seen. The more opponents there are, the more factors you have to put in to do this. On a very-populated field, it might be mind-scrambling to consider all the possibilities (in which case, just go nuts and try to get a couple of their guys out).

Just by you moving around the bunker while they come up the other side makes you seem to no longer exist there, leaving them to wonder where you are and question whether or not moving up was the right choice to make. If they see a foot or a piece of paintgun stick out for a split-second from the corner of their eye, it might have been too quick for their brain to register it. That's the blur effect; aim to be more blurry and indistinct to their eyes.

You pop out all of a sudden to fire. But perhaps when you pop out, they aren't there either! Then you've got to look the other way to make sure they didn't just trick you!

You probably didn't imagine they'd behave in such an unexpected way.

How to Flow

In paintball, silence is alarming.

It's possible to draw too much attention to yourself by trying to be quiet. Lots of people have good ears and will hear when something's not right, even when you are at your sneakiest. Balance speed with stealth, you can get a lot more accomplished by running somewhere close to your opponent and surprising them.

Don't forget to wear your knee-pads!

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If the field has a flat, even surface, moving on one knee allows you to scoot around on the field rather quickly and safely in a very small, compact profile among low bunkers. If the ground is perfectly flat and free from rocks and other dangers, and if you have the proper knee-protection, you could spend an entire game just scooting around on one knee and readying-up your stockgun or paintgun whenever you see someone moving. Some other lanky people plow along on their elbows like a snow shovel, with both their forearms facing up as they go along the ground with their heads on a swivel, moving from bunker to bunker.

Most people (including you) run all slouchy-like and then make a baseball-player's slide into a bunker, which is probably the quickest and easiest way to get around. In the running phase of this, one can easily be shot though (as you probably already know), so it should be done only when you feel safe to.

If you're moving on one knee, it's fine to hold the pump paintgun one-handed in preparation to make an emergency shot--but be ready to make emergency moves if they spot you. Be prepared to use the pump two-handedly if movement is no longer a possible option.

When you're stuck in a corner or in the process of being bunkered, unload your paintgun on the opponent until you are shot--check for splatter on yourself and if there is, just wait a moment to see if they call themselves out first before calling yourself out. You may still be in the game if you were the one to get them out first.

Although if it was too close to call, they'll be asking, "Did I get you? Did I get you?" Just be kind and give them the win. What will likely happen next is you both will leave at the same time, satisfied with your eliminations.

Don't let an opponent player's audacity stun you or cause you to surrender right away, unless they pull some kind of sneaky "Boo!" attack that's too quick and too close for you to defend yourself from.

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What to Do When Shot

If you are hit, do not assume you've been splattered and eliminated. Pat or rub the spot where you were hit (something that should soon come naturally to you) and check your hand to see if it has paint and paintball shell on it. If your hand is dry, then stay in the game.

If there's any question, and a referee is nearby, motion discreetly for them to come over and point at the spot where you were hit. They'll give you a visual check. Keep your eyes on the game and on the opponents while they do this. Don't look down to check yourself if you are not safely behind a bunker.

Sometimes the volume of shots you receive is so high you don't even bother to check yourself. That's fine--they were getting good hits on you so they deserve the win.

What to Expect When Shooting Players

My favorite place to shoot players is in the ribs. The mask or the head is too clich\E9, you're always going to be shooting people in the goggles because it's usually the only part of the body that is exposed. You'll yawn with disinterest at each "headshot" you make. But when you are lucky or talented enough to get them in the ribs, it hurts enough for them to jump and call themselves out, but it's not severe enough like getting shot in the middle of the back.

Go for "center-of-mass," which is military-speak for spray into their body. If there's no body, just a head or a foot or a hopper, don't spray into it. Fire once or twice and move closer until you can get to their delicious, chewy, center-of-mass.

Shots from Nowhere

If you are getting shot out without knowing where the shots are coming from, then you are just showing too much of yourself for too long of a time, and perhaps you should be more actively repositioning yourself more frequently when you are allowed. Whoever shot you is probably a semi-auto player doing a fine job "playing tight."

Make sure that your tinted mask lens is not interfering with your sight downrange on a poorly lit field. It's best to be rocking the field with a clear thermal lens, for greater sight.

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Go With It

Like watching a TV show and being bombarded with that sort of stupidity, so too should you relax and let whatever happens in paintball happen. You play to receive all kinds of stimulating data, entertaining all your senses, while at the same time getting a good workout.

You'll find that flow begins to happen when you shut down all the unnecessary mental processes and gain experience through playing.

Pump Etiquette

Let cheaters cheat, but do not cheat! If you know in your heart you got a successful hit on a player, that's good enough. If they don't call themselves out, just try to hit them again to make a point. After being pelted a couple of times by a pump player like you, they may realize their unfairness and out of guilt call themselves out.

Players feel unclean when they knowingly-cheat against those who they believe have a handicap on themselves. To them it's like you're strolling in on a wheelchair when you carry a pump on the field.

About Bonus-Balling

Some people get really offended when they get shot again after they call themselves out. If you accidentally "bonus-ball" another player, just wave kindly and ask them if they are OK. It is good manners when, after bunkering someone in general, you ask if they are OK. Disregard any rude responses. You're only playing for fun.

If you get bonus-balled, realize this is part of the game and people can be overzealous with the trigger sometimes. If you can get shot 12-bazillion times and limp off the field waving with a smirk under your mask, you are a true paintball player. Simply wave your paintgun and your other hand in the air and say, "I'm out. I'm out. I'm out." Make a miniature parade out of yourself as you leave for the dead-box.

Keep your paintgun up in the air and they will stop shooting you, I promise. They might tell you to move out of the way so they can get someone who's near you--just step in the right direction and let the game continue for the remaining players. As long as you wear your mask (and I may as well say your knee-pads and elbow-pads) you are never going to be harmed by these fast-shooting players.

Nobody's trying to hurt you.

What to Do About Friendly Fire

If you are shot by a teammate, stay in the game no matter what the referee said prior about the rules of the game. Friendly fire should never count, really. If a referee says you are out, even though you were shot by a teammate, then you are most-definitely out; but don't call yourself out until you know for sure it was an actual opponent who shot you.

With your paintgun out of the way, approach the player who shot you and ask if they are red or blue. If they're on your team, they'll say they're sorry and you can continue playing. If they aren't, then say, "Nice shot," and just act as though you were on your way off the field.

The Referee is Always Right

There's no such thing as a bad referee. Whether or not you believe a ref made a bad call is irrelevant. Always do what the referee says, even if you believe they are in error. A referee who is a "bad" referee is just as authoritative as a good referee who's well-respected, honest, and makes good calls.

When you play on a field, you are only trying out the field. The field is not yours. You're sort of shopping for a place where you can become a regular at, and be comfortable being there. You can always choose to play paintball elsewhere if you feel uncomfortable playing on somebody's home turf.

If you believe a referee made a bad call, just ask them, "Are you sure?" and try to point out any immediate evidence to the contrary. But let it go if the referee does not answer you. Remember, you are only playing for fun.

What to Do When Paintballs Run Out

Oh--heavens to Betsy--you just ran out of paintballs in the middle of a game! Game over... right? Am I right? Wrong.

I ran out once. Let me tell you how things went down.

It was an outdoor field. I was "at the fifty," or the middle of the field where you are behind a large protective bunker. I was trying to get this guy in the back of the field (who just so happened to have had a Phantom open pump) who would poke his head out just long enough for me to want to shoot it, but then duck back down again. I wasted my last 5 paintballs zipping them past his head, and then I backed up and thought about things for a moment. I'm out of paintballs.

It was getting awfully quiet, and there were three of them just staying in the back. Two of them were to the left but were preoccupied with my teammates, shooting at them long-range. They had "tunnel-vision" on those "on their mirror," or those players in the same spot at the opposite end of the field.

Not knowing that there were those two opponents on my left, I planned to apply the "ten-foot rule." I casually made my way around the "fifty" bunker, and strode on up to where the Phantom-equipped player was. But suddenly I got a surge of electricity in me and, like a bank robber, I went over top of his bunker with my Sniper II drawn and demanded he surrender. He was in the middle of reloading his Phantom and was now cringing helplessly below me. I was dressed as a menacing dark shadow with a long barrel pointed down at him.

"OK, OK, OK..." he said with arms up and conceded on to the dead-box.

I looked over to the left and damn! There were two more of them! I'm out of paintballs! Without hesitation I proceeded to kamikaze-style rush into them, shouting, "Surrender-surrender-surrender!"

They both jumped in surprise (they didn't even know I had just bunkered their teammate) and fired, getting me out. I was only shot once, on the side of the leg.

I wasn't paying attention to which side won that game round, but I had fun. It was possible that I was the last player left on my team.

"Do you know why I did that?" I asked the Phantom player.

He looked at me. I popped open my hopper.

"I was out of paintballs."

"No!" He shouted obscenities and threw an amusing fit.

What Are Stockguns?

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If you labor to lift your paintgun to eye-level, you will be eliminated first more often than if it were a feather-weight. That's why stockguns are good quick-on-the-draw paintguns. They're eager to aim and easy to point.

They're Like Paintgun Dinosaurs

Stockguns are the smallest paintguns you will ever come across. Their light weight facilitates better player movement and agility. These ultra-simplified, lo-tech, compact things are little bundles of pros and cons. Their ten-round capacity means you're either going to play very short and fast-paced games, or you're going to load yourself up on cigar-tubes of paintballs and 12gs and wear them around you on a belt or harness. In the latter case, you'll fumble to reload them into your stockgun while being shot at in the middle of a game. That's actually part of the fun and appeal of stockgun play.

So why burden yourself this way? Trust me, it's worth it. You're going to be really glad to have a stockgun, belt, and cigar-tubes.

In case you're wondering, the word "stock" in stockgun means "originator." Stockguns were the first kind of paintguns to be used in paintball.

Stockgun Origins

Stockgun paintball was the original "Survival Game," the way paintball was intended to be played before having evolved to become an arms race among players. People in those early days wore shop goggles as their sole protection--which is not something to be recommended in today's game--this of course being before the era of fast-shooting paintguns like those we have today, which would be totally injurious to the ears and face if it weren't for the protection of full paintball masks. This was before anyone truly knew how hazardous paintballs can be to peoples' eyes, and that anything less than what is deemed "paintball-approved" eye protection would not be enough.

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The paintguns of the Survival Game were treated sort of as advanced toys for grownups, and the game was played like an advanced form of a snowball fight, except out in the woods and in temperate weather. Players slogged about without a clue as to where they were or where their targets were at. Ticks and poison ivy were very much a part of the game back then. It was literally a game of hide-and-seek. When opposing players finally did find each other, they'd chase each other around the woods trying to "tag" each other.

Often the game of choice was "capture the flag," to entice players to actually move closer to each other, but instead of tagging players by hand like in the old-fashioned game, they tagged with that ingenious splatter pistol, which is what we call "stockgun" today.

No one cared to adjust the velocity on these things, nor was there any way for the ordinary person to check the velocity of paintballs in flight at the time, unless they were firearms or munitions experts with access to a "chronograph."

Those that played the game were grown men and their coworkers, and they would encourage their kids, wives, or girlfriends to come along and play. As popularity grew, the players would play in mock wars, taking cover in trenches and playing like soldiers do. Many let their imagination run wild, dressing up in military fatigues and role-playing. However, there were also many that never went through that stage, who played only to learn new skills and ways of eliminating the opposing players in the pure game of paintball. These athletic folks saw what it all was right away... a hyper-competitive game.

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The Tinkerer's game

As the numbers of players grew, there were sure to be lots of "what-if" people who would tinker on their paintguns. What if they held more paintballs? What if they held more CO2? "What would the other players think or say when they see me arrive with this?"

Paintguns began as limited-capacity toys ("stockguns"), but fiddlers and tinkerers found ways to make the toy more serious and more capable by increasing the number of shots and increasing the size of the propellant (today such paintguns are called "modified stockguns"). When that started happening, people began to feel more injured and assailed by the increased rates of fire (many were overwhelmed by this and decided paintball wasn't for them). The first paintball masks were created in response to this. They resembled plastic hockey masks, with a window for each eye to look through. More sophisticated masks, with wider perspective lenses and anti-fog technologies, were slow to evolve like electronic semi-autos were.

Nobody dared to look back on what the game once was when things started changing, except for a nostalgic few who were there since the beginning. And now a curious new group emerges--new "what-if" players...

"What if I didn't shoot as much paint?"

"What if I had more self-control on the field?"

"What if I played for fun and saved money playing a game I enjoy?"

Not a Fun or Comfortable game for a While

While playing the game had become less comfortable, what with all the paintballs zipping around and everything--players began taking the game seriously and, on a hardware-level, it started to become more competitive and less friendly to casual and new players. Ordinary people shied away because they felt that they couldn't compete without spending money.

It wouldn't be long before they perfected mechanical semi-auto paintguns in the late 1990s. It wouldn't be long after that, that electronics and batteries would be implemented to motorize and automate the loading and firing of paintguns. And it wouldn't be long after, that the propellant of choice would change from a cheap unregulated source to a more-expensive regulated one, for increased rates-of-fire and more reliable distance-shooting.

Once the paintguns and hoppers could keep up with the triggers, players found fun in the game again but in an entirely new way--not in the way it was originally-intended. It was a serious fun; the smile was forced on players' faces rather than naturally worn. The paintguns would tear up the place and it would only be a matter of time when one or two of the dozens-upon-dozens of shots, hundreds even, would get the other guy out simply out of probability.

The new players with weaker paintguns and cheaper paintballs simply sat discouraged behind their bunkers and waited for the inevitable.

There was a solution to all this, but no one knew or believed it.

The Evolution Analogy

The evolution of the game is quite natural, quite like how animals evolve from simple slugs and crustaceans to flying and complex-thinking creatures, which dominate simply by being made of more powerful, complex, and unique bodily tissues than the previous generation. When it becomes successful, it becomes standard.

Paintball players are willing to spend more for the best and fastest-performing hardware. That's what drives the success of a paintball-related creation.

But complex things have a way of becoming obsolete, when the world around them changes and the simple things in life come back into dominance, just by being simple and unspecialized in their design. That's why if and when a world-wide disaster occurs, one can count on the cockroach to take over where humans have left off.

The analogy here is that the game of fast-shooting paintball could die out in favor of the simpler form--the factors of extinction being price and maintenance. Field layouts could be more intelligently-designed to cater to the pump playing style, favoring pump players, where reaction speed is more important than rate-of-fire. But until then, as long as the fast-shooters exist and there are field owners who make sloppy and wide-open field layouts, it will be the semi-autos that dominate, while pumps and pump users merely exist beneath them.

What the fast-shooters don't know is, you'll never crush every slug and crustacean--they'll always be around.

The lifespan of a semi-auto player in the paintball world could be expected to be much shorter than ours, because of burnout.

And, God only knows--maybe the simple critters enjoy themselves more than the ones fighting to be at the top of the food chain?

What Makes A Stockgun?

OK, I've spoken enough about the generality and history of paintball. Now's the time for the good stuff--playing stockguns!

The rules for stockgun play are as follows:

Your paintgun cannot have more than a 20-round paintball capacity. The paintballs must sit horizontally on the paintgun--parallel to the bolt and breech (and barrel)--and cannot be spring-fed. Paintballs can only be loaded by leaning the paintgun and letting the paintball roll into the breech while the bolt is opened. There can be no more than one paintball stacked vertically above the bolt. The paintgun can only be powered by one 12g cartridge at a time. And finally, the bolt can only be moved manually by hand--in any sort of way, whether it is turn-bolt or pump-action it doesn't matter.

Anything in-between is fine.

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Because of these rules, the paintguns have to be "rocked-and-cocked" prior to firing, which means the game is all about taking the shot and adjusting oneself for the next shot.

Stockguns excel at "bunkering" or close-range ambushes, and for getting the first shot in when an opponent tries to bunker you. Other paintguns are slower to lift, so if you are alert and ready in a small and fast-paced environment, you can count on your stockgun to give you all of what you want in a paintgun.

Nothing can beat a stockgun at what it does.

(Except perhaps a back-bottle Phantom open pump, those things are really fast to swing on target in a tight situation.)

Stockguns defeat other players in close-quarters.

For Training Muscle-Memory

Hand-eye coordination in paintball is called "muscle-memory."

Because of the "rock-and-cock" or leaning action which is required to load paintballs into a stockgun, you are training your muscles each time you re-center your paintgun on an opponent player. This will make you more accurate, without needing to aim. It will also increase your reaction speed as you practice readying your paintgun.

This muscle-memory will carry over to the other paintguns you own if they share similar grip styles, letting you become more accurate with those, too.

Close Range

When you carry a stockgun to the field, you are telling everyone there, "I can do so much with only so little." In reality, though, this is not true. You can't do much with a stockgun, but with what you can do... eliminate that guy.

You aren't a fantastic player; get in closer for the win.

How to Play With a Stockgun

"Aren't You Worried About Running Out?"

Right off the bat let me tell you that playing with a stockgun will change the way you play tremendously. The best way to learn how to play with a stockgun is to actually go to the field with one, wearing on your body just a bandolier's worth of cigar-tubes and 12gs, and just grind away at the game rounds until you begin to get the picture.

Go out there and look as though you are begging them to shoot you. Be suicidal in your game plan. As you get shot, you will adjust and better yourself. Because the stings hurt (obviously), you will naturally-want to avoid messing up.

The first game you play, you will bleed adrenaline, and it will be the most fun you've ever had playing paintball, if you stick with it and have courage. Trust me on this. At the end, when you're all out of paintballs and 12gs, tell your teammates and opponents, "Good game!" and cruise on home for a much-needed shower. You sleep off your sore welts and bruises. The following day, you glow with cheerfulness and fulfillment for hours, and when you talk to people they will sense your glow. People will be thinking you just got lucky or something.

Things you will quickly pick up on while playing stockguns: ammo conservation, when to move and not move, and reducing distance. You'll learn that you are not a winner, but an eliminator. I'm not saying you aren't going to win and that you shouldn't try. I'm saying that when the goal is to get the guy, you will learn how to eliminate without being eliminated first, and without the use of copious firepower which is something you cannot afford, flat-out. That's why you're doing this. This is strict and self-disciplined fun. From this straight-forward goal, to conserve and be efficient with your eliminations, you are an asset to your team (you are your team's "tagger") and you will lose one-on-one battles less often than you win them.

Not for the Woods Anymore

Maximize on your low-capacity load-out by shooting only the best paintballs and playing only on the easiest fields. Otherwise, your game play influence is limited.

When you're out in the woods, put the stockgun away unless you really want to challenge yourself at this game.

Things have really-changed since the early days of the Survival Game. These days, playing stockguns out in the woods against mixed players is all trial-and-error... mostly error.

You simply can't compete against the bigger paintguns out in the woods without exposing yourself to them. If you can find others of your kind to play against in woods-play, then the games can really begin. But really, the use of stockguns today have been repurposed for the small, structured fields where eliminations can be swift and unexpected; and where, in such an environment, it doesn't matter how fast a player can shoot.

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Preferably, you'll want to play where and when there is zero wind. Try to remove as many variables that negatively affect your chances of eliminating opponents as possible--such as things like tree branches, wind, distance, bad paintballs, et cetera. Things that arc your shots away from your opponent are not good for you. I call such things "shields" that the opponents wear. Outdoor opponents wear "wind shields," opponents in the woods wear "twig-and-branch shields," semi-auto players wear "distance shields." These shields waste your paintballs, and that means you're wasting your money.

Soon after getting and using your stockgun in games, you'll be craving simplicity. You'll become a spoiled paintballs snob and a paintball field snob, but in every other aspect you will be a good guy and entertaining target practice.

You'll want things done your way, to better your chances of winning where you are already disadvantaged from the get-go. That means you will decline other peoples' offers when they hand you some crummy paintballs to keep you going when you run out. That means you will only play on indoor fields, where the game play is intense for everybody, not just for yourself.

That's the curse of the stockgun player--they become snobby with their paintballs, their gear, and their playing environment.

Stockguns Need to Be Used Aggressively

Some believe that stockgun players should shoot as often as they can and reload cigar-tubes and 12g cartridges fearlessly. Others, like me, believe that the ideal way to play is to conserve paintballs (bringing only a belt's-worth of reserves to the field) and run up and "tag" the opposing players, also in a fearless manner. Some players shoot only what their paintguns can carry, and they only reload between rounds! No matter what way you choose to play, always be aggressive and take every opportunity to get closer to the opposing players. Be rat-like with the way you move up the field. And when you are shot, expect to be shot like a rat!

As a stockgun player, you have to badger whoever is on the other team at where they are. By "badger" I mean pick at. If there's nothing to pick at, you have to get closer so that there is something--preferably a larger target area like a whole body that you can shoot into. Go for "center-of-mass" shots. This show of aggression may cause enough worry and panic that they call themselves out the moment you show up. How can they possibly react fast enough?

But you are not aggressive; you are not mean to anyone. You are only more persistent and more powerful than the player you are trying to eliminate, until you yourself become eliminated.

Mixing Stockguns In with "Regular" Paintguns

Getting into stockgun play against mixed players may initially be difficult depending on the field layout, because it often seems that as soon as you enter the game you are shot out immediately. Get used to that until it no longer bothers you, and you begin to get into the groove of the game and the field layout.

Like a disciplined dog or mule, this sort of penalization and trial-and-error approach will refine you and your playing style, until you automatically start doing things the correct way. Then you will be a worthy opponent against "walk-ons" or against single players, at the least.

Perhaps soon you'll be so refined at playing stockguns that you'll be "one-balling" semi-auto players from afar with what I call "test shots," and saving money while you're at it. But until this comes naturally to you, get in close for the win.

Advanced Stockgun Trickery

When your stockgun runs low on gas, and you change it, it will make an audible hiss sound and people who hear it are going to want to charge you! This is actually good because when they come to get you, you can shoot them! They don't know that you can change 12gs about as quickly as you can sneeze.

Get a new cartridge in and get them good with that hi-powered first shot, right in the ribs, as they run up towards you. You can even lure your opponent to you by disengaging a 12g cartridge on purpose and then quickly re-engaging it, just to make that "I'm out of gas" sound, and then when the paintgun is re-gassed you pop out and give them a surprise-shot they wouldn't expect.

The Disadvantage of Stockguns

The downside of stockgun play is that the belt and cigar-tubes you wear on your body prevent you from sensing hits from opposing players on that area. You may get shot on the belt, or on the tubes and cartridges, and not feel it. The cigar-tubes themselves are actually very-easily damaged by shots from a paintgun. Don't be surprised if you lose a few of these plastic tubes in battle--when they get shot they crack!

Some diehard stockgun players leave tubes and 12gs in a bag or box on the field and rearm their paintguns between game rounds, trying not to spend more than 10 paintballs per game. This keeps their tubes safe from damage and also helps them better-conserve their shots. These wild men may sometimes be seen running the perimeter of the field risking getting shot as they one-by-one take out the players on the opposing side. When you only have 10 or 15 paintballs to work with per round, you'll find out how the best way is to make them all count rather quickly.

Types of Stockguns

Basic kinds of stockguns are the "cram-and-jams," which are fed directly by cigar-tubes that are actually secured into the paintgun by friction, and the "rock-and-cocks," whose built-in horizontal feeds have a one-way entrance called a "feed gate" for paintballs to be rear-fed by a cigar-tube. The then-empty tube is then thrown inside the shirt through the neck. Because a shotgun belt wraps around the player's midsection, there's no gaps for the cigar tubes to fall through when the player drops spent cigar tubes down the neck of their shirt. The loops in this belt is what holds cigar tubes and 12gs.

In both the cram-and-jams and the rock-and-cocks, the tubes feed paintballs horizontally into the stockgun, and that can be done either in the front or the back.

Stockgun Intelligence

It's important that you don't put empty cigar-tubes back onto your belt--put them away where you can't get them. If you go to reach for a cigar-tube and it's empty, it will encumber you and waste your time in a heated situation. Not only that, but it'll make you look silly. If you choose to play stockguns, you better at least look like you know what you're doing. When you grab for something on your belt, it must be of immediate use to you. That means having cigar-tubes on one side, and 12gs on the other, and you should be able to efficiently reach for either without having to look.

Also, use your hands to check that the caps aren't coming off on your tubes between games as they may sometimes come loose as you bend your body, sit, and move around.

Balancing Act

Because your firing frequency has been reduced in-game, you have to up the frequencies in the other areas of your play: more running, more decision-making, more gutsy moves, and more visual acuity. Because you are doing more, you also become more exposed to being shot.

You will of course up the frequency of actually getting shot, too.

Accept these changes to the way you play, or else the semi-autos will pin you down behind a bunker and ultimately win as their teammates close-in around you.

Play Using an Open Pump

\A0"Why Didn't You Get A Semi-Auto Like Everyone Else?"

"Why Didn't You Get A Tippmann or an Ego 10?" One-versus-one, you can defeat whoever says this.

Open pumps are loaded once and fired often, like semi-autos. They're very different from stockguns. In fact, they are closer to semi-autos in function and utility on the field: they are made for distance-shooting. Unlike semi-autos, they lack any and all internal variables involved in inaccuracy, being made so simple in design that jerkiness and instability per firing cycle has been effectively removed by the incorporation of the manually-operated bolt, instead of auto-pneumatics. You know and control the accuracy of your own paintgun, because it's you who's doing it, and you yourself make and form your paintgun's rhythm.

Sounds kind of mystifying, doesn't it? I don't mean to be!

The secret to the pump's accuracy is not some voodoo magic that's built into the paintgun. It comes from the fact that they shoot only when you're ready--not amid recoil.

Any mistakes made using a pump (which are none) would be glaringly-obvious user error.

As a Semi-Auto Replacement

When pressurized gas is not being used to re-cock the paintgun hammer--when you use your hand to simultaneously load a paintball and cock the hammer instead of using some redirected gas pressure--you have more shots available to you. All of the pressure that would have been used to cycle the paintgun is now solely being used to propel the paintballs forward out the barrel. Nothing gets redirected or wasted elsewhere in the paintgun.

Like a semi-auto, you can shoot surprisingly-fast with an open pump. Does this come as a surprise to you? People assume pumps equal slow-shooting. Not so--you shoot as fast as you want, as necessary. I can unload on a distant target as quickly and much more accurately than a mechanical Tippmann semi-auto player can. I routinely outgun such players, putting 5 or more shots in the air moving towards them before they can even get a chance to send any my way. And this is with CO2.

When you need your pump to be fast, it is.

When you go to bunker a handful of guys, you'll tear them up with an open pump. And an open pump with auto-trigger can easily exceed mechanical semi-auto paintguns in firepower! You can let these things rip like a machine gun if you wanted--if you have a vigorous pump stroke, and if what you've got is a lightly-sprung "lo-pressure" pump paintgun.

You can shoot 3-4 shots per second with auto-trigger compared to 1-2 shots per second without.

Once, prior to a game, I jokingly said that players are becoming impatient and I said "3-2-1 go-go-go" among a crowded mix of players getting ready while aiming my paintgun at peoples' feet. One player, who I nickname "Colored Dreadlocks Guy," said that would be unwise since he carried with him a hyper-competitive semi-auto paintgun with all the fancy bells and whistles. I smirked under my mask, because that day I had with me a back-bottle Phantom with a tiny nitro tank, black delrin pump handle, and motorized hopper. I unloaded 7 shots within one second into the ground between him and I, not exactly in his direction but off to the side. Children turned to look in surprise, but it was already over. Though I was giddy with what I just done, I didn't look to see what the young man's reaction was.

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Auto-trigger really is the paintball-equivalent of a machine gun, nevermind Tippmann's "response triggers" or the electronically-assisted semi-autos. I say this because there's no cost to resources or waste in performance when auto-trigger is used.

Open pump play lets you "pin down" opposing players much like semi-auto players do. It's more exhilarating than using a mechanical semi-auto, because more work and vigor is involved to achieve the same firepower, and the benefits of playing open pump versus mechanical semi-auto is that there's often no need for a motorized hopper--the act of pumping the handle shakes the hopper enough so that there are no chopped or half-fed paintballs. When you pull the pump handle and sense resistance on the return, you can prevent a half-fed paintball from being chopped yourself, rather than having a mechanical semi-auto whose uncontrollable bolt knows not, and cares not, about chopped paintballs and gooey paint being in the barrel and breech. That fact alone should convince you to buy at least one open pump. They're trouble-free.

So, here's a rhetorical question: What's the point of having a mechanical semi-auto, anyway?

Where Did Open Pumps Come From?

The development of the game of paintball began when aftermarket upgrades were made by tinkerers as add-ons for existing stockguns, and the idea of more is better came about to give advantage to players who purchase the upgrades. It was a game of upgrading to bigger, more capable, and more volume-packed components. That tradition continues today.

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What Is Open Pump Play?

Open pump is where paintball tanks and hoppers are used instead of a horizontal 10-20 round feed and 12g cartridges. The open pumps were important in the development of the paintball game, allowing the player to focus less on timing and reloading a stockgun and more on concentrating shots onto more distant targets. Individual paintball shots became less important as the volume of available rounds increased.

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Whisperings

Can I tell you a real honest truth? An open pump will always be more accurate than a semi-auto. They're more accurate than even the most advanced electronic semi-auto. That's because of recoil. There is none in the closed-bolt pump design.

You know the recoil of your pump paintgun because you are its recoil. This is nothing compared to the jerkiness from a semi-auto firing, which recoils itself in the user's hands. I've witnessed it.

I put a shot on target at distance two or three times. "Perfect," I say as I get myself and my paintgun to the starting-position on the field. I look to watch another player mimic what I just did with a fast-spraying Luxe. It shoots up and down and all around, as if it's outlining a cone towards the general direction of the spot. Maybe he had bad paintballs? Maybe his paintgun had too much oil in it?

Maybe mine is more accurate?

With an open pump, the result of user-controllability is relatively long shots that fly straight where you want them. Like an arrow they sail into the distance, but the shots are so far apart from each other time-wise compared to a semi-auto that the advantage often goes to semi-auto players when it comes to distance-shooting. Firepower at distance wins, not "one-balling" as some sniper-wannabes may want you to think. Semi-autos will, more often, dominate at distance-shooting than open pumps. So there's a balancing act, where you have to compensate for weaknesses in different ways (such as only playing on fields where nobody is out of your range).

With an open pump, though, you do have enough paintball capacity to make them want to duck their heads down as you return fire. That's an important thing, and is something that the stockguns don't have.

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Don't Let Yourself Feel Pinned Down

As an open pump player, being pinned down behind a bunker by a nearby semi-auto opponent is like the worst thing--it's like being stuck in a pit you can't easily climb out of. As soon as you can, get out of that funk whenever it occurs and get closer to them. Make it so that they believe you are still behind the bunker they are shooting at. Then, when you are safely away from that spot, give them surprise shots from an unexpected direction.

You can only do this on small indoor fields where there are lots of bunkers. Outdoor fields tend to be more spread out, and running from bunker-to-bunker exposes you out there.

The best thing to do on open fields is to directly-challenge other players out in the wide open until you get teammates willing to assist you to cover. Being bold out in the open halts opponents from wanting to close the distance to reach their objective.

Win While Saving Money

Those days when you're doing good, with an open pump you'll win just as often as you lose against a semi-auto opponent. But you'll be saving money by only shooting a hopper's-worth of paintballs per visit to your favorite field.

Spiritually, emotionally, and financially; you will come out on top anyways--no matter what--when you play pump paintball.

Benefits of Open Pumps over Stockguns

The benefits of playing open pump over stockgun play is that you have more paintballs ready to shoot and you never ever need to reload paintballs or gas in the middle of a game, because they come in bulk! This seems to be the most obvious advantage, but when you're in the middle of a game it's a pretty-big deal. You are freer. The games are lighter on your senses and are less overwhelming. But you probably want to be careful about ammo conservation anyway, if you plan to limit yourself and limit what you bring with you to the field.

If you want what you have to last you the whole day and save a few bucks, save a few bucks and make what you have last you the whole day.

Learn to conserve--take a couple of "test shots" and move in closer while playing.

Hi-pressure & Lo-pressure

Open pumps come in two main forms, "regulated" and "unregulated." When the gas is regulated to "lo-pressure," lighter springs can be used inside the paintgun and a valve designed for lo-pressure operation is used instead of a "hi-pressure" one. More space within the paintgun in the form of a volume (or "pre-valve") chamber may be needed so as not to suffocate the paintgun of much-needed nitro or CO2.

The insides of lo-pressure paintguns are more cavernous than hi-pressure ones. Hi-pressure paintguns need narrower passageways for gas to flow through quicker in order to be efficient, while lo-pressure ones need more space to fill to get their power.

If you have a motorized hopper, you might as well go all the way and make the machine as smooth as possible for faster rate-of-fire by going "lo-pressure regulated." A motorized hopper gives you reliable skip-free performance, for when your machine is too smooth not to abuse.

If you have no electronics at all on your pump, stick with hi-pressure. Playing hi-pressure with an open pump lets you effortlessly shoot as fast as a plain VL200 hopper can load, but not faster, which is good if you're trying to avoid having any electronic parts in your paintgun.

No electronics? Do hi-pressure. Have heavy springs. It works!

There's rigidness in hi-pressure pumps that make them feel solid and accurate. When you pull and return the pump handle, that induces the shake necessary to load a paintball with each pump stroke. Motor not required.

Open Pump--the Leisurely Way to Play

Probably the ideal way to enjoy and ease yourself into the game of paintball is with open pumps with 200-round hoppers.

You'll find this is a very-relaxed style where you can focus more on the target than on your surroundings or on timing your reloads. The reason for this is because with an open pump, complete with a tank and 200-round hopper, you can compete with faster-firing paintguns like mechanical semi-autos and sometimes electronic semi-autos depending on the other player's skill level, their knowledge of the field, and their level of experience.

If you had a mechanical semi-auto instead, you would be saying in the back of your mind, "I wish I had it set up to shoot faster like the higher-end semi-autos," and that wouldn't be possible without putting a lot of time and money into upgrading your mechanical paintgun. But with an open pump setup, you are putting yourself in the same league as everyone else, from the really early stockguns to the new-fangled paintguns from the future all at once, bridging the gap between both ends of the spectrum. And you'll have the firepower needed to keep yourself in the game.

Pump Hoppers

My hopper recommendations include the smooth-feeding "Viewloader VL200" hopper, the original motorized "VL Revolution," or the newer "VL Revolution C.A.T."

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Many feel that having a non-motorized 200-round hopper is nothing to be proud of, and that it's just below-standard "rental" equipment. The truth is, with a 200-round hopper you can play the game more freely! It is hugely-liberating to play with a bulk hopper and tank, because you never run out of anything! You can play the whole day with just a VL200-full of paintballs and a 3.5oz tank, and nothing more. That's what open pump play is all about--saving money.

I have difficulty suggesting anything other than a VL200 as your non-motorized hopper choice. There are innumerable false copies of this wonderful, smooth-feeding hopper that lack the embossed "VL200 Viewloader" logo on the side--the one with the smiley-eyes. Such hoppers are marketed as "VL200-style."

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These counterfeit hoppers use a rougher, unsatisfactory plastic that in no way facilitates smooth-feeding of paintballs, and they have to be jiggled by the operator in order to load. They're often called "shake-and-bake" hoppers. The original, Viewloader one, however, does not need to be shaken--it's made from a much nicer plastic.

The VL200 works so well on hi-pressure pumps with heavy springing that in my view any other non-motorized hopper marketed for pumps is not good enough and would just be a waste of money. Don't fall for gimmicks or trends, don't limit yourself to tiny loaders! 200 rounds is not too much nor is it too little for a day of fun play.

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Small capacity "pump hoppers" usually only hold 40-100 rounds and are so limiting as to not warrant any rational interest.

A 200-round hopper never needs to be reloaded, saving you time and energy at the field to play game after game after game. A pump player with a 40- or 50-round "pocket hopper" playing against one with 200 would be greatly inconvenienced (overpowered by the bigger paintguns), and would have to take frequent breaks to reload.

Even stockgun players have a readily-available supply of paintballs with their belt of cigar tubes, so even they would have an advantage over open pump players who decide to use smaller hoppers. And if you pair a nitro or CO2 tank with a 100-round hopper, you'll have a lot of excess shots that aren't being utilized on the field. If you carry an extra pod to refill a 100-round hopper, aren't you burdening yourself with excesses? Why not just have the 200-round Viewloader?

A scenario I imagine (and have witnessed and participated in firsthand) is that the player with 200 rounds pins the player with the smaller hopper, discouraging them from moving, and the one with 200 rounds always has another paintball chambered and waiting to fire if the player with the smaller paintgun decides to take drastic action.

Meanwhile, the guy with the smaller paintgun gets low on paintballs fast and is worried about running out. The one with 200 rounds pops open their hopper to have a little look-see, and finds that they still have bazillions of paintballs.

The one with 200 rounds was me. While I pinned the other pump player, the smaller fish, I felt worse than a bully picking on a kid for his lunch money. He would pop out once or twice, but then never again because I always answered with a shot that whizzed by his head. Not once did I feel in danger of being eliminated. I never feel danger at all when I'm pinning a player with an open pump.

I muscled my way around the field that day like I owned it, pushing other players into hiding.

Can you imagine the power and influence one would have on the field when they've got 200 of the straightest-shooting paintballs ever--ready to use? Those 200 rounds feed flawlessly from a VL200.

So, before you go out buying some kind of specialty, uncommon, vanity, or even a electronic hopper for your pump; buy the authentic VL200 and give it a try. For only two bucks and change, you may be pleasantly surprised by how well it does the job.

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If your paintgun is sprung for lo-pressure, however, pass on the VL200 and go with a motorized hopper of your choosing instead.

Have a Long Feed-Neck

A long feed-neck ensures steady supply of paintballs from a non-motorized hopper. Imagine how a long, tall, uninterrupted stack of paintballs can totally prevent misfiring.

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The Joy of Unregulated Open Pumps

Open pumps are simple paintguns to become comfortable with. The purchase of an open pump could be a conscious decision, but often it's been an unconscious one. At least it used to be. Heck, it used to be the only thing a person new to the game could choose from. Any person interested in giving paintball a try could've seen an inexpensive one sitting up on the wall at a local paintball store or pawn shop, and just buy it, simply because it was there, without asking any questions as to what kind it was. If the person remains budget-minded, they might stick with it throughout their paintball career, even though today there are faster-shooting paintguns.

An unregulated CO2-powered open pump can be your go-to, knockabout "loaner." Bring a friend with you, let them play with it.

As a gesture of friendship, let them also use a hopper's-worth of your straightest-shooting paintballs--but not more than that. Remind them that the games are over when the paintballs run out.

A No-Fuss and Inexpensive Way of Playing

So, for today's indecisive wannabe pump player, there's the "Sniper II." They should pick one up in order to know what all the fuss is about with pumps.

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The game can be this simple.

There's no need for players to fret over things like cigar-tubes and 12g cartridges--nor do they need to spend a lot of money, like on batteries or cases of paintballs--in order to play this wonderful game.

All one needs to bring with them to the field is a Sniper II, a mask and some other protective gear, 200 rounds, tools for adjusting velocity and cleaning their paintgun, and either CO2 or nitro.

Open Pumps and Balance

I find open pump games are most entertaining (or easy) when most of the people playing are toting Tippmanns, or other pumps, and they're bringing with them paintballs which are inferior to yours. You can get away with a little more and move between their shots, and you can be a little more aggressive with field control, even if the field doesn't have a proper layout. You can let yourself get hit by paintballs more without worrying about it actually breaking on you and being splattered by it, because their paintballs are so hard and so cheap.

However, with electronic semi-autos in the mix, play on denser fields that allow you to get a little closer. That's all.

Playing With Semi-Auto Players

Teamwork Leads to Easy-Bunkering

I was playing with my Sniper II out in the woods. Four newbie players, two big guys and two medium-sized guys, were hunkered-down behind a wooden fence. I alerted my guys and we took positions around them. Lots of exchanging of fire happened, but no one was moving. I was antsy the whole time, but I found an opportunity to come up on them from around the side--I saw one of their feet sticking out of the side of the bunker fence as if they were lying down beside it. I charged up from that side, and they were appearing. My Sniper II was eager to blast them, so 5 of my shots were quickly spent on those four, and they were all shouting "Whoa, whoa, hey, hey! I'm out! I'm out," cursing me and cursing the situation in general, because I was in so close--maybe 20 feet away from them. They were huddled against the fence, not ready for a sideways attack. After my charge succeeded I asked them, "Are you guys OK?" with no response. They were slow to get themselves up and walk off, and they did so begrudgingly.

Later, after the game, I tried to pick them out in the staging area, but there were so many big players that day that it was hard to tell who was who. There was a table of guys who could have been them, who sat very quiet--probably ashamed of their overreaction and loss in what was probably to them a heated situation.

I was incredibly lucky to have so many semi-autos supporting me. If it weren't for them, the opponents would've had greater field-of-vision and mental clarity, and my boldness would've most-definitely had gotten me eliminated. I had spent only 15\A2 on those four huddled players.

If I had been shot as soon as I appeared to those opponents, I would have only went to the dead-box and waited to play next round. Up to the point where I made the eliminations, I had been known as "the guy who gets shot out of games a lot." There's nothing wrong to me with losing a bunch; I only play to get at least one guy out per round.

For woods-play, I suppose teamwork does come in handy, if you are your team's "tagger." The semi-autos did their job to keep the four behind the fence as I went to eliminate them.

Playing Against Stockguns

(I'm going to bring the topic back to stockguns for a bit, because stockgun players are useful to the game and are becoming more common.)

If you thought this book would be entirely about glorifying pumps and pump players, you are incorrect, sir or madam. Here's a list on how you can defeat stockgun players easily.

What to Do to Beat Stockgun Players

Charge at us--we are easily overwhelmed.

Team up and confine us to a small area of the field. We won't be able to move, we'll be stuck. Don't let us move from this one spot.

If it's too quiet, we're doing something silly like reloading. Charge at us!

Make us want to shoot. When we shoot, we are running out of paintballs. Then you can shoot us as we reload!

Tease us by sticking your head or paintgun in-and-out of your bunker. After we try to shoot you a couple of times, we'll get desperate and start running at you, exposing ourselves and letting ourselves get lit up by you and your teammates.

Use an electronic semi-auto, but move around the field like a stockgun player does. That way you won't ever miss.

Play tight. Actually, play tighter than you usually do. Play so tight that you have to detach your eyeball and stick it somewhere near the front of your paintgun in order to see what's going on. Stockgun players have a hard time playing against seemingly-invisible players, since they do not hug a bunker but tend to stay loose in order to maximize visibility.

Guard the "snake" part of the field (the low and elongated series of bunkers which are off to the side) half the time, all of the time. If it gets too quiet, just run right up to where the snake is and shoot us there as we squirm along behind it. We can't shoot if we're squirming.

Don't be afraid of getting shot. We don't shoot fast at all, unless we're bunkering.

This is very important to know: You can totally outdistance or "long-ball" stockgun players with your semi-auto, but only on fields that can allow you that distance. Only on open, uncluttered fields like out in the woods will you be able to do this and do it effortlessly. On small fields with lots of obstacles, you will need to be just as aggressive as they are, because they're coming up.

Stockgun players are impatient, so it's only a matter of time until they fling themselves at you to become eliminated or to eliminate you. So just have your paintgun up and ready for them.

Where They Are Beaten

Stockgun players make a tasty treat on wide-open fields, where bunkers are spaced as far apart as possible.

Not only do stockgun players fail miserably here, but they can be seen wearing French maid outfits while treating semi-auto players to foot massages, fanning them with palm branches, and serving tea and chocolate chip cookies. Let's not go there, stockgun players.

While Playing As another Stockgun Player

As a stockgun player playing against other stockgun players (you lucky so-and-so), you guys will be running around out in the open like fools having a great time, making what I call "circle-strafing" around each other--going back-and-forth at extremely close-range while dodging and checking yourselves for paint-splatter. The games will be very fast and brisk. Whoever is crazier will be the more successful player. Rounds end very quickly.

No strategy needed whatsoever.

While Playing As an Open Pump Player

You have the advantage as an open pump player versus a stockgun player because of your ability to endlessly pin down the stockgun player until you arrive at their bunker and tag them. But because stockgun players are naturally-slippery little devils, they may have moved back a ways so that by the time you poke around to get them, they may not be exactly where you expected. Have your paintgun up and ready, and have twitchy sort of reflexes.

You can get away with being bold and out in the open, but when you go in for the elimination--that's when you'll be most in danger. The stockgun player is going to be shitting himself, on-edge, and will have their shaky paintgun waiting impatiently to tag you. They may fling themselves out of a random side of the bunker at a completely random time and make a desperate couple of shots, knowing that if they miss, you will get them out anyways.

Unless your barrel tip ends up pointing at their back, they will not admit surrender.

While Playing As a Semi-Auto Player

You have distance and paintballs on your side as a semi-auto player--just play as you normally do, but realize that the stockgun player is going to want to get extremely close. Keep your head on a swivel, and don't focus too much on one spot or a "lane" down the field, because the stockgun player will be counting on you to not be paying attention on the areas they will be moving themselves into to get closer.

If you stick to the back, they will be showing up on either your left or right side, where they can see your entire body being open. Use the width of the bunker you're behind to protect you, not your orientation in relation to the field layout. Worry about your position in relation to the individual bunkers you are using. Don't face downrange all the time--that is what the stockgun player is counting on you doing. Somehow gain a sideways view of the field. Worry about taking in lots of small and different bites of visual information--not taking in the large.

The stockgun player will weave their way up where you can't see them, if you stay in one spot and don't inspect the little areas. So, don't stay in one spot! Try to expand your eye on the field. And try to expand your imagination, your x-ray vision, that mumbo-jumbo stuff I talked about before--because there are more possibilities on the whereabouts of the stockgun player.

They are fast--they are quiet.

Playing Against Open Pumps

Open pump players make great opponents, especially when the pumps they carry are big and scary.

Picture coming soon!

While Playing As a Stockgun Player

While playing as a stockgun player, your paintgun is quieter than their open pump, so go ahead and take a single test shot at distance and then readjust. Either move closer, or take a second shot and then get closer.

The paint splattering against their bunker is louder than your actual shooting, so see if you can get the paintballs to whiz by rather than pummel their surroundings with noise. If you hit their bunker, they will be alerted in a huge way and will look around until they find you (rather immediately) so duck away and readjust your location. This is ninja-stuff. Get up alongside them and get them good in the kidneys or on their pod-packs (wait a minute; what's he doing carrying pods, anyway?).

You can't pin with a stockgun. If you do, they will only be aware of you and they'll be ready to bolt out when your paintballs run out. If you let the paintballs whistle past their head instead, you're sending them a message: "I'm aiming for you!" If they don't perceive the paintballs zipping past them, when you come up to see them they might not even be facing your direction, being totally unaware, making them an easy elimination not worth bragging about.

While Playing As another Open Pump Player

When it's a 1-versus-1 between open pump players, it's just a typical game of paintball between equals. If your paintgun has a motorized hopper, auto-trigger, electronic frame, and/or electronic valve, you can blaze along with pin-point accuracy like a fancy closed-bolt semi-auto would, and waste just as many paintballs as a semi-auto player does. If you don't, just play like you have some kind of special straight-shooting and lightweight Tippmann.

It really is all that simple. Whoever is most dynamic and gutsy, whoever is most keen on getting that guy, will have more fun and probably more eliminations. Be a little cautious as you go in, though, and be ready to bob your head out of the way if they send some paintballs your way.

While Playing As a Semi-Auto Player

There's not much more you can do as a semi-auto player than what you are already doing in order to defeat someone equipped with an open pump paintgun.

Just know that open pump players can shoot fast enough and will be aiming for your head (though they don't like to waste paintballs) and they may move a teensy bit more aggressively than you do in order to achieve as much as you can.

If you've never played against a stockgun player, then you wouldn't appreciate the fact that open pump players shoot way more and involuntarily aim for an opponent's head more than stockgun players do. The head is usually the only part that an opponent exposes.

I suppose if you are ever having trouble defeating a certain open pump player, just add distance between yourself and them and hose them down with your finely-tuned and regulated semi-auto. You can outdistance them.

Using Pumps Against Semi-Autos

The sound of shots fired drowns out other sounds, like the pitter-patter of ninja feet.

\A0"I Think You've Come to The Wrong Field"

This pump play method to paintball is the real-life equivalent to mashing buttons in your favorite video game until good things start to happen.

Before playing to win, play to eliminate. Before playing to eliminate, play with a suicidal approach. Before playing with a suicidal approach, get over your fear of losing. Before getting over the fear of losing, get over your fear of being shot.

Play the game as a personal challenge to yourself before playing it as a competitive game, that'll make you into a competitive presence on the field. Paintball is a competitive game, but for now you are just a tadpole in a pond teeming with frogs and creatures that want to eat you up. Tadpoles must grow first.

Towards the end of your development, people may think you're crazy, and they may ask you to join their league. But you promised yourself you aren't playing to impress anyone else, only yourself. Furthermore, there are more important things in life than paintball--which is only an escape from the mundane yet still important things. You're only obligated to yourself.

That's the "no regrets" way.

Semi-Auto Players Are Defensive

A semi-auto paintgun is designed to make other players not want to shoot its operator, if you can believe it. If you can outshoot the other players, you can pin them down behind their bunkers, making them not want to come out to shoot you. So having a fast-firing capability is more for defense than for offense, since many of those with the fast triggers hardly ever exert themselves in an aggressive manner, because they'd also expect 17+ \91balls-per-second in return. But you're not worried about that, are you? You want to get shot. How else would you improve?

As firepower evolved in paintball, players became more and more defensive in the way they played. The game became less about movement and field control. What it is, then, is mutual stalemates across the board until players get lucky and somehow get a shot on an opponent's elbow, knee, hopper, paintgun, or mask, et cetera.

A Personal Challenge

Semi-autos jerk with each shot, making them not as precise shot-to-shot as your closed-bolt pump.

Even though your machine is more accurate and more reliable than their semi-autos, theirs are way more powerful. They can get a lot done in a very short time. It's something to appreciate and not underestimate. When you understand that their equipment is always going to be superior to yours, and accept it, then you will begin to also see that this is less a game of win-or-lose, and more of a personal challenge for yourself--one that when mastered is both thrilling and fun. Your skills can improve so much that you'll want to play the game more, and know in your heart that you are a competitive, sharp, and competent person with drive to succeed.

What the Semi-Auto Players Carry

Picture coming soon!

Semi-auto player styles vary wildly from player-to-player. They'll be shooting at you with Tippmanns, AK-47s, Egos, Autocockers, Emags, black rifles, Luxes--any imaginable paintgun; none of which should concern you. Turn off the part of your brain that thinks it should play to win and get frustrated when it thinks it loses. It's hunting season.

Dynamic Differences between the Players

Another advantage semi-auto players have over pump players is their ability to play tight, and they can shoot one-handed while in the most awkward situations. Pump players, needing the use of both hands, must either stand or crouch when directing multiple shots onto the opponent.

Semi-auto players can also shoot more while sprinting, giving them freedom to move from bunker-to-bunker while keeping everyone's heads down.

Running and shooting is also possible with a pump, and is done quite easily. If the barrel on the pump is 16 inches or longer and there's shoulder-support, some accurate shooting can be done by the pump player while running. But pump players can only shoot at what they can see, not at what may be about to become exposed, like the semi-auto player can. Pump players can't and shouldn't be shooting at nothing unless they know a player will be moving into that spot and the paintball will intercept them as they go. They can't afford to guess, only to get closer and take a chance.

Switching hands is also easier for the semi-auto player, since the semi-auto's weight helps aid in the swapping process. Just one hand swaps with the other for the semi-auto player as they switch hands, while for a pump player they have to swap with both hands. It is more awkward and slow for a pump player to do this, but it's still very important to be able to do.

If you aren't yet comfortable shooting with your non-dominant hand, use that as your trigger hand exclusively until you've gained "muscle-memory" with it. Switching hands on-the-fly will come more naturally later, and being able to switch hands means you can play tighter to a bunker no matter which side of it you're behind.

Whether or not you take this advice seriously is up to you. It's hard to give up your dominant hand--that's your straight-shooting hand! You might worry that it will negatively-affect your chances of getting a successful hit on them. Know that your non-dominant hand is a work-in-progress and that it can gain muscle-memory. Anytime you play with your non-dominant hand, it's just practice, until you reach a point where you are comfortable using it that way. It's like a tadpole's flipper, before it has grown into a useful limb.

At the time of this writing, I haven't even begun to get my left hand shooting. So don't feel bad.

Scooting Around As a Pump Player

In your quest to control the field, you may have to get down on one knee and scoot around the field really low to the ground that way. If you have knee-pads this is very good to do. While doing this, you may be holding your paintgun one-handedly. Have it pointed and ready in case an opponent shows up. This is really only ideal for small indoor fields, on flat ground, where accuracy at distance is less-required. It works best with a stockgun.

Being such a small target makes you invisible to the semi-auto players, who wait cautiously for you and your team to become visible.

Play Indoors For the Win

If you are playing with a pump against mixed players or semi-autos, you will most-definitely want to play indoors.

Indoor play is intense!

Well-lit, indoor fields are the ideal homes of modern-day stockgun players and open pump players. In them, you have stealth and concentrated targets on a relatively-small layout where everything is within range of you to shoot. This is the pump player's lair. If you learn the field, it'll become your lair. You'll use your strange pump-voodoo magic to pull the others into a weird alternate dimension, where up is down, left is right, cats and dogs are getting along with each other, and the ground catches fire wherever you step. And in this warped, otherworldly dreamscape you yourself have just created, you bunker people over and over endlessly, until finally you've had enough of this child's play, step off the field, making everything that started to float in your spectral vicinity to crash to the ground--causing everything to revert back to its normal state. As things settle down and sunlight peeks through the swirl of darkened clouds above the building, lighting up the room, there are whispers among the lowly, humbled survivors:

"Who was that man?"

"I don't know...
but I want his babies."

So, play indoors on well-constructed fields for the win. Trust me on this.

As a Stockgun Player in Modern Paintball Games

Let's hope you have semi-autos on your team. If you do, playing stockgun is pretty straightforward and is actually surprisingly easy.

One must take opportunities as soon as they are provided and must try to "control the field" to gain the advantage, much as all paintball players should. It is especially important for the stockgun player to be ultra-aware and use every opening to get in closer and be aggressive.

How It Goes

At the start of the game, players naturally plan out where they are going to go and remain there for most of the game. Not you.

As a stockgun player, be loose and "off the break" start shooting at the opponents as they dart to their positions, even though the range is a little too long for you, while at the same time you also try to get to cover. Don't waste too many on them, though! At this moment in the game, they are vulnerable.

If you are familiar with "First Strike" paintball rounds, and have some, pre-load your barrel with one and pressurize your paintgun valve so that your first shot will be a linear distance shot. First Strikes use spiral "fins" to closely-mimic the aerodynamic behavior of rifle bullets.

If the field is designed right, players won't have 100% line-of-sight with you at the immediate start of the game. That's because of the enormous bunker set up at "the fifty." They can't shoot you immediately "off the break," only as you go to your bunkers. They won't see where you are planning to dart off to until you do it. This is to give teams the chance to take positions.

Once you are behind a bunker, observe what's going on. If they are hidden deeply behind their bunkers and it's safe to move up, do so. If you stumble across someone from the other team along the way, who's head isn't facing you, and you surprise them into submission, do not hesitate to overshoot them (within reason) to make sure they are out or are shocked enough to call themselves out. Do not tell them to call themselves out, nor tell them to surrender. Shoot them! Playing on indoor fields is too intense for you to ask them to surrender and wait for confirmation, shoot them and move on.

Instead of complaining about you overshooting, they'll gawk at your strange paintball-shotgun.

Stockgun versus Semi-Autos

With a stockgun going against semi-autos, you want to be unseen and unheard. You get in as close as you can, like a snake in the grass, and likely they will still be behind their bunkers trying not to be shot at by the semi-autos on your team.

If you have no semi-autos on your team, you will have to be even more careful and maybe even less aggressive with the amount of field you control. If no one on your team has equivalent firepower to the other side, expect a lot of ring-around-the-rosy action with snap-shooting battles behind single bunkers. Give yourself some space to see, and wait for them to appear. In these close-range encounters, whoever shoots first gets the win, not whoever has the fastest-shooting paintgun.

The goal is to get one guy out. Do that, and everything else that happens in the game is gravy on top.

1-versus-1 Game Play

In a 1-versus-1 against a semi-auto, and they see you and you see them, and you can't get at them, and they are coming up to get you--duck back behind your bunker and get low, then scuttle back a ways to get to an adjacent bunker that they won't expect; but only when their vision of you becomes obscured by your surrounding obstacles.

Their paintgun can outdistance yours with firepower. Have your head and your paintgun ready and facing in their general direction, so that you can choose between either hiding in further or shooting them if they are making themselves visible.

How Semi-Auto Players Feel

Semi-auto players do not want to be shot--they are highly-defensive thinkers, but stockgun players expect to be shot (their goal being to get at least one opposing player out), so they move right up to the opposition for the elimination--hopefully but likely unseen and unheard.

Semi-auto players will not believe how "aggressive" you are on the field. What they view as "aggression" is merely learned behavior on the part of the pump player.

Stockgun Play Bliss

Even though crawling is not good for you when you are head-to-head with a semi-auto player, crawling is what will give you control of the field when there are four or more players on both sides pinning each other down. Let your teammates pin the other side down behind their bunkers so that they will be stuck in the back before you crawl up to them. I have lots of good memories where I've pulled this off with my Phantom. When you crawl while holding your paintgun, have the palm of your hand facing up to keep the paintgun clean. Let your fast-shooting teammates do whatever they want, because no matter what, their semi-autos ensure that the opposing side will be overly-cautious to expose any part of their body. This fear of showing themselves keeps them tucked behind their bunker and limits their view of, and their control over, the field. Meanwhile, you squirm up. When the coast is clear on your left and right you ambush them behind their bunkers one-at-a-time, taking each of the opposing players by surprise one-by-one, faster than they can communicate to each other where you have come from.

Stockguns can shoot that quickly.

This is where stockgun glory comes from.

And it's all because of the defensive "teamwork" that the semi-autos bring to the field. It's the only real teamwork to be had in the game... when all the semi-autos on your team "cover" you.

"That was one of the weirdest games I've ever played," said one of the opponents at the end of the round.

You're having a good day playing pump if you can nail three in a row, or at least be working on your third target in a row before being eliminated.

So you see now your role as a player. You go up to your target. Essentially, you have made this into a game of tag. It's not strictly a shooting game. You are your team's "tagger."

Dealing with Paintball "Loss"

Avoid losing, not because it makes you look bad, but because of the sting you'd feel from actually being hit. You know what it feels like, you aren't afraid of it; you just don't like it. That alone should whip you into proper shape. Let the impacts mold you like clay into a better, more proficient player. Don't worry; you aren't going to get whittled down to nothing by the semi-autos.

What to Do If Nothing Seems To Be Working

If all the elements seems suitable and perfect for stockgun play, but yet it seems like you are being worn down and you aren't seeing much success at this, chin up and keep trying.

Next round, keep your mouth shut except maybe to say the words, "Be sure to pin them behind their bunkers," to your teammates. That's all that's needed, and then in the next round you can run up to the opponents heroically and tag them out as your teammates attempt to pin them down. That's all you can do. That's your trick to winning.

Your reputation is not at all at stake until you make the mistake of playing too seriously, complain, or slip away from gamesmanlike behavior. You're using a pump, for Christ's sake.

Pump Mimicry

There's a phenomenon you may sometimes experience when playing with your pump against semi-autos, and that is mimicry. When snap-shooting against someone (very well) it appears you are trying to "one-ball" that player, and they will try to duck away from each single shot and then try to "one-ball" back at you, even though they are capable of firing much more and much faster. So you may end up taking turns at each other with absolutely-zero progress.

This is a waste of your money.

Instead of falling into this weird rhythmic stalemate, one that's completely-pointless to you, somehow close-in and be drastic with your elimination when you get the chance. They may eliminate you instead, but you took a chance and taking chances will increase your eliminations and improve you.

As a stockgun player, be impatient--you only have a handful of paintballs to work with and you don't have the luxury of wasting them with distance-shooting or pinning. So run to them!

The Handicap Empathy

Something funny happens to some people when they play paintball against you. If you seem like a nice person, and you have a stockgun or other pump, they may play soft against you. They may take it easy on you. Their approach to playing will definitely be changed, they will be a little more confused and thinking more about what is proper playing etiquette. They are careful not to offend you with their fast-firing. They worry about hurting you or making themselves look like a bully with a superior paintgun. Spectators will be uncertain of who to support.

That lack of sureness in the opposing player will help you get some eliminations against them, but they may end up quitting after a few and not wanting to play against you anymore. They will try different things but end up feeling dirty and quitting.

Somehow hide the fact you are using a pump. Don't show it off in the staging area. It'll be hard to hide. It's probably impossible if there are only a handful of people. I do have an idea, though! Flashy, colorful Sniper IIs tend to not draw too much attention, as they look a lot like Autocockers. People who see it will ask what kind of Autococker it is.

Picture coming soon!

Maybe that's the answer? Don't buy a strange-looking pump paintgun. That is, unless, you want people to ogle.

Stockguns versus Semi-Autos in the Woods

Back when stockguns were all that paintball players could use, lots of fun was had out in the woods. Nowadays, if you go to a wooded field with a stockgun, you will be crushed and annihilated by fast-shooters, tossed aside mercilessly like a rag doll so that the game can continue for the remaining players. Semi-auto players can eliminate farther than you can, because of their higher rate-of-fire.

You'll revel in each elimination you make out in the woods with a stockgun, because it's so hard to hit people that far away that you don't even care about winning or losing, just as long as you hit at least one person out before being eliminated yourself.

Because semi-autos can outdistance you with high rates-of-fire, if possible try to sneak up on and ambush the opposing players when they aren't looking in your direction. This sounds so implausible--woods are too big for players to not see you. As often as possible, have your teammates pin down the opposing players behind their bunkers, or otherwise occupy their attention, so that you may run up around them and shoot them out. That's all you can hope to do.

In the woods you will be making lots of noise with your footsteps on crunchy leaves, so be as sneaky (or as quick) as you can and avoid patches of ground that will make noise when stepped on. The opposing players will be moving on crunchy ground, too, making you hard to hear unless they have stopped. Paintball masks don't help much with hearing, which makes it easier for you to sneak. Move only when they move, when the coast is clear, or when other players are making loud noises or occupying their focus.

Ambushing from a stationary position works so well in the woods because the one ambushing can hear better while the one moving cannot. When a player moves, he or she hears their own breathing and their own footsteps but cannot hear your footsteps, unless you make an unfortunate twig-snap.

As you move among low walls, briars, barrels, fences, and bunkers, keep your head low. If they see anything resembling a human figure, their alert-status goes through the roof.

Some flat-sided thin walls will not be good cover because they are thin from the side and that will expose you plainly to attack. It's important to keep moving if you are in the open with few protective obstacles. Look for bunkers that give you room to move around the outer sides of them. Resist the temptation of actually going into open bunkers, where you'll be trapped and easily-cornered. Instead, go around. Do not go inside of "fortresses," places where you will be surrounded on all sides and be cornered. The very last place you want to be as a stockgun player is cornered. Fortresses are where you should catch prey, not become one.

If opponents see you but you're out-of-range, it's difficult to say what to do exactly in this situation. Whatever you do, don't waste paintballs. Shoot with purpose. Only shoot when there's little chance of missing. Fire a shot and see what happens, to see if you hit them or not. If it looked close, try again. These are your only two "test shots," to see if you are lucky that day. This is not the way you should always be playing. If neither hit, give up and try to move in closer to them stealthily. Keep your eyes open left and right, and be ready to get guys coming from either side of you if they show up suddenly. Have your stockgun level and ready to shoot someone, even if it's only held in one hand.

When you're being pinned down (it's sure to happen out here in the woods, by-the-way) expect them to show up right next to you, to ambush you in your bunker. Be ready for them; you won't be surprised if you use your imagination to imagine them popping up out of nowhere to surprise you at any moment.

The most thrilling part of playing stockguns in the woods is when, in the middle of a firefight, you realize you are out of paintballs and you are shooting blanks, forcing you to reload and take a nervous look around you while you do so. This may seem like an inconvenience, but it actually helps you get the adrenaline going and gives you time to have a more rapid scan of the immediate environment, and it actually helps by giving the opponents an opportunity to move closer and be within range of you to shoot. Don't associate tension and anxiety with reloading your stockgun; you want them to close-in.

Don't lose your empty cigar-tubes, have a secure place to put them in (like down the neck of your shirt while you're wearing a shotgun shell waistband).

Stockguns Are Too Small For Woods Play?

I can't really think of any way for a stockgun player to succeed consistently in the woods. It is the least ideal place to play, unless somehow you can sneak all the way around the perimeter of the field and stealthily move up on and shoot the unaware opponents from the back where they will never expect you. They'll think you're on their team if you do this quickly enough, shortly after the game starts.

In a way, that's sort of unfair, tricking them to think you're on their team. That's kind of a mean, dirty way of playing. I guess you'll have to be mean when using a stockgun in the woods.

Success is not likely to happen. The semi-autos shoot right through branches and thickets; hosing down positions at distance. If there's even the smallest hole in the wall between you and them, they'll somehow get you, right through that little hole with their high volumes of fire. Aerial droplets of paint spatter and broken paintball shell rains down on your position in dramatic fashion until they do.

As an Open Pump Player

Pumps that have tanks and hoppers can afford to be a little less aggressive and can "lay down paint" much like semi-autos do. Open pumps are fine for the woods and can compete well out there.

Picture coming soon!

Play like a stockgun player, except more comfortably. Take on players head-to-head if you feel you can get them. If anyone gives you any trouble out there, open pumps have everything you need to take care of it.

Pumping Between Trees

Out in the woods, the game is all about expression and taking positions out in the open, like chess pieces do. It's about guarding. Usually the objective of these woods games is something other than simple team elimination, which means players from opposing sides will cross paths as they seek to reach their objective.

Expressing your presence forces them to redirect, and you being there helps protect your flag or keeps them away from their target or objective which you are guarding. But if they grab a friend, they can overwhelm your senses by taking you on from two or more angles. If they gang up on you, then normally you'd retreat. Am I right?

But remember, you are a pump player. What does a pump player do? They try to get eliminations, "without thought or focus on mission objectives or winning." (Even when the opponents' numbers have dwindled and success is a sure-thing, you continue to stalk about the field trying to find survivors on the other team to bunker or otherwise eliminate. Not because you have to, but because it is good practice.)

So, if you're ever ganged up on, choose one.

Open Pumps Not a Handicap

For anything else regarding open pump play, I struggle to find what else to say. With an open pump you aren't handicapped at all, especially if you have a 200 round hopper. It's a straight-shooter.

Don't let the sound of electronic semi-autos going off discourage you, please. That's not how ninjas are supposed to react.

Points against Semi-Autos

The further away you go from simple pump-action, the less control you have over the operation of your paintgun. With a mechanical semi-auto, just a notch up some would say from pump, you get uncontrolled paintball feeding sometimes resulting in lapses, partial-feeding, and chopping. You also get a paintgun that shakes itself every time it shoots. But it shakes faster than a non-motorized hopper can drop paintballs, unlike a pump stroke. A non-motorized hopper is not benefitted by the agitation caused by a mechanical semi-auto's firing cycle to load complete paintballs; whereas a pump, which is cocked and bumped more slowly, does benefit the loading from a non-motorized hopper.

You may only skip a beat maybe once, in an entire day of playing with a heavily-sprung hi-pressure pump, when equipped with a non-motorized hopper. And you won't chop a single paintball, since you'll feel it in your hand when it's still in the midst of loading.

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With an electronic semi-auto, the paintgun itself controls its operation, and the player merely cradles the paintgun in his or her hands, lightly-tapping what is essentially a trigger-shaped button using two fingers. This takes away most of the user's input and fine-control over the paintgun's mechanical operation. These machines can go faster than they should, by which I mean faster than what is feasible.

What carries most of the semi-auto's workload are a pair of batteries, one within the paintgun trigger frame and one within the hopper. These batteries are drained independently of each other and at different rates, which is not controlled by the user.

Players moan about having to put a fresh new battery into their hopper, even after they had just done that. Players also sit out of games to fix their malfunctioning electronic paintguns.

I have no such issues with my pumps, whose sole maintenance needs are to only have their barrels cleaned every once in a while, maybe once every couple of games (only because I am finicky and demand straight-shooting perfection).

The Lack of Necessity for Pods

With a pump, it's not necessary to carry 140-round "pods" with you. Two-hundred rounds in a hopper should be enough to last you several games. No one ever taught me that, I had to figure it out on my own.

If your pump is configured correctly for hi-pressure, a 3.5oz CO2 tank will get you a hopper's-worth of paintballs. A Phantom can get 200 shots from a 13/3000 nitro tank. If you are playing correctly, no matter the type of field you're playing, 200 rounds should last you a whole day. If you ever run out of paintballs after only one or two games, you are playing on a crappy field that's not letting you move around or sneak up on your opponents. So you're wasting paintballs "long-balling," and so are the semi-auto players.

I recently discovered that by simply limiting yourself to 200 rounds a day, you'll simply find a way to make it work and get an even elimination-to-loss ratio or better with a little bit of teamwork. But do not expect teamwork to happen automatically, simply work alone as best you can and you will gain helpers who will waste paintballs for you. They will see you up ahead struggling, and they will "bump up" and spray them down for you to make your work easier. Do not expect this, however. Simply do your best as a lone player.

Try to make your 200 rounds last you all day, but bring the 500-round bag with you in the car just in case you mess up and shoot more than you expected. It can happen, especially on fields which aren't designed well for pump players.

Give the bag a shake every so often to keep the paintballs perfectly round. Leave the window open a crack to let cool air in.

Keep your paintballs out of sunlight!

Pods, like the ones semi-auto players wear, are disposed of in the middle of a game, but are later retrieved after games are over. Often they are lost forever or stolen. So they will only encumber you and waste your time, being just another thing that is an inconvenience to a player who goes into the game seeking straightforwardness and simplicity--a pump player.

If you gain allies who get a kick from watching you play, you might be able to bum a few paintballs off from them when you are running low towards the end of the day. What are ten or 20 paintballs to a semi-auto carrying player, who routinely wastes them through an electronic paintball-slinger needlessly?

You might end up handing most of those paintballs back to them when the day is done, because you shoot only so little.

Why Use Modified Stockguns Today?

What The Heck Is a "Modified Stockgun"?

Modified stockguns can be any pump that is either a cigar-tube fed, tank-powered paintgun; or one that uses 12g cartridges on a hopper-fed paintgun; or it can be a stockgun-like paintgun creation that does not fit neatly into the traditional stockgun format, because it breaks one or more rules that make stockguns true stockguns.

A stockgun whose feed-tube is not parallel to the barrel and breech is also a "modified" stockgun, as the paintballs are stacked above the bolt.

Elbow-feed Stockguns

If you have a Sniper II and want to play in a fairer manner against stockgun players, then the modified stockgun game-type is for you. It allows you to join them, if you can load cigar-tubes vertically or into a PVC elbow on your Sniper II and play that way. True stockguns are fed horizontally, which is why the Sniper II doesn't qualify and must be designated a "modified" stockgun, somewhere between a stockgun and an open pump. Without irreparably-changing a Sniper II, there's no real way to make it into a true horizontally-fed stockgun, even if you use 12gs. But that's OK, because the game you and your friends will be playing now is officially called the "modified stockgun game-type," once you bring your Sniper II monstrosity into the mix.

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Elbow-fed stockguns exist mostly because certain players who bought or received open pumps were unsatisfied with having to use hoppers, and so they converted their feed-necked open pumps to tube-fed modified stockguns.

12g Cartridges with Hoppers

Another example of modified stockgun is one that uses 12g cartridges and a bulk hopper. Having a belt's-worth of 12g cartridges with you as you play with an unregulated hopper-fed Sniper II or some other machine is great for playing on a field constructed by you and your friends, out in the woods or in an abandoned field someplace.

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It's like an airgun/paintgun hybrid you shoot around with your buddies. You don't have to worry about how low you are on a CO2 or nitro tank, instead you just screw in another 12g cartridge and you've got another 20-some shots. And you don't have to worry about broken or lost cigar-tubes and tube caps--they are a pain to deal with, aren't they?

If you've got a VL200, then you've got 200 rounds of rock and roll. Changing your 12gs only eight or nine times over the course of a day of play is not so bad.

Tank-Heavy Phantoms

As for the reverse of the coin being modified stockguns--on a certified paintball field that gives free nitro fills with admission, having a belt's-worth of cigar-tubes on while using a tank-equipped Phantom stockgun is pretty gnarly. All you have to worry about then is just reloading the paintballs and putting the empty cigar-tubes someplace. No more reloading gas, giving you one less thing to worry about, making things a little less complicated and more straightforward in a heated battle. Depending on what you got, you might be able to balance the paintgun out better by having the tank on it, redistributing the weight and changing the center of gravity of the paintgun to your personal liking. But often a big tank will change the feel of the paintgun, which will take some getting used to.

If you like the slimmer profile of the Phantom stockgun, but don't have a 12g cartridge changer, or access to 12gs, then that's another reason to go this route.

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Probably the main reason to have a rig set up like this is because some fields don't allow 12g cartridges, for safety reasons. Empty and discarded 12g cartridges may pose a slip hazard. Lawnmowers and 12gs probably don't mix very well with each other, either. A small and lightweight tank like the aluminum 3.5oz CO2 would be a suitable replacement in this situation.

A Transitional Game-type

Besides these examples, I don't really see any reason for the modified stockgun game-type to exist today. Only briefly were modified stockguns around in large numbers as players modified and evolved stockguns into ones that have the hoppers and tanks like those of today. When doing that proved successful it became standard, and that's why today we have the open pump game-type and of course semi-autos.

In my opinion, if you want to go light and quick, go with true stockguns; and if you want to muscle your way around the field, go with an open pump. When you go with something in-between, for no reason, I think it's muddying up the clear purposes there are for there being different kinds of pump paintguns, which in my view are set in stone. To me, it's sort of like adding a third wheel to a motorcycle, or clipping the wings of a parrot.

But if it helps you get more eliminations in some way, go for it.

Guerrilla Warfare

Asymmetric warfare--that's when combat between two sides is unequal in approach but unprejudiced in outcome.

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Militaries for centuries have whined and cried foul when their enemies did things outside of expectations for the win--whether it be suicide-bombing, shooting at lined ranks from safely-concealed positions using newfangled weaponry, unmanned drone missile attacks, making attacks using innocent civilians as shields, using nuclear power and nuclear weapons proliferation, et cetera. It all seems so unfair, so uneven; especially if those who do them had initially appeared so vulnerable, so weak, and so easy. Things just didn't happen as expected.

But this isn't war. This isn't even all that serious.

You too, as a pump player, play outside of your opponents' expectations for the win. They don't expect you to be so close. They don't expect to be eliminated by only a single paintball, when whoever performed the elimination had only shot once in the whole round.

But because "one-shot, one-kill" is such a refined method of playing, no rational person should complain about being eliminated in such a fashion. They should instead be awed and take notes.

Most importantly, the pump player should accept other peoples' ways of playing as legitimate. The pump player mustn't, as a legitimate pump player, whine or cry foul when other players do things outside of expectations. They should adapt their play and adapt quickly, for next round.

They should only play to get a successful shot on the other player, and continue the shots until they call themselves out. Never mind winning or losing, or becoming eliminated after making the successful hits.

If you can make your opponents frustrated, you've done your job as a paintball player by making the game challenging or interesting.

Not At All a Handicap

A pump is not for someone to handicap themselves with purposefully as a way of showing off to the other players. You will realize this once you get a pump and get to use it on the field. It is a totally-different style, being neither better nor worse than whatever is considered the "best" paintgun at the moment. If you were to line up all the paintguns in the world and organize them from best to worst, pumps would exist alongside such a line-up. They occupy the side-wards plane.

You'll be going into an asymmetric battle when you use a pump against someone who handles "the best paintgun" comfortably and with experience. Initially, you may be lead to believe that the battle favors your opponent. That belief will only stall your game behavior. It's best to erase any feeling of fear or doubt and have confidence with what you brought with you.

Your paintballs fly straight, for Christ's sake. Don't they?

Get In

Poke your head out, but not for too long. If it gets quiet, investigate like a cat that shrinks away from being spotted. They will make a bold maneuver--you can react quickly to it. You will make a bold maneuver, they will react to it. You may even find yourself all the way on the other side of the field, with them on your original side. They are going to want to keep their distance, because you seem to give the impression that you know where they are at all times.

Eventually, though, you are probably going to get shot. There's too much distance between you to reliably hit them--the only downside to using a pump. But you were scaring them half to death the whole round, and now they're probably exhausted--unlike you. Maybe next game you'll win?

Chase Them

If they don't move quite as much as you do... if they stick to a bunker, just go to corner them and watch as they flee. Get them as they run. They don't expect you to be that close to them. You have the look and mannerisms of a curious shark going after what could be dinner.

All of this is especially true if you are armed with a stockgun.

Getting Unstuck

If they pound your bunker next round, hunker down. Use the x-ray vision we all have called imagination, and when you believe they will be coming up from one angle, go around oppositely so that they can't see you or shoot you. If they trick you and come up another way, then they know the field more than you do. This is why it's important to get to know and familiarize yourself with the field you choose to play on.

When you have experience on your favorite field, you'll know all the tricks and ways players can get you and you can get them. If you don't know the field, you are stuck in a spider web of the other player's construction. They'll eat you up.

Not so here. On this field, your favorite one, you know where all the players like to go. Coupled with this, you are highly mobile. From the other players' perspective, this makes you look like you are seeing through things and are always moving towards them. You move as a free person on this field, bunkering players like you built the place yourself. Did I mention that this perfect field is an indoor or tournament-style one?

On tournament fields, once you hit the "fifty," everything becomes easy. When you hit "snake," things become easy, too; but the bunkers are so small you have to force yourself into a somewhat uncomfortable position. Try to get to either of these spots, and after getting one or two of their guys out, move in for the last elimination.

Crazy game, isn't it?

Close-In Like a Barracuda

So, will you get shot again? The chances of that happening slim drastically the closer you are to them. The closer you are the more worried they become, and the less mental clarity they have to shoot accurately at you. Distance, for a semi-auto player, is directly-proportional to mental clarity. They can think straight when they "long-ball" at you. They can't think straight when it looks like you're all up in their business.

In reality, though, you are not a mean person. You are not an enemy. You are just as innocent as a butterfly, you give hugs to loved ones and you read bedtime stories to your stuffed animals at home. You dot every i and period with a huge circle. You just want a successful shot on them, that's all. But what you are doing scares the shit out of people who aren't used to it.

Most unsettling of all is how you appear, perhaps because a predator does not display threat-posture when it goes to hunt, and neither do you when you go in for the elimination. Tense shoulders signal "weakness" to everyone around, a silly last-resort way a target animal tries to throw off an attacker while reinforcing the fact that it is, in fact, prey to be attacked. The spines of a fish fan out when it does not want to be disturbed, but it takes on a slender profile when it is confident and going after smaller, weaker fish.

Loosen up and be confident.

Pumps for Mindless Opportunists

I believe pump paintball can appeal to both genders. It's pretty universal. It's not about testosterone or macho stuff at all; it's not about to grow hair on your chest. It's stimulates the manufacture of a totally different hormone--adrenaline. When played right, a player can look downright carnivorous, but on the inside they are just a nice person without a mean bone in their body.

The late Steve Irwin called each of his crocodiles "sweet-heart" and other nice names, because on the inside they are beautiful and sinless beings. But they do have teeth and "pack a wallop." They capitalize on the earliest opportunity, waiting for you to slip-up before taking a bite.

"No Regrets" Way To Play

When the games are over, it's all high-fives for everyone involved. All of this happy, feel-good feeling happens because the paintgun and paintballs you use shoot straight and you are happy and comfortable with using them. Because of this, you have nothing to worry about--letting you focus more on the game. You are 100% satisfied with all of the decisions you've made, and you have no regrets.

You'll forget what it is exactly that you're carrying, because everything is working so beautifully. You'll forget that the material world around you even exists. That's when you know you've done all the right things, when the things you carry don't draw attention to themselves and distract you away from what's really important.

Fields

Perfectly-Structured Games

As a pump player you crave structure, like an autistic child you love to become settled with doing things a certain way repetitiously--playing a certain field layout. That is, until whatever you're doing no longer works and you are forced to change how you approach the game. Then it's time to change the routine.

You love the freedom to move. You'll get stuck behind a bunker from time-to-time, but not for long. Soon, you find yourself in a totally-different bunker, moving closer or further away from the opposing players depending on how well everyone is controlling the field. You want to control the field, too, but sometimes you have to give up some of it in order to maneuver yourself around and get a good angle on them. By timing yourself and moving when you feel is best, you control the field.

When nobody knows where you are, and you are unbearably close to them--that is what pump glory is.

Indoor

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Well-lit, indoor fields are intense and great. They're easy places to play in for pump players. Bunkers protect you while teammates pin down the opponent players! You can then run up on your target and shoot them. There's no wind affecting your shots (though the same could be said about playing in densely-wooded fields)--and indoor fields are small enough that you will definitely hit your mark across the field without much effort.

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Because the bunker layout is so dense, it doesn't matter how fast a player can shoot. You want to take as much of the added advantage away from semi-auto players as you can, and playing in an indoor environment does just that.

You, as a pump player, need just enough space to move and to breathe! So it's important to play on fields that aren't too small and claustrophobic, just large enough for you to shoot from one end to the other reliably and accurately.

Before the games begin, choose a thin inanimate target at the other side of the field and shoot it once. This will give you all the confidence you need to win more often than you lose.

But losing to a more powerful player isn't so bad. You'll want to win from time-to-time, though. You'll want to dominate in some games. Indoor games let you. Probably the most fun you can have with a pump is playing 1-versus-1 against a willing electronic semi-auto player, on a properly set-up indoor field.

Welts

The downside of playing indoors is that the shots do hurt more, and leave welts that last much longer on the body due to the close-range. These welts can last up to a month, and can remain as ring-shaped scars for three-months or more before they eventually disappear. If you play outdoors in wide-open fields, welts last maybe a week and a half since a majority of them are from "long-ball" shots from reckless semi-auto players.

Welts become greenish-blue bruises if they hit a bony area of flesh. Call me sick, but I like delivering these hits to people, since they usually have no qualms calling themselves out.

If you have access to a first-aid kit you can speed up the healing process by treating the welts as if they were wounds and take care of them as such with an antibiotic, and then band-aid them. But that's not necessary.

If you want welts to go away quickly, go get a sun tan. It gets rid of the welts!

Outdoor

Until you get your own fast-shooting semi-auto, I would shy away from playing in the woods on unstructured, non-symmetrical fields. Maybe play with an open pump at the least so you've got some firepower to work with. Stockguns just aren't going to cut it out there; you'll need a big open pump at the least, to make them want to duck down and hide when you engage them.

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Out in the woods, or in sparsely-covered fields, semi-auto players plant themselves a distance away and will shoot at you often enough that they will eventually, actually rather quickly, get lucky and hit you. As a stockgun player you won't have that luxury. While they are doing this, you can't move because there are not enough obstacles to escape into, or move forward into, to take advantage of.

You'll want to play on a field that is littered with fun and easy-to-get-to obstacles, and is symmetrical so that both teams have a fair chance at winning. Find a field that lets you sneak, slide, creep, and move quietly and comfortably.

Whether or not you should play in the woods depends on the crowd. If there are a lot of players toting Tippmanns on a woods-field, go ahead and join them with any pump. If there are lots of Autocockers and electronic paintguns; and they're all shooting paintballs straightly like they're darts, ropes, and laser beams; go with a jumbo-sized open pump at the least so that they'll get some good return fire from you.

If you shoot straight, you'll have a fun time no matter if you win or lose.

What to Do If You Ever Find Yourself Out In the Woods

Hard paintballs are ideal in the woods since they go through some tree brush and leaves without breaking, but play with whatever works best for you on all fields. I prefer brittle paintballs no matter the setting. Hard paintballs will bounce off of distant targets.

For playing in the woods, stay low to the ground and find openings. As soon as they see you, they'll be onto you. Don't let them see you even if you are "out-of-range." You have to get them while they are totally unaware of your presence.

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As I write this, I chuckle to myself--there's no way you can hide in a big old woods-field. Somehow, if you can, do it. You'll be a hero. I managed to do it, but only because the opponents were distracted and pinned by my teammates. If you go it alone, they'll team up and get you.

Paintballs and Barrels

If every time you went to go shoot somebody you missed, would you still want to keep playing paintball? No. Buy the best paintballs and the best gear, or else you won't be playing in this game very long. That means no more mechanical rental paintguns and no more cheap field paintballs.

Closed-Bolt Paintguns & Top-Quality Paintballs for the Win

There is an idea or belief going around in the world of paintball that pumps are inherently more accurate than semi-autos or other forms of paintguns. I have good news: when the paintballs are round and fit your barrel, your Sniper II or Phantom is the most accurate paintgun in the world, without question. It doesn't matter what barrel you use. It doesn't matter what your propellant is. That's because pumps are closed-bolt, like bolt-action rifles. Paintballs are gently pushed into the barrel prior to firing, and in the pump firing-cycle the paintballs are only pushed out in one linear direction--forward. There's no back-and-forth nonsense going on in the firing cycle, only as you prepare the next shot to be fired before steadying and taking aim again.

"Accuracy of Paintguns" Controversy

There is still a lot of controversy over whether or not one form of paintgun is more accurate than another. But I know from experience that my pumps excel at accuracy, and they hit the spot, whereas someone else's electronic semi-auto may shoot up and down and all around. I assume this is because closed-bolt pumps like mine have no kick. I hit where I aim. I can even point the paintgun without aiming and hit where I intend. It's never "ball-on-ball," it never is. But it always goes where I expect it to, it always hits the tree or bucket or some other small thing.

I recently realized that I don't really aim with my paintgun. I thought I did, I thought I had an eye looking around either side of the feed-neck, but I don't. I discovered this when my shots, out-of-nowhere, decided to start curving slightly due to a surprise paintball break in the barrel. I was trying to correct myself and it wasn't working--and that was when I noticed that, with the way I was holding my paintgun, I had merely been "pointing" the barrel and would automatically adjust where the shots went as I was shooting.

(It leads one to wonder--does anyone really aim in paintball at all, or do we just auto-correct and move in closer?)

What was important to my accuracy, most of all, were my "three points of contact"--I supported the paintgun at the rear end with my shoulder, at the middle with my trigger hand, and towards the front with the pump handle. This gave my paintgun all the stability I needed to shoot as accurately as I could, without having to actually aim, and while distance-shooting I would just lift or lower the paintgun slightly or adjust a little to the left or right as necessary. Instant straight-shooting; brag-worthy eliminations those are.

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"That's what I call straight-shooting," I boasted after winning a distance-engagement with a semi-auto player who was shooting 12 balls-per-second misses and bounces--I got him right on the goggles.

He agreed.

I have a lot of confidence in my paintguns and the paintballs I choose to use. I'm not trying to brag, but then again it's hard not to when the performance is proven.

Expert opinion tells us that the only thing that could affect the accuracy of paintballs in flight is the shape, fit, quality, and cleanliness of the paintballs themselves. The cleanliness of the barrel and bolt is also, of course, of utmost importance.

The belief that pumps are the most accurate can continue to exist only if pump players make the effort to shoot only the roundest, most expensive tournament-grade paintballs available on the market. Such paintballs can be purchased cheaply on the Internet. When compared to field-offered paintballs there is usually little difference in price. Be sure to purchase your favorite paintballs only from a trustworthy website or e-business.

If you want paintball to grow in your region, perhaps go to a local paintball store and have them order in what you need. Maybe they'll start stocking your favorite stuff on their shelves!

The Perfect Paintgun Doesn't Exist Yet

I hand my paintgun (a Phantom stockgun) to another player who's curious to shoot it, and they are surprised by the accuracy of this CO2-powered paintgun and wonder how it's even possible. And they wonder in awe at its light weight. Is it better than the Ego 10 or DM6 they shoot? To me it's like comparing a pair of scissors to a hammer when it comes to eating from a bowl of cereal, I don't know which is better. There can be a perfect paintgun for the game of paintball, a spoon for the bowl of cereal, but it hasn't been properly-made yet. I believe the manually-operated, closed-bolt action is a step towards the right direction. That's why I wrote this book.

I believe that the extremely-customizable Sniper IIs are the closest thing to the perfect paintgun at the moment. They give you a lot of paintballs to work with, are well-balanced and comfortable to hold, shoot straight, and give you many options to choose from as far as components go both internal and external. The parts are all easily-replaceable, and the barrel threads are a widely-accepted standard--which is Autococker. You get a ton of shots out of a tank, (though the Phantom would give you more at the expense of other luxuries). There are pistol grip trigger frames in the common ".45" form-factor, and there are also more ergonomically-angled ones to choose from as well.

Cleanliness Equals Accuracy

Greasy-grimy paintgun barrels will make your paintballs shoot off every which way as "zingers." If players see your paintgun can't shoot paintballs straight at them, they may advance towards you. Not good.

Make sure your barrel and bolt are nice and clean before playing. A "pull-thru" squeegee that you wear around your neck is a must-own piece of gear. It will get your barrel clean quick when the situation is tight and time is of the essence.

If you brought a Poland Spring jug with you, and your squeegee fails to produce a mirror-shine inside the barrel (hold the barrel up to the sky and look through it to see), simply wet the squeegee with water and run it through from both ends, dry the squeegee, and run it through both ends again. Some paint breaks are more difficult to remove than others. Find out what paintballs have a more "wet" fill rather than a sticky fill and stick with that kind. Wet paintball paint breaks better, cleans better, and feels better to the other player who gets hit by them. Nobody likes to scrape hard icing off themselves or off their paintgun.

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Hydrogen peroxide works better than water and costs only a dollar for a bottle. You wet the pull-thru squeegee with it, then run it through the barrel, pouring some of the stuff in the barrel to chase the pull-thru as you glide it through. Hold the barrel up to the sky and see how really shiny and mirror-like it is inside! Wipe the squeegee and watch it magically turn clean and clear as if you just bought it, then run it through the barrel in the opposite direction. Now its dry and ready to "shoot tacks."

I never give my paintgun a chance to get dirty or inaccurate. Between rounds I always inspect my barrel and use the pull-thru on it, even as the referees call to see if both teams are ready to go and everyone's saying, "Yea!" while I do my whole barrel-cleaning routine. Sometimes the game starts just as I screw my barrel back in, just as I'm ready to "go-go-go!" Then it's all straight-shooting madness from there on out--well worth my minor delay.

Paintballs and Barrels

Paintballs and barrels go more together than barrels and paintguns do. A wise investment would be the roundest and most expensive tournament-grade paintballs that fit your paintgun barrel, before wasting money on anything else like a red dot or other unnecessary add-on. With paintballs, you are going to want to find whatever sits comfortably inside the barrel without rolling out, and won't break in the barrel when fired.

Don't buy just any old paintballs, they're all different! When I brought up the subject of finding compatible paintballs for my barrel, a referee tried to convince me that because paintball barrels are ".68-caliber" they should be all able to handle any so-called .68-caliber paintballs. That's of course a big lie; those extra thousandths of an inch make a huge difference as to whether or not your paintballs shoot straight!

Find out what your favorite brand and type and color of paintballs are, and stick with those ones religiously no matter how much they cost. Only get paintballs that you are confident shooting, ones that you know will shoot straight.

This is the "no regrets" way of playing.

No paintgun is accurate if the paintballs are low-quality garbage of the kind that rental players shoot at nothing with. Never play on a field that doesn't let you bring your own paintballs! As often as you can, try to bring your own to the field to save money and shoot straighter than anyone else. You can support the field by buying theirs, but there's no guarantee that they will fit your paintgun barrel and perform the way you've come to expect.

Buy only the best paintballs you possibly can that fit perfectly in your paintgun's barrel. That's your #1 key to success and finding fun in this game. Buy paintballs that break easy. These high-quality paintballs will sometimes grime up your barrel either at the entrance or the exit, and that is OK, because if you wear a pull-thru squeegee around your neck it only takes a little more than a couple of seconds to make your "barrel-inner" squeaky clean again, even when you're in the middle of a game. Then it's back to straight-shooting!

It may take longer if the barrel is Autococker-threaded--Phantoms have the advantage here as their barrels unscrew much faster.

I personally use "All Star" paintballs. Take one and throw it lightly against a rock or hard ground and it'll break. Do that with any other paintball and they'll bounce, even after an infinity of throws. All Stars were meant to be used in lo-pressure paintguns, which may explain why they sometimes get beat up in my hi-pressure ones, but they shoot so straight that I won't shoot anything else. It breaks often enough on target that I can't complain whenever it doesn't. Paintball breaks in the barrel are relatively infrequent and are so easy to clean that they do not obstruct play. The fill is very nice and slick--making it effortless to squeegee. I am really satisfied with the accuracy of the All Star paintballs. I attribute my paintguns' accuracy to the All Stars that I use.

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I've discovered that All Stars are warm-weather paintballs and don't like the cold at all. I had hardly any paintball breaks in the barrel in one summer of play, maybe once per visit at the most. I also discovered that V1 paintballs are a great substitute, the only downside is they are less vibrant colored.

So you see... I have a favorite kind of paintballs that I stick with religiously. Some people like "Marballizers," some like RPS/Nelson, some like Draxxus. They're a little different from each other and may or may not fit 100% in your particular barrel. Find out what does through your own research, since sometimes the paintball sizes change depending on their time of production and the weather, among other variables.

I've seen a player shoot Marballizers through an older model SL-68 II. I've never seen a paintgun shoot so straight for so far. They had hit my chest several times at the maximum possible distance you could expect to hit someone else in paintball, but because of that distance they all bounced. Despite his good shooting, eventually I got him in the goggles.

"I knew it was a straight-shooter!" I said to that player.

When I told him he was pelting me from that far, he was floored. Later, he offered me some Marballizers as payment for trying out my Sniper II at the firing range. I declined his offer; I really am only comfortable using my own paintballs.

Earlier in the book somewhere, I mentioned that it doesn't matter what barrel you use. That's because a barrel is just a simple tube that need only be smooth and clean on the inside. A tube is a tube, whether it is titanium, aluminum, brass, Teflon-coated PVC, et cetera. They all can be straight-shooters, if the paintballs fit.

Barrel length may be important if you want the paintballs to gently accelerate as they travel through them, without of course there being so much tube that your efficiency suffers as the paintballs reach a point where they cease to accelerate and instead begin dragging along the barrel wall, wasting your gas. For a good buy, get an 11 or 14 inch barrel.

No Wastefulness Allowed

Don't spill paintballs! Be careful not to spill paintballs! Don't you accidentally drop those paintballs. Don't shoot too many low shots! If you start to shoot a string of low shots, it's time to start bunkering people and getting yourself shot out so you can leave and get a gas refill. Don't let them give you a partial CO2 fill, that tank was supposed to last you all day. You were supposed to run out of paintballs first.

Sorry if I sounded like mom just then.

What to Do With Poor-Quality Paintballs

What should you do if you buy the wrong paintballs? After the games are over, keep them in a container or sealed bowl. When you have a CO2 tank that's low on gas, use those "extra paintballs" at home against some trees, because they're no good against players.

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If you drop a bunch of paintballs on the ground on accident while at the field, don't pick them up off the ground and load them back into your paintgun (that's gross)--put these in the same container you put your crappy paintballs in and target-shoot with them at home or in a safe area off the field. They are dirty, and that makes them no good in real games.

At the end of the day, sometimes referees pull a sick joke called "mercy games" (also called "anarchy games") where players who still have some paintballs left get to waste them all on each other in a close-range free-for-all game, where no one calls themselves out until players reach a point where they just can't take anymore of the abuse, or all their reserves run out and there's no reason for them to be there anymore.

The refs sit back and watch in amusement as the players shoot each other non-stop. This is the time for you to load up your hopper with the crappiest-of-the-crap paintballs that you have collected over time, and go out there, wreck house--getting up close and personal. This is when you get over your fear of being shot.

Don't even worry about getting shot, just wander on up to them and pump, shoot, pump, shoot--until all of your crappy useless paintballs go away. Shoot their lenses so they can't see you anymore!

You're like Frankenstein, too stupid to feel pain--walking dangerously-close to the other players, getting hit endlessly--shooting them casually from the hip...

Hi, this is Johnny Knoxville, and you're watching 'Jackass.' (Cue redneck music).

The Trick to Making Poor Paintballs Fly Straight

Paintballs, the crappiest and oldest and worst paintballs ever, are at their most accurate in 100\B0F heat. Don't believe me? Try it out on a hot day. Get your old, dimply, and mismatched batch of paintballs together and roll them around in a bowl for a while to smooth them out just a little, and then load them in your paintgun and shoot at some trees--they fly straight! Didn't expect that, did you? It might be because they are softer in the heat and conform to the barrel-inner better, though I'm really not sure.

Non-Paintballs

Reusable paintballs, like Reballs, are not a good way to gauge a paintgun's accuracy nor are they good for calibrating velocity. Reballs and paintballs have very different properties from each other and thus will never quite match each other in performance, even when they are the same size.

Because of their small size, Reballs will often roll out of the barrel.

And because the impact of a Reball is stronger than a regular paintball, velocity should be dialed down to the low 200s, like 220 feet-per-second at the most. And because Reballs are reuseable, they should be cleaned before shooting through your barrel again, to avoid possibly scratching the barrel-inner with dirt.

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Besides these unfortunate facts, Reballs are a clean and inexpensive way to enjoy paintball in an indoor environment where they can be easily found and retrieved when the game is over. You'll find that half the time, you'll hit perfectly what you're aiming at with the Reballs, and the rest will be "zingers" that are total misses, much like how low-grade paintballs behave. Always remember to wear face and eye protection! Reballs have just as much potential to cause life-altering injuries as regular paintballs!

Always Wear Protection--Over Your Eyes

Wear your paintball goggles. There's a high chance a paintball or Reball may bounce right back off of something and hit you in the face, in-between the eyes, or even into your eye causing horrific, irreparable injury! So always wear a paintball mask when using your paintgun.

If you're not careful, "You'll shoot your eye out, kid!"

A Note On Thermal Lenses

Thermal lenses are disposable! You should buy a new thermal lens with every case of paintballs you buy. With time the silicon that create a vacuum-seal between the lens panes will wear as paintballs impact it and put stress on it, allowing it to fog. So buy a new lens with every case of paintballs you purchase; and if you have a lens that still works, you aren't getting shot in the face enough, and you should buy that backup lens anyways. Its better to have too many lenses in your possession than to have your one single thermal lens go bad on you half-way through what would have otherwise been a great day of paintball. Trust me on this: you don't want to have to look at your playing world through an foggy screen. You are above the status of rental player, so get yourself a decent working lens and start taking fog-free vision for granted!

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Vacuum-sealing Thermal Lenses to Preserve Them

I wrote the previous section before having learned a very nifty trick! You can use a Sunbeam "FoodSaver" Vacuum-sealer to reseal the silicone layer between a busted dual-pane thermal lens. Just clean and wipe the thermal lens so that all the grime and oil is gone, let it air out for a while, and then put it in a FoodSaver bag and vacuum-seal the ends. This sucks out all the air and at the same time pressing the dual-panes together! It may help revive old thermal lenses so you don't have to keep throwing them away!

I learned this from a player in-person, as far as I know this is not a commonly-known trick. Let me be the first to share this with the world! Field owners now have good reason to stock old thermal lenses with their rental masks. They just have to keep at it with the vacuum-sealer....

Paintball Storage

As a stockgun player, do not store paintballs in the cigar-tubes for extended periods, such as overnight or for longer than an hour prior to heading to the field! Store them in their original bags, where they press against each other on all sides rather than be stacked in a tube where even in some small and seemingly insignificant way they will become deformed and elliptical!

I once stored paintballs in their cigar-tubes for a couple of days prior to playing. When I brought my stockgun and tubes to the field, I was wondering why my good-quality paintballs all of a sudden weren't shooting straight anymore. It's because I wasn't taking care of my paintballs by keeping them in a tied bag!

Every so often, shake the 500-round bags so that the paintballs resettle in a different way. Paintballs that sit too long a certain way become ovoid-shaped, inaccurate.

Don't keep paintballs in the trunk of your car or in direct sunlight!

You don't need to fuss over this too much, just a little here-and-there from time-to-time and your high-quality paintballs will be straight-shooters, I promise.

Barrels and Airflow

Because paintballs gently accelerate through the barrel rather than jolt out at a constant velocity, it is a good idea to have a barrel that is between 11 and 14 inches, which is un-ported along its length until the last couple of inches. This will allow the paintballs to accelerate to their fullest speed before stabilizing at some point near the end of the barrel and exiting. The "porting" holes in a barrel shed away some of the exiting gas, so that the paintball is less affected by the expanding and turbulent push of gas behind it, letting it sail quietly forth towards its target. The noise output is also reduced as exiting gas becomes less concentrated as it too is shed off by the porting.

If you don't like cleaning out the porting holes of a barrel (you can get away with not cleaning them entirely anyways), you can go non-ported. I have a non-ported brass barrel which is nice.

The build-up of gas--called "pressure"--behind the paintball is what causes it to accelerate. If the amount of build-up is different for each shot, each of the paintballs will accelerate up to differing speeds as they reach the muzzle exit, which will create the inconsistencies you see when the shots are compared to each other at the chronograph. A regulator or two helps with this by leveling the output, making each paintball accelerate up to the same or similar rates. They put the same build-up of gas behind each paintball.

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Using a short barrel like one in a "pump pistol" means that a lot of the gas' power potential gets shot out and wasted before the paintball can become fully-accelerated. The paintball leaves the muzzle too quickly, and will no longer accelerate once outside the confines of the barrel. All this means fewer shots per 12g cartridge, if that happens to be the power source of choice. But pistols have their advantages: compact size, light weight, the ability to be holstered, and they make good backups. Though pistols are short, they are every bit as accurate as the long \91guns.

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PGP is a fine pistol paintgun, the simplest of all paintguns (dare I say as simple as a Nelson?), of .686 caliber I believe. It shoots All Stars straighter than my Phantom at distance, and it comes with glowing sights. I highly-recommend a PGP if you can find one with a quick-thread changer! I might have to make my Phantom a back-bottle paint rifle and carry a PGP in a holster as my sidearm--they both share the same ammo!

The longer that the bottled gas gets built-up in the barrel, the faster the paintball accelerates--but there comes a point where it ceases to accelerate and becomes stabilized. Having too long of a barrel may negatively-affect efficiency--the longer pipe requiring more gas pressure behind each paintball to push them out.

You can compromise by getting a barrel that allows paintballs to reach full speed at the earliest moment before cutting off.

The only reason to have a barrel length that is excessively long is for aiming purposes. It's just easier to aim a paintgun when its barrel points at your target like a long finger. That's how I prefer.

To sum things up nicely, get a barrel that's long enough to get paintballs to maximum-allowable velocity, using the least gas pressure possible, for greater efficiency.

Palmer's Barrels

Glenn Palmer of Palmer Pursuit Shop says a barrel which is 13 inches is ideal, and that in just such a barrel a paintball reaches the maximum possible velocity before gas efficiency begins to suffer. He also says that the barrel-inner should be elliptical--like his brass ones--instead of purely cylindrical inside. Paintballs themselves are never perfectly round but are soft and malleable under pressure and would fit better inside an elliptical barrel. According to his clients and reviewers, because Palmer brass barrels are elliptical-honed, they support a greater range of paintball sizes.

Backspin

"Backspin" happens on accident sometimes when the environment within the barrel causes the paintball to shoot out spinning backwards as though rolling towards the player's direction while at the same time being propelled away at high-speed. What you then see is a paintball that looks as though it defies gravity as it rockets away on an unusual, linear trajectory.

While in-flight, the backspinning paintball takes the air that it has friction against and--with the rolling action of the paintball--directs that condensed air beneath itself with its spin, creating lift to counteract gravity. Distance (and sometimes accuracy) is thus greatly increased.

Subsequent shots will probably be zingers, since it's usually the grime or grit in the barrel that causes the backspin and other unusual paintball behaviors.

To purposefully create backspin requires a third-party barrel extension such as an "Apex," or a bolt that applies backspin by specifically-shaping the release of gas behind the paintball (which may only just be a gimmick), or a curved Flatline barrel.

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Backspin happens within the barrel due to a combination of the paintball's gentle acceleration (from the expanding gas behind it) and the gentle friction it has against something. The gentle friction is what causes it to roll backwards.

For many, simply angling the paintgun up a little and adjusting one's position on a well-constructed field is enough to make backspin-inducing paintguns and parts unnecessary. However, fields that have a lot of trees makes arcing shots difficult for distance shooting.

The reason why backspin-inducing paintguns are not totally popular or standard yet is because any slight tilting of the paintgun's orientation on a central axis will cause the backwards-spinning paintballs to veer, since the paintball spin will also be similarly-tilted, and the lift would not be directed underneath but rather down and angled away.

Two-Piece Barrels

For CO2-users, having a two-piece barrel imparts reverse-backspin, "front spin" I call it, that reduces range without losing velocity. Strangely, this is not the case when nitrogen is used--range is not noticeably lost.

Use two-piece barrels with nitrogen, and brass or single-piece barrels for CO2.

Did You Know?

Titanium barrels shoot tiny sparks of static-electricity behind paintballs. This is especially visible in low-lighting or at nighttime.

Hassle-free & Fun-focused

Remember when I apologized for sounding like your mom? Well, now I'm going to sound like dad, and I'm not apologizing!

I want you to have such a good time--I'm going to be mad and angry about it! Now go to your room! And don't you come out until you're ready to play some pump paintball!

Against Uneducated Buys

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I'm personally shocked that enormous, weighty, overly-dressed, mechanical semi-autos continue to sell when more accuracy, simplicity, reliability, and value can be had in the form of open pump paintguns, of either Nelson or Sheridan design!

Open pumps can even shoot faster and longer than mechanical semi-autos when running on CO2!

Few know or understand the "no regrets" way, and have left the game without truly-knowing what it is. They'll tell their friends, "I tried \91paintball' the other day--'Didn't like it," and they won't be able to explain why. It's because they let the field operators throw some cheap shit at them to play with, and the cheap paintballs they were forced to use didn't hit what they were supposed to.

Why not get a closed-bolt and plow through other players like they're saloon doors?

Own Fiddle-Free Paintguns Only!

Buy the right paintgun the first time. Otherwise, it will lead to disaster--the accumulation of a variety of extra unnecessary parts, and ultimately dissatisfaction with the game when it's finally realized how much money had been wasted. Keeping it simple within every facet of the game should be the pump player's goal.

Keep it simple and light and of the highest quality, always.

Against Unnecessary Buys

If the stock barrel isn't good enough for you, then you probably shouldn't have bought the paintgun in the first place. When you buy a replacement barrel, what are you going to do with the old one? Will you have an assortment of barrels for different sized paintballs? Don't complicate the game this way.

Find what paintballs work best with your one single barrel and stick with those forever. Leave the rest of your barrels in a tote someplace in the attic, labeled "paintball junk," with all the other unnecessary gear you hope to sell someday soon.

Maintenance-proof

You can oil your pump paintgun, but why? There's nothing moving, bumping, or grinding inside your paintgun between shots. No need for oil. Maybe oil it once and then never again. Maybe put a dab of oil on the sliding trigger, just for fun.

Disassembly Unnecessary for a Sniper II

Sniper IIs may take a while to assemble (yeah, right), especially the valve because you have to line it up with an elongated "Autococker valve-tool" before tightening it down in place. The valve is cylindrical so it spins around freely in the body before it's lined up and tightened down. But it is a trouble-free assembly, and once assembled the way you want it you will never need to disassemble it, ever. They are so simple.

Need to clean your Sniper II's bolt? Simply take it out and wipe it under your armpit! Do a barrel-squeegee if you have to. Click the bolt back in place and you're back to straight-shooting.

And the Phantom can be disassembled and reassembled in your sleep, without the use of tools. I'm not even kidding! The Phantom is a truly wonderful design if you care about ease-of-use.

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God's Paintgun is a Nelson

One day at the field, I had cleaned the bolt of my Phantom and then reassembled it prior to playing a game, without checking to see if it would work. I go out onto the playing field and went to chamber a round, but found the bolt and linkage were stuck. I'd made a mistake somewhere. The referee and everyone stood there looking at me before we got to our starting positions, wondering what was the matter with me. Instead of whining, I sat down in the dirt and removed the tank. "What're you doing? What's wrong?" the ref asked. "I just got to do this real quick." I literally took the paintgun apart in my lap using the thumbscrews, realigned the bolt to the linkage, and put it back together in less than 2 minutes. I aired it up and quickly went to the starting position where my team was. Nobody spoke a word about it because it was resolved so quickly. And it was straight-shooting as if nothing had happened (I shot into the woods and hit a tree I'd hope would hit, and of course it did. "Perfect!" I said as I got into starting position and stance). I will never forget that minute and a half or so of intimate time fixing my Phantom on the field. Nothing else can compare to a Phantom's ease-of-use and maintenance when combined with its absolute dome-hitting performance.

If you are an uncomplicated person who likes to take it easy with their gear, pumps are for you!

Downsizing Your Gear Bag

If you've been building a Sniper II, buying parts, you've probably accumulated extras. Store these in a plastic tote and put them away. Or sell the parts. Or give them away to needy players! Don't ever lay eyes on them again. Only keep your necessary tools in your gear bag such as squeegee, handheld chronograph (a must-own), Allen wrench set, screwdriver, barrel sock, oil, mask, and perhaps Teflon tape if you have fittings on your paintgun. Travel light, simplify your life, and ditch whatever you don't need.

You could bring backup barrels with you to the field, for handling different calibers of paintballs. But if you're doing things right, you should only have one barrel per paintgun (or one barrel shared among different paintguns). You should also be bringing only your most favorite paintballs that fit the barrel to the field.

The extra bore-specific barrels (altogether called a "barrel system") would be good for when you run out of your favorite paintballs and you're begging people, or people are begging you, to use theirs to play some more. Theirs will no doubt be of a slightly different "bore," or size and fit, to the barrel you mainly use for your favorite paintballs; but they should fit one of your backup barrels.

For me, I stick with the paintballs I know best, and when I run out then it's game over. I say good-bye to the cool people and go home to shower. I save money and learn to conserve by bringing only what I can afford to spend.

Nowadays I don't even bring a gear bag. I can keep track of my goodies as they are always glued to my hands or on myself in some way. Nobody's stealing my hard-earned goodies.

Once again, if you've got any convoluted weirdness in your gear bag, put them away and never lay eyes on them again. You are a pump player, now.

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Standard Equipment Checklist

Here's what you need to bring with you to the field.

Mask with clear thermal lens, extra lens in gear bag, microfiber cloth in pocket, paintgun, knee-pads and elbow-pads, barrel sock, pull-thru squeegee, 200 rounds of the best paintballs you have, handheld chronograph, gloves, and Allen keys. Good to go! (What about oil, wrench, and Teflon tape? Do you need to bring those? What about a portable weighing scale for your CO2? That'll help determine if you're getting proper fills.)

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Don't Sit

Bring your paintgun fully-assembled with you to the field. You'll want to be able to shoot it once or twice at the chronograph station immediately after getting in, and then jump right into a game. Reduce or eliminate the amount of sitting-time spent in the staging area--you paid admission to play!

Stolen?

You took your eyes off your paintgun, and it's gone.

You took your eyes off your bag of paintballs, and now it's gone.

You want to hang whoever did this. But the truth is--you'll never find who did it. You'll blame me--you'll blame everyone within sight. We feel for you, but we honestly didn't see who took it, and now it's gone.

Don't let this happen to you. Keep your paintgun glued to your hands the whole time you're there. Keep only as many paintballs as your hopper can hold. Let it last you the whole day. Otherwise, a whole bag of paintballs you left sitting under the table will magically disappear.

That's $6 worth of paintballs that you have in your hopper. You don't plan to shoot more than that on some inexperienced suckers, do you?

Lock your car, hide your wallet. Kids are fun to play against, but their instincts tell them to steal from the carefree wealthy.

Don't even trust your friends.

This is the "no regrets" way.

Paintguns

Here's an idea: have only one or two paintguns. If one of them is a Palmer's paintgun, you've done well. If one of them is a Sniper II, you've done super. If one of them is a Nelson, that's very good. Be as diverse as you can be with only your two paintguns. Sell the third one. Have one of the two of these be a possible "loaner," for in case you bring a buddy with you to the field--and make sure it's one that's easy-to-use.

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If one of your two happens to be a pump pistol, prepare for envy!

Player's Toolbox

Treat your small paintgun collection like it were a box of tools, with each tool having a different purpose. One tool is not better than the other. If you're smart, the paintguns should all be straight-shooters under the right circumstances. One paintgun can only really be better than another if the paintballs used in one are better.

That's right, it's not the paintgun you use, but rather it's the paintballs that dictate accuracy and effectiveness.

Same goes for firearms. If you are one of those people who have an arsenal of machine guns at home (some people are right-wing rednecks), those things are nothing but jam-prone and pointless display pieces if the ammunition is not of the highest-quality. Even then, you've wasted your money since to defend your home and property, or to hunt game, you only need to shoot once and then be able to follow up quickly with a second shot, using a simple and reliable rifle, shotgun, or handgun.

But here I am digressing from the subject matter, comparing paintball to firearms. I suppose this is the only correlation I should use between these two separate things.

Let's all just pretend the last few paragraphs didn't happen, and take away from it only this: It's not so much about the \91gun, as it is about the ammo.

Remember, you are not pretending to violently hunt or kill people on the field. Paintballs are not bullets. Paintballs are not fists. This is only a fun win-or-lose game. Put the M16 away or I'm calling the police (just kidding, please don't shoot me).

Choosing

If you want an excellent group of paintguns, keep your collection short. You should choose your paintgun like a golfer chooses his clubs. Consider distance and field layout. Also consider the number of players; it would actually be best for the pump player to play with smaller crowds.

For small indoor fields, go for the stockgun.

Small outdoor fields with wind, weather, et cetera; pick the unregulated open pump.

Large outdoor fields; pick the regulated pump with the motorized hopper, auto-trigger, et cetera.

Woods fields, pick the semi-auto.

For playing against beginners, "mil-sim" players, or casual walk-ons; use an unregulated paintgun. For playing against "serious" or experienced players, use the regulated and hi-tech paintgun (either pump or semi-auto will do).

The reason for choosing a paintgun based on the crowd you're playing with is because--if you're smart--you'll be shooting the best and most brittle paintballs the most accurately of anyone at the field. You can afford to make adjustments so that you don't have too much of an unfair advantage over the other players, who may only be playing with cheap paintballs that the field provides along with cheap rental paintguns and equipment.

Quickly make them want to convert to your way without even saying a word.

Balancing the Game in Your Favor

Wait--what the heck do "brittle paintballs" have to do with the paintball crowd? OK, here's the deal: new players always shoot the worst paintballs, whereas you--the pump player--only shoot the best. Their paintballs are not going to hit you, and if they do, they will bounce harmlessly off of you without breaking. They will also try to shoot you when you are clearly out-of-range.

You are going to want to go light on these fellows. If you tear up the place with a hi-tech paintgun, you will only discourage potential paintball recruits. Shoot as light as they do, except more accurately, and they will see your way as being the right way.

To enjoy yourself, you must steer clear of crappy paintballs, even if someone offers you some. You know better.

Semi-Autos for Team Play Only

When you are playing with people you know, on a team you arranged, where teamwork is required and expected, go with the semi-auto. I'm not going to lie and say pumps-this and pumps-that all day and for every paintball occasion. Pumps are terrible for some things.

Pumps are not good for use with "game plans," they are more for twitch-speed reactions and more solitary play. Pumps are also only good for surprise attacks, not for aiding your teammates.

When I write this book I am writing to the individual player, because pumps are for use by the individual to play paintball, especially in today's paintball environment.

If a team chooses to play with only pumps against semi-autos, their heads would have to be constantly on swivels at all times. They would have to space themselves away from their bunkers and from each other and be ready for a short game. There would be no way to pin down the opponents, so there's no choice but to let the opponents run and take control of the field while trying to tag them as they go, and wait until they reload or otherwise become quiet before attempting to bunker them.

Hopefully the pump group can meet them in the middle of the field and make it a game that's all about fast reflexes and unpredictable behavior. If they--the pump teammates--don't make it there, they should risk getting shot as they go up and end it fast so that they can retry in the next game.

If everyone, both sides--bad guys and good guys, are using pumps, then you are hanging out with the right crowd! But don't expect it to be easy or fun, you will get annihilated and so will they. Pumps everywhere is a scary thing, an intimidating thing. They will tag you through the smallest hole, and if you show an inch that inch will be shot. It's almost like playing with semi-autos, the fastest pumps win. It's an arms race, they will have better and faster pumps than you.

Neither Serious Nor Joking

Decide whether you're a team player or not before spending money on a paintgun and gear. In the end, it's best to look out for yourself and do things for your enjoyment and satisfaction, rather than spend a fortune so you can be a better servant for a team.

This is your life, your money. Your life is complicated enough without the added hassle and expenditure. Don't weigh yourself down with obligations and baggage. Play paintball to get away.

What a Pump Paintgun Isn't and Is

A pump paintgun is not a novelty. It's not meant to be simply a curiosity. Many hardcore players with money buy one just for the novelty-factor alone and never choose to play with it as their primary.

In reality, if you do things correctly it will become your paintgun. You'll find that it is essential for playing a good game. They're clean paintguns, they take care of you rather than the other way around. They're lightweight and don't get in your way. As already mentioned earlier, they don't need oil--oil them once and forget about them for a long time.

Many experienced pump players laugh when you bring up the topic of oiling or "maintaining" a pump. You just don't, besides the obvious barrel and bolt cleaning. You may have to clean the hopper from time-to-time.

Paintgun Care

There is one very important thing you can do keep your paintgun working well--Don't leave your paintgun pressurized!

Sure, the paintgun looks better mounted on the wall when its tank is attached--but the gas in the tank wants to escape and will escape by any means, even if it means slowly eating away at the valve o-ring until it becomes ragged and useless to hold air.

Occasional "lob shots" between normal shots signal that either the cup seal or valve o-ring is beginning to fail, and gas is escaping rather than propelling the paintball out.

Leaving paintguns pressurized almost always leads to ragged and leaky valve o-rings. When you go to replace the o-ring with one from the hardware store, it's hit-or-miss whether or not its the correct fit unless the paintgun instruction manual specifies what size you need.

After getting your paintgun, ask the manufacturer for back-up valve o-rings.

This is probably the only thing you have to worry about regarding taking care of your pump.

Tournament Paintguns

Many who are interested in becoming pump players want to know what the "tournament" pumps are. Those are mostly CCMs, or they are unregulated Phantom stockguns (or sometimes Phantom open pumps running on nitro). Most often they are just nitro-fed Sniper IIs.

Top pumps are CCMs, MQ2-valved Sniper IIs, and Phantoms in their various configurations (preferably the "VSC" one, in hot pink anodizing!). There are other, more expensive paintguns such as the Palmer ones and the Carters, which are all brilliant and of the highest quality, but they will never reach the popularity of the relatively-inexpensive but still high-quality Sniper IIs and Phantoms.

The Phantoms are lightweight and use little CO2 cartridges called 12gs. CCMs are regulated and use bulk gas and bulk paintballs. CCMs are also valved and regulated for lo-pressure nitro operation.

Do not use a Phantom against a team using CCMs unless the rest of your team are also using CCMs and are covering you.

You could build your own Sniper II, to your specific-liking, and that makes playing pump even more rewarding when you know something that you built works and works well, but building a paintgun is not necessary unless you know what you're doing and have specific wants or needs when it comes to the design and purpose of the paintgun. It also helps to have experience with Autocockers or Sniper IIs first, and be knowledgeable about their various types--you don't want to buy components that won't fit with each other. You'll want to know what you need to buy, before you buy them.

That's all you need to know about tournament-style pumps. Invest wisely.

More Important Things to Worry About Than Paintguns

The paintgun itself is less important to be concerned with than the paintballs you use, the elbow and knee protection you wear, and how comfortable you carry yourself on the field. Also, your mask! Wear a nice-fitting mask with lots of visibility that doesn't fog. Instead of tinted lenses, maybe get clear thermal lenses to help you see in every light, because dark- and colored-lenses do not help you see on overcast days or when there is no sunlight.

A little bit of filmy smear on your lens is OK for your visibility if you keep at it with the microfiber cloth until the next game round is called out. It shouldn't hinder you as your eyes and brain will naturally adjust to see past it.

What is super-important is a means to quickly clean your paintgun's barrel in the middle of a game, and to have the microfiber cloth ready in your pocket to wipe your mask lens between game rounds. Those two are essential gear. For barrel-cleaning I prefer the good old pull-thru squeegee that you wear around your neck.

Be careful not to lose your pull-thru, like I did at the laundry center--when it was around the hood of my sweatshirt that got washed and forgotten about and I never saw it again.

Some pull-thru squeegees work better than others. If yours doesn't thoroughly clean your barrel-inner to a mirror shine on the first yank (bring the barrel up to the light to get a good look through it), try again doing a pull-thru from the opposite direction. That should streak the leftover smudge to a point where it is no longer noticeable and will not pose a threat to your accuracy. Pulling through from both directions is a good practice anyways, even if it does look like it might have worked right the first time.

Instant straight-shooting!

Nelson Paintguns

Ah, Nelsons: the paintguns that work better.

Better than what at what, exactly? Better than everything at everything, I say. But that doesn't mean there aren't any better choices.

Why do I speak in riddles? Just keep reading, the book ain't finished yet.

It all began with a pistol called the "Nelspot 007," which was a bolt-action. It's just the same as a pump-action except that the bolt itself was manually-operated, not via pump handle. The bolt locked in place by the turning of a handle rather than releasing a pump handle forward like a shotgun. (It leads one to wonder if that small detail is all that separates turn-bolt rifles from shotguns.)

Picture coming soon!

Nelsons are the most gas-efficient hi-pressure paintguns ever made--ever, while still keeping the appearance of a simple tube sitting atop a trigger frame. Across the board, Nelsons are aesthetically- and internally-plain. You would find elaborate milling in the Boxgun and the Desert Duck, but they remain simple machines.

Gas is let in through the back and is held in the valve. Within that valve, and extending out from it through the hammer and bolt, there's a metal tube called a "power-tube" which is pressed forward "shut" by the valve's internal spring. The valve is closed and opened via the powertube to propel forth paintballs, and is opened by the release of a spring-powered hammer. When the power-tube is pressed by the hammer into the valve, gas escapes along the inside of this power-tube (through the center of the hammer and bolt) and propels a paintball down the barrel.

As the paintgun is cocked manually, the bolt (which is linked to the pump handle) has a latch with catches the hammer and brings it forward with it on the return. Pulling the trigger releases this catch and allows the hammer to strike back the power-tube, releasing propellant gas from the valve.

Because depressing the trigger continuously releases the catch that combines the hammer and bolt as they are brought forward, there is auto-trigger! Slap a gas tank and a motorized hopper on this puppy and machine gun your way through lined ranks, right out-of-the-box!

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And you people thought pumps were slow.

You'd be relieved to know that there is no best Nelson paintgun. The Lapco Grey Ghost was supposed to be, yet you don't see players clamoring to own one. If you were to look at all these Nelsons in cross-section, you'd find that they're all pretty much the same thing internally, with a slight variation here-and-there. All of the slight differences in the Grey Ghost give it 40+ shots compared to the Phantom's 30-35+ shots. But I wouldn't trade my Phantom.

Mavericks and SL-68s run around the field screaming like they're Phantoms, too. Although a little less efficiently.

If I were you, I'd get a trouble-free Nelson. One that is assembled and disassembled about as quickly and as easily as one ties their shoes, thanks to a pair of thumb-screws. Such a Nelson is a Phantom.

Sheridan Paintguns

Sheridans, unlike the Nelsons, are paintguns that feel better. Pressurized gas goes up and then back into a valve area, where it is held. Pumping the handle cocks back the hammer, which is situated behind the valve, while also pushing the bolt back to load a paintball into the breech. The pump handle and bolt returns forward. The trigger sear caught and is holding the hammer until the pull of the trigger lets it go to strike the valve open. The bolt sits in its own tube, in-line with the barrel above the valve. When the trigger is pulled, the hammer strikes the valve open, and the gas it holds shoots upwards out of the valve and is vectored through an L-shaped cavity in the bolt, escaping forward through the chamber, thereby launching a paintball.

Paintball velocity is as always adjusted through changing hammer spring tension. With Sniper IIs this is done through the "IVG" in the back of the 'gun. IVG is just WGP's term for velocity adjuster. WGP stands for Worr Games Products, a maker of fine Sheridans.

For older Sheridans, you are often supplied hammer springs of various tensions that you replace depending on the temperature outside (temperature affecting the material state of CO2 and its flow) and that allows you to adjust velocities to within ballpark estimates.

Sheridans don't have auto-trigger because the hammer is held in place by the trigger sear, instead of catching a ride with a bolt that glides over a sear-tripper like in a Nelson.

I mentioned that Nelsons are the best at everything, but that's not really true. Can you remove the bolt out of a Nelson without disassembling and de-gassing the paintgun? You can with a Sheridan, and can clean it in the same minute that you spend cleaning the barrel. Is the velocity of a Nelson paintgun quickly and easily adjusted like in a Sheridan? Not exactly, and adjusting the velocity of a Nelson in a fast manner could in fact be somewhat dangerous as you are putting your face in alignment with the barrel as you use a screwdriver to adjust the bolt's "TPC" velocity adjuster. Is the barrel loaded? Only one way to find out! That's the only concern to have with Nelsons. The "TPC" also may require readjustment over time as it tends to loosen on its own, lowering velocity.

A Nelson-Sheridan Hybrid

Well, if Nelsons work better, and Sheridans feel better, why not attempt to blend the mighty two together? Wouldn't that make the most awesome paintgun ever?

It's been done, and the end-product is the Sterling.

Picture coming soon!

I won't bore you with excessive details, however I will say that the Sterling uses a Sheridan-style valve and bolt, but with a Nelson hammer and what's called a "pickup" that replaces what would've been the Nelson bolt since it uses a Sheridan-like upper. The pickup is what latches the hammer and is what brings it forward, to smack it against the valve pin later when the latch is released when it grazes against the trigger sear bump--just like a Nelson auto-trigger.

With the Sterling, you get a smooth pump stroke and auto-trigger. What you don't get are upgradable features (which is fine for a pump), and besides the newer model Sterlings, there's no external means of velocity adjustment besides swapping springs and putting in washers to adjust hammer or valve spring tension. Or, the velocity can be adjusted externally by regulating the gas that goes in with the help of a Female Stabilizer.

In the end, the Sterling is a fine paintgun, but it's as inefficient as a Sniper II, maybe offering one or two shots more per 12g at the most. Not a bad paintgun to own, just make sure you get the right-sized paintballs for your Sterling barrel (or for any barrel).

Building a Sniper II--"No Regrets" Way

Looking to build a customized Sniper II, are you? Prepare yourself now for a chunky section...

The Autococker design has been adopted by Taiwanese manufacturers, who proceeded to make subtle changes to them without altering the appearance of the parts. Such paintguns are called "clones" or "Cocker-style" paintguns. If you ever see a paintgun with the words "Cocker-style" up for sale, know that it isn't a true Autococker. Be careful to avoid bodies that come from "Cocker-style" or Autococker-like paintguns. You won't be able to find upgrades that fit in them (unless they use Spyder paintgun internals). If you actually want one, buy the complete paintgun and slap on a pump kit that fits, and run it with nitro. Don't plan to upgrade it beyond that, except for perhaps a regulator grip. Usually the trigger frames are fine, being Autococker-compatible--and usually the paintguns will accept "2K+" pump kits.

For this section, I'm going to assume that you are interested in building a Sniper II from the ground-up, using parts and kits you find on the Internet that tickle your fancy. I'll speak of things in their order of importance.

Though it's rather expensive to buy the individual parts and put it together that way, and it's probably cheaper just to get a complete Autococker and replace its "front block" with a "pump kit," it can be fun to build--especially if the parts were all had through just two or three e-businesses, to keep down the cost of shipping. Or, it can be a project that is worked on over a period of time, by gathering rare or special parts that may only pop-up once in a while on the web.

You're cautioned not to jump on the Internet and start ordering things right away as you read. Write down everything that you want, and verify through research that all those parts are compatible.

This is the "no regrets" way of purchasing.

Whenever possible, check with your local paintball stores to see if they have anything you like, though don't ask their staff too many technical questions as it may embarrass them.

There's going to be a lot of dry technical writing here, so hurry on through this section if you don't like really dense geek-speak. For those of you who would wear the classic T-shirt that reads, "Talk nerdy to me," proceed forth!

First of all, before even thinking about what parts to get, choose a frame. The "frame" is pretty important; it's where your trigger-hand goes. You have some feel-good "slider frames" which are in the .45 form-factor made by WGP, Bob Long, ANS, and Benchmark; and there are more ergonomically-proper ones that are swept at 86 or 90 degrees, made by CCM or ANS.

Picture coming soon!

You'll love the slider frame; get that one if you don't have a current preference! Make sure that the frame you do get is a "frame assembly" and comes with everything you need to make a functional trigger. Otherwise, you will need to purchase a "sliding trigger kit" separately.

Dye makes some good gel grips for the .45 form-factor called "Dye Stickys," which are available in various basic colors. But grips don't matter--probably the grips that come with the frame would be best since the goal is to conserve your cash.

If you get a slider frame and don't have a "trigger shoe," you can get a nice brass one from Palmer's. A trigger shoe wraps around the actual trigger to make it more comfortable and easier to pull. They are screwed tightly in place through a pair of tiny screws on the side, and hold in place by friction.

If you want "auto-trigger," get a trigger assembly that comes with a pump kit and an "auto-trigger cam." CCM makes these. With it, you will blaze through games, and hurt many players' feelings. With auto-trigger on your mind, ignore that the silky-smooth slider frame exists, unless you are more of the "one shot, one kill" type of player. Slider frames unfortunately don't come with the option for auto-trigger.

If you plan to go with the auto-trigger route, understand that you'll probably want to go with light springs, a lo-pressure valve, and a regulator grip later on to get the maximum benefit from auto-triggering. Many Nelson-style paintguns have what's termed "auto-trigger," but the fact that they are hard sprung for hi-pressure keeps their rate of fire from going beyond anything extraordinary. Though I've surprised people before when I made it rain at distance with a back-bottle Phantom. But this section is not about Phantoms, it's about Snipers.

Next up on your list of Sniper parts to get is your barrel, or system of barrels...

CP, Palmer's, WGP, and other manufacturers too numerous to mention, all make the best Autococker-threaded barrels. But barrels amount to nothing if your paintballs are cheap and don't shoot straight.

Picture coming soon!

In my opinion, don't worry too much about the barrel. Usually a Sniper II or Autococker comes with a solid barrel, if you want to keep things simple and cheap that way. I've never heard of a bad Autococker-threaded barrel--how can anyone mess up what is essentially a simple metal tube?

Actually, let me add something here. Get a single-piece barrel if you plan to use CO2, and a two-piece "barrel kit" or barrel system if you're planning to use nitro. CO2 likes straight and fitted single-piece barrels while nitro does not care.

If you already own another paintgun, try to find a barrel whose "bore size" matches closest to that one's, so that you can share the same paintballs between them. You are really only working around whatever your favorite paintballs are, once you've figured out what they are.

OK, now that the easy stuff is out of the way, things will start to get a little more in-depth. But if you're patient and willing to work with me, we can make it through this.

Now get an "Autococker body." It can be anything you want, anything you like--anything that looks good to you. It can be simple, or it can have intricate milling. Whatever it is, it's got to look good. Just be careful it's not from one of those fake "Cocker-style" paintguns. As long as it is from (or meant for) an honest-to-goodness Autococker, don't worry about what's compatible with it or not at the moment--you will work around whatever Autococker body you choose. Likely it will come with a "back block" and "bolt pin." If not, find out what back block is compatible with your Autococker body. It should also come with a "ball-detent" unless your particular body doesn't have a place for one (some players who are already careful about not double-feeding paintballs may prefer bodies that don't accommodate for a ball-detent).

Picture coming soon!

Before purchasing an Autococker body, ask yourself if a dovetail along the top is important--even if the rail is a small notch. Will you want to have a red dot on top of the paintgun at some point? Later in the book I explain red dots and other optics.

If it's not a "Mini" Autococker or Trilogy body, likely it will also come with its own vertical ASA or "air source adapter" part. If it does, good!

If it doesn't come with the vertical ASA attached, make sure you get a wrench that can screw in 12-point star-headed screws, which is necessary to screw and secure the ASA to the paintgun. The tool is, unfortunately rather expensive for what it does, but maybe the Autococker body will come with one? Likely it will not.

Skip-free Performance

Get a "feed-neck" that is compatible with your Autococker body, if it didn't already come with one or doesn't have one permanently-attached. Get one that is super-tall! The reason being that one of the main goals of the pump player is uninterrupted, skip-free feeding of paintballs. A tall feed-neck gives you a stack of paintballs that will line up in the area between the hopper and breech, and that means a smooth game for you and non-stop torture for the opposing players. Chamber every round. Trust me on this.

Picture coming soon!

You're going to love your pump, by the way. It's yours. You made it--it's your Frankenstein.

OK, next buy is the "bolt." Get whatever bolt you want, but make sure the bolt you choose is compatible with your specific Autococker body-type! Bolts may come in different lengths to accommodate the four different Autococker body lengths that exist, and where the bolt pin attaches to the back block may be in a different location for each because of this. In other words, get the bolt that fits your body-type, because bolts aren't all interchangeable! Figure this out through research.

I would gravitate towards a "Delrin" bolt, especially if you plan to use lo-pressure. If you are going to run hi-pressure, then it doesn't matter if the bolt's aluminum or Delrin or anything else. Aluminum bolts add weight to the 'gun, be careful not to make your pump weigh heavy like a semi-auto.

You can oil the bolt or let it be. Likely any paintball breakage within the paintgun will help to lubricate the bolt for you.

Later on, you're going to want to be able to reach inside the paintgun to install or to pull out the Autococker/Sniper II valve. For that, you'll need to get the special-purpose "Autococker valve-tool which is essentially a long and rusty-looking hexagonal wrench with a cylinder wrapped around it."

Get a "valve guide set screw" if it didn't already come with any of your parts. This holds your valve in place, after you've aligned it properly with the Autococker valve-tool.

A "hammer" and a "cocking rod" are what you need next. Anything is fine. There are lightweight and heavyweight hammers--those can be counterbalanced by "re-springing" with either heavier or lighter hammer springs; or by the use of valve "spacers" to increase valve-spring tension, to help resist the hammer-to-valve force more. This is called "tuning" your Sniper II.

Along with this, get an "IVG" or velocity adjuster. I would highly-recommend the kind that lets you adjust the velocity of the paintgun without having to take out the cocking rod. I believe CCM makes these, and maybe some other paintgun and parts manufacturers do, too. If your paintgun already comes with its own simple IVG, one that requires removing the cocking rod first, then who cares? Stick with that one. A few extra seconds at the chronograph isn't going to kill anyone. The IVG is not important to focus on when building a Sniper II, but if you don't already have one, why not buy the best and most convenient velocity adjuster you can?

Don't worry--usually once you set your velocity, you won't be adjusting it too much after. You can tell your IVG is at where it should be by memorizing and visually-verifying the number of threads it has been turned in.

When you buy a pump kit, make sure that it is compatible with your particular Autococker body. You have four main "types" of Autococker bodies: Mini, Pre-2K, 2K+, and Trilogy. Each of these types has their own pump kits available.

Mini Autococker bodies subtract the vertical ASA, having steel-braided hose or macro-line and fittings tapped right into the body or threaded into a "pump front block" specially-designed for Mini Autococker bodies. The Mini pump kit would attach to, or include with it, the Mini pump front block or adapter, usually with a vertical ASA built-in--though there are some without.

Some Mini pump kits exist without front blocks and go right into the body where the "Mini Autococker front block" normally would've been, and you're expected to have a line tapped into the pre-valve chamber cavity for macroline, steel-braided hose, or a remote to attach to.

Picture coming soon!

Pre-2K and 2K+ Autococker bodies both have removable "Autococker front blocks". These front blocks are not used in a pump. The "pump guide" screws in place where the front block would've normally been. It really doesn't get much simpler than that.

The "pump handle" slides around the pump guide, with a spring inside to push it forward when it's not held. The pump handle has a long "pump rod" attached to it that's threaded into the back block... blah-blah-blah... moving on.

Trilogy bodies' front blocks are integrated, and form a permanent part of the paintgun. Trilogies are an inexpensive kind of Autococker marketed towards new, budget-minded players who have no patience with upgrading or tuning. The Trilogies are less-interchangeable with other Autococker parts, having different internal valve structures, and the re-cocking mechanism parts at the front of the paintgun are proprietary to the Trilogy itself.

Trilogies have their own pump guide threading. The pump guide goes in where the so-called "lo-pressure regulator" used for re-cocking would have been had it remained an Autococker.

Now that all the Autococker body-type confusion is done away with, next up on your shopping list is the pump kit. The pump kit can be anything you want, though CCM makes the best.

Because Trilogies are not commonly-converted to pumps, there's a smaller selection of pump kits to choose from for them--but anything you find which is compatible will work just fine.

Once again, make sure whatever pump kit you get is compatible with the type of Autococker body you have chosen. "No regrets" purchasing is vital to your happiness and success in this game.

Next up is... OK, now wait a minute. Are you shooting CO2 or nitro?

CO2-Friendly Sniper IIs

For CO2 operation, get a 3.5oz CO2 tank! Your paintgun is going to be lightweight and on fire!\A0 Stick that sucker in the vertical ASA. Wow, what a nice and easy paintgun you have going there! But it's definitely not done, yet.

Picture coming soon!

Get a Pre-2K Autococker valve. A word of caution: Pre-2K Autococker valves will not fit in a Trilogy or in the off-brand Autocockers that are made in Taiwan. Get a hi-pressure "Trilogy valve" for a Trilogy from Palmer's, and don't get a valve for your off-brand Autococker clone unless you know for sure that it takes an 11/16" Spyder valve or something. It'd be best to use just nitro or a CO2-safe regulator with such a "Cocker-style" marker.

If you don't know where to turn for a Pre-2K Autococker valve, go to Palmer's and ask them for a "Hi-Pressure, Lo-Turbulence" Sniper II valve specifically-designed for 12g operation, and also an "Autococker valve-tool" if you don't already have one. They will ship you a very nice brass valve, and that rusty old wrench that allows you to install it into your paintgun painlessly.

Get a "Maddman Spring Kit" or other Autococker spring kit that contains heavy springs, and use the heaviest. Use the heaviest for both the valve and the hammer. (If you are skimming through the book and your eyes chance upon this paragraph, I'm talking about turning your Sniper II to unregulated CO2 duty).

If you want to use straight-up 12g or CO2 tanks on an old already-completed Pre-2K Autococker, you pretty much slap on a pump kit to make it a Sniper II and away you go. You may want to remove whatever "gas-thru grip" or regulator grip it has, and screw in a 12g changer in there or a CO2 tank instead. Look into getting the "Hi-Pressure, Lo-Turbulence" valve if you're unhappy with the Pre-2K's current performance with CO2. That Palmer's valve is working really well for me--with 24+ perfect shots per 12g, or 200 perfect shots per 3.5oz tank. But, with a Pre-2K Sniper II you might already have a valve that is ready for unregulated hi-pressure.

24 shots off of a 12g may not sound very impressive, but when I say 24 "perfect shots," they really are perfect shots with very little velocity declination and minimal variance with unregulated CO2. Here are some readings I got in feet-per-second on my personal Sniper II, all in order from a single 12g cartridge: 272, 263, 270, 254, 223, 274, 289, 291, 290, 283, 280, 291, 289, 293, 270, 270, 277, 281, 274, 262, 264, 258, 256, 241, 202, 156, and empty. Notice there's no "velocity spike" for the first shot, and there are only two shots at the end that fall somewhat short before the valve vents the remaining CO2. I'd say Palmer's made the absolute perfect valve ever for hi-pressure CO2 use, especially when combined with the right "springing." And that's why I'll never part with this paintgun.

Do a little research on the web and you'll find exactly what you need. I wanted a no-fuss CO2-powered pump and I built it after doing lots of pre-purchase planning.

You can take a later 2K+ Autococker-bodied Sniper II and convert it to hi-pressure duty, making it sip unregulated CO2 gas like it was made to. For something like this to work, you will need to "de-volumize" it--and that can be done with a couple of different-sized spacers from the hardware store, to fill in the "pre-valve" and valve chambers. This is done so that the hi-pressure CO2 gas that flows through the paintgun becomes narrower and flows more efficiently.

With an efficient Sniper II on a 3.5oz CO2, you'll tear the place up and have all the new players stressing and cursing at you.

The pre-valve chamber (the area where the pump guide is screwed into) needs a 1/2" spacer that is 1" long, while the valve chamber needs a 5/32" diameter one that is 5/16" long. Both of these O-shaped spacers need to have holes in the middle of them which should be about .194" in diameter, to let gas pass through quickly.

If you're reading into this particular section, you're interested in making a lo-pressure Sniper II shoot unregulated hi-pressure CO2. Your reasons for doing this is to simplify your paintgun, reduce its weight, and compete at the lower end with everyone else. It is also a stylistic choice and it works good.

The 2K+ Autococker valve-assembly, being made for lo-pressure, is not optimized for use of hi-pressure or CO2, so it will have to go and be replaced with one that is (like that brass Palmer's valve I had already-mentioned, the one that gets me perfect shots). Like I mentioned before, put in the heaviest Autococker springs you can get. The 5/32" diameter spacer you got from the hardware store to fill in the valve chamber is what goes in the back of "the lower tube" first, then the valve spring, then goes in the replacement valve-assembly you got... which is then properly lined-up with the "Autococker valve-tool" and secured in place by the valve set screw. Put in the pre-valve spacer through the front of the paintgun, by first unscrewing the 12-point star-head screw that mounts the vertical ASA. Once you put in the pre-valve spacer, screw that star-head screw back in--securing the spacer in place ahead of it. Now, screw in the pump guide to close the pre-valve chamber up tight-- slap on a pump kit, put it all together, and away you go! Shoot it, tinker its one-and-only velocity adjuster.

If spacers you had put in jiggle around noisily inside the paintgun, it's going to be the loose one in the pre-valve chamber. Take that spacer out, put in ahead of it a smaller spacer that fits or some thin washers to fill up the slack, then put the old spacer back in. Should be tight, now.

Make sure when you screw in the vertical ASA screw that it isn't being forced into a loose spacer--push those back before screwing in the vertical ASA screw.

If the paintgun makes unusually loud or prolonged noises while "dry-firing," or shooting without paintballs, try testing it with paintballs at the chronograph. If there are any issues with the way the paintgun sounds when firing, try a heavier valve spring or a lighter hammer spring.

Using a lighter hammer may make a positive difference, since the valve pin and spring may cause a heavy hammer to vibrate off and against it (the sound of which is often described as "farting"). Swapping parts and springs may alter your feet-per-second--so you'll have to readjust the velocity for the next time you play.

The nice thing about farting hammer and valve bounces is that it's usually a consistent vibration, and it won't hamper performance too greatly. It's just annoyingly common, especially among do-it-yourself lo-pressure Sniper IIs. Even some Sniper II manufacturers can't quite get it right.

For quieter shots, let go of the pump handle when you shoot. Some "bolt recoil" caused by exhausting gas actually helps to suppress shot noise.

If you ever have any trouble pressurizing your paintgun--if the vertical "ASA" or air source adapter isn't depressing the pin on your CO2 tank valve after it's fully-screwed in--you may need to find a small and thin washer to put between the ASA and the 12-point star-headed screw that fastens it to the body, to add more height to the screw head so that it can reach and push in the tank valve pin as the tank gets screwed in. You may need to dig around a bit for a washer like that, since it is a rather uncommon and hard-to-find size.

For your hi-pressure pump, get a VL200 hopper, because anything smaller than that will not be enough to keep players' heads down, and anything with batteries will actually encumber you and help to waste your money. This thing is a "Tippmann killer," and blasts Phantom users... no batteries required. But it is not a paintball slinger. You can act tough with it, though. You can pin players. You can bunker people, guilt-free.

You will not skip a beat with a VL200, I swear on my dead goldfish's soul. Not with a hi-pressure pump.

A VL200 and a CO2-powered hi-pressure pump put together gives you that feel-good feeling, sort of like when you have eggs with bacon.

Picture coming soon!

What else? I guess I'm done. That was pretty easy, wasn't it? And look, you have almost no leftover parts. What a fantastic job, and what a tight little paintgun you've got going there!

"What kind of Autococker is that?"

"How many shots do you get from that tiny little tank?"

It'll be an attention-grabber.

Unlike semi-autos, your unregulated Sniper II paintgun will not barf and fall over dead if you feed it CO2. It holds down that liquor unlike anything you've ever seen.

At the End of the Day

At the end of a day of playing paintball, as you walk out to your car and just before you are out of earshot of the others, you hear the referees and staff talking to each other in hushed voices about you and your pump.

"That pump he shoots is wicked fast, wicked fast."

"I know... I had no idea."

It wasn't the paintgun, it was you and your hyper-competitiveness. The pump shoots fast but what helps is that it shoots straight. You may have only shot 200 rounds that day, but spectators saw you and have mentally-placed you among the same league as the "big \91guns" because of the assuredness and authority you had over the field in game-time.

The open pump did not do anything to hold you back.

I'm Shooting Nitro Instead

In any paintgun, you'll want to run out of paintballs before you run out of gas. Ideally, they would run out at precisely the same time, so that you could monitor your tank supply just by simply flipping open the lid of your paintball hopper and checking what's left in there--with low paintballs evenly-equating to low on gas. With such a finely-optimized setup, a player would conveniently refill both gas and ammo at the same exact time between games, without having to make separate trips for either.

For a while, you could only get very large nitro tanks, and they would only output at 600psi. Now you can get small nitro tanks that can output at 850psi, which is stronger than cool weather CO2. The smallest nitro tank, the 13/3000 ("13" is for cubic inches volume, "3000" is for the pressure in psi that it can contain), can shoot between 150-200 shots (150 is for Sniper IIs and Trracers, 200 is for Phantoms).

For a regulated lo-pressure pump paintgun, a 2K+ Sniper II, you can get any "lo-pressure" valve that is compatible with your specific Autococker body. It can be anything. You'll know it's a lo-pressure valve if it says that it is for (or from) a 2K+ Autococker. If it's for a Trilogy Autococker body, get a Trilogy valve that's not meant for the hi-pressure Trilogy game--any of the other ones will do.

Instead of a spring kit, use the springs that came with the hammer and valve. This is pretty easy, isn't it? It's all easy to put together when the paintguns were already meant to be used for lo-pressure operation.

If you have a Pre-2K body that you want to run lo-pressure gas through, you can "up" the internal volume with a "gas-thru grip." Lo-pressure paintguns get their power from volume space. And there are some special regulators that mount to the underside of your trigger frame, that allow you to screw in a nitro tank like it were an ASA. Such regulators are called "bottom-line regulators," and are less common than the regulator grips. A popular example of a bottom-line regulator is the "Female Stabilizer" from Palmer's. With that, one could feasibly swap between CO2 and nitro. The Stabilizer works very well with either propellant source. Connect the gas-thru to the Stabilizer with "braided hose" or "macro-line" and fittings using Teflon tape and you'll have a sick machine in the works. With help from a gauge, adjust the output on the Stabilizer or other bottom-line mounted regulator to a low number your paintgun likes, and it's efficient. Somewhere just above 300psi pressure sounds about right, maybe 350--get it to that and adjust things from there.

When running a 2K+ Sniper II at lo-pressure, get a "regulator grip" that goes into the vertical ASA. Regulator grips control the pressure that go into the paintgun to a more tolerable level. CP, WGP, and Palmer's make good regulator grips.

Palmer's Stabilizer regulator grip (called the "Male Stabilizer") is rather expensive, but it can deal with either CO2 or nitro, if you still want to stay open to the idea of using CO2 at lo-pressure. For strictly nitro-only, you've got a lot to choose from--use any of the other regulator grips available that can output at your desired pressure (whatever your paintgun's valve likes). Get a gauge that goes up to 800psi to go with the regulator grip, and crank the regulator's output down to 300psi or whatever. See how that works. Can it bring a paintball up to 300 feet-per-second with the IVG velocity adjuster screwed in more than halfway? If the paintballs go too fast, then you should lower the output regulator pressure some.

Buy a "bottom-line ASA" for your regulator grip-equipped paintgun. These mount to the underside of your trigger frame, and allow tanks to screw in there to make a convenient shoulder stock for you. The most common type of bottom-line ASA is one called a "duckbill ASA." Some duckbill ASAs are angled for CO2 tanks, to keep the liquid CO2 from the bottom layer of the tank from pouring into the paintgun. Others are straight and parallel to the rest of the paintgun, for use with nitro tanks.

I'd recommend a bottom-line ASA that has an "on/off," or a knob that can cut and block pressure from getting into the paintgun, if the user so chooses. If you happen to have a regular duckbill ASA lying around, though, why not save a few bucks and use that instead? This is a pump, after all--the simplest of all paintguns.

Run either a steel-braided hose, or a heavy-duty macro-line with fittings, between the regulator grip and your bottom-line ASA. Make sure that when the macro-line is cut to size, you leave an extra inch, and sand down the side you had cut to an even ending, so that it won't leak there when its end is pressed and secured into the macro-line fitting.

Now you'll want a motorized hopper. Any of them will do, as long as it is a proven thing that works and never breaks or otherwise wastes your hard-earned money. Choose your motorized loader wisely; don't buy some crappy plastic toy. Be proud of your hopper. Buy something solid. Your "lo-pressure pump" will be blazing, so you'll need a motorized hopper that can back you up and give you all of what you need from your paintgun.

Pumps really do shoot that fast--fast enough without costing you a fortune. If you have two perfectly-working arms, you can play paintball like this.

Uncomplicated Paintguns

So, this wasn't rocket science at all, was it? Pumps are the easiest paintguns in the world. What complicate paintguns are elaborate re-cocking mechanisms.

But because you are your pump's re-cocking mechanism, what you have completed and in your hands now is the most reliable straight-shooter ever; better than anyone else's, because you are the competent and informed person who put it together and you are the player who uses it. You knew it was right when you conceived of it, and there it is--perfected and completed, ready-for-use.

This is the "no regrets" way.

Did You Know?

Did you know that an Autococker's re-cocking mechanism has a limited lifespan, before it wears down and needs to be replaced? They can shoot up to 375 cases of paintballs semi-automatically.

CO2 and Nitro

When I first wrote this book I had a bias towards unregulated CO2 and had been using it as my propellant-of-choice for a while. Because of this, I was all for restructuring paintball play around the CO2 user so that other players wouldn't be too far out of range for them.

The reason I was so pro-CO2 was because I felt that if I were to ever switch over to nitro, I would end up spending more money than I intended by shooting more quickly and purchasing more upgrades or new paintguns to fully-utilize that propellant. That would be going beyond my intentions.

The truth is, nitro is a more accurate gas at distance and it really seems to thrust the paintball out the barrel tube much quicker than CO2 does, creating an inherently louder sound. I seem to be able to correct my shots with nitro much better than CO2, and can even hit players through tiny holes in walls or obstacles that separate me from them.

Nothing in this book needs correction but I really feel I should append the following list of pros and cons for each propellant.

CO2 Pros

Many shots per tank (25+ shots per 12g, or 200~ shots per 3.5oz)

Smaller and more lightweight tanks

"Self-regulating" due to the naturally-separate CO2 gas and liquid layers

Quieter

No need to hydrotest "baby tanks" every five years

CO2 Cons

Long-range inaccuracy due to mild inconsistency

Refills more difficult and are impossible without a weighing scale

Slower--no rapid-fire capability (pressurized liquid CO2 does not boil to gas fast enough)

No way to measure the fullness of a tank when it's attached to the paintgun without test-firing or installing a gauged valve to check

Temperature-dependent performance with non-vertical tanks (warmth is better)

Nitro Pros

Accurate at distance

Rapid-fire possible

Regulator releases a fixed amount of gas from the tank for consistent and predictable shooting

Available gas is shown via psi gauge

Some fields have self-serve nitro refill stations which quickly renders CO2 in the minds of players obsolete

Nitro Cons

Nitro tanks are bulkier (except the 13/3000 baby tank)

Paintguns that use nitro are louder

Need to be re-hydrotested every five years unless it's a "baby tank"

That should cover all the useful differences between the two gases. CO2 taught me to be a more aggressive player and have greater influence on the game by closing the gap between my teammates and the opponents in an intelligent and experienced way, which has transferred nicely to nitro use.

Baby Tanks

Picture coming soon!

The fun thing about CO2 propellant is that they can come in small and lightweight packages.

Let me start off by saying I love CO2. It works so well with pump paintguns. In any other type of paintgun, though, nitro is best. Some would argue that nitro trumps CO2 in every way--but I personally would not be happy if someone took my CO2 away and forced me to only use nitro. I like my little CO2 things.

Small aluminum CO2 tanks such as the 3.5oz and some 7oz ones don't need to be periodically "hydro-tested," or shipped to a place where they are inspected and tested for wear or damage. What a relief that is! Such a mandatory service would've cost you money... as much or more than the price of a new CO2 tank.

"Baby tanks" are what you'll be looking for. Tanks that are within 2 inches in width, and shorter than 2 feet (which is kind of an absurdly-long length, but hey that's the "limit"), are deemed too small to pose a hazard when pressurized. They don't need to be recertified for paintball use every 5 years like normal tanks do. That's the main benefit of using small CO2 tanks with pump paintguns... you never have to worry about the tank being too old to be used.

You can even have your small aluminum tank anodized to match your paintgun's colors, without fear of having the colored tank ever be taken away from you due to old age.

Bring your tape measure with you when you buy CO2 tanks, because sometimes some 9oz tanks fall within the measurement guidelines I already mentioned that makes hydro-testing and tank recertification unnecessary--keeping you from having to throw away CO2 tanks every five years or sooner.

Baby tanks can't be beat; and they help in so many other ways...

Smaller Tanks Equal Fewer Wasted Paintballs

The smaller you go, the less paintballs you waste. I'll illustrate what you can expect with CO2 using numbers.

12g cartridges give you about 24 perfect shots, maybe more, followed by 1 low shot, and 1 lobbed shot before becoming empty.

Do you plan to shoot more than this in a game round? If so, stockgun play and pump in general is not for you.

3.5oz CO2 tanks equal to at least 200 perfect shots, 6 low shots, and 1 or 2 lobbed shots, before going empty. Not bad.

9oz CO2 tanks will give 500 or more perfect shots and 20 or more low shots before finally becoming empty.

Do you plan to shoot more than this in a day? Put the pump away and bring your semi-auto, if that's the case. I can't imagine myself spending that much in a day of play.

The larger your tank, the longer it takes to empty. Lobbed shots are an early indicator that your paintgun's tank is beginning to lose its pressure, yet shots continue to leave the barrel--they just fall totally short of reaching the target. With a large tank (9oz or larger) there will be a great number of these crappy throws.

I'm sure you'll try in vain to squeeze every puff of CO2 out of it, and this becomes wasteful shooting as your paintgun just fails to die and continues to spew forth these worthless lobbed shots until it breathes its final breath.

Why not stick with a baby tank? It'll give you a reasonable amount of perfectly good shots, and then it'll just run out when it's time. No slow death.

Heavy Paintguns Are Bad

Long ago I bought a 14oz CO2 tank for a mechanical Tippmann semi-auto from what I thought was a reputable local dealer. I go to the field a few months later and find out from one of the refill attendants that it's "out-of-hydro," or due to be hydro-tested. They couldn't fill it for me. I go to the shop owners about this later on, and they told me I should just throw it away! I was so mad! I bought it from them, only a few months ago!

With another oversized tank I had, the valve pin somehow broke and was loose, making yet another heavy paperweight! What a bunch of garbage! I didn't know back then that I could've send this CO2 tank in to Palmer's to be serviced and maybe had a new valve with a gauge or something put on it, but the tank was so heavy and so burdensome to carry that I just chucked the damn thing out in the woods somewhere. I got tired of looking at it.

Just stick with the small tanks and 12gs if you go with CO2, no hassle or fuss at all with those. If you ever want a heavier tank, go with nitro!

Take It from the Top

Run your CO2 tank vertically, or shoulder your nitro tank. Those are your only two options as a pump player.

That's probably the best advice I can give regarding CO2--use it vertically in your paintgun so that only the upper gas layer in the tank gets used by the paintgun, and none from the liquid layer beneath, which would cause "problems." Not serious problems, just chronograph-related ones.

You're unlikely to get any liquid CO2 into your pump paintgun. You will probably never experience feet-per-second fluctuations like CO2-powered semi-autos do. Much of the time, mechanical semi-autos gulp up CO2 too quickly, and straight from where all the liquid sits.

A more worse problem for mechanical semi-auto users is that all the CO2 gas molecules get used up in the tank and the remaining liquid CO2 won't boil fast enough to keep up with the paintgun's demand for pressure. "Pressure" is the measure of how hard and how much and how often gas molecules are zooming around and bouncing off the walls of a sealed container. If CO2 is settled as a liquid, it doesn't "press" or "push" like CO2 gas does.

If you use CO2 vertically in a pump paintgun, you should be able to compete near-evenly with the nitro-users. That's assuming your paintgun has been optimized for hi-pressure, of course.

Did You Know?

A 3.5oz CO2 tank can be stored inside a VL200 hopper.

Picture coming soon!

When Inexplicably Running Low

While getting your CO2 refilled, be patient and wait. This isn't the supermarket or the DMV; they're doing you a big favor here. Ask them to fill it slow. Trust me on this.

Some refill attendants don't know how to handle CO2 fills in cold weather. They'll give you improper fills and suggest you play with nitro instead. They want to fill your CO2 tank up fast and then help someone else, which doesn't get you a full fill. Don't listen to the advice to switch away from your favorite propellant-of-choice; that would be an unfortunate waste of your money. You know that CO2 works in this coldness, because the way you've got your paintgun configured only the gas from the top of the tank gets let in.

Just say you can wait for the tank to fill all the way, and then get out of their hair. Or if he or she has some interesting things on the table, you can redirect the conversation away from the refilling trouble. Or you can humor their suggestion of going with nitro by saying, "I knew I should have gone with nitro in this cold weather. That's how I learn I guess--trial-and-error." You don't want to embarrass them.

If you're ever "shooting low," your paintgun is either not rigged properly for hi-pressure, or you have a big CO2 tank (9oz or larger) that is low on gas pressure.

An improperly-filled large tank that shoots every paintball as a low shot wastes your money and makes you miserable. That's not what paintball is. That's why you need a small CO2 tank and a filling attendant who knows what they're doing. Bring a weighing scale and weigh it empty versus full.

Small 3.5oz CO2 tanks waste fewer paintballs, and should be able to shoot 200 full-powered shots when it's properly-filled.

If there are lots of attendants, find out which one does the best fills and have them be the ones to do it while the regular attendant is busy doing something else. They'd be happy to, and feel honored you chose them over somebody else. You want a cold and heavy brick of a tiny tank when the refill is done. It has to feel good and solid in your hands before you screw it into the paintgun.

If the tank doesn't feel heavy, pay the attendant and walk away; don't put up a fuss. Pretend like its filled, otherwise you'll embarrass them. If it doesn't feel full, well then at least you know what to expect when you go out on the field and you eventually see the paintballs lobbing only several yards ahead of you. You're not surprised. You're not stupid. Let the round be a wasted one, or try to surrender everyone on the opposing side, but head back to the refill station afterward to let them know what's happened.

The attendant will either learn through trial-and-error or throw his or her hands up and not help you. If the latter happens, you'll know the field's not equipped for you.

This is your life, your game, your happiness. Though you cannot mold the world in front of you to fit your ideal (the ideal), there's a lot in it to pick and choose from.

CO2 Tank Codes & Their Meaning

Picture coming soon!

Nitro

All that junk I said about CO2-this and liquid-that and slow refills can be blissfully ignored if you jump right onto the nitro bandwagon like most hi-tech minded players have.

CO2 is fussy, but not if you know all the tricks. With nitro, what is there to learn? It's all plug and play. That's why so many love nitro and are quick to try to convert other players to it.

Pair a nitro tank with a regulator grip for some serious accuracy at distance. Adjust the output pressure of your regulator grip to a number your paintgun likes and you've "sweet-spotted" your paintgun. Now your paintballs will fly straight and hold to a path in flight. If you are shooting lo-pressure (around 300psi) you'll be shooting until your tank is very, very near empty.

I realize I wrote a whole chapter on CO2, with only a paragraph or two dedicated to nitro. It wasn't not enough.

Do Not Leave Your Paintgun Pressurized

Do not leave your pressurized gas tank attached to your paintgun when you are not using it. The worst that can happen is that the gas will eat through your o-rings. This is called corrosion. Left alone to the atmosphere or in an environment made entirely out of CO2, things naturally corrode. In a landfill, things will deteriorate over a long period of time and will return to the Earth.

People are heavily into environmental protection, complaining about pollution and litter, but in reality these are only short-term problems that effect the immediate populace. Left alone for thousands of years, nature will "grow over" or "eat away" the environmental problems we have created, and what once was will pass away not in this lifetime but in future generations.

Valve o-rings and other rubber parts can withstand abuse from air and gases such as CO2 for a long time, but pressurized gases act like time which has been "fast-forwarded," increasing the speed at which corrosion occurs. In a pressurized paintgun, soft parts are eaten away 25-50 times faster than if they were left on the counter. So, to increase the lifespan of the soft parts in your paintgun, de-pressurize it before storage or get backups of those soft parts.

Upgrades and Conversions

Don't buy a pump with the mindset that you are going to "upgrade" it. You play pump to get away from the idea of "upgrading" paintguns.

But some individuals cannot be helped.

Upgrades Order of Importance

Often, soon after buying a paintgun, people are itching to purchase upgrades for it before they even have a chance to play with it and figure out what exactly the paintgun needs and where exactly their money would be best spent. So I composed a list for avid spenders, showing what the order "ups" should be bought for each type of paintgun. I don't want you to waste your money needlessly, which is one of the main reasons why I wrote this book to begin with. These are all truly-beneficial upgrades to improve each paintgun's performance and usability.

Hi-Pressure Pump Upgrades

Vertical ASA

3.5oz CO2 tank or 12g changer

Gauge

Picture coming soon!

Hi-Pressure Rig Pump Upgrades (Converting from Lo-Pressure)

De-volumization

Hi-pressure internals: valve, valve spring, hammer (optional), and hammer spring

Picture coming soon!

Lo-Pressure Rig Pump Upgrades (Converting from Hi-Pressure)

Gas-thru grip / volume chamber

Lo-pressure internals: valve, valve spring, hammer (optional), and hammer spring

Palmer Female Stabilizer / lo-pressure steel nitro tank

Motorized hopper

Picture coming soon!

Lo-Pressure Pump Upgrades (With Regulator Grip)

Steel nitro tank

Motorized hopper

Single trigger frame assembly (Slider or CCM Auto-trigger Pump Kit)

Picture coming soon!

Hi-Pressure Mechanical Semi-Auto Upgrades

Motorized hopper

Barrel / hi-pressure regulator / vertical ASA

Picture coming soon!

Lo-Pressure Rig Mechanical Semi-Auto Upgrades (Converting from Hi-Pressure)

Gas-thru grip / volume chamber

Lo-pressure internals: valve, valve spring, hammer (optional), and hammer spring

Palmer Female Stabilizer / lo-pressure carbon-fiber nitro tank

Motorized hopper

Electronic trigger frame assembly (for nitro only)

Picture coming soon!

Lo-Pressure Mechanical Semi-Auto Upgrades (With Regulator Grip)

Motorized hopper

Carbon-fiber nitro tank

Gauge

Picture coming soon!

Hi-Pressure Semi-Auto Upgrades

Regulator grip

Motorized hopper

Gauge

Picture coming soon!

Lo-Pressure Semi-Auto Upgrades

Motorized Hopper

Gauge

Picture coming soon!

The Handy Must-Owns of a Good Player

Pull-thru squeegee

Microfiber cloth

Clear thermal lens

Handheld chronograph

Using a Red Dot

There is such a thing as non-electronic red dots. Such red dots were featured on the Rebel Alliance blasters in Star Wars, and the same were used in the jungles of Vietnam for hostage and prisoner rescue. The same type of red dot is used today on shotguns and grenade launchers made in South Africa, and these same dots can be used on paintguns.

A red dot is a hi-tech piece of flair with a useful purpose: demonstrating the accuracy of your paintballs and paintgun combination. If the shots miss their mark, simply turn the dials on the red dot until the paintballs land where the dot shines on a target that is 75 feet away. Then, tighten down the dials, and the red dot will be "zeroed-in."

Pictures coming soon!

The most popular paintball red dot is made by Armson. They make "occluded eye gun-sights" (OEG), which rely on the user's "stereoscopic" vision. One eye sees the target, the other eye sees the dot, and the two eyes see the target and the dot together in a merged single-image. These red dots do not require batteries, only the light it collects from your surroundings. They are simple, rugged, and durable gun-sights which complement the simplicity and durability of pumps. They go well with each other.

Once clamped down tightly to a sight rail, they never move.

To properly zero-in a red dot, follow these directions carefully: Purchase the finest and most spherical paintballs you can that fit into your barrel, and go out into the woods where the trees are dense but not so dense that branches and twigs break your shots mid-flight. This setting takes away the effects of wind--the trees scatter and stop low-level wind from reaching you and affecting your accuracy.

Go up to a prominent tree with features and take 75 tight steps away in a straight line, putting the heel of one size-12 foot immediately in front of the toe of the other. The tree should be standing straight up and down; a slanted tree won't help you gauge left and right accuracy. Low shots may miss if the tree is slanted.

In the first 10 shots at a target spot on this tree, adjust the red dot left-right adjuster. Because the paintgun may "shoot hot" in the first couple of shots, adjusting the up-down adjuster would not be consistently accurate if you were to calibrate the sight for these initial shots.

Make sure this "target spot" is at eye-level for a proper zero.

In the next 10 shots, adjust the red dot up-down adjuster, because these shots represent the average velocity of the paintballs.

In the next 5-to-10 shots, simply aim the red dot at your target and shoot without making any adjustments, noting the tendency of the shots and seeing if they go either left or right from where they are intended.

Make one last adjustment to the red dot and fire. If the paintgun shoots at or below intended, your red dot has been successfully zeroed-in. If not, make another very slight adjustment and tighten down the adjusters so that they remain where they're at. Your red dot's calibration is inarguably in a close enough spot to where it should be.

Don't even think about making adjustments to it ever again, unless you detach the red dot and put it back on, or if you put it on another paintgun.

You're done.

Here's some thing interesting about stereoscopic vision. My eyes may be different from yours, but I can use occluded eye gun-sights with either eye, and because eyes naturally "twist" in the socket you don't have to worry about paintballs not hitting your "zero." Look at your eyes in the mirror and tilt your head side to side, the eye muscles will rotate your eyeballs so that you can always see perfectly-level. Now try watching a 3D movie with 3D glasses while your head is tilted to the side. Still works, doesn't it? If the balance organ in your ears (in your actual ears) ever gets damaged, your eyes will not work as good to do this and you'll suffer vertigo. It's pretty interesting to me that the eyes and ears (and brain) work together in this way.

Red Dots Are Unneeded?

The downfall of any red dot is that it takes time for the eye to find the dot in the heat of battle--but man, do they make you accurate!

While a red dot is not necessary for pump play, it can be used effectively in large woods games, or for gauging the accuracy of your paintgun and paintballs. If you equip one on your paintgun, simply put the dot on a large target and fire. If the shots land close to each other (and it doesn't have to land where the dot is, mind you) then you have a great paintball-to-paintgun match. Give the knobs the proper twists, tighten them down, and you'll be shooting onto the dot. If after zeroing-in your red dot you can one-shot almost anything in your backyard, then your red dot is ready for woods-play.

Iron sights and red dots are kind of unnecessary, though, since the people you are playing against aren't usually fixed targets, and it's best to rely on "muscle-memory" to make quick "test shots" and then follow-up with corrective shots if the first didn't do the trick.

Muscle-memory is knowing how the orientation of your trigger hand affects the flight path of the paintballs, without your needing to aim. Having muscle-memory means you could conceivably run around the field shooting the paintgun from the hip, like they do in the movies.

For those with well-trained muscle-memory, red dots are little more than aesthetic ornaments put atop paintguns. However, I have heard stories of players shooting other players through the holes in a wall, thanks to the aid of the shiny red dot that they had centered above the hole.

As for scopes, I'd advise against getting one. But if you absolutely must put one on, I'd get a fixed 2.5x magnification one. Make sure it's rugged enough to withstand paintball impacts. It will lend a sci-fi look to the paintgun, and it would help you distinguish between a player and a tree at distance. Zero the scope so that at 75 feet the paintballs will hit nearest to the crosshair, and you'll find it useful from time-to-time, I'm sure.

Lo-Pressure "Closed" Bolt Trick

With a Sniper II that has very light springing, it wouldn't be such a strange idea to run a heavy-duty elastic band from the feed-neck to the backblock to ensure fast and reliable bolt-closing. Know that this "mod" will not negatively-impact performance.

Gadgets

Microphones or radios are not necessary purchases, but if that's what you want I would recommend a hands-free throat-microphone for you and your friends or referees.

Also, a barrel- or rail-mounted camera would be cool to use to record eliminations. Such a camera would be durable and inexpensive, costing only as much as a cheap paintgun. It would be able to record 30 minutes of video or more. Don't expect cinematic quality, though. Can you imagine bunkering someone in an amusing way, or getting a long-shot with a visible hit, and having it be recorded and published for all to see on the Internet?

Video-recording cameras are becoming so small these days, it would be quite possible that either now or in the coming years one could fit a video-recording camera inside their mask, for a truly 1st-person visual experience.

Anodizing

There are some places probably local to you where you can have your paintgun or paintgun parts re-colored. The process of permanently re-coloring aluminum and other metal parts is called "anodizing."

Pictures coming soon!

The colors aren't painted on, but are rather infused into the surface of the metal, and can only be erased by polishing away the micrometers of metal that have been anodized.

For a psychedelic acid-wash anodizing, find out where CCI (maker of the Phantom) gets theirs done. See if you can have your aluminum paintgun parts sent to them, along with directions, and perhaps a Photoshop image of what you want the paintgun to look like, using a single color, a two- or three-color fade, or acid-washed color combination per part or across several connected parts.

To color a 3.5oz or 7oz aluminum tank, have the tank valve separated from the tank body by a specialist and send the tank, along with your other parts and directions, to be anodized.

What they will do is polish away the exterior of your already-colored paintgun parts to get all the dirt and color off, and then sink the parts in vats filled with a special solution containing your chosen colors. The vats are then continuously electrocuted, and something scientific happens over time where the colors in the vat take to the polished and perfectly clean aluminum parts.

The parts come back to you, you put them all together again, and you've got a sexy paintgun.

If you're interested in having your paintgun Aurora-plated, contact Tanury--they do electroplating. The service might be at a hefty value.

Example Color Combinations

Pictures coming soon!

My Paintguns

WGP 2K5 Superstock Autococker Body Sniper II

If name-dropping is all right--special thanks to Total Greif for supplying the 3.5 oz tank!

And special thanks to Chef Dave for providing a tutorial on de-volumization which I have used to make this paintgun a reality.

Palmer's Hi-Pressure / Lo-Turbulence Valve

Red Maddman Springs

De-volumized for hi-pressure

WGP Kaner Barrel System

In Yo Face T-stock

The Palmer's valve was designed to handle 12g CO2, so of course it handles a regular 3.5oz CO2 tank like a champ. It shoots 200 rounds per 3.5 oz tank. This paintgun is very well-balanced; all the weight sits between my hands.

I love this paintgun, it has plenty of what I like to call "muscle," letting me move about freely in the woods and take on semi-auto users. With this paintgun, I have tons of influence on what's happening in the game, whereas lighter paintguns lack that.

It's so solid. If you were to take a Tippmann, make it much lighter, feel more balanced to handle, make it easier to maintain, and make it more accurate, this is the kind of paintgun you'd be left with--which is perfect for playing paintball on a budget in my opinion.

I do need to swap the barrel out for a single-piece. The two-piece Kaner causes paintballs to arc downward more because of front-spin.

It doesn't draw as many hushed whispers as my other paintgun...

CCI Rear Stockgun Phantom with Right Offset Body

Dye Sticky 3 Grips

I bring this paintgun out for indoor games; it is well beyond what I need it to be.

What Am I Missing Out On?

High-end pump paintguns are a rare sight in my neck of the woods, so I haven't actually got to use any fancy CCMs or tricked-out nitro-fed Sniper IIs in a game yet. I am satisfied with what I have already, and I see no reason to spend any more money on anymore paintguns. I own a couple of sick straight-shooters and no words will convince me otherwise.

Field Owner's Guide

Field hours should be 9am-5pm on the weekend and 5pm-9pm on Fridays for indoor fields.

For tournament-layout fields I recommend wire mesh security partitions with paintball-approved netting thrown over them and fastened securely. This allows great visibility for spectators. The ground need only be smooth for sliding on, or covered in dry dirt that, when not treaded on, may support grass only. The ground should be clear of any rocks that may hinder player mobility. For woods-play, players need only make use of what nature provides along with the field-supplied bunkers.

For indoor fields, the staging area need only folding tables and chairs, or park benches for outdoor fields. Park benches should be under a park shade structure in case of weather. Large metal trash bins should be located between benches and tables.

Full-auto paintguns should not be allowed except on large woods-fields. Paintball velocity should never exceed 300 feet-per-second, but could be set lower.

Staff Members & Duties

There should be six qualified individuals present at the paintball field. Yes, six. Paid and unpaid. Those unpaid get free admittance to play on the field on days they aren't working.

Cashier

The cashier is the one running the register. He or she administers the waiver form to each player releasing the field owner from liability resulting from player injuries while on the property. They provide wristbands to the player proving they've paid for entry. The player's asked by the cashier, "Do you have a squeegee, barrel sock, mask with thermal lens and rag?" They provide those at an additional $5. A second wristband is given to those who are renting a paintgun from the refill attendant. That is an additional $5. A mixed and sized bag of 500 rounds of paintballs cost $20. For a day's play is $30 without these additional lend-outs.

The player is free to keep the squeegee, barrel sock, mask with thermal lens and rag. These are not expected to be returned at the end of the day. The masks are spray-painted using a stencil that shows they originated at the field. The player is not expected to keep this, but might anyway. Masks without the lenses (Helix masks) only cost the field around $5, their thermal lenses are worth more. The other items are complementary hand-outs from the cashier. However if at the end of the day a player returns to the counter to return these hand-outs, the cashier says, "Thank you for playing today," and puts them back on the shelf or rack.

Behind the cashier is the refrigerated display with beverages.

Refreshments

In the same area where walk-ins enter to register, behind the counter should be a refrigerated display that has Poland Spring water, Tropicana Orange Juice, Coca-Cola de Mexico or Pepsi Throwback (naturally-sweetened soda pops), and Red Bulls. Though not entirely healthy, the sodas and energy drinks I just mentioned aren't entirely terrible for you either. Being the discriminating, health-conscious individual that I am, I feel that these provide the best balance between sweetness and perk.

Diet sodas are disgusting but if you want to supply them so be it.

Come noon-time, have pizzas ordered in with plain cheese, pepperoni, and sausage. Friday night pizza orders should arrive at 6pm.

Refill Attendant

The refill attendant does four things: fills CO2 tanks using weighing scales, personally fills nitro tanks up to 4500psi, sets up the 3000psi self-service table for players to fill their own nitro tanks, and lends out thermal masks and paintguns that have been prepared and made ready by the "field tech."

Purge, Prep, & Fill

The refill attendant is a CO2-expert; knowing how to purge CO2, freeze CO2 tanks to prepare them for a full fill, and then fill to no more than the designated weight. They replace burst disks free-of-charge and know to put 3K burst disks on CO2 valves and 3000psi nitro tank regulators and 5K burst disks on 4500psi nitro tank regulators. The refill attendant cannot replace tank valves and regulators at the field! Such requests should be redirected to a paintball store that offers that service. Not very many do, it may need to be sent to a specialist.

Field Tech

Working with the refill attendant is the "paintgun tech," who specializes in repairing and cleaning the 98 Custom and back-bottle Nelson-type pump paintguns which are available as rental gear. They also diagnose and attempt to fix gas pressure leaks and issues. They welcome any problems players may have with their own individual paintguns but are of course not obligated to fix them. Difficult paintgun issues are redirected to a nearby paintball store's pro shop repair specialist. Business cards are handed out to players so that they may contact that store.

When not busy, the field tech cleans the rental paintgun barrels and aligns them if necessary (such as the Flatline Barrel). They also remove mask lenses, cleans them with microfiber wipes and anti-fog solution, and uses a Sunbeam "FoodSaver"vacuum sealer to store the lenses when not in use. The vacuum sealer seals the dual-panes of a thermal lens which may have been de-pressurized in gameplay, after it's been hit too many times. A de-pressurized thermal lens which has lost its secure dual-pane seal fogs in such a way that it's difficult to clear up. Vacuum-sealing may fix this.

Vacuum-sealing thermal lenses is good for the continued success and growth of paintball because it allows "walk-ons" and new players to use a clear see-thru lens that doesn't fog easily in gameplay. Vacuum-sealing repairs the dual-pane sealing on these used lenses and provides players with excellent eyesight until the thermal lens needs sealing again.

Players can bring a fogging thermal lens to the field tech and they will provide a working replacement.

Referees

Having safety personnel in the form of referees is a privilege.

There are three referees: the lead safety referee, the fair-play and gamesmanship referee, and the chronographer. No referee should be afraid of being hit by paintballs and should be able to walk freely through the field and through cross-fire at times. They need only wave to signal to everyone that they are non-players.

At the initial referee's briefings, the players' minds are made shut to the concept of win-or-lose. Pre-conceived ideas are crushed at the initial briefing; the referees are the law here for the duration and they have the power to either keep or turn away players. I combined those two statements into a single sentence because most paintball players are delusional and believe that what they bring with them will result in wins. This idea must be crushed, and player expectations must be crushed, to ensure every paintball player present has a fun time and has new and unexpected experiences.

I will go into detail as to what the referee's initial briefing should be like in the next chapter.

Lead Safety Referee

The lead safety referee enforces safety only, ensuring players wear their masks at all times and have their paintguns rendered safe when not in use. The lead safety referee's job is very special and important for the continued success and growth of paintball. Paintball injuries resulting from negligence is unacceptable and may bring financial hurt to the field and field owner. When a player calls for a paint-check on another player and it is the lead safety referee who hears the call, they may look into it but not in the hurried manner that a fair-play and gamesmanship referee would. All along, they ensure that players are playing safely and that no one is behaving inappropriately or acting with negligence to safety. They monitor a game's progress from a wider focus than the fair-play and gamesmanship referee would. When players are clearly-eliminated, he or she may approach the eliminated player and point to the mark but does not yell out when eliminations occur.

The lead safety referee is second-in-command to the owner and is paid for his or her services.

Fair-play & gamesmanship Referee

The fair-play and gamesmanship referee watches players as they play, and may focus entirely on one player until their attention gets redirected by the calls from other players. They are physically-fit and can run from one end of the field to the other if need be. They ensure players are playing honestly, and confirm when eliminations occur. They are fun and keep the mood light, whereas the safety referee is more quiet and serious.

The fair-play and gamesmanship referee determines the teams and distributes the red or blue tape to the players. They also have the freedom to choose what games are played and where. They announce the rules of the game whereas the lead safety referee gives the initial safety instructions and the all-encompassing field rules.

The fair-play and gamesmanship referee determines the level of difficulty by placing certain players on certain teams. Teams do not necessarily have to be even. The referee may even change a player's team loyalty mid-game.

The lead safety referee is unconcerned by what's happening in this regard, only that people are being safe.

Because the fair-play and gamesmanship referee is unpaid, they are given creative freedom as to how games should be played. That is where their satisfaction comes from by being there.

Chronographer

A portion of the property is set aside for measuring paintball velocity of players' paintguns. This area is called the "chronograph station." Everyone within this netted and secured area must wear paintball-approved masks at all times, even when alone! Each player must check in at the chronograph after arriving or before games start, and when the chronographer determines the muzzle velocity of players' paintguns are at or below the standard set by the field operator, either an 'X' is written on the player's wrist or the paintgun is given a neon-colored zip tie if the player is wearing gloves or clothing that would conceal the 'X' mark.

The equipment in the chronograph station could be one or two "Paintball Radar" chronographs that players rest their paintguns on and then fire. The feet-per-second shows with each shot after the chronograph is turned on. Paintball velocity should not exceed 300 feet-per-second, but the operator may choose a lower limit. Fast paintguns cause the chronograph to show rounds-per-second.

Picture coming soon!

Other items on the table in the chronograph station are loose Allen or hex keys and long flat-headed screwdrivers (16") for in-barrel velocity adjustment.

The chronograph station has shooting targets set up at various distances so that players can tweak their settings or sight-in their optics.

When not busy, such as when games are in play, the chronographer can go between the chronograph station, the staging area, and up to the playing fields to familiarize themselves with the place and the people, et cetera. When referees on the field call for a chronographer, he or she may bring a portable "Radarchron" type chronograph with them to check to see if a player is shooting at a velocity below the field's limits. If not, the player is brought to the chronograph station to address the issue.

Dispute Resolution

Disputes between players should have been crushed at the referee's initial briefing when the referee suggests all players play to eliminate rather than to win, and to have fun, et cetera. But at times depending on player personalities, fights may occur. While players may sometimes be quick to respond to fights, the referees should be physically-able to step in and separate the disputers. In such a situation, the referees should remain calm but forceful in the separation, all the while saying reassuring things such as, "You're fine. You did OK/good/great."

No player should be demonized or ostracized except by their behavior. Any shame should be brought on only by themselves.

The game can then return to light-heartedness and fun.

Referee's Briefing

For the Continued-Success and Growth of the game of Paintball

Having safety personnel in the form of referees is a privilege.

Safety Briefing

Lead Safety Referee:

Welcome

"Hi everyone. Welcome to our field.

"We are the referees. It's understood that by playing here you agree to play by certain rules. However, this is also a weekend meant for fun. Win or lose, we can all have fun today by being safe and by playing within fixed parameters set by the field operator and by us referees. True paintball encompasses these. You can go home today knowing you had a fun, safe weekend with us and are still in good health.

"Let's start the briefing by going over the safety rules.

Masks

"Everyone is to wear their mask at all times when on the field. All eyes and face must be 100% safe at all times. If your mask is giving you issues, come to us and we'll remedy the situation. If there is no remedy, put your barrel sock on and return to the service desk so we can provide you a working mask.

Barrel Socks

"Everyone is to have their barrel sock on their paintgun at all times both on and off the field. Have your paintgun pointed in a safe direction--straight down. You may remove the barrel sock only when we say to. In case you lose your barrel sock, come tell us and we'll provide you one. If there are no more barrel socks; remove the barrel, loader, and tank and walk off the field with the paintgun pointed in a safe direction.

Chronograph Everyone

"Paintguns are to shoot no faster than 300 feet-per-second. Let's go now to the chronograph to calibrate muzzle velocity."

Chronograph everyone's paintguns.

General Gameplay Rules

Lead Safety Referee (Continued):

"I will now hand the pre-briefing off to our other referee who will explain general game play rules."

The Way to Play

gamesmanship Referee:

"Thanks. Hi everyone! Today were going to play the game of paintball. What should you expect playing this game? You should expect to eliminate, and to be eliminated. You are an asset to your team when you eliminate one person. Once that is done, you move onto the next. Do this until all the opponents are eliminated, or you yourself are.

"Paintball is dynamic, no one knows what works and what doesn't work. We set up games so that you may sometimes 'win' without having to eliminate anyone, such as capture the flag. We sometimes set up games where one team is a fixed target and the other team is mobile. We sometimes set up games where the odds may or may not be in your favor. Nevertheless, if all you do is follow the rules and be safe, you will have fun and feel a sense of accomplishment today.

"You are 'eliminators.' Eliminating players is your business. You're working for us, for the benefit of everyone. Do not worry about winning or losing, only do so for your own satisfaction. You capture a flag or do some other thing not as a trophy but to save your team from all the efforts needed to win otherwise.

"Contribute something to the game play and please make our thankless jobs more enjoyable.

"Do not worry about how others perceive you. We are here to set up a personal challenge for you--wins and losses should be personal and kept to yourself. But we can celebrate wins if they are new to us. Otherwise, just let your footwork do all the talking rather than use a boastful voice.

"Teamwork happens naturally when players see opportunity to advance. You may not need to coax teamwork out of people, so let the game flow naturally.

"We will take breaks not to exceed 20 minutes so that you can reload and refuel, stay hydrated and nourished.

"Now I will explain the general game rules....

"People sometimes cheat. But you yourself should not cheat. Cheaters need the eliminations more than you do. So let cheaters cheat, but do not cheat.

"Get shot and be OK with it. If you are hit, you are giving other players the satisfaction they seek when they pay admission and play. When this happens, you must raise your hand or your paintgun and announce you are out. If you are shot again, merely wave your hand to further express you are out and exit the game. While you exit, put your barrel sock on to further show other players you had just been eliminated, and then keep your hand or paintgun raised until you've exited into the neutral zone.

"To check if you are out, wipe the spot that had been hit and see if there's any paint on you. If there is, leave for the neutral zone. Sometimes players are too busy to check. If that is the case, call one of us over for a 'paint-check.' Do not resume play until you've somehow confirmed that the hit you've received had bounced.

"The game of paintball is pure, so there's no foul language allowed under any circumstances especially when younger players are present.

"Hits on the body, the paintgun, or anything the player happens to be carrying counts as eliminations. If you must let go of an item you're carrying in a game, you must rest it on the ground sideways so that they do not appear attached to you. This only applies to paintguns.

"If someone shoots your paintgun and you wish to continue playing, you must put the paintgun down on its side. You may recollect your discarded paintgun after you've become fully-eliminated, and then exit to the neutral zone. We are not responsible for theft if someone were to steal your paintgun.

"You are allowed a maximum of two paintguns on the field. This is in case your primary one jams or gets shot, but if you want to use two at a time that's fine.

"Accidentally-shooting a teammate may not count as an elimination unless the teammate calls themselves out. Anyone who calls themselves out for any reason is automatically out and may not return to play until the game round is over. There is no going back to the game after someone calls themselves out.

"Before calling yourself out, it is wise to check if the player who shot you is on the opposing team. Approach them with your paintgun pointed at the ground and determine if they are a teammate or not. If they are an opponent, raise your hand or paintgun and leave for the neutral zone.

"You may not climb on structures unless they have ladders or stairs leading up them. You may not go up into tall areas unless the ground slopes up them. You cannot move structures away from where they are placed.

"You may not shoot blindly at other players. You must not shoot blindly around corners. Your paintgun must only be pointed forward. You can only shoot in the direction you are looking. An exemption to this rule is when you are running towards an objective and shooting at opponents along the way. That is fine.

"You may not shoot at another player in the face mask within 10 feet, or at point-blank range. If you must shoot them, aim lower and away from their head. We referees would prefer if you give them an option to surrender first. Players who are overly-ruthless with point-blank eliminations may be pulled from games, so please be kind when you eliminate players in such a way. Do not ask players to surrender just so that you may shoot them after they had done so. Give them time to respond either favorably or to resist the surrender, at which point you may shoot them if they are disinclined.

"The last rule is that we as referees can call you out for any reason. In such a case, you must raise your paintgun or hand and announce you are out. Don't take it personally if we do. We may let you play in the next game.

"I will conclude by saying: be safe, be carefree, be open, and don't take this thing too seriously. Now let's go play!"

Teams

Begin by placing players on "Opfor" and "Blue4" teams, with Blue4 members getting blue tape wrapped around their arms while Opfor gets red tape. Teams are chosen however the referee wishes, and thus the games' difficulty depends on the referee's mood that day.

As a player accumulates points, the gamesmanship referee draws tally-marks on their colored tape with a marker. How points are distributed is explained by the referee prior to game round start.

The Purpose of Timed Gametypes and Swap Sides

Referees choose the playing area, the teams, the gametypes and the time limits. The idea is to find what works and what doesn't, log the results in the "End of Day Worksheet" which is given to the field owner, and also write suggestions for field and playing area improvements.

Swapping sides allow the referee to see which players benefit from starting where, and gives players the impression that the chance for team success is symmetrical, even when the field layout isn't. Time limits allow the referee to gauge how long it takes players to accomplish the games' goals based on the playing area's layout.

Games are switched, even if some players dismiss themselves after the first round for becoming low on gas or ammo. Players who do not have enough reserves to play another round may leave so that those who do can play. If teams become uneven as a result, the games continue as planned to create a challenge for the remaining lesser-equipped players. The purpose of this is to incorporate a naturally-varying source of difficulty. Paintball as a personal challenge makes it OK to play even when "teams are uneven". Playing paintball always as a personal challenge means there's no such thing as an unfair game.

Gametypes

Typical paintball gametypes include "10 Minute Straight-up Elimination," "10 Minute Center-Flag," "15 Minute Center-Flag Football," "28 Minute Two-Flag 7 Minute Recycles," "15 Minute Attack-&-Defend / Capture-&-Drop Elimination," "10 Minute Capture-&-Drop Touch-&-Go Recycles," and "10 Minute Zombie Attack-&-Defend Finale."

10 Minute Straight-up Elimination

If players show strong competitiveness, the "10 Minute Straight-up Elimination" is a good gametype for small condensed fields. One team should eliminate another within 10 minutes.

After 10 minutes has elapsed, if players still remain on both sides, the referee drops a flag in the middle of the field while announcing that the game has now changed over to "Center-Flag" or "Center-Flag Football" for the remaining players, thus driving players toward the center of the field to capture this flag where they may be within range of each other. After the initial 10 minutes have elapsed and the Center-Flag is in place, eliminated players may coach and assist live players from the sidelines while having their hands raised.

Live players can shoot at these bystander coaches, who will then retreat to safer ground. Bystanders cannot shoot back and must have their hand raised to signal they are out.

Teams swap sides and the game is replayed. If the referee chose to make the previous round a "Center-Flag" or "Center-Flag Football" round, for fairness whichever was chosen then must be the choice again if the round extends beyond 10 minutes.

10 Minute Center-Flag

A flag is hung or dropped in the center of the field, and two teams must retrieve this flag and bring it to their base before the other team reaches it first. The flag-bearer may wear the flag around their neck but may not cover their arms where they wear their colored tape. A flag-bearer who is freshly-eliminated must remove the flag, drop it in plain sight where they were shot, and leave for the sidelines.

If the game continues past 10 minutes and neither team is making progress, the game changes to "Center-Flag Touch-&-Go Recycles" with unlimited minutes, and eliminated players are allowed back into the game.

This flag can be imagined as an air-dropped parcel that needs to be brought back safely to headquarters.

15 Minute Center-Flag Football

A flag is hung or dropped in the center of the field, and two teams must collect this flag and bring it to the other team's base. The flag-bearer may wear the flag around their neck but may not cover their arms where they wear their colored tape. A flag-bearer who is freshly-eliminated must remove the flag, drop it in plain sight where they were shot, and leave for the sidelines.

If the game continues past 15 minutes and neither team is making progress, the game changes to "Center-Flag Football Touch-&-Go Recycles" with unlimited minutes, and eliminated players are allowed back into the game.

This flag can be imagined as a bomb that needs to be placed in the enemy's base.

28 Minute Two-Flag 7 Minute Recycles

For large games with many players.

Each team has a flag in their base, and they must capture the other team's flag and preferably bring it to their base. Whichever team ends the game with the most flags, wins.

If 28 minutes has elapsed and both teams have the same number of flags, eliminated players become live and the game continues but with no more recycles.

If both teams still have their own flags after 28 minutes have elapsed, then whichever team grabs the opposing team's flag first immediately wins. If neither team has flags, then the captured flag must be brought to the player's base for the win.

15 Minute Attack-&-Defend / Capture-&-Drop Elimination

This is a slower and more carefully-played game, with tensions often running high.

One team begins within a fort and has limited boundaries around the outside of the fort, whereas the other team has a starting position and also has unlimited range of movement on the field. The players who start in the fort are the "Defenders" while the other team are the "Attackers." The attackers have 15 minutes to eliminate the defenders. There are no recycles nor "Touch-&-Go" benefits for the attackers.

There may or may not be a "Capture-&-Drop" flag. If there is, attackers need merely to pull the defenders' flag from its hanging position to win the game round.

This gametype teaches stealth and surrendering. Red dots, sights, and scopes work well for this game-type. Partial field-mastery is also learned in this game-type.

10 Minute Capture-&-Drop Touch-&-Go Recycles

This gametype teaches both trial-and-error and persistance for the attackers, and also teaches some field-mastery and alertness for the defenders.

Defenders must protect a Capture-&-Drop flag from attackers who have unlimited "Touch-&-Go" recycles ("unlimited lives"). What this means is that when attackers are eliminated, they merely have to return to their starting position ("spawn point"), touch it, and they are live once again to retry Capture-&-Dropping the flag or eliminating defenders.

The defenders must survive for 10 minutes without letting their flag get Captured-&-Dropped.

Eliminated defenders must wait by the sidelines until the next round--They are only allowed one "life".

10 Minute Zombie Attack-&-Defend Finale

Saved for the very end, Opfor and Blue4 must join forces against the infectious zombie scourge.

The referee selects two or more players to be "zombies" by removing their tape and positioning them at a distant starting position, where they will have infinite "Touch-&-Go" recycles when they become eliminated. The remaining players are herded into an area which they cannot leave and must defend themselves from being shot by the zombies' virus-infused paintballs.

When the defenders are shot, they remove their tape and go to the zombies' starting position, where they'll suddenly become hungry for braains.

If defenders survive for 10 minutes, the survivors win two points. If they don't, the original zombies win two points while the freshly-bitten zombies win one point.

This gametype helps prepare players for the worst-case apocalyptical situation, while at the same time training new zombies hand-eye coordination.

Store Owner's Guide

From Our Perspective

The purpose of this section is not to guide potential paintball store owners to making profits but rather to help guide them towards providing the right atmosphere and product selection to make an enjoyable and enticing experience for whoever walks in. I write this section as a demanding paintball-playing customer, not as a profit-seeking entrepenuer who would consider taking shortcuts like business owners so often do nowadays. So what I have written here is an idealized, spare-no-expenses daydream... but hopefully a valuable one.

Online stores get tremendous business compared to brick-and-mortar establishments, but customer loyalty can only happen when the available products are either consumable (like gas and paintballs) or are desirable commodities (such as barrels, tools, squeegees, barrel socks, and microfiber bags). A physical place to purchase items give customers a preview of what they may want to buy before purchasing. JPEG images on the internet do not offer customers a true look or feel for items. But a store should have an internet presence and preferably a way for customers to buy their items online and have them shipped to their homes no matter how far away they are from the store. What's in-stock at the store should be visible online also.

A truck with a vendor side-window would be an attractive way to bring the business to local fields in order to serve customers on-site. Such a vehicle should have basic paintgun repair parts, paintball-playing essentials, and should be certified to trangame compressed gases so that customers can refill from them. The fields they visit would have to agree to have them be present.

The Brick-and-Mortar Paintball Store

Store hours should be Friday through Sunday 9am-5pm.

Outside the store is a box labelled "Donated & Free Parts." Lots of players have too many extra parts, and to tidy up are willing to drop off old and unneeded items. Periodically this bin is checked by the staff to see if they could use anything. Otherwise, the items are up for grabs for anyone who wants them.

Staff members are free to roam around the store for the first hour after the store's opened, and in the final hour before the store closes. That's to help them get familiarized with each area of the store, and to better understand the nature of each others' work. This builds trust and understanding that makes for a better store. The staff members ask each other questions about what they're doing, how they're doing it, et cetera. Even the store owner is open to questions during these time periods. After this daily introductory period, they resume their posts and remain busy until the hour before closing-time.

Having at least two purposes for each staff member keeps the job interesting without overwhelming them with the thought of having unknown responsibilities.

Staffing

Regular staff members earn $11 per hour while the backroom store owner gets a percentage from sales earnings. The staff are individually-specialized in the following categories: cashier, repair specialist, and the refill attendant. It's important to the success of the store that there's always coverage in these departments.

Cashier

The cashier deals with both humans and with information.

The cashier is trusted by the backroom store owner to filter out 99% of customers from reaching the store owner who is busy cataloguing items to be stocked and making important decisions regarding the store and its advertising of products and services. In a way, the cashier often represents the store owner and the store-at-large. The cashier is to provide excellent customer service and have free access to water and refreshments in order to keep their mind sharp when handling customers.

To make paintball more edgy, and thus attract attention to the store, the cashier requires customers who appear underage to provide a driver's license before purchasing a paintgun. A sign indicating this is posted on the store window. This makes the product more desirable to the minds of young people for two reasons: things that they are forbidden to have are naturally-more desireable to have, and it gives the 100% true impression that mature responsibility is required before owning a paintgun. Of course, a parent could purchase a paintgun for them. This also helps to keep "assault-style" paintguns from going freely into the hands of young people as it requires parental approval.

Cashier duties are principally running the register that takes cash, checks, credit and debit cards; using the phone; and using the internet to look up items and prices. They compile an order request to be given to the store owner who has the final say on what to order for the store. They speak in a language that only they and the backroom store owner understand, and they have the courage to speak directly. The cashier and the store owner use "three-way repeat back communication" so that they understand and follow each others' requests or commands. Customer satisfaction depends on the accuracy between these two.

The cashier has access to the inventory list and so can say confidently to the customer what they have in stock over the phone or in-person.

When a customer comes in with specific items in mind that they want to purchase, but that the store doesn't carry, the cashier flips open a notepad to write down those things and presents them as suggestions to the store owner at the end of the shift.

If a customer wishes to talk down the price of an item, and the asking price is within certain parameters set by the store owner, the cashier says, "Let me go speak with my manager." Afterwards, the store owner stops what he or she is doing to greet the customer and negotiate with them. If the asking price was below parameters, the cashier declines the sale and does not involve the store owner.

The cashier, along with the store owner, also maintain and update the online version of the store.

Pro-Shop Repair Specialist

The repair specialist does physical work and is knowledgeable with tools and parts.

The repair specialist has his or her own table with a white towel laid out and their job is to inspect customer's paintgun issues and repair them. They have their own telephone that the cashier can transfer customers over to. The repair specialist has free reign over the store's parts bin and can repair paintguns however they see fit. As they work, they write down what work they have done and bag the old end-of-life parts for the customer. They then test the paintgun by safely-shooting into a trash barrel away from other employees in a separate room while wearing eye protection. The customer is contacted by phone when the paintgun is ready for play and is quoted the price of repair over the phone. If the customer declines the repair, they are only charged labor and are told what the issue was. The repair specialist pockets 100% of the earnings from their services.

If the repair specialist is not busy, they clean and maintain the paintguns that are in stock and align the barrels. They also check the bore diameters of each paintgun barrel and put tags on the paintguns' barrels indicating the bore diameter. For the continued success and growth of paintball, it is important for customers to know what size diameter barrel they are getting with each paintgun or barrel purchase to one-thousandths of an inch (.685" for example, with the '5' being in the thousandth's range). Customers can then confidently-match paintballs to their paintgun in order to play flawless games of paintball "no regrets" way.

Refill Attendant

Refill attendants protect and provide both propellant and paintballs for the customer.

When busy, the refill attendant is safety-minded. When not busy, the refill attendant performs a certain repetitive labor which is a valuable service to the store.

The refill attendant is tech-certified to handle CO2- and nitro-pressurized tanks. They can confidently replace tank valves and regulators in the safest manner. They have a hanging weigh scale (a luggage scale perhaps, one that shows weight in ounces) and a tabletop weighing scale and can verify to the customer that they had received a proper CO2 fill using these scales. As a safety precaution they only fill nitro tanks to 3000psi. The refill attendant replaces damaged burst disks free-of-charge that are rated to 3000psi (3K) for CO2 or nitro tanks, or 5000psi (5K) for 4500psi nitro tanks.

Customers' tanks that are too old and beyond the re-hydro date are replaced at the cost of a refill. This is all done for the continued success and growth of paintball. Players purchase expensive tanks with the understanding that it will last them the duration of their paintball career, however this is physically and technically not so. If their tank is too old to play with, they are given an equivalent tank that's verified ready-to-use. If they decline, they must take their tank elsewhere.

The old tanks that are collected need to be labelled "unsafe for use" and sent somewhere to be re-hydroed. If re-hydro is economically unfeasable, the refill attendant can purge the tank of gas and remove the tank's regulator. This old regulator will then be for sale and the tank can be disposed of.

When the refill attendant is not busy, they are to empty bags of paintballs that are available for sale into bins of mixed tournament-grade paintballs and sort them based on diameter accurate to thousandths-of-an-inch. Brand is not a concern, only size diameter matters. Once sorted, they are put in their respective bins and then rebagged into 500-round bags. These new bags of mixed paintballs are weighed to ensure they are approximately 500 rounds. Desiccants are put into each bag to ensure freshness. The bags are tagged with the date, the paintball diameter, the ambient temperature in degrees Fahrenheit, and the percent humidity. Humidity is measured and read from an inexpensive indoor hygrometer.

To give an example on the tagging format, one side of the tag could read ".686 @ 67*F & 30% hum.," and the other side reads "12/12/2012." The date gives the customer an estimate of the freshness. The 500-round bags are rotated for freshness, with older bags going out to the customer first. Older bags are also brought out to the fields so that they are immediately available to players. Very old bags of paintballs are sold at a discount. The desiccants in the bags serve to keep oxygen and water vapor from spoiling the paintballs, and are preferably put in the bottom of the bag.

The paintballs may shrink because of the desiccants, but because the humidity was listed on the tag at the time of bagging, customers should be able to understand that variances in diameter will naturally-occur.

Store Owner

The store owner sets the prices of all products the store sells. He sets a "high price," the price the store wants to sell the product at, and "the lowest acceptable price" in case a persistent haggler comes along and the store is willing to negotiate price in order to attain sales. The high and low price is available on the cashier's screen. The cashier can only get the store owner involved if the asking price for a particular item is within the set parameters. The cashier politely-declines the sale otherwise.

Other Services

Blue Rhino CO2 Tank Exchange Program

More to come!

Items in Stock

Poland Spring and Tropicana Orange Juice

Coca Cola de Mexico / Pepsi Throwback and Red Bull

Screws and O-rings

Premium Gun Oil (Gold Cup) and Grease (DOW55)

Allen and hex keys

Squeegees

Barrel socks

Gloves

Knee & elbow pads

Between-the-legs athletic protection

Vibram Five-Fingers KSO shoes

ADIDAS clothing, shoes, t-shirts, pants, & hoodies

Altama EXOSpeed combat boots

Rash Guard Swim Shirts

Desert, Jungle, and SWAT-style Mil-Sim clothing

Desert, Jungle, and SWAT-style balaclavas

Military shemagh scarves

.45 wrap-around grips and grip panels of various single colors

Radarchron Handheld Paintball Chronograph

VL200 hoppers

VL Revolution C.A.T. hoppers

9V Batteries

Double pod packs

Invert/Empire Helix and JT Proshield thermal masks and clear lenses

Empire microfiber bags for mask storage

Microfiber rags for lens cleaning

Fog resistant lens cleaner spray

Brasso

Stock barrels

Brass Unported Palmer Barrels - 9" Cocker-threaded, 6" Phantom-threaded

Brass Unported Palmer Barrels - 9" Tippmann 98-threaded, 9" Tippmann A5-threaded, 12" Tippmann SL-68 II-threaded

Brass Unported Palmer Barrels - 12" Spyder-threaded

J&J Performance Ceramic Barrels - 12" PMI Traccer/Maverick-threaded

Valves, hammers, and springs of various strengths and sizes for both hi- and lo-pressure paintguns

Autococker Valve Tool

16" Flathead Screwdriver

Crosman 12gs

Aluminum Catalina 3.5 oz. CO2 tanks

Aluminum Tippmann/Catalina 7 oz. CO2 tanks

Aluminum Catalina 9 oz. CO2 tanks (not to exceed 2" diameter)

On/Off CO2 tank valves and installation

CO2 tank valves with 1200psi gauges and professional installation

Rebuildable 850psi hi-pressure nitro tank regulators and professional installation

Rebuildable 450psi lo-pressure nitro tank regulators and professional installation

0-400psi peanut gauge

0-1200psi peanut gauge

13/3000 nitro tank

3K Burst Disk (CO2)

5K Burst Disk (Nitro)

Assorted tank butt-stocks

Assorted large hi- and lo-pressure nitro tanks (Ninja-brand) separated by pressure-rating

500-round mixed bags of Anarchy, Ranger, and Hemorrhage Paintballs sorted .679" to .691"

500-round mixed bags of Marballizers, All-Stars, and Evil Paintballs sorted .679" to .691"

Foam-padded, aluminum-framed, and chrome-cornered shotgun and rifle cases

PGP and APP holster, shotgun belt / Everest fanny pack, and cigar tubes packages

CCI Phantom with 6" Barrel, VL200, and 7 oz. CO2 tank package

Assorted Sniper IIs with 9" Barrels, VL Revolution C.A.T. hoppers, and 13/3000 nitro tanks

Tippmann SL-68 IIs with VL200s and 7 oz. CO2 tanks

Assorted Tippmann Model 98s with Flatline barrels, large nitro Ninja tanks, VL Revolution C.A.T. hoppers, and double pod packs

2009+ Spyder Xtras with foregrips removed, 3.5 oz. CO2 tanks, VL Revolution C.A.T. hoppers, and T-stocks added

Assorted Bob Long Intimidator G6Rs with large nitro Ninja tanks, VL Revolution C.A.T. hoppers, and double pod packs

Bob Long Intimidator Pressure Tester

Bob Long G6R Regulator Center Wrench Tool

Plano Tackle Boxes for parts storage

Extra parts under glass displays

These items should be the bare minimum of what the store sells. In one corner of the store are extra items that manufacturers are pushing to sell through the store that the store doesn't normally try to carry.

The Intimidator G6R and G6R Tactical appear to be high-value and reliable hammer & valve semi-autos which may make them hardy choices for a paintball store to carry.

Picture coming soon!

Vibram Five-Fingers KSO shoes are untreaded on the bottom. Other Vibram shoes may have some non-scuff treading underneath which may be pose a hindrance to mobility. Vibrams are becoming a popular outdoor shoe that paintball players are beginning to wear--they allow the user to run as though barefoot through non-friendly terrain. I don't believe they're as good for sliding on the floor or dirt in as an ADIDAS Samba Vulc indoor soccer shoe, but a local store that sells Vibrams is sure to make sales.

Conclusion

I really enjoyed writing this. Some may say the writing is a sack of crap--I don't care. I just love what paintball is, what it can be. I love the people that play paintball. So many stand by this game, and there are so many ideas and flavors to be had here.

Well, I hope this book made you more excited for pump paintball, an inexpensive way to play a highly-competitive yet friendly game. Writing this thing, I had just one simple goal in mind that I wanted everyone who plays to have: that is, to go out there and eliminate that guy! Just one guy, and when that's done, do it again on somebody else! If nobody focuses on this, paintball as a whole does not progress beyond silliness and waste.

I know not everyone is going to agree with every word in this book. I pretty much laid out all the things pump players should and shouldn't do in an opinionated way. I also made plenty of sweeping generalizations. That's sure to upset certain people. I can only say that such people should play the game more, and maybe create their own intuitions and write their own book.

The information in this book is only verified by me and my experiences and intuition. I only wanted to provide honest, non-damaging information. I'm sorry if I hurt sales of a certain product. If I helped increase sales of another, it was not the primary purpose of this book. The purpose was to inform and to inspire.

To you: I'm sorry if I destroyed your livelihood with this book. Re-focus your attention on what really matters to the players, and you will find your way back in.

I'm just using my brain: "What would I buy for myself" or "What would I buy if I could do it all over again?" and I only share that with the reader.

It's unbiased information if I'm being truthful!

Earlier in the book, I wrote that pump players know something that other players don't know. What did that mean?

The knowledge is the confidence and the surety, the guilt-free pleasure, the hard work and fun which exist in equal measure, and where cost is not a concern anymore. With all these things wrapped up into one fine package, whose face wouldn't beam to that?

As for playing the game, well let's say you've had no patience to read through this book to find out how to play. Maybe you skimmed--maybe you just opened up to random pages and read a line or two and maybe read a little from the middle of the book. And now, here you are at the end of the book, hoping maybe I could summarize everything you need to know in the concluding paragraphs. That's good! As a pump player and as an attention-deficit reader, you should be just-as-similarly impatient when you're out there playing. You should cut to the chase, be direct like a huge billboard sign with thick-lettering. Be the one that goes for instant gratification. No fine print to go through, no science, no confusion or boredom. Just go for it and surprise yourself how lucky you can get sometimes... oftentimes... almost every time. That's all there is. Don't worry about winning or losing, play to eliminate that guy.

You may not be perfect, but you're the best. God bless.

Send your pictures and suggestions to me along with your full name and background so that you will be credited for your contributions.

sherbetpaintball@gmail.com

Copyright 2013
All material here is the property of Erik Tilton unless otherwise noted
Proof of original authorship of this document can only be provided by me--any distribution of it in whole or in part for profit (such as with banner ads) without my expressed written consent is a violation of copyright law