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Each beginning paintball player will want to buy their own gear over continuously using their local paintball field’s rental equip. While rental equipment is reliable, cheap, and readily available there is something about owning your own equipment and that sense of ownership is a powerful way to say that you are here in this sport.
Owning your own equipment is like a badge of honor or mark that sets you apart from the other players. Equipment comes in a variety of styles and colors giving you the ability to look exactly how you want. If you want all your gear to color match, DONE, we can do it. If you want to wear all black CHECK, we can do that also, or if you want to go out there in every color of the spectrum you can do that too.
The pieces of gear that every player needs to no longer need to rent gear from the field are the mask, gun, tank, and hopper. These items are the core pieces of the paintball player kit. There are a wide range of options in all these categories. The mask is the most important piece of equipment that a paintball player needs, because the mask is what protects your eyes from harm.
Different Types of Masks
Masks come in a vast amount of styles and prices.The most significant difference between paintball masks is whether the mask comes with a Thermal Lens. The Lens is the clear or tinted piece of the mask that you see through. A thermal lens uses a dual pane system to prevent fogging; if you have played paintball before using rental equipment then you know that the single pane lens can fog up on you. Empire makes a quality entry level mask called the Helix. The Helix is a great mask because it affordable, breathable, and well made. The Helix comes with a single pane or a Thermal lens and the price between the two is a small difference.
The Mid-tier masks are going to come with thermal lenses from the factory, softer foam then entry level masks, and better venting for even better breathability. Empire paintball masks are the most popular masks available. The Vforce Profiler is an example of a great mid-range mask coming with soft foam, a high degree of visibility lens, and fantastic venting. Higher end masks like the Empire EVS, Virtue Vios, or Dye paintball masks come with amazing features.
All those masks are going to come with a thermal lens stock. They are going to have replaceable foam for comfort and soft leather earpieces which come with a nominal cost making them almost a no brainer to replace as they wear out. Some of these masks come with a GoPro camera mount built in! These features are the hallmarks of high-end masks essentially making them the last make you will need to buy.
Choosing Yours Gun
The paintball gun is going to be the second most important and the most popular piece of equipment. Guns come a wide array of flavors from traditional paintball to tactical and looking like a real firearm. Paintball can be played in a variety of ways from Woodsball to Magfed to Tournament style and there is a paintball gun for each aesthetic. The most basic of entry paintball markers is the Spyder Victor, this gun is a great priced marker to get anyone started. It is easy to use and easy to maintain being exactly what you need to play with none of the extras; you cannot go wrong with the Victor as your first gun.
On the tactical side there are magfed paintball guns and there are tactical guns that look real. The Cronus from Tippmann is the entry marker of choice featuring the great reliability and performance of Tippmann combined with a cool look because of the barrel shroud, carrying handle, and stock; this gun looks like you are ready for combat.
Electronic Paintball Guns
In the mid-range the most popular paintball gun is going to be the Mini GS from Empire. The Empire Mini GS features four firing modes from semi auto, the two tournament legal firing modes, and full auto; this gun is at home on any field be it the tournament scene or tearing it up in the mud.
The Mini GS has a rugged and durable anodize that helps it withstand the rough and tumble of the paintball field wherever you happen to play with a reliability and ease of use that anyone can fully utilize. On the high end of things, you have guns like the DLX Luxe, Planet Eclipse guns like the CS2 Pro, and the Dye Dam (for your magazine fed needs) and each of these guns come with an absolute laundry list of features.
Paintball Air Tanks
Next up is the Air Tank and depending on what gun you chose will determine whether you want to use a CO2 paintball tank or Compressed Air. Carbon Dioxide or CO2 is exactly like it sounds and is liquid CO2 filled into a 12, 20, or 24oz bottle and then used to power your paintball gun. Guns like the Tippmann 98 Custom or Spyder Victor work great on CO2 and you will get a lot of shots off of those guns using CO2. When you move into electronic markers you will want to be using Compressed Air because it is always a gas unlike CO2 which is a liquid, the reason you want Compressed Air is because with CO2 it is like pouring water into your laptop.
The electronic components can handle some liquid on them but they are not waterproof so you will want to avoid CO2. Compressed Air is also cleaner and more consistent in performance than CO2 making it easier on your paintball gun and making your paintball gun perform better. Some Compressed Air tanks that we recommend are the Tippmann 48ci 3k Compressed Air, which is a great entry level tank at an even better price, or if you want more bang for your buck the Ninja paintball air tanks.
The Ninja tank is extremely lightweight, can hold up to 4500 psi, on most guns we are talking about getting more than 1000 shots before it is empty, and easy to rebuild should a problem ever occur. Hoppers are what hold the paintballs and feed them into your paintball gun. They range from a gravity fed 200 round hoppers which lets the paintballs just naturally fall to electronic force feeding them into the gun to even magazines that use a spring to push them into the breach.
Starter & Electronic Loaders
Any paintball hopper will get the job and help you get paintballs down field; it really comes down to how fast you want to be able to reliably shoot your gun. A nice step up from the gravity fed hopper is the JT Revolution Loader which uses a spinning paddle to agitate the balls so that they fall faster into the gun. Some of the electronic hoppers will feed upwards of 30 balls per second like the Dye LTR and R2 and the Halo Too Loader from Empire. The Spire might not be the fastest feeding loader available but the Virtue Spire loaders are the most popular and most reliable loaders available.
The big benefits of having an electronic gun is the faster rate of firing that you can achieve over a paintball gun that is purely mechanical so the need to have an electronic hopper to keep up with how fast you will be capable of shooting is important. Some of the electronic paintball guns can shoot up to 20 balls per second, and they have modes that makes continuously shooting for extended amounts of time extremely easy.
The gravity feed hopper just cannot keep up with these electronic guns and so if you do not want pauses in your firing you will want to look into getting an electronic hopper to feed how fast you are shooting. The mask is first piece of equipment a player should look at because protecting your eyes is the most important thing you can do.
The gun comes next because that is the coolest piece of gear that a player buys; everyone wants to check out your new paintball gun right? Then you need the gas to power your paintball gun and your choices between CO2 and Compressed Air cover everything you could need. Now we come to the hopper and your choices between gravity and electronic make sure you are sending paintballs at your opponents.
These are the basic and most essential pieces of paintball gear. Accessories One of the accessory pieces of equipment for a paintball player is a pod pack. The pod pack is a belt system that holds tubes, called pods, and these tubes are filled with extra paintballs. This is the primary way to carry extra paintballs onto the field so that you can reload. The pod packs can hold between 2 to 11 pods in most cases depending on which one you get.
Paintball Pod Pack & Harness
Some of the paintball pod packs even have a pouch that will carry your tank if you choose to use a remote line; Tippmann makes a great one of these packs. The belt can be a simple strap and buckle set up with a pouch that can hold 2 pods or more up to a Velcro belt like a weight lifters belt that has synch straps to pull the pods up to your back and hold them in place and these packs can hold at minimum three pods. These packs can have lumbar support padding and hidden pockets to hold an ID card or an Allen key like the Virtue Elite pack.
Packs can even use no straps to hold the pods in by using the tension of the belt around your waist to pull the pod holders tight to hold the pods without dropping them; the most popular of these style packs are the Zero-G harness from HK Army or the Supreme Pack from Bunker Kings. Packs are not a necessity to play but are very useful as you become more experienced. Paintball pods are the tubes that carry extra paintballs that you can use to reload your gun in the middle of the game. Think of pods as like magazines for your paintball gun like in games like Call of Duty or Counterstrike.
Choose Your Paintball Pods
Pods come in three capacities 50 rounds, 100 rounds, and 140 rounds; the most common size of which are the 140 round pods. So each pod is almost a hopper of paintballs making each pod almost a complete fill up. Pods come from a plethora of manufacturers; Dye, HK Army, and Virtue. The most popular brand of pods is probably Gen X pods, they are popular because the lids fit snug so no worrying about it opening up randomly and spilling all your paint on the ground, they are well made and resilient, come in a variety of colors from blue to pink, but most importantly they are affordable; being some of the cheapest pods to be had on the market.
Other companies make pods with a locking lid so that a button has to be pushed to open the pod absolutely making sure you are not spilling your paint on the ground. Pods can also have designs on them like the HK Army Skull Pod that features a skull on the end.
Upgrades and Accessories
Barrel Swabs and Squeegees are items we use to clean our barrels of broken paint and debris from the field. A squeegee is included with most guns that a player buys new and it is a long piece of rubber with three discs that are the width of a paintball barrel; to use the squeegee you drop the small end through the barrel, grab it at the other end and pull it through. These barrel cleaners are extremely effective but do have the downside of needing to remove your paintball gun barrel from the gun before use, this makes it a little difficult to use quickly in the middle of a game.
The Barrel Swab is like a giant cotton swab and can be fluffy on both ends like the HK Army Blade barrel swab and just one end with a squeegee disc on the other end like the Exalt Barrel Maid. The big benefit of the barrel swab is that you can just run it down the barrel because it is on a stiff stick and use it to clean out the broken paint or dirt.