- Paintball equipment
Paintball equipment is central to
paintball, given its equipment-intensive nature. Although good equipment by no means guarantees a good player, a good player's ability can be seriously hampered by poor-quality equipment. In order to safely conduct a game of paintball, every player requires, at a minimum, a marker with propellant to fire the paint, a mask to protect the eyes and face, paintballs, and a loader to hold them. To ensure safety off the playing field, a barrel sock or plug is also considered compulsory.
Common additional equipment, depending on type of play, often includes gloves, a pack designed to comfortably carry pods containing extra paintballs, and a squeegee or swab for cleaning out the barrel in case a paintball breaks.
paintball markeris the primary piece of equipment used in paintballto tag an opposing player. An expanding gas (usually carbon dioxideor high-pressure air) forces a paintball through the barrel at a muzzle velocityof approximately 300ft/s (90m/s). This velocity is sufficient for most paintballs to break upon impact at a distance, but not so fast as to cause tissue damage beyond mild bruising. Nearly every commercial field has, and strictly enforces, a rule limiting the muzzle velocity of a paintball at or below 300ft/s.
The most technologically advanced paintball marker is the electropneumatic. Here, the trigger activates an electronic microswitch (or more recently, a magnetic or optical sensor) and information is passed to a computer-controlled
solenoid valvewhich releases the propellant to drive the bolt forward and fire the paintball. This microcontroller operation makes the marker operate very quickly, and allows for extremely high rates of fire. These markers are the most expensive and are generally used for tournament play where rates of fire can reach and exceed 30 balls per second.
There is also a strong following of "stock-class" and "pump" players who use markers with a purposefully low rate of fire and ammo capacity. Pump markers require the player to recock or "pump" the marker before each shot, and stock-class markers have even more limitations on rate of fire and paintball capacity.
Some markers are designed to look like real guns, such as the
Tippmann A-5and X7 or the Smart Parts SP8 (based upon the German Heckler and Koch Prototype XM8 as well as much of the Armotech product line). These markers are called mil-sim, short for military simulation. They are used almost exclusively in woodsball and military scenario games, though with a few modifications the markers can be competitive in the speedball arena. The more expensive mil-sim markers tend to be considerably more rugged than most high-end speedball markers, but are heavier and tend to operate at slower rates of fire. Most also feature camouflage or black coloring (rather than the bright colors found on tournament markers), since stealth is of more value in the woodsball environment than that of the much smaller speedball arena. Some mil-sim markers use hoppers, though some use magazines similar to real-life automatic weapons. Many come with a shoulder stock and use a coiled remote line connected to a tank of propellant usually carried on the players back, in order to follow the mil-sim look and to lighten the marker up and make it more maneuverable.
Mil-sim markers are not without controversy, however. There have been several incidents in which mil-sim paintball players have been reported to the police as carrying actual firearms. This is becoming a serious problem with local law enforcement in cities where there is high mil-sim paintball activity, especially if the games are hosted away from paintball facilities (e.g. at a player's estate or an "outlaw" paintball location). Since the markers are nearly identical to real firearms, law enforcement has difficulty discerning the differences between real-life weapons and their paint-shooting counterparts, which, in a pre-combat situation, can be hazardous since the time allotted to identify the alleged armed target is minimal.
Paintball markers are powered by the expansion of gas stored in a compressed gas bottle. The two most common forms of compressed gas are carbon dioxide and high pressure air (HPA).
and requires energy, causing the tank to cool as heat is used to expand the liquid CO2 into gas. Eventually, under sustained fire, and especially in cold weather, the tank can become so cold that ice crystals form on it. If the CO2 bottle does not have an anti-siphon tube fitted, or is shaken while firing, the liquid CO2 may enter the marker. The liquid CO2 then passes through the marker instead of the tank, evaporating and causing the marker to freeze. This results in large clouds of CO2 vapor ejected from the marker upon firing, caused by the liquid CO2 evaporating in/around the barrel. This is known as "drawing liquid". This can cause damage to internal seals and O-Rings, and can "freeze" some markers, putting it out of commission for some time while it warms back up. Simple operation designs such as in-line blow-back (most Tippmanns), guns designed before HPA was more widely used, or guns using 12-gram CO2 powerlets are usually not affected by this problem, but it can still cause damage to the marker over time. For this particular reason, most high-end markers recommend that you use HPA. Technically, CO2 and HPA can propel the paintball, but when high rates of fire are attained, liquid is sucked into the marker which can damage or even destroy electrical components inside the marker such as the solenoid. Never leave a CO2 container in sunlight, as the heat will cause the gas to expand to a dangerous level. The tanks include safety valves in their construction, but there is no need to use them or take unnecessary risks.
With normal back-bottle setups (or, air systems utilizing a horizontal air source adapter, more commonly called an ASA), the less dense gaseous CO2 will rise to the top half of the tank. Normally, ASAs are angled with very slight angles so the gaseous CO2 is always available at the valve of the tank. Special devices known as anti-siphon tubes extend the mouth of the valve, and provide only CO2 from the top part of the tank.
During rapid successions of shots, gaseous CO2 is used up. Liquid CO2 will take some time to evaporate and rebuild the internal pressure. This process causes potentially large changes in velocity and therefore, in accuracy and range.
High pressure air or N2
from liquid to gas. The lack of this transition reduces the variation in pressure associated with rapid successions of firing cycles, improving accuracy. Therefore it is viewed as a superior source of propulsion.
However, because these propellants are stored at higher pressures (up to 5000 lbf/in² or 34 MPa) while liquid CO2 is stored at around 1200 lbf/in² (8 MPa), tanks for nitrogen and HPA are more expensive and heavier. Modern designs are usually wrapped in carbon fiber or other composite materials, to allow for thinner walls (thus, lighter weights) while withstanding the greater pressure. Average pressure for HPA tanks used in paintballing is 31 MPa (4,500 lbf/in² or 310 bar). The tanks themselves can either be filled with pure N2 or compressed air, which is 79% N2. These air sources have traditionally been used primarily by people who play often and have tournament-grade markers; however, they are becoming more popular among casual players.
Tank capacity ranges from 48 to 114 in³ (0.8 to 2 L). The 68 in³ (1.1 L) size is considered average. Smaller tanks may not last heated matches, while larger tanks are cumbersome and require mounting options that create a larger marker profile. Thus, large tanks are usually only seen in speedball back players, who do little movement but fire thousands of rounds in a game. Scenario players that fire a similar volume of paint will also utilize a large tank. 48 ci tanks are rarely seen, as a 68 is only slightly larger in form but offers a far longer play time.
HPA is also known as
nitrogen, nitro, or N2. The reason for the varying name difference is because in the late 1980s and early 1990s, Tom Kaye and Team Nitro used large 114 cubic inch tanks on their back. This was the first team to use nitrogen in a paintball setting. The gas they used was 100% nitrogen, which is very rare today. The reason for this is that air compressors capable of filling tanks to the required 3000+ psi (21 MPa) are more common. HPA tanks can be filled with nitrogen or compressed air, but can NOT be filled with CO2. It is also a common misconception that paintball markers use nitrous oxide(N2O,"Nitrous", "NOS"), or NO2. Neither of these are used in paintball pneumatic systems.
HPA is also preferred because it makes it easy for frequent players to fill the air system from a conventional
scuba tank. HPA tanks are filled from a nipple instead of the ASA valve, and so they can be filled while still connected to the marker. The fill is also significantly faster than CO2 because the cylinder doesn't have to be weighed, instead, its pressure is simply displayed on a gauge on the fill device. Also, some players believe that using N2 instead of HPA reduces the corrosioncaused to the marker by oxidationfrom the oxygenin the HPA. Many players also believe that the rapid temperature fluctuations in the marker from CO2 use will wear out the many O-rings in the marker faster than HPA, so therefore HPA is said to be "better on your gun" (than CO2).
Nitrogen is generally preferred over carbon dioxide for a few reasons. Nitrogen will not liquefy and leak into the marker, while if the CO2 tank doesn't have an anti-siphon tube installed, or if there is no expansion chamber or regulator, liquid CO2 can leak into the marker, causing damage to O-rings. The solenoid valves on electro-pneumatic markers are particularly sensitive to this, and thus many manufacturers will specify to use only nitrogen or HPA with their electro-pneumatic markers. Nitrogen generally has a more consistent shot than CO2. This is because when the playing area is warm, the CO2 will expand more rapidly from the liquid form, causing the marker to fire at a higher velocity. But when the temperature is lower, the expansion occurs more slowly, causing a decrease in the velocity of the shot. This is especially apparent during rapid firing while using CO2. The rapid discharge of CO2 causes the temperature of the liquid CO2 to drop dramatically, resulting in a significant loss in pressure. The effect of temperature on HPA or nitrogen, on the other hand, is negligible. However, CO2 tanks are significantly cheaper than nitrogen tanks. The nitrogen tanks traditionally cost slightly less to be filled than the CO2 tanks at approximately three to five US dollars. Also, many fields offer better rates for HPA fills due to their lower shots per fill (more apparent in smaller HPA systems, such as a 3000psi, 48ci tank) than CO2; the most common being 25 cents per ounce for CO2 and $5 for all-day HPA fills. From this, it can be seen that for the cost of refilling a single 20 oz. CO2 tank, a player can refill any size HPA tank all day.
Sometimes called "goggles", masks are safety devices that players are required to wear. These completely cover not only the eyes, but also the mouth, ears and nostrils of a person. Some masks even feature throat guards. The lenses are designed to stop paintballs traveling around or under 300ft/s (~90m/s). It should be noted, however, that the lenses are not designed to withstand impacts of paintballs traveling at vastly greater speeds.
Double-layered or "thermal" lenses are also available. These lenses are much less prone to fogging. These work by separating an inside and an outside lens with an air chamber, that allows for the difference in temperature between the inside and the outside of the mask without forming condensation. However, if any moisture whatsoever somehow gets in between the two lenses, the inner faces of both lenses will fog, and it will take a very long time to dry out, if it does at all. Fogging masks can be a significant hazard while playing. Besides the lost vision, players may be tempted to remove their mask and expose themselves to serious eye injuries. To reduce fogging of lenses while playing, some masks include electric fans that remove humidity and dry the lens. This is especially useful for situations that require wearing the mask for extended periods of time, such as wood play, large games, or being a referee. Finally, there are many anti-fog topical solutions that players can apply .
The exterior of the thermal lenses (or the lenses, in non-thermal masks) is usually made of
Polycarbonate. This material provides excellent impact resistance. Because polycarbonate is soft, these lenses are manufactured with anti-scratch coatings. But great care must be taken to keep proper care of the lenses. Many vendors recommend the immediate replacement of very scratched lenses, or lenses subjected to very strong impacts.
Generally, more expensive masks tend to be smaller (which in turn makes the player a smaller target), more comfortable, have more interchangeable parts and be made of soft enough material to get some bounces. [ [http://www.qpaintball.com/w/painball-masks/ paintball masks] ]
It should be noted, that while playing paintball, even just shooting at the ground or trees, wearing proper paintballing masks is mandatory for safety. Some paintballs are very thick and can bounce off the ground, and other objects, and hit people.
Hoppers are the means by which a paintball player keeps their marker fed with ammunition, much as magazines are to a regular rifle. With few exceptions, hoppers are all mounted above the marker, and most use gravity as the ultimate force to get the balls in the marker. That is to say, if most hoppers are turned upside down, the marker will not be fed with balls. There are two main types: Gravity feed, and Agitated Feeders. Gravity Feed hoppers often get jammed up with balls at the feed neck, which can result in a marker 'dry firing' (firing without paint) or chopping balls due to the timing of the ball entering the marker. This is detrimental to the performance of the marker and speed of shooting. Agitated Feeders, sometimes generically known as revies, improve on this method of feeding the marker. Though a few actually force the balls down the tube when needed, most simply use some method, from agitation to revolution of a wheel inside the hopper, to shake up the balls and send them down the tube. Using various methods, hoppers have been able to achieve feed rates of 30 BPS (balls per second) and above. A special type of hopper, called a helixal fed hopper, feeds balls using a spring driven helix shaped tube. These special hoppers can be mounted under a barrel, giving the marker a much lower profile. In addition to a lower profile, they can also achieve the highest feed rates in a paintball hopper- about 30 BPS. The most commonly seen is the Q Loader. There is some confusion about the term 'loaders.' Though a loader can often refer to an agitated hopper, the term is also used for gravity hoppers, and some people use the word to refer to pods used to carry extra paintballs.
, other non-toxic and water-soluble substances, and dye. Paintballs are made of materials found in food and are edible but taste inedible. [ [http://www.paintballtimes.com/Article.asp?ID=192 paintball safety history safe injury ] ] Early paintballs were made of glass [ [http://www.area51pball.com/index.html Gear used in paintball ] ] and filled with indelible oil-based paint, since they were made for marking trees and cattle, but modern paintballs should easily wash out of most clothing. The color of the shell does not necessarily indicate the color of the fill.
Most common paintballs and paintball markers are described as .68 caliber, but many factors affect the exact dimensions. Paintballs and barrels vary in size from .67 caliber to .71 caliber. On most paintball markers, the barrel must be slightly larger diameter than the paintball for correct operation.Fact|date=March 2007 In addition, paintballs are seldom perfectly round and are very sensitive to heat and moisture. A hot or humid day may result in paint swelling or becoming misshapen. Care should be taken to keep paintballs out of the sun and away from moisture. An insulated cooler works well for this on the field.
Generally speaking, paintballs of greater price are subjected to more stringent manufacturing processes, quality checks, and standards, making their size and shape more consistent. This is very important for accuracy. Better paintballs also tend to have higher quality fills and thinner shells to improve the frequency of breaking on impact rather than bouncing, and thus raise the percentage of "eliminations."
SWATteams often use paintball-like balls filled with a pepper substance (known as a pepper ball) as a non-lethal incapacitation method. However, pepperballs are shot at a higher velocity than is safe for paintball (350+ FPS) and the shells are not gelatin, but instead frangible plastic to make shots more painful for faster incapacitation. Pepperballs can be shot out of mostly any paintball marker.
Paintball is a very active sport, involving a lot of running, diving, crawling and sliding. Accordingly, the clothing worn for paintball must be extremely hard-wearing and durable. For woodsball,
camouflageis also extremely useful, so it is not uncommon to see players wearing army surplus military fatiguesor BDU (Battle Dress Uniform), particularly DPM styles. For speedball, however, the small field and artificial obstacles make camouflage ineffective. Speedball players therefore wear clothing which forms a uniformamongst the players, usually in threatening colors or styles (flames, for instance, are particularly popular). For scenario games, players will tend to dress themselves in a style appropriate to the character or force they are representing. In order to minimize the sting of close-range hits, players often wear extra layers of clothing padding as well.
Clothing worn for tournament paintballing is also constrained by the tournament rules, which expressly prohibit thick padded materials which are likely to adversely affect the chance of paint breaking on the target [http://www.nppl.tv/2005-Rules-final-3-1-05.pdf page 10] . Combined with the need to allow adequate padding to protect the
elbows and knees during slides on hard ground, tournament paintball gear can take on a rather unusual appearance. Often, in an attempt at gamesmanship, players will wear the baggiest clothing they can reasonably get away with, as this also makes paint more likely to 'bounce'.
Footwear varies enormously between Speedball and Woodsball/scenario games. In woodsball, the rough terrain and uneven, often muddy ground makes footwear with good grip and plenty of
anklesupport a necessity. This lends itself to boots, either military style or walking/hiking boots. In speedball, however, the added weight of thick boots is a distinct disadvantage, as is the reduction in mobility. Speedball players therefore tend to wear sneakers or cleats.
A drop forward is a marker add-on which is used to reposition the air canister to a more comfortable position, or one which improves the balance of the marker. They usually tilt the canister onto a slight angle and move it forward of its original position. They come in all shapes and sizes, however, so it is a personal preference which direction the tank is "dropped" - it is possible to mount the tank vertically, reversed or almost any other conceivable position. Most players use it to assist with balancing the marker, or to reduce its total length to make it more maneuverable (particularly if it has an extremely long barrel). Some marker designs do not permit the installation of a stock if the air cylinder is left in its standard location, necessitating a drop-forward if the player wishes to install a stock to improve accuracy.
There is a dispute among many players, however, that a drop forward will make the player's profile unnecessarily tall and wide, as the tank pushes the loader higher up above the head and may cause the player to hold his/her arms out wider in play to make up for the unnatural angle the drop will put on a grip.
A remote line is a hose (a gas line) which can be connected to a marker and to the tank, which allows the user more freedom of movement while handling the marker, because the tank can now be stored on a pod belt or in a pouch. Their utility lies in decreasing the weight and length of the marker, making it more maneuverable. However, they may get caught in trees and shrub, and if the tank is hit it still counts as a kill, even though it is on the player's back. Remote lines are not frequently used by tournament players, as it adds unnecessary weight (and the presence of the gas tank is factored into the design of tournament markers, making them extremely unbalanced if the tank is removed).Some remote lines utilize a
slide checkas a valve.
Pods, also known as guppies or simply tubes , are simply rigid tubular plastic containers which hold paintballs. The most common pod size holds about 140 paintballs; however, other sizes are available, and 100 paintball pods are common at rental sites, while there are also pods for smaller paintball pistols which only have the capacity of 10 paintballs (such pods are usually called tubes). Standard pods use a spring-loaded plastic top to enable them to be opened quickly and single-handedly. There are variations - for example, Dye Lock Lid pods which use a simple locking mechanism to ensure they won't open accidentally, or Syn Shockpods, which are engineered to be able to be shaken vigorously without the paint inside breaking.
Harnesses, or packs, hold pods full of paintballs, and the player's gas tank if using a remote line. Most hoppers hold about 200 paintballs and some markers can empty them in 10 seconds of sustained fire. In woodsball, and especially in scenario paintball, a player may be away from their reloading supplies for an extended period of time. A harness with pods allows a player to have a portable supply of paint, without weighing down his or her marker with an enormous hopper. Harnesses capable of carrying a tank in addition to pods are usually labeled with a +1 (e.g. A harness capable of carrying four pods and a tank would be labeled 4+1).
Harnesses for Speedball or Tourney ball tend to consist of a bellyband with hoops in the back for the pods. Harnesses for Woodsball may follow a more military look with pockets for maps, radios, and hydration pouches.
Squeegees are used to clean out debris from the barrel and breach, usually consisting of broken paintballs. Most squeegees use a hinge-mounted rubber disc on the end of a plastic rod of sufficient length to reach the full length of the barrel. The rubber washer end is inserted sideways into the barrel, pushed to the bottom and subsequently withdrawn with the rubber disc rotated ninety degrees (so that the disc now touches the inner circumference of the barrel and scrapes the paint out).
For paintball markers with an open breech or removable bolt, a "cable squeegee" may be used - a cable squeegee is a rubber disc mounted perpendicularly on the end of the cable. The non-rubber-disc end (the "pull end") is inserted through the breech (or through the back once the bolt is removed, whichever is appropriate) and pushed fully in such that the pull end extends out the front of the barrel. The squeegee is then drawn through the marker by pulling on the pull end.
A "Battle Swab" is used commonly in speedball for extremely quick cleaning; a double ended stick with soft absorbent fur is shoved down the length of the barrel to remove any performance hindering paint or shell. The swab often has a bendable rubber section in the middle so that it can be folded over and stored in a pocket.
Regardless of the design, as the squeegee is withdrawn, the barrel is perfunctorily cleaned to allow continued use of the marker. This allows the player to reduce the amount of paint or other debris in the marker, which can severely reduce accuracy, without having to remove themselves from play. A more thorough cleaning is recommended once time allows.
A safety device comprised of a cloth or neoprene pouch placed over the opening of the barrel and attached to the marker via a cord. These are usually required by commercial fields, to be used whenever the player is not on a field. They prevent an accidentally discharged paintball from leaving the barrel and causing injury. Forgetting to replace it after leaving a game and entering a safe zone will usually earn a warning. Repeated infractions will often result in ejection from the site. This is done for liability reasons and to lower possibility of unexpected injury to anyone around, especially important when involving eye safety.
Barrel socks are now preferred over barrel plugs because of the reduced possibility of discharging the safety equipment from the marker. When using a barrel plug, the first accidentally fired shot will shatter inside the barrel against the plug, pushing it at least partly out of the barrel. The second or third shot will likely dislodge the plug completely, meaning further shots pose a danger to surrounding players. With modern markers easily capable of firing five or more shots in a fraction of a second, barrel plugs simply do not provide an adequate guarrantee of protection. Furthermore, a discharging plug is a hazard in itself, as it can be fired with some speed out of the end of the barrel.
A barrel sock, by contrast, does not adhere rigidly to the end of the barrel but is instead attached with elastic. If a paintball is accidentally fired, it passes out the end of the barrel and is caught by the barrel sock. The momentum of the paintball is absorbed by the elastic, which then springs back into position, pushing the paintball harmlessly out the bottom of the sock. Repetitive firings therefore pose no threat to safety, and the paintball does not make a mess of the inside of the barrel.
Although not legal in tournament play, paint
grenades may be found in recreational and scenario play. There are two kinds of grenades in use:
* Non-explosive grenades are generally closer to water balloons in function. One common grenade design consists of a rubber tube sealed securely at one end and more loosely at the other, with an arming pin which, when pulled, loosens that end. The tube is filled with paint under pressure, usually from a syringe. When the grenade is thrown against a hard surface, the loose end of the tube is unsealed, and the paint is sprayed over a wide area, potentially marking players. Another common design consists of a small compressed CO2 tank surrounded by a container of paint.
* Explosive paint grenades are powered by a small
black powder"banger", tipped with a short time-fuse. A small plastic bag of paint is wrapped around this, and the whole assembly is contained in a breakable fibre case (usually segmented to resemble a WWII-era grenade). The end of the fuse protrudes from the top of the casing, and is tipped with a friction-sensitive material similar to the head of a match. This is then covered with a removable cap as a form of "safety catch". To fire the grenade, the cap is removed and its specially-roughened outer surface is struck against the fuse, igniting it. The grenade is immediately thrown; the fuse burns down to the tightly-packed black powder in two or three seconds and the grenade explodes.
This paint is normally a different color to the fill of the normal paintballs used on that field, as spray from a grenade (by definition) must count as a kill. Under most rules, any mark from a paint grenade is sufficient to count as an elimination.
Paint mines are simulated
land mines for use in Paintball. Several devices have been designed to spray paint over an area when triggered by passing players. Some of these devices are placed on the ground where, once a person steps on them, forces paint to shoot up and around the target marking the stepper and any nearby teammates. Another, rarely used form of mine functions with tripwires. Placed hidden on a tree or bush, the trip wire extends over a much larger area. Once tripped; a pin is released, like a paint grenade, the paint is forced out through the tight narrow tubes which shower the area with paint. Precise methods of spraying paint or triggering the mine vary; however, due to insurance reasons, no paint mines use any sort of explosive.
Although again illegal in tournament play,
smoke grenades are also used in scenario play. These create a screen of smoke which can obscure the movement of players and make it more difficult for the opposition to hit them. Some large-scale scenarios use military-issue smoke grenades, but for recreational use, smaller commercial 'smokes' are preferred (due mainly to cost and convenience).
Alongside paint and smoke grenades, many recreational paintball venues sell small thunderflashes for use during games. These are effectively black-powder fireworks which explode with a loud bang, but have a sufficiently small blast to be thrown at opposing players with reasonable safety (provided they do not attempt to pick them up). They are used in the same way as the explosive paint grenades described above.
In practice, thunderflashes have little purpose in a paintball game; their effectiveness at their supposed task of disorienting the enemy is dubious. Nevertheless, they are popular with occasional players, presumably in emulation of the much bigger flashbangs used by the military.
A variation of paintball uses slingshots instead of markers to propel the paintballs. Because slingshots may shoot faster than 300 fps, most paintball fields don’t allow them. A normal game usually requires "all" players to use slingshots, but some games may allow certain players to use pump action markers vs. slingshots, such as Cowboys and Indians.
This particular device is new to the field of paintball. It uses a combination of mechanical and pneumatic power to convert the energy from a compound, or recurve bow. The energy released is generally equivalent to the power generated by a marker. Entire games have been dedicated to the use of Airow Guns, in a fashion similar to that of
A "Paintball Bazooka", or a "Paintball Rocket Launcher" is a term used to describe a modified paintball gun or an item built from scratch to specifically "kill", or "take out" a Paintball Tank. Most often they fire Nerf rockets or multiple Paintballs.Many players prefer not to have one because they severely limit what they can do because of the large, hard projectiles they usually fire that can injure a player. The only exception of ones that can be fired at anything besides tanks, and/or buildings are the type that fire multiple paintballs instead of Nerf rockets.
A well-maintained paintball marker will last longer and be more reliable. A paintball marker should be disassembled and checked for problems routinely. For example, it is not uncommon for O-rings to break, or for paintballs to break inside the barrel. The latter problem can be solved temporarily when the player is "in the field" by using a pipe-cleaner-like tool referred to as a squeegee. However, it is important to disassemble the marker after the game and properly clean out any affected parts with the marker company's recommended material/solvent (such as a special cloth, or lubricant) and a paper towel. After cleaning, the marker should be lubricated with commercially available paintball lubricant. Firearm oils or lubes should not be used near internal seals or O-rings, as these are petroleum-based and will dissolve the rubber or silicone fittings. The player should then ensure that the marker is unloaded before firing several shots to blow out any remaining paint and dry out the interior. Replacements for broken parts should only be sourced from the manufacturer of the marker.
If the mask's lens are covered in paint, it is important not to simply wipe the paint off, because doing so may cause debris to scratch the lens. The player should leave the field and clean off the lens using water and a towel or a piece of cloth.
When thermal lenses are used, water or anti-fog treatment should be applied only to the outer lens, as moisture of any kind between the 2 lenses will ruin the lens system. The interior portion of a thermal lens is also quite soft and should only be wiped clean with a microfiber lens cloth designed specifically for cleaning glasses or goggles without scratching. Products such as Windex or other glass and spectacle cleaners should never be used, as they are designed to be used on "glass" rather than polycarbonate. Doing so could damage the anti-fog treatments, or compromise the integrity of the lens, putting the player at risk of serious injury.
A convenient method is to use a cheap small spray bottle to spray water onto the lens rather than pouring it on. Another good lens cleaning agent is a 50-50 mixture of rubbing alcohol and water. After it is mixed it should be put into a spray bottle for use. Use only a clean cloth on the mask; paper towels will scratch the lenses. Anti-fog spray is also available, which coats the lens in a temporary fog-resistant film. Some new lenses will come "pre-treated" by anti-fog, or the lens will say "fog-resistant" — with these lenses, it is advised that anti-fog chemicals are never used as the chemicals can damage the lens beyond further use.
Lenses should be replaced once a year as their strength is adversely affected by exposure to sunlight. If a player is hit in the mask the lens ideally should not be used again until it has been checked for damage, especially if the shot was from less than ten meters.
Paint to barrel matching
Paintballs generally change shape or size due to differing temperature or humidity. If a paintball is larger than the barrel, it might break inside the barrel and cause inaccuracy until it is cleaned. If the paintball is too small for the barrel, air will escape around the paintball when firing causing a drop in velocity and accuracy. Correcting for this by adjusting the velocity adjuster on the marker could cause a lack of air efficiency.
To check for a good paint-to-barrel match, remove the barrel from the marker and insert a paintball into the barrel. If the paintball simply rolls through the barrel, then the paintball is too small for that barrel. If the paintball does not roll out, then attempt to blow the paintball out of the barrel using your mouth. Ideally, you should be able to easily blow the paintball out, however, if this is not possible and the paintball becomes stuck, then the paintball is too large for the barrel.
Because of the varying sizes of paintballs and barrels, many people opt for an adjustable bore barrel, commonly called a barrel system, or barrel kit. These barrels allow for the user to adjust the internal bore of the barrel to allow for a perfect match for the paint being used. The kits may use pieces called "backs" to adjust bore size, or inserts, which are used in the Scepter barrel kit. Such examples of an adjustable bore barrel are the Sly Dualcarbon barrel system, Powerlyte Scepter, MacDev Matchstick, Smart Parts Freak Barrel, and the Stiffi Switch Kit.
Since the propellant tanks used by players are subjected to high pressures and stresses, they must be tested in accordance with the laws of the country the player operates in. In the United States, the
United States Department of Transportationrequires that tanks undergo a hydrostatic testat certain intervals, depending on the manufacture date, exemption certificate granted to the manufacturer for the tank, and tank size. [ [http://www.hydrotester.com/when.htm Hydro Cycle Lookup Information] ]
As a general rule, aluminum tanks have a five year hydro cycle (meaning they must be tested every five years) and an unlimited service life. Steel tanks must be hydro tested every three years and have a 24 year service life. Fiber wrapped or carbon fiber tanks (also known as HPA tanks) have either a three or five year hydro cycle with a 15 year service life. It is illegal to fill a tank that is outside of its hydro date. Tanks that have been abandoned, damaged, or are out of service life should have a hole drilled into the bottom of the cylinder to prevent pressurization.
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