Paintball Guns and Pistols
Take up your arms!
If you don't arm yourself with a good paintball gun (marker) or pistol, you're going to be a sitting duck out on the field. It's important that you're comfortable with your marker, and the things to take into consideration when choosing one should be its size, weight, paintball velocity, and rate of fire. If you're comfortable with your gun, and it's a good one, it should give you better precision and a chance to eliminate more opponents - which should result in you surviving longer.
Paintball guns were originally designed for agricultural and farming workers in the 1970s to mark trees and cows with. These guns usually held about 12 rounds and had to be re-cocked after each shot. Technology improved, and front-mounted pumps were added to make re-cocking easier. Larger air tanks were introduced, commonly known as "constant air" 45-degree elbows, so you could load your gun from the hopper.
Today, modern paintball guns come in an assortment of styles. Some are small stock pistols that are powered by small 12-gram CO2 cartridges, which need to be changed after about 15 to 25 shots. Other markers resemble rifles, with their shoulder stocks and longer barrels. These guns are powered by larger, refillable CO2, nitrogen, compressed air, or propane cylinders that can supply hundreds of rounds of fire. Some other guns are pump-action models, which means after each shot you need to cock the gun using a pump before you can shoot again. And last but not least, you can get semi-automatic markers and automatic markers, both which re-cock automatically. All you have to do with these guns is aim and squeeze the trigger.
Different paintball guns may have different types of firing systems, but the basic idea is the same really. The gun is somehow cocked so a paintball pellet can fall out of the hopper and enter the barrel of the gun. A small shot of compressed gas (carbon dioxide, nitrogen, propane, or air) is then released into the barrel, just behind the paintball. This gas propels the pellet from behind with a great force - which forces it out of the gun.
Some pump action guns are still used in tournaments as many players like the slower pace and old time feel of these markers. This is generally referred to as Stock Class, which refers to the style of the original paintball guns of the early 1980s. These models use a round tube which can hold about 15 pellets, and it's attached parallel to the barrel of the gun. These guns are usually powered by 12 gram CO2 cartridges, so you have to change cartridges after about 20 to 40 rounds on most guns.
Some paintball guns are made to look like the real thing. These are usually referred to as military simulation (or mil sim). These guns are mainly used in woodsball games, as they're more cumbersome than most high end guns. However, they're pretty good to use out in the woods, as most of them come in black or camouflage design. Some of these guns use hoppers, and some of them use magazines, which resemble real automatic weapons.
To get the most out of your paintball gun, you'll need to clean, maintain them regularly, and handle them with care. Never point a gun at anybody unless you're playing and make sure you always have a barrel cover on your gun to protect against accidental shooting. You also have to make sure you measure the velocity of the balls coming out of your gun with a chronograph. The maximum velocity should be 300 feet per second (about 200 miles per hour). Anything above this could cause injury.