The ultimate paintball gear guide: where to buy your own paintball gear, what to buy and how to look after it.
We’ve put together the definitive paintball buyer’s guide for everyone looking for cheap paintball supplies, how to buy paintball gear and more...
One of the most important steps to improving as a paintball player is buying your own paintball gun and your own paintball gear. Paintball guns are like snowflakes… each one is unique, special, with its own ‘personality’. One paintball gun might fire slightly to the left, another might have a more resistant trigger, a weightier feel, a special something that makes it different to all the other paintball markers out there. This makes it hard to improve as a player when you are using a different rental marker each time.
In order to become a more accurate paintball marksman, you’re going to have to invest in your own paintball marker and dedicate some time to learning how to use it.
Why buy a paintball gun?
The most important question to ask yourself is “why am I buying a paintball gun?” There are so many different types of paintball markers out there… and the right paintball marker for you will depend on how you plan to use it.
If you’ve never played paintball before and would like to start a new hobby, stop. A rental paintball marker will be just fine for your needs. Playing paintball at one of our premier paintball venues is cheap, just £11.99 for a full day, so unless you plan to play more than once a month for the next couple of years, buying your own paintball gear won’t be cost-effective.
Where to buy paintball guns?
If you’ve played quite a bit of paintball before and want to buy your own paintball gear so that you can mess around in the woods with your friends, then you don’t necessarily need the best gun on the market. In fact, you might have more fun if you all buy a similar style of paintball marker so that the games are roughly fair. Don’t be the guy who turns up for the friendly local skirmish with a fully automatic US Army Alpha Black Elite. Something like the classic Tippmann 98 Custom would be a better fit as it’s both relatively affordable and has the potential for a few upgrades if your group wants to further their play.
Then there’s those who want to play ‘military-simulation’ (milsim) style paintball. These people are into their hardware and they are after paintball markers that look and feel like the type of thing that real military people would actually use. This type of gear is expensive, but people who are really into military-simulation get an immense amount of satisfaction out of their gear. You should be aware though that plenty of the stuff that is used in military simulation, won’t necessarily be any good for actual paintball tournaments.
For those that want to play competitive paintball, you’re looking at a whole different type of paintball gun and a whole different price range. Most competitive paintballers will be playing speedball, so the paintball marker needs to be smaller and lighter while also allowing decent accuracy at a high rate of fire.
The cheapest paintball marker that you could bring to a game of speedball would probably be something like the £100 GOG eNMEy — though you would undoubtedly be at a disadvantage. Expect most players to be rocking something like the £300 Dangerous Power G5, while those that take paintball seriously might be turning up with £1,000s worth of Planet Eclipse Geo 3.5.
Where to buy paintballs?
Most people want to buy the cheapest paintballs that they can get their hands on… and that might be just fine if you are messing around with your mates. Buying in bulk is undoubtedly the best way to buy cheap paint, so simply look to buy paintballs by the thousands and split the costs amongst your friends.
If you want to improve as a player though, you’ll have to spend a little bit more. This is because cheap paintballs are often dimpled or warped, which means that they don’t fly straight. You won’t be able to improve your accuracy if you don’t know where your paintball might end up when you pull the trigger. A high-quality paintball will be perfectly round, have no visible line between the two halves of the shell and won’t be too brittle. Different paintballs may get different results with different markers, so experiment with a number of paintball brands and see what works best for you.
Of course, the best price for your paintballs is FREE. When you sign up to play paintball at one of our sites for £11.99, you get your 100 first paintballs for free!
*Please not you will not be able to use your own paintballs on site due to health and safety regulations.
Where to buy a paintball mask?
Without a doubt, the most important piece of kit you own is your paintball mask. You cannot play paintball without a mask and you should not use a paintball mask that is broken or damaged in any way. Players tend to overspend on their paintball gun and underspend on their mask. A mistake, but one that is somewhat understandable.
Your paintball mask must protect your eyes. To make sure that it does, buy one that has been certified. A certificate means that it can withstand the impact of a paintball, keeping you safe from harm. You cannot use anything which has not been certified on any reputable paintball field, no matter how cool it looks.
All paintball masks will keep you safe, as all must be legally certified. So what does a more expensive paintball mask get you that a cheaper paintball mask doesn’t? Well, a couple of things actually. Firstly, you’ll get a mask that fits comfortably. Paintball goggles which don’t fit comfortably aren’t just a nuisance; they can actually be dangerous. This is because they are more likely to come off accidentally in a firefight.
A decent paintballing mask will also come with anti-fog. On hot or cold days, your facemask could well steam up leaving you unable to see your target. That £500 paintball marker will be totally useless if you can’t see a thing because your £15 facemask has fogged up! The last thing that a decent facemask will give you it a wide field of vision. Your ‘field of vision’ refers to how much you can see. Some cheaper masks have narrow fields of vision which mean that you can’t see stuff on your periphery. Obviously, this gives you a disadvantage if there’s someone sneaking up on you.
How to clean a paintball gun
Once you’ve bought your paintball gun you’ll want to treat it right so that you can enjoy it for many years. You’ll need to clean your paintball marker to prevent dirt from becoming lodged in the barrel and interfering with your accuracy. Dirty paintball guns also tend to jam more often and may cause paintballs to break in the barrel. Either of these warning signs means that it’s time to clean.
Make sure that don’t start cleaning without consulting the instructions that came with your paintball gun. Different paintball guns like to be cleaned in different ways, and having the instructions on hand will help when it comes to reassembling your paintball marker.
First thing that you need to do is remove your fuel canister and de-gas your paintball gun so that there’s no chance of a misfire. Then dissemble your paintball marker (but don’t lose any of the pieces). Clean everything, from the barrel to the bolt and hammer to the grip frame, as directed by the instruction manual. Some paintball markers can be cleaned with a squeegee, others like a wet cloth or a wet q-tip.
Now’s an excellent time to inspect your paintball gun for any damages to the o-ring, the springs and the screws and replace the faulty parts as necessary. Dry everything thoroughly with a paper towel, then lubricate everything that needs to be lubed up. Again, you’ll need to check your instruction manual carefully as certain oils can destroy certain components. If you’ve lost your original instruction manual, pray that someone has uploaded a copy somewhere on the internet that matches your exact paintball marker.
Then reassemble and you’re good to go! That is, unless you’ve messed up and there’s an extra piece left over...
How to clean a paintball mask
If you’re the kind of paintball player that gets hit in the mask repeatedly, then you’ll know that cleaning your paintball mask is a task that can’t be skipped. A dirty mask offer less visibility, and a totally neglected paintball mask could start to become less effective as protection — in other words, a disaster waiting to happen. Clean your paintball face mask and paintball goggles regularly to keep it in prime condition.
Cleaning your paintball mask is a relatively simple task. Use a cotton rag and warm water to gently wipe away any dirt or paint splattered onto your gear. Paintball masks have lots of crevices that you’ll need to pay close attention to. You might be able to remove the lens of your paintball mask from its frame so that you can attack grime from a different angle. For the lens itself, you’ll need to use a microfibre cloth so that you don’t ruin your mask’s visibility. Remember to clean both the inside and the outside...
Where to sell your paintball guns, markers, equipment etc.
If it’s time for you to pack up your paintballing days and move onto a more boring sport (like fishing) then you may want to sell your old paintball gear. If you’ve taken good care of it and cleaned it regularly as described above, you could well get a decent chunk of your money back. The best place to sell your old paintball gear is via a website like gumtree.com, ebay.com or preloved.com. Otherwise, you could try one of the UK’s paintballing forums.