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Friday January 24, 2020

Let's start with what is probably the most frequently asked question we get from newcomers. – "Which paintball marker is the best?". As an experienced trader, we cannot give a general answer to this. The reason is not that we do not know what the individual marker models have for functions and special features, but simply that this question cannot be answered in general.

Actually, the correct question should be " Which paintball marker is the best FOR ME?" – Because every player, every style of play and every game situation is different.

We would like to give you a little help as a newcomer and show you how to best put together paintball equipment for your personal needs.

Let's start with the actual gameplay. – Are you more of a tournament player and like supair and speedball, or do you want to crawl through the forest in camouflage and play scenario paintball? – If the latter is more your preference, then you still have to ask yourself whether you value a realistic appearance with your paintball marker, or whether the focus should be on performance and performance. If you can answer these questions for yourself, the selection will be limited to a few very specific marker models and it will be much easier for you to find the right model.

Now that you know what type of paintballer you are or want to be, it's time to choose the right marker.

Aspiring tournament paintballers should value a light marker model. Unnecessary attachments or large, bulky models should be rented out. The marker should be electropneumatic and, if possible, have a few basic features such as laser eyes (sensors for ball detection), a clamp feed, an ASA (air connection on the marker handle) with on/off and a double trigger (2-finger trigger). – If you don't know what that is in detail, just ask the salesman in the nearest paintball shop. To explain all the details would unfortunately go beyond the scope here.

Woodland players, on the other hand, need a robust work tool. The marker is stressed significantly more on action spaces. What you should also clarify in advance is whether you want to play pure Woodland or the more special MagFed variant, in which the marker's magazine capacity is limited. However, it is very difficult for us to make a clear recommendation here either, there are simply too many good paintball marker models that are also very different and almost all of them look cool. The best thing to do here is according to your optical preferences and of course according to the technical key data and handling, because it simply has to fit.

The next thing to do is the air supply, because even the most expensive high-end paint sword won't work without it. Anyone who has ever borrowed equipment on a playing field is probably familiar with the commercially available 200 bar aluminum bottles. With a purchase price of around 50 euros, these are not only cheap, but also very robust. However, they only have a capacity of 0.8 liters with a filling pressure of 200 bar. Your marker will usually run out of breath after about 400 to 500 shots and you have to leave the field to get fresh air.

For tournament players, after a short arithmetic example, this is already over before the purchase, because air for 500 rounds in the bottle, with an M800 format (800 rounds of ammunition per player/round is the tournament standard from 2020 in the DPL), makes little sense. In order not to always end up with residual ammunition but without air in the cover, a larger bottle is needed.

We recommend a 300 bar composite system with a filling volume of 1.1 liters. This standard format is the most common in the 300 bar bottle range and is available from a variety of different brands and retailers. Although the price is in the range of approx. 150 to 250 euros, you can also fire up to 1,800 rounds from one charge. – Of course depending on the marker model.

As a Woodland player, the example calculation is similarly simple. – First, think about how much ammunition you take with you on average per round. If you play with a small 2-pod battlepack and standard hopper, an inexpensive aluminum HP system with 200 bar is sufficient. But if you play big games, or stuff your entire vest and all other pockets with ammunition before each round, then the air supply should also be sufficient for this. The rule of thumb also applies here: if you fire more than 500 shots per round, you need a 300 bar system!

As a side note, for the real daredevils and submachine gunners, there are HP bottles up to 2 liters in size. This means that 2,500 to 3,000 shots per filling are no problem and 24-hour events are no obstacle either. But before you buy, always ask yourself the question “do I really need this huge thing in the end?”. Possibly one size smaller is enough. – That saves money and is also not so bulky.

Now that the air supply has been clarified, we make sure that enough ammunition gets into the marker. In general, when buying a paintball hopper, the rule applies – the marker specifies what kind of hopper you need. In a nutshell, this means nothing other than that you have to adjust the speed of the loader to the capabilities of the marker. Mechanical markers, such as the rental equipment on the field, or cheap models in the range of 100-200 euros can only shoot a maximum of 4-5 balls per second anyway due to their trigger mechanism. Any shaker hopper (you can buy it for about 5 to 10 euros), or also called gravity hopper, can do this with ease. If you want to be on the safe side and want to avoid annoying jamming of paintballs in the loader, you can use special models with a double bottom (eg Proto Primo Loader). These are usually available for 15 to 20 euros.

But if the marker shoots faster, it looks completely different, because what use is the fastest high-end marker with potential for 35 shots per second (yes, that exists!), if I put a shaker hopper on it at the end of the just 3-4 balls rolling out per second. The best paintball e-hoppers can now theoretically transport up to 40 balls per second into the marker. However, it is doubtful whether this is necessary. – Since the tournament range limits the maximum cadence to 10.5 bps (balls per second) anyway, any decent e-loader will usually suffice for a tournament marker. However, you should pay attention to a few things when buying.

You can buy e-loaders in the price range of around 50 to 250 euros. The best value for money is found somewhere in the middle. The cheap models usually have a paddle in the middle of the ammo chamber and stir the paint more or less so that it doesn't get stuck. The better models from 80-100 euros, on the other hand, push the paintballs correctly into the marker by grabbing the paintballs with a kind of auger and pushing them forward. This principle continues up to the range of the 250 euro hopper. The difference in the higher price ranges lies in the multitude of additional functions and features of the individual manufacturers. Be it speed feeds for faster reloading, battery-saving electronics, even more conveying speed, or simply a more modern, attractive and stable design.

At this point we would like to take a stand for the Dye LT-R and Virtue Spire IR models for all beginners. Both models are available for around 100 euros and are thus in the lower third. Players who don't want to get straight into the Bundesliga will have a lot of fun with these two solid basic models and will get by with them for years to come. No matter which marker he uses in the end.

Finally, we would like to briefly address the topic of paintball masks. The paintball mask is one of the most important pieces of equipment. It is not only responsible for the safety and protection of the face, but it is also one of the most and longest worn items. Like a pair of shoes that you put on in the morning and take off at night, the paintball mask is the first thing you put on before entering the field and the last thing you take off. Markers, Battlepack etc. can all be put aside for a moment during the game. But this mask remains on the head. You have to be able to see well with it, you should be able to breathe properly and it shouldn't pinch, but it shouldn't be too loose either. Last but not least, it should be visually pleasing and convey a feeling of security. – Quite a lot what such a mask should do in the end.

Of course, paintball masks also have everything from very cheap to very expensive. But if you follow a few simple principles when buying, then you can find out the best model for you at the best price. We would therefore like to give you the following purchase instructions. Let's start with the most important rule. – ALWAYS go to a local shop to buy a mask and find a capable seller there. Anyone who has ever bought shoes, be it online or in a shop, knows what problems can otherwise arise 😉

Start with the cheapest model (we don't want to pay too much) and then work your way up to your dream mask based on the following points.

  1. Choose a model with thermal glass.

This has 2 separate glass layers and (almost) does not fog up. Optimum vision in the game is important.

  1. Go for the wearing comfort, not the external appearance.

It is important how the mask sits on your head. You have to be comfortable with it. Optics should come second. If you find wearing comfort and optics combined in one mask, of course without having to make any major compromises, then choose this model.

So we have currently got an overview of the retailer's range and excluded from our purchase decision all masks that do not have thermal glass and that do not fit comfortably or that do not appeal to us optically in any case. – We are already a big step further. Now for the specifics.

  1. Check if the mask glass has a quick-release fastener.

Modern paintball masks have a glass with a quick-release fastener that can usually be exchanged in less than a minute. This is important because not only is it faster, but sometimes it's just required by the game. Masks with a quick-change system are now also available in the price range below 50 euros. If you have a mask that does not have such a system, but you absolutely want to have it, then this is not an absolute no-go, just a tip from our side.

  1. Take a closer look at the value for money.

What technical features does the model I have chosen have and does it justify the price? – Why does an almost identical mask suddenly cost 50 or even 100 euros more than the other. There are small but subtle differences that should be noted. Let the seller explain the special features of the individual models to you in detail and then decide according to the motto "I absolutely need it" – "I don't really need it" and "I don't necessarily need it, but I want it". In the end you will find the right price level for you.

Our tip: spend a little more on the mask, it's worth it in the end. Carrying comfort, quick lens changes, a flexible frame, the mirrored lens or the integrated sunshade for games in the rain and strong sunshine are small features that make life easier and improve the gaming experience. Here, an additional investment of 10 to 20 euros can make a difference.

No matter which piece of equipment you want to buy first, in the end it is of course always personal preferences that decide. This post is only intended to be of assistance to you. If you're still undecided, you might want to keep this post in the back of your mind and just go to the nearest paintball shop. There you ask an experienced salesman and always let them show you a few different models that match your own playing style and also take them physically in your hand. In any case, we wish you a lot of fun buying your first paintball equipment and hope that it will now be at least a little easier for you to select the right product and avoid expensive bad buys.

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