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Archive-name: sports/paintball-faq
Last-modified: April 11, 2000
Version: 1.5.2

See reader questions & answers on this topic! - Help others by sharing your knowledge
---------------------------------------------------------------------- - FAQ and Guidelines For Posting


1. About
   1.1 Introduction
   1.2 How Can I Get This FAQ?
   1.3 What is
   1.4 The R.S.P. Charter
2. All About Paintball
   2.1 What is Paintball?
   2.2 Is Paintball Safe?
   2.3 Doesn't It Hurt?
   2.4 What is the History of Paintball?
   2.5 What is Stock Class Paintball?
   2.6 Where Can I Find Out More About Paintball?
3. Posting to R.S.P.
   3.1 What Topics Can I Cover In My Posts?
   3.2 Can I Post Ads For Gear I'd Like to Sell?
   3.3 Can I Post Advertisements for My Paintball Business?
   3.4 How Do I Post A Message Requesting to Buy Paintball Gear?
4. Commonly Asked Questions on R.S.P.
   4.1 Which Gun should I Buy?
   4.2 What's Better - A 'Mag or a 'Cocker?
   4.3 Where Can I Buy Paintball Gear Online?
   4.4 What's the Difference between C02, Nitrogen and HPA?
   4.5 How Many Shots Can I Get Off My Tank?
   4.6 What's The Difference Between Open And Closed Bolt Paintball Guns?
   4.7 What is Team Internet?
   4.8 What's The Deal With Those Abbreviations in Everyone's Signature?

5. Miscellaneous
   5.1 Acknowledgements
   5.2 Disclaimer
   5.3 Copyright

1. About

1.1 Introduction

Paintball is one of the fastest growing sports in America. With such an
influx of new players, people are discovering in their
efforts to find more information. This FAQ is an effort to make the group
as efficient as possible by answering the most commonly asked questions
and provide guidelines for posting. Hopefully, with input from members of
the group, this FAQ will help make the newsgroup
attractive to both the new and experienced player.

This FAQ is considered a work in progress and will continue to evolve
with both the newsgroup and the sport itself. Comments and suggestions
are welcome and should be sent to the maintainer.

The original FAQ for this group was maintained by Steve Mitchell.  With
his permission I have incorporated his content into this new version.
The original FAQ has not been updated since 1996 and should be
considered obsolete. If you find versions of the old FAQ please direct
the publisher to this new FAQ.

1.2 How Can I Get This FAQ?

This FAQ can be easily obtained by several different means:

The r.s.p. FAQ is automatically posted to several different Usenet
newsgroups every 7 days by the MIT FAQ Server. These newsgroups include, news.answers and rec.answers. Since r.s.p. is a
fairly active group the FAQ post may be dropped to make room for new
messages. If this happens it can be found by searching one on the many
newsgroup archives such as Deja News (

HTML versions are hosted by WARPIG (see section 2.6) at and by
Durty Dan's Paintball Information Service at

The latest version can always be found at the official FAQ archives
at MIT:

The FAQ can be received by sending a request directly to the maintainer at

1.3 What is was created in 1992 by UseNet enthusiasts who were
unable to participate in because of its ALT.*
status. It is a newsgroup devoted to all things Paintball. Anything even
remotely having to do with the sport is considered a valid topic of
discussion. Threads about events, equipment, tactics, tournaments and
personalities are all welcome. Postings for the sale of paintball gear
and advertisements for related commercial ventures are also acceptable
if some general guidelines are followed (See Section 3).

PLEASE NOTE: is *not* a moderated newsgroup. It
never has been, and hopefully never will be. No one can control what is
posted and there are no rules. There will always be the jerk who submits
"PAINTBALL SUX!" or some other message designed to provoke an emotional
response. *DO NOT RESPOND*. You are only providing the reaction he is
looking for and making the guy stay longer. Just ignore him. If you feel
you must take matters into your own hands, respond via private email.
Also, please avoid responding to folks asking "Which gun should I buy?"
or "What's better - gun X or gun Y". Just point them to the FAQ (that's
what it's here for!) or one of the many paintball Web pages.

1.4 The R.S.P. Charter

The following charter was included in a post to news.announce.newgroups
approving the creation R.S.P as a newsgroup. The first draft of the
charter was submitted by Geoff Bronner and refined during the discussion
period to produce the final result.

--------------Begin Charter-----------------
This newsgroup is for discussions of paintball (also known as Pursuit,
Splatball, Speedball). The discussion is not limited to any single part
of the sport and can include topics ranging from the technology used to
developing equipment to game strategies. Other acceptable subjects would
include efforts to sell used equipment and to set up games between
readers of the group.

It is the goal of this group to provide a source of information for
players new to the game and promote responsible and safe paintball
activities for players at all levels of ability. In keeping with this
goal, this charter encourages reviews of playing fields and paintball
related products by patrons, owners, sales staff, and any one else
involved with the sport. It is believed that the readers of the group
are better served if the discussion includes all points of view from
within the industry surrounding the sport of paintball. Posters who do
post reviews are encouraged to include a disclaimer which explains any
conflict of interest they may have.
--------------End Charter-------------------

2. All About Paintball

2.1 What is Paintball?

Paintball is an adult version of the children's game "Capture the Flag".
It involves both the physical exertion of moving over various terrain
and the mental activity of developing strategies. The object is to
capture the opposing team's flag and bring it back to your team's home
base. While you are trying to capture the flag, you are also trying to
eliminate opposing players by tagging them with a gelatin capsule filled
with water-soluble paint expelled from a special air gun called a "paint
gun". When players are hit and marked, they are out for the remainder of
the game and have to wait until the next one starts. Most games are
timed and last between 15-30 minutes. Most games are played on
commercial fields and are refereed to keep the game fair and controlled.

2.2 Is Paintball Safe?

Like any other activity or sport, there is always the potential for
injury.  However, standard safety rules and the proper use of industry
developed and approved safety equipment have made paintball one of the
safest participatory sports. In fact, insurance company statistics have
shown that more people are hurt bowling and fishing than playing

When on the field players must *ALWAYS* wear protective goggles which
are usually part of a special mask which protects the eyes and face.
When not on the field barrel plugs are inserted into the paintball gun
to prevent paintballs from leaving the barrel. Safety is highly stressed
at most fields with orientations given at the beginning of each session
and referees/staff members on hand oversee the players. Finally,
commercial paintball fields limit the velocity of a fired paintball to
less than 300 feet per second. Players who disregard safety instructions
are usually removed from the game and sit out the next. Fields which
do not enforce safety requirements should be avoided.

2.3 Doesn't It Hurt?

The short answer is: Heck Yes It Hurts! Getting hit by a fast moving
pellet is part of the game. Fortunately, it isn't as bad as one thinks.
Paintballs break upon impact dissipating most of the energy and causing
very little pain. What pain is felt is comparable to being snapped by a
towel and goes away after a few seconds. Of course, being shot at close
range will tend to "accentuate" the sensation (read "hurt more") than a
hit from further away.

Generally though, the thrill of the game will overshadow any pain that
might be felt from a hit. A player can count on leaving the field with a
few welts, but they make great visual aids when recounting paintball
stories to your buddies.

2.4 What Is the History of Paintball?

May, 1981 - Paintball begins in Henniker, New Hampshire. The principal
creators, Bob Gurnsey, a sporting goods retailer; Hayes Noel, a
stockbroker, and Charles Gaines, a writer discuss the idea of some sort
of stalking game.

June 27, 1981 - The first game played with 12 players competing against
each other with Nel-spot 007s pistols. The game was capture the flag.
The winner captured all the flags without firing a shot.

April 1982 - The first outdoor playing field was opened in Rochester,
NY, by Caleb Strong.

1982 - Charles Gaines marketed paintball as the National Survival Game
(NSG). PMI (Pursuit Marketing Inc.), was founded to market and
distribute paintball products.

June, 1983 - Lionel Atwill, one of the original 12 players, writes "The
Official Survival Game Manual" - the first paintball publication.

1983 - The first NSG National Championship was held with a $14,000 cash
purse. The first outdoor paintball fields opened in Toronto, Canada.

1984 - Paintball begins in Australia under the name of Skirmish Games.

November, 1984 - The first indoor playing field is opened in Buffalo,
NY, by Caleb Strong.

1985 - The first outdoor playing field is opened in England.

1988 - IPPA (International Paintball Players Association) is founded as
a non-profit association dedicated to the education, growth and safety
of the sport of paintball.

1991 - Paintball begins in France, Denmark and other countries in

April 15, 1992 - passes its vote for creation on a
vote of 195 to 43 and is announced as an official newsgroup.

June - July, 1992 - Team Internet is formed as players prepare for the
World Record Game at Jack Frost Mountain, PA.

November, 1992 - NPPL (National Professional Paintball League) is
founded in Chicago and the NPPL Pro-Am Series starts with events around
the US.

1996 - IPPA is officially disbanded.

1996 - Paintball playing fields, stores and tournaments can now be found
in Canada, the United States, Australia, England, Scotland, Denmark,
France, Holland, Germany, Austria, Ireland, Belgium, Greece, Italy,
Norway, Sweden, Africa, Russia, New Zealand, Brazil, Venezuela, Israel,
Korea, Thailand and the Philippines.

2.5 What is Stock Class Paintball?

Stock class paintball follows the same concept as stock car racing:
everyone uses the same level of equipment so competition is based on
the skill of the player. It has grown into a movement by players who see
the technology of paintball becoming a substitute for skill. Stock class
players enter the field with a limited amount of air and paint so every
shot must count. Players win by relying on marksmanship and movement
instead of "accuracy by volume".

The following guidelines have generally been accepted as the standards
for a "stock class" paintball gun:

Feed/Operating System
	- The maker is powered by a single 12 gram CO2 cartridge
	- The marker must be manually actuated (i.e. pumped) to load a ball
	  and cock the markers action. Semi-automatic or double-action
	  markers are not allow (with the exception of the Crossman 3357
	- Paintballs are gravity fed from a tube parallel to the barrel.
	- The marker must be tilted to load each paintball (No direct
	- The feed tube cannot hold more than 20 paintballs.
	- The feed tube cannot be modified to impede the balls from rolling
	  off the bolt with the exception of the thickness of the main body
	  and the tube above it.
	- The magazine tube or feeding block's outer circumference must
	  touch the outer circumference of the barrel and must be parallel
	  to the longitudinal axis of the barrel. It must be flat with no
	  ramps to help balls roll to the bolt. (This is to prevent any
	  design that provides enough space to stack paintballs and be ready
	  to load without tilting the marker.)

Power System
	- "Quick changers" for the CO2 cartridge are not allowed. The knob
	  holding the CO2 in must be unscrewed and the 12 gram dropped out
	  through the threads. (With the exception of the Nelspot 007 and
	  Crossman 3357 Spotmarker.)
	- The knob must be turned at least one and one half full revolutions
	  to remove it. Check valves are not allowed. For safety reasons,
	  removing the CO2 must inactivate the marker.
	- Phantom stock class, Rat-a-tac, and other "bucket-type" quick
	  changers are permitted.

	- Holes, rifling, or muzzle brakes are not allowed. The barrel may
	  be any length but must be smooth bored and solid.
	- There can be one barrel addition but must not exceed eight inches
	  from the tip of the (original marker's) barrel and may not be
	  drilled, rifled, etc.

	- Autotriggers are not allowed
	- Any type of stocks, grips, and sights are allowed with the
	  exception of Battlegrips for the Nelspot which have a drop out
	  hole for the twelve gram cartridge.

2.6 Where Can I Find Out More About Paintball?

This FAQ isn't enough? On the off chance that this document doesn't
answer your question (in which case you should email it to the
maintainer for inclusion) or want reviews of equipment and results from
events, there are many other resources worth investigating.

#Paintball on Internet Relay Chat (IRC) provides a real time chat forum
for paintball players.

Web Sites
Warpig ( is the most complete paintball web site
on the Net. It contains news, technical articles, tips for beginners,
and even RealVideo from various events. The site is also a good jumping
off point for other paintball related web sites. The authors, Bill and
Dawn Mills, are well know in the paintball community and update the page

Ravi's Paintball Place ( leans
toward the more advanced player. Much of the material on his site is
technical in nature and focuses upon upgrade and performance
enhancements. The author, Ravi Chopra is a regular on R.S.P. and has
written many articles and reviews for the paintball community. ( used to be a print magazine but has
recently transformed itself into an e'zine. It has a comprehensive
ratings archive of nearly any piece of paintball gear you can think of
as well as "Tips from the Workbench" which will help every player keep
their gun in top notch shape.

There are several magazines dedicated to the sport and are available via
news stands and subscriptions. These include Action Pursuit Games (CFW
Publications), Paintball (CFW Publications), Paintball Games
International, Paintball Sports International, and Paintball 2-Xtremes.
Each of these 'zines include equipment reviews, tournament news, and
columns about tips and tactics. Subscription Information is available on
Warpig. Paintball News is a free tabloid which covers rec and tournament
events and is available at most paintball fields and stores.

"The Complete Guide To Paintball" captures the excitement and energy of
the game and provides a wealth of information for both beginning and
advanced play. This generously illustrated book was published in the
Fall on 1999 with contributions from several authors, including r.s.p
regulars like Steve Davidson and Rob "Tyger" Rubi. Sections include how
to choose your paintball gun; care and maintenance of your gun; safety
equipment; tactics; techniques; game rules; a listing of paintball
fields in the USA; and many other important resources and information.

3. Posting to R.S.P.

3.1 What Topics Can I Cover In My Posts?

R.S.P. invites the discussion of any topic related to the sport of
paintball. Subjects can include (but are not limited to) equipment
questions, event notifications, tips, tactics, reviews, "editorials",
humor and announcements. Posts regarding the promotion of the sport to
new players in the form of answers to questions or helpful advice are
especially encouraged.

3.2 Can I Post Ads for Gear I'd Like to Sell?

It is acceptable for people to post "classified ad" type messages
informing the group of gear you have for sale or auction. However, it is
requested that the prefix "FS:" or "FA:" be added to the subject header
(FS = For Sale, FA = For Auction). For example, SUBJECT: "FS: Tricked
Automag + Nitro" indicates the poster is trying to sell an upgraded
Automag with a Nitro system. The FS:/FA: prefix allows people to either
skip over the message or use a filter to find, file, or ignore the
posts. The use of such prefixes is a generally accepted practice on all

3.3 Can I Post Advertisements For My Paintball Business?

The posting of commercial advertisements for a company has been a much
debated topic. Nearly everyone dislikes "SPAM" and many people consider
commercial advertisements, even paintball related ads, junk mail. But
since the group is not moderated it is nearly impossible to police such
posts. Therefore it is it is strongly suggested that a post of an
advertisement for a commercial organization have the prefix "AD:" added
to the subject header (AD = Advertisement). For example, SUBJECT: AD:
Good Deals on Paint!. This allows people to either skip the message or
invoke a filter.

3.4 How Do I Post A Message Requesting to Buy Paintball Gear?

People who looking to buy used gear should post a message with the
prefix WTB: in the subject header (WTB = Wanting to Buy). For example,
SUBJECT: WTB: Nitro System indicates the poster is looking to purchase a
nitro system. Be sure to include your contact information in the body of
your message so sellers can contact you directly.

4. Commonly Asked Questions On R.S.P. (Which Should NOT Be Asked)

As in all newsgroups there are certain threads that keep reappearing.
Usually they are brought back by "newbies" who do not follow proper
netiquette. They refuse to read the FAQs or lurk on the group for a
short period before posting. If you even THINK it might be an old
question then it probably is. Most of the players in the group will
patiently skip over the post with a shrug and a shake of the head, but a
few are pretty close to the edge.  So to avoid being "lit up at close
range" please check here first for the answer.

4.1 Which Gun Should I Buy?

Buying that first paintball gun is a subjective decision that a player
must make for himself. No single gun is going to please everyone. One
needs to become aware of features that are liked or disliked before a
purchase is made. Posting a message asking which gun to buy will give
you a plethora of answers - none of which you can use. You need to find
the gun that is best for you. The answers you will receive are the guns
that are best for them.

The recommendations most commonly given are to shoot as many different
guns as possible and ask other players why they chose their gun. Most
experienced players are even cool enough to let you take a couple of
shots on the target range or even play a game with their gun. Also, make
a list of features you want, then do some research to find the gun which
has those features and is still in your price range. For example, I want
a semi automatic gun with an upgradeable barrel, built in vertical
adapter, and a reputation for durability for $350.

You can even use r.s.p. as a resource. But instead of asking "Which gun
should I buy?" ask the question "How is the X-1 Paintblaster as a
starter gun?" Such a question will give you both the pros and the cons
of a gun and be much more informative.

4.2 What's Better - A 'Mag Or A 'Cocker?

What! Do you want to start WWIII? The 'Mag vs.'Cocker debate (along with
the Spyder vs. Tippmann, Boxers vs. Briefs, and "Tastes Great" vs. "Less
Filling") has been raging throughout the newsgroup since its inception.
DON'T ASK! Again, this is a purely subjective decision that players can
only make for themselves. Every gun has it's own reputation and appeals to
a player for different reasons. Asking if Gun "X" is better than Gun "Y"
will only add fuel to the fire where most of the flames will be
directed to the person who makes the post.

4.3 Where Can I Buy Paintball Equipment Online?

Most paintballers advocate buying equipment from a local paintball
dealer. However, everyone knows paintball is an expensive sport and
wants to get the best deal possible.  There are several sites which
specialize in selling paintball gear over the Web. Here are some of the
most visible:

4.4 What's the difference between C02, Nitrogen, and HPA?

There are two main power sources used to propel a paintball out of a
paintball gun - Carbon Dioxide (CO2) and Nitrogen/High Pressure Air
(N2/HPA). Both are very common and each has its pros and cons.

Carbon Dioxide, more commonly know as CO2, is the most commonly used
propellant due mainly to the fact it is fairly inexpensive and has been
around since the beginning of the sport. Its main disadvantage is its
sensitivity to temperature. As a CO2 tank warms up or cools down the
available pressure either rises or falls. For a paint gun, differences
in pressure mean inconsistent velocities.

This sensitivity to temperature is due to the fact that CO2 is stored as
a liquid. The gaseous form of CO2 used by the paint gun is formed when
some it "boils off". The tank containing the gas is a fixed volume.
Since there is a direct relationship between temperature and pressure,
an increase in temperature causes a corresponding increase in pressure:
The pressure increases because no more liquid can turn into a gas and a
higher velocity results.

CO2 can also enter the gun in its liquid state under certain conditions
like sustained rapid firing.  On some guns, the sub-zero temperature of
the liquid CO2 causes O-rings and air seals to freeze which disrupts
normal operation. Equipment such as expansion chambers, anti-siphon
tanks, and remotes help negate this effect.

Nitrogen and High Pressure Air systems, commonly called Nitro and HPA,
are the most prevalent alternatives to CO2. While any inert gas (like
Argon) will work, Nitrogen and HPA are the cheapest and most readily
available. Since Nitrogen and HPA are stored in their natural gaseous
state and not liquid, they are not susceptible to the thermal problems
described above. A Nitrogen/HPA equipped paintball gun will perform
consistently regardless of temperature and weather conditions.
Nitrogen/HPA has almost completely eliminated velocity fluctuations. The
only drawback is that Nitrogen systems costs more and some fields do not
have the capability to refill the tanks.

4.5 How Many Shots Can I Get Off My Tank?

The number of shots per tank is dependent upon two main factors: the gun
itself and how finely tuned the air system is. Generally speaking, high
performance guns such as Mags, Cockers and the new electronic guns will
provide more shots per tank than the blow-back Tippmann's and Spyders.
Shots per tank will even vary on the same type of gun depending upon how
the gun is setup. The table below should be used as a general guide for
determining shots per tank. Please remember - your mileage may vary.

     CO2 Tanks              HPA 3000                HPA 4500
     ---------              --------                --------
7oz........300-400     44cc......400-500       44cc.......600-700
9oz........400-450     53cc......600-700       53cc.......800-900
12oz.......500-700     68cc......800-900       68cc.......1200-1400
20oz.......1200+       114cc.....1250-1500     114cc......1500-2000
                 (Source: Paintball 2-Xtremes Magazine  July, 1998)

4.6 What's The Difference Between Open And Closed Bolt Paintball Guns?

A closed bolt gun is one that is in the "ready to fire" position with
the bolt closed. That is, the gun is ready to shoot when the front of
the bolt is secured into the "chamber," or the breech end of the barrel.
When the trigger is pulled, a valve is opened that allows a burst of CO2
through the bolt to propel the ball down the barrel. Closed bolt guns
re-cock themselves (or are pumped, in the case of pump guns) by opening
enough to allow another ball to fall into the chamber, then re-closing,
ready to fire again. Autocockers and pump guns all use the closed bolt

An open bolt gun is one that is in the "ready to fire" position with the
bolt in the open position, ready to slam closed when the trigger is
pulled. With most open bolt guns, when the trigger is pulled, the bolt
slams forward sealing the ball in the breech of the barrel. A burst of
CO2 is then released that propels the ball down the barrel. A spring
returns the bolt and re-cocks the bolt. Most, but not all, semi auto
paintball guns are open bolt guns.

4.7 What Is Team Internet?

Team Internet was formed in 1992 is an informal organization of
paintball players that have access to R.S.P.  More of a club than a
team, members rarely play together and then only in small groups. Team
Internet has three "requirements" for membership: the candidate must
have played at least once, must be able to read R.S.P. and must be a
good sportsman (no cheating, helpful to newbies, etc).

Information on how to join Team Internet and the Team Internet FAQ are
available at

4.8 What's The Deal With Those Abbreviations in everyone Signature?

There are several paintball related groups on the Internet. The most
common is Team Internet (TIP). Once accepted into such a group (which is
usually accomplished by sending email to the Keeper of the List) the
player is assigned a membership number. That number can then be included
in one's signature.  Other groups include: Mag Owner's Group (MOG),
Spyder Owner's Group (SOG), Palmers Owner's Group (POG), etc. The
correct form of the abbreviation contains no spaces and at least three
decimal numbers, as in TIP#3326 for the author.

5. The Not So Fine Print

5.1 Acknowledgements

This FAQ is maintained by Paul "Stryder" Kloehn ( with
help and/or suggestions from:

Steve Mitchell ( - Author of the original FAQ.
Erika Kloehn ( - My wife and proof reader.
Steve Davidson ( - Proteam Products
Durty Dan ( - Ideas and content

5.2 Disclaimer

This article is provided as is without any express or implied
warranties. While every effort has been taken to ensure the accuracy of
the information contained in this article, the author/maintainer assumes
no responsibility for errors or omissions, or for damages resulting from
the use of the information contained herein.

5.3 Copyright

Copyright (c) 1999 by Paul "Stryder" Kloehn, all rights reserved. This
FAQ may be posted as appropriate to any Usenet newsgroup, on-line
service, web site, or BBS as long as it is posted in its entirety and
includes this copyright statement. It is requested that the author be
notified. This FAQ may be distributed as class material on diskette or
CD-ROM as long as there is no charge (except to cover materials). This
FAQ may not be distributed for financial gain. This FAQ may not be
included in commercial collections or compilations without express
permission from the author.

Paul "Stryder" Kloehn -
Team Twilight Zone
TIP#3326  MOG#222

User Contributions:

Comment about this article, ask questions, or add new information about this topic:

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Last Update March 27 2014 @ 02:12 PM