Paintball Markers

The paintball marker had probably changed the most since it's conception. There are dozens of companies that manufacture hundreds of different designs and models. Paintball markers are usually pump action or semi-automatic (fully automatic markers are considered unsafe). All paintball markers are powered by compressed gas that is stored in an external tank either on the marker or on a harness the person carries. The paintballs are stored in a container above the marker called a hopper or loader, which typically contains around 200 paintballs.

Paintball companies have come up with many creative and exotic marker designs to appeal to the various ages and groups that play paintball. Some are designed to appeal to players who want to camouflage themselves or want to play more of a hide and hunt type of game. Some have mounting brackets for scopes and flashlights the same as real firearms.

Others look like a something out of a science fiction comic book with have flashy multicolored parts and stylized milling on the marker. Some are controlled by computer chips and can sell for over $1500. The variety of markers out there is equaled only by the choices of parts and accessories there are to choose from.
Marker design and performance has been steadily refined and perfected as players demand markers that can shoot faster. Many of today’s markers are electronically controlled with hair triggers as short as 1mm to pull and require almost no pressure to pull. Players can shoot as fast as 20+ paintballs in 1 second and sustain that rate of fire over extended lengths of time.

Air Systems
All paintball markers are powered by tanks of compressed gas. Currently there are 2 types used: CO2, and High Pressure Air (HPA). Both types of tank systems come in a variety of sizes and shapes for different playing styles. The tanks are refillable and have to be tested every 5 years for safety.
Common CO2 Tank
Common HPA Tank

Paintball Loaders
Paintball loaders are the containers that hold the paintballs and feed them into the markers. Typically they hold around 200 paintballs and most today are motorized. This means that they have an agitation system or paddle wheel activated by a sensor that shakes the paintballs. The reason is that often the paintballs will get stuck in the neck of the loader so the paddle keeps the paintballs feeding. For even higher speeds, some loaders will load and force the paintballs in faster than gravity reaching speeds of 20+ balls a second.

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