Next Generation of Paintball Gun Technology

Next Generation of Paintball Gun Technology

We see hundreds of players on Stag Do’s or Birthday parties at the Yorkshire Outdoor Activity Park every weekend. Whilst they get real tournament paintball guns to use rather than traditional “Site” guns, which are brilliant, when we start to talk about the next generation of paintball gun technology, our customers are always amazed by what is available.

I suppose this happens in every sport, though, take archery for example, when I recently went to a birthday event, and we did archery. I was intrigued and went home to look on the internet to see if I could buy my own bow. Imagine my surprise when I saw incredibly sophisticated bows with antennae sticking out of them. I suppose that’s to tune into the radio whilst out shooting. It’s not, but you get what I mean.

The Rise of Electronic Paintball Guns

Electronic paintball gun

The introduction of electronic paintball guns has marked a significant milestone in the evolution of paintball technology. If you play at a recreational level, it’s unlikely that you will have used an electronic paintball gun. Much more likely is that you used a mechanical. These could range from old-fashioned Tippmann’s, or if you played at the Yorkshire Outdoor Activity Park, you would have used mechanical, pneumatic paintball guns called Gog’s. With the integration of microprocessors, players can enjoy improved performance, increased firing rates, and a more consistent shooting experience.

Next Generation of Paintball Gun Technology – Advanced Circuitry

Modern electronic paintball guns utilize advanced circuitry to control every aspect of the marker’s firing process. This allows for greater precision and customization, enabling players to fine-tune their guns to suit their play styles.

Programmable Firing Modes

Paintball gun electronic circuit board

Electronic paintball guns offer various programmable firing modes, such as semi-automatic, burst, and ramping. Whether these modes made the game better or worse is debatable, but it makes no difference, as Pandora’s box is open and can’t be closed again. One of the most contentious of the modes is “Ramping”. Ramping is a mode where you must maintain a certain number of trigger pulls, and the electronics will fire as many balls per second as you choose.

This was to get around the ridiculous UK laws about fully auto. If you can maintain three balls per second on the trigger, the software will ramp this up to anything you like, say 20 balls per second, for example. This allowed kids who had never played before (Or even older players with no experience), to mimic quality players who had practiced for years to achieve high rates of fire. It’s a cheat mode for the lazy and Play Station generation. It may sound like I hate Ramping, and you would be right. I practised for years to achieve high fire rates, but now any 12-year-old can match me.

Lightweight and Durable Materials

As I get older, one improvement I embrace is the reduction in the weight of paintball guns and bottles. Holding your arm at 90 degrees for several hours per game day over 35 years takes its toll. I think I have something similar to tennis elbow now. We’ll call it Paintballer Elbow, though, as it’s more manly. I would have benefited if the new materials had been around 20 years ago.

Carbon Fibre

Carbon Fibre

Carbon fibre has quickly become a popular material choice for paintball gun manufacturers due to its incredible strength-to-weight ratio. This lightweight material makes the guns easier to handle and contributes to improved accuracy by reducing barrel vibrations. Carbon fibre is usually used on barrel fronts and changes the weight balance of the paintball gun. You can tell the difference as the weight is significantly lighter.

Polymer Composites

It’s interesting when it comes to polymers and paintball guns. Back in the day, the main paintball gun available was the Splatmaster. If you can get hold of one now, the chances are that it will still be in perfect working order. The Splatmaster was made out of an indestructible nylon polymer. Then as paintball took off and production was moved to China and other third-world countries, the materials became weaker and weaker, as the metals thinner and thinner. If I said toy Chinese plastic, you would probably get what I was saying. Water pistol plastic may be a better description.

But, all is not lost. Manufacturers like Planet Eclipse are using great quality polymers to reduce weight, and they are tough. And, what’s more, they are a British company. This author stands up and salutes them.

Enhanced Ergonomics and Customisation

Next-generation paintball guns are designed with the player’s comfort and customization preferences in mind, enabling a more enjoyable and personalized experience on the battlefield.

Ergonomic Grips

Modern paintball guns feature ergonomic grips designed to reduce hand fatigue and provide a more comfortable hold during gameplay. These grips are often adjustable, allowing players to find the perfect fit for their hand size and shooting style.

Modular Designs

Eclipse Emek EMF 100

Now we are talking, about modular designs as a great idea. You can take a single platform, the engine, and bolt on the bits you want. If you are a scenario player, you can add a longer barrel, a stock etc. If you play more tournament or urban paintball, you customise your gun to suit your play and style. Again, this has been championed by Planet Eclipse with their range of paintball guns.

Advanced Hopper and Loader Systems

I remember sitting in a bar around 2008 and talking to a designer of paintball equipment. He was talking of a new £120 hopper. I was surprised as paintball guns themselves were around that price mark. As he described the concept, I started to understand. We could keep making paintball guns faster, but the hoppers could not keep up. The best electronic hopper at that time was probably the VL Egg. The new hopper he was talking about was the Rotor. And wow, it revolutionised the game. I bought one the week they came out, and I still have the same hopper now.

Force-Feed Hoppers

Force feed hoppers use advanced motor systems to push paintballs into the gun’s firing chamber, allowing for faster and more consistent feeding rates. The Rotor mentioned above is a force-fed hopper. It was the original and is still the best today. This technology virtually eliminates paintball jams, ensuring players can maintain a steady stream of fire during intense battles.

Capacity and Speed Adjustments

Dye Rotor 2 Paintball Hopper

Speed adjustments may be a bit misleading. It’s more pressure on the stack than speed. More pressure on the stack means faster feed rates, but this must be balanced with the paint you use. Fragile tournament paint doesn’t do well with lots of pressure, so a balance needs to be found. Not too much pressure to break the paint, but enough to give high rates of fire. With the advent of the Rotor 2, an adjustable capacity was introduced. The hopper top flexes, so you can lift it to hold around 280 paintballs, or collapse it for a lower profile that holds 200 paintballs.

Next Generation of Paintball Gun Technology – Integration of Smart Technologies

The integration of smart technologies into paintball guns is opening up new possibilities for player communication, strategy, and performance analysis.

Wireless Connectivity

Bluetooth technology

Some of the latest paintball guns feature wireless connectivity options, enabling players to link their markers to smartphones or other devices. This allows for real-time communication, GPS tracking, and sharing game statistics with teammates and opponents. I was at a Campaign Cup years ago, and one of the teams was cheating. They had Bluetooth-enabled guns, and spectators could control them from the sidelines. The cheat was, fully auto at break out. The spectators turned the mode off and set it to semi-auto around 10 seconds into the game.

The marshals could not find the cheat mode or replicate the full auto and had a nightmare of a time. This was one of the reasons that Ramping was introduced and adopted. That way, cheat modes became obsolete. But that wrecked the game and led to a high rate of fire, an arms race that ultimately led to higher paint bills and lower participation.

It’s a bit like the Olympic Commission recognising that athletes take drugs, so removing the no drugs rule so they don’t have to police it. Mind, I suppose watching someone pumped up on every drug going, running the 100m in 5 seconds, then exploding 10 meters over the finish line would make great TV.

Heads-Up Displays

Next-gen paintball guns are also starting to incorporate heads-up display (HUD) technology, giving players crucial information in their line of sight. These HUDs can display information such as ammo count, game timers, and even maps, providing players with valuable tactical information without taking their eyes off the action. This technology has also been incorporated into expensive goggles. The technology is available, but it hasn’t been widely adopted yet.

Performance Analytics

Smart paintball guns can also collect and analyse performance data, giving players insights into their accuracy, shooting patterns, and overall gameplay efficiency. This information can be used to identify areas for improvement and develop more effective strategies for future matches.

Environmentally Friendly Paintballs and Propellants

As paintball becomes more popular, there’s a growing focus on minimizing its environmental impact. Next-generation paintball technology addresses these concerns by introducing eco-friendly paintballs and alternative propellant systems.

Biodegradable Paintballs

Eco Friendly Paintballs

Paintballs have always been biodegradable, but the latest are made from materials that break down quickly in the environment, reducing the potential harm caused by traditional paintballs. These eco-friendly options still provide the same vibrant splatter effect, ensuring that players don’t have to sacrifice the fun and excitement of the game. These new paintballs use less starch and oil and are excellent quality.

Alternative Propellants

All next-gen paintball guns use alternative propellants, such as compressed air, which is more environmentally friendly than CO2. These systems also tend to be more consistent and efficient, providing players with a better overall shooting experience. Finding a top-end paintball gun that will run on Co2 now is unusual due to the delicate solenoids and valves. There are still some sites that use CO2, though.

It’s Paintball Jim, but not as we know it.

William Shatner Paintball

The paintball world is experiencing a renaissance as next-generation paintball gun technology transforms how we play the game. From advanced electronics and lightweight materials to enhanced ergonomics and smart technology integration, these innovations take paintball to new heights of excitement and intensity. Conversely, they are also making the equipment more expensive and a bit of a barrier to entry. Not everyone can drop £1700 on a new paintball gun. This is hurting numbers coming into the game, and as the worldwide cost of living crisis worsens, it will be interesting to see where things go. Maybe the advanced technology attracted William Shatner (Captain Kirk – Star Trek) to paintball. After all, he spent his working life boldly going where no one had gone before.

Whatever you play with, though, Paintball is a fantastic adrenalin sport that you can play for years and years.

Other pages you may find interesting

Paintball Guns – technological advances
Top 8 Paintball Gun Upgrades
Paintball and Airsoft Photography: Take better pictures.
How to set the Hop Up on an Airsoft Gun

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