Make your own free website on
Rec.Sport.Paintball FAQ
Rec.Sport.Paintball - FAQ and Guidelines For Posting
HTML Version: 1.5.1
Last Updated: December 15, 1999
Maintained by: Paul "Stryder" Kloehn
HTML Conversion by: Paul "Stryder" Kloehn
Original FAQ: Steve Mitchell
"Everything you always wanted to know about paintball, but was asked by somebody else first!"

1. About Rec.Sport.Paintball
1.1 Introduction
1.2 How Can I Get This FAQ?
1.3 What is Rec.Sport.Paintball?
1.4 The R.S.P. Charter

2. All About Paintball
2.1 What is Paintball?
2.2 Is Paintball Safe?
2.3 What is the History of Paintball?
2.4 What is Stock Class Paintball?
2.5 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. The Not So Fine Print
5.1 Acknowledgments
5.2 Disclaimer
5.3 Copyright

1. About Rec.Sport.Paintball

  1.1 Introduction
Paintball is one of the fastest growing sports in America. With such an influx of new players, many people will discover what a superb resource is to share 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 postings. Hopefully, with input from the 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 doing a search on one of the newsgroup archives such as Deja News.

HTML versions are hosted by WARPIG  at and by Durty Dan's Paintball Information Service at
Anonymous FTP:
The latest text version can always be found at
It is also mirrored at the official FAQ archives at MIT.

This FAQ can also be received via electronic mail by sending a request to the maintainer.

  1.3 What is Rec.Sport.Paintball? was originally 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, answer via private e-mail. 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.
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.

2.0 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 paintball.
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.

  2.3 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 is played: 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 is opened in Rochester, NY, by Caleb Strong.
    1982 - Charles Gaines markets paintball as the National Survival Game (NSG). PMI (Pursuit Marketing Inc.), is founded to market and distribute paintball products.
    1983 - The first NSG National Championship is held with a $14,000 cash purse. The first paintball field in another country is opened in Toronto, Canada.
    June, 1983 - Lionel Atwill, one of the original 12 players, writes "The Official Survival Game Manual" - the first paintball publication.
    1984 - The sport is introduced to 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 nonprofit association dedicated to the education, growth and safety of the sport of paintball.
    1991 - Paintball begins in France, Denmark and other countries in Europe.
    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 prepared 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.
    1995 - Paintball fields are open all in Europe, Asia, and South America.
    1996 - The 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.

  2.4 What is Stock Class Paintball?
Stock class paintball follows the same concept as stock car racing: everyone uses the same level of equipment so the competition is based on the skill of the player. It has grown as 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. Semiautomatic or double-action markers are not allow (with the exception of the Crossman 3357 Spotmarker)
   Paintballs are gravity fed from a tube parallel to the barrel
   The marker must be tilted to load each paintball (No direct feeds)
   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 paintmarker.)
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

  2.5 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 e-mail 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 frequently
Ravi's Paintball Place leans toward the more advanced player. Much of the material on his site is mostly 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. was a print magazine that 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 newsstands 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 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.

3.0 Posting to R.S.P.

  3.1 What Topics Can I Cover In My Posts?
R.S.P. invites the discussion of virtually any topic related to the sport of paintball. Subjects 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 in an effort to sell personal paintball gear. However it is requested that the prefix FS: be added to the subject header (FS = For Sale). For example, SUBJECT: FS: Tricked Automag + Nitro indicates the poster is trying to sell an upgraded Automag with a Nitro system. The FS: allows people to either skip over the message or even use a filter to automatically delete the message or file it in a specific location. The use of such prefixes is a generally accepted practice on all newsgroups.

  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 will let you take a couple of shots on the target range or even play a game with their marker. Make a list of features you want, then do some research to find the gun that 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 only add fuel to the fire and 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:
Paintball Online
Skan-Line Sports
Predator Paintball
I&I Sports
888 Paintball

  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 that it has been around since the beginning of the sport and is fairly inexpensive. 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 subzero 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 fine 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.
HPA 3000
HPA 4500
Tank Size
Tank Size
Tank Size
7 Oz
9 Oz
12 Oz
20 Oz

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 design.
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?
Formed in 1992, Team Internet 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 is available through the Team Internet pages on WARPIG

  4.8 What's The Deal With Those Abbreviations in Everyone's 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 e-mail to a 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 Acknowledgments
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 - Inspiration and content for several of the topics

  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.

Back To Paintball Articles