Cheap Paintball Equipment
When is it OK to buy cheap paintball equipment?
For those of us lower on resources the problem exists that there is a lot we want to buy, but our cash doesn't meet that. So we try to buy the cheap gear, satisfied that we don't need the absolute best of everything. But sometimes the best is the only thing that will do. In paintball sometimes you cannot scrimp or you could find yourself seriously injured. So lets look at the equipment and work out whether you can "afford" to go cheap.
Masks - Even if you won't be able to afford the best of the other equipment, you should get the best mask that you can afford. Sometimes people get a mask in a gun package, but a cheap mask can be uncomfortable, can shake when you run and can become foggy, so for a small saving you can lose a lot of games. You need a comfortable, snug-fitting, fog-resistant mask to win games. Also, should a crack appear on the lens, replace it - it could be the difference between life or death.
Guns - Should you only be a recreational player you don't need to be spending four figures on a gun. Instead you should be spending about $250. But don't go too low, your gun needs to be both reliable and upgradeable. Should you be a tournament player you'll want an electro-pneumatic or blow-forward gun and they cost above $350. If your team is good enough to get sponsorship you'll get a free marker, but in general you will never actually NEED the best gun on the market.
Air - Should you not shoot too fast and don't play in extreme weather you will only need a 12 ounce tank, which will probably come with a gun package. But if you play where air is hard to come by or your gun doesn't handle CO2 very reliably, then you should get something larger, like about 20 ounces. An expansion chamber can help recreational players should their gun have some trouble with CO2. But tournament players should get a low pressure air system or nitro/HPA at the start. They are expensive but more reliable.
Barrels - You don't need an aftermarket barrel should you be a recreational player, but if you are a tournament player you may be better off with a two piece barrel set to match the barrel to the paint type and the type of playing you are doing.
Paint - at a paintball field, the more paint you buy, the more money you save, so buy a case together with friends. But you don't want many left over, they can't be used after a few days. Should you have a choice, make sure the paint calibre matches the bore of your barrel.