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Depending on the gun, using a paintball gun can be rather complicated, especially when it comes to maintenance and cleaning. However, once the shooter takes ample time to practice and get acquainted with their gun, using it becomes like riding a bike. That’s why, before you step onto the field of battle, you need to practice and learn how to use a paintball gun as if you were a professional.
Before you can know how to use a paintball gun, you must first know how a paintball gun operates. Whether you are using an AEG (Automatic Electronic Gun), a gas-powered, or a manual cocking gun, all work basically the same. When the piston inside the gun moves backward, a small pocket of trapped air goes in the barrel. When you pull the trigger, this pocket of air is released and sends the paintball shooting through the barrel.
In an AEG and gas-powered gun, this cycle repeats automatically, and another round goes into the chamber. With a manual cocking gun, the shooter pulls back the slide, retrapping the air and loading a fresh paintball.
How to hold the gun
Using a paintball gun isn’t as simple as just pulling the trigger. There are steps, which after many rounds of repetitious practice, that will become second nature. However, for beginners, it’s best to go through these steps each time you are on the field. The first step is how you hold your gun.
How you hold it depends on which style gun you have. For a simple pistol, you just grip the weapon with your dominant hand (whichever hand you write with) and steady the gun by placing your second hand over your first. You will always pull the trigger with whichever hand you are using to grip the marker.
For a rifle, most will have a cO2, or gas cylinder, on the rear of the weapon. When using this style of gun, always put the cylinder on your shoulder. It’s important that you not rest it on your shoulder as this will provide no support. Rather, stick the end of the cylinder into your shoulder so that it rest on your collar bone. Guns that are AEG will most often have an extendable stock that presses against your shoulder.
Then, with your dominant hand, wrap your fingers around the grip of the trigger assembly. When doing so, never put your trigger finger on the trigger until you are ready to shoot. Instead, rest your trigger finger along the slide on the barrel of your gun. Next, using your non-dominant hand, steady the barrel of the weapon.
Your aim is the deciding factor on whether your team wins or loses. Good aim takes lots of patience and practice, and several thousand rounds of paintballs. Every gun will be slightly different as far as what your use for aiming. However, you can locate most at the end of your marker’s barrel. Holding the gun just directly below eye level, line the mark on your gun, used for aiming, with your target and shoot. Easy, right? Now add in the fact that almost always your target will be moving.
Shooting a moving target is considerably more challenging than one standing still. That’s why you need to practice leading your target. Leading just means you aim just directly ahead of your target in the direction it is moving and then you fire. Proper leading of the target, however, must take into consideration the rate of speed the target is traveling, as well as how long it will take your paintball to reach your mark.
Most people like to close their non-dominant eye when aiming. While this helps your mind to focus through one optic, it leaves you vulnerable in that is cuts your peripheral vision in half. With one eye closed, you may have an enemy sneak up on that side, and you never see them. That’s why it’s important to remember never close your eyes when shooting your gun.
What to remember when firing
Though a paintball will be leaving your gun going near 300 feet per second, it isn’t aerodynamic enough to maintain that speed over very long distances. That’s why you need to familiarize yourself with how far your gun can accurately shoot. Familiarize yourself with the rate at which the paintball drops after it leaves your gun. Then, use this knowledge to adjust your aim. You may have to aim a little above your intended target to compensate for the drop.
Playing paintball, and shooting a paintball gun, can be a fun and rewarding experience if you know what you are doing. Whether you are a newbie or an experienced shooter, always take the time to practice and familiarize yourself with any new gun you may have. After all, you can’t win if you can’t shoot your weapon properly.