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Old June 13, 2005, 11:37 PM   #1
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Paintball Gun as a Tactical Training Tool...

Our Major over the SERT is looking at the possibility of getting paintball guns to help in tactical training scenarios, as well as giving us another means to deploy pepper spray. My question, which is to both LEO as well as Non-LEO, is what advantages or disadvantages have you come across, or heard of, in regards to utilizing paintball guns as a method for tactical training? Any information that you can give would be extremely helpful as I would like to give him feedback, positive/negative, on other's experiences. I must admit that initially, I am little skeptical, but maybe there are some advantages to using this I am not aware of. (As you can see by the Thread I have little to no knowledge of this particular method of training) Your experiences/insights would be much appreciated. Thanks.
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Old June 13, 2005, 11:47 PM   #2
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airsoft is a much better training tool IMHO...

airsoft guns are look identical to real guns and their are TONS of them out there...

an airsoft "round" is a small plastic BB....some are air powered, or battery powered...

paintball isnt realstic enough IMHO

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Old June 14, 2005, 07:28 AM   #3
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yea, even though i've been too busy to actually play much, i hail from the university that's taken most of the national collegiate paintball championships in recent years and was involved with said club. while i've got no fprmal tactical training, i'm not sure it's quite realistic. for one, except at very close ranges, you can get away with slow reactions since the balls' muzzle velocity is 300fps and drops quickly as it's basically a semisolid 68 caliber ball. with how the deployment platfroms are too it's really more like a sort of wacky close quarters battle; most "good" players have markers that can exceed 20 balls per second. not sure if you get much use out of the PDWs in full-auto but those rates of fire can get wacky. the ammo capacity is just way up there too, with hoppers holding 150+ balls. i guess you could control these things but it's really a limiter as these guns and the game itself is designed around the status-quo. for example feed reliability is still well lower than that of actual guns, coupled with people's ability to "dodge" balls moving 200fps or so they are basically just built to be able to lay down "streams" of paint and clear out bad ones as quickly as possible in the hopes that someone will pop their head up at the wrong time when you've got a line of paint coming in on them. i guess there's some stuff you can take from it - i'd actually like to get active in the club again as i put it on like a yearlong hiatus - but if you're looking for training first and less-lethal second, i think there might be better options for training. one thing that always interested me were actual paint rounds for the guns. they're basically blanks with a small plastic divider and an actual paint bullet hooked into the end. i understand they're only available to law enforcement, and i still don't entirely follow the concept, but it certainly seemed like a realistic and interesting premise.
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Old June 14, 2005, 07:31 AM   #4
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you know what i don't really want to discourage it either though. maybe try and go out to a field and play with the guys just on a weekend to see what you think? understand that once you get higher-grade markers it will improve a lot too, as rentals tend to chop and break a lot of balls and just generally not be able to keep them on a straight and level trajectory for any great distance. maybe even see if you can get in a "scrimage" with a local tournament team too, just for an idea of how far you could take it if you wanted to.
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Old June 14, 2005, 08:58 AM   #5
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Hmm, these are some interesting points. In regards to the airsoft guns, do they make this guns that will "mark" the "target" after it has been hit? Again, I think the idea here is to make it as realistic as possible. Perhaps this is another method we can look at instead of the paintball...??
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Old June 14, 2005, 09:38 AM   #6
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Regarding airsoft size "paintballs", in my experience they don't work at all. I had trouble getting the ones that came with my airsoft gun to break at all (even when sqeezed between my fingers)!

For cheap force-on-force training, I think regular spring action airsoft guns would be okay. Try to match the airsoft gun as close as possible to your duty weapon - manufacturer's dimensions vary. (i.e. my airsoft Glock copy is a little smaller than my G21, but a little larger than a G17). At $25 each, you could try a few to see what you think.

I have heard good things about Simunitions, they seem to be much more realistic but I think they are much more expensive. (Similar prices to normal duty weapons and ammo I think.)

Unless they make standard paintball markers that are very similar in size to duty weapons, I'd avoid them. However, I think regular paintball markers could be used from a "bad-guy" point of view to keep the officer's heads down.

Good luck.
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Old June 14, 2005, 10:19 AM   #7
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What about lasers? Thinking back to my Army days ,the M.I.L.E.S. training seemed very good and very realistic. Lasers are faster than bullets, they can mark a direct hit or a close call, and have a greater range than paintballs. I would imagine MILES gear is quite costly, but "laser tag" gear is right along with paintball in terms of cost.

Just a thought. Good luck and good training.
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Old June 14, 2005, 10:23 AM   #8
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Paint ball is pretty messy compared to Air Soft but you can't say you weren't hit when it comes to paint ball.

As for unrealistic ammo capacity, Air Soft fall into the same catagory.

I think both Air Soft and paint ball have excellent tactical training value. It is like learning kicks and punches in a martial arts versus going out there and sparring. When you bring in realistic situations where you are dealing with competition of similar skill levels, that kind of training is highly valuable. Compare it to pop up target that do not shoot back and only pop up out of designated areas.

Most law enforcement officers (other than SWAT) rarely even draw their weapons. I'm sure there are also many out there who only practice when they have to requalify. I also know there are probably some excellent marksmen but they are in the minority. By practicing with either paint ball or Air Soft, they learn to shoot while on the move, find and use cover (although bullets do have much greater penetration), and to think tactically in general. While this is more valuable for SWAT, it exposes regular officers to the huge difference between shooting at a piece of paper that doesn't move versus a real live thinking and moving person that is shooting back. Besides that, its FUN!!!
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Old June 14, 2005, 10:52 AM   #9
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we played paintball for training a couple weeks ago. it was fun and we mainly were doing it to practice clearing buildings but one downside i got poison ivy. :barf:
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Old June 14, 2005, 11:00 AM   #10
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I'm an Army Reserve First Sergeant. We have used paintball several times in tactical training and I have been quite happy with it. Hits are obvious and they can sting a bit, giving more incentive to avoid them. OCs (observer controllers) can look at where a person was hit and call out their status (dead or wounded) which can then be added to scenario (1st aid, medevac, whatever).

The biggest problem in using paintball for training is guys who do a lot of paintball recreationally. The scenario needs to be tightly controlled so they don't just go out and run around and spray like they would in a game. We use semi auto guns and limit the ammo supply drastically, forcing them to be used more carefully and realistically.

Simunitions are great, more realistic, but considerably more expensive. They do hurt more though. (This is good, even more incentive to avoid it!)

Speaking of the pepperballs, I know a couple of LEOs who LOVE them.
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Old June 14, 2005, 11:43 AM   #11
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Try Googling "simunitions". They fire high velocity marking rounds from actual firearms.
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Old June 14, 2005, 12:01 PM   #12
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The Real Action Markers seem to me to be the best choice after simunitions. They have the marking ability of paintball, and the feel of the real weapons.

Asia Paintball
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Old June 14, 2005, 01:14 PM   #13
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http://www.simunition.com

if you do it i would appreciate an invitation
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Old June 14, 2005, 01:20 PM   #14
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I train regularly with an Airsoft pistol (by regularly I mean 3-5 times per week). I personally think they are many levels above paintball as far as being a training tool.

1. A well made Airsoft pistol (read not a $25 spring propelled gun) will fit in your duty gear, as will the magazines. This means you can have scenarios that don't always start with your gun in your hand.

2. The controls on a well made Airsoft weapon (again, see above) work in the same manner as the real thing. My KWA Glock 19 has a working slide stop that will hold the slide open on the last round. I can then release it using the stop or by slingshoting the slide, just like my real Glock. It takes down the same way as well.

3. Using black pellets, you cannot see the rounds in flight. My pistol clocks around 300 fps. The pellets penetrate the cardboard backstop and make dents in the garage wall (wood) behind it.

4. The rounds are fairly painful if you're not wearing a whole lot of clothing. You will know when you have been hit. If you are having problems with people not taking hits, then you have people who want to play a game and not train. As they say in the tech industry, that's a management issue and not a technology issue.

5. Capacity can be controlled by loading only the number of pellets that correspond to the guns real capacity. Since the mags are the same size, extra ammo can be carried in the same manner as you would normally.

6. Accuracy is fairly good, especially in close range (say out to 25 yards or so). I can hit a small water bottle 8 out of 10 times at 25 yards with my Glock, so that should be good enough for training.

7. Rail accessories can be added just like on duty weapons. In fact, most times you can take the same accessory that you are using for your duty weapon and slap it on the Airsoft weapon.

Hope this helps.
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Old June 14, 2005, 03:12 PM   #15
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Thanks for the good information all. It appears there are more options than what I initially realized. I will continue to look into the various options.
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Because their words had forked no lighting they
Do not go gently into that good night.

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Old June 14, 2005, 07:58 PM   #16
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Had a friend that was a SEAL years back

And they used paint ball guns for training.
It showed them one thing that I think made a point for some one in combat. When they first started out, every one got shot in the hand.
I know that sounds strange but when they would go into a room they were trained to look for a gun in the bad guys hand. Its the where your eyes are point the gun is pointed. and the first round would many times hit the bad guy in the hand.
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Old June 15, 2005, 08:27 AM   #17
Glenn E. Meyer
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That's the weapons focus effect. In studies of memory and eyewitness testimony, it was found that folks focus on the gun and don't pay attention to other details.

It makes sense that you index your gun to your gaze. Also, since many folks bring their gun to the center of their body, it's COM and gets hit.

I was in a FOF and afterwards noticed that my revolver had taken a sims round on the front of the cylinder face. My first FOF, I got shot in the hand. In a FOF with some LEOs, I got shot in the hand. In the interests of fair play, I ditched my long arm and went for my BUG with my not-shot hand.

The other thing we found in an Airsoft training class with KRtraining is that with speeded responses from a low ready, we got a lot of belly button shots. It's embarassing to explain to your wife and folks in the locker room why you have a row of welts just below your navel.

At last year's NTI, I had a row at my navel and then at COM in a violent bank robbery scenario. The aggressor with a full auto airsoft gun must have fired two discrete strings.

Actual hit patterns are really interesting under stress.
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Old June 15, 2005, 11:15 AM   #18
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Of course they can be used effectively. The quality of training you receive will be due to the planning and the curriculum and not the specific equipment used. Now good equipment helps, but I belive the teaching and planning skills of your instructors are much more important.
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Old June 16, 2005, 12:05 AM   #19
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price

airsoft is MUCH CHEAPER. the guns are about the same price but the ammo is very cheap. 1000 bbs come to like $7... 1000 paintballs is like $120.

And airsoft guns are generally better for simulations. Sure you can "cheat" with them but if you're simulating rl situations with a cheater... that doesn't quite work.

top of the line airsoft guns cost about half as much as top of the line paintball guns. yet airsoft guns are usually fully auto (can select fire to singe shots) while paintball guns are not full auto, can fit in your normal tactical equipment like holsters where paintball guns cant, have rails for all your stuff like eo techs and surefires where paintball guns don't have rail systems that are similar to your real guns, and if you want realism loaded with much fewer bbs. but if you want fun can fit hundreds of bbs in a small magaize. reloading is more realistic as well as you reload a magazine in the normal magazine well instead of dumping balls from tubes in a hopper.

for simulations airsoft wins hands down. as for fun factor... well that's debateable...
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Old June 16, 2005, 07:07 AM   #20
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dude where do you buy paintballs? you just have to build a relationship with a field and they'll get you down around dealer cost... typically $45 a case or so for practice-grade paint. yes, it's still more expensive than airsoft, but $120 a case, even for tournament-grade, is a rip.
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Old June 16, 2005, 09:39 AM   #21
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We got to shoot the pepperball guns in the police tactics class that I was in.
They showed us a training film the dept made and some other demonstrations...

One of the deputies volunteered to be the victim in a demonstration film we watched. He was a big fellow.... he went down to the pepperball gun. he forgot that the signal to stop was to fall to the ground after he got hit with the first one..so they kept pouring it on..he had his hands out saying stop. He did remeber and fall to the ground tho. He had big blood welts where those balls hit him so they had to hurt also. The big advantage is the range vs the range of spray. Plus if someone is hiding behind a corner you can shoot at the ground near the corner. Or in between two buildings..... beats the heck outta the spray. I got a small whiff of the pepperdust..hehe that was pretty wicked stuff even at less than full strength.
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Old June 16, 2005, 11:53 AM   #22
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One of the things we are looking for is obvious "hits". With the paintballs, you can see where you hit the individual. Is this possible with the airguns?
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Old June 17, 2005, 07:14 PM   #23
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www.airsoftretreat.com
www.airsoftplayers.com
www.redwolfairsoft.com
www.arniesairsoft.co.uk

it is possible, however not advisable. There are paintballs which will fit, but they jam easily and burst inside the gun/mechboxes. This can be hell on earth to clean out and sometimes ruins guns. When you actually hit someone, you'll know. You can usually see the pellet bounce off the person.


for info, articles, priceranges, options, etc...
As people said, these fit in tac gear made for actual firearms. Alot of people use Blackhawk gear for example. Guns can be upgraded, most stop at 500fps depending on electric,gas,spring propulsion. Metals parts are avaliable for pretty much everything. If you can name an actual firearm, they make an airsoft version. Just depends on who you find to make it for you if its a custom job.

(i've only made 2 posts, and they both pretain to airsoft...i feel kinda sad about that. i swear i'm more useful than this)

and most importantly, always ALWAYS use full seal eye protection when using these things. And observe safety distances if possible. Getting hit in the face with a gun shootin 400fps from 10ft away on full auto leaves more scars than you think.
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Old June 18, 2005, 07:07 AM   #24
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We use paintball pretty regularly for training. However, there are some significant negatives.

No one currently makes a semi-auto sidearm of duty size. The closest is probably the Armotech G1/G2, and it is closer to the HK MK23 Spec. Ops. pistol. While it is possible to make long shots, the "dodging" effect comes into play. For realistic training, under 30 yds and near the max 300fps needs to be used. This will hurt, however. ALWAYS WEAR APPROVED EYE/FACE PROTECTION!!!!

We have found it best for urban rifle/smg training. Above mentioned Armotech (www.tacticalmarkers.com) make M16 copies that are very close to the real thing. www.t16.com makes an M16/203 that the CO2 tank is fitted inside the grenade launcher to present a more realistic looking package. www.tippmann.com has the A5 which is a close copy the HK MP5 and can be made to look even more authentic. Check out www.specialopspaintball.com for some real looking(though expensive) markers.

As far as capacity, hoppers are available in 30-45 round sizes, not just the 200-300 round tournament size. We practice with either the small hoppers or with the 12gram co2 cartridges to simulate having to do a reload. While the mechanics are different, you do get the feel of what it would be like running dry in the middle of a firefight.

Not a perfect solution, but with a little imagination and the right gear effective training can be done with paintball, and you might even have some fun, too.
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