View Full Version : Paintball for training?

May 6, 2009, 11:54 PM
I was wondering what everyone thinks about paintball for training. Its been a sport I have been into since I was about 10.

Im not talking about Speedball like you see on espn, but woodsball, where camo, stealth, range, and stalking all come into effect. I realize that beyond, say 50 feet, it gets unrealistic, but at 300 fps, within 50 feet your not really moving out of the way.

Its a game of alot of adrenaline and anxiety, because being hit 6 times in the back does not feel like flowers, most people take not getting shot seriously, are constantly aware of there surrounding, and do there best to stay hidden.

When it really seems to interest me as a potential training sport is A: When two people notice each other at close range (very entertaining from a sideline), and B: when you notice someone from 1/4 mile away, and have to stalk them until you are in range for a direct hit.

Just wondering about your thoughts on this, feel free to say you think its useless for real life training or its valuable experience, its just a really fun sport to me

May 7, 2009, 12:28 AM
I think paintball is great for training, especially if you are playing with a specific group of guys who are intent on using the sport for training purposes, whatever the scenario; urban, jungle, trench...

The other thing that I have found with paintball is that it teaches you what it feels like to have rounds whizzing by your head. Its easy to brainstorm what a certain situation might be like and how you think you would respond to it, such as a parking lot shootout or home invasion robbery, but your mindset completely changes when the whistle blows, the rounds start flying and its shoot or be shot.

Ive also found that it takes a great amount of concentration and mental preparation / 'coolness' to be able to remain calm, breath, use correct sight picture and properly try to shoot at someone, who is almost always moving quickly or hiding behind cover while also shooting back at you. An extremely different mind set than the one you have while shooting paper targets on a range.

Given, these are only paintballs we are talking about. Imagine how much more stressful the situation would be like if real bullets where involved...

matt nasty
May 7, 2009, 12:31 AM
The way you would play out your scenarios I could only see it being useful for the military and other government and police agencies. In a real life case I cant see it being used unless your in the middle east lol.

It is a terribly fun and addicting sport though, Ive been playing tournaments on the national level for 4 years.


B. Lahey
May 7, 2009, 12:41 AM
Have they managed to make a paintball that will reliably fly straight yet?

I stopped playing almost 10 years ago. Back then some would fly in generally the right direction, but there were tons of curveballs. There was nothing more frustrating than lining up the sights, cleanly breaking the trigger, and seeing the ball curve off toward pluto, hitting nowhere near the target.

It was so bad that the only players who could get hits at any significant range were the ones who shot the most the fastest, and I didn't have the cash to throw thousands of balls downrange in every game.

May 7, 2009, 12:45 AM
I know they have military training cartridge paintball with powder behind them that go straight, but regular paintballs don't generally unless your using expensive ones and a decent gun. But thats why you have to get fairly close to your target, and yes I do play with specific groups of friends, usually 10 or less

matt nasty
May 7, 2009, 12:48 AM
B. Lahey- yes paintball has progressed alot in 10 years...god its changed alot in the last 2.

but anyways yes there pretty darn accurate, I have no problem shooting a post 10-12" in diameter at 125' 6 out of 10 balls. And mind you that the gun is shooting 13 balls per second

May 7, 2009, 04:26 PM
I'm using a gun thats probably close to 10 years old with a slightly newer air rifled barrel. Its air rifled because it has holes drilled in the barrel that lets the gas escape to impart spin on the ball like rifling in a real rifle. Ive found that the ball flies pretty straight to near maximum range then it has a tendency to veer off in a random direction. The biggest improvement of all though was switching from CO2 to high pressure nitrogen.

Mr. Davis
May 7, 2009, 08:17 PM
Have they managed to make a paintball that will reliably fly straight yet?

Even with a relatively cheap semi-auto paintgun, and decent paint, you can be pretty accurate out to about 100-125 feet.

The mistake most people make is putting a very heavy spring in the gun, and cranking up the velocity well past 300 fps. That's what causes most of the "balls flying towards Pluto", in my experience.

B. Lahey
May 7, 2009, 11:17 PM
Glad to hear they fly straighter nowdays. Curveballs were always extremely annoying to me, and we weren't doing anything to make it worse (always chrony'd to sub-300fps going out and coming in, didn't use any non-standard springs, used the nice "rifled" barrels of the day with the spiral of holes in them), the balls were just terrible.

And mind you that the gun is shooting 13 balls per second

Well, if the sport has gone to all full-autos, I don't know that it would be very good training for practical self-defense.

Maybe if you used semi-autos or ye olde pumps with the newer, more accurate balls, it could be ok, but spraying large numbers of projectiles seems like it would build bad habits more than anything else. In the real world you don't want to put any more lead downrange than is strictly needed, and overdoing it can turn a case of legitimate self-defense into a homicide charge.

Of course anything that gets you off the couch and shooting something can't be all bad, but it seems to me you would have to set up a specialized game with specialized rules and equipment to make it "training".

May 7, 2009, 11:38 PM
Spiral-drilled barrels usually don't impart any spin on a paintball- their advantage is that they launch the ball more gently. A fired paintball shakes and shudders through the air like a thrown water ballon as it leaves the muzzle. Reduce the shaking by having less gas escaping around the ball as it leaves the barrel and accuracy improves. Spiral drilled can also be incredibly quiet, which is nice- but I hated cleaning them after a barrel break.

I had an Armson rifled barrel back in the early 90's on my WGP Sniper II, and it worked, but only at shorter ranges. Accuracy was excellent out to about 25 yards, and then it deteriorated. My theory was that the shell of the ball and the liquid fill probably didnt begin rotating at the same rate. My favorite barrel of that era was the DYE stainless barrels- that was incredibly accurate. Bill Wing from the Ironmen hit me on a lofted shot from about 80 yards away with one.

The best thing you can do to improve a paintball guns accuracy is to clean the barrel after every game (not day, between every game). Remove the barrel, shoot some brake kleen down the bore, and push a tight fitting wad of toilet paper through the barrel. You want it tight enough that it squeaks. You're getting rid of the fill from any breaks, and the release agent that every ball is coated in from the encapsulating process. A dry barrel shoots great. As far as paint went back then I liked the Zap/Accu-Cap tournament pink, and later went to RPShearer Gator Black. The Zap was amazingly accurate- like 2"-3" at 25 yards, and consistent.

I agree on the high-pressure rigs. Our shop bought one of the first systems Air America made back then and ran it on my Mini-Mag, and it made a huge difference in shot-to-shot consistency. On 'Cockers it helped, just not as much, as they always were super accurate. It really helped if you were a tourney player as you didn't chill the gun down. I walked off more than a few fields with a ring of ice on my C02 tank.

If you want a great skill builder for paintball that transitions well into the real world, try a "Marty Drill". Find two trees big enough to for you and a friend to hide behind about 30 feet apart, and have at it. That really forces you to break that shot and hit half a head poking out from behind a tree. it's very similar to barricade shooting in PPC or a dueling tree in IPSC.

Bartholomew Roberts
May 8, 2009, 04:23 PM
Well, a paintball gun has little in common with a real firearm, so you won't buildup any weapons handling skills. If everybody involved made a conscious effort to develop and run a realistic scenario, I suppose it might have some tactical value; but I don't think that just playing paintball in the woods on the weekend has much training value.

May 8, 2009, 06:25 PM
How about simunitions?


I can tell you for a fact that it is about as real as it gets...

Bartholomew Roberts
May 8, 2009, 06:52 PM
I've done some Simunitions training myself and I like that it helps build realistic weapons handling skills as well as training sight picture and other skills.

Having said that, whether or not it teaches good tactics or degenrates into paintball with a different projectile thrower is highly dependent on the quality of instruction and how the scenarios are organized.

May 8, 2009, 07:08 PM
Have they managed to make a paintball that will reliably fly straight yet?

Dunno, but my old Tippmann 98 with the banana barrel (flatline or sumthin like that) put a pretty reliable underspin on the paintmarble. Cool little trick back in the day that extended my range 15 or so yards further than anyone else, not that the ball's shell always broke at that range. I wonder if anyone makes anything comparable today?

We had tons of fun back then, but I doubt we learned anything in regards to training for the world I live in. Perhaps more how to move quietly in grass/leaves ect. I use those lessons when hunting.

In my "advanced age" I doubt I'd last one game today. Sure was fun though.

May 9, 2009, 02:11 AM
Paintballs traveling straight: If you refer to avoiding the whole newtons laws where things going up come back down, the only way would be with a Tipmann Flatline barrel or a BT Apex attachment. The Apex really screws up consistency tough and the Flatline is definitely not sub MOA but could probably be compared to an AK. As far as keeping tight groups, I have yet to try it out but the Freak kit with inserts to match barrel to ball size (just over bore it to 0.693 and you'll be fine) with an All American Front piece is supposed to keep them within about 6" end to end on a speedball field. Does nothing to prevent drop though but you can get different backs for different threads like Shockers, Tippies, Spyders, 'cockers, etc. and still use the same inserts and front (which can be from 11" to I believe 18" without looking. Mine is 16" i think... I would have to look)

If you want realism, probably use this


in CQB settings like MOUT or other room clearing exercises and drop off won't pose any problem. If you want even more realism I would recommend airsoft partly because you won't have a huge hopper hanging off the side throwing off the balance (you can always remote line the tank) and also airsoft stuff is cheaper in the long run if you get a spring powered AEG. In airsoft, however, there is almost no real movement of the gun itself during firing. On lighter paintball markers and markers with a high body (angels, SP nerve/impulse, DM7's) there is noticeable recoil when you walk the trigger faster than 15 balls per second. (you need special hoppers for this too)

In conclusion and IMHO, go with airsoft. Less mess, they punch holes in paper, an they are cheaper (no air, and 2000 bb's for $8-15 instead of 2000 paintballs for $20-$30, even up to 50-60 for consistently round ones)

Paintball is a good excuse to get messy, like grownup water fights. Airsoft is more like tag and a little closer in realism to the real thing. (in paintball you need a full face mask and in Airsoft you only need the goggles)

Just my $0.02

May 9, 2009, 02:32 AM
The apex does okay when you are using high quality paint, but LAPCO came out with a 14 inch "apex ready" bigshot barrel that is supposed to give you the accuracy of the big shot with the lenght and capabilities of the apex. I have a 98 with an apex and I love it, I just gotta get that barrel. As for training: We have kinda fun simulation style games. Its all based of the theory that its handgun fighting, and at 100 plus feet its gonna be hard to hit a moving target anyway, we play in makeshift structures and extremely thick brush, and we like to play what we call cops and robbers. 2 Cops that each only get 15 shots,and for every two cops a robber that gets a full hopper (about 200 rounds) Basically it forces you to use tactics to outflank the robber(s) because one on one you will be outgunned. Its really intense to come around the corner to a hail of fire, because you don't have any paint to waste, and, often times with how close it is you don't have time to back up or duck. Its always a trip when your partner (the other cop) makes a wrong step and gets lit up. Then you just gotta get the f outta there or take the chance that you will be able to shoot faster than him.

May 9, 2009, 02:43 AM
I can tell you from personal experience that simunitions hurt just like getting whacked with a paint ball at close range.

May 9, 2009, 11:26 AM
Ha ha the pain is good, if it felt like cottonballs noone would take the game seriously:D

May 9, 2009, 11:32 AM
It wasn't really a game! I was participating in scenario training.

May 11, 2009, 12:19 PM
I've had a firearms instructor that recommended airsoft pistols for training purposes. The pricier guns often seem to have quality construction and look and feel almost indistinguishable from the real thing, and often realistic action, such as the operation of the slide, and so on. Of course they don't have the kick or the noise of the real deal, but nonetheless, they seem to be a good investment for someone who wants to get the feel of shooting at moving targets, especially ones that shoot back, which is worlds apart from going the woods and setting up empty tomato soup cans on top of tree stumps.

May 11, 2009, 04:37 PM
As far as straight flying paintballs, a new producer is coming out with the "first shot" paintball (i think thats what its called...), in cooperation with Tiberius Arms (one of the newer paintball gun manufacturers). Reportedly, it is 10 times more accurate, as it is shaped more like a standard bullet instead of a round ball, giving you better stabilization in flight. I havent seen any on the market yet, but allegedly it is coming very very soon. The youtube shots I have seen are very promising.

The problem with them is that, as they are more elongated, they dont work with any of the current loaders. Tiberius Arms is making an adapter kitfor their own magazine loaded gear, but no word from the rest of the industry on other kinds of loading systems. Personally, it looks unlikely that it will make much of a dent in tournament style paintball, but scenario games would be the target market for it anyway.

As far as effective training, I think it definately gets you used to the idea of having people shoot at you. Working under pressure is always a good thing :) The price is pretty steep though, as a box of 2000 paintballls can cost anywhere from $20-$60, field fees and all-day air up to $20, and a marker rental as much as $30. Then theres all the personal gear if you choose to buy it, with personal markers ranging from $30 to as high as $2000. To be honest, I actually stopped playing paintball and started shooting 9mm and .22lr in order to save money. But then Im also a bit of a junkie on the trigger...

EDIT: hahaha, ok , my ADD kicked in. ITs called "first strike", not "first shot"... whoops

May 11, 2009, 05:03 PM
The army also does a lot of training with paintball guns (In fact, Tippmann paintball even made and marketed a new marker specifically for the US Army). Its more to teach unit tactics in the field; getting shot means you where standing and running for too long and the instructor is correcting the error. However, that doesnt keep it from being any less fun.

They also use some kind of paintball claymore in IED scenarios that will really light your butt up. Trust me. If you've seen Jackass 2, you have some idea of the result (albeit at somewhat decreased velocities).

May 11, 2009, 05:21 PM
I've been playing paintball for about 8yrs now, serious competitions for about 4yrs and love it. Although i dont play in the woods or do much scenario (im strictly a speedball player) i can see where tactics could be practiced. i wouldnt count on it to replicate shooting techniques as the equipment is very different. even the markers that are replicas of the real thing dont produce the same flight path of the projectiles.

And since someone else posted a pic, i feel obligated to do the same:p


James K
May 12, 2009, 07:57 PM
I am sure such games are fun for others, but I have a philosophical problem. I am not exactly new to firearms, and own a couple of guns, but I am of the belief that one should not shoot at another person unless one needs to kill that person. To me, aiming a gun and firing a shot into a living body is not a game, and guns are not toys. Nor do I think it is a good idea to make "hunting" and "killing" other human beings into a fun sport.

I realize that I sound like a "party pooper" and I guess I am. But I wouldn't want to ever draw and fire and kill an innocent person because for one bad moment I thought I was in a game and the gun was loaded with simunitions or paint balls.


May 12, 2009, 08:30 PM
I played cops and robbers and cowboys and indians when I was a kid. We had cap guns and rubberband guns and bows and arrows with little suction cups on the tips. I never mistook those guns nor paintball guns for the real deal. Yeah, you sound a little like an old foggy.

May 12, 2009, 09:49 PM
Training? Training for what, exactly?

At any rate, you should also look into airsoft. If you can pick up the airsoft version of your carry gun, it might aid familiarity with your real pistol.

May 13, 2009, 06:35 PM
Training? Training for what, exactly?

Security forces training at Blackwater in Moyok, NC. We were using Beretta, Sig and M4 conversions to fire simunition.

May 13, 2009, 07:27 PM
Paintball does have it training purposes, especially if you have the gear already. But what type of training? Tactically it's good for groups but for individual training you are better off with airsoft.

Simunitions are great but costly and hard to get unless you go at it like a business/training center.

Airsoft allows you to use almost exact replicas of your sidearm or long gun. So you can virtually get almost any gun (pistol and rifle and even shotguns) that have the same weight and action as your "real" firearm. You can even do magazine exchanges.

Tactically for individual training this is the way to go. Yes, it's not cheap either if you go the high end stuff but you can also go very slow and start off pretty cheap ($20) for the springloaded airsoft.

For accuracy you are looking at 100 ft or so for high end rifles and 20-30 feet for pistols. Yes, they can shoot longer but then you get into more influences of the environment (wind) and of course how good the mechanism is that you bought.

Airsoft is catching on but nothing like other parts of the world - well, some of those countries you can even own a "real" gun but boy they make them look and feel so real.

Check out an airsoft store near you and see if they can help you locate a few places to go try it out and shoot.

May 13, 2009, 11:31 PM
Sad thing is, there are communities in which even airsoft is banned.

May 14, 2009, 03:41 PM
I think paintball is very good for basic techniques, such as the use of cover, firing lanes and angles, shooting while running, etc. These should not be overlooked at all because there is a world of difference between an experienced player and a newbie in terms of those items I listed.

You would think a lot of it is common sense, but apparently its not. If you're playing paintball and you got hit Center of Mass while stationary, you probably weren't making proper use of cover. You'd be surprised how many people get hit COM.

May 14, 2009, 06:58 PM
Ya I started with airsoft, but IMO it does not have nearly the training value that paintball does. Not saying anything bad about it, but subconsiously you know if you run 25 yards your out of range, it does not hurt that bad, its not too loud, The mask over your face in paintball limits your perception the way adrenaline does, unless you are using fairly expensive guns there are no rapid followup shots. The bonuses of airsoft though are that it does give you a more realistic bullet count, and the guns feel alot more like real guns. I just don't feel like it gives you the combat mentality paintball does.

May 14, 2009, 07:17 PM
If some of you guys are on the fence, check out "stock-class" play. The guns are limited to 20 rounds on the gun, and one 12-gram C02 cartridge. The feed is also horizontal to the barrel so you have to "rock and cock" like you did back in the Nelspot 007 era.

The downside is the cost-per-shot goes up, but the endless overshooting that you see in speedball goes away.

And let's face it, if you're a total acessory-junkie like most of us ARE, you'll have a blast with it.

May 14, 2009, 09:29 PM
Stock-class guns make the mommys and daddys on the sidelines feel better about letting little jimmy play alongside the big boys too. One shot to the grill hurts less than 2 dozen to the chest.

May 16, 2009, 10:58 PM
Yes, been there and done it. Started at the local ranges near Atlanta and made my way down to a serious War Games Meet at Camp Blanding in Florida. This is a M.O.U.N.T. Camp at the National Guard facility SW of Jacksonville. A simulated town with 25 buildings, tunnels, 4 story City Headquarters, bridges, streets, school and adjacent woods. Put 125 Team members on two sides of the battle, 125 in town and the other 125 outside and take the town. All the way down to Radio Communications, 5-10 man SWAT teams and it is as real as you can get without real bullets. You can learn lots about cover, shooting on the move, Reloading, and Team Play. The first time I went to Blanding I had a low end gun, the next year I went back and had a Full Auto Shocker Gun. Yes full auto was authorized. At night the game was 20 hostages in the School House and get them out. The other folks did not make it in 60 minutes, my team did it in 20 minutes. We had night vision and almost anything you could name. Fun game to play at any level.

B. Lahey
May 16, 2009, 11:05 PM
I think paintball is very good for basic techniques, such as the use of cover

Seems to me that it teaches the opposite of good use of cover.

Paintball teaches you that you are safe behind plywood, shrubbery, and huge balloons.:)

May 17, 2009, 12:38 AM
I kinda figure though. . . if I ever get into a gunfight in an outdoor situation will probably be like my first game of paintball. Scared out of my mind (I was 9, those things hurt) adrenaline pumping, and deciding just to keep my butt down and try to stay hidden and avoid the shooting, while keeping a watch around me to make sure noone noticed me that I did not. In paintball there really was no running, but unless I was defending myself or my family I would be gettin on my way as quickly and quielty as possible.