If you’re a paintball enthusiast, you may have considered investing in your own paintball gun. However, paintball guns are made of a variety of components and can cost a couple of hundred dollars. You may wonder whether all the components and accessories are completely necessary for your paintball gun to work.
For instance, can you shoot a paintball gun without a barrel? While a paintball gun will technically work without a barrel, you won’t be able to make a half-decent shot without a barrel. Attaching a barrel to your gun is important to improve your shot’s speed, distance, and accuracy.
This guide will help you understand why it’s important to use a barrel when shooting a paintball gun. First, it’s worth taking a little time to explore the mechanics of a paintball gun.
How does a paintball gun work?
When you press the trigger of a paintball gun, a combination of mechanics, compressed gas, and velocity work together to push a paintball powerfully out of the gun. The gun hurls the paintball with some force, and when it contacts something, the paintball splatters.
A paintball gun’s components include:
- The body. The body of the gun contains the valve, the bolt, and the trigger frame. It connects the rest of the gun’s parts so they can work together to launch a paintball.
- The hopper. The hopper is at the top of the body and stores the paintballs that will be launched.
- The tank. The tank contains either carbon dioxide or high-pressure air to propel the paintball through the barrel.
- The barrel. The barrel is a cylindrical tunnel that you attach to the body of the gun.
Pulling the trigger of your gun causes a bolt to push the paintball from the hopper into the barrel. A valve in the gun will then release the carbon dioxide and high-pressure air, which will force the paintball through the barrel.
Why is the barrel important?
The type of barrel that you attach to your gun can affect your shot in a variety of ways. A barrel can determine your shot’s:
- Accuracy. A longer barrel will help you make a more accurate shot because it will help you aim better.
- Speed. A shorter barrel will also help your paintball travel faster. This is because the paintball will travel quickly through the barrel and be released into the air faster.
- Sound. Many barrels have ‘porting,’ which are holes near the tip of the cylinder. These holes allow air to escape from the gun faster, reducing the noise the air makes as it is released. Using a ball with good porting will help you make quieter, stealthier shots.
- Distance. A barrel that is too long may impact the distance that your paintball can cover. As the paintball travels through a barrel that is too long, it’s velocity and speed decreases. So, the distance it covers becomes shorter.
What happens if you shoot a paintball gun without a barrel?
Shooting a paintball from a gun without a barrel is possible. However, you’ll have much less control over your shot. Here’s what may happen when you use a paintball gun without a barrel:
- The shot’s speed will increase. While an increased speed is generally seen as a good thing, a high paintball velocity may be dangerous. If you are playing paintball with others, a paintball fired from a gun without a barrel may hurt anyone it comes into contact with.
- You’ll lose out on accuracy. Because you don’t have a barrel to guide you, you won’t be able to aim your shot well.
So, shooting a paintball from a gun without a barrel can be dangerous and drastically affect the accuracy of a shot.
What type of barrel should you use?
Most paintball guns will come with a built-in barrel, so you don’t need to spend extra on it.
However, if you’ve been using your paintball gun for a while now and are ready to invest in your equipment, you can choose to get an upgraded barrel.
Here’s what you need to consider when choosing a barrel:
- The material. Paintball gun barrels can be made out of a variety of materials including aluminum, stainless steel, titanium, and carbon fiber. While the materials don’t directly affect the quality of your shot, they can impact how heavy your gun is and how comfortable it is to use.
Barrels made with carbon fiber are popular because they are both strong and light. If you’re looking for a more affordable option, aluminum also works well.
- The length. Paintball gun barrels are typically between 12-14 inches (30 – 35cm) in length. This length allows shooters accuracy, but also maneuverability. However, you should choose the length of your barrel depending on your own unique needs. A longer barrel will help you aim better and works well for sniper or undercover shots. A shorter barrel makes the gun easier to handle and can cause the paintball to cover a further distance.
- The diameter. It’s important to match the size of the paintballs you use to the size of your barrel. If your barrel’s diameter is too small, the paintball may burst in the barrel before it leaves it. If it’s too big, the paintball’s velocity may be impacted.
- The porting. The porting is the number of holes that the tip of the barrel has. The more porting a barrel has, the quieter your shot will be. However, as more porting causes air to leave the barrel faster, it may affect the speed your paintball can travel. Decide on how much porting you need based on what you are using your paintball gun for.
Paintball barrels come in either one-piece or two-piece variants.
A two-piece barrel is divided into a back and front. You can change the back of the barrel, depending on the size of the paintball sizes you’re shooting. You can change the front depending on the size of the paintballs, and the accuracy that you’re after.
Some popular paintball gun barrels available on the market include:
- The Tippman Sniper Barrel (available on Amazon)
- The DeadlyWind Null Fibre One Piece Barrell (available on Amazon)
- The GOG All Conditions Performance Freak (available on ANS Gear)
- The Planet Eclipse Shaft 5 (available on Amazon)
If you are thinking about buying a new barrel, it’s a good idea to visit a shop which sells sporting or paintball equipment. This will allow you to get a physical feel for the barrel.
You can also talk to experts who will be able to suggest a barrel based on the type of gun you have and the type of shooting you want to do.
In an ideal scenario, you would be able to test a variety of paintball barrels in the field before making a decision.
A barrel is important, but not an essential component of your paintball gun. A paintball gun can work without a barrel.
However, shots fired from the body of the gun will be unstable, inaccurate, and possibly dangerous. If you are using your paintball gun for professional or recreational purposes, it’s better to use a barrel. A barrel will impact your shot’s speed, accuracy, and distance.
Most paintball guns will come with a built-in barrel. However, these barrels are detachable, which allows you to upgrade your barrel easily. When changing your barrel, make sure you are thinking about the length, material, porting, and diameter of your barrel.
By paying attention to your barrel choice, you will improve the performance of your paintball gun and have a better paintballing experience!