How to Sight In a Paintball Gun: A Step-By-Step Guide


The accuracy of your paintball gun’s scope is great when your opponent is only 20 yards away. Yet, every time the wind blows just right or your opponents are somewhere off in the distance, you can’t ever seem to make contact with your shots. That’s because your scope or sight needs to be zeroed.

If you want to learn how to sight in a paintball gun, here’s a step-by-step guide:

  1. Set up a mock paper bullseye about 25 yards away.
  2. Weigh down your paintball gun with a sandbag and fire off three shots.
  3. Measure how far off your shots are from the bullseye (in inches).
  4. Convert the inches to “clicks” and adjust your windage and elevation dials accordingly.
  5. Make sure you reference your sight’s manual for the specific details.

We understand that you might be a newbie when it comes to scopes and sights. So, we’re first going to go over what sights and scopes are and how they can impact your paintball performance.

How to sight in a paintball gun and hit more

You can support the website by getting one of the three scopes that I recommend below from Amazon here: Pinty Red Green Reflex Rifle Scope Dot Sight 4 Different Reticles, Feyachi Reflex Sight, and Red Green Illuminated Mil-dot.

The Basics of Paintball Sights & Scopes

The average paintballer simply “eyeballs” it when it comes to aiming at an opponent. Yet, scopes and sights can take a lot of the guesswork out of your accuracy. Once installed on your marker, they can pinpoint your targets and help you to eliminate your opponents much quicker.

But, you can’t just head to the store and pick up just any sight. There are tons of different types and you need to make sure that you’re getting one that works best with your style of gameplay. So, we’re going to go over the benefits of the different types of sights and the installation process.

Why You Should Use a Scope

If you’re serious about paintball and you’re looking to enter into some local tournaments in the near future, you’re going to want to step up your game and get some heavy-duty equipment. For some, that means investing in a scope.

You’ve probably seen scopes or sights on rifles in video games (or in person!). So, you might know a little bit about what they do. However, there’s much more to scopes than just improving your aim and accuracy.

For one, scopes can really help you out with long-range shooting. You know exactly where your paintballs are going and whether or not they’ll hit your opponent. Whether your opponent is 30 feet away or half an arena way, you can feel confident that you’ll make contact.

Since you’re now able to more confidently strike your opponents from further distances, you’re no longer forced to play short-distances only. Now, you won’t necessarily be able to snipe your opponents without them knowing, but you definitely have more options when it comes to paintball strategy.

And finally, you know that everyone has their own playing style. 

If you notice that your opponents tend to “camp” behind structures and obstacles and wait for you to slip up and make a mistake, then the game’s essentially in their hands. That is, of course, unless you shoot them accurately from afar with the use of your scope.

The Different Types of Sights & Scopes

All sights are not built the same. Some are more for extreme accuracy while others are marketed more toward convenience purposes. Here are brief overviews of four of the more common types of sights.

  • Reticle Sight. The reticle sight is one of the bulkier sights out there that gives you a pretty decent field of vision. This type of sight uses crosshairs that can help you to pinpoint your opponent a little better when he’s off in the distance. What’s even better is that there are so many different reticle patterns, so you can choose one that works best.
  • Dot Sight. The dot sight uses a green or red LED dot to help you aim toward an opponent. These sights are recognized as being some of the quickest and most accurate types of sights out there. Plus, you can move your head in any direction without the position of the dot changing based on your angle of vision.
  • Reflector Sight. The reflector sight uses a mirror-like lens that works to project your aiming dot toward your target and then back at you. In doing so, there’s no need for you to position your eyes or head in any particular way. The greatest benefit of this sight is that you can use it from afar, so you can keep a better eye on your surroundings.
  • Holographic Sight. The holographic sight is, by far, the most advanced type of sight for paintball guns. It actually builds a hologram image and allows you to zero in on your opponents, even when you lose focus of them. If you reposition your gun, the laser reticle will still be focused on your opponent.

When you’re looking for scopes and sights on Amazon, there are a few things you should be looking for. First, make sure that the sight or scope can actually be installed on paintball guns and function properly. Then, make sure it’ll actually fit on your gun.

What to Consider When Buying a Sight

When you search Amazon for paintball sights, you’re going to notice that a lot of the sights aren’t labeled as “paintball sights.” As it turns out, a lot of paintball sights can also be used on other types of guns like rifles and air guns.

The best sight for you really depends on your playing style and what you plan on using it for. Here are some things to ask yourself.

  • Is there a certain style of sight that I prefer?
  • How large do I want the sight to be?
  • Do I want to use one or two eyes when using the sight?
  • How easy is it to install the sight?
  • How much am I willing to spend?

So, now we’re going to go over some of the better sights out there and what makes them so great. What you’re going to notice is that they’re made specifically for rifles, but plenty of them also work on paintball guns as well.

The Feyachi Reflex Sight is built mainly for rifles, but it can also double as a paintball gun sight. What makes this one so special is that it comes with several different styles of reticles, so you can choose between crosshair, dot, circle, or any combination of the three. It’s also considered waterproof and sits very securely on the top of your gun.

The Pinty 2.5-10×40 Red Green Illuminated Mil-dot Tactical Rifle Scope is definitely a heavy-duty rifle scope that you want on your paintball gun. It offers up to 10x magnification to help you to zero in on your opponents and allows you to just the lens brightness to your needs. Add that to the scope being fog-proof and the choice between red and green reticles and you’ve got yourself the perfect scope.

The Pinty Red Green Reflex Holographic Rifle Scope Dot Sight is one of the better holographic sights that can be attached to your paintball gun. You can adjust the brightness to the current environment and be sure that your sight will be able to stand up to any shock, mud, and water you might encounter during your match. Plus, you can keep an even better eye on your opponents as they try to sneak across the arena.

There are tons of scopes and sights out there, but the problem is that they aren’t necessarily labeled as “paintball sights.” Most are just rifle sights that happen to attach well to paintball guns as well.

Advice: Choose the “Best Paintball Sights” category on Amazon to find sights that are guaranteed to fit onto your gun.

Installing Your Sight or Scope

Now that you’ve got your scope in your hands, it’s time to actually get it installed on your gun. For this process, you’re going to need some hex keys, the scope, scope rings (which probably came with the scope), and your paintball gun.

Here’s a step-by-step process of installing your scope.

  1. Attaching the scope rings. When you ordered your scope, it most likely came with scope rings. These rings are hooked around your scope and then used to attach to the top of your gun. At this point, attach the scope rings around your scope.
  2. Position the scope. Now that your scope and scope ring are joined as one, it’s time to find the perfect position for it on your gun. Try to choose a location that fits nicely within the notches at the top of your gun and doesn’t block your field of vision with the hopper.
  3. Securing the scope. Use the thumb rings to manually tighten the scope rings and attach them to your paintball gun. Then, use the hex keys to further tighten the thumb rings for greater security.
Step by step process of installing your scope.

Just be careful that you’re not tightening your scope too much around the top of your paintball gun. Too much tension can damage your gun.

When you’re attaching your scope, make sure that it’s facing the right direction. In the video we included above, the scope is facing the wrong way and wouldn’t be all that useful if you played a match like that. We included the video to simply overview the installation process.

Zeroing Your Scope

When your scope no longer seems to be getting the shots off like you’d anticipated, it doesn’t mean that your scope is defective or needs to be returned. In fact, this is entirely normal. What you need to do, at this point, is “zero” or “sight in” your scope.

We’re going to spend a little time going over the purposes of zeroing your scope in the first place. Then, we’re going to actually walk you through the entire process of sighting in your scope to allow you to get back to your optimal playing abilities.

What Sighting In Allows You to Do

When you zero your scope, you’re looking to return your scope to optimal accuracy and precision. This is the best way to adapt your scope to the trajectory of your paintballs and better target your opponents in a match.

Through the sighting in process, you’ll be able to observe the current shooting patterns of your scope and your paintball gun and adjust the scope to improve your performance and accuracy.

We’re about to go over how to zero your scope. We want to make it a point to mention that you should be referencing your scope’s user manual if it came with one. This allows you to get the most accurate information for your particular product.

What You’ll Need

You’re going to need grid paper (preferably with one-inch boxes), a stable stand to hold the paper on, some sandbags, and possibly a ruler or a measuring tape. And, obviously, you’re going to need your paintball gun and attached scope as well.

Because there’s no guarantee that your paintballs will accurately hit a target 100 yards away, we’re going to suggest placing your bullseye (grid paper) 25 yards away instead.

On the center of the paper, draw a single target that you’re trying to hit.

You know how much the weather can impact your playing performance. So, we’re also going to suggest attempting to zero your scope on a day that isn’t all that windy. That way, you know exactly where your paintballs make an impact without the help of the wind.

Step 1: Weigh the Gun Down

The first thing you’re going to need to do is to weigh the gun down with a sandbag. Position your gun on a sturdy surface (like a table) and lay a sandbag on top of it.

By doing this, you’re keeping the gun from moving between shots and guaranteeing that all paintballs are fired from the same exact position. Make sure you’re choosing a position that allows you to line up your scope to the target on the paper 25 yards in the distance.

Step 2: Fire Test Shots in Groups

One test shot just isn’t going to cut it here. You’ll see exactly why once you fire at least three shots at the paper. We recommend using three shots, but feel free to use more if you want an even more accurate reading of your paintball gun’s scope. 

Once you make contact with the paper bullseye three times, it’s time to whip out your ruler and analyze the results. 

If you were aiming at a target that was 100 yards away (rather than our suggested 25 yards), you might notice that your paintballs didn’t even come close to the paper. If that’s the case, we strongly urge you to abide by the 25-yard rule here.

Step 3: Taking the Measurements

With three contact points on the paper, you can now check out how close your shots came to the actual bullseye target that you drew on the paper. We suggested using grid paper with one-inch boxes because it cuts out the measurement process.

Now, it wouldn’t make all that much sense to evaluate every single shot that made contact with the paper. So, we’re going to ask you now to find an approximate center point of the three shots to use as a reference.

Count the number of boxes in both directions (up and down, left and right) between your target and your reference point. If you want to use a ruler or tape measure, that’s cool too!

So, let’s say that your average shot was 2 inches too high and 4 inches too far to the left. Keep those numbers in mind for the next step.

Step 4: Actually Zeroing the Scope

MOA, also known as “minute of angle,” is how you’ll be measuring your scope’s accuracy. For reference, 1 MOA is equal to one inch at 100 yards.

Since we used a distance of 25 yards instead, we’re going to be working at ¼ inch increments. But, that probably doesn’t mean all that much to you right now. So, we’re going to think about this in terms of “clicks.”

Your scope comes with both a windage dial, which adjusts accuracy left and right, and an elevation dial, which adjusts accuracy up and down. For most scopes, one “click” of the dial equals 1 inch in the direction you’re adjusting. Since we’re using 25 yards rather than 100 yards, a single click of each dial will equal ¼ inch.

In the previous section, we determined that the (hypothetical) difference between your target shot and the actual shot was 2 inches too high and 4 inches too far to the left.

So, to adjust the accuracy of this scope, you’ll have to adjust the windage dial 16 clicks to the right and the elevation dial 8 inches down.

But, make sure you’re referencing your scope’s manual first. Some scopes don’t use the standard 1 MOA at 100 yards.

Note: If the math seems a little complicated, try using an online scope calculator like this one to help cut the math out of the process.

Step 5: Checking Your Math

Now that your scope is adjusted for accuracy, it’s time to test it out to see if you got your math right! To do so, you’re going to take another three shots at a paper bullseye at the same distance (so, 25 yards)

If you adjusted your scope correctly, you should be hitting directly on the bullseye or fairly close to it, depending on the weather obviously.

Actually Using Your Scope

So, you’ve officially got your sight or scope up and running. Now’s the perfect time to adjust it to your preferences and begin using it in a match. After all, not all sights and scopes are the same and you want one that works perfectly for your needs and playing style.

We’re first going to go over how to actually use your scope in a paintball match. Then, we’ll go over the basics of caring for your sight or scope and making sure that it lasts you for years to come! Then you’ll be ready to get back into the arena in no time!

The Process

Scopes and sights seem pretty straightforward if you’ve ever played first-person shooting games before. But, if you noticed, they automatically zero in on your opponents and you don’t personally feel the recoil of the gun once you take your shot.

With that said, it’s safe to say that experience playing these video games won’t really help you too much here. So, let’s walk through how to use a scope properly in real life.

  • Choosing your dominant eye. For a lot of scopes and sights, they’re best used with only one eye. So, you need to figure out which eye is considered your “dominant eye.” To do so, use both pointer fingers and thumbs to make a triangle and focus on an object in the distance. Make sure the object is directly centered in this triangle when both of your eyes are open. Close each eye individually. Your “dominant” eye is the one that best keeps the targeted object in the triangle when the opposite eye is closed.
  • Adjusting the eye relief. Every time you shoot a paintball gun, you know that the gun somewhat recoils as a result of the power behind the shot. When you’re using a scope or sight, this can cause the gun to recoil back into your eye or face. Keep in mind that a more magnified scope means your eye has to be closer to the gun.
  • Get a target on your opponent. Once you’re actually in a match, it’s time to set your sights on an opponent. Make sure the center of the crosshairs (or the red dot)  line up with the target area on your opponent’s body. Pull the trigger and you should make direct and accurate contact.
  • Determining your range. Just because you’ve got a scope on your paintball gun doesn’t mean it’s magically able to shoot further like a sniper rifle. Most paintball guns are only able to shoot up to 100 feet away. So, play around with your scope and become accustomed to judging the distance between your target and your paintball gun’s maximum firing distance.

Playing paintball with a scope or a sight attached is definitely a great way to ramp up your playing style and get some wins under your belt. Yet, you need to make sure that you’re properly caring for your scope so that you can use it for years without issue.

Caring For Your Scope or Sight

You know that you need to keep your paintball gun clean. You know to rinse off your mask. You know to refill your paintball gun’s air tank.

As much as your scope or sight is just an addition to your paintball gun, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t need to be cared for individually and in a special way. So, let’s go over some of the best tips for caring for your scope.

  • Invest in the right tools. The absolute last thing you should do to wipe dirt or debris from your scope or sight is using your fingers to wipe it away. You should be using specialized brushes and sponges built for rifle scopes and/or camera lenses. These tools are gentle, won’t scratch your lens, and can help you to get into those edges.
  • Reach those “hard to reach” places.” You might only be focused on the center of your lens when using your scope or sight, but that doesn’t mean the edges aren’t important too! Use your brush to help you to dig into those hard-to-reach edges and loosen any excess dust or dirt that’s sitting on your lens.
  • Clean weekly or monthly. Don’t be that person that only cleans their lens when they can’t see out of it anymore. The cleaning process only takes a few minutes and it’s much shorter if you’re doing it more consistently. Once a week or once a month should be fine, but you might want to do it more often if you play more consistently.
  • Avoid fluids and water. Under no circumstances should you be using water, soap, or any other fluids when cleaning your lens. This will only smudge your lens further and cause streaks to develop. If your lens brush or sponge becomes wet, it’s best to just get a new one.
  • Use additional tools, if necessary. For those hard to manage smudges or dirt spots, you might want to use a microfiber instead. But, you should only be using additional tools if the regular tools that you’re using aren’t working as well.

Now that you know how to care for your scope, you’re much more of a responsible scope or sight owner. So, I guess it’s time to get back in the game now!

Conclusion

Your paintball gun is your pride and joy. But, your accessories should be as well. That’s why it’s so important that you use your sight or scope properly and zero it to get the most accuracy out of it. Here’s how you can do that.

  • Set up a mock paper bullseye about 25 yards away.
  • Weigh down your paintball gun with a sandbag and fire off three shots.
  • Measure how far off your shots are from the bullseye (in inches).
  • Convert the inches to “clicks” and adjust your windage and elevation dials accordingly.
  • Make sure you reference your sight’s manual for the specific details.

Recent Content