Paintball Pistols, Handguns & Sidearms

The very first paintball gun ever made was a pistol. The year was 1970, and a northeastern forestry group was designing a gun that could shoot balls of paint, for the purposes of marking hard-to-reach trees that were to be later cut down.

Paintball Pistol

When the first game of paintball was played in 1981, the players used pistols. It was called a "survival game" back then, but the guns themselves were nothing like the average paintball marker or rifle you see in use today.

Nowadays, paintball pistols are more of a novelty. Players that carry them seldom need to take them out, and mostly use them as a backup weapon during games in which their primary gun malfunctions or jams up. They carry pistol holsters on their hip, their leg, or even around their ankle.

The paintball pistol differs from other paintball markers in two major ways. First, it has no hopper. This means it can carry only a very limited number of paintballs, and not many shots.

The second way pistols are different is that they have no cumbersome air-tank. Instead of a large compressed tank that screws onto the back of your marker, paintball pistols use very small (usually 12g) metal CO2 cylinders. These things used to power all of the guns in a paintball game, and you'd look around the woods and see them littered everywhere.

Another important difference for some paintball handguns is that they take a smaller caliber of paint ball. The .43 caliber paintballs have a much smaller diameter than the standard ones, but this enables you to fit more of them in the gun's clip or magazine.

When considering any type of paintball sidearm make sure you know what it takes to power the gun, the capacity of the gun's clip, and what caliber of ammunition it shoots.

Why You Would Use a Pistol in a Paintball Game

Everything considered, a paintball handgun or pistol is a handy thing to have. If you've ever played paintball you already know how easily your gun can malfunction, forcing you to call yourself out of a particular game. Having a secondary weapon is a great way to ensure that you don't miss out on any playing time, even if you have to be careful with your shots.

BT Paintball SA 17 Paintball Pistol Black

Another reason to own a paintball handgun is for specialty games. There are all different types of paintball games out there, and many of them require one or more team members to only carry a pistol. By owning one, you get the chance to be the "medic" or the "ambassador" or whatever else the group might be doing that game. It's always cool to switch things up and learn new tactics and positions.

Finally, some of the more advanced paintball players just love the challenge of going into battle armed with nothing more than a pistol. Having to conserve ammunition and limit your rate of fire makes you consider every game more carefully, and not having to drag around a heavy gun allows for increased stealth.

Pistol-players might also be "runners". In some games they could be the ones who go for the flag, or tag captured teammates to release them during hostage games.

In short, having a pistol during paintball can be a lot of fun. Check out some of the cooler ones below:

Paintball Pump Shotguns and Pistols

Some paintball guns operated on a pump-action level; you must physically pump the gun before each shot.

This leads to games that are more skill than anything else; instead of a "pray and spray" mentality, players are a lot more conservative with their shots.

The paintball pump action scene is actually kind of cool. It's mostly made up of veteran players looking for something a little less technology-driven and a lot more close quarters. The games are usually up close, down and dirty, and the outcome depends more upon skill than on who spent the most for their gun.

Pump weapons rely on the player to cock and fire the gun manually, but they still run on CO2 cartridges. They're unfortunately less accurate than traditional paintball guns that rely on an air regulator to keep shots consistent; pump players will always complain about shots that fall short, misfire, or skew wildly off to the left or right.

In the end however, pump games can be a ton of fun. They're also a hell of a lot cheaper to play, because you'll use a LOT less paint.

When every player is using the same type of gun, everyone shares the same disadvantages. This makes the game more about positioning, and a lot less about who can fire further, faster, and more accurately. Some paintball fields will even offer pump-action leagues, or run a pump-only pickup group each weekend.

Paintball Hand Grenades

Yes, there are even paintball grenades. You throw them, they explode, and they shower paint on your enemies. Theoretically, anyway.

Unlike shots from a gun that break against nearby bunkers or obstacles, splatter from a paintball grenade counts. If you get ANY amount of paint from a grenade on ANY part of your body, you've been eliminated from the game. Yet while this seems to make grenades overly powerful, the truth is that they're not.

Simply put, paintball grenades suck. Half the time they don't even open upon impact, and the other half they flop around weakly and lamely, leaving very little paint in their wake.

In fact, I've yet to see anyone get eliminated by a paintball grenade. THAT's how bad they are.

One time, I watched a player throw a grenade into a bunker. When it didn't explode, the opposing player grabbed it and threw it back. It landed next to the original owner and it still didn't go off. Suck much? I think you get the picture.

So maybe I'm biased, and maybe they've developed a new type of grenade that works better or sprays more paint shrapnel in a wider area. If so, more power to them, but I haven't seen it yet.

The game of paintball also allows smoke grenades, at least at most outdoor fields. These can be pretty cool, especially if used in conjunction with teammates about to advance on a certain position. The smoke covers your enemies line of sight, leaving you clear to move up to new bunkers and obstacles.

If you insist on carrying a paintball grenade, go for it. Here are some different ones:

Other Paintball Weapons, Equipment & Protective Wear

There are many different aspects to paintball, and a wide variety of gear. Some of it is required to play the game, while other gear is optional but recommended to players who've taken up the sport on a more regular basis:

Paintball Gear