Having a basic understanding of the components of a paintball gun and being able to recognize them can help you to:
- choose the right type of paintball gun, and hence buy a paintball gun for your needs
- clean each individual component as needed to extend the life of the paintball gun
- know which components need to be changed more frequently (O-rings) for better maintenance. A well-maintained paintball gun performs better.
- identify the troubleshooting issues more easily
- update your paintball gun in the right way
To help you identify the components and understand how they work and interact with one another, I have also prepared a paintball gun diagram for you at the end of the article.
Let’s begin our journey, shall we?
Paintball gun body
The paintball gun body is the paintball gun’s main structure or frame. Other components like the hopper, the air system, the trigger mechanism, the bold, and the grip frame are attached to this frame.
The main body of a paintball gun is typically made from lightweight but durable materials like aluminum, polymer plastic, or other composite materials. Still, the most popular on the market now is aluminum.
This part is the one that ensures the stability of the entire paintball gun. Its design is a special one that maintains the integrity of the structure by evenly distributing the weight.
The grip frame is the part where you hold the paintball gun. It allows you to handle the paintball gun when playing. The grip frame is usually directly connected by two screws to the paintball gun body. It is located right under the main body.
Paintball gun manufacturers create new grip frame designs or improve existing ones all the time. Therefore, the grip frame can vary depending on the type of paintball gun. But each type of grip frame has its benefits for paintball players.
This component of the paintball gun provides control and grip to be able to fire against opponents.
In the case of electronic paintball guns, the grip frame also includes some buttons, batteries, electronic circuit boards, and screens where you can read all the information about paintball gun performance.
The trigger is part of the paintball gun that activates the mechanism which shoots paintballs. It is activated simply by pulling it.
There are various types of triggers depending on the type of paintball gun. Among them are mechanical triggers, electronic triggers, and adjustable triggers.
A mechanical paintball gun can be equipped with a mechanical trigger or an adjustable one. The electronic paintball gun has an electronic trigger or an adjustable one. They are not interchangeable, meaning a mechanical paintball gun will never have an electronic trigger and vice versa.
The mechanical trigger is based on a simple physical mechanism. When the mechanical trigger is pulled, the solenoid valve is activated and releases air. The electronic trigger is much more modern and uses electronic circuit boards and signals.
The trigger can also be classified as a single trigger or double trigger. A paintball gun with a single trigger allows the player to fire a single shot each time the trigger is pulled. This type of trigger is found in mechanical paintball guns.
On the other side, a double trigger can fire twice as many shots with just one trigger pull. In general, electronic paintball guns feature this specific type of trigger.
ASA (Air Source Adapter)
Also known as a bottle adapter, the air source adapter (ASA) is located on the bottom of the grip frame of the paintball gun. Its role is to connect the paintball gun to a remote line or directly to a CO2 or HPA tank.
The air source adapter controls the amount of air or CO2 that enters the paintball gun every time the trigger is pulled. Some modern paintball guns feature an on/off air source adapter, while others do not. The good part is that you can purchase it separately and install it on any paintball gun model.
An on/off air source adapter works quite simply. If the ASA is on, it allows air to enter the paintball gun, and when it is off, it stops the air supply to the paintball gun. The cool part is that the player can stop or start the air supply without disconnecting the paintball gun from the tank.
Some air source adapters have an extra valve that completely seals the area preventing air loss.
Electronic Marker Bolt or Drive assembly
The drive assembly is the component that propels the paintball. It transforms the stored energy into kinetic energy that acts on the paintball.
The drive assembly contains a solenoid, regulator, and different O-rings in electronic paintball guns. These components together make up a whole circuit system. The solenoid is the one that controls the drive assembly, which is also managed by the electronic trigger system. It does the same thing as the mechanical one: when the player pulls the trigger, it fires the paintball.
Bolt, Sear, and Hammer
As I mentioned above, the electronic paintball guns have an electronic marker bolt. But the mechanical paintball gun system includes a spring, a recoil pad, a bolt, O-rings, and a hammer. It uses the energy stored in the gun, and when the paintball player presses the trigger the hammer strikes the sear. Thus, the air is released and the paintball is propelled.
Hopper or Loader
The paintball gun hopper or loader is the container that holds all the paintballs. It is placed on top of the gun and uses gravity to feed the paintball gun with paintballs.
The paintball gun hoppers are available in different sizes from smaller ones to larger ones that can hold up to 500 paintballs.
Feed neck or Hopper Adapter
The feed neck is located at the top of the paintball gun body, near the hopper. Featuring a circular or rectangular design, the feed neck’s role is to secure the hopper or loader on the paintball gun. In this way, the paintball gun is continuously fed with paintballs for shooting.
The feed neck is a component that can be adjusted to fit different types of hoppers or loaders. There are two types of feed necks in paintball guns: a clamping feed neck and a screw-lock or adjustable feed neck.
The clamping feed neck boasts a thumb screw, while the screw-lock model features threads for hopper attachment. Both of them ensure that the loader is secured throughout the paintball game.
Some of the paintball guns come with a built-in feed neck, while others have a threaded collar that allows you to use different feed necks.
With a small size, the ball detent is the element that keeps the paintballs under control. Its location is near the breech of the paintball gun. Its form resembles the one of spring. It secures the paintballs and does not let them slide on the barrel or feed the neck before someone pulls the trigger. At the same time, it stops the other paintball that waits to be fired.
The paintball guns can have one of two ball detent types: the mechanical ball detent or the magnetic ball detent. The mechanical ball detent is a spring-loaded mechanism that pushes the paintball until it is fired. The magnetic ball detent is a bit more modern than the other one and uses a magnet to keep the paintballs still.
Located in the front of the paintball gun, the paintball gun barrel is the part crossed by the paintball when it is propelled out of the gun.
The paintball gun barrel has a cylindrical shape and is located in the front of the paintball gun. Inside, it has a polished metal that does not interfere with the body of the paintball when it is launched. Hence, the friction between the barrel and the paintball is minimal.
The paintball gun barrel is connected by threading to the main body of the paintball gun. The paintball gun barrels are available in a wide variety. Depending on the length, bore size, threading, and porting, you can find lots of great options.
It is a component with a strong influence on the performance of the paintball gun. Each paintball gun allows you to change and add a new paintball gun barrel.
The paintball gun tank is the main source of compressed air or CO2 for the paintball gun. It attaches to the paintball gun through an air source adapter and releases air or gas when firing.
How does a paintball gun work?
As you have seen, a paintball gun has several components, each with different functions and tasks But how do all these components of a paintball gun work together?
A paintball gun does not work if the hopper doesn’t have paintballs. So, first, you have to place paintballs in the hopper. Then, the hopper feeds the paintballs into the gun’s chamber using gravity.
The paintball gun chamber and the ball detent hold the paintball until the player pulls the trigger. When the trigger is pulled, the tank releases an amount of gas in the paintball gun that propels the paintball down the barrel and out of the gun. In mechanical paintball guns, this process occurs when the hammer hits the valve, while in electronic guns it is when the electronic solenoid valve is activated.
During the travel of the first paintball along the barrel, the bolt is pushed back again by the pressurized gas. The hopper releases another paintball down into the gun’s chamber and the entire process repeats.
The components of a paintball gun may seem complex, but they are not.
If you are a beginner and you are in the hunting phase of a paintball gun, I recommend you take a moment and review what are the components of the paintball gun work. This will help you choose an ideal paintball gun from the multitude available on the market.
Of course, this information about parts will prove beneficial when you want to improve your game even better or when you want to update your paintball gun by purchasing a new barrel or new paintball gun accessories.