Posted on September 11 2020
by: Doug Lamont
photo credit: Doug Lamont
Paintball guns were once very diverse across the market. Private label markers ran rampant through the industry and manufacturers made aftermarket parts for just about every gun you could think of. Paintball guns catered to tinkerers who found joy in fine-tuning their markers and upgrading as many parts as they could. Part of the allure was having the most modified or upgraded gun out of your social circle. It was common knowledge that guns out of the box just were not as good or as optimized as they could be.
Fast forward to paintball in 2020: paintball guns come optimized out of the box, ready to play in a tournament and extremely soft on paint. Aftermarket parts come mostly in the form of triggers and a few bolt systems; a far cry from a diverse market. The engineering of paintball guns saw many changes in priority over the decades. At one point the challenge was being able to shoot semi-automatically. Then the challenge was shooting fully automatically, and the various ramping variations that exist in between. Eventually manufacturers competed over having the highest rate of fire, being the softest on paint or being the most air-efficient. Manufacturers released parts left and right to allow such variation and customization of markers that it was often hard to say what marker someone was shooting. Phrases like “a Shocktech Dye gun” were common, meaning a parts manufacturer had made their own edition of a popular gun with their own upgraded parts. Things are much different today.
When you buy a new paintball marker today, you can expect it to come equipped with everything it needs to be as perfect of a machine as it will be. Purchasing aftermarket regulators to have more control over tuning is a thing of the past. But what does this mean for consumers who like to tune their guns? Those players can still tinker quite a bit, and for cheaper. Rather than buying a $1,500 gun and then purchasing various products from companies like Custom Products, engineering has come such a long way that you already have the most elite version of whatever you’re shooting. For guns like autocockers and older mechanical markers, custom or aftermarket parts do exist, but for anyone in the speedball realm purchases like these are a thing of the past. The regulator in your gun is typically the only one worth having in it, the ASA is probably the only one that actually fits your marker and upgraded aftermarket circuit boards only really exist for low-end paintball guns. The one part that seems to have remained steadfast in its proclivity is replacement triggers. New options come out all the time! Blade triggers, deuce triggers and most recently the Shocker Deuce Air trigger from Infamous Paintball! Additionally, if you have a Planet Eclipse Emek you can upgrade to a lighter and faster trigger with the Deadlywinds Hair 45 valve!
Why would paintball manufacturers do this, then? One answer could be to keep control of the market for their product and audience. By not allowing other manufacturers to produce parts for guns, companies like Planet Eclipse or Shocker can manage things like replacement parts and repair costs, on top of offering exclusivity and a higher quality product. Having guns with fewer customization options can decrease the possibility for user-error. It also keeps responsibility on the engineers and manufacturers to make their products reliable out of the box instead of leaving it to smaller companies, which benefits players and keeps money in their pockets to PLAY PAINTBALL.
***Based out of Mansfield, Ohio, Punishers Paintball is dedicated to delivering premium products and even higher quality customer service, every time. Growing paintball is our mission and we take pride as ambassadors to the sport.***