Monday, December 20, 2010

INTRODUCTION TO DESTRUCTION: the First Year of Paintball

Dramatic Self Portrait

       I suppose this is the part of the blog where I'm expected to make those awkward introductions, explain what I'm going to be talking about, and then try and tell you how these rants and raves deserve your attention more than the next guy's paintball blog in this vacuous space called the internet. I'm actually quite terrible at all of the above so the proof, as they say, will be in the pudding, however there is one way that I'm quite apt at capturing an audience: through story. I'm going to regale you for the first 2 or 3 lengthy posts about how I got sucked up into this awesome thing called paintball and hopefully give some insight into what I hope to accomplish here. It's a pretty detailed path that spans my (only) 3 years of being in the sport but I'll try to keep myself from being too wordy.
        For me, paintball kicked off during the season of Summer '08. I was at a friends house on the edge of town and we got to talking about the sport. I'd never been shot with a paintball before and was pretty curious about what a paintball felt like in comparison to other projectiles I'd been struck by. Would it be tolerable enough that I might want to play? I stood 100 feet away a let him take a few pot shots with his Spyder MR-1, the first 2 missed and I was tense as hell which is probably what made the shot that finally connected with the back my leg hurt so much. Even being prepared for the hit I still found it to be nowhere near as painful as I'd imagined so after a bit of mulling the thought over, I went down to the local gun store and picked up a BT-4, hopper, 20 oz CO2, and an Extreme Rage full head shield. I didn't have much to compare it to but was surprised with how solid the little gun felt compared to what I'd seen at Canadian Tire and Walmart. This BT-4 was one of quite a few guns I owned that first summer and one of many MANY more that I've bought, played with, and eventually sold since, all of which I hope to soon give a snapshot overview of soon. I became quite hooked into the sport and most certainly invested too much in it but I have got a lot back in return.
A somewhat naked Tiberius 9
        As mentioned before, the BT-4 was quickly sold and I replaced it with a Tiberius T9 Ranger ST which I used mostly in pistol mode with a hopper attached and I essentially had a BT-4 again but I was finally starting to learn how to play the game.

        I picked up a steel high pressure air tank after doing some research on them and the gun health benefits associated with moving from CO2 to cleaner compressed air and later purchased a Dye I3 olive mask which was quickly misplaced. Back to using the Extreme Rage one much to my chagrin...

SEE? Total bad ass
        I didn't know a lot when first going into the sport but if someone asked me to name a company who made paintball products there was one that always sprang to mind that I could name: Tippmann. The Tiberius T9 started to get me very interested in the Milsim look and few guns have the wow factor of paintball's attempts at close replicas of the real thing. Slick, CNC machined, thousand-plus dollar speedball guns even have trouble comparing to these rifles; so many more lines, curves, and tubes to take in, the heft, plus you know you feel like a bad ass when you hold one.

        The Tippmann A5 is arguably the most modifiable consumer level woodsball/scenario gun on the market and during that first year, I kinda wanted one. Being young, new to the game, and silly, I also subscribed to the “bigger is better” “more expensive is better” school of thought. See where I'm going with this yet? If not, this should help.
This is it, the very SAW I used to run

        So I went and purchased an A5 SAW set up and most embarrassing thing is: it was busted outta the box, the A5 was gummed up with something. I felt so silly for not testing it before going to the field. I unhappily took the marker back to the retailer but kept the SAW add-ons, and found someone who would sell me an A5 for half the price of the last one (shoulda done some research first!). This meant I had a little left over to buy a solid back-up: the TPN Bravo One, back in the day when they were still made of metal.
US Army Alpha Black, America's version of the Bravo One

        I finally had a good system of guns to work with but felt a little decadent so I put the Tiberius up for sale. This season was drawing to a close though, and I had barely a chance to get the SAW up and running and didn't have a chance to even take the Bravo One out to play, even as a loan out to a friend. The T9 sold fast and nothing was purchased paintball wise until the following spring.

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