Thursday, December 30, 2010


Danger Indeed...
Once upon a time, in the very early days of paintball, I was exiting the field on a beautiful sunny day with my first marker: the BT-4 Combat. Like most people at the field during that season I had my 20 ounce CO2 tank screwed right into the back of my marker as I was not yet using a remote line and began to do what I did on most occasions involving degassing my marker, placing the gun between my legs to get some leverage on the tank for when I began to unscrew it, getting a good grip, and commencing. I had not yet realized a person could depressurize the gun by giving the tank a half turn and then the gun a few dry fires and thought the difficulty I had wrenching off the tank came from pressure between the tank and Air Supply Adapter only. I'd also always though that the little point that depressed the tank's valve in the ASA intruded into the tank much further that it actually does, and that the jet of cold CO2 I'd become accustomed to seeing when unscrewing the tank thus far could be avoided by unscrewing it as quickly as possible. This was not the case I now realize, as the jet of CO2 I'd seen was left overs from the games, extra gas left sitting in bottom line since I had not dry fired the gun to depletion. I'd been testing different ways of unscrewing the bottle from the gun for awhile, see which was quickest for me and this gun between the legs position was not one I was accustomed to. I got a grip on the CO2 tank and gave it a twist. A very cold and visible jet of CO2 came hissing out of the connection between the tank and the ASA as the gun depressurized directly into my crotch, terrifying me and garnering looks from those around me. Though no damage was done, it was still a sight to behold: my clothing absorbed a great deal of the gas (saving me for sure) and when I looked down I could see it evaporate before my eyes, simply put, it looked as though my 'gun' was 'smoking.' A lot of people saw and made comments like, "don't touch it, it may shatter" and "Cryogenics eh? Saving it for the future?" I was more than a little embarrassed and never forgot the incident. I should have known better having been messing with the tank earlier that day and giving myself a blister from another jet of CO2 coming in contact with my bare skin. Moral of the story? Wear some kind of protection or you'll get a blister boys and girls! That or get yourself one of those handy on/off ASA's!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

REVIEW: Versapod Battle Pack

Pic of the NC Star Bipod... I Don't Recommend That One...

      For a very long time I thought bipods were pretty much useless in a paintball game since any time you were prone with one and had a clear shot, your enemy probably also had a clear shot at you. Around last Christmas (2009), I went down to Vancouver and bought a cheapo 22$ NC Star bipod mostly for gun portrait sake. The thing was garbage for the most part but I wasn’t counting on it pulling me through any scrapes so I was happy with it; I had another prop, another thing to slap on a gun to help it pose for pictures. Mission accomplished. then I got this crazy idea one day that I should mount it on my A5 and see how it went for a game…. I smoked a lot of guys in the head that day. Sadly (but ultimately for the greater good) my NC Star bipod crapped out on me after that day. It performed well for pictures and for the game I used it, but then one day while demonstrating the ol’ K-Series, a leg fell off and spring went missing and overall it was a sad mess, especially since the mag I was using that day also has it’s pins break. What a disaster Turns out that type of bipod is held together solely by the tension of springs, remove one from the equation and the thing falls apart. My NC Star one is still in my possession and functions well after being glued together again humpty dumpty style but it’s an embarrassment and no longer adjustable. I had to fix this problem of an unreliable bipod.
       Down at the local outdoor sporting goods store I got to asking a fellow at the fire arms till what he would recommend and after trying a few things and finding none that would fit a milspec picatinny rail (more people need to hunt with assault rifles, geeze) he took me to google on the computer at his counter and we began hunting around for the Versapod. Turns out this guy rocked a SAW in Afghanistan for a tour and had extensive firsthand experience with the product. I did a lot of hunting around for a good price on a Versapod with at least a 9 inch lift since a Milsig with a mag needs a 7-9 inch leg lift for the mag to clear the ground when you lie prone and shoulder it. Raptor feet would be a plus in the purchase but Keng's Firearms, the makers of the Versapod, informed me that I would not be able to find exactly what I wanted but could get these feet if I bought the battle pack. Too pricey I thought to myself, and then they told me there was an anniversary sale on, so after a day of mulling it over I decided to take the plunge, after all, apparently they provide a life time warranty, have a coating tested to 1000 hours of salt water spray and are made in the USA, sounds good to me.
Everything That Comes in the Box

- This is the Battle Pack LTD Large model, the legs extend from 9 inches to 12, and are spring loaded.
- The Multicam carry case is not optional, they include it for free, it has some nice heavy duty YKK zippers on it as well as a quick attach MOLLE system so you can carry it all on your vest if you really wanted to.
- You get the bipod and 3 sets of legs: raptor feet, ski feet, and rubber feet, so you can use it on any surface you want to.

- Shipping cost about 25 USD to get it to where I am in Kamloops
The HD Non-Canting Picatinny Mount
- You need to choose an included free adapter for whatever kind of mount this bipod is going on, I think for most of us this is the Standard Milspec Picatinny mount and so I got (and recommend) the HD non canting picatinny mount. The adapter is held in place by two screws, not one, and will sit on your gun very firmly. This mount does not have a sling attachment point however.
- The bipod is very solid and its very easy to change the legs. To do so one only needs to undo a small screw on the rear of each leg and let the leg out slowly and swap in the desired one, takes a minute to do both at most.
- Like most bipods, all you do to deploy it is squeeze the legs together and pull them down, when released a spring pushes them to an approximately 90 degree angle and voila, bipod is go!
- One neat feature is you can store them either way, feet face down the barrel or toward you. There is 180 degrees of folding motion on this bipod.
Side by Side with the NC Star Bipod That Crapped Out

- Despite being quite large and robust, this bipod weighs only a little bit more than my NC Star glued up bipod, here they are together for comparison.

4 Points of Contact

- Here's a shot of the bipod on my K-Series with a sniper stock on the back, with the legs shrunk down in their tubes, I have 4 points on contact, both legs, the mag, as well as the stock and it won't fall over if left to rest.
Those raptor feet are pretty damn intimidating, eh? Hope you had a good read, here’s one more pic for good measure. Feel free to ask any questions, I’ll be sure to add any additional thoughts to this review later and I think more larger, self taken shots are in order for reviews in the future.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

REVIEW: Ultra Light Ghillie Suit (Long Jacket)

Not going to lie, guys, this is near total self-plagiarism from a facebook note I published three years back but I hope you find it useful here in public space! This is a link to the product in the review, purchased from
Product Shot
       When they say the suit is ultra-light, they aren’t kidding. I happened across the box on my deck early in the morning as I walked home from a class. My first thought after bringing it into my house was “My god, I’ve been had, its empty.” Quite the contrary, upon opening I found it was packed full of ghillie goodness and it took a lot of fluffing to bring it to full size. The material is tied on the same way most of us attach jute to the netting (and netting is all it is, there is no underlying fabric) and there is tonnes of it. It’s like putting on a pullover and being that there is no fabric beneath the net, one still feels quite cool wearing BDUs beneath which is great in the cases of hot summer days. This jacket set up is excellent. The top is much like hoodie and the bottom is like a poncho; nearly down to my ankles but it has slits along the leg so that I can move with great ease. Running is entirely possible in this full length body jacket though vaulting a fallen tree is inadvisable as the net may snag and you may have a face full of hurt afterwards. Let’s take a look at some distinct pros and cons now.
        Very Durable, at least it would seem this way, I pulled at the netting in many places and nothing pulled apart or snapped and the wrenching motion of my hands is more punishment than this ghillie will likely ever take at once. Very high quality net, I wish I could find some like it to make a home made ghillie or two.
        Very big, I’m a big guy and got the Medium-Large version (it also comes in XLs) this fits very well, the hood covers my head easily, the arms go down to my wrist and when my arms are extended they don’t ride up to the elbow like some tight clothes do. The bottom of the jacket does end half to a full foot above my legs but this seems to be advantageous, I hate crawling and find sometimes when spotted in paintball or airsoft I need to take flight. Getting up quick from a prone position is never much fun) This design allows me to do so easily without getting material tangled in my feet. It’s also very spacious in the body section.
There's plenty of color variation. Lots of greens, browns, and hints of blacks and grays. Any problems with the color could easily be rectified by localised dyeing or misting with a spray can 2 to 3 feet away to alter the hue.
That Handsome Wookie is Me!
        No underlying material. As nice and light as it is, it would be nice to have some kind of cloth material on it, especially for the upper body. The netting is tough like a chain link fence but its coarse and not pleasant to the skin. Bear arms beware. it would also benefit from being attached to something to reduce the amount of gaps that sticks can pass through and get you hung up in the bushes on. Ghillies should always have only about 1 inch of slack between the net and material beneath, with this all-net design there's nothing but slack.
        The suit could use some more ghillie, I find it’s a little bit thin in some places but anyone wearing BDU’s would find it looks like a bush, not the case when you have a white T and jeans on beneath so it’s not something you can just throw on and have at it with, you will need something dark on beneath or you can un tie material and reattach in other places as you see fit.
        The neck, and this what annoyed me the most and by most I mean not much since I love this suit: The suit is in need of some kind of neck cinch to bring it up around the chin rather than down by the chest, I have this whole bare section there now and am in no mood to wear a camoflage balaclava in the summer. I do stoop when I’m stalking about in the woods so perhaps this will disguise the issue.
      It's a great suit for those new to ghillies, the durable construction means it'll last and since it's pre-made it saves the new guys the frustration that comes with building one from scratch, remember though, real snipers always make their own suits! Some day, and I hope it's soon, I hope to show you what works great on a ghillie suit and even do a step by step guide with a give away of a home made ghillie from Eight Pound Ops.

Monday, December 27, 2010

QUESTION AND REVIEW: A Snapshot Review of the Milsig Solid Gear RRV

MSG RRV in ACU (you aren't expected to understand that)
       There's a fairly new player at my field who I have on my Facebook, he messages me now and then asking about gear he's thinking about getting in the new season and what my opinion on certain items is and I usually humour him. It occurred to me that answers to his questions might be a good source of blog entries so I'm going to give my (hopefully) unbiased answers and opinions to his and other people's questions here for awhile and see how it's received.
       So he asks me: Hey Kris, should I get the Milsig RRV vest?
       I have to ask back: Do you run a gun with a mobile air in stock (13ci tank)? T8's only? 50-100 round pods only? Carry your loadout on your gut only? If you plan on none of the above then the RRV vest from Milsig is probably not for you. It's a little better for a recreational paintballers now that they have a back panel you can order which is remote line friendly. When I purchased mine in the spring I had to rig a bottle pouch to the straps that crossed the back which was more than a little awkward at times. At the time of my purchase the vest came with 2 2X2 Milsig mag pouches which also accommodated a 50 or 100 round pod if you removed the plastic T in the base of the pouch. The set up is not rigged for 140 round pods and remote tanks and definitely is geared toward people who plan on using the MATS stock on the website and additional MSG pouches targeted at the recreational baller aren't out as of yet. My vest also came with a Velcro panel which fit nicely just below my neck and works well for placing patches of sponsors or favourite companies. This panel also is a pouch and the top can be pulled up to reveal a spot to carry some extra documents or flat goods. Two other pouches the vest came with were a utility pouch which I use for holding 10 round tubes as well as a bottle pouch for your drink, NOT your air tank. You could use it to hold a steel tank but it's not the most secure system.
Double Mag Pouch Fits 2X2 20 Round Milsig Magazines
       The Milsig MSG RRV is a good vest, but takes some getting used to, as do most Molle vest systems because there's a little bit of tedious weaving on of the attachments. You have to attach each individual pouch and it can be close to an hours work carefully assembling the vest depending on how tight the Molle webbing is to the surface of the vest. Looser webbing is easier to weave attachments on to but it also means more side to side, and up and down movement of those attachments. This means more abrasion and tugging on the sewn on parts of webbing, which then means faster deterioration of the vest. That's really kind of sloppy construction and fortunately Milsig's is a nice tight weave. You also need to regularly disassemble it to clean it because of gaps between the pouches and vest itself can have paint and other grit collect in them. I don't care how mold or soiling resistant a company claims their gear is, if you don't clean and care for it, eventually it's not going to treat you well. The buttons on Milsig's Solid Gear line are prone to rust too, though it's nothing out of control and despite this I still don't hesitate to recommend the MSG line to a milsimmer. When you wash it you need to leave the buttons undone while they dry and WD40 them when you're done cleaning to ensure there's no oxidation.
The Much Coveted Crye Precision Multicam MSG RRV Vest
       The RRV vest is also a little tricky to get in and out of with all the straps to buckle up and tighten it being located on your back. I can never seem to get my arms positioned at an angle that lets me pull the straps to tighten and usually need to ask a team mate to give them a yank before I head on to the field, loosening them is easier however. A zipper might have been handy in my case, such as that which is on the very reasonably priced Milsig Hydration vest but then it wouldn't be an RRV anymore would it? Comfort wise the vest scores a solid A, it takes a little getting used to the weight being on your chest as opposed to your back but it's a good feeling after awhile. Another thing is that the mags sit high up enough on your torso that there's no restriction of movement in your midsection allowing you to bend as far over as you like which can be difficult when using the long 140 round pods. Another thing those who have read my previous posts will know I've learned is that more $ does not always mean a better product. In this case it is true though, the MSG RRV is a beast of a vest and it does have a high price, especially if the model made of genuine Crye Precision Multicam is the vest your after.

EDIT: On Friday the 31st of December, Grey Ops will be having a give-away of a Milsig RRV in ACU camo. Follow the link and the instructions after the jump to be entered, it only takes a minute!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

HATERS GONNA HATE: Paintball and Airsoft

       If you click on any one of the hundreds of different paintball or airsoft videos out there on Youtube, then scroll through the comments, it's only a matter of time before you come across a battle between the two camps over which sport is better. I can honestly say I've never heard of such a thing as a civil discussion about the two games, probably because conversations turn into yelling matches and debating in the Youtube comments section always turns into name calling and flame wars. Since I'm so fantastical, I'm going to climb on my soapbox here, and try to outline what both have going for them and try to leave out what they don't.
Airsoft HK 416

       I'll give airsoft a go right away since airsoft should probably not be mentioned much in the future. When it comes to 1:1 scale replicas of guns, airsoft is the decisive winner. The projectiles in the sport are 6mm in diameter as opposed to .68 cal in paintball. This gives the guns a more realistic appearance which is super important to some, not so important to others such as myself. In regards to the scale and ammunition size, airsoft also has a lack of bulk going for it. When I used to play, I'd take my gun and a bag of BB's that could just barely fit in my pants pocket if I needed it to, nothing more really was needed. 
The very HK 416-like Milsig Paradigm
In paintball you have to drag out a pretty heavy case of balls to the field, or purchase them upon arrival. Paintballs are also a whole hell of a lot more expensive than airsoft BB's: 8 dollars for 5000 BB's, vs 20 for 500 paintballs and that's the cheapest I've seen at a field. Airsoft is again a clear winner in it's not requiring a large bottle for propelling the projectiles. Most use springs, built in electric motors, or 12gram CO2 cartridges which if you don't already know, are a heck of a lot smaller than a 20oz tank. Another thing that springs to mind for the airsoft camp is accuracy, at least over short distance. You can get varying weights of BB's which will help accuracy but reduce velocity but over great distances you lose it no matter what and negative relationship of accuracy and distance also applies to paintball. I also miss being a sniper, paintball guns all shoot roughly the same distance unless you buy an APEX or Flatline barrel to put backspin on the ball, much like the hop-up of an airsoft rifle, but some airsoft guns can come very close to being 500 feet per second which would maim you in paintball. This means you can actually snipe people in airsoft from a good distance off. In paintball we don't have true snipers, just really clever players with long barrels who know how to camp in their ghillie suits next to a high traffic play area. It's sad but it's really kinda true. Lastly and most obviously is the hopper, a great big reservoir on top of your paintball gun that holds 200 balls and they can look pretty out of place some times but we do have small ones which look better and lighten the load, and magazine fed paintball guns are becoming more popular as well.
Paintball Barrett .50 cal, can't we all just get along?

       Now for paintball to shine. What rocked my world when I picked up my first BT4 Combat was not what it looked like at all, but that it was metal. I know that full metal airsoft guns are out there but in paintball, you get that out of the box and they're allowed to be black too! No clear plastic parts on the receivers to adhere to federal laws, and no annoying orange tip. I bring this up because everywhere I look on sites in Canada all the guns need to have clear bits, you can't get new guns that are all black or all metal and this can be an expensive thing to change with after market parts, and I like to buy things that feel indestructible right away, not plasticky. You can also feel paintballs when they hit you, unless they break on a pod on your back. Airsoft being replica weapon crazy sport usually means those playing it gear up the same way the ladies and gentlemen of the military do and that's a lot of padding. In the past when I did this, I didn't feel some of the BB's that hit me. You don't need an honor system in paintball for calling hits either, it's pretty hard to lie when A: the person your shooting at yelps and screams, and B: the have a big blotch of paint on them. Paintball guns have scale on their side in a different way than airsoft. Like I mentioned earlier, they are bigger as a result of the larger calibre but I personally really like this, the heft, the size, milsim paintball guns are beasts, much larger and more intimidating off the field than the airsoft counterparts. Paintball guns are also super moddable aesthetically speaking, and just as moddable internally. I encourage you now to put into Google “Ops Gear A5 builder” and see what you get. This little program will show you just how much you can change up the look of just one kind of paintball gun. In airsoft when you buy an MP5 or M4 look alike, thats it, you can put on some different furniture for that gun but your stuck with that gun. In paintball you could have an MP5 look on your gun one day and turn it into a heavy Barrett M107 sniper rifle the next. Some players despise the added heft of these guns but then they have something else they can do as a result: speedball.
       Speedball is totally not military simulation and has no real place on this blog but it's a huge +1 for paintball. We have this diverse sport here with so many different ways to play that aren't limited to the ways you play with replicas. This play style involves 3-7 man teams, using very small, tight to the body, fast shooting paintball markers, trying to eliminate each other on fields made of turf and inflatable bunkers. It's genius, awesome, intense, and expensive as hell to play if you don't have a sponsorship but it's so different and yet somehow it's still paintball. Check it out on Youtube, it's some kind of craziness everyone should try at least once!
       Take what you want from these reflections. Odds are if you already belong to one camp then none of what I've said will change your opinion to one sport or the other. If you've sunk as much money into it as I have you might get worried about things like: was paintball the right choice? Was airsoft? It doesn't really matter guys, this isn't a battle of ideologies and it doesn't deserve to be. The goal of both is to have fun, not belly ache online over how your 1:1 scale replica M4 is a gift from god compared to the next guy's Milsig.
       Merry Christmas

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

MISSION STATEMENT: Ghost of Posts to Come

Loadout of early 2010
       Oh dear, I've been doing an awful lot of talking about myself and not enough about all things paintball so far. I should fix this... in the next post I swear...! But in this one I suppose I should talk about the blog itself and what I hope to achieve here. First, I guess I should explain the title: Eight Pound Ops. The “Ops” part most likely came from two sources, both reading Grey Ops and playing a fair bit of Black Ops at the time of creating the blog. Whats with the growing rainbow of different colored ops? I needed more than just “ops” so what was I to preface it with? With the blog being milsim in nature, the answer came in the one thing my gear is criticized the most for, the weight of it all. I opted to use the Milsig Paradigm as a reference and looked up the weight Milsig advertised it as being: 3.150kg without the magazine and 13ci tank. 3.15 kilogram Ops doesn't really have a ring to it though so I did some modifying to imperial weights and came up with the rounder number of 8. The title was born but it wasn't the only title considered, I'd also considered Eight Pound Paintball since that would have the name of the sport in it but I opted for the shorter title which rolled off the tongue a little smoother and decided not to nit pick so much.
       In regards to content of this blog, it's not going to be a personal blog per se. I will continue to tell stories as I've done so far, but what I really hope to do is review products, reflect on tactics, loadouts, news, and issues in milsim paintball, and answer questions and requests for blog entries. This is not going to be a day by day diary about me and it's not going to be a broad, multi-interest blog about everything from machine-guns to makeup. I hope to maintain a focus on one topic, and that's paintball, specifically military simulation paintball though I'll try not to limit myself to just the one style.
Milsim garners an awful lot of interest in new players
       Everything you've read so far is what I hope to model the rest of the blog off of: lengthy, informative posts, which if I'm not proud of the finished product will not be posted here to be read. If Eight Pound Ops hasn't been your cup of tea in regards to reading material so far, I do urge you to give it a slightly longer chance as in coming days I hope to add some more varied reading material though more personal history posts might be coming as a second contributor may soon join the blog. In the meantime have a Merry Christmas.

PRE-PAINTBALL: The Airsoft Years

Royce on bottom, winter of the AK 47s, see the clear shotgun?

       Actually, there were no years, but instead just a few short months before I was converted quite thoroughly from being an airsofter to an avid paintballer, but believe it or not, without airsoft I never would have even tried paintball. I actually met the guy who first shot me with a paintball gun through a guy I met while organizing airsoft games in my hometown! Crazy.
Airsoft in my town was a bunch of us young kids with lousy, clear airsoft guns from Canadian Tire going off into the woods to shoot at each other. These were spring powered, no gas blow back or anything fancy, we had to cock for every shot but despite that it was a total blast at the time, likely because I had nothing to compare it to till later that year.
TSD L96 Sniper, pretty economical novice rifle
       My entry into airsoft was in late 2007 and coincided with the release of Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare and I caught a pretty bad case of the ghillie suit flu as a result. My first attempt was lousy but I've become pretty good at pumping out ghillies since then and know what works well, more on this later. In my obsession of bigger is better, expensive is better, which I had even before paintball, I moved on from a clear M16 and purchased a TSD L96 which was a pretty wicked sniper for the price and certainly helped me live up the sniper role in our rag tag group of plain clothes airsofters. The rifle gave me range and accuracy over the other little pistols but being bolt action meant I had to cock it every time and reload more often since my gun didn't have a wind up reservoir of rounds in the magazine which helped even out the play field. 
Younger member with my M16, I'm taking the picture in my ghillie
       We founded a facebook group quickly and were quite passionate. We wanted to get other people interested so desperately but we actually failed quite miserably. Getting games together in this crew was really hit and miss, new people would say they'd come and never show, regulars would do the same, it was a disaster most of the time but it was still fun when we'd get something going. Come summer, paintball just started to sink it's talons deeps into me and I was drifting away. A bad omen for the crew given that I also was in charge of organizing games for this group. I think the largest game we had among ourselves was 6v6 and that's a generous estimate of the amount of people that showed. Myself and several others let it die, people were gone for the summer, but some die hards didn't see that we couldn't get something going and it actually caused some dissent in the 'ranks'. Nothing did come of it. I was unsure of our club's future though and ended up selling the L96.
My most effective ghillie yet and that give-away clear M16

       After my first highly addicting season of paintball, winter came, and a friend, Royce, and myself decided to give reviving the group over the winter a go. Again, couldn't get much going. We had a few nice outtings and acquired a few more toys in the process, Royce a MAC 11 and Kraken AK which we lightly sanded a grain into and painted to look like wood, myself another L96 and an AK as well, this one of the tactical variety. I lost hope for airsoft when it failed a second time though, and opted to cut my losses and sell the Kraken but kept the L96. It would seem that every time I had no airsoft stuff I suddenly needed it again. Royce bought my Kraken and even though there's no scene for it in Williams Lake where we're from, he continues to buy airsoft stuff for props in movies he makes for his youtube channel. Cool stuff! Royce is also the guy who bought the A5 SAW off me and I recently helped him sell it as well, it's in the states somewhere now. I certainly do owe Royce for being such an awesome customer.
        Would I play airsoft again? If I could get a hold of the crew in Kamloops you bet! They exist but they aren't easy to get in contact with. I'm ready to go with them though, so much of this tactical stuff I've acquired in paintball could easily translate to a good airsoft set-up but I think paintball will own my heart for a long time.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

THE REF: The Third Season

Final stretch boys and girls but this part of my history in paintball is a long one so get comfy!
One of many configurations I came up with for my K-Series
       Late in 2009 I started to develop a great affinity for guns which used A5 barrels, stocks, and other accessories. I loved my Milsig and as a result and started to miss my trusty A5 a fair bit. Variations of the BT4 began to catch my eye, as did the Inspire BFG, the X7 Phenom; if it took A5 barrels, stocks or even one of the two I was quite interested and started to acquire A5 related goods, mostly from I started to do a total redesign of the accessories on the K-Series and ended up with many neat combinations of furniture to put on the marker such as what you see above and what will be included below this post.
       To pay for playing dress-up with my milsim gun I had to sell a lot of old parts which I decided was going to be a very difficult task, after all, it's easier to sell the whole than the sum of a gun's parts, no? I lucked out and made a trade with a fellow online: my parts for 3 guns: a Smart Parts SP-1, Ion, and an Ariakon Overlord. Should be easy to sell these right? Well here I am a year later and I just finally sold the last gun a month ago.

       Come Christmas time, I came to the decision that the Vice also had to go, it was expensive and dragging down my game, making me too cocky on the field. In a trade with a friend for the vice I received a BT-TM7, a new A5, and other milsim related goods. I never touched the TM7 and sold it before summer came. I played with the A5 very little but did some more modest upgrading of this one, no SAW or heavy machine gun parts on this A5. This A5 has since been sold as well since I liked my Milsig more and if I ever purchased another Tippmann as a paint thrower it's going to be an X7 Phenom. A Tiberius T8.1 was also acquired over Christmas 2009. The good news about all these guns coming in and out was that I started getting good at selling ice to Eskimos; I was getting great prices on all the markers I was selling and was breaking even for the most part by sweetening the deals with little insignificant accessories that came with all the guns.
       A problem arose for me around season start time though: I was away from home, without a car, and the local field was up a mountain, outside of town, off the grid and I had no reputation in Kamloops, no paintball connections, nothing. I really lucked out on two occasions very early in the season where I was able to get rides to the field with the owner of Kamloops Paintball Games and Proshop, Aaron Webber, since I was literally sitting on his route to the field. This was an infrequent occurrence however, and I started opting to go with another smaller group who played outlaw and met down town, so when the occasion arose, I'd ride my bike down to them, dressed in all the milsim gear and meet up to play. Around this time school was ending and paintball was a nice, albeit slightly lengthy break from studying. At this time I'd maybe played 4 times in the 2010 season.
       A couple of weeks into the summer I got a call back from one of the places I'd applied for work. I nailed the interview and so was hired on... at Source Adult.... didn't last long there at all for reasons best not explained in the blog but my ceasing work there came at an excellent time. Within a couple of days I got a call from Aaron from paintball field. He needed another referee and apparently I was an attractive candidate for the job. I took it, even though it meant sacrificing most of my play time. In total I played exactly 10 times that season and was a very sad panda when I compared it to the previous season's 3 times a week.
Invert Mini!!!

       There are a lot of good and bad stories I can share from refereeing paintball full time at Kamloops Paintball Games, too many to cram into one post so I'll share those individually later on and skip ahead to the rest of the seasons events. At this time I owned a Milsig K-Series, a T8.1, and a Tippmann A5 which would soon be sold. Something came over me that made me want a paint thrower again. I know I know, totally didn't need one but this time I did some thinking. This gun needed to sling ropes of paint but I didn't want to restrict myself to woodsball with this purchase. Keeping true to Milsim style, but not wanting to rule out speedball altogether (I love everything paintball, not just milsim), I invested in an Olive Invert Mini and modified my red Rotor Loader to match. I have to say, it's an impressive gun for it's price today and I'm totally keeping it! Around this time I also purchased a Nikon D5000 SLR camera to film and take pictures while I reffed, if there wasn't a gun in my hand to shoot with then there was going to be something else. The camera is actually is turning out to be a profitable buy as people who can't afford a pro but don't want point and shoot pictures are plentiful.
The Milsig M-Series Paradigm

       Did I mention I reffed a whole lot that summer? Snap forward to school starting and one morning as I lay in bed, a thought occurred to me and I started running some calculations: let's see, Milsig prices went up with aluminum prices, I have some nice stuff on my K-series, could get maybe 700 if I throw in other goodies, don't like the MATS system, so that's 200 more if I sold it... plus employee discount..... Holy Crap! I could get an M-Series Paradigm! And I totally did, I engineered a sale that allowed me to purchase a Milsig Paradigm and break even. I'm happy as a lark with it.
       A good deal of the following is opinion but this is where I stand marker wise today: Tiberius T8.1, arguably the best magazine fed paintball pistol out there rivalled only by the Tippmann TPX. An Invert Mini, truly a marvellous gun at it's price range. And my pride and joy: the Milsig M-Series Paradigm #394, I don't know if there's any doubt it's the most solid mag-fed paintball marker to date, an expensive buy but very low cost to run with magazines and picking your shots! And you know what? There's no other gun I'm lusting for, I'm super happy with this gear and don't see myself making any new marker purchase till these fall apart, mind you, I do need mags for the Paradigm and Tiberius...
       My clever dealings in gear aside, I did invest a lot in paintball, I have been somewhat arrogant and greedy in my thinking when I made some impulsive purchases but I feel like the payoff to this date has been enormous. I went into the game overweight, introverted, and lacking in the social circle department. I'm now 30 lbs lighter and I know a lot of that was from activity paintball supplied. I became an admin for the 2 Facebook crews in Williams Lake and even became one for the business here in Kamloops' Facebook page. This game has given me social skills, confidence, a hobby, sport, workout plan, employment, and tons of friends and stories to share. I really hope I can stick with it for years to come.
Paradigm with an added airsoft masterkey

Monday, December 20, 2010

FINDING A NICHE: The Second Season

Member of the my original crew with a RAP4 Handheld Launcher

       In my second season of paintball I started to know what I was talking about and could understand a fair bit of the dealings on paintball forums. I could strip, clean, polish the internals, and even do some teching of intermittent problems with my guns through trial and error. I'd had a job painting the year before but now we were heading into summer of 2009 where jobs were hard come by for anyone. I needed some way to save for post secondary but wanted to keep playing too. I was able to fund paintball consumables through a gig where I mowed my condo complex's lawns on weekends for 50-60$. It was a hot, dirty, miserable job, our lawns were crummier than any I'd ever cared for, but this job meant I could play. Money for college came from existing savings, other lucrative odd jobs, and help from the parents. I did alright in the fall as a result but we're interested in the summer.
Bob Long Vice
       The season started slow because money was tight in the group of older players I'd been with since starting and play was infrequent. I made an order from for a new mask (Grillz), an E-grip for the A5, and a flatline barrel and I was quite satisfied with all of this for awhile. There was a crew who played earlier on the weekends than my existing crew and we all decided to combine. The older players didn't mind starting earlier as well if it meant having a bigger group and making a proper day out of it and getting the most of our paintball budgets. The younger crew we combined with also played more often than older ones so I started joining them for a total of three days a week but with an E-gripped A5, I was burning through a bit much paint. I was about ready to find ways to stop slinging so much paint when Jordan, a gentleman who'd only been using a Tiberius T8 and a Smart Parts Ion pulled out a toy he hadn't yet shared this season: A Bob Long Vice.
Milsig 2010 Elite Pro

       I started thinking my leaning toward woodsball so strongly was a little wrong. This gun was so small, light, tight, maneuverable and just flung so many balls a second... I wanted one... and started down the path that I see and hear of so many new paintballers going down. I found a couple extra odd jobs, scraped some pennies together and assembled a pretty decent speedball set up: a red Vice, red Dye Rotor Loader, Ninja air tanks and Rhino Covers for the tanks. All that red, yeah I totally blended into the woods we played in. The purchase was a bit preemptive and I did have to sell the Bravo One and several accessories with it later that summer to feel less guilty about it. The gun felt nice, it was fun, and you could tell I was grinning from ear to ear when I was rocking the Vice but my game was terrible. I got surprisingly few tags with the Vice and my game was getting worse....!!! And there was a member in the older crew who kept picking me off with a gun I'd oggled online before but never heard much about: a Milsig K-Series Elite.
Milsig Elite Marksman Custom

       Again, I wanted one, and writing this here and now is really helping me see how out of control I was that summer and how much more well adjusted I am now. All those guns, coming and going so fast. I shouldn't feel too guilty about buying a Milsig Elite Marksman Custom later that summer though, I financed it by selling off all the A5 and SAW stuff. Recycling the investment I like to call it. Guilt tripping aside, switching to magazine fed paintball caused an quick and drastic improvement to my game, and alternating between the Vice and picking my shots with the Milsig was making me quite deadly. These improvements came in August and at the end of that summer I had to move for college. Having no connections in Kamloops yet, my second season ended early.
       This second season was the one which really started to define how I liked to play, though. Magazine fed and picking shots instead of running around with a 200 round hopper and hundreds of rounds in pods on my back was making me a much sharper player and some yet unidentified personality characteristic was making me a respected player even on those days I performed dismally. The older crew had their own Facebook page, and the new one I started playing with mid season did as well and pretty quickly I became an administrator and game setter-upper for both. Pretty awesome, 2 years in and I was starting to feel like something in the paintball scene in town, too bad I had to move away and fall back to the bottom. I didn't know at the time that I'd shoot up the ranks faster and further in the new city.

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.