Saturday, January 29, 2011

DO IT YOURSELF: Gun Painting Do's and Don't's

(Original Link Broke) My Paradigm Post Painting
        How about that paint job, eh? Do you like it? What!? You don't!? Well for those people reading who do like this paint job and are interested in painting their guns in a similar fashion I'm going to tell you how I did it, which was incorrectly, then tell you what you need to know to do a camo job like this proper.
        I've used spray paints to do camo jobs on guns on several occasions before but always found they needed more preparation than I liked to do, they smelled bad during the process and you would get best results if you painted on a warm sunny day, not a cold northern winter day like I was planning to do this on, so I opted to do a hand painted camo job which was something I'd never done before but thought would allow me some finer control over my work. For this job I rounded up the following:
        Cheap paintbrushes since sometimes I need to stab at a crevices to get paint in them and you don't want to spend big on brushes that aren't going to survive the painting process
        Cheap acrylic paint which I planned to use preservative on so no harm done there, right? (Wrong, find a proper base paint)
        Masking tape to shield parts I did not want paint on such as the part beneath the Milsig name-plate and the serial number, trigger guard, safety etc., since I like highlights
        Polyurethane to put over my paint once it has dried to harden and preserve it
        A toothbrush to brush the polyurethane 3 hours after application to buff out some of the shine it produces, can't have a shiny gun in the bush after all
Streak and blend Your Bases!
        Keep in mind while reading now that is the incorrect way of painting a gun, I'll explain what a better way would have been in two paragraphs. After disassembling the gun to it's most basic parts and masking what I didn't want to get paint on (brackets, sights) I was ready to paint the beast. First, I brushed on staggered strips of chocolate brown that were about 3-4 inches wide and ran at the same 45 degree angle along the gun. These strips also has 3-4 inch wide gaps in between for my next base color. Second, I mixed a vanilla espresso color using white and brown and did the same thing in the gaps I'd left. When my brush was low on paint, I added some streaks into the chocolate brown parts of my base by lightly dragging the brush back and forth across some of the angled surfaces, the picatinny rails for example. This blended the colors and added a neat weathering effect to the dark, bold areas. Then I created a dark gray color with my black and white paints, put some on the tip of my smaller brush and sort of gobbed it at random. I didn't add more paint to these gobs but spread them about until they were very thin and started to blend into the existing colors. The next part was overkill: I made a dark brown and made some bold streaks with it, I don't think this part was necessary. The very last thing I did to make it all blend together was I grabbed a sponge, dipped it in black paint and then lightly dabbed it all over the gun, adding a burnt effect.
        To try and preserve it, I decided to use polyurethane. I'd been using this on things all summer and was impressed with how well it helped various things bond and harden. I'd also used it on my cheap acrylic before and was impressed with how hard and well it bonded, so I figured putting it on my gun's paint job would work equally well. Two coats of this stuff were carefully applied, and 3 hours after allowing the second coat to dry, I buffed it with a toothbrush to reduce shine produced from the glossy finish which even 'satin' polyurethane seems to produce. Though I didn't mention this in the materials needed section, I also applied a coat of Testor's Dull Coat for good measure.
        So what is is that went wrong with my paint job? The cheap acrylic paint as a base is the biggest problem. You need to purchase paint you plan to use as a base special for the material it's going to be applied to, in this case I should have purchased a special metal paint instead of craft paint. It would have been ok to use craft of paint on top of a well applied base for detailing but it just didn't bond well. Thankfully, the polyurethane soaked into the porous acrylic and and any paint that peels off my gun is coming off in small, clean strips leaving no residue behind, a bit like a snake shedding it's skin. Where is it peeling the most, you ask? Areas where screws make contact and are tightened, picatinny rails, most other areas that get more metal on metal contact. This paint job will last a year or two I suspect but at the end of that period I think there will only be a few spots of paint left to gently peel away with a dental pick and then with a little luck, my gun will look like new beneath it all.
       Aside from a proper base coat what can be done to get the most out of your paintball gun paint job? Prepare the surface you're going to be painting. In my case the gun was new and had no gunk on the surface, I painted right on but if you've been using a gun for awhile, odds are it's got oily residue from ball breaks, and maybe some dust a dirt in small deposits all over the surface of the gun. So clean it up! And if it's plastic you plan to paint, I find sanding it just a little to add texture to the surface helps the base coat bond to it nicely.
        Fine detailing you plan to do after cleaning, masking, and putting on a base coat needs to be done in a paint of similar composition to your base coat. Get water based paint if your gun's base coat was water based, and the same thing goes for oil. Paints of different bases won't apply to each other very well. In my case of using acrylics, I should have applied a water base coat formulated for bonding to metal, let that dry over night, and then done detailing with the cheap stuff.
        For preserving your paint job I recommend Testor's Dull Coat which I mentioned earlier. I've used this in the past on a metal front rail for a Milsig K-Series and has very good luck, I'm not totally sure why I didn't use it this time around but it likely has something to do with wanting to use the materials I already had on hand. This stuff can be found at your local hobby and model store, perhaps even at Michael's craft shop. I don't recommend this to be used on plastic though as it doesn't bond quite as well. Polyurethane I've found bonds quite well to plastic but the MinWax brand product I've used is optimized for wood.
        If you take your time, you can get pretty good results from doing a job wrong like I did, but for lasting results, make sure to do a paint job right the first time or maintaining it will be nightmarish. Happy painting, everyone.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

REVIEW: Plague CAR Stock

Magpul CTR Stock

       Those paintballers who know me on the internets as well as in real life know that I have beef with the fancy collapsing stock that comes with the Milsig Paradigm. It all stems from a bad experience I had with my first Milsig that had an air thru stock on it which utilizes a tube running along the outside of the gun. Long story short, this creates a few more gaps in the system that need some o-ring work to seal them up right. A lot of people have no problem with it, some do, I was one of those with a problem so the MATS stock on the paradigm was a blessing and a curse for me: on the one hand I hated the system plus the 120 shot capacity the tanks has (the aesthetics too!), on the other it was a 200$ part I could sell to help afford the Paradigm.
       After selling this stock, all that remained in my arsenal stock-wise was the Milsig Sniper Stock. I love it to death and hope never to sell it but it's a bit on the heavy side and for the Paradigm I was hoping to go for a minimalist assault rifle design and quite wanted a collapsing stock. I called and was told about one they carried in the system but wasn't listed on the website: the Plague CAR Stock. After a few fortunate discounts and a gift card acquired through a photo contest, I opted to take a chance and buy this stock I'd never heard of for about 5 dollars in the end.
       If you need a CAR stock, I highly recommend this one.
       First off, it's not your typical CAR stock, it doesn't look at all like the one on the Bravo One/Alpha Black or one on the real Colt M4, it's modelled after the Magpul Industries CTR Stock and functions the same way. I'll include right now my only gripe with it and that is that this one is three position where as most others are six position stocks. But back to the good! The stock also has a rubber butt included with it with the Magpul Industries logo on it but given the price of the stock before discounts, I suspect it is from the Magpul PTS line for paintball and airsoft rifles and not meant for the genuine article. Still not complaining though because the PTS line is pretty robust for civilian toys.
Rear Lever for Adjusting, Front Lever for Locking
       This stock also trumps a lot of others in that it has a metal tube which the collapsing butt slides along, not to mention the part that plugs into the back of your gun is metal as well which is sure to put your mind at ease if you're afraid of a stock breaking should you ever trip and land on your gun. The adapter also fits super snug in the gun but still manages to slide in with ease during installation and the only part which might make any noise due to being a little loose is the butt of the stock itself. This problem can also be solved by depressing a second tab, separate from the one used to adjust the stock,  and locking the collapsible butt in place.
The One Screw and Metal Collar. Quick to Disconnect

       The last thing about this stock that I'm going to rave about is how the stock is held on the adapter which plugs into the back of the gun by just one screw and a metal collar you tighten. The screw can be removed with the same size allen key as the one used to remove every other screw on a Milsig leaving the adapter behind, still plugged into the back of the gun. This is fantastic if you want to change your gun from rifle to CQB mode in between games, or given that its just the one common screw, you could even do it in game if you're entering a structure you plan to spend a good deal of time in.
       I have not yet battle tested the stock but given how much tossing around it's had while playing dress-up with my Paradigm in the last two weeks, I suspect it should hold up quite well. I'll throw up an addendum review once the snow melts off the local field in the spring.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

REVIEW: VForce Grillz Mask

The Grillz
       First thing's first, school has set in and I'm going to have to keep blog entries a little smaller for the time being. Over Christmas I was pounding out at least four pages single spaced a day, now it's looking like 2 pages a week. I've never been so swamped at the beginning of a semester in my life. On with the review.
       I must admit, at the beginning of season two while searching desperately around my home to find my Dye I3, which I'd only worn one time for airsoft of all things...! I was pretty choked when I couldn't find it, voila, 60+ $ down the drain. I was a sad panda. The Extreme Rage Full Head Mask I had was a pain to wear; the mask would fog and the foam around the eyes was actually some kind of bizarre, bubbly, rubber which wasn't soft at all and even chaffed my face on long days of play. After purusing a lot of paintball pictures for what I might like to look like, as well as a lot of reviews, I came to a decision.
       Enter, the VForce Grillz.
       First thing I have to say is it's roomie inside, and all the foam makes contact with my eyes. Of the 8 masks I've tried in my 3 years this is one of the best for comfort and fit. Easy to tighten, great field of vision, plus an awesome profile to it as well. The grill around the mouth has lots of large holes for venting and moisture builds up much less quickly than with the Sly Profit, not to mention it doesn't curve down, contouring to the chin so no wetness gets transferred to you. With the Grillz, when I open my mouth there are no teeth exposed at the bottom. The mask also comes with one of the nicest micro fibre carrying bags I've ever had the pleasure to dump a mask into. It's stretchy and thin, but fairly tough and there's lot of room to set the mask into, not a tight fit at all. The Grillz has a very soft chin as well as other soft areas which encourage ball bounces, I've take several off the chin and come away clean, as well as some hits to other particularly hard areas such as the brow ridge on the top of the mask and left without a mark. The lens is also very easily changed on the mask: all one needs to do is unbuckle the goggle straps and push out the two tabs they were connected to and the lens comes right out.
Mirror Finish Rubs Off With a Stroke of My Finger
       Speaking of lenses, lets get on to some peeves I have with the mask. First and only is the lens. It has a habit of fogging. For me it happens quite quick but only when I'm hunkered down and huffing and puffing, this mask does not do well when you're curled into a ball and breathing deep; most masks don't but it's very pronounced with the Grillz. This problem is easily resolved with a steady gust of wind or by moving a lot and getting air flowing through the ports. This is also not much of a thermally treated lens, the coating inside is very gel-like and becomes slick when heated or slightly moist, significant moisture making contact with the lens causes the coating to flake away and then the fogging problem is exacerbated. Another thing is I opted to get one of them fancy orange mirror lenses so I could look like Master Chief, cheesy, I know but it seemed like a great idea at the time... Don't do this! VForce (and I've heard a number of other companies') mirror lenses scratch like crazy. Half the real estate on my mirror lens is bare after one season of having it. If you have to get a new lens, get an amber or high-def lens, the mirror ones will degrade too quickly. Last gripe about the lenses is the foam around them: It makes good contact with your face and this really ought to be a moot point given the amount of time I wore mine for but the foam does seem to come with an expiration date. The foam in my black mask is falling apart and is entirely squished to the point of not being able to rebound now. Maybe it's my short time in the sport talking but I would have assumed I'd get 3 seasons out of the foam before having to think about replacing it.
Some of that Permanently Compressed Foam
       The verdict: at the 120$ I paid for mine when I got it, it's not really worth the price. For the 60-80 it can found for these days it's a much better buy, I'd actually consider purchasing another. What could be done to make this mask even greater? Improving the lenses, that's it. A lot of companies have the mirror lens scratching problems so I won't judge them on that but their anti fog methods need work. If the lenses were more robust I'd forgive the foam degradation because I have much less of a problem replacing a sweaty old piece of foam for 24$ as opposed to 40 for a new lens which has a shorter life.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

REVIEW: Sly Profit Mask

Sly Profit, Woodland Camo
       Period of use: Only trial, and I might add that if you very much love the Sly Profit that you skip to the end paragraphs.
       I've been using a V-Force Grillz mask and switching between two lenses I have for it for two, going on three seasons now and it appears the Grillz comes with an expiration date as the one I currently own is not holding up to the test of time. I'll review the Grillz soon but for now lets stick with the mask in the spotlight: the Sly Profit. I'd heard good things about it, and heard that it was very much like the Grillz in size, protection, and comfort level so I thought it might make for a good replacement mask. After doing a fair bit of digging around the internet, I was sold, there were an awful lot of glowing reviews on forums touting its amazing comfort level, acoustics, etc. You can literally go read a product description of the Sly Profit mask and find all the same glossy vocabulary in the reviews made by happy buyers.
       I am not one of those happy buyers....
       I purchased this mask in the woodland pattern at the end of August expecting it to arrive in the mail from ANS Gear after about 1-2 weeks and then being able to use it for the last three months of reffing here in the great white north but, sadly, this was not the case, and it actually took a phone call to customs to tell them to find the package containing the mask and release it from customs. My mood was sullied from the month and a half waiting game but I still had very high hopes for this mask, even though I was sad at the prospect of only being able to use it for another month's time. I wore it all around the house the evening it arrived and even wore it into a shower where I figured it would fog for sure but nothing! No condensation except on the outside of the mask; I was highly impressed. It did feel a little funny on my face and every time I put it on it felt like it was sitting slightly different than the last time, never the same twice. It also never sat in a way that allowed all the foam around the eyes to come in contact with my face, there always were gaps. Ok, I was nit picking, it was a new mask, it couldn't be that bad, I just need to get used to it like I did every other mask, right?
       But what's this? OH GOD, YUCK, EWW, EWW! The mask has a 'C' shaped mouth area which goes out from the lense, down, and back in around the chin. What does this mean? As you breathe you accumulate condensation from breathing in and out and being that it's like a scoop at the bottom it accumulates here and gets transferred to the chin ever time you open your mouth, scraping along your chin, and then your spittle dribbles down your neck every time you try to talk. Nasty. Another word on the mouth area is that I could open my mouth and see not only my teeth but a good vacant area of mouth exposed underneath where mask coverage ended. Nothing at all like the coverage on the Grillz. Maybe this could be a back up or loan out mask or I could finally find a way to make the mask sit right and the problem would be solved? Aggravating point number one.
Hundreds of Nearly Indiscernible holes
       The following day of reffing arrives. It only took two games of wearing the mask to turn me off of it completely. The previous day's fog test of wearing it around the house and even into the shower did not hold up on the field. Perhaps it was a pressure or humidity difference that caused it, but the Profit was fogging after 10 minutes on a hot, dry day and as a ref I was not exerting myself nearly as much I as I would have been as a player. Perhaps I needed to be moving more to get air flowing into the mask ventilating it? Not the case, this was some powerful condensation that likes to hang out longer than a little fog. The holes in the masks “revolutionary” ventilation system are also too small to do any real ventilating in my opinion. Fewer, larger holes would provide more adequate ventilation than the plethora of tiny ones the mask currently sports, air just cannot travel through them fast enough or in a great enough quantity to eliminate the accumulation of moisture. Aggravating point number two.
       By the end of the third game of reffing that day, whenever I took the mask off at the end my ears were throbbing in pain. Though the lower part of the mask is a softer rubber material, the top is still super rigid and was holding my head like a vice and the padded ears were only exacerbating the problem and the slightly compromised hearing some people have noted while wearing the Proift was particularly pronounced for me, I was even having trouble hearing players who needed me on the field. Aggravating point three... I'm actually not going to count anymore.
       Was I nuts? This mask couldn't be that bad, I needed a few second opinions but no one wanted to try it on when they saw the spittle that had dribbled down and deposited on my ref jersey from the chin area of the mask. A few did though, most notably the other refs and my manager. All but one person disliked it, citing the acoustics as the biggest problem, the padding of the ears dulling noises and the C shaped mouth causing an echo which really bothered other refs when I tried to use a radio while wearing the Profit. I lucked out with one thing though: that guy who actually liked the mask really, REALLY liked it and actually bought it from me that day, praise be.
It Does Look Slick...
       So I've really torn the Sly Profit mask a new one here but let's look at a few things it has going for it. Looks for one thing, it's a pretty slick looking mask and it's nice to see companies also taking some aesthetics into account int their designs. Field of vision, definitely one of the better I've encountered aside from a slightly more pronounced nose that on some goggles. The lens does sit very nicely and has a wicked locking mechanism. The double strap deal for the back of your head is awesome, I would love to see more of that. The velour material on the ears and on the foam around the lens feels delightful but the experience was quite thoroughly ruined for me on account of the overkill padding in the ears. I also like the gradient lens but you can tell it was made for people who play in open fields who have the problem of sun always shining on them, it's really not needed for playing the shade.
       What would make me buy this again? Bigger holes for ventilation! Lose the C shaped mouth area and some of the padding in the ears too. And lastly make it a bit bigger for folks with big heads like my own! “But Kris, It's your own fault for buying before trying.” I couldn't try it, there was no pro shop in all of BC carrying them at the time that I could find and a lot of the issues I recognized after wearing it for more than an hour, not something I'm going to sit in a store and do. I do have to order a lot of gear and pray it works out, 99% of the time it does, this was not one of those times.
       Verdict: The speed at which it fogged suggested it was only a good choice for a game that lasts a short period of time, it's super speedball oriented and not very versatile for other play types. Not only is it designed for speedball but it's also designed for the ideal speedball player whose a smaller target and has a smaller cranium. No matter the camo color options, this is not a purchase aptly suited for extended play time in the woods. Definitely try this one before you buy and if you're not floored by comfort they claim it has, then you'll probably be encountering the same issues I did down the line.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

INFRINGEMENT: This image may be subject to copyright.

       Ever since I bought my camera (and even before) it bothered the living crap out of me when someone would take a picture I made/took and neglected to give credit where credit was due. I now feel obliged to address the sources of some of my photos and how I plan to cite these. There will be 4 kinds of pictures on the blog: My own pictures, Others' pictures, Product pictures, and Memes such as the lolcat from this post.  
        Memes such as the "Don't worry sir, I'm from the internet" and Haters gonna Hate" in other posts I take no credit for. Other pictures such as these will appear in future posts and it's a safe bet that if the picture has text and appears to be trying to be funny that I did not make the image, ergo, please don't call me witty or think I'm some kind of funny guy when you see these pictures because I'm not the guy who made them.
       Other People's pictures: sometimes I need to do a google search for a shot, such as the speedball one a few posts back as well as the broken optic shot two posts back. I will provide a link in the image description below it and probably leave out any personal text from myself so all anyone sees is the link to where I found it. Another good thing to know while I'm talking about links is that all my images find their way into the blog via the "Direct Link" method of posting images so all you need to do is click on them and you will be taken to the source.
       Product shots: If the picture is a product on a white background then it's not a shot I took. White background product shots are spread across dozens of online stores who also seldom cite the source of the product and it's a safe bet that for example, Empire Battle Tested is who 'owns' the shot of the TM7 in the second or third post of this blog. I'm also going to try and limit where I get product shots from to retailers only, not forums or imageshack galleries, just places where more reivews, information, and specs can be found on the product in the picture. Nit picking aside, unless I'm saying something bad about the product then linking to the retailer where I got the picture is kinda doing them a favor right? :)
      My shots: Every picture in the Versapod Battlepack Review is something I took and it's a safe bet that if the picture doesn't meet the criteria above like: has text, white background, has a link under it, that the picture is mine. I'll get uber-cranky-pants on people who see pictures of mine, swipe them, and make no mention of where they came from especially in cases where those pictures go on to be used for promotional or for-profit causes.
       If you can prove that you are the owner of an image on here, have a problem with my using something or are an authority on the matter who thinks I need to change one or many of my images, or just happen to know of a better way to go about giving credit for images that what I've said here, let me know and I'm sure we can work something out.

Monday, January 3, 2011

OPTICS PART II: If You Reeeeally Want One....

       I know I was pretty hard on optics in the last post but despite that, I do hope to review a good handful of optics on Eight Pound Ops. If you still imagine yourself holding a fort against waves of 50 enemies at a time with a beam of golden light shining down on your secret weapon, an optic, without which you'd be finished for sure, then at least read this post so your hard earned money doesn't go to waste when you buy one.
Same 42mm Red Dot Sight as Mine
       I'll tell you what I've found to be a good buy right now, then move on to what specific sort of sights to avoid. What's good? Red dot sights. Simple, short, tube like in appearance, red dot sights. Consumer level ones can be purchased for much less than 50$, are as aesthetically appealing as any other sight, and if the glass shatters they still make a good optic and here's why. They have no magnification to begin with so nothing is lost when the glass breaks on either end. Your paintballs will almost never hit exactly where the red dot sits in the middle of the sight since even the best barrel bore to paint bore match only gets at best a one and a half foot diameter spread of hits on a target at about 50 feet away so losing the dot itself is no major loss either. A broke down, destroyed, red dot can essentially be turned into a glorified iron site and function just as well as when it was new. If you can line a target up in the tube then you're likely going to be able to tag them with a 3 shot burst. On those days where I do think I might want to use my red dot, I don't actually ever turn it on because I know paintball guns aren't accurate enough to hit where the dot indicates but will hit in same the ball park area. Aside from why they're nice, what can I suggest you do when looking for one? Go for ones that are large, about 40-50mm lense size because the smaller the sight, the trickier it is to look down with a paintball mask on. And just because you don't need the red dot to last, doesn't mean you don't want it to right? Looking for ones that are rubber-armored isn't a bad idea either.
       So what sights should be avoided in paintball?
Big 'Ol 50mm Scope
       First thing's first, don't buy a rifle scope. I know I own one but again, it was 20$ and for pictures only, I don't actually play with the thing on my marker. There are a host of reasons not to get a rifle scope in particular, the first being the size and weight. Scopes are the largest optics out there and come with a weight appropriate for their size. Second is the size of the objective, the part you look down, this is usually small on rifle scopes, 1.5 to 3 cm wide depending on the model and when you have a paintball mask on, a large objective is easier to line up and look down than a small one. Third, you don't need magnification in paintball, you'll never be able to make a shot with a paintball from so far away that you'd need 10x zoom. Lastly is locating and focusing on your target; extreme zoom narrows your field of vision quite a bit and if you don't pay close attention to this you will be sacrificing your peripherals entirely and not every target that sits down your site if crystal clear, your eyes may need a moment to adjust to bring them into focus.
ELCAN Heavy Duty Infantry Scope
       For most of the same reasons I don't recommend scopes, I also don't recommend Advanced Combat Optical Gunsights (see first picture in last post for an example of an ACOG) and I really wish the case was different with these. They are smaller and lighter than scopes, almost on par in weight and size as red dots, and they have just a little bit of magnification from 1-4x which I actually kinda like! They often come with illuminated reticles whose brightness and even color can be adjusted in some cases and some of them look pretty slick on a paintball marker But while hunting around for some last year I found the good consumer level ones to all be 100$ or more and still have the problem of a small objective lens to look down, the problem with those again being not easy to look down with a paintball mask on. I've tried every type of sight in this post except for an ACOG in game though, so I'm pulling from previous experiences with similar optics and a little “theory,” but I still want to give them a fair chance so I may review a particular one if an opportunity arises some day. Other ACOG-like optics, like the two Elcan replica's, the Heavy Duty Infantry Scope and SPECTERDR available on are on the wishlist to scrutinize as well and given their price tags, I have a feeling they might turn out to be solid options.
Reflex Sights, Quite an Exposed Piece of Glass
       Lastly, I'd also recommend avoiding consumer level reticle/reflex sights and holosights too. If you buy the real things for 500$ then you avoid the two problems associated with them that I'll bring up here but most people won't so here's what you need to know. For one thing, the sub 100$ consumer versions aren't bright enough. I've tried both kinds and in broad daylight you can't see the dots in them very well in either red or green. In the shade it's visible, indoors it's visible, but natural light on a bright day overpowers the light of the reticle. Hoods are available for purchase to remedy this and holosights powered by 2 AA batteries are significantly brighter than those powered by watch batteries but then comes problem #2. These sights are exposed on all sides so any shot from anywhere can take them out, not just one's from head on. There's a pretty good collar on the holosight which prevents this but reticle sights are very prone to being taken out this way. Negativity aside, if you have a bright enough dot in the middle then these are good sites. They have no magnification and you can scan around and snap your eyes back to the site with your weapon at the ready with ease, no having to close one eye or focus to clearly make out your target.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

OPTICS PART I: A Few Good Reasons Not to Buy One

An ACOG Sight
       The new player at Kamloops Paintball Games I was telling you about earlier sent me a second part to his vest question, this one did not pertain to vests but instead to a specific gun accessory: an optic. The optic he was asking about in particular was a sub 100$ Trijicon ACOG look alike on the store site and he wanted to know if I thought this was a good buy for an A5 he hopes to build.
       I don't recommend getting that sight or any sight for that matter. The best course of action is to get used to shouldering your marker and moving it with you as you turn, getting accustomed to the feel and weight of it. Odds are if you've been playing with your own marker for a while now you already do this, so why add extra weight to the equation and mess with reflexes you're already developing by trying to rely on a sight? For the entirety of last summer, when I used a milsim gun, that gun had a Milsig Sniper Stock on it, and eventually I became accustomed to it sitting against my shoulder in a particular way that helped me know when I had a good shot lined up. Every speedballer in the world has to get used to doing something like this: they practice with a comfortable set up and learn to swivel about, take aim, and shoot based on familiar feelings of the tank cradled in their shoulder and position of their barrel relative to their target as a visual reference. In milsim we have to do the same sort of thing but with a stock in lieu of a tank cradled in our shoulder; we rely on this doubly so because we cannot fire the same kind of volley of balls as speedballers. Additionally, if you do come to rely on your sight, what happens when you need to make a reflex shot and don't have time to line up the target? Bet you wish you had those reflexes then, eh?
       “But Kris, I see your guns with sights all the time!” This is true, however it's almost entirely for gun portrait sake. I like to play dress-up with my guns and pull different looks out of the hat! I also like to make them look absolutely bad-ass on days I'm reffing and want to show case some milsim stuff between games and get new players psyched about the sport and when someone won't stop drawing comparisons to airsoft and “how much better airsoft is,” sometimes the Milsig Paradigm with a nice site on top makes for a good means to an end for that grousing. Another thing is my paintball optics are startlingly inexpensive. I don't buy them unless they are sub 30$ and usually have some additional discount on top of that and I'll explain why in the paragraph after next.

Picatinny Offset Mount
       Most sights are really expensive. The one on the Milsig site my friend wanted was at least 80$ (more than both my scope and red dot combined, multiplied by 2!) and that's a hefty chunk of change. Good ones are heavy because they have some amazing high quality glass in them, and then there is the small issue of mounting it. If your marker lacks a picatinny rail on top then you need to buy a mount, then you need to look down it to make sure you can see through it with a mask on and if that's in the way you need to purchase a riser for extra clearance. Additionally, you may need a hopper offset or a site offset mount if your paint feeding system is on top of the marker and interfering with a site being placed on top. This equipment is an additional 50-100$ so you see it's not always as easy as declaring you want a site and buying one. This is also at least an extra pound of metal on the gun too. Yet another problem arises with the hopper offsetting gear should you choose that course of action. Weight is now heavily skewed to the right hand side where most hoppers are located, making your marker much less easy to hold when it has 200 rounds loaded.
       I'm also going to mention that from my experience and the experiences I've watched others go through that the sites in paintball stores and websites are largely seem to be of 'disposable' quality. Please, go to a military supply website or even a hunting supply site right now and look at gun optics there that are the real deal. Eotech Holosites over 500$, authentic Trijicon ACOGs at1100$. That last one is almost twice as much as I paid for my Paradigm! There's a reason these one's cost more: they're built to take extreme punishment, huge amounts of shaking, immersion in water, constant humidity, fine dust trying to sneak in the seams, and they have to be the best given their true purpose: assisting in killing things with ease. Something that amazes me is Bullet Ant Ballistic Goggles. These aren't optics but are eye protection solutions that are capable of taking a hit from a .22 bullet fired from a few feet away and not shatter. There are covers for, and elements inside real steel optics that are made of very similar stuff and I will let you know now, your sub 100$ paintball optic will never be able to take a hit from a .22 or a paintball for that matter. I've heard stories from a lucky few whose sights have taken a couple balls before breaking, but every sight I've seen take a direct hit to the lens in person has broken and there are countless more “Site shot, broken :(“ threads on milsim forums online. It's only a matter of time before your 100$ (ball park) paintball optic goes bye bye, and that's not a chunk of money you want to put out on a regular basis. Sorry to be so doom and gloom!
       Let's recap, a couple good reasons not to buy a sight for a paintball gun? Using one can compromise reflexes you'd have using iron sights or getting used the feeling of your stock. Additional weight of mounting gear and cost of that gear, plus any draw backs of shifting the weight about. And inferior construction, paintball gun optics might as well have expiration dates stamped on them. So like I.N.G. Direct's guy with the accent says: Save your money.