The Definitive Mechanical Paintball Guide 2019

Back To Where It All Began

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Mechanical Markers Make A Comeback

The Definitive Mechanical Paintball Guide 2019

(DL) — Mechanical or Classic Paintball; once considered a decade ago lost in the woods on any given Rec Ball Sunday, has made its way back to being at the forefront of the sport. It’s even become so popular, it has inspired manufacturers to create new technology made solely for the mechanical movement.

With #MechStrong popular, it’s resulted in being branded on everything focused on the mechanical ball, and it hasn’t stopped there! The International Classic Paintball League, a league featuring 7 and 10 man events, has just popped up recently enjoying the popularity of successful events.

The Surf City Classic in Alpine, California as well as the highly successful Iron City Classic being run near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and other 7/10 man classic leagues being run all across the US.

You’re Talking About What Now?

Classic/Mechanical games are set up as TIMED 7 vs 7 or 10 vs 10  CENTER FLAG layout, meaning your team will get the most possible points if it grabs and hangs the flag first.  Points are also calculated by eliminations your team accrued and sometimes based on the time remaining.

Some leagues identify the game-play as classic paintball. Based off of battling it out on fields inspired by the play style of the ’90s, the directors don’t require strictly a mechanical marker and will allow electronic markers capped at 5.5 Balls Per Second. Batteries are still allowed to be used in loaders and various other parts of equipment.

You should always read the rules of any tournament you choose to enter.

New Format, New Guns

Planet Eclipse has released 3 different mechanical guns in the last 2 years with the new spur in this division. One of them being a retrofit option for an existing gun. The GMEK frame, EMEK, and GTEK 170r(m).

The GMEK

Tan and Camo GMEK

The GMEK is based on the GTEK mid-level, electronic marker. The kit is sold either by itself or with the gun.  The board, trigger frame, eyes, and electronic solenoid are all removed.  The solenoid is replaced by a mechanical 3-way valve and the frame is replaced with the GMEK slide frame.  Every other component (other than what I mentioned above) stays the same.  You will essentially have 2 guns and all you’ll need to do is swap some parts.

The EMEK

The EMEK was introduced in 2018 and has taken over the spot as “Top Gun”(heh) taking the GRN ( Glass Reinforced Nylon) body and frame styling of the ETHA 2, and the Gamma Core
(also used in the GTEK/GMEK). It uses a hinge trigger instead of the GMEK’s slide trigger as well as the regulator and offers the ASA of the ETHA 2 as an upgrade.

Planet Eclipse EMEK
An image of how an EMEK comes in the box

The EMEK is also compatible with Eclipse’s new PALs loader. Simply put, the new loader system uses air pressure to activate a lever in the hopper, agitating the balls and feeding them down into the gun. That technology reduces the risk of jams and as a result, less shaking of the hopper.

If You Can’t Beat Them …

Not to be outdone, Smartparts (known by the other companies of GOG Paintball, SP, and DLX) has been producing the eNMEy for a number of years but recently have taken the design to a higher level and applied it to a retrofit design for the Shocker RSX and made a dedicated mechanical marker the Shocker CVO, based off of the XLS platform.

Shocker RSX with the CVO retrofit conversion kit

The eNMEy/ eNMEy Pro

Reminiscent of the Ion marker, the eNMEy is a popular rental option for fields and is also seen as a beginner marker. GOG heard the critiques of the mechanical players.  Players told them it wasn’t as efficient as the competition and how the gun needed several upgraded parts to be considered viable.

An eNMEy Pro

The eNMEy Pro was born! GOG included the upgraded Freak Barrel System, an upgraded ASA, a clamping feedneck and the High-Efficiency valve. Competing with the Emek, a much more compelling arms race had begun.

SP (Shocker Paintball) took notice of the GTEK/GMEK combination and did some work.  Using the same principle of “we have the technology, let’s just strip it down.” they created the CVO frame for use on existing RSX and XLS markers. (note: the RSX and XLS kits are NOT the same)

Planet Eclipse Shocker CVO
Factory Shocker CVO

Taking out the board, eyes, solenoid, and swapping the frame, leads to the creation of the mechanical RSX/XLS. I’m surprised there wasn’t a lawsuit involved…

It’s Not All New Tech…

Dark Autococker courtesy of Marcus Garcia
Dark Autococker courtesy of Marcus Garcia

Autocockers and Automags are being brought off the wall, and as a result, it’s inspiring more and more newer players to ask about these legends. All the while players who have never gone onto a Mounds field or dedicated Woodsball fields are seeing what the older generation experienced.

An Inception Designs Autococker Body in a pump configuration

Inception Designs has become a leading sponsor for many of the events. Based on the East Coast, they’re able to travel to the ICC and 7-man Mechanical Masters tournaments. Their Autocockers have been serving as flagships for many teams Internationally and Domestically.

Empire Paintball has made an effort into the mech-ball scene too. The Empire Resurrection was the first new Autococker in quite some time at its release. From the design choices used, and the availability of upgrade parts The Ressi has remained a popular choice for any players gear bag.

That’s not to leave out the old school markers sitting in an old, dusty gearbox somewhere. AirGunDesigns has remained in business since stepping away from paintball. They’ve been subtly producing new markers and parts for the community for a number of years. Mags are coming back and being used in both rec-ball and the tournament series’ I mentioned.

Splash Anodized RT Automag. Image courtesy of Jake Berenyi/Bearded Works

We Also Have Some Underdogs In The Mix Too!

Azodin has also held a place in this market is a mechanical blowback (an operation in which the gun uses excess air to force the hammer back to re-cock the gun) style gun.  Although the markers are not as popular as the others mentioned, they’re still very reliable and incredibly simple to work on.

Azodin KAOS

Please note that some Azodin guns are electronic. If you plan on playing mechanical/classic ball, you’ll need to make sure it can be capped at 5.5 or is mechanical.

Tippmann while also being a blowback design and being a trusted option for field owners a new player alike; has also become involved with the evolution of mechanical paintball.  The A-5 and 98 custom platforms have gone through many different variations, but have still mostly been a mechanical marker.

The Tippmann Raider based off of the electronic Empire D’Fender has also become a sleek workhorse for newer players in this area.

Empire D'Fender

Now What Do I Need To Have For This Play?

Unless you’re used to big, spacious scenario games, you’ll need to be conscious of air consumption and how much paint you have with you. Some of the guns I mentioned are air-hogs, and as a result, you’ll need a larger tank with more capacity.

I recommend having AT LEAST a 68/4500 tank in these tournaments, it is not required however. If you feel you’re more comfortable with your smaller tank, that’s okay. Only you know your rig and how it responds.

Loaders are another topic to bring to the table. Mechanical guns do NOT have a form of ball detection.  You’ll be needing a force-fed loader (a loader that puts tension on the ball stack after each shot) to handle potential speed bursts and reduce chopping (when a ball breaks in the chamber after being cut or broken by the bolt).

Some examples are; any of the DYE Rotor line, Empire Prophecy Z2 and Pinokio (due to their high rate of speed). If you plan on playing with an electronic marker, your favorite loader will do.

Where would all of this preparation be without consideration of the paint you’ll need? Remember, as the amount of players you face increases, so does the likelihood of you needing more paint to sling.

A front player can usually get away with a standard 4+3+3 pack (10 pods total), while mid and back players will need to carry more (5+4+3 size packs would probably be best). One staple for the mechanical/classic game-play is a watch/game clock. These games are typically timed by the head judge and that person WILL NOT give a countdown. It is your responsibility to keep tabs on your game time.

For The Finale

I kind of wrote this as two articles. One of the weapons and one of the battle fields. While grabbing those mechanical guns can feel like a handicap, there is nothing more fun than going back to where the game began. It forces to play with your team; to communicate where everyone is and play strategically.

Often times when you can’t get over the next hurdle, you have to go back to basics. So bump those skills to the next level and take it to the woods. You’ll find that there’s a lot to learn, especially from the old guys.

Care to find out how good you can really be?