Glossary of Paintball Terms

Glossary of Paintball Terms

Speedball & Woodsball Terms

Agg: Short for aggro. It’s a complimentary referential point of critique in a paintballers appearance being cool whether it is their dress or physical stance through attitude. It originated in the early 2000’s in SoCal. Agg from aggro which means awesome in surfing.

Backman: This term has specific meaning to speedball with less emphasis on all aspects of the players role in woodsball. A Backman is a player who resides at the very back line of of the paintball field playing long ball. Backmen serve to feed information to forward players, they shoot long ball, they provide cover fire.

BarrelBoreControl BoreBarrel Back: This one is interesting. Paintball barrels are bored, not rifled. (Exception: Hammerhead rifled paintball barrels)  Barrel – Currently produced in two forms: One piece or two piece in the .68 caliber range. Both a one piece barrel and two piece barrel system are ‘bored’ or sized.  Barrel Bore sizes range from .680 to .697 with most owners investing in bores sized between .683 and .690. Stock barrels are sized to an industry average of .689 in hopes that the barrel ‘overbored’ to all paint unless the paint swells after produced (due to heat/and/or/moisture) to most all paintballs so paint does not break as it passes through the barrel. Paintballs are in the .68 caliber range. Bores – Barrels are also referred to as bores or control bores.  In the case of two piece barrels the back control bore is sized where the front control bore is universally larger. Some vendors such as Inception Designs produce both the front and back (dual) control bores to size for an even more controlled flow of paint from end-to-end through the barrel. Barrels come with various thread types, so when purchasing an aftermarket barrel be sure to match the thread type of your barrel to the thread type of your marker. Barrel threads: Autococker – A5 – Impulse – ION – Luxe – SmartParts. In theory as back control bore becomes shorter (less than 8″) you use more energy and you run into less shot efficiency. If the overall length of your barrel becomes too long (overall 16″) you increase range and accuracy but again run into shot efficiency. It’s a constant compromise manufacturers attempt to dance and find a sweet spot for maximizing all important needs, accuracy, range, efficiency and consistency. Many consider a 14″ barrel as ideal. Because shorter barrels like 12″ barrels use more energy to project your paintball they by nature produce a louder report (noise). Porting (holes in the barrel) can assist in energy efficiency while decreasing noise. Note, the Freak Barrel System is considered a two piece barrel system as the inserts are part of the control bore and the fronts play less a role. Velocity makes a big impact on efficiency. In theory, sizing down your barrel to the size of your paintball is most efficient. You are still overboring, but you come down in size just before balls begin to stick and not pass through your barrell for a match bore. For some great details on barrels see Area 51’s chart.For a full discussion on barrels see this interview with Simon Stevens of Inception Designs.

Fun fact. Rental guns are way overbored (up to .695) because field owners don’t need the hassle of ever having paint not fit through their barrels on the hottest or wettest of days. This lends to the concern that rental players are way underserved when going up against any player not using a rental.

Bonus Ball or Bonus Balling: To overshoot an opponent either intentionally or unintentionally. Some players use bonus balling as a form of street justice to keep overzealous players from playing too aggressive. Ex. “I bonus balled him after he was out because in the last game he shot me after I called myself out.”

BPS: Balls Per Second. The rate of fire a gun is set. Most fields are adopting a standard of 10.5 Balls Per Second. Similar to testing guns for projectile speed (FPS), expect your gun to be tested before you start play for the day.  It is VITAL you learn how to set this as most guns are set by the manufacture at approximately 12 to 15 BPS.

Brawler: A player who is eager to play in the most forward position and engage opponents. A frontline player.

Bunker: Any object that provides cover from opponent fire. Examples: Supair, Tube, Pallet, Tree, Building, Dirt mound.

Bunkered: Shot close range in your own bunker. Often by surprise, often by a player running through.

ci: Cubic Inches. This is term used for how much space is inside a paintball tank and does not completely define the overall volume of a paintball tank because tanks have various psi from 3000 psi to 4500 psi. See psi.

Consistency: When a paintball gun shoots at the same output pressure on a regular basis and consistently generates shots at the same Feet Per Second (FPS). If for example you took 10 shots with your paintball gun and all of those shots fell within a range of 270 to 272 per shot, you would have a very very consistent shooting marker. If however shots ranged from 268 to 280 your shots would be inconsistent. This is not desirable for many reasons, one being at the cost of your accuracy as some shots would overshoot a target and others would undershoot the target.

Efficiency: Most often used in regards to a paintball gun. Gun Efficiency — How little air can be used to produce the most shots. The manufacturer takes the most credit most aspects of efficiency in how the gun uses the gas (compressed air). Improved efficiency is often achieved through better barrel systems by way of porting, length and other variables. Good maintenance increases long term efficiency due to parts that wear like springs or o-rings. Velocity makes a big impact on efficiency, 5 or 6 feet per second makes a phenomenal difference to your efficiency (calculate the square of the velocity). A paintball’s weight also impacts efficiency. Sizing down your barrel improves efficiency. In theory you overbore and come down as tight on the ball as ou can without breaking them as they pass through the bore.

Flank: A military term in origin. To attack from your opponent’s side as an offensive maneuver. Or to be attacked by your opponent at your side. To flank is to get around your opponent and minimize their angle of cover.

Form or Good Form: When a player refers to your form they are examining or judging your form as good or not good. To define good form requires almost too many elements to define this without an article on the subject. It means to to shoot your gun within a conventional standard of expectations by speedball and woodsball players alike. Good form is made of up a proper gun hold in your hands, the way your gun is held to your body and your overall body profile in stance.

FPS or Feet Per Second: The speed in which a paintball is calculated. The current maximum speed any field will allow is sometimes 300 FPS (200 mph) which was an industry standard in early paintball. More and more tournaments and most every insured commercial field will allow between 270 (184 mph) to 280 (280 mph) FPS.  When you attend any field or event your marker will be tested with a chronograph by staff.  Your marker is subject to being tested at any time during play and in the case of tournament play, every time you enter the field. During scenario events it is standard to be chronographed after breaks such a lunch as weather such as heat effects the marker’s output speed. Be sure to learn how to adjust your individual marker’s speed.

Good Form: Almost too many elements are included to define this without an article on the subject. It means to to shoot your gun within a conventional standard of expectations by speedball and woodsball players alike. Good form is made of up a proper gun hold in your hands, the way your gun is held to your body and your overall body profile in stance.

Head Check: To turn and check your opposing side to be sure you are not being moved upon. In DangerMan terms, keep your head on a swivel.

Highway: This terms is exclusive to to speedball but could be used in the woods if all parties are aware of its nomenclature. The Highway is a location definition similar to tape or wire. It is the inside lane of the snake on a speedball field. A player may somewhat abstractly call out to another player “Highway” to advise someone may be running down that location. As communication is crucial in speedball, another use may be to tell a teammate to post up and shoot down the highway because an opponent is exposed or available to be shot through that lane.

Hyperball: Hyperball is simply an airball field without airball bunkers. Hyperball uses tubes, cubes, pallets, and boards similar in size to airball bunkers and arranged in distance similar to a speedball tournament field. In general a hyperball field is designed to be the same length and width of a speedball field. Many hyperball fields are longer and/or wider than a speedball field, and may even be smaller due to real estate restraints.

Hold a Lane: Maintaining a posted position in which an opponent cannot advance or return fire without being at a critical disadvantage. You can hold a specific lane and also be at risk to opponents who have an advantage on you. What is specifically defined here is that you do have a specific goal and are able to some degree maintain your advantage.

Lane or Shooting Lane: A lane is a open and unobstructed shooting space in which to shoot an opponent and be shot back through. This is a loose term because you can also have a partially obstructed lane with for an example a tree branch blowing in the wind or a player, media or referee walking through it.

Laning:  To hold a lane by shooting a steady rope or intermittent shots through it to hold onto your posted, dominant position. Your goal is often to maintain a posted position. To get laned is to run into a rope of paint an opponent purposely shot ahead of me.

Marker: A paintball gun. Forestry and cattle markers were the first paintball guns used.

N00b: A player new to paintball.

Offhand: This is a firearm term meaning to stand and shoot without support. It shouldn’t be used in paintball as it confuses other more specific terms. However many paintball players consider offhand to mean your non-dominant hand. The term comes up when referring to the practice of switching hands, see Switch.

Outlaw Ball: A paintball game played outside of insured paintball facilities. Outlaw ball may have a referee. Games are held on private land or public property without permission of state or federal land owners.

PSI: Pounds per Square Inch. This term indicates the pressure inside each square inch. Currently paintball tanks have either a 3000 psi or 4500 psi limit. On average a 3000 psi tank will generate 10 balls shot per square inch. On average a 4500 psi tank will generate 15 balls per square inch.

Pod: Also called a guppy, paintball pods are short term, on the field storage containers carried in a belt harness. Pods vary in capacity from 140 to 170 paintballs.

Post, Posting or Post Up: Take position against an opponent.

Recball: Combines the words, Recreational and Paintball. Directed towards weekend or casual play, recball applies most to new players, (established and advanced players also join) playing small objective or elimination based games either with or without referees in the woods or on a hyperball field.  Recreational Paintball is played to establish a winning side but the games do not count towards any standings or prizes.

Rope: To shoot a long successive amount of paintballs which appear to hang in air like a rope. Ex. “I threw a rope of paint ahead of that bunker and he ran right into it.”

Scenario: Also called scenario paintball this term is exclusive to woodsball. Scenario’s are long term paintball battles or wars as some would call them. A scenario can last a day or more. Scenario paintball games combine many or all of a paintball facilities fields into a large scale arena. Scenario games have two or more big teams engaging in an objective based game. Players are never eliminated in scenario game, instead they respawn based on each individual games rules designed by a game producer. The game producer(s) can be the staff at the host field or an outside entity or vendor will work with the field owners to design the game.

Snap Shot or Snap Shooting: To pop out from cover, take a quick shot and snap back into cover. Often repeatedly.

Speedball: A fast paced form of paintball requiring more aggressive athleticism than woodsball. Speedball can be played recreationally but most often it is played in a league or tournament format in which games are won by gaining points. Objectives are based round capturing a flag and kill count in a short time limit. Speedball is played on a flat linear field, generally 170 to 120 feet in length by 75 to 50 feet in width. Bunkers come in various shapes but are always inflated with air. Games are held between teams of 3, 5, 7 and 10.

Stronghand: Your dominant hand. If you are naturally right handed, that hand is your stronghand. Your opposing hand (in this case your left hand) is your weakhand.

Switch or Shooting Switch: The practice of switching your gun from one hand to the other to shoot out the opposing side of your bunker.

Tape or Wire: Buzzwords originating from speedball which are also used in woodsball. It is the edge of the field. Running the tape or running the wire means you are running up the very edge of the field.

Weakhand: Your non-dominant hand. If you are naturally right handed, your left hand is your weakhand. To opposing hand is your dominant or stronghand.

Woodsball: A generic term for almost all paintball which is not played on a tournament airball field. For instance, if you are playing a scenario game, a milsim game, a rec ball game or even hyperball game, they are loosely considered as woodsball. The term itself comes from the original form of paintball played in the woods.

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Managing Editor / DangerMan's Lair - DangerMan Media Author: DangerMan's Paintball Bible. Writer. YouTube personality. Professional marketing management expert in social media, production, and analytics. Past experience as VP of Marketing for Internet-based businesses. Father of two boys. Weekends are often spent outdoors as a paid promotional celebrity paintball player. Free time is spent many weeknights on the streets of New York City, literally — inline skating. Don't worry. There is safety in numbers skating with hundreds of others on the streets of Philadelphia and Manhattan.