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Back to the Basics Series: Paintball on a budget, Tips and Tricks to save you cash!!
April 09, 2002

Back to the Basics Series:
Paintball on a budget, Tips and Tricks to save you cash!!

So you dont have a lot of cash, and your drooling over websites and catalogs with all sorts of cool stuff you want to add to you list of equipment. But much of this stuff is big bucks, but never fear, there are alternatives. If your hung up on brand names and like to blow money on useless stuff, read no further. But if your a penny pincher and like things that actually work, your in the right place!!

Getting Started:

If your Brand new to Paintball, this part is for you. I guess youve been a few times, used rental equipment and now your hooked so you want your own stuff. Thats great, But before yo go plunking down hundreds on a paintgun, GET A GOOD MASK FIRST!!..ill say it again, BUY A GOOD PAINTBALL CERTIFIED MASK BEFORE ANYTHING ELSE!!.. You cant have fun missing an eye, or goggles getting fogged up because there cheap, Buy the best you can afford. You'll play better, be safer, and the folks will applaud you for being so safety conscious. There can be shortcuts for everything else, but NOT where your eyes are concerned. As for the rest, buy a used gun first. youll save a ton and not break the bank. Some pro shops sell certified used guns and they warentee them, its a good idea until you know more and can handle everything on your own. You want to have fun as your learning, not spending all your time and money fixing up your bargain..The rest youll figure out as you go...

Mavericks Magic Swab:

Project Cost: About $3.00 (normal retail $6 to $15.00)
Purpose: To clean broken paint and debris out of your barrel, a clean barrel increases accuracy!

Supplies:

One soft cotton or similiar shotgun cleaning end (about $2.10 at major discount retailers like Wal-Mart(TM))

A length of fuel injection hose from the autoparts store. (.50 cents a foot or less, get more than you think you need)

Instructions:

Get your shotgun cleaner end first, and bring it to the auto parts store to match it up to the hose. Make sure the hose you buy is thick walled, and has a small inside diameter, it will stretch. When you screw in the cleaner end, it needs to be a very tight fit or it will pull out. Measure out the hose a few inches longer than your largest barrel, and trim with scissors. The hose is very flexible so you can tie onto your pants belt loop during a game, or bunch it up and stuff it in your pocket.

To use: unscrew your barrel and pull through, in the same direction as the paint ball goes. Itll aborb the liquid and catch the bits and pieces. To clean the swab, just rinse in water..

Variations: If your really fancy you can get two cleaner ends and make a double swab (one on each end), but itll be harder to pull through your barrel. if you have a non removable barrel, you can buy the shotgun cleaning rod, and slip the hose over it, or wrap it in tape so you dont scratch your barrel, and screw the end to it. Viola, nice swab..


Squeegee

Pods , Paint holders, and gear pouches:

Heres where you can be creative, go to the dollar store, or hit the kitchen. There are tons of plastic containers that are free or dirt cheap that you can use to hold paintballs, even on the field. Find some that suit your needs and are relatively thick walled, so they dont squash too easily when your diving for cover. There are even new waterproof snack containers out now that look like *real* paintball pods and even have resealable tops. If you think it looks too cheesy (pun intended) , cover them with stickers or spray paint them. If you loose some, who cares?? Just dont use glass, plastic only!!


Pod

Want Pouches to hold your pods? Hit the military surplus store, lots of great stuff there and cheap, cheap, cheap!!! If you find a really good place you can get a bunch of cool stuff, and its already broken in!! Other alternatives are things like old jeans , cut out the seat of the pants, and use the pocket area as pouches. Just sew in a belt loop, tighten the space with some extra stitches and your good to go.. If you dont like the way it looks, use some RIT dye and change the colors, tiedye it, whatever..Just dont eat the stuff..

Clothing:

You certainly dont need to buy a $50.00 jersey or $80.00 paintball pants, hit the 50% racks at the discount clothing outlets. Ive even found nice baggy ripstop cargo pants for under $10.00, and floral print shirts make great cammoflauge!! You can rip off the buttons and add velcro easily enough, but avoid anything with metal in it. Metal buttons and zippers can snag and hurt if you land on them. Besides they can also make noise and give away your position in a game. If you must use something with some metal, use electrical tape to insulate and quiet it..And lest we forget, flea markets and military surplus stores are great sources for paintball attire. Be creative, be unique..unless you want to be a walking advertisement, if you like that, by all means, go for it, but itll hurt your pocket....

No Fog:

Foggy goggles or glases are the worst, and their dangerous. A simple solution I just read about is using a diluted solution of baby shampoo and water. Wont hurt your goggles (never use windex by the way, it can weaken the lenses) , and its cheap. mix up one part baby shampoo to ten parts water, find a small clean spray pump bottle , and just spray on and wipe off the excess with a soft cloth. No more fog..... Oh, and those little pump bottles can be found in the trial sized section of larger discount drug stores for about a buck. Just make sure there cleaned out well and theres no chemicals in there. If it really bad, you can double the amount of baby shampoo ( 2:10) ...(thanks to the guys at paintballchannel.com for that one!!)

Paintballs:

If you play at a field paint only paintball field, find out if you have to buy new paint each time you play, or if you can buy in bulk and use it over the course of weeks or months. Usually if you buy a case you can save about $25.00 over the smaller bags, then youll have paint for a long time if your not too much of a sprayer. Buying in bulk saves big money over time!! And dont try and use your own substitute paint, the field owner will find out and youll look like a crud..maybe get banned, its just not worth it..

Shooting style:

Practice stealth and accuracy, anyone can shoot 50 paintballs and hit someone, but if you can do it with two or three paintballs instead, thats real talent!! To help remind you, think "nickle" everytime you shoot. Thats how much money you send down the field everytime you fire your paintball gun on average. If you think about it, youll waste less paint, save a ton of cash,and become a better player for it!!

Discounts:

Many fields offer season ticket cards, or discounts , maybe you can help refereee, or help out around the field. If your lucky the owner will cut you a break on fees and paint . Ive gotten discounts for just helping other players out, people notice these things and if you make the refs job easier, you might luck out sometimes..But dont do it expecting a break, be a good paintballer and do it for the sport. Good deeds are usually rewarded...

The bottom line is to use your imagination, be creative, and dont just do what everybody else does. Everybody else is probably spending way to much money, why would you want to be like them?? Besides your a pump player, you already dare to be different!! Save your hard earned bucks for the important stuff, like a great mask and more paintballs!!

Play Safe, Play Hard, and above all, HAVE FUN!!!



- Maverick


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