Paintball is one of the most enjoyable sports to become an expert in. With all of the tactics and strategy involved, there's always room for improvement. If you want to go pro in this sport, you should know what to wear (and why).
So, what do pro paintballers wear? Pro paintball players wear high-quality versions of the following pieces of gear:
To learn more about each part of a pro paintballer's gear setup, read on.
The first thing you’ll need to enter the pro paintball scene is a great set of goggles. Even first-timers are required to wear a headpiece, simply due to the fact that paintball shots could poke your eye out in an instant.
Now, the difference between casual, amateur, and professional paintball goggles is not that obvious. Even the cheapest amateur helmets are sturdy enough to withstand a couple of years of usage, so you shouldn’t worry too much about their durability. However, pro masks and goggles won’t blur out your sight as much as budget models would do.
One of the best pro paintball goggles on the market right now is the Virtue’s VIO Ascend thermal mask (available on Amazon). It offers 100% protection, a large peripheral field of vision, and plenty of breathability.
If the VIO Ascend is too expensive, a great substitute is Dye’s Thermal Lens (available on Amazon). It does have a slightly narrower field of vision (260 degrees of peripheral vision), but it’s made of ultra-comfortable foam material. It also has a patented buckle, which allows you to switch the lens in mere seconds.
A good compromise between the two is Empire’s E-Flex Goggle system (available on Amazon). It is ultra-breathable, packs an anti-fog lens, and has an interior of hypo-allergenic ProFlex foam.
If you want to gear up like a pro, you shouldn’t go cheap on the goggles. Your eyesight depends on them, and buying the wrong pair will make for an uncomfortable time playing. So when you begin to look for paintball gear, start with the helmet.
Amateur paintballers usually wear any old pair of masked pants they come across, simply because their bagginess affords them a speck of extra protection. However, as a professional, you will need to balance out your mobility with protection from incoming paintball shots.
In order to do so, you shouldn’t compromise any aspect of performance for another. You’ll need protection and the ability to move freely - which basically means that you need lightweight and durable pants.
A great example of paintball pants that possess both of these qualities is KH Army’s Hardline paintball pants (available on Amazon). They’re fully padded, come with convenient zippered vents, and feature a couple of side pockets for utility items.
A lighter variant - albeit with a smaller amount of pads and pockets - is Exalt’s Paintball T4 pants (available on Amazon). These pants pack Kevlar knees, zippered dual-swab pockets, a venting mesh located at the very back of the areas of legs and groin, and a dual draw string adjustment.
Essentially, you need adequate pants because baggy, heavy bottoms can decrease your mobility and potentially cost you the game.
If you’ve been elusive enough in your paintball career to dodge opponents with nimble hiding and positioning skills, a lightweight cotton shirt could easily replace the bulky bulwark professionals wear strapped to their chest.
However, if you want to become a proper professional, you need a solid piece of chest gear. Amateurs are usually quite inaccurate. But when professionals shoot, they almost always hit the mark - and even the thickest shirts won't give you adequate protection against a direct paintball shot.
On top of offering protection, these chest vests need to be light and mobile. Fortunately, professional-grade paintball vests are just like professional pants – they're exceptionally light while still offering a fair amount of protection from direct shots.
One of the finest paintball vests on the market right now is the Maddog Sports Lightweight Tactical Paintball Vest (available on Amazon). It weighs just over 1.7 pounds, and features four elastic ejector-pod holders with ripcords that can hold up to 140 rounds. There are also two chest pockets for utility items.
This is one of the lightest and most affordable vests on the market, so you should definitely check it out. To make the cost-effectiveness even better, you won’t need a separate harness if you choose this model.
If you'd like an alternative, The GXG Deluxe Tactical Paintball Vest is another great option. It weighs only 1.9 pounds, and is made from ultra-breathable and comfortable contouring foam. One of the biggest benefits this vest provides is the fact that it molds to your body as you wear it. This breathable and light vest will let you move around freely without encumbered from heavy weight.
There are several reasons why you won’t see newbies and amateurs wearing a paintball harness – most amateur matches don't last long enough to require a reload. And even if it does, you can always stuff an extra cartridge in your pocket.
On the professional level though, a harness is a crucial part of your paintball gear. It allows you to have your reload tubes neatly tucked away in a place where you can reach them in a split second. As reloading takes time, panicking while searching for the reload tube usually means the difference between getting shot and getting a shot.
There are a couple of things that make a good harness - and as a professional, you shouldn’t make any compromises.
First of all, your harness needs to be stable. If it isn't firmly attached to your vest, your tubes might fall out as you sprint from one location to another. A proper Velcro buckle takes care of this problem, so look for a harness that has one.
It also needs enough storage space for at least four reload cartridges. Professional matches last quite a long time, and a ton of shots are usually exchanged between the two sides.
An excellent example a non-compromising harness is Carbon’s SC Paintball Harness (available on Amazon).
As his particular model is a bit more expensive, a good budget substitute would be Maddog’s Pro Paintball Pod Pack Harness (available on Amazon).
Most professional paintballers wear army shoes. Army shoes are durable and breathable, and allow you to traverse any type of terrain.
Beginners don’t need to invest in army shoes as they’re usually hunkered down at one or two locations throughout the entire match. However, professionals tend to move fast and in unpredictable ways. If you want to keep an edge over your opponents, you’ll need to be just as quick on your feet as you are on your trigger.
A great pair of pro paintball shoes are the CQR’s Combat Boot (available on Amazon). These boots are built like a lightweight brick house, and they offer superb ankle protection - making them a safe and effective option for fast-paced matches.
The paintball marker is the most important part of the professional paintballer's gear setup. It's the tool you'll use to
A professional paintball marker needs to be accurate for long-distance shots, but still be lightweight enough that you can also execute close-combat quick-draw shots as well. It also needs to be ergonomically designed so that shooting from it feels natural.
One of the most popular professional paintball models is the Kingman Empire Spyder Xtra (available on Amazon). This .68 caliber marker is made out of lightweight aluminum for maximum agility in combat. It also has a firing capacity of 1,600 shots with a 20 ounce CO2 canister attached.
If you're looking for a solid alternative, the Azodin’s Kaos 2 (available on Amazon) is a good choice. It has a 45-degree grip, which offers improved mobility in firefights. It also has a streamlined receiver, which will improve your aim as you look down the sights.
Pro paintball gear provides a lot of benefits to players looking to elevate their game.
If you really want to play like a pro, you need to gear up like one.