For some people this might seem like a “dead topic.” But, maybe you’re just getting into paintball or maybe you don’t pay that much attention. Both ways, there is this “other” caliber out there—smaller in some cases less expensive and it requires different equipment. Now, before you run out and get a Planet Eclipse Conversion kit for your Etek, you need to figure out what is going on with .50 cal paintballs.
What Good Is Anything New?
Well there are First Strike Rounds, which actually are pretty innovative. They can drastically improve accuracy and make paintball guns like the M17 DMR actually possible and not completely crazy. 15 years ago, when I first started playing, if you told me that a fully-scoped-in DMR-style rifle would eventually be an accurate and viable option, I would have told you that would never happen.
The point is that the aerodynamic and form advantages of first strike rounds make it possible and there are awesome new paint technologies I’m sure no one has thought of that can revolutionize how the game is played.
But, what about .50 cal paintballs? What is the point?
The old guys that have been around paintball seriously will quickly remind you that they’ve seen many different sizes of paint come and go. They can raddle them all off—maybe 6 or 7 different calibers. They’ll talk about how they all failed and so will .50 caliber.
It’s hard to pay attention to these people—some of them used to say that people will never want full auto, or that ramping would never catch on.
Advantages to .50 Cal Paintballs
There are some advantages .50 cal paintballs have over larger .68 rounds. Because the paint is smaller and carries less mass, it hurts less when it hits you. The big advantage, in my opinion, is that you can carry more paint with you in the same amount of space. That means more rounds downrange. For some players and in many game situations more paint means that .50 cal paintballs are better.
Try to find .50 cal paintballs to buy. They are seriously hard to get, especially from local dealers. Additionally, big companies haven’t really invested in different calibers. It doesn’t make sense—or they can’t see themselves turning enough profit—to build .50 caliber markers for the masses. Everyone already has .68 equipment; Most everyone is happy with it.
Where is it Going?
They likely won’t be going in your hopper. The reality behind .50 cal paintballs is pretty straightforward. At this point, the ship on their popularity has sailed. They were never meant to be a replacement for .68—maybe just to fulfill a specific purpose. For guys that need a boatload of paint, .50 caliber is great. For people that don’t like to get hit with paintballs, mainly younger new players, it also isn’t bad. Remember, because they have less mass they hurt less moving at the same speed.
That’s actually one of the reasons I was excited about .50 caliber paintballs. I was hoping that they would take off at rental fields and get more people interested in the sport.
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