Why Do Paintball Guns Use CO2? | 2023

As a huge paintball fan, I love how the sport lets you live out your action-hero fantasies. Running through forests dodging paintballs gets the adrenaline going! When I first started playing, I wondered why paintball guns used CO2 tanks.

So as I’ve learned more about the equipment over the years, I wanted to share some information on the history of CO2 use in the sport, the different types of CO2 tanks you’ll see, and the pros and cons of relying on CO2 to power those markers.

Understanding why CO2 is so common can help you make the best gear choices when you head out to play. At the end of the day, CO2 helps make paintball possible, so we can have those thrilling shootouts in the woods!

Paintball Guns Use CO2 Tank Varieties

Different-sized and shaped CO2 tanks or cartridges provide players with more options for customizing their paintball experience. Standard CO2 tanks come in 12, 20, and 24 ounce capacities. The 12-gram cartridges are small and disposable, typically used in pistols or small markers.

The larger 20-ounce and 24-ounce tanks, often referred to as “bulk tanks,” are refillable and provide a higher capacity of CO2 for extended gameplay.

Benefits of CO2 Tanks

1. Accessibility:

Paintball guns commonly employ carbon dioxide (CO2) since it is widely available. Players may easily replace their CO2 tanks throughout the day of play because it is sold at most sporting goods stores and paintball fields.

2. Cost-Effectiveness:

CO2 tanks are favored by both recreational and professional players due to their lower cost compared to other fuel sources. The cost of a CO2 tank and refill is reasonable, allowing new players to try the sport without going into debt.”

3. Easy to Use:

CO2 tanks are user-friendly and straightforward to install in paintball guns. With a simple twist or snap, players can attach a CO2 tank to their marker and get back into the action quickly.

4. Consistent Performance:

CO2 tanks provide consistent performance throughout the duration of play. As the CO2 gas is released, it maintains a relatively stable pressure, allowing for consistent shots and accuracy.

Drawbacks of CO2 Tanks

1. Temperature Sensitivity:

One of the significant drawbacks of CO2 tanks is their sensitivity to temperature changes. In colder weather, CO2 tanks may experience pressure fluctuations, leading to inconsistent shots and reduced efficiency. This phenomenon, known as “liquid CO2,” can be frustrating for players, especially during the winter months.

2. Limited Shot Count:

Another downside I’ve noticed with CO2 tanks is that you don’t get as many shots per fill compared to compressed air or nitrogen tanks. As the CO2 gets used up when you’re firing paintballs, the pressure starts dropping in the tank. That means your marker shoots slower and slower until you eventually have to stop and get your CO2 refilled.

With air tanks, I can shoot many more paintballs before needing to refill. The limited shot count per tank is something I have to plan for when relying on CO2 for my marker. More refills mean more time and money spent in the field. So while CO2 is convenient, the lower shot count per fill is a compromise.

3. O-Ring Wear:

Due to its quick expansion and contraction, carbon dioxide can cause damage to the paintball gun’s O-rings and seals. Regular maintenance and replacement of O-rings are necessary to ensure optimal performance and prevent leaks.

In Conclusion

Like most Paintball gun players, I use CO2 tanks to power my markers. CO2 is super common because it’s affordable, easy to get, and simple to use. I also like that it gives consistent results each time I play.

But CO2 isn’t perfect; it doesn’t work as well in cold weather. And the tanks don’t hold as many shots as compressed air or nitrogen. The seals can wear down over time, too.

As technology improves, I’m excited to see what new propellant options become available for paintball markers. But for now, CO2 gets the job done for me and many other players.

It’s a tried-and-true way to keep those paintballs flying and the action intense whenever I hit the field with friends. CO2 helps create the thrilling battles and great memories that make this sport so enjoyable!

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