Posted by Mike Smith on 3/3/2012
A great question came up on our Facebook
page from Hayden Lafreniere, asking what equipment we would recommend for a snake
player. This is a great question and we really felt that it was worth taking
the time to answer in depth. Thanks for the question, Hayden!
Snake players, and front players in
general, should have paintball gear that is primarily compact and lightweight.
If this is your style of play, then you need to be able to move quickly and
explosively up the field off the break, and periodically throughout the game.
The less weight you are carrying, the easier it will be to make those moves. For
this reason, snake players favor paintball equipment that is lighter and less
bulky. And, since snake players will also spend more time diving, sliding and
crawling around trying to get into an optimal position to break open the game,
investing in a quality set of paintball padding to protect your body is a
The wear and tear that results from
constantly diving into the ground at full speed will pile up quickly throughout
the day, especially without adequate protection. Whatever part of your body
that first makes contact with the ground will take the brunt of the force of
impact, so you need protection to soften this impact with the playing surface.
Anyone who has ever played on a concrete surface knows just how rough diving
can get! A good set of paintball pads will protect your body from these impacts,
and help prevent injuries from slowing you down as the day progresses. You need
a set of paintball pads that are thick enough to give you adequate protection,
without being too bulky or restrictive. Badlands recommends a set of paintball
elbow/forearm pads, and a set of paintball knee pads as the bare minimum. A set
of paintball slide shorts will give you some helpful padding across your hips,
as well as a soft cup to protect you where it really counts.
Everyone’s body is different, so the
best way to find the paintball pads that are right for you is to go to your
local Badlands store and try them on. Planet Eclipse makes a popular line of
paintball pads, including elbow, knee, and slide shorts. Empire offers some
very intelligent design features, and their Grind series of paintball elbow
pads now incorporate a strap to help tighten the pad in place, and which also
acts as a wrist support. Empire paintball pads, however, tend to be more bulky
than Eclipse pads, so we recommend that you try your pads on before you buy, to
ensure a comfortable and secure fit.
For paintball clothing, you need
gear designed to handle some serious diving and sliding. Thankfully, most paintball
tournament gear comes with some integrated padding. This additional protection complements
whatever padding you are wearing underneath, and helps cushion your body during
impact. Remember, the padding built into paintball jerseys and paintball pants
should not be relied upon as your primary padding. This padding will always be
lighter than dedicated pads, and because they are attached to the clothing and
free-floating as a result, they might not be in place when you crash into the
ground. Whatever you choose to wear, make sure that it is not too bulky or
Empire Prevail paintball clothing is
a great choice for an inexpensive and lightweight set of tournament paintball pants
and jersey that comes with integrated padding. If you need something with more
padding and heavy duty fabrics that can really stand up to abuse, then look at paintball
pants and jerseys in the Empire Contact, or Eclipse clothing lines; both are
Personal preference will play a big
part in deciding whether or not you want to wear paintball gloves. Some
players prefer not to wear paintball gloves, because they prefer a more tactile
feel on their paintball gun. Not wearing paintball gloves, however, leaves your
hands unprotected and more likely to get hurt. A great compromise is a partial paintball
glove, such as the Freedom or Contact LTD gloves in the Empire line, or the
Gauntlet gloves in the Eclipse line. They still provide protection across the
knuckles and back of the hand, but because they are fingerless, they will not
interfere with your trigger finger(s).
Always wear a good pair of shoes chosen
to match the surfaces that you play on. It does not matter how fast you are, if
you cannot get any traction. Be it a paintball cleat, or a traditional sports
cleat, you will have a ton of choices, and your decision will come down to what
you find comfortable and prefer. If you play on numerous surfaces, a great
option is a cleat that has removable spikes, so that you can change them out to
suit your playing surface. Metal spikes are the best choice, but there are a
number of playing surfaces that they will damage permanently, and so they are often
Paintball Pod Pack
One of the most common places to see
an inexperienced snake player get shot in is the paintball pack. A bulky
paintball pack poking up as you crawl down the snake makes an easy target for
most paintball players, and will get you eliminated quickly. Since a snake
player does not need to carry a large amount of paint, your pack does not have
to have a large capacity; the smaller and more compact the better. The NXE
3+2+2 is a small paintball pack, and has the added versatility of 4 secondary
pod holders, which comes in handy when you are not playing the snake, so you
can still hold enough paint to play a backline position.
The correct choice of paintball mask
is important for a snake player. The more compact your paintball mask is, the
more it will reduce your profile. When you come out from behind your bunker,
the leading edge of your mask is visible to anyone downfield before you are
able to see around the bunker. The more your paintball mask sticks out from
your face, the larger that leading edge becomes, and the more time your
opponents have to target and shoot at you, before you are able to see them, as
you come out from behind cover. The Dye I4 offers the most aggressive and
streamlined profile of any paintball mask on the market. However, this reduced
profile comes at the cost of reduced protective coverage. This is usually not an issue
when being shot at from straight on, but can become a liability when shot at
from the sides. The more prominent your jaw line, the more exposed the sides of
your face will be. Badlands recommends that you try on a paintball mask before
you purchase, to make sure that it fits comfortably, and to ensure that you are
happy with the balance between reduced profile and protective coverage.
Make sure to also pick up some form
of forehead protection. Most headbands and sandanas come with a built-in pad to
both protect your forehead from impacts, and to soak up sweat. Even a thin
layer of protection will save the day if you get shot in the forehead, so don’t
forget to protect your noggin’!
A simple rule for putting together a
paintball gun setup for playing the snake is to keep it light and compact.
Front players will generally not carry a large amount of paint, so
efficiency is not a crucial factor when selecting a marker; accuracy and
consistency are more important. If you are able to move unnoticed into a strong
position, you will often only have one chance to capitalize on it before the
other team notices you, and you do not want that chance to be wasted because
you were not able to make the shot.
When choosing a paintball gun, do
not overlook the conditions the gun will be exposed to. With all of
the diving and crawling, dirt, dust, and debris are more likely to get into your
paintball gun and affect its performance. If you play in wet, muddy
conditions, this becomes an even larger factor. To prevent this, choose a paintball
gun that has a sealed bolt assembly, which will keep the elements out of your
gun. One of the most popular guns for this application is the Geo, by Planet
Eclipse. With incredible consistency and a compact design, this paintball gun
appeals to many players, but perfectly meets the demands of a snake player. If
the Geo is out of your price range, excellent lower cost alternatives are the
Empire Axe, the Eclipse Etha, the Invert Mini, and the Dangerous Power G4.
You want your paintball loader to be as
compact and streamlined as possible, so selecting a paintball loader with a
lower profile is a must. In addition, make sure that the loader you choose will
be able to handle the abuse from the impact of diving and sliding. Most
paintball loaders on the market today are able to handle all but the most
severe abuse. Consider a gated feed upgrade for your paintball loader, so that
you can load quicker in those high pressure situations. Two excellent options
for loaders that will prove ideal for any player are the Dye Rotor, and
the Empire Prophecy Z2. Both are durable, reliable, and able to take a gated
feed, so once again your choice will come down to personal preference. If you
are looking for a less expensive alternative, we recommend the Invert Halo
Pressure Air (HPA) Paintball Tank
Last but not least, you need an HPA
tank. Sticking with the mantra of “lightweight and compact”, a carbon fiber
tank is the obvious choice. A smaller tank is fine because you will be carrying
a smaller amount of paint. Just make sure that you have the ability to shoot
all of the paint that you are carrying with the paintball gun and tank
combination that you select. A smaller tank, such as the Ninja 50/4500 is
a popular choice, but some players find the shorter tank uncomfortable. In this
case, you would simply select a longer tank such as the Ninja 68/4500, or
invest in some aftermarket bottom line components to adjust where your tank
sits on your paintball gun so that you can find a tank position that is
comfortable for you. Regardless of the paintball tank that you choose, we
highly recommend investing in a fill nipple cover to keep dirt and debris from
being pushed into your paintball tank regulator when you fill up, and a paintball
tank cover to both protect your paintball tank and also provide a gripping
surface on the back end of the tank for your shoulder.
We hope that you found this helpful.
If you have any questions, stop in by your local Badlands store, and any of our
helpful staff will be glad to answer your questions. Or, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or
visit us on Facebook.
See you on the field!
That is a helpful site. Thank you for the information.