HistoryWhen paintball was first played, pump paintball guns were the only available option. These guns, which were originally designed to mark trees and cattle from a distance, were not designed for a fast-paced sport but were intended to shoot an occasional paintball with reasonable accuracy. Thus, the beginning guns were extremely slow to shoot and were limited to only a few shots with their 12-gram CO2 tanks.
As paintball progressed from its humble beginnings, players sought after a competitive advantage that came from improving accuracy, getting better air efficiency by using larger tanks and by increasing their rate of fire. As semi-automatic paintball guns improved, pump paintball was pushed aside in exchange for the faster, more accurate guns of the future.
Popularity Among PlayersWhile pump paintball is no longer anywhere near the dominant form of paintball, it is still enjoyed by many players today. While there are much "better" guns available to play with, pump players still enjoy the challenges, the accuracy and the price of playing with a pump.
Playing with a pump is not a game of shooting countless balls and hoping you hit someone. Due to its slower rate of fire, pump play requires you to be careful, cautious and accurate when you shoot. This strategy adds a whole new element to the game as players are no longer concerned with just moving, coordinating strategy and communicating with their team, but they must focus on their skills with their paintball gun.
As I mentioned earlier, original pump paintballs were not exceptionally accurate. As semi-automatic paintball guns were being developed, pump guns also were being improved upon. Today, good pump paintball guns are some of the most accurate paintball guns available. So, while you give up some rate of fire while you play, you have a very accurate paintball gun to use which facilitates making better shots.
An additional benefit of playing with a pump paintball gun is the price. As paintball becomes more and more expensive to play, players have begun to look for ways to cut their expenditures while still staying on the field. Due to its slower rate of fire, players use less paint when they play with a pump. After a day of paintball it's very easy to go through a case of paint, but with a pump, you rarely will even go through a bag. In fact, many players use smaller hoppers (such as a 50-round hopper or a 10-round feed tube) so that they do not carry as much paint onto the field. Even with less paint on the field many players find that they often do not need any more. The result is the same amount of paintball with a significant reduction in cost.
One final reason that players enjoy paintball is that it is simpler and lighter to play with. High-volume firing requires larger tanks, electronic hoppers and guns, pod packs and lots of paintballs. When playing with a pump it is very common for a player to go out onto the field with just a small tank, a gun and a small hopper. The freedom from the extra weight of pods and gear not only improves your ability to play but often makes the experience more enjoyable.