50cal Is The Answer!

As paintball manoeuvres its way through a challenging period, where the number of distractions are at an all time high, the industry continues to develop ways of making the game more accessible, more fun and less expensive for people of all ages to jump aboard and witness the enjoyment for themselves.

Paintball is still very much a unique experience. Yes, you can play it on a console and on your phone but let’s be honest… it just isn’t the same. The excitement and anticipation of hitting the paintball park, running around an amazing outdoor venue with your friends and family and that feeling when you first shoot someone in the goggles is something you simply cannot replicate in an artificial world. But, we are honest with ourselves as an industry and recognise there are a few issues that come with the real, outdoors experience, especially for the first-time player. These issues are not unique to paintball either, as we’re pretty sure anyone who’s slipped when rock-climbing, caught an edge snowboarding or clipped a rock when kayaking will know. But these 'issues' are part of the excitement of these experiences. It’s not about the danger these activities create but more about the thrill-ride they provide, and the rewards that are waiting for you.

One particular part of paintball that prevents people from even trying it is the classic ‘But doesn't it hurt?’ question. Playing an Xbox doesn’t really hurt, unless you get an RSI or drop the controller on your foot, so on comparison paintball CAN hurt. But it doesn’t ALWAYS hurt. And one of the BIG movements that has been emerging in the industry to help with this issue has been the introduction of 50cal paintball.

In a nutshell, 50cal paintballs are smaller than your regular 68cal paintball, meaning less surface area to hit the player and faster deceleration which in turn provides a ‘low-impact’ playing experience. Being hit by a 50cal paintball simply won’t hurt as much which makes it more accessible for newer players to give it a try, in particular younger players. And as we all know, once you’ve hit the field and the paintball bug bites there’s no turning back, right?

50cal paintballs (right) are much smaller than 68cal (left)

We have been producing 50cal insert kits for our ETEK and EGO markers for a few years now which have proven a great hit with fields as upgrade markers, as well as walk-on players who like to own their own gear, but our latest 50cal crusade has stepped up a notch with our incredible and versatile ETHA2. The ETHA2 provides an unbelievable level of performance, reliability and value for players at any level and we’re now offering a 50cal-ready ETHA2 straight-out-of-the-box. This is the perfect piece of kit for field owners who want to offer a high-performance upgrade for customers that is easy to maintain, as well as offering regular Planet Eclipse customers the chance to own something that they can use at their local 50cal equipped paintball park.

High Performance, Low Impact - ETHA2 50cal

We asked our main man Ledz to tell us a little more about 50cal, why he thinks its great and what the ETHA2 50cal can do for players and park owners.

You’ve been a big fan of 50cal for quite some time now haven’t you? Why do you like it so much?
It just makes a lot of sense. I like playing 68cal but if I was offered an option of low impact (less pain) or normal impact (more pain) when I started playing I certainly would have opted for the low impact version. It’s easy to do the research these days and watch YouTube videos of idiots shooting someone in a vest 1000 times in slo-mo or whatever, and the bruises afterwards are horrible, and of course they are going to be. These kind of videos really don't do paintball any favours, they glamourise the worst part of the game and that's all anyone sees, which is a shame. So it makes sense to step back from what we already have and re-educate the public to a new Paintball format. Break down the barriers and re-educate people to what Paintball IS not what Paintball WAS. We need a re-boot and 50cal could very well be the vehicle for that. Low impact Paintball, in my mind, is the way forward for new and rental players. I should only need to say 'it hurts a lot less' to convince anyone of that.

Do you think 50cal really can make the difference for the new and existing customer?
The game is the same as long as you keep the 50cal and 68cal customer separate. Nothing is different from the game and playing point of view and if you didn’t mention it to the customers they wouldn’t even know. We have to get bums on seats to start with. For sure some people will not play because they say it hurts or they have been told / think it hurts so we need to take away the reasons not to play Paintball and this is the biggest one.

50cal ETEK5 - ready to rock!

Paintball is all about fun and taking war stories home with you, with 50cal I guess more players will be braver to create bigger and more exciting stories right?
You can’t create any war stories if you don’t get out of the house in the first place. I played Paintball this weekend and I could sit around a camp fire and tell you stories for hours just about that weekend, probably longer than the games I played but you can’t really do that playing a computer game at home. Paintball is an amazing sport but we need to get people to try it first and I think 50cal can certainly help.

What % of fields do you think use 50cal right now?
I honestly have no idea. A lot of fields may have tried getting kids to play using Splatmaster Paintball which is also 50cal and I know of some that have recently changed completely to 50cal and the reports back from them have been amazing. Some parks are never going to change and will just keep on moaning but the progressive, forward-thinking parks who will always be looking for new ways to entertain their customers and give them the best experience for their money would be foolish not to look at 50cal. That’s what I think anyway.

50cal drop-in kit for the ETEK5

So 50cal kind of IS the answer isn’t it? If more fields use it and the industry spreads more education about its benefits then more people will eventually play?
I think so. It’s like a restaurant that you used to go into all the time but stopped visiting and tried new places instead and maybe found a new favourite restaurant. If you heard that the old restaurant had a new chef or they had changed the interior you would probably go and give it another go and that’s what 50cal does for Paintball… Let’s give that another go (or maybe your first ever go).

So, ETHA2 50cal. Why did you chose the ETHA2 platform to offer an out-of-the-box 50cal marker?
Over the last few years Paintball parks have embraced marker upgrades and this seems to have worked very well for generating a new revenue stream for the parks. One of the obstacles to switching over to 50cal for some parks were the upgrades they could offer. Some parks wanted more than just one option. We already sell the 50cal ETEK5 but we wanted to expand the choice so we decided that the ETHA2 in 50cal was the way to go. It’s lightweight, reliable, robust, looks the part and is easily maintained… It ticks a LOT of boxes and makes the offering more exciting for the customer.

The ETHA2 50cal in HDE looks amazing

A new 50cal Gamma Core bolt was developed for the ETHA2 50cal

Do you have a message for park owners who are still unsure about using 50cal?
I think it’s a lot deeper than just changing to 50cal. There are lots of things that need to be looked into such as the experience we offer, the service we deliver, the games we play, the fantasy we create and also the equipment we supply. Each one of these elements needs to be addressed but making the experience less painful is a BIG plus and a great start. If you're looking at upgrading your rental fleet then 50cal is what I believe you should now be offering. In the past there was certainly a chicken and egg situation where 50cal paint was available but no markers, and then would your trusty paint supplier be able to offer you 50cal? Now that’s all changed there is a good choice of Paintballs available as well as 2 very good Planet Eclipse 50cal upgrade electro markers to choose from that can fire fast, or they can be restricted down to as low as 4bps offering the park owners the control they need. The Rambos in your groups will love these upgrades.

So, if you’re a park owner looking to add some extra firepower to your 50cal arsenal then the ETHA2 50cal could be what you’re looking for. And if you play 50cal at your local field regularly and are looking for something reasonably priced with a phenomenal level of performance and reliability… well, just buy the ETHA2 50cal.

It really is that simple.


  1. Will the .68 Etha 2 be easily convertible to .50 (and back)?

  2. Shit, paint companies barely even meed .68 caliber standards anymore. They're doing anything and everything they can to save money on paint production and .50 caliber is just a new way for them to get you to spend more money on less paint.

  3. I remember one year RL tried competing with .50cal and they were effected a lot more by outside elements and cured a hell of a lot more, because of the weight differnce they didnt travel as far, and they qucikly switched back to .68cal to finish what ever event they were playing.

  4. When a paintball marker manufacturer shamelessly plugs its own markers in a ".50 cal is THE answer" post to reinvigorate the sport, one has to wonder if they being objective or subjective in their article. Not to mention, .50 cal ballistics and accuracy are not the same as .68 cal. And on top of that, they leave a smaller broken paint profile, leaving a lot more room to cheating on a "quarter-sized break" rule. Comparing trying new restaurants (a pleasure flavor thats very different to each individual, and a necessity that we all require food) to switching calibers in leu of less pain is a JOKE of a comparison. And finally, the plethora of other distractions (electronics, social media, other sports and hobbies) will not suddenly make paintball more attractive by simply switching to a .50 cal format. I think that the fields should offer a .50 cal option for kids as an option to choose IF they want a lower impact experience for safety and pain reasons. Or you can simply require a speed limit of 240 -250 fps for .68 cal with almost identical "low impact and pain" results. Let's not mask a marker marketing article with ".50 cal is THE answer to add players to this sport".

    1. Have you ever experienced.50 cal? Its an awesome format for the youner players. Its less impact and dosent take away from the experiance. Its not going to replace .68 cal. Just gives away to bring in new players without scaring them away. I play d3 speedball and own 2 fields. i know paintball. The 50 cal is an awesome addition to the pb world.

  5. Nice to see another complete .50 cal marker in the market.

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