A commonly debated topic is “What length paintball barrel should I get?” The answer lies mostly in what is your paintball playing style. This ANSgear Info Center article will help you decide what length of paintball barrel is right for you!
Contrary to popular belief, a longer barrel is not necessarily any more accurate than a shorter barrel. The number one factor in accuracy is qood quality paintballs! If you want to shoot more accurately then always buy the best paintballs you can afford and properly take care of them at home and at the field.
Most tests have shown that a barrel should be at least 6-8 inches to efficiently shoot a paintball. A shorter barrel is typically more gas efficient since less air is needed to launch the ball out of the barrel. A lot of players who do close quarters tactical paintball prefer a short barrel because they are easier to maneuver in tight areas. Short barrels are louder, though, so they are more likely to give your position away.
Longer barrels are not as gas efficient but they tend to shoot quieter, especially if they have a lot of porting (holes drilled along the barrel’s length). Another advantage of longer barrels is they can be easier to shoot from cover like inflated air bunkers. The extra length allows you to press the barrel into an air bunker so you can shoot while keeping covered. Extra long “sniper paintball barrels”, those that are 18-21 inches in length, are really good for taking those sneaky sniper paintball shots. You can stay well behind cover and concealment as you slip the barrel tip through brush and bunkers to snipe at the other team without exposing yourself to them.
The most popular barrel length for most paintball players is a 14 inch barrel. A 14 inch paintball barrel is usually considered the optimum size for both speedball and woodsball, combining all the advantages described above. The next most popular size is 16 inches for that little bit extra length in shooting from behind cover, followed by 12 inches for those fast, up close aggressive types and 20 inches for the hardcore paintball snipers.