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In a series of recent interviews with John Amodea of PaintballX3, a few high powered people in paintball mentioned “50 cal”, or 50 caliber paintballs – opposed to the traditional .68caliber rounds currently used. Normally, we would find the comments nothing more than a fly on the rotting corpse of 50 caliber paintball, but this one caught our eye because of who said it: Dennis Tippmann, and Richmond Italia.

If you’re new to the game or don’t recognize those games, you probably know the companies these two men operate: Tippmann, and G.I Sportz.

Do we have your attention now?

The quotes read as:

“We see three major trends that will occur in the industry in 2014: An extended interest in magfed, the resurgence of 50 caliber, and the expanded globalization of the sport.” -Dennis Tippmann

“I think the single biggest shift we will see in 2014 is a continued growth of 50 caliber.” -Richmond Italia

A quick history lesson may be in order for some of our newer readers…

A few years ago, during the Great Recession, a few paint manufactures came up with the idea of replacing 68 caliber paintballs with 50 caliber. The main advantages of 50 cal over 68 – they postured – included a reduced use of resources, making the paintballs cheaper to manufacture, package, and ship; and that a 50 caliber paintball had less impact force, making the game safer, less hurtful, and thus, more appealing to a younger demographic. The downfalls, as many noted, included a less accurate paintball, a smaller splatter mark, not to mention – the sudden move would effectively render every hopper and marker manufactured in the last 20 years useless. Needless to say, the movement never gained much traction.

Like a phoenix raising from the ashes, suddenly, the motivation behind the recent acquisition of Tippmann by G.I Sportz becomes crystal clear as Tippmann has one of, if not the, single largest footprints in the world, especially at the rental and beginning customer level. G.I now has the capability of putting 50 caliber paintballs at any field in the world, and the ability to phase out the current generation of rental marker fleets, replacing them with 50 caliber ready markers. Also, on another strategic front this gives G.I the resources to directly compete with the JT Splatmaster 50 caliber paintball kits, which can be found in many big-box stores around the nation.

Tippmann Jr even alluded directly to this in the interview stating:

The 50 caliber question has been out there for a long time but with the GI acquisition of Tippmann, we see synergies that can support the growth of this category that will help fields expand their player base.”

It’s really quite important to realize though – there is no New-World-Order conspiracy happening to force you to replace your beloved makers. 68 caliber paintballs have been around for quite some time, and it would take a monumental effort to switch the standard paintball from 68 to 50 caliber. However, it is likely that more and more, players and field owners will be given an increased opportunity to incorporate 50 caliber into their market line.

You can read the entire article on PBX3’s website.


What are your thoughts on 50 cal?