Los Pistoleros

bacalogo3by Baca Loco.

The sky is a bleached blue and the air is still and pregnant with foreboding. Dust swirls around the legs of a dozen men moving cautiously but with determination and guns drawn toward the local livery stable. The muted clank of spurs and a hushed cough echo like thunderclaps. There is history and violence behind this moment, pressing each of the participants forward toward the inevitable confrontation.

Nearly deaf from the repeated concussions of nearby mortar strikes punctuated by the intermittent fall of heavy artillery shells the downed pilot takes a moment to assess his surroundings. Resting his cheek on the cold, pitted concrete of a shadowy passage he struggles to gain control of his racing heart. Gulping air he blinks away rivulets of sweat. Clutching his sidearm he listens intently for the sounds of his hunters. He needs to reach high ground and assess a possible escape route. Taking a quick glance around the corner he quickly covers the distance to the stairwell.

The piercing oscillation of sirens reverberate in the alley. Is it his imagination or are sirens getting louder? The ringing alarm within the building he and his partner have just exited makes it hard to be sure. She rushes past him, dressed all in black with her long blond hair flowing from under a black beanie. She pauses and looks back, nodding. At the same time she unholsters a pistol and checks the action to make sure a round is in the breech. Suddenly there’s a flashing of red and blue lights as a police cruiser swerves into the mouth of the alley.

By now I’m sure you’ve seen adverts for the new Kingman Training (KT) paintball pistols using a unique 11mm (.43 caliber) paintball. The Kingman folks look to be going all out. Now personally I don’t have any intention of buying a paintball pistol but the big campaign got me thinking. Or maybe piqued my curiosity is a better way of expressing my, probably temporary, interest. I’m curious on a couple of counts; the actual market for the pistol-sized marker and the marketing. Nor is this simply about the KT pistol as there are others already available and some other recent entries into the marketplace.

I once owned a Rapide which probably accounts for my general disinterest in paintball pistols. It was a massive, lumbering plastic handgun of a paintball pistol that was anything but rapide, or rapid. The trigger (in)action was so brutally stiff it could (and surely did) leave more than a few index fingers looking like they had abused steroids. But starting with the Airgun Design Sydarm of a few years ago the paintball pistol was resurrected. The Sydarm was designed to serve primarily as a tactical training tool for law enforcement and in that role it makes sense. And the newer designs that more accurately reflect the size, weight and feel of real handguns probably make even more sense. I suppose there must be a decent market for non-lethal training tools but is there really a market for paintball pistols in paintball?

This column opened with evocations in which the pistol plays a pivotal role in an oft-revisited mostly male fantasy of bravery, peril and fighting back against all odds. Is that the kind of thing that can (and will) sell paintball pistols to paintballers? I don’t know. It doesn’t particularly move me but I’m old and cynical. It seems like it might strike a chord with the scenario set or the mil-sim crowd but again, I don’t really have a clue. Could it be the stuff of action movies and TV dramas seem kinda cool but don’t really translate to on-field paintball action? What do you think? What future does the paintball pistol have in paintball?

4 thoughts on “Los Pistoleros

  1. Pistols can work… but what kind of real market? Probably not much, unfortunately. A friend of mine runs a “2/10″ format tourney, any gun you want, only ten rounds per player (per game), two players per team. Now this guy also happens to play stock class, specifically a micro phantom, built pretty much as a pump pistol… and he shoots it to great effect one handed, as a pistol.

    It takes years of practice to be truely effective with a pistol, as a main weapon… up close is not really a problem, especially if you play stock already. But hitting guys at range is tough, be that as it may, a nice semi-auto pistol, that actually shoots without jamming all the time, would interest me.

  2. On the cheaper play point, the people I see who want cheaper play go with pumps, not pistols. With pistols, there is a lot of “oh that looks neat”, but it doesn’t really translate that well into sales. As a scenario player, I’ve seen very few pistols on the field and much like 68Cal’s experience, I’ve usually only seen them holstered.

    I would also question the wisdom of some of the newer pistols that look like real firearms. That is fine for police training, but how long until we are reading a “Paintball Crime” article about some kid getting shot by police while using one? (And then the inevitable cries to ban paintball.)

  3. Considering that two of my advertisers are now making pistols…

    I’ll play it safe and just related a story: After several years of no scenario play, I attended a game. I happened to be staging next to a guy who was strapping dual pistols to his midriff. I asked him what those were for and he replied that if his gun went empty in a hot situation, he’d have backups.

    I asked if he’d ever compared the amount of time it took to reload the gun he already had in his hands vs dropping it and unholstering a pistol. The fact that he walked away at this point of the conversation probably indicates that he’d never done that mental analysis.

    My next question was going to be “and why did your primary gun run dry to begin with…?”, but I never got the chance.

    These days I think the pistols are less about a backup and more about cheaper play. How long is it going to be before we start seeing a one v one pistol series?

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