Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Marker Vs. Gun

As heated as the real steel "Clip vs. Magazine" debate is at times, you need not look far on many paintball forums to stumble across a "Marker vs. Gun" discussion. The matter of contention is, "What should paintball-launching devices be referred to as?"

Here's a brief rundown of the sides:

Pro "Marker": The use of the term "gun" encourages paintball's negative association with firearms and jeopardizes paintball's image in the public eye. More players and parents will be encouraged to support paintball if a word like "marker" is attributed to paintball devices. Saying "marker" instead of "gun" avoids the seizure of paintball devices, and eliminates the risk of any authority reacting to the word "gun".

Pro "Gun": Saying "marker" gives into modern day political correctness. It's superfluous to use a term such as "marker" when many paintball devices are made to look like and even function like real firearms. The most instinctual way of referring to a paintball device is as a "gun", and you must go out of your way to refer to it as a "marker".

Personally, I tend to use "marker" around those that do not play paintball, and "gun" in a casual paintball atmosphere. I believe that "marker" has its place, especially in publicly published media.

What do you say? Why?


  1. "Personally, I tend to use "marker" around those that do not play paintball, and "gun" in a casual paintball atmosphere."

    This is exactly what I do as well. In a non-paintball crowd, if the conversation turns to this topic, I'll always begin my participation by saying markers.

    It typically evolves into saying "gun" by whatever respective group/individual I'm speaking with anyway as more often than not, most people are relatively understanding that even though some of us like to play dress up and have a lovely mil-sim looking theme going on, at the end of the day, the "gun" in our hands still only shoots balls of goop.

    To be hard nosed about it one way or another, however, is somewhat limiting to a productive conversation.

  2. I couldn't agree more, Kory. Well said.

  3. Travis "Wingnut" EnglishMay 11, 2010 at 5:44 PM

    The significance of the term depends largely on who you are talking to. I have noticed that there are three groups who have made up their minds, and will refer to a marker however they feel fit - regardless of how many times you might helpfully correct them.

    1. Among experienced paintball players (especially woodballers), the two terms are practically interchangeable. I have heard both "marker" and "gun" used even by the same person, and will admit I am one of them.

    2. There is the group who will refer to ALL implements as "gun," whether it is real, Airsoft, or Paintball. Bob Long, Tippmann, Classic Army, even Nerf are all automatically guns and should be feared for the sake of public safety.

    Because a person who falls into this category typically does not play, is ignorant of the differences and not willing to learn, I usually refer to them as "McCarthy." Yes, in honor of Senator Carolyn McCarthy, who thinks a "barrel shroud" should be banned because it's "the thing on the shoulder that goes up."

    You can tell I know a lot of them in my life. They're numerous enough that if you don't know the person you're talking to, you SHOULD assume they're a McCarthy.

    3. On the opposite end of the spectrum, you will occasionally encounter players who are absolutely anal about referring to paintball devices as "markers." They will immediately correct anyone using the wrong term, and may even go so far as to call for the ejection of "offensive" players from the game.

    I don't blame them. All responsible players realize and understand the threat - if McCarthy's overhear novice players going "Awesome! I killed that guy with a headshot from my gun!" that can put the rest of us in an very awkward position.

    But nevertheless, keep in mind these sort of players can be just as disruptive to your game as the angriest 'moral guardian.' They should be handled just as delicately.