Special Ops Paintball: So you want to be a Dagger... - Special Ops Paintball

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So you want to be a Dagger... ...but don't know what you need. Rate Topic: -----

#1 User is offline   redthirst 

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Posted 03 March 2011 - 09:50 AM

In the past, this forum saw a lot of posts asking members what they should get to play the position of Light Rifleman/Front Man/Dagger. In the begining, this question was often answered "buy everything SpecOps labels as 'Dagger'", more receintly, the answer's been "use whatever you want, there are no positions, just play paintball."

I disagree with both of those answers.

I believe that everyone has their own playstyle, and, even if they aren't on a team, that they can benefit from the experience of people who's playstyles mirror their own. A person who plays light, fast, and aggressive is a Dagger whether he's on a team or not and his tactics and equipment have different requirements than a player who is heavy, slow, and conservative.

Right now, I'm going to focus on the gear that, I believe, a Dagger should use. Later on I might get into tactics, but for the present I'm going to just deal with the toys (because, who doesn't like toys?).

Mask
This is the single most important piece of equipment in your gearbag and should be treated as such. Do not skimp on this purchase. You want light, breathable, and comfortable. The lense should be damn near fog-proof and offer an excellent field of vision. My personal preference is the DYE I4 because, to a certain extent, less is more to a Dagger.

Shoes
This is the second most important piece of equipment for a dagger. I used to advocate hiking boots before I tried some Inov-8 X-Talon 240s and now I'll never go back. You want light shoes with very high traction for grass and mud. Some claim you need ankle support, some that you don't, I think it's personal preference. I do most everything in shoes with no ankle support and don't have a problem, but I also do a lot of things in the woods that I don't do anywhere else, so I like the support there. I'd reccomend Inov-8s or Vibrams (which is my favorite running shoe).

Clothes/Pads
Wear whatever is comfortable, and, once again, less is more. Do you need knee or elbow pads? Chest protector? Slider shorts? A jersey? Wear what you need to be comfortable... no more and no less. Two things I will suggest here: knee pads or pants with knee pads in them and something to soak up sweat before it gets into your goggles and/or eyes.

Pods
Most of the time, you don't even need these... you should be fine with a hopper unless you're playing scenario. If you do need more than a hopper, don't worry about a cumbersome vest, just go with a small pod pack.

Gun Setup
Ahh... the $35,000 question: What gun should I buy? Sadly there's no single answer for that, what there is is a list of guidelines. A Dagger's marker setup should be:
- small
- light
- and that's it.
A Dagger does not need high rates of fire or a large air/ammo capacity. He does not need an efficient gun or a quiet gun. All a Dagger needs his setup to be is small and light. With that in mind, I'd suggest a light gun (most modern electros fit the bill nicely), barrel no longer than 12", and tank no larger than 68ci. Pistols and pumps are excellent for a Dagger gun... they're small and light taken to the extreme.

Just as an example, I'm going to post up what I currently like to play with:
Mask: Dye I4
Shoes: X-Talon 240
Clothes/Pads: old BDU pants, volleyball knee pads, Underarmor jersey shirt (it's like a soccer jersey top), and sweat band
Pods: If I need them, I have a 300rd pod pack
Gun Setup: DP Threshold, 10" Fibur barrel, Halo Frontman, 68/4500 tank

This post has been edited by redthirst: 03 March 2011 - 11:29 AM

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#2 User is offline   Rathje 

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Posted 03 March 2011 - 12:17 PM

Might as well get the whole thing about positions out of the way right up front.

A lot of people diss on the SpecOps positions. And I kind of agree with them. One thing I learned in the first two years of playing woodsball is that you need to be flexible and do whatever the situation calls for. If you need to run, then run. If you need to lay down covering fire, then do that. Don't let some idea in your head of what position you are keep you from doing what is needed on the field.

That said... I honestly like the SpecOps positions, just because they're fun. No other reason. So I have no problem with just referring to something as "Dagger" or "Broadsword" just out of convenience.

[end disclaimer]

OK, equipment....

Agree on the mask. I have a Proto Switch with a thermal lens because that was the best mask I could afford that actually fit. I've got my eye on the Proto Pro Axis as my next upgrade, which is by all accounts, an excellent mask. Whatever you get, make sure it has a thermal lens, and budget enough to replace the lens every year or two depending on use.

Dyes are good masks, the Sly Profit looks pretty good, and the JT Proflexs are nice and breathable too (but if you have hanging earlobes, just realize those ear guards aren't going to cover em). Really, it just depends on the shape of your face and head. I love the Proto line. But a guy with a different head is possibly going to not like them as much. Make sure to go to an actual pro-shop and try the mask on before buying. Things to look for are breathability, good foam, and possibly soft ears.

And you have to get some anti-fog product for the lenses - especially if you wear glasses. And a headband to keep sweat from running all over the inside of your mask is essential. Mask fans are probably only for guys who have serious issues in this area.

But if you can't see, you can't play.

For shoes, I just bought some trail running shoes from Vasque and they're working great. I do trail running in the mountains near my house to stay in shape. Good traction and stability. I agree that these are the second most important piece of equipment after the mask. And if you're a Dagger, you'll want trail runners, not boots.

Thing is though, this only applies to Dagger-style players who run a lot. I would never recommend the lighter shoes to an overweight guy with bad ankles. That guy should be careful on his feet, probably shouldn't be running all out to begin with, and will probably do better with something supporting his ankles.

And even among fast runners, there is no one-size-fits-all. Everyone's feet are different. And the alignment of everyone's ankles is different. Different running shoes are built differently to compensate for a different set of ankles. If you get the wrong kind, it can actually be dangerous and increase risk of hurting yourself. For instance, Inov-8s are great shoes for the right person. But they are very different from other shoes, require a bit of special running technique, and only match up with certain runners. When I asked about them at our local running shoe store in Boulder, the salesman recommended against them for someone with my kind of foot alignment.

Everything else in paintball you can borrow from a buddy. But mask and shoes, are unique to you and are not easily loaned out to you from someone else. And both are huge determiners of how comfortable and safe you are all day - which is the biggest factor in whether you are going to have any fun or not.

After that, I'd say knee pads and/or pants that accommodate them. I'm pretty big on the safety gear before anything else - even before you actually have a gun (at least, if you have people you can borrow equipment from). I can't tell you how much better woodsball is with knee pads. I'd recommend some dedicated paintball knee pads, but if you can't afford that, head down to Home Depot or your local hardware store and get some knee pads there. I'd also recommend some gloves at this point and neck protector - because getting shot in either of those places is not fun.

For gloves, let me just say that most of the dedicated paintball gloves I've seen are not that impressive. Work gloves at your local hardware store are usually better. I use some fingerless gloves from Wells Lamonte that I bought at Wal Mart for $9.00. For full finger gloves I have a pair of work gloves from Grease Monkey which are excellent. They're cheaper than the "paintball" stuff, and easier to get and replace. But if you're dead broke, just go to K-Mart and buy a crappy pair of cotton gardening gloves for $2.00 (or find them in your garage for free).

After this, you want to look at a way to carry a couple paint pods. The cheapest way I've seen is a $9.00 3-pod holster from NxE. That's really all you need to start with. The thing doesn't have as much support as a fully padded pod pack or vest, but if you slide the carrier to your right or left hip, it won't bounce around as much. And anyway, you're not carrying much paint to begin with, so no big deal. You can upgrade to a full pod pack or vest later if it makes sense.

After that, worry about your gun rig.

When going for a gun, the most important purchases are the loader and an HPA tank (if you live in an area where you can get an HPA tank filled). A crappy gun with a good air tank and good loader on it will shoot a lot better than a top of the line gun with a gravity loader and a CO2 tank on it. So get those two items first.

But honestly, you're not a Broadsword. So rate of fire isn't a big deal. Probably a bargain mid-range loader like the Viewloader Revy or Invert Reloader will be all you need. The Proto Primo loader looks like a tempting budget alternative for people who don't shoot too fast, but I don't have experience with that. HPA is a good idea just because you don't have to deal with liquid CO2 spikes, you don't freeze up your gun, and it has better consistency (in addition to being usable in the winter - which CO2 is not).

Then get your gun. Priorities should be: 1) affordable; 2) reliable; 3) lightweight. And in that order. All other features are optional. Pump guns or pistols are highly encouraged if you think that would be fun. But if you're a newbie, you probably want to avoid pistols and pumps - since a lot of skill is involved in running that way, and you'll want some experience before deciding to take the plunge there. A pistol is something you should only switch to because the way you are CURRENTLY playing is calling for it. It's a decision better made as an experienced player than as a newb.

After that comes stuff like jerseys, pants, slider shorts, elbow pads and the like.

But don't buy so much equipment you don't have money for actually playing. Once you have a mask, shoes, knee pads, and a gun setup - paint and play fees are top priority. Till death do you part.
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#3 User is offline   kaosukoden 

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Posted 03 March 2011 - 01:13 PM

Very good posts, I know I'm not experienced as a Dagger by any stretch of the imagination, but I have to give my two cents. First Cent, Spec Ops Positions are designed, if you really read them, to be used in conjunction with one another on a team of players who usually play thier position. Paintball has long been deemed a sport, and in doing so, there are teams, and on teams there are positions. Call them what you will, here at spec Ops, we have special names and "recommendations" for each position. On a team, they have thier place. As a weekend worrior playing with 30 pickup guys at a walk on field, you're not going to be an effective dagger/sniper/hammer/ect. You're going to be a paintball player. Two, I feel that if one starts on a pump or pistol, it'll teach them control and when/if they ever switch to a different style gun, they will be a better player for starting on pump or pistol.
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#4 User is offline   redthirst 

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Posted 03 March 2011 - 02:34 PM

I like the SpecOps positions. If I go out and play, whether it's with my friends I've played with for years or a bunch of walk-ons and whether it's at a weekend scenario or a random Saturday in the woods I'm going to play more or less the same. I like that, if I'm with other people who are familiar with the SpecOps postitions, I can simply say I'm a Dagger and they know what to expect of me. Sure I can play any position just like anyone else, but, identifying yourself with a position tells others how you prefer to play and also in what capacity you'd be best used. A teenage sprinter with a TPX can be used to provide covering fire so an overweight, middle-aged man with an Ego and a case of paint attached to his vest can make a bunkering move... but that's probably not the best use of their natural abilities or equipment.

That being said, I'm not interested in discussing equipment for any player who's playstyle is not fast and aggressive, aka a Dagger (at least, not in this subforum). If you don't agree with the SpecOps postition mindset, then feel free to simply replace every instance of the word "Dagger" with "fast and aggressive player" and we should do swimmingly.

Rathje:
Once again I find I agree with all your advice. I didn't bother to list affordable or reliable as Dagger specific priorities because it's pretty much a no-brainer that you should get a gun that you can afford and will work no matter what your playstyle. I especially liked the bit at the end about not going over-board on your gear... the best equipment in the world won't do you a bit of good if you can't afford paint. Speaking of which...

Paint
Bad paint will ruin your whole day, so get good stuff. An old Spyder with amazing paint will be more effective than a brand new Ego that's chopping balls every other shot or that has shots going off every direction. I love APX Aggro because it's cheap and it's good. Both Aggro Basic and Pro are differing degrees of their mid-grade stuff, and, while I've never tried their Fyre or Thrasher, I've heard good things about both.

kaosukoden:
I agree that playing with a pump or pistol can make a player better, but that's not usually how it works with a newbie. The learning curve for those two styles is very steep and it's hard for a new player to not become discouraged when he's up against experienced or even other new players with much faster rates of fire and ammo capacities. It's why I never suggest pump or pistol play to new players. Give a newb a low end electro to play with (I'm just bought a Vibe for this sole purpose) and let him naturally gravitate towards higher or lower rates of fire. If that player finds that they don't need the ammo capacity or ROF of an electro, then maybe a pistol or pump is a good idea.

I've gotten to the point that I rarely use more than 50 rounds in a game and I'll be running a TPX this year once I get it back from the chop shop.

Thanks for the input guys. If you agree or disagree with anything, chime right in.
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#5 User is offline   Rathje 

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Posted 05 March 2011 - 11:11 PM

I've come to the conclusion that I'm pretty much going to be running my cheapo (but ridiculously reliable) 1990s Trracer Maverick pump gun all season this year. I just don't have the funds for playing semi-auto. It'll be the first time I've tried to match pump against semi-auto. Should be a learning experience.

Well, at least a Dagger isn't hurt as bad by a limited ammo handicap as other positions.
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#6 User is offline   redthirst 

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Posted 07 March 2011 - 06:53 AM

View PostRathje, on 06 March 2011 - 02:11 AM, said:

Well, at least a Dagger isn't hurt as bad by a limited ammo handicap as other positions.


Absolutely. Almost all my eliminations are due to moving into a good postion or bunkering so a high ROF pretty much never comes into play.
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#7 User is offline   Supergyro 

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Posted 15 March 2011 - 10:37 AM

El cheapo Trracers for the win! I currently have one that I modded to take a springfeed and bottomline HPA tank. they work wonderfully for cheapos like you and me!
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#8 User is offline   Rathje 

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Posted 15 March 2011 - 11:32 AM

Well, I just had a mini scenario game in the woods last Saturday, and my Trracer worked great with no problems.

But I'd say I've got a long way to go before I can say I'm effective with a pump gun. Still, I managed to usually tie up about 3 enemy players for at least five minutes or so every game, and generally make a nuisance of myself. Even if I couldn't seem to hit the broad side of a barn.

You really do rely on that rapid fire to "walk" your shots into the enemy with semi-auto. Not having it with a pump gun made people a lot harder to hit. You had to pick your shots more carefully, and you just can't engage people at the same range you used to with semi-auto.

This post has been edited by Rathje: 15 March 2011 - 11:36 AM

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#9 User is offline   Supergyro 

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Posted 15 March 2011 - 12:41 PM

The first time I played a game with my trracer I shot the fifty round pod out by the halfway point of the game. I had to dry fire "cover" my team with my autotrigger the rest of the game. Needless to say, the next game I worked harder on aiming more.

But as far as Dagger goes, I guess I play Dagger but I'm not a Dagger. Being just one side of the spectrum is just to limiting. I like to think of the spec ops roles as positions not titles. e.g. Jimmy over there is playing Dagger today. Not: Jimmy over there is our team's one and only Dagger.

This post has been edited by Supergyro: 15 March 2011 - 12:47 PM

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