First Strike Paintballs - What are First Strike Rounds in Paintball

Since paintball is rising as a new hobby and exercise sensation for many, there have been many new developments in paintball markers and accessories these past few years. One of those is “First Strike Paintballs“.

If you have been playing paintball for a while now, you might have come across this term on the paintball fields and how perfect they are!

Today our article is about a complete guide on First Strike Rounds, what they are, how they operate, and what makes them so unique about regular round paintballs. 

What is a First Strike Round?

First, you must know that First Strike Round goes by other names like “First Strike Paintballs” or “First Strike Projectiles”. The ‘Tiberius Arms company is the mastermind behind its engineering.

First Strike Rounds FSR has a round shape at one end and a cylinder at the other with some external angled fins. They are made of photodegradable polystyrene. 

“The reason behind their fame is its unique shape, especially the added external angled fins that allow first-strike paintballs to fly further and straighter, thus improving the shot’s accuracy. No other paintball on the market is more efficient than the ‘First Strike Rounds’.”

Even though these are relatively expensive compared to round-shaped gelatin paintballs, many devoted paintball players prefer to use these sniper paintball projectiles known as “First Strike Rounds” due to their unique shape engineering.

What makes ‘First Strike Rounds’ DIFFERENT from the Regular Paintballs?

Now that we know what everybody meant by First Strike Rounds. Let us tell you what makes them unique and more expensive than the regular old-school paintballs.

What difference between FSR & Regular Paintballs

  • The base material of regular paintballs is food gelatin which makes them a bit vulnerable and needs to be handled with care, whereas FSR is made of polystyrene; it only breaks on impact.
  • Paintballs have a spherical round shape, and FSR has the shape of an elongated D, a hollow cylindrical tail with fins. 
  • FSR is merged, whereas paintballs must be loaded in a paintball hopper.
  • Weathers like humidity and temperature significantly impact regular paintballs, whereas FSR has no weather effect!
  • Paintballs have far less stability than FSR. However, due to First Strike Round fin engineering, it stabilizes itself and flies further and straighter, thus resulting in more accurate shots.

FSR Best Suited For

You will find different-sized calibres of First strike rounds in the paintball industry. However, any compatible or converted paintball marker can shoot FSR efficiently and effectively. 

Paintball mag-fed markers like Tiberius line, e.g. Tiberius T8.1, or any Tiberius T9.1, Dye DAM, and Spyder MR series markers are good choices to shoot first-strike projectiles with ease. 

We recommend using “Planet Eclipse EMF100” for FSR because it shoots them flawlessly without any jams or breaks. Get a mag-fed paintball gun if you don’t want to undergo any modifications or reliability issues. You can check out our list of mag-fed paintball markers we prefer to play with. 

Other paintball markers can shoot first-strike rounds even if they are incompatible or converted, BUT loading these will be a complex and slow process. Also, you won’t be able to get the promising outcome of accuracy and range of FSR. 

You can load first-strike rounds one shot at a time by unthreading the barrel and into the breech end. However, it is a slow process and pretty much unrealistic during a fierce paintball battle where speed is one of the critical factors in winning.

That is why we strongly recommend converting your paintball marker or buying a compatible one before you buy First Strike Rounds because these sure are Expensive! 

Previous versions of Tiberius Paintball Markers can easily be converted through a ‘First Strike Conversion Kit’. Newer models of paintball guns come with the facilitation for FSR, like the ‘Empire BT Tracer pump marker’.

Chronographing Paintball Marker For First Strike Rounds

First-strike rounds are faster than regular round paintballs by approximately 20 fps. So you need to chronograph your marker accordingly if it has dual settings.

It might vary from marker to marker and barrel to barrel, so you must do it according to your paintball gun

Start by setting the paintball marker velocity 20-25 fps below the field limit, which will correct the numbers. Doing this requires only a few test shots to chronograph a paintball gun first to strike Paintballs. 

You can skip this step if you only use FSR from now on rather than the paintballs.

Bore Diameter For FSR

Unlike paintballs, the shape of first-strike projectiles is constant. To ensure FSR’s best results, the internal bore diameter of the barrel of .686-.687 works best after we experiment with different sizes. It might vary slightly with other paintball markers. 

Examine FSR Before Use

It would be best if you ALWAYS examined any ammo before playing or going on the paintball field. Although we write through our experience, discussing ammo like paintballs and FSR beforehand could save you from unexpected jams or breakage of the breach. 

Improper handling or storage can damage FSR and initially damage your paintball marker. So it is better to be careful than to be sorry.

Check Beforehand with the Paintball Field Whether they Allow FSR!

As you know, paintball fields have rules and regulations for smooth processing and safety reasons. Many paintball fields don’t even allow your own paintball gear or ammo. 

So before you dive in getting all the new specs for paintballing like first strike Paintballs, make sure the local paintball field allows it. We waited long after getting FSR to use it on the paintball fields.

Many paintball fields don’t allow the usage of first-strike rounds because these need to be cleaned out manually, and it is a relatively new development. As a result, many players feel uneasy playing against it. 

“A satisfied customer is the best business strategy of all” 

Michael LeBouf

Other players’ uneasiness towards the first strike of paintballs is another reason why most paintball fields don’t allow them. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Can My Paintball Gun Shoot First Strike?

You can load first-strike Paintballs in any paintball marker from .68 Cal, but loading will be slow. To get more accuracy and speed, your gun needs to be compatible or converted to facilitate FSR.

Even if your paintball marker is incompatible, you can still load them one shot at a time by unthreading the barrel in the breech end, putting it back together, and then firing. It sure is a prolonged process.

How Far Can FSR Accurately Shoot?

FSR is famous for improving accuracy and increasing range, but exactly HOW MUCH? According to the company’s statement, first-strike rounds increase accuracy by 2x and distance content by 25x.

The effective distance range is between 150-450 yards. After that, we encountered some bouncing-off shots.

Initially, the range of the distance also depends on which paintball field you are playing on. Most paintball fields have 50 yards to 100 yards range max.

Do You Need Specifically a Rifled Barrel For First Strike Rounds?

No smooth regular bore barrel will shoot the FSR with reasonable accuracy. But you might want a rifled barrel if you want an extra edge.

The only difference in getting a rifled barrel is that it helps the projectiles to stabilize themselves before leaving the barrel.

In a typical bore barrel case, the first strike rounds, with the help of its angled fin, stabilize themselves after leaving the barrel.

How To Store FSR?

FSR must be appropriately stored despite being unaffected by weather and temperature to prevent any accuracy issues.

The best way to store them is in the paintball tubes facing upside down. That way, the paint fill won’t settle on one side, thus eliminating the wobble. 

Does FSR Hurt More?

Since the first strike, paintballs have been very efficient due to their design. However, many players are concerned about whether these hurt more or not.

Before we answer this question, let us be clear that the pain tolerance level varies from person to person.

And to answer this question, YES! First-strike rounds hurt more than the regular round paintballs. The reason is its unique design of angled fins that maintains the velocity and improves the distance range. 

On bare skin, players might get cuts and scrapes due to the torn edges of the fins. However, my experience of being shot with FSR and Regular paintballs felt the same. But with FSR, the shot felt a little more complicated than round paintballs, but both are safe.

Are First Strike Rounds FSR Biodegradable?

Since FSR is a relatively new development in the paintball industry, many things concern the players. Among those is whether these are Biodegradable or not. 

FSR are photodegradable, which means they will only decompose under direct sunlight. Unfortunately, photodegradable products take much time to deteriorate, probably a year or so, and even more, if not under direct sunlight.

The primary base material of the first-strike projectiles is polystyrene. It takes a reasonable time to decompose but still not entirely. So a manual cleanup is done on the paintball fields to clear out the residue of FSR.

Does FSR Go Bad?

Even though first-strike rounds aren’t affected by weather and temperature, there are still two ways they can go wrong. The first one is the paint fill separation; after being stored away for too long, like a month or so, you will notice the separation of paint fill. 

This will cause the uneven weight of the liquid inside, thus affecting the accuracy of the projectiles. You can quickly fix paint fill by vigorously shaking first-strike rounds or storing them upside down securely in paintball tubes.

And second is direct damage through pressure, impact, or light. This can cause severe damage like chips and brittleness.


Now that you read almost everything about first-strike rounds, it’s time to answer the final question: Is FSR worth it? 

For starters, there is no doubt that first-strike rounds are far better than regular paintballs based on capabilities. But these sure are expensive.

Through our experience with first-strike rounds, we would suggest them to our fellow paintball players to use in open paintball field tournaments because of their edge of providing extra range and improved accuracy. However, for open field and only mag-fed markers tournaments FSR are worth the price.

But in close encounters where the range of distance is not much needed, regular paintballs do an exceptional job, just like first-strike projectiles. 

The other thing that attracted us the most was FSR’s ineffectiveness towards weather and temperature. And the proper storing method makes this a pretty good investment.

We also suggest checking in with your local paintball fields to see whether they allow first-strike rounds before you get fully equipped with their round-compatible paintball markers and accessories.

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