First Strike Paintballs – What are First Strike Rounds in Paintball?

Beginners Guides > First Strike Paintballs

Since paintball is rising as a new hobby and exercise sensation for many. These past few years there have been many new noted developments in paintball markers and paintball accessories. 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 exceptionally good they are!

Today our article is all about an exclusive guide on First Strike Rounds what they actually are, how these operate, and what makes them so special about the regular round paintballs. 

What is a First Strike Round?

The first thing you need to know about is that First Strike Round goes by other names like “First Strike Paintballs” or “First Strike Projectiles”. ‘Tiberius Arms’ company is the mastermind behind its engineering.

First Strike Rounds FSR has a round shape at one end and is a cylinder at the other one 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 accuracy of the shot. No other paintball on the market is more efficient than the ‘First Strike Rounds’.”

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

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 about what makes them so special and more expensive than the regular old school paintballs

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; 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 basically megfed whereas paintballs need to be loaded in a paintball hopper.
  • Weathers like humidity and temperature have a great impact on regular paintballs whereas FSR has no weather effect at all!
  • Paintballs have far less stability than FSR. 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 calibers of First strike rounds in the paintball industry.  Any compatible or converted paintball marker can shoot FSR easily and effectively. 

Paintball magfed 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 personally recommend using “Planet Eclipse EMF100” for FSR because it shoots them flawlessly and without any jams or breaks. If you don’t want to go through any modifications or reliability issues, just get a mag-fed paintball gun. You can check out our list of mag-fed paintball markers that we prefer to play with. 

Other paintball markers can shoot first strike rounds even if they are not compatible or converted BUT it will be a difficult and slow process to load these. Not only that, 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. It is a slow process and pretty much unrealistic during a paintball fierce battle where speed is one of the key factors in winning.

That is why we strongly recommend either converting your paintball marker or buying a compatible one before you decide to 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 in nature than the 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 need to do it according to your paintball gun

Start by setting the paintball marker velocity 20-25 fps below the field limit which will set the numbers right. By doing this you will need only a few test shots to chronograph a paintball gun to first strike Paintballs. 

You can skip this step if you are only going to be using 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 our experimentation with different sizes. It might vary slightly with different paintball markers. 

Examine FSR Before Use

You should ALWAYS examine any type of ammo before playing or going on the paintball field. We write through our experience, examining 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 would end up damaging 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 a long time after getting FSR to actually 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 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 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 will be slow to load. To get more accuracy and speed your marker needs to be compatible or converted to facilitate FSR.

Even if your paintball marker is not compatible you still can load them one shot at a time by unthreading the barrel, in the breech end and putting the barrel back together, and then firing. It sure is an extremely slow process.

How Far Can FSR Accurately Shoot?

FSR is famous for improving accuracy and increasing in range, but exactly HOW MUCH? According to the statement of the company, first strike rounds increase accuracy by 2x and the range of distance 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?

To be honest No, any smooth regular bore barrel will shoot the FSR with good accuracy. But if you are looking for an extra edge then you might want a rifled barrel.

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

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

How To Store FSR?

To prevent any accuracy issues FSR too needs to be stored properly despite being unaffected by weather and temperature.

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. 

Do FSR Hurts More?

Since the first strike paintballs are very efficient in nature due to their design. Many players have a concern over 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 range of the distance. 

On bare skin, players might get cuts and scrapes due to the torn edges of the fins. Although my personal experience of being shot with FSR and Regular paintballs felt the same. But with FSR the shot felt a little harder as compared to round paintballs but all in all, both are safe.

Are First Strike Rounds FSR Biodegradable?

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

FSR are photodegradable which means they will only decompose under direct sunlight. Photodegradable products take a lot of time to decompose, probably like a year or so, and even more if they are 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 fully. 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 don’t get affected by weather and temperature, there are still two ways that it can go bad. 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 easily 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 serious damage like chips and brittleness.


Now that you read almost every single thing 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. For open field and only magfed 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 as well just like first strike projectiles. 

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

We also like to suggest checking in with your local paintball fields to whether they allow first strike rounds or not before you get fully equipped with the first strike round compatible paintball markers and accessories.