Project Salvo Bridges the Gap between Paintball and Mil-Sim
The first time I saw one, my head snapped to the side! After years of marching on the paintball field, ready to be hit by shiny space-age looking markers, replete with chrome and plastic, it was admittedly a bit unnerving to look over and see what looked a lot like the same weapon I’d only seen fire 5.56 mm lead rounds before.
I cautiously approached for a closer look and to heft the marker for myself. Sure enough, it was a good replica of the U.S. Army’s current rifle of choice, the M4 carbine. When I noticed the large U.S. Army logo alongside the barrel, my curiosity was piqued. I set out to get my hands on one, and to find out its’ story.
What is Project Salvo?
I discovered that the marker in questions was Tippmann Sports’ Project Salvo. The Project Salvo is the latest marker in the U.S. Army Paintball Series, a corporate partnership between the corporate branding department of the U.S. Army and Tippmann Sports.
Though not actually developed or tested within the U.S. Army, the marker is gaining acceptance among Army units as a good choice for use in training and scenario play. Recently, it was also adopted by the premier college paintball team, the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, for use in their woodsball scenario play.
The marker is essentially a pre-customized version of Tippmann’s popular Tippmann 98 custom, and utilizes the same gas-powered, in-line bolt system with an 11-inch barrel.
The whole marker, with the exception of the grips along the barrel and handle, is made of aluminum, and includes a rail system built in for additional grips, sites, handles, and such. It also comes with a free field guide (see “Free Paintball Guide – Something for Everyone.”)
Though perhaps a bit heavy (most players will want a sling), even after a few hard drops, the marker seemed no worse for the wear, and didn’t rattle or loosen as many less expensive markers are apt to do.
The “tactical mod” kit is available separately, and comes with a sling, collapsible stock, and covered barrel – almost exactly like those seen on the M4 carbine.
At less than $150.00 for the marker alone, and less than $200.00 for a full starter kit, it’s a great way for new players to get into the sport, or for veterans or speedball players to get into the woods.
“Though tournament players may prefer the customization available with the Tippmann 98, as before with the Alpha Black, the Project Salvo provides an affordable way for new players and players interested in mil-sim play to get involved in the game,” says Ron Goldblatt, Tippmann’s Director of Marketing.
Play smart; play strong!
Free Paintball Guide – Something for Everyone!
An interesting (and free to all players) part of the partnership is the included U.S. Army Field Guide to paintball, which is packaged with all versions of the marker and available online at: http://usarmypaintball.com/pdf/army_field_guide.pdf.
Six chapters include information on:
Safety – Pretty much standard fare. Wear a mask, play nice, and use common sense. This chapter is best summed up in the words of a drill instructor I once knew: “When you’re carrying a gun, everything else becomes secondary.” Veterans will yawn, but new players may find instructions on the use of barrel plugs and face masks instructive.
Preventative maintenance – Very useful. Any veteran (paintball veterans included) know the importance of cleaning and maintaining one’s weapon, and paintball markers are no exception; indeed, a fouled and dirty marker is an unreliable and short-lived one. Unfortunately, in their excitement to get on the field, many new players neglect to buy the proper equipment to clean and maintain their markers, or even to read the maintenance manual. Not only does the Project Salvo come with a detailed maintenance guide, but the realistic “clip” on the underside of the marker doubles as a cleaning/tool kit.
Army values and physical fitness – For beginning players. Though mundane, these chapters are worth reading, especially for new players interested in the tournament scene. Top-notch paintball players are like any top-notch athlete, and have to exercise like it too. It will surprise many players what a few pushups or laps around the track will do for their game, and the guide and the links to standard U.S. Army workouts provide an easy introduction to paintball-related physical fitness.
Squad Level Tactics and U.S. Army-style mission design – For most players, these chapters will be the most fascinating part of the guide. Anyone who has seen a real paintball “squad” in play knows just how good these guys can be. Last month, I covered the Washington DC-area scenario team Old Man Militia, and got to see just how well these tactics can work out. Utilizing common Army movements and tactics, these well- practiced players were able to lay to hurt on much larger teams. Tips for how to build U.S. Army style missions are included, as is access to a Web site where players can develop their missions virtually before trying them out on the ground.