Few are prepared to carry the enormous burdens, or the bulging gearkit, of the Heavy Gunner. Few can afford his monster gun or it’s limitless appetite for paint.
Photo: Special Ops – Hammer – Mobile Heavy Gunner But for those who have the brawn and bucks, the Heavy Gunner position is like a horseman of the apocalypse on the field. To qualify as a Heavy Gunner, as opposed to a less-endowed Heavy Rifleman, you need to be toting something really, really heavy. . . something like a Double-trouble Tippmann A-5 Gatlin. At thirty rounds per second, the Double-trouble slams the bad guys like Zeus throwing lightning bolts.
You have to see it to believe it.
The fully equipped Heavy Gunner can raise many kinds of hell; he can hammer through any amount of brush, mercilessly pound defensive fortifications to clear for an assault and throw clouds of artillery-like long balls into far-distant clumps of enemy.
Much hated by the walk-ons and much loved by his team, the Heavy Gunner looks, sounds and smack-talks like death incarnate. All hail the king!
Tips for Heavy Gunner
* You’re being counted on to lay paint, so your gearkit will be heavy, including grenades and a ton of pods. You carry loads of paint (900 rounds or more,) and plenty of air to back it up.
* Low-profile and high-volume are best when it comes to choosing a Broadsword gun. You will spend a lot of time on your belly, hammering away at enemy positions. You want to present a VERY low profile when you’re lying on the ground. With your air on-gun, you will sit high and you’ll have to crane your neck to shoot. That’s not a good thing. Consider buying a remote air system to get your paintgun down and your head tucked right into the nap of the earth.
* Your offensive position should usually be at the hairy edge of maximum paintball range. Give yourself advantages like a Tippmann Flatline barrel so that you extend your range and get your butt out of harm’s way.
* Every time you get taken out, take a few minutes to figure out why. Pick apart the situation and determine what you did to get your butt blown off. Then, figure out what you can do in the same situation next time to stay alive. If you’re having trouble figuring it
out, go ask your Squad or Team Commander what he thinks you
should’ve done differently.
* One hint: if you’re getting eliminated more than half the time, you’re probably too much in the fray. Let your lighter players make the bold moves while you back them up. You’ll still be in the fight, but you shouldn’t be at the point of the sword.
* Look for ways to increase your paint capacity. If you’re shooting a Tippmann A-5, you might want to jump to a jumbo hopper.
* A good defensive player will rack up more kills than anyone else on the team. If your defense is set up right, you will have a two-to-one advantage or better. In other words, a player set in a strong defensive position can take out two guys or more for every time he gets eliminated. Elite defenders will commonly rack up twenty kills in a game. If the team’s plan is good, then defense will see tons of action and will enjoy a very target-rich environment.
Field Tactics for Heavy Gunner
* You have several main jobs: suppression fire, long-ball barrages, bushwhacking and defense. Sometimes, if there’s no Heavy Rifleman around, you might be asked to provide a base of fire for a flanking maneuver, too.
* When a teammate is preparing to make a bold move (maybe a rush or a leapfrog forward) they will need suppression fire to cover their advance. By laying paint heavily into a known or suspected enemy position, you put heads down to clear the way for your buddy’s push.
* It rarely works to try to suppress more than one angle at a time. You can cover one small bunker or one window of a pillbox. If you agree to cover more, you will probably fail to fully suppress the opposition, and this can get your buddy taken out.
* When you suppress, give it all you’ve got. Time your fire to match the exact moment when your buddy will be making his move. As soon as he’s under cover again, let up so you don’t run out of paint.
* Watch your buddy’s move carefully so that you can pull your stream of paint if he runs into it. Don’t stop shooting, just raise your fire or angle it to one side.
* Full-auto is best for suppression fire. If your home field doesn’t allow full-auto, try a Firestorm crank. The Firestorm is legal on most fields and it lays down enough paint to make anyone think twice about putting their head up.
* When you’re setting up to provide suppression fire, you shouldn’t be so far forward that you’re a feasible target. You should be firing from the very edge of paintball range. It helps, if you do a lot of suppression fire, to carry a Flatline-equipped Tippmann A-5. The Flatline can out-range most paintball guns by twenty-percent or more. Though the Flatline isn’t as accurate as most barrels, you don’t need tight accuracy for suppression fire.
* If your heavy gun is equipped with Flatline barrels, then you have the capability of launching long, arcing shots into clusters of enemy. This is very effective when your team bogs down against an op-force across an open area.
* By giving your shots an insane amount of arc, you can reach over one hundred yards. However, you will have zero accuracy. The paintballs will fall from the sky and splatter around and between the enemy. Even a dropped paintball will break if it hits something firm (like the other guy’s head.)
* Bracket your arcing shots to dial them in on the enemy. Begin shooting low and raise your aim steadily until your barrage passes over top of the clustered players. You probably won’t be able to see the point of impact, but bracketing is your best way to walk in your barrage. One way or another, it will probably force them to abandon their position (giving your team the open space.)
* When the enemy hides behind screens of brush, and nobody is getting through, the Heavy Gunner can often pound through the screen with a liberal dose of paint.
* If you’re called up to bushwhack, make sure not to expose yourself to other angles of fire when you hit the brush. Enemy players behind the screen will probably high-tail it when you start blasting away, but you still must be cautious. A big gun doesn’t make you impervious to paintballs.
* How you set your defense will depend on the team’s overall strategy. If the team’s playing a strong-side attack, then your objective on defense will be to stall and survive for as long as possible. If your team’s playing an early game ambush-style strategy, then your objective will be to whittle down the numbers of the enemy before launching an assault.
* A survival-style defense is constructed to hold the enemy off for as long as possible. This gives your assault force the maximum possible time to hit the enemy flag base, take the flag and back-door anyone who’s hitting your defense. In a survival-style defense, you will keep back the MINIMUM number of defenders that you possibly can and still hold your flag for the entire game time (but just barely.) By keeping only the bare minimum, you free up as many men as possible to hit the opposition’s flag. By strengthening the attack force, you speed the end of the game. If the game ends and you still have a big posse of defenders, then you probably held back too many.
* Fire on the enemy when they’re at maximum range – this is especially effective when you’re shooting a Tippmann Flatline. Making the enemy bunker up way, way out there will buy you more time. Keep them from advancing by popping away at them every time they look ready to move.
* If you have fortress-strong defenses around your flag, then begin and end your game in these bunkers. However, if the defenses around your flag are natural barricades and waist-high bunkers, then you should set a series of staged, fall-back positions. When using a staged defense, you set perimeters of defense where your defenders hit the approaching enemy, then slide back to the next, closer perimeter. By hitting them in mini-ambushes, you will slow their advance to a crawl.
* Don’t forget to cover the back routes to your flag. A smart opponent will send attackers around to encircle your flag base from behind. If that happens, you’re toast.
* When you shrink the perimeter, take special care to sneak or belly crawl back to the next position unseen by the attackers. Take a few shots, then slink away unseen. They will spend precious minutes trying to figure out if you’re still where they saw you last.
* When your defensive line shrinks, be careful not to leave a teammate out where the attackers can flank him. It’s best to shrink the defensive perimeter all at the same time so that everyone covers everybody else’s flank. When you lose a player, that’s a good time to shrink the perimeter and tighten everything up. Coordinate all of this with liberal use of radio communication.
* On most fields, your last-stand defensive position should be behind the flag (and up against the back boundary, if you can still cover the flag from there.)
* When the team plan is to reduce enemy numbers before launching the main assault, you must put up an ambush-style defense. The objective of the ambush-style “D” is to suck the enemy in where they can be methodically wiped out.
* A good ambush defense is more about where you leave gaps then it is about where you position your defense. If you leave one side completely open, for example, the enemy is likely to fill into that side.
* Since the main assault is waiting to reduce the enemy numbers before attacking, you should have a ton of extra players to place in ambush positions. Decide where your gaps will be and place your defenders in a wide “U” shape to encircle the op-force attack elements. Make sure the gap is wide enough for the entire attack squad to fit inside. Otherwise, they will make contact with the tops of your “U” too soon and simply bog down trading shots. Often during capture the flag games, the “U” shape will span the entire field – giving the attackers a huge gap to fill in.
* It’s often a good idea to bury the legs of your ambush along the deep side boundaries of your half of the field or along natural boundaries. Then, when the attackers fill into the middle, your side players can collapse on them and gain target-rich, side-door angles.
* Ambush D is all about patience and holding your fire until they are in your trap. If you shoot too soon, they will bunker up way before wandering into the kill zone. Unlike a survival-style defense, you want to wait to shoot until you have lethal range.
Providing a Base of Fire
* When your pointman encounters enemy, your squad will respond by building a base of fire and sending flankers. As soon as your pointman hits resistance, you should hustle up and join him. Begin trading fire (it’s not important that you make a kill at this point) with any known enemy.
* Don’t trade fire from a position where there is a substantial threat to you. If your opponents are vigorously returning fire, then you’re probably too exposed. Back up a little until your cover improves. If you’re taking fire from multiple angles, then you’re way too far out. Retreat quickly, turn and bump up until you engage with one angle of fire (only!)
* Even if you don’t have a good shot at your opponents, keep up consistent fire. You need to keep their attention locked on you so that your flankers can get around to their side without being noticed.
* Watch your paint supply. While it’s important that you keep the enemy engaged, you can’t run out of paint in the process. Shoot enough to keep them interested, but not enough to burn up all your paint.
* Establish a code with your flankers so that they can radio and let you know when they need you to step up the covering fire. When they call, you can inch forward and begin to pour it on. Soon, your flankers will open up their own angles of fire and the opposition will be taken out or retreat.
Ideal Attributes for Heavy Gunner
* Hardy. This guy loves to lay it on thick. He’s probably big, both in stature and attitude.
* Moderate physical fitness. While the HG must lug a ton of gear around the field, nobody expects him to be really quick about it. Your friendly neighborhood football center should do fine.
* A love of firepower. You’ve got to love shooting paintballs to make it worth lugging the Heavy Gunner package around the field.
* Happy to pitch in. The HG needs to come hustling to the front when his Squad Leader calls for volume fire.
* Huge inheritance or a side-job as a porn star. It costs a few bucks to buy and fire the Double-T or other HG gun. Unless the team’s helping him out, he’ll need to drop his other expensive habits to take up the HG addiction.
Heavy Gunner Skill Progression
Requires at least one paintball day playing Heavy Gunner position.
There’s no cheap way to play Heavy Gunner. If you’re serious, you spend whatever it takes to strap on the big guns. With a Double-trouble A-5 Gatlin or better, you’ll spend over a thousand bucks to even CALL yourself a Heavy. That alone might be worth a commendation.
But, as our HG hammers away at the muppets on his local field, he will gain valuable insight and experience. It isn’t ALL in the gun. Success has something to do with where the beast is pointed, too.
Playing HG is really several positions. The big boy plays suppressive fire specialist, brush hammer and artillery expert all-in-one. One important skill that must be developed is knowing when NOT to crank up the big guns. If he lays too much paint in the wrong place, even a massive paint load will run out. Then, he’s just a big, slow target.
No matter how good you’ve become as the Heavy Gunner, one thing is certain: it’s a freaking crap-load of fun. You’ll laugh all the way to the poorhouse, if you’re not careful (or rich.)
Requires at least six paintball days playing Heavy Gunner position.
Officially, the Senior HG’s a menace. Everyone grumbles when they hear him rev up his hammerwagon, and no place is safe from the roar of his beast. He stomps to the front whenever his Commander yells, “SAW!!” There, he pummels defenses, rips through bushes or barrages distant positions.
In any case, the opposition rarely shoots back. Who wants to stand against the storm of paint unleashed by the Double-T Gatlin? Better to wait it out. But, by the time the storm subsides, his buddies are usually crawling up your six.
A Senior HG’s kit is coming together nicely. He straps on a custom-made vest that totes a mountain of paint and air while still leaving him somewhat mobile. His guns also clip to the vest, giving him a solid shooting platform from any upright position.
Suppressive fire isn’t supposed to rack up a ton of kills, but as the Senior HG gains experience, he’s posting some rep-worthy stats, in addition to clearing the way for his team’s fast-movers.
Requires at least fifteen paintball days playing Heavy Gunner position.
Even Jesse Ventura in “Predator,” mini-gun and all, could learn a few things from the Master Heavy Gunner. Having unleashed literally tens of thousands of paintballs through his Double-T Gatlin, this dude knows his guns, his field and his victims.
Now, the opposition doesn’t just duck when they hear the cry of “SAW!,” they bolt like frightened rabbits. That’s what he’s starting to call the sad creatures who face the wrath of his guns, “rabbits.” You can sometimes hear him bellow, “Run little rabbits!”
With his flatlines tuned, the HG can reach out and touch someone. He takes a different approach than the “one shot, one kill” snipers. His motto is “three hundred shots, three kills.” He’s a master of long-range, super-arc, barrages and he can inflict harm at well over one hundred twenty yards.
The other team’s still stumped over how to counter the raging firestorm of the Heavy Gunner. Other than getting an HG of their own, who knows if anything can stop him?
Requires at least fifteen paintball days playing Heavy Gunner position and a special commendation from Team Special Ops Paintball.
Buying the gearkit alone won’t earn you an Elite HG commendation from Team SpecOps. But when the team runs across one of the few who can ride the thunder of the Double-T Gatlin, they’ve got to give him his props.
It takes skill and care to keep the big guns from going to your head. An Elite HG never gets any closer to the enemy than he must. Truly great HGs hardly ever get eliminated. They deal destruction from a distance that can’t be matched by mere mortal shooters.
When he knows his guns and masters his technique, the Elite Heavy Gunner becomes some kind of invincible Norse god on the field.