Barrel porting or barrel ports are the holes that are drilled down the front portion of a paintball barrel.
Simply put porting does two things: makes the paintball gun quieter and aids in accuracy.
When all paintball gun are shot they require a burst of air to propel the paintball. After the ball moves roughly 8 inches down the barrel the paintball has reach maximum velocity, after 8 inches is where the porting kicks in. The porting helps remove the now “used” air from the barrel, reducing the amount of air that exits the barrel at the tip. Removing the access air from the tip of the barrel reduces the over all sound of the marker.
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Porting also helps with accuracy. The porting helps draw away extra air away from the ball and help reduce turbulence when the ball exits the barrel.
While porting is a good thing too much can also be detrimental. There is a sweet spot with porting, if you add too much there can be too much air loss and a drop in velocity. A drop is velocity can be overcome pretty easily but it usually comes as a result of increasing gun pressure, thus making the gun kick more, less air efficient and possibly break more paintballs in the breech. Most manufacturers have figured out this sweet spot, if you do see a barrel with more porting than others be skeptical.
It should also be noted that the pattern does not affect the flight of the ball noticeably.