I just ran my HPA Axiom at a small event last week. The week before that, I ran my HPA Tempest at a family event.
I found HPA to be pretty consistent with the right barrel setup, convenient with its adjustable FPS range, and even very safe.
I’ve heard a lot of buzz online about HPA, and I wanted to correct some misinformation that might discourage nerfers from trying it and having a new experience.
Those of you who have tried HPA, please add anything I’ve missed.
Myth #1: HPA is too dangerous.
A high-pressure air tanks sounded intimidating to me at first.
What happens if you accidentally disconnect the tank wrong or something? Is it going to blow up?
While it’s important to know what you’re doing, I’ve found HPA to be just as safe as most other homemade blasters.
Yes, there are risks inherent in high pressure setups, but with a little bit of correct information, chances are you’ll be just fine. The equipment handling the high pressure is high quality and built to withstand the pressure. A lot of regulators also have built in safety features making it extremely difficult to injure oneself.
I made plenty of mistakes when teaching myself how to build my HPA blaster and nothing’s blown up on me yet. In fact, I’ve found it to be a very reliable setup that’s saved me lots of hassle on the field.
I’ve also learned what to do and what not to do. It’s pretty simple.
If you’re already wearing quality eye-pro and being conscious of when and where you’re firing like anyone should in nerf, then chances are, you’ll be just fine.
Myth #2: HPA isn’t allowed in any groups or public parks.
Last weekend, I brought my HPA to show my nerfing buddies.
They initially said, “Oh, you can’t use that here. If they hear paintball, we’ll be shut down.”
I fired my Axiom a couple of times to show them how quiet it was.
“Okay, that’s not very loud. You should be okay,” they told me.
I played a few rounds that day with my Axiom without any trouble. I tuned down the FPS so I was hitting only around 150-200 FPS and it wasn’t overpowered at all.
Many anti-paintball laws actually generally don’t apply to nerf, even though we sometimes think they do. Most of those laws involve damage to public property and not HPA specifically.
You’ll definitely have to check with your group (and local laws about air-propelled projectiles), but I find that often people interpret no paintball/airsoft laws to mean no HPA nerf.
Nerf and paintball are very different. People are concerned with the paintball mess and Airsoft danger, when nerf is clean and more safe.
No one can say for sure, but I’m guessing that once groups see more HPA in play, they’ll realize that it’s less scary than they thought. Could just take time like it did for clubs to accept higher powered springer blasters and even half length darts way back when.
DISCLAIMER: HPA is indeed illegal in some places. Know your local laws before purchasing.
My local group has had a lot of success simply calling up the local police station before a war. We just explain what we’re doing and that it’s safe.
Myth #3: HPA is very expensive.
Yes, it does require a bit of an investment up front, but once you have your basic setup, you can use your equipment with a variety of different blasters.
Actual HPA blasters cost only about $150-$200.
The regulators, SuperCores, barrels, solenoids, batteries, fittings, and a lot of other expensive hardware are all cross compatible between setups so if you’re looking to get into HPA, after the initial few hundred dollars, the rest of the cost is just prints and bits and bobs.
The HPA setup (tank, regulator, etc) costs generally between $300-400. Not any more than a typical FDL or other high quality blaster.
Myth #4: HPA is too difficult to learn.
HPA can seem intimidating. I was clueless when I started.
Also, there isn’t that much content about HPA nerf yet because it has a specific niche. I had to start from scratch and learn on my own.
Fortunately, you won’t have to flounder. If you need help, I (and many others in the community) will be there to answer questions and make sure you get setup right.
I was just on the phone with a customer the other day who ordered his first HPA U Talon Claw. We were able to troubleshoot a few issues. A few days later I hear that he’s off “dominating the field” with his HPA (his words :p).
Moral of the story, don’t be stupid (obviously), but it’s easier than you might think to use your HPA setup.
HPA is like any hobby—you can get into it and learn the ins-and-outs, or you can learn the minimum of what you need to know to make your setup work.
I say start with the basics and then move onto the technical stuff later.
(Also, I have more videos on HPA nerf how-tos in the works. Should be out in the next couple of weeks.)
*When all is said and done, however, do make sure you have an idea of what you’re doing. If done wrong, HPA can be dangerous. However, you shouldn’t have any problems if you just know the basics.*