What Is A Paintball ASA? (and Our 3 Favorites)

What Is A Paintball ASA? (and Our 3 Favorites)

An air source adapter, also known as an ASA, is the little nozzle where the compressed air tank attaches to your paintball marker. This little nozzle normally sits right at the base of the grip and is covered with a reinforced braided metal tube. The actual nozzle is threaded and has a rubber o-ring at the base to keep air from escaping. When you screw the air tank onto the paintball marker, a small pin within the air source adapter depresses a plunger within the air tank. The o-ring seals the contact between the air tank and the air source adapter, allowing the air to flow freely between the air tank and the rest of the marker. 

Paintball Air Systems Overview

Since paintball guns are pneumatic, the compressed air drives the entirety of the gun’s function. When a player pulls the trigger, a small amount of compressed air releases into the marker’s breach. As the compressed air contacts the ambient air, it expands rapidly and pushes the paintball down the barrel and out the muzzle. As the air flows down the barrel, a separate smaller tube containing a piston is pushed by the compressed air. The piston is forced backward which drives the bolt action back and loads a new paintball into the breach. 

Some paintball guns also have a pneumatically driven hopper system. These hopper systems agitate the paintballs within the hopper so that they load more quickly and fall into the breach faster than a gravity-fed hopper. These sorts of hoppers are more common in speedball games where the rate of fire is high and the quantity of paintballs is more important than the accuracy. 

Different Types of Paintball Air Tanks

There are a couple of different types of air tanks that players can use when they play paintball. First are the traditional steel/aluminum alloy tanks. These tanks can hold several thousand PSI which is more than enough air to last a round of paintball. These tanks were initially built from metal because of their durability and resistance to cracking. 

Many companies also make tanks composed of a woven carbon fiber shell. This shell is glued together with a resin that makes the air tank as strong as a steel tank. The advantage to using these kinds of tanks is that they are quite a bit lighter than a metal tank is. When playing scenarios like speedball, every ounce counts. Those who can shave off a little weight are faster and more agile, making them more likely to win the game.

Finally, the most important thing in any paintball game is safety. We want to make sure that we can enjoy today safely so that we can come back and play tomorrow. Exploding tanks can be hazardous, so only the strongest materials are used. If you notice a fissure or crack in your tank, make sure that you err on the side of caution and opt to purchase a new air tank. 

Using ASA Adapters 

Air Source Adapters are a necessary part of the paintball gun. Without adaptors, it would be impossible to attach the air tank to the marker. 

ASAs can also be coupled with regulators to control the muzzle velocity of your paintball gun. Many fields throttle the maximum feet per second to prevent injury to other players on the field. Air source adapters can fit onto regulators, which can change the muzzle velocity of your paintball gun to a safe speed.

On/Off ASA Adapters

On/Off ASAs have a unique double thread characteristic to them. The air tank will screw on snugly to the ASA, but there is a separate screw along the outside of the ASA. This screw controls the degree to which the pin comes out of the adapter so it can be fully extended (air flowing) or fully retracted (air not flowing). With an on/off ASA, a tank can still be physically attached to the paintball marker, but the airflow can be restricted to be inoperable. This variable option adds an extra layer of security to the paintball markers to prevent any accidental discharges. If no air is flowing to the rest of the marker, then there is no chance for a stray paintball to be fired.

ASA Thread Sizes

Thread sizes for the different air tanks and regulators have been more or less homogenized for the past six years, which is longer than the average life of a paintball air tank. Modern tanks are threaded in .825-14, and the companies that manufacture ASAs are aware of that. Therefore, female-ended ASAs should be universally a good fit for modern air tanks.

Our Favorite Paintball ASAs

1. Custom Products Direct Mount

on/off asa

The Mini Direct Mount On/Off ASA is a super strong ASA system that’s been slimmed down and streamlined. This technology allows the screws to attach directly to the ASA body and mount directly on the grip frame without using any rail systems.

2. Planet Eclipse POPS ASA

pops asa

The Planet Eclipse POPS On/Off ASA is one of the best purging ASAs in the game. All that’s necessary to engage or disengage the gas is a simple push of the button. It fits the Eclipse 2-Hole rail and the low-profile cuts enhance the aesthetic of any paintball marker.

3. Inception Designs EZ ASA

ez asa

The Inception Designs EZ ASA uses a lever action to ensure easy tank filling. When disengaged, the lever allows for easy tank bleeding. The EZ ASA fits all guns that work with a t-slot rail systems like Planet Eclipse and Empire.


An ASA is an often overlooked piece of machinery on the paintball gun. However, this little nozzle is absolutely crucial to a paintball marker’s proper functioning. Many people buy aftermarket ASAs to ensure the air is flowing as smoothly as possible. The ASAs can also add a little bit of length to the gun, which is helpful for those people who have larger frames. Lone Wolf Paintball has one of the largest selections of paintball equipment in the country. If you’re looking for the best ASA for your paintball setup, head on over to the Lone Wolf website for the latest in ASA nozzle hardware and happy paintballing!