Looking at the Pragmatism and Ergonomics of Battlefield Range

Discussions of all varieties of stock water guns and water blasters.
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Looking at the Pragmatism and Ergonomics of Battlefield Range

Postby marauder » Tue Jul 14, 2015 10:19 am

Have you ever wondered at what distance most of the hits occur in our engagements? I have. If you're like me, you've also noticed that there's an inherent dilemma in the way we (hydrowar, isoaker, most submissions and forum posts) measure the range of a blaster. We eyeball where it hits the ground and then measure the distance from the blaster's nozzle to this point which we hopefully got right.

But can you actually hit someone this far away from you? After all, hitting the ground would be akin to hitting someone's shoes, at best enough to push someone back but not enough to hit someone or soak them. There are other factors which influence how far away you can hit someone, such as blaster length and ergonomics. I think these two factors are often overlooked, so I decided to do some tests.

My goal in this was to actually see how far away from yourself you could actually hit someone. I want to reiterate that, the focus here is how far away from the player you can make hits, not how far away from the nozzle. Hits on your chest, head, and shoulders count, while hits on your gun do not, so the key here is to be able to hit someone as far away from the body as possible, not the nozzle.

So, I did some tests.

XP 310 large nozzle fired at 45 degrees, fired with 2 hands nozzle
shot sailed overhead 30 ft/9.14m
head shot 34 ft/10.36m
chest shot 37 ft/11.28m
thigh shot 38 ft/11.58m
shins/ankes 39 ft/11.89m

XP 310 large nozzle fired at 45 degrees, fired one handed with arm extended
shot sailed overhead 32ft/9.75m
head shot 35 ft/10.67m
chest shot 39 ft/11.89m
thigh shot 40 ft/12.19m
shins/ankles 41 ft/12.5m

Extending the arm and firing with only one hand does seem to increase the distance at which you can hit someone. If your opponent was 11-12m away there's a good chance they could dodge your shot by simply stepping back if you're firing with 2 hands, but if you extend your arm they will not be able to do this and must dodge left or right. I have seen Rob get lots of kills this way with the 150 and I think it's why he's so elite with the 150; although the blaster itself doesn't shoot nearly as far as a CPS he can easily make up for that range by firing with one arm (he seems to push off or lunge and then step back as well). This technique would be much more difficult to do with a Vindicator, Gorgon, due to the ergonomics or with a mostly filled mid-heavy cps due to the weight. I seem to have more problems doing this with the 150 than Rob does, something about the weight all being on top throws me off, which brings us to another lesson, ergonomics matter, but they differ from person to person.

We tested a Water Warriors Blazer also.

Blazer second largest nozzle fired at 45 degrees, fired one handed with arm extended
shot sailed overhead 33ft/10m
head shot 36 ft/11m
chest shot 40.5 ft/12.34m
thigh shot 42 ft/12.8m
just shins 43 ft/13.1m

The Blazer can make hits at generally 2 feet further than the 310 which is no surprise considering the normal range test yielded about the same results. What is interesting, however, is that the drop off in range was not as steep with the Blazer (16% less), probably due to the larger nozzle size and more constant pressure. With that being said, there is one thing that these stats do not show, and that gets us back to the previous paragraph - ergonomics. At 36 ft/11m 2 shots completely missed me before one was even landed. The Blazer's center of gravity is much closer to the front of the blaster than the 310's. The Vindicator is like this as well, but the effect is even more extreme due to the location of the handle/pistol grip. What this means when it comes to battle use is that your control over the Blazer is much less than your control over the 310 when you fire with only one hand. Moving your arm right or left will cause the Blazer to swing right or left more severely than with the 310, thus your shots will be less accurate. My opponent found a way around this in battling by simply holding down the trigger and firing short streams or bursts rather than tap shots. Since the Blazer is HP you can get away with this and the end result was more hits than when firing tap shots. This technique was not as effective with the 310 which lost pressure quicker so tap shots still seemed the way to go. It would be interesting to see if someone with good arm strength, like say SEAL, was more accurate than someone with less arm strength, like me. Accuracy has a number of contributing factors, but against a stationary target at max range I would assume that someone with a stronger arm would be able to score more hits (tap shots only) due to being able to hold the blaster steadier.

One last demonstration involved seeing if a longer blaster really gave you an advantage. I already basically knew the answer to this, but the difference between blaster range and "combat range," or how far away from you you could hit someone was directly related to the length of the weapon. For instance, the Arctic Blast has a stock range of 35 feet/10.67m on the stream setting. This was only extended to 38.5 feet/11.73m "combat range." The XP Pool Pumper Blaster, on the other hand, had a stock range of 39 feet/11.89m and a "combat range" of 44.5 feet or 13.72m. The length of the arm showed no real difference in the "combat range" of a blaster between someone 5'8 testing and someone 6'1 testing.

Anyway, just wanted to share this. There's a lot to think about.
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Re: Looking at the Pragmatism and Ergonomics of Battlefield Range

Postby SEAL » Tue Jul 14, 2015 3:14 pm

I might take a somewhat different approach to range than most people. For me, range testing is for comparison purposes. I don't really care how far X blaster shoots as long as it's farther than Y blaster. Sometimes I won't even take measurements; I'll just fire two guns side-by-side. I only bring out the tape measure if I want to compare my blaster to results posted online. I don't go "my 2700 shoots exactly 45 feet, therefore I must engage at exactly 5' less than that distance." Range varies, so knowing the exact number you got from testing isn't much help in a real fight.

I guess what I'm trying to say is, it doesn't really matter that a blaster's measured range is farther than the distance that you can actually hit someone from. If one blaster shoots five feet farther than another, their effective range will also be around five feet apart. You do have a good point with combat range; even if one gun shoots two feet farther than another, if the latter is a long blaster, it could end up getting better range in actual combat. I'm pretty sure most of the time this won't make a huge difference though.

marauder wrote:It would be interesting to see if someone with good arm strength, like say SEAL, was more accurate than someone with less arm strength, like me.


I always thought you were stronger than me, 'cause you've had military training. But yeah, arm strength does help with accuracy. If the gun is heavy your arm will shake, plus you can't whip it around as fast. I've one-handed 2000s/2500s before, and I was definitely less accurate than I am when I one-hand a 1200 or something.
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Re: Looking at the Pragmatism and Ergonomics of Battlefield Range

Postby marauder » Tue Jul 14, 2015 3:34 pm

SEAL wrote:I guess what I'm trying to say is, it doesn't really matter that a blaster's measured range is farther than the distance that you can actually hit someone from. If one blaster shoots five feet farther than another, their effective range will also be around five feet apart.


Actually, funny, because this is actually quite in line with what I was trying to say. Measured range doesn't always equate to combat range. What matters is the difference between the blasters in question, although it is also nice to know the different nuances of each blaster, such as the 310's quick drop off or how the Blazer is difficult to aim when you use one hand.



SEAL wrote:
marauder wrote:It would be interesting to see if someone with good arm strength, like say SEAL, was more accurate than someone with less arm strength, like me.


I always thought you were stronger than me, 'cause you've had military training. But yeah, arm strength does help with accuracy. If the gun is heavy your arm will shake, plus you can't whip it around as fast. I've one-handed 2000s/2500s before, and I was definitely less accurate than I am when I one-hand a 1200 or something.


Haha well I'm flattered. We do a lot of pushups. On my last test I did 77 in 2 minutes. That, however, is a different type of strength than say what you would be able to curl or press or whatever. I'm actually really curious now as to what muscles are primarily worked when you fire a heavy blaster with only one hand.
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Re: Looking at the Pragmatism and Ergonomics of Battlefield Range

Postby SEAL » Wed Jul 15, 2015 1:36 pm

Actually, funny, because this is actually quite in line with what I was trying to say.


Must've missed that. When there's a lot of text that tends to happen, haha.

I'm actually really curious now as to what muscles are primarily worked when you fire a heavy blaster with only one hand.


Get your 2000/MXL, overload it, then hold it out in front of you with one hand. Whichever muscles start to hurt are the ones that are used. :goofy:
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Re: Looking at the Pragmatism and Ergonomics of Battlefield Range

Postby SSCBen » Sat Jul 18, 2015 7:57 am

My practice is like SEAL's. Range is for comparison purposes. The range where the water hits the ground is only a few feet from where it'll hit chest level (about 2 feet in your tests, marauder). So it's fine to use the ground as the reference point. That makes testing easier.

The center of gravity and associated things like the rotational inertial of the blaster-body system are pretty important too. I looked a bit into these a few years ago. The conclusions I came to was that the center of gravity should be as near to the handle as possible to make the blaster easier to hold, and that heavy things like water tanks should be as close to your body as possible to reduce rotational inertia and thus make you turn faster. I think this is one reason to prefer backpack blasters.

You make an interesting point about blaster length, marauder. I had assumed blaster length was too short to have a real effect, but thinking more about it, you can get a few feet this way. Something to think about when building homemades, I think, though it is worth noting that longer blasters will have more rotational inertia, so you're trading range for turning speed.

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Re: Looking at the Pragmatism and Ergonomics of Battlefield Range

Postby marauder » Sat Jul 18, 2015 8:34 am

Ben wrote:The center of gravity and associated things like the rotational inertial of the blaster-body system are pretty important too. I looked a bit into these a few years ago. The conclusions I came to was that the center of gravity should be as near to the handle as possible to make the blaster easier to hold, and that heavy things like water tanks should be as close to your body as possible to reduce rotational inertia and thus make you turn faster. I think this is one reason to prefer backpack blasters.

You make an interesting point about blaster length, marauder. I had assumed blaster length was too short to have a real effect, but thinking more about it, you can get a few feet this way. Something to think about when building homemades, I think, though it is worth noting that longer blasters will have more rotational inertia, so you're trading range for turning speed.


Once I get my XP Pool Pumper Blaster fixed I want to try this. I have it backpacked and it's incredibly light and well balanced. Those are huge reasons why I keep bringing it in up other topics. I feel like it shoots further than it should and it's easier to aim. BBT has done a poor job, until recently of keeping the weight as close to the body as possible. Like I mentioned in the beginning, we actually missed shots with the Blazer when shooting one handed (tap shots) against a non moving target, and we all know the Gorgon/Orca and Vindicator are worse.
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Re: Looking at the Pragmatism and Ergonomics of Battlefield Range

Postby SSCBen » Sat Jul 18, 2015 9:09 am

marauder wrote:Once I get my XP Pool Pumper Blaster fixed I want to try this. I have it backpacked and it's incredibly light and well balanced. Those are huge reasons why I keep bringing it in up other topics. I feel like it shoots further than it should and it's easier to aim. BBT has done a poor job, until recently of keeping the weight as close to the body as possible. Like I mentioned in the beginning, we actually missed shots with the Blazer when shooting one handed (tap shots) against a non moving target, and we all know the Gorgon/Orca and Vindicator are worse.


Looking forward to this. From what I've heard, the XP Pool Pumper does seem very nice. It's a shame similar air pressure blasters are no longer made.

I might suggest doing a 180 degree turn test or something. Collect a few blasters to compare. Then pick one, and fully charge it. Get someone to time you with a stop watch. On their signal, you turn around 180 degrees and fire. They stop timing you when you finish. I think if you did this 10 times or so for each blaster, you could see the effect of the backpack. Be sure to swap blasters after each firing, so that you're about equally tired for each firing. If you did 10 shots of one blaster, and then 10 shots of another, I imagine the second one would be slower even if it was the same blaster because you'll tire out a bit.


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