Nitrogen and compressed air operate at pressures far higher than the normal operating pressures of CO2. The containers while DOT approved for the pressures have not been approved for use with respect to the paintball environment. Valves and regulators on the market today range from well built to cheap and dangerous. You as the consumer have no real way to know, as a field owner or retailer you have no real way to know. There are no private scientifically based testing data, no public/government approved standards, testing procedures or manufacturing specifications with respect to the use of high pressure gasses in any make or model gun. None of the high pressure parts which ARE subject to manufacturing standards are marked so that you or anyone else can tell if they are safe.
The concussive release of compressed air and nitrogen can be far more destructive than any of our CO2 accidents. There are very specific laws in many states which regulate compressed air and nitrogen. In Canada recently a compressed air tank explosion killed the operator. Within the Compressed Gas Association there is serious concern over the introduction of high pressure gasses to paintball guns. Further, the liability issues with CO2 while certainly no simple are orders of magnitude less compared with nitrogen and compressed air systems. Since the industry has very little self control new products of VERY questionable safety enter the market reqularly.
CO2 is a terrible gas for our purposes given the difficulties with pressure regulation etc. We need a new propulsion system such as nitrogen or compressed air but we need clear and accepted manufacturing standards designed for the end use of paintball if we are to escape the clutches of the tort lawyers. Additionally, we need fill and transfer systems as well as established procedures none of which are in place.
The emergence of the existing systems into paintball brings with them the regulatory interest of the federal government which at this writing may be just months away. I hope we can make the transition safely.
Very best regards,
North American Paintball Referee's Association