Yes, you will need a gasket if there is no blue gasket in the bottom adapter. The blue gasket would be an o.e.m. part, but if it is gone you will need to replace it with something. When you are connecting the paintball tank it is best to have the solenoid open (plugged in) and the needle valve open (counter clockwise, if you turn it enough, you will see that the knob on the needle valve will rise) to protect the gauge in the regulator. Once you are hooked up to the paintball tank you can unplug the solenoid and close down the needle valve if you are not ready to start delivering co2 to the tank. Do not try to use the needle valve to shut the co2 flow off all the way, just very light finger tight, as this will probably damage the needle inside the valve and make it not perform well. Unplugging the solenoid will shut the flow of co2 off completely. Be aware that when the solenoid closes you may see bubbles in you bubble counter (if you have one) continue for a little while after it closes. This is normal and caused by residual pressure in the system. It will stop after a little while as long as the solenoid is working properly. Hope all of this makes sense. This was my first regulator as well. I really like it. Once I got it dialed in, it has been very consistent and headache free. I am still learning but happy to share what I can to help. Feel free to pm me if you have other ?'s
P.S. where in NC are you (if you don't mind me asking)?