It isn’t always easy to find the ideal paintball gun. There are so many choices and styles to pick from that it can get a bit overwhelming to settle for the perfect one. On the contrary, we’ve got you covered! We want to save you all the hassle of bickering over which paintball gun to choose, because we have done all the work and narrowed your choice from the many hundreds in the market, to the best possible ten paintball guns in the market in 2018.
Regardless of whether you are a beginner or a pro, we have a choice model for you, and our comprehensive buyer’s guide is designed to help you make the best choice. In our guide, we have classified paintball guns according to the best selling and put them into categories such as beginner, intermediate or professional. We aim to save you time and money by helping you make the best choice based on your experience level and your budget. We’ll help you make the best of your paintballing adventure!
There Are Three Kinds of Paintball Markers
Pump Paintball Guns
Initially, these were the only paintball markers available. These guns were completely manual, so players had to operate it after every fire. The gun thus had a slow rate of fire. To get an accurate picture of what it was like, imagine the pump shotgun that is rife in action movies. Despite their old nature, most people are still attracted to this gun. Unlike other markers, pump paintball markers are pin-point accurate and very reliable. For beginners, however, they may be better off kickstarting their paintballing adventure with a newer gun since this gun is a little harder to operate and needs a bit of practice to get the hang of the manual operation. Conversely, those who are versed in paintballing should consider giving this classic pump paintball gun a try. Do not be surprised to find this paintball gun making a solid comeback in the paintballing scene in the near future.
Mechanical Paintball Guns
This is unarguably the most popular and loved kind of paintball marker today. Mechanical paintball guns are semi-automatic which means that all you have to do is pull the trigger to shoot. The maintenance of this gun is also relatively straightforward. Talking about price, mechanical paintball guns are very affordable, although actual prices may vary with model. Also, the primary propellant for the mechanical paintball gun is compressed air or CO2. Usually stored in a small tank and fixed to the gun, either of compressed air of CO2 can be used to propel the paintball from the gun. You would commonly be able to have this tank refilled for a small fee at your local paintball store. This type of gun typically operates by using a blowback mechanism. Here, once you pull the trigger, a hammer under pressure is released. Once the hammer comes in contact with a valve, it shoots the paintball out of the gun. Thereafter, the hammer blows back by the pressure and assumes its original firing position.
Electronic Paintball Guns
Electronic paintball guns are the next best thing in the world of paintball markers. This high-tech marker is a complete game changer (check out the Empire Axe). When they initially hit the stores, these guns were pricey, and so only a few paintball players could lay their hands on them. However, they aren’t as expensive as they initially were and more players are beginning to get a taste of it. Electronic paintball guns operate with the aid of a solenoid that is controlled by a circuit board. These guns usually run on light 9-volt batteries, so they aren’t very bulky. This marker also comes equipped with multiple firing rates, not forgetting the much talked about three full burst auto mode. The electronic gun also marks a big shift in the ever-evolving world of paintball markers. Since they have just a single moving part, electronic paintball guns are often easy to clean and repair – this is a major reason why most people invest in them. If you are very keen on paintball and a big player that regularly competes with other players, then this gun is a big must for your paintball marker arsenal.
There are basically three kinds paintball gun propellants. And depending on who you ask, the choice propellant will differ. We would, however, pay close attention to two kinds of propellants. The two propellants on the cards today are CO2 and HPA/Nitrogen, and we would pit them against each other. Each of these propellants has their own merits and demerits.
CO2 is by far the most used propellant. Not only is it the cheapest to fill up – costing around $5 for a 20-ounce tank, but it won’t cost you more than $23 to buy a brand new one. This means that many players can enjoy hours of paintballing at an affordable price. Although, it also has its downsides. One of which is the fact that your paintball gun can begin to freeze if you fire in bursts. This is mainly down to the cold nature of CO2. Most players dread this freezing phenomenon, and sometimes it can mean that you have to replace some parts of your paintball gun. This will become a big issue once the damages start to add up, especially if you have a pretty expensive paintball gun.
Both of these propellants are fairly similar and are very dependable especially when you are playing a tournament. They both manage to stay at a fixed pressure regardless of how fast you fire your gun. Unlike CO2, these gases won’t go sub-zero on you. Both HPA/Nitrogen are very clean gases that do zero harm to your marker. The going price at most paintball store for this gas is around $1 for 1000 PSI. And you would need to shell at around $60 for a brand new 3000 PSI tank. The price difference is the major reason why most players settle for CO2. However, if you don’t mind the extra investment, and don’t want a stone-cold marker while you are in action, then you should certainly go for HPA/Nitrogen.
Barrels are also essential parts of your paintball marker. Depending on the gun you have, your barrel will differ considerably from other guns, and you can always switch your original barrel if you choose. Some of these third-party barrels come in different kits and materials. Below, we’ll take a closer look at some of them.
If you want a barrel that is light and cheap, then you cannot go wrong with aluminum. Aluminum barrels are often the cheapest, and you can buy them just about in any paintball shop. Although, be wary of the fact that they are too flexible and can bend easily.
Ceramic barrels are often lighter than most metals, so they don’t add too much extra weight to your gun. Another standout feature of ceramics is the fact that they are self-cleaning. Players needn’t worry in the case of a broken paintball, because ceramic barrels know precisely how to clean themselves.
Stainless Steel Barrels
If durability is what you are after, then you can’t go wrong with a stainless-steel barrel. Stainless steel will withstand anything you throw at it. To add icing to the cake, they don’t cost a fortune either and are readily available at many paintball shops. Although, one downside of owning this barrel is its considerable weight. Most players who don’t want the stress of a heavier marker will usually skip this barrel, especially those in competitive tournaments.
Carbon Fiber Barrels
Carbon Barrels are the Ferrari’s of paintball barrels. They are both lightweight and durable. These are one of the best choices of the barrel you can go for. However, you would also have to be open to investing quite a large amount of cash on them. But honestly, it merits every penny it is sold for.
Titanium barrels are often underrated, but they are incredibly durable and lightweight. Titanium barrels are also very easy to clean. But like you’ve probably guessed by now, it doesn’t come cheap, and most people struggle to justify the price of titanium barrels.
Talking about speed, no barrel pushes a paintball faster than a brass barrel. Brass is a popular material amongst paintball players. Brass is also very light and adds very little weight to the marker. Although, just like Aluminum it also suffers from an over flexibility problem.
Are you a sporadic or competitive player? You have to ask yourself what you would need the paintball gun for and how often you would use it. If you are the casual player that likes to have fun with it every other day, then just about any paintball will do. Conversely, if you are a big-time player that usually compete with others and play tournaments, then you would need a premium marker to stand a chance against other players. This means making a sizeable investment of at least $100 when you go paintball gun shopping.
Pay attention to the weight. You don’t want to tire easily because your paintball is uncomfortably heavy. If you are going to be paintballing for extended periods, then you should go for a light marker. Ideally, a marker that weighs less than 5 pounds is recommended. Although, you can find some high-end guns that weight just under 2 pounds and are specifically made for players that play for very long periods at a go.
The consequences of a break. You wouldn’t want to spend quite an amount of money on a marker and then it falls apart at the slightest chance. Ensure you purchase a marker that comes with at least 12 months warranty. This way, you can always get compensated if your gun falls apart or stops functioning.
Pick a gun you fancy. While weight, warranty, and durability should be thoroughly put into consideration, nothing beats buying a gun you like and feels good in your hands. Settle for a gun that advances your style of play. There is no point in having a gun that is tagged the best, and yet you can’t stand how it looks and feels.
There is no such thing as the best or perfect paintball brand. This is because different people look for different things when they pick a gun. Some are keen on accuracy, others rate of fire and some durability. However, after having tried a lot of brands, I think that these are the pick of the litter:
Tippmann – Arguably the best paintball brand out there. They have quite an arsenal of markers, and they are all priced reasonably.
Dye – They make very good paintball markers and also have an extensive variety of accessories, masks, clothing, and paintball guns.
Empire – Just like dye, they sell quality paintball guns for every skill level. They also have a good number of paintball accessories.
Spyder – This paintball company was only established in 1992. And unlike the others, they are more focused on paintball rookies. They sell paintball kits and accessories to those who are new to the game.
I hope that you found this guide on finding the best paintball gun very useful. If you have any ideas, comments or suggestions that you think should have been included in this guide; please reach out to me via the contact form.
Happy paintballing and play safe!