Looking for the best paintball gun available today? Well you’ve come to the right place!
I’ve been shooting paint at friends and enemies for almost twenty years now.
My first marker was a pump action pistol that held 10 rounds, jammed half the time, and wasn’t accurate beyond 12 feet. I couldn’t have cared less though, I was having the time of my life running through the woods trying to take out my opponents.
Technology has come a long way since then. These days you have markers that can shoot hundreds of rounds a minute, are accurate over long distances, and hardly ever jam.
I started this site because I spend a lot of time on the field (speedball is my game of choice) and I get a lot of questions about different types gear. My goal is to help you find the best paintball gun for you.
Key Factors to Help Choose the Best Paintball Gun for You
I’m going to be covering a lot of ground with this guide but I won’t make you wait for the good stuff. Here are 5 markers I would gladly use on the field any day of the week. Below the table I’ll explain key factors to look for when buying your gun.
|Tippmann 98 Custom Ultra basic Platinum Series .68 Caliber||Aluminum||Manual||4.3|
|Spyder Fenix Electronic Marker||Aluminum||Electropneumatic||4|
|Dangerous Power G5 Lightweight Aluminum Marker||Aluminum||Electropneumatic||4.8|
|ETEK4 – Planet Eclipse||Aluminum||Electropneumatic||4.9|
|Tippman’s US Army Project Salvo||Aluminum||Manual||4.7|
|Empire Axe Paintball Marker||Aluminum||Electropneumatic||4.8|
They look pretty sweet, right?!? These paintball guns all have a few things in common: they’re reliable, upgradeable, and easy to use. Those are the key factors I always look for when buying a new marker either for myself or as a gift.
There’s nothing worse than a gun that jams, leaks, or just plain breaks. You’re out there to have fun and that’s hard to do if you keep having to leave the field with equipment issues.
Standard Types of Paintball Guns
I put together this table to showcase the standard gun design types:
|Pump Action||The original paintball guns were all pump action. You don’t see them around too much anymore because they’re much slower than newer semi-auto models.
They operate like a standard shotgun. Pump then fire, pump then fire. What’s nice about pump action models is that since they’re so manual they rarely break. I have a pump action pistol I carry in a holster from time to time.
|Semi-Automatic||Semi-autos are the most common type of paintball gun. Every pull of the trigger fires a paintball. I always recommend semi-automatic models to people who are new to the sport or want a moderately priced marker. As the firing mechanism gets more complicated the price goes up fast.|
|3 Round Burst||These paintball guns fire three rounds every time you pull the trigger. The three shot burst is helpful if you need to lay down a lot of paint to cover a teammate, or if you’re trying to scare a newbie out of their hiding spot. Most use an electropneumatic (explained below) set-up that allows you to switch between the 3 shot burst and semi-auto.|
|Ramping||Ramping is available on more complicated models and uses a circuit board to help control firing. It works like this: You set ramping to start at 3 shots per second (or whatever). It starts firing at that rate when you begin pulling the trigger 3 times per second.
It gradually increases that rate so every time you pull the trigger you’re firing more and more paint. It “ramps-up” your rate of fire as the game progresses. It’s pretty cool tech and also a great way to spend a lot of money on paint.
|Full Auto||The fully automatic paintball gun is the dream of every player. Pull the trigger once and it keeps on firing until you let go. It’s scary as hell for opposing players but has some major downsides as well. First off, it runs through paint like crazy.
If you’re not careful you’ll be empty before the match ends. Second, it blows through propellant just as fast which means you’ll either be carrying a lot of extra tanks or refilling between matches. And third, they’re not allowed on most fields or in most matches because of the unfair advantage.
Even though fully auto paintball guns are banned at most fields they’re still pretty damn awesome. Check out this video of one in action:
Electropneumatic or Manual Trigger
There are two standard firing mechanisms that you need to be aware of: electropneumatic and manual. Here’s an explanation of each type:
- Manual: This firing mechanism is very straightforward. Every time you pull the trigger the gun fires. The act of pulling the trigger releases propellant, either CO2 or Compressed Air, which fires the paintball down range. There are no electronic factors involved. Manual markers are semi-auto and can be fired as quickly as you can pull the trigger.
- Electropneumatic: Not being an engineer makes it difficult to explain exactly how this works but I’ll do my best. An electrical component within the gun determines when propellant is released and paintballs are fired. The mechanism is activated when you pull the trigger but unlike a manual style gun pulling the trigger can fire more than one round at a time. Burst and ramping style guns rely on a electropneumatic component to work.
- Here are some awesome electropneumatic markers.
I always recommend beginners start with a manual action gun for a few reasons:
- They’re less expensive.
- They’re more reliable since the firing mechanism is mechanical. When electronic components fail they can be difficult and costly to replace.
- They’re easy to use. If you’re new to the sport you don’t want to be fussing around with settings.
That being said, there are definitely some advantages to the electropneumatic style for more experienced player:
- They make it easy to customize your firing speed.
- Consistent firing. It’s hard to be consistent with you firing using a manual semi-auto gun because it’s relying on you to pull the trigger over and over. With a electropneumatic style the chip controls firing speed and rate.
- And of course, you can fire a hell of a lot faster using a burst or ramping setting.
Propellants: CO2 and High Pressure Air (HPH)
By far, the most common and affordable type of propellant is CO2. There are a few reasons it’s ideal for beginners and intermediate players:
- It’s cheap. A new tank will run you less than $20 and can be refilled and used over and over. Most player choose to carry a back-up tank or two in case they run out.
- It’s readily available. You can get your tanks refilled at any paintball store, field, or sporting goods store.
- Reliable. Unless you’re playing when it’s really cold outside CO2 is a very consistent propellant.
- Keeps you cool on a hot day. Ok, maybe this one is kind of a stretch but the more you use your gun the colder the tank will get. It feels really good against your forehead between matches.
HPH or compressed air is geared towards high end markers:
- Consistency. They always operate the same regardless of the temperature. A great option if consistent firing is a must.
- Cost. HPH is much more expensive than CO2 and can run you $50+ per tank.
- Hard to refill. There aren’t nearly as many authorized HPA re-fillers as there are for CO2.
Some markers can only use one type of propellant so make sure to read the specs before making your purchase.
Milsim Paintball Guns
Milsim (or military simulation) paintball guns are replica versions of real world military-issue hardware and are most often used in competition and recreational situations which are intended to simulate battle scenarios and/or re-enact military tactical strategies.
Players who prefer milsim markers choose these types of weapons because they look, feel, and perform just like the authentic versions of various different classes of firearm, the most common being the M16 paintball gun.
Milsim paintball guns provide a degree of realism for participants that is intended to mimic the experience of battle, but unlike Airsoft versions of milsim weapons, Paintball weapons require modifications that might alter the authentic look and feel of the weapon.
Such additions are required to accommodate a paintball hopper and CO2 or compressed air tank attached to the exterior. Typical restrictions that are mandatory for weapons used in milsim participation often include limiters that prevent the weapon from discharging ammunition at a distance of no more than 400 fps. But this can vary.
Kingman Spyder MR4 Military Sims Semi-Auto Paintball Marker
The Spyder MR4 is a lightweight .50 caliber weapon that boasts an accuracy range of up to 150 feet but after some test-firing, it fell short of that range for true target precision. The weapon has a velocity of around 360 fps and features an EKO valve system that allows for up to 1600 shots on a 20oz CO2 tank.
This added efficiency also helps to reduce recoil as you fire and you’ll notice a minimal amount of chopped balls.
There are three Picatinny rails for mounting a variety of accessories to the weapon but the fixed stock that’s been attached to the gun is inconvenient. A collapsible would have been more beneficial, but this is solely a matter of personal preference.
The Spyder MR4 is equipped with a 12” micro ported barrel with a muzzle break, raised sight rail, and magazine style foregrip for that authentic feel of a true M16 paintball gun.
Features and Specs
|Military simulation-style semiautomatic paintball marker|
|Patent-pending EKO valve system|
|12-inch micro-ported barrel with muzzle break|
|Barrel shroud with ring sight|
|Raised sight rail|
|Multiple Picatinny rail mounting system|
|High-impact polymer offset clamping feed neck|
|Side-cocking aluminum bolt|
|Quick-release striker plug pull pin|
|Short-pull single trigger|
|High-impact polymer trigger frame|
|External velocity adjuster|
|Operates on CO2 or compressed air|
|200-round gravity loader included|
|200-foot effective range|
|Accurate up to 150 feet|
|Shoots up to 1,800 paintballs per 20-ounce CO2 tank|
Tippman U.S. Army Alpha Black Elite .68 Caliber Paintball Marker
You can’t get much closer to the military simulation than the Alpha Black Elite. Officially licensed and authorized by the U.S. Army, this M16 paintball gun has been used to train their personnel in fire-control procedures and concealment maneuvers.
This marker has been designed and manufactured to accurately replicate combat realism, featuring a 12” ported barrel, six-point collapsible stock, Picatinny rail for the attachment of multiple different types of accessories, and a magazine that can accommodate tool storage.
You have options for upgrading the weapon as well, including an electronic trigger kit, a cyclone feed system, and response trigger for a faster rate of fire.
Accuracy is probably the weapon’s strongest suit, however, providing unmatched precision on your target from near or far. But then the U.S. military would accept nothing less in their milsim paintball guns.
|Realistic tactical look|
|M-16 style Collapsible Stock, Shroud, Carry Handle & Magazine|
|All aluminum receiver|
|Tippmann’s proven inline bolt system|
|Easy to upgrade|
Empire Paintball Slice G36 Elite Paintball Marker
You want a bad-ass piece of hardware? Then you’ve found what you’re looking for in the G36. Styled after Heckler and Koch’s weapon of the same name, the Slice G36 Elite comes with a side-mounted Rip Clip loader, T-handle cocking action, Picatinny accessory rail, and adjustable Apex 2 barrel, designed to spin the ball for curve shots on those targets that have obstructions in your line of fire.
Three firing modes let you squeeze off ammo in three round bursts, semi-auto, or full-auto capability.
The folding stock gives you more maneuverability in close quarters situations and tool-less field stripping to make cleaning, lubrication, and repair of the weapon easy and quick in an emergency or just after a long day of battle.
Pump Paintball Guns for Every Player
Pump paintball guns are pretty much self-explanatory. By pulling the handle back, you’re loading a paintball in the chamber while, at the same time, cocking the weapon so it’s ready to fire.
Pull the trigger and pump again to reload. Pump action weapons offer a mix of the good and the bad, they’re often reliable and accurate at short and medium range, but they slow down your rate of fire considerably.
Early paintball gun designs featured only pump action technology and resembled the simple agricultural tools that were used to fire paintballs in order to mark property boundaries and cattle.
Those tools were the inspiration and precursor to what we now know as the modern paintball weapon. As the sport grew in popularity, pump paintball guns were slowly phased out as companies developed faster, more accurate, semi-automatic weapons for the mass market.
That’s not to suggest the pump action gun is a thing of the past, in fact there are quite a few models that are well worth your time and money.
Kingman Spyder Hammer 7 Pump Action Paintball Marker
The Hammer has been around for 20 years and this new version of the all-time classic offers all the modern amenities you’d expect from one of the best names in the business. This one gives you options in just about every category.
Dual-loading capabilities let you use the included nine round magazine or an additional hopper component for your ammo. Speaking of ammo, you can use .68 caliber paintballs or the new First Strike paintballs from Tiberius Arms.
They’ve been designed to give you more range and greater accuracy on every shot. You also have a choice between CO2 and compressed air with which to operate. The weapon is equipped with a 12” Hammer barrel that features a standard threaded AR15 muzzle brake to soften and reduce recoil, a Picatinny top rail with Picatinny feed neck cover muzzle for an unbroken tactical rail on which to connect any number of accessories, and a .45 cal style pistol grip.
Azodin KP II Kaos Pump Paintball Gun
The KP II is packed with technology to give you one of the best pump paintball guns available at the moment. Constructed of high quality 6061 aluminum and a stainless-steel pump rod, the KP II features Azodin’s Muffle Percussion System that is designed to enhance your accuracy and, more importantly, minimize your sound signature.
This will help to prevent you from giving away your location when you fire off rounds. The system does this by combining a low pressure inline regulator with a muffle striker, silence bolt, and high performance valve for a quieter weapon.
The company’s own improved Twist-Lock II can help you reload a lot quicker as well, by letting you lock your hopper in place in mere seconds. With a weight of just 2.7 lbs, you won’t get bogged down carrying this through the brush to conquer your enemies.
CCI Phantom 11? Vertical Air Paintball Gun w/45 Grips
The pump action gun for those who don’t like to wait to squeeze off their next round. As mentioned above, one of the drawbacks to pump paintball guns is the inability to fire at a high rate of discharge. Well, the Phantom has been built to try to lessen some of that lag time.
The weapon fires .68 caliber from a CO2 power source at distances of up to 200-300 fps and while it doesn’t consistently match that claim, the Phantom does offer a rapid-fire mechanism capability. Hold down the trigger and the gun fires every time you pull the slide. So the weapon will discharge as quickly as you can pump.
You also have the option of mounting your CO2 tank vertically at the front of the .45 cal grip frame, for a slimmer profile on the gun.
Paintball Pistols for Every Scenario
Every combat ready individual knows the importance of good, reliable back up. When you’re in the field of battle, your primary weapon is always your first plan of attack, but if you run out of air or ammunition or the gun suddenly malfunctions, then you’re going to need a side arm to keep you in the fight.
Paintball pistols are a necessary component to any well-planned strategy and having one within reach can get you out of any jam. Pistols range in size, style, color, and capacity, and perform just the same as any standard handgun.
Tippmann TiPX .68 Caliber Paintball Pistol Marker
Constructed of aircraft quality aluminum to keep it lightweight and compact for easy concealment, the TiPX .68 caliber paintball handgun comes with a velocity adjustment lever to conform the distance of each shot to the limitations of your game-play environment.
There’s also a Picatinny rail located beneath the barrel for after-market attachment to fully customize the weapon, compatibility with a remote line connection for your tank, and a removable barrel with an X7 threaded tip.
You get two True-Feed mags, each with seven paintball capacity, included with the TiPX.
Empire BT SA-17 Paintball Pistol Marker
The BT SA-17 starts with a precision-milled aluminum body to give the weapon long-lasting durability and uses a spring feed system that can mount forward or backward, able to hold 10 rounds at a time.
Using the trusted US-P (or Universal Self-loading Pistol) semi-auto frame introduced in the 80’s, Empire’s BT SA-17 paintball handgun is equipped with dual Picatinny rails and threaded barrel tip for accessorizing the weapon to your customization standards.
This one’s also designed to keep you in the fight, with a Quick Change 12 gram CO2 system for changing tanks on the fly and a 10 round magazine for use with .68 caliber paintballs.
JT ER2 Pump Paintball Pistol Kit
A great starter pistol for children and adults alike who are interested in giving this whole paintball thing a try. Lightweight composite construction makes it sturdy enough for the shooting range or light combat, but I wouldn’t recommend standing up to the big boys with the ER2.
This one’s strictly for the beginners, with its pump action operation and limited shot count with the handful of 12 gram CO2 canisters that come with it. Five 10 round tubes of .68 caliber paintballs, a barrel plug and instruction manual are also included.
Accuracy and distance are both limited but offer enough confidence for a first-time user to hit the mark with consistency.
With an average price of $39.95 from most retailers, this is a reliable way of introducing anyone to the world of paintball.
Take the Shot: Paintball Sniper Rifles
There’s nothing like the exhilaration of lying in wait, quiet, unmoving, for what seems like endless hours, to then finally line up a member of the opposition in your line of sight and take them out with one masterfully aimed killshot.
Such is the life of a paintball sniper. These types of weapons are designed to target and eliminate your enemies from long distance, therefore they must be efficient and above all, accurate. A missed shot will give away your position.
These guns are often characterized by extended length barrels, sighting capabilities and compatibility with tripod mounts in many cases. Much like all other classes of weapon, sniper paintball guns offer modification options to upgrade your rifle for maximum effectiveness.
Tippmann A-5 Sniper Paintball Gun with Red Dot
This paintball sniper rifle starts with the A-5 body delicately crafted from high-grade aluminum for strength, durability, and a smooth-finish steel aesthetic. Then Tippmann attached a Custom Products 20” sniper rifle for increased accuracy from far distances and precision porting for a minimized sound signature.
A 30mm red dot sight lets you bear down with total certainty while the 45 degree offset sight rail provides full clearance when you cheek down to the stock for target acquisition. The A-5 also comes with a collapsible stock so your aim remains sure and steady when you squeeze the trigger.
Spyder MRX Paintball Marker Gunner Package w/ Sniper Barrel & Fasta Loader
The MRX is a weapon built for efficiency and drop dead accuracy, using Spyder’s EKO valve system which helps you discharge more rounds per tank so you can conserve power and use less CO2.
The EKO system allows you to get up to 1700 shots for every canister. That’s not all, the weapon’s “DLS” Dual-Loading System allows you to select ammo from one of two loaders, an upper and a lower, with just the twist of the gun barrel.
Speaking of, the MRX comes with an 18” ported sniper barrel that has been micro honed to give it greater accuracy and a minimized sound signature while lessening the recoil.
Adjustable sight rail, Picatinny mounts, and a velocity adjuster to govern the propulsion power of your paintball are all available here as well.
Tippman US Army Project Salvo Paintball Marker Gun 3Skull 20? Sniper Red Dot Sling Set
Officially licensed by the US Army for use in training their military personnel, Tippman’s paintball sniper rifle uses an all aluminum die-cast receiver with a stainless steel gas line and high-performance in-line bolt system.
This marker has been equipped with an 11” Quick Thread barrel but also comes with a 20” length tactical sniper barrel for taking out targets from longer distances.
The longer barrel tamps down sound signature and recoil, the length of which is long enough to slip through foliage, tall grass, and any other environmental surroundings to help conceal your position effectively.
The AR style collapsible stock keeps your aim steady and the included front sling keeps your arms free when you need to climb or crawl from your current position to an alternative location with a better line of sight on the enemy.
Automatic Paintball Guns: They Do Exist
Fully automatic paintball guns differ from semi-auto or simple pump-style mechanical paintball guns in more than just the obvious ways. At its most basic comparison, a fully-automatic weapon has a higher rate of fire than a semi-auto, while both formats cycle through repeated rounds with each squeeze of the trigger.
In terms of paintball weaponry, these are electronically powered firearms that require shorter trigger pulls to squeeze off rounds at high rates of discharge. These types of guns almost always give you a choice between semi and fully auto, using just a flip of a lever to interchange between the two settings, or sometimes three, in which case a triple burst option is also available.
RAP4 T68 M4 Firestorm Select-Fire With Full Auto
The T68 is a milsim style weapon that has been fashioned after the look and feel of a real M4 Carbine rifle. Utilizing an electronic grip frame featuring the Firestorm Trigger Group, the gun preserves the authentic firing style of the M4 since there’s no need for a double finger trigger to discharge your rounds.
Three settings, semi, full auto, and three round bursts, are available at your fingertips. One detachable 18 round magazine comes with the gun and it inserts and detaches just like the real thing. Just slap the mag into the receiver and you’re loaded, ready to fire.
A 14” tactical barrel, multi-position collapsible stock, and customizable top rail along the receiver for accessorizing the weapon are all included on the T68.
Tippmann 98 Custom RT Response Trigger Kit
This isn’t a firearm but if you own a 98, a Project Salvo, a Carver One or an Alpha Black paintball gun, this trigger kit can be used to modify your weapon so its capable of three firing modes, including full auto.
The package actually contains two modification kits, the first is the Tippman 98 Custom Response kit for rapid-air assistance to fire up to 15 paintballs per second, and the second is the Tippman Cyclone Feed System for air assisted feeding of your ammo so it can keep up with the demand of the trigger response at that same 15 rounds a second.
The feeder is equipped with a synchronized feed that is built to reduce chopping and jamming of your ammo.
Paintball Shotgun: Great for the Backyard
Most paintball shotguns work with the same functionality and efficiency as pump paintball guns. Their operation relies on a pump action slide to transfer the paintball to the chamber while cocking the weapon so it’s ready for firing.
Then just pull the trigger and hit your target. These guns fire off single rounds instead of multiple shots in succession, so they have a similar drawback to pump guns in terms of rate of discharge.
The barrels on most paintball shotguns can vary in length and the ammunition they use can also range in caliber.
JT SplatMaster Z200 Shotgun
This inexpensive paintball shotgun retails for about $39.95 at most dealers and provides consumers of all skill levels a reliable weapon with good accuracy for short distance firing.
The Z200 fires 15 rounds of ammunition at distances of up to 100 feet. The dependability of the shotgun varies, however, with regard to hitting your target. You have a better chance of taking out nearby objects with a lot more veracity than you do those that are further away.
The shotgun is more precise when you’re trying to tag objects within 50 feet, anything else beyond that might be tougher to hit. Spring action firing, a SWAT-style pistol grip, and barrel plug are all included with the gun.
Operation is also quick and simple, as you don’t need batteries or even CO2 to power the shotgun.
Autococker Paintball Gun: Reliable and Effective
This is a closed-bolt, semi-auto style paintball weapon that was built specifically for use in competition. Once considered the most popular type of marker available due to its complex design and ample customization options, the autococker paintball gun has since been slowly phased out in favor of the electropneumatic marker.
The basic premise of the autococker is that it’s essentially a pump style paintball gun with an automated, self-pumping mechanism that springs into action every time the trigger is squeezed. Operation of the weapon is a two-tiered process that starts with the firing of the paintball.
When you pull the trigger, the hammer is released and hits the valve which then sends a burst of gas from the canister and the paintball is fired through the barrel. Once that paintball is discharged, the hammer is pulled back, as is the internal bolt, to allow another paintball into the chamber, and the bolt is shoved forward after the paintball is loaded, in order to shut the breech.
Then the process begins all over again with another squeeze of the trigger.
Empire Paintball Resurrection Autococker
The Autococker was developed and manufactured by Worr Game Products (WGP) in the late 80’s and Empire Paintball has “resurrected” that same design two decades later in the Resurrection autococker.
Their weapon maintains the original closed-bolt system to give the marker high accuracy while an adjustable low pressure regulator keeps air from spiking and makes for a smoother shot.
There’s a barrel kit that comes with the gun and includes six pieces, the aluminum tip and five backs of, .675, .680, .685, .690., and .695 sizes. The barrel that comes attached to the main receiver is two piece aluminum and extends 14” in length.