Paintball has exploded in popularity over the last 20 years due, in large part, to the increases in technology. No longer are the guns (or “markers” as they’re often called) all like the rental versions you’d find on the ranges in the early 2000’s… there are some REALLY advanced options out there. This can all be a bit daunting if you’re venturing into paintball for the first (or second) time and aren’t sure how much is worth spending on (even if you’re not on a budget).
We won’t get into what constitutes the “best” paintball gun for different budgets (there are plenty of guides for that) we will break down what you should consider when looking at a paintball marker:
Firstly, there are 3 main types of paintball guns:
- Pump versions: These were the old ‘90’s range versions that I mentioned above. Don’t generally pack much of a punch but are inexpensive, sturdy and will get the job done.
- Mechanically operated: These are the most common currently and generally are the most bang for the buck. These operate on CO2 and are likely what you’ll be looking at unless you’re advanced.
- Electronically operated: Top shelf and have the price tag to match. Because it’s electric (specifically electromagnets) that are propelling the paintballs, the trigger is VERY easy to pull. This is why the pros love them… they can easily squeeze off 3 rounds a second without no more effort than double-clicking a computer mouse. Generally reserved for the very serious folks although the prices for some of these markers are coming down.
Mechanically operated markers are generally the best bet for all but the very beginners or most advanced. Another important component to consider is the weight, design and modification ability of the gun (“mods”). A LOT of awesome mods exist depending on the model. There really is no “best” paintball gun… it’s all about getting the best marker for your budget, your type of play and your style (e.g. sniper vs. guns blazing).
That said, some great brands to start looking at are D3FY (specifically the D3FY Sports D3S marker) and the Tippman 98. Both are solid guns for the money and have plenty of upgrade capacity so you won’t find yourself outgrowing them too quickly.
The key is to spend wisely and don’t go too cheap out of the gate… it’s easy to spend too much money on a marker BUT you don’t want to spend too little either otherwise you’ll pay in the long run. So, have fun, and happy hunting!