Everyone loves the experience of buying a new paintball gun. Unfortunately, finding the best paintball gun for your budget and skill level is sometimes easier said than done.
Not only do you have to choose between buying a woodsball or speedball gun (also known as a marker), you also have to decide whether you want your paintball gun to be mechanical or electronic, and whether you want to use CO2 or HPA.
Now if you’re already experienced at playing paintball then you may just want to read our reviews of the top 10 paintball guns below, but if not, then you would certainly benefit by reading our buyers guide further down the page.
Paintball Gun Reviews
To help you get the most out of your hard earned money I’ve compiled the paintball gun reviews from the most affordable paintball guns to the most expensive. And no matter whether you primarily play woodsball or speedball, there’s bound to be at least one paintball gun in this list that can suit your particular budget and play style.
Kingman Spyder Victor
If you want your very own paintball gun but don’t want to spend a lot of money then you may want to check out the Kingman Spyder Victor. Sure, the Spyder Victor may not come equipped with cool tactical looks or a high rate of fire, but it does deliver exceptional performance compared to other markers in the same price range.
Some of the impressive features that come included with the Spyder Victor are an Eko Valve System (provides to 1,600 shots from a single 20-0z CO2 tank), a tool-free design (quick and easy maintenance under 5 minutes) and a 2-finger trigger. The current version of the Victor is also 15% lighter and 10% shorter than the previous model which makes it even easier to maneuver with on the field.
Unfortunately, due to the extremely low price of the Victor there is one major drawback that you should be aware of before buying this marker. This major drawback is the lack of an actual front grip for you to hold on too. This means that you’re forced to hold on to the steel braided hose that connects the inline ASA to the marker itself.
Other than that though I would have to say that the Kingman Spyder Victor is a great paintball gun for the money and is the perfect marker for any beginner with a budget.
Do you want a beginner paintball gun that is better suited for woodsball? If so, then you may want to take a look at one of the newest markers from Tippmann – the Tippmann Cronus. While some may say that the Cronus is just another attempt by Tippmann to sell the 98 Custom in a different body, there are a few key differences between the two markers that make the Cronus the more popular choice for most beginners.
The first and most important difference between the two markers is the difference of price. Even though the 98 Custom was once the most affordable Tippmann paintball gun that you could buy, it is has now been outdone in price by multiple other Tippmann markers including the Cronus. And at a price point right under $100, the Cronus is one of the most affordable woodsball markers that you can buy.
The Cronus also comes with additional side and bottom Picatinny rails for accessories, soft over molded rubber grips for extra comfort and an internal gas line to further enhance the looks and convenience of this marker. And since the Cronus is built with the same in-line bot design of the 98 Custom, you can be sure that you’re getting a reliable paintball gun that is built to last.
My favorite part about the Cronus though is the Tactical Mod Kit that can be bought with it for only around $10 more. This Tactical Mod Kit comes with an adjustable stock, a carrying handle and a mock silencer to really give the Tippmann Cronus that Milsim look that woodsball players love.
Azodin Blitz 3
Now if you’re looking to play speedball – or just want a paintball gun with a little more firepower – then you can’t go wrong with the Azodin Blitz 3. Not only does this electro pneumatic marker have an impressive firing rate of up to 20 BPS, but its circuit board (Zen Board) also comes with 4 different preset firing modes:
- Semi-auto (20 bps)
- PSP ramp (10.2 bps)
- Millennium ramp (15 bps)
- CFOA semi-auto (10.2 bps)
The Blitz 3 is also one of the few electronic markers available that can run on both CO2 and HPA. This makes the Azodin Blitz 3 the perfect paintball gun for beginners who want a high rate of fire but don’t want to invest in an expensive HPA tank.
The Blitz 3 is also much lighter than its predecessor, weighing in at only 2.05 pounds with the barrel included. This was accomplished by milling the body and exchanging the material in the frame for a lightweight yet durable composite plastic. The old flimsy macroline was also exchanged for a new coated steel braided airline and the blade trigger was upgraded to a scythe trigger as well
All of these new useful features really contribute to the Blitz 3 being one of the best entry level markers for speedball (or paintball in general).
If you’re looking to buy a woodsball gun that is highly customizable then there is no better option than the Tippmann A5. In fact, this paintball marker comes with so many upgrade options that you can literally transform it to look like almost any firearm in the world.
Besides being crowned as the most popular Milsim marker ever created, the Tippmann A5 is also extremely reliable, durable and even capable of shooting up to 15 bps without the use of batteries.
How is this possible you say?
Well the Tippmann A5 uses their patented Cyclone feed system to utilize the gas flowing through the marker to power the loader. This loader design is perfect for woodsball/scenario players since there is nothing worse than having your battery die while you’re in the middle of a game.
Other useful features that come included with the Tippmann A5 are a low profile hopper, a push pin design for quick and easy maintenance without tools and a two position external selector switch that allows you to easily switch from safety to firing mode.
My favorite part about the Tippmann A5 though is that you have the option between choosing an E-grip or a response trigger to increase the rate of fire. And while I personally love the E-grip because it allows you to choose between Semi-Auto, Full Auto and 3 Round Burst, the Response Trigger is definitely a nice option as well if you really want to keep your marker battery free.
Dye Proto Rize MaXXed
While the Dye Proto Rize MaXXed may not be as fancy as some of the other speedball markers in the mid to high-end range, it’s definitely one of the more affordable electronic markers that can actually hold its own in a tournament setting.
Of course, you could always save yourself a little bit of money by buying the regular Dye Proto Rize (or even a Proto Rail), but if you got the budget then the Proto Rize MaXXed is certainly worth the small upscale in price. The advantage of buying the MaXXed model is a two-piece 14 inch barrel, a lever lock clamping feed neck and an On/Off airport ASA. This means better accuracy, better loader security and an overall better lifespan of your HPA tank/ASA.
In addition, both the Proto Rize and the Proto Rize MaXXed come with an UltraLite aluminum trigger with multiple points of adjustment, an UltraLite Hourglass 45 frame with dual density sticky grips and a self-cleaning eye pipe to protect the anti-chop eye system from dirt and broken paint.
Another important feature that comes included with the Dye Proto Rize is the Hyper 3 inline regulator that has an operating pressure of 140 psi. This extremely low operating pressure allows for such a smooth and accurate shot that you will have absolutely no problem bunkering someone with a continuous rope of paint.
Speaking of ropes of paint, the Rize Board on the Proto Rize has a total of 4 tournament firing modes and an adjustable rate of fire of up to 15 bps. The 4 tournament firing modes include:
- Full auto with first shot safety feature
And if the high rate of fire isn’t enough to impress you, I guarantee that you’ll be impressed when you hear this marker in action. Being so incredibly quiet it’s certainly not a bad option as a woodsball marker either.
Tippmann X7 Phenom
One of the hardest decisions to make as a woodsball player is whether to buy an electro-pneumatic or mechanical paintball gun. While electros are typically preferred due to their high rate of fire and improved efficiency, mechanical markers do have the advantage of never running out of battery in the middle of a game.
Fortunately for us, the Tippmann X7 Phenom (short for phenomenal) combines the best of both worlds by allowing you to easily change from a mechanical to an electronic firing mode with the simple flip of a switch. And while the mechanical firing mode may only give you the option of shooting Semi-automatic, the electronic firing mode can be set to either 3 Round Burst, Full-auto, Auto-Response or Turbo Mode (Up to 15 BPS).
The X7 Phenom also utilizes Tippmann’s FlexValve technology to allow this marker to function at an operating pressure of under 300 PSI. Such a low operating pressure results in improved air efficiency, greater accuracy, reduced recoil and a quieter sound signature than the regular X7.
In addition, the X7 Phenom comes with many other useful features such as a:
- Three position selector switch
- Cyclone feed system
- Internal gas line
- All-metal trigger
- Removable front and rear sights
- Picatinny top and bottom rail
- Quick release magazine with built-in tool storage
- Push pin construction for tool-less maintenance
And last but not least, the Tippmann X7 Phenom can also run on either Co2 or HPA – making this one of the most versatile paintball guns ever created.
Planet Eclipse Etha 2
Borrowing some of the best features from both the Gtek and the CS1, the Etha 2 from Planet Eclipse has definitely proven itself to be one of the best paintball guns for the intermediate/professional player on a budget.
Powered by the Gamma Core drivetrain, the Etha 2 is far more than capable of withstanding extremely harsh weather conditions (-20°F – 100+°F) and can even shoot brittle paint with virtually no problem whatsoever. This spool valve drivetrain is also responsible for the Etha 2 being extremely quiet, efficient and even for its almost nonexistent recoil.
Planet Eclipse also made sure to include a glass reinforced nylon (GRN) composite body and an aircraft-grade aluminum inner core with the Etha 2 to truly create one of the most rugged and reliable electro-pneumatic markers ever assembled. And while this paintball gun may be technically built for speedball, its durability and cool tactical looks make it perfect for woodsball players as well.
The Etha 2 also comes with many other top-of-the-line features such as a hose-less air transfer system, a POPS ASA assembly, a tool-less grip and a wire-less frame to body connectivity. Even more impressive though is the Lock n’ load battery system that allows you to easily replace the 9V battery in a simple matter of seconds.
And if the convenience, efficiency and reliability of the Etha 2 isn’t enough to impress you, then maybe you should just head down to your local proshop so you can truly get the full effect of what this paintball gun has to offer.
Empire BT DFender
While the majority of paintball guns either utilize a centerfeed or an offset hopper design, the Empire DFender is the first paintball gun to actually have a loader integrated into the stock of the marker itself. This unique bullpup-style design is perfect for woodsball players as it completely clears up the field of view over the top of your marker.
In addition, having your loader integrated into the back of your marker also helps to lower your profile, quicken your snapshot and even to increase your maneuverability in CQC (close quarter combat). And while the DFender’s clever design may be highly impressive on its own, it’s far from the only reason to buy this marker.
Other reasons to buy the Empire DFender include its lightweight yet durable magnesium shell, its 3-way adjustable trigger and even its On/Off regulator with an easy-to-mount T-Slot rail. Of course, being a woodsball marker the DFender also comes with a few other tactical features such as a selector switch with 5 firing modes (Semi, Burst, Ramping, Full Auto and Select Fire), an Apex 2 barrel with three Super Freak inserts (.680, .685, .690) and removable side Picatinny rails and top Picatinny rails for accessories.
And since the DFender is essentially the combination of an Empire Axe and the Prophecy ZII, there is absolutely no reason to worry when it comes to the firepower of this marker. Besides being capable of shooting up to 20 bps with continuous loading, the Empire DFender also comes with break beam eyes to prevent ball chops and an auto anti-jam feature to prevent any possible jamming.
Planet Eclipse Geo CS1.5
Now if you want to be able to compete on a professional level then you’re going to need a paintball gun like the Geo CS1.5 from Planet Eclipse. Of course, you could always get the regular CS1 and save yourself a little bit of money, but the CS1.5 is definitely worth the small difference in price if you truly want to the best of the best.
So what exactly are the benefits of buying the CS1.5 over the CS1?
Well, for starters, the Planet Eclipse Geo CS1.5 comes with many new features such as a blade trigger, a redesigned POPS ASA, a low rise clamping feedneck and a Shaft Fl carbon fiber barrel system. And if that wasn’t enough already, the Geo CS1.5 is also over 90 grams lighter than the original CS1 and even comes with a new custom milled body that is much more aesthetically pleasing.
However, take away all the new features listed above and both the CS1 and the CS1.5 are exactly the same. Fortunately, the CS1 just happens to be one of the best speedball guns ever made. And while markers from Planet Eclipse are mostly known for their reliability and efficiency, the Geo CS1 is also known to be one of the quietest, softest and smoothest shooting paintball guns of all time.
And as an added benefit, if you ever want to change how smooth your CS1 is firing you can always adjust the SFR (Solenoid Flow Restrictor) to increase or decrease the smoothness of your shot. You can also increase the softness of your shot as well by swapping out your main (hard tip) bolt with the spare (soft tip) bolt that comes included in your carrying case.
Another benefit of owning the Geo CS1 – and virtually all other paintball guns from Planet Eclipse – is that they require very little maintenance and are quite simply easy to maintain. And no wonder why! With features such as the hoseless design, the quick release bolt and the wire-free connection between the body and the frame – the CS1 was definitely built for quick and easy maintenance.
The coolest feature of the CS1 though would have to be that the battery compartment is located in the foregrip of the gun (same as the Etha 2). But instead of using a 9V battery this time, the CS1 is actually powered by 2 AA batteries that can be easily removed without the use of tools.
With the foregrip off you can also access the tool-less eye cover plate and either clean the eyes or replace the ball detent while you’re on the go. A spare detent is included behind the eye cover plate as well so you’ll always have a backup ready at all times.
Now to wrap up this review the last feature I want to mention is the two piece interlocking grips that wrap around the rear grip frame of the gun. This grip design is actually much better than expected as it’s extremely comfortable to hold and comes with a magnified GUI (Graphical User Interface) that allows easy readability at all times (even in bright sunlight).
Dye Assault Matrix
Have you ever had a clear shot on an enemy player, only to realize they were barely out of your range? Or even better yet, have you ever missed out on an elimination because you ran out of paintballs at the last second?
Well fear no more!
With the Dye Assault Matrix (DAM) all it takes it the simple flip of a switch and you can instantly swap from using a loader to using the DAM’s magazine feed system. And not just any magazine feed system either, but an ambidextrous magazine feed system that can accept both regular paintballs and First Strike projectile rounds (a type of paintball designed for improved accuracy and range).
The DAM also comes with a few other cool tactical features such as multiple picatinny rails for accessories, a 5-position adjustable stock (with storage compartment) and a competition grade trigger. And if that’s not enough to impress you, let’s not forget that the DAM is also capable of shooting over 30+ BPS and can even changing firing modes (semi auto, three round burst or fully automatic) with just the push of a button!
But wait, it gets even better! You can always transform your DAM into a mag fed only marker by simply removing the clamping feedneck and attaching the feedneck cover plate in its place. Not only will this give the DAM the realistic look and feel that Milsim players love, but it will also greatly reduce the overall weight and profile of the marker as well (perfect for snipers).
And to top it all off, both cleaning and maintenance is extremely easy with the DAM thanks to a few useful features such as the Quick Release Bolt (allows you to quickly remove the bolt and Hyper 3 inline regulator), the self-cleaning eye pipe and the Dye Tactical Sticky Grips with tool-less access to the 9v battery.
How to Choose the Best Paintball Gun
One of the best feelings you can experience as a beginner in paintball is the moment you buy your first paintball gun. Unfortunately, it could easily turn into one of the worst feelings you experience if you purchase the wrong one.
While reading paintball gun reviews such as those above may prove to be helpful, it’s important that you first decide on whether you want a woodsball or speedball marker, a mechanical or electro pneumatic marker and whether you want to use Co2 or HPA.
In order to make this decision process as simple as possible I’ve discussed each of the marker and propellant types below.
Woodsball vs. Speedball
The first decision you’ll need to make before buying a paintball gun is whether you want to use a woodsball or speedball marker. While that may seem as simple as choosing whether you want to play woodsball or speedball, it’s actually a little more complex.
If you’re a woodsball or scenario player then it really doesn’t matter what kind of paintball gun you use. In all honesty, the only major advantage to using a woodsball gun over a speedball gun is that you may be a little more accurate – especially when it comes to first shot accuracy.
Well, unlike speedball guns that utilize a centerfeed design (vertical feedneck on top of marker), woodsball guns typically come with an offset loader feed instead. With this type of feedneck you can look directly over the center of your marker and use the iron sights (or even a red dot) to help with aiming. In addition, many woodsball guns even come with a stock as well to further help increase accuracy and stability.
Of course, using a speedball gun with a centerfeed design has its advantages as well. The main advantage being that it’s ambidextrous, making it much easier to shoot around both sides of a bunker. Centerfeed markers also come with a better overall balance and can even be tilted at an angle to keep the majority of your loader hidden behind cover.
Electro Pneumatic vs. Mechanical
The next decision you’ll have to make is whether you want to get an electro pneumatic or a mechanical paintball gun.
To keep things simple, mechanical markers can only fire one shot per trigger pull, whereas electro pneumatic markers can be set to a variety of different firing modes: such as semi auto, three round burst or fully automatic. Electronic paintball guns are also typically lighter, quieter and operate at a much lower operating pressure (more shots per tank) than their mechanical counterparts.
Unfortunately, using an electronic paintball gun does come with its downsides as well. The main one being that you’ll never be able to play without a charged battery (or batteries) ever again. You also won’t be able to play when it’s raining outside unless proper precautions are taken beforehand. And even then it’s still risky.
However, if you plan on playing speedball at a competitive level then you should definitely consider investing in an electro. Even though some mechanical markers may be able to shoot at a high rate of fire, the lack of a computer board makes it impossible to adjust your RoF to preset tournament conditions. Plus the extra weight and heavier trigger pull aren’t that helpful either.
HPA vs. CO2
The last decision you’ll have to make before buying a paintball gun is whether to use CO2 (carbon dioxide) or HPA (high pressure air). In order to make this decision though you’ll first need to find out what type of propellant is available in your area. While many places may be able to fill CO2, you could have a hard time filling HPA if you don’t have a paintball field or a local pro shop close to home.
Now if you do have somewhere close by where you can fill both CO2 and HPA then you can essentially buy any paintball gun that you can afford. However, if CO2 is the only type of propellant available in your area then your options are limited to either using a mechanical marker or a low end electro that is CO2 compatible.
This is because electro pneumatic paintball guns weren’t designed to be able to handle the negative effects that are often associated with using CO2. The main negative effect I’m referring to is the large spike in PSI that occurs whenever liquid CO2 rapidly expands inside of a paintball gun. This can happen whenever a marker is fired in rapid succession or when it’s first shot after being tilted downwards for an extended period of time.
Another drawback of using CO2 is that your output pressure can be extremely inconsistent if the weather is either too hot or too cold outside. In fact, when the temperature is too hot outside your CO2 tank can actually blow a macro line or even a burst disk. Whereas if it’s too cold (below 50°F) outside your output pressure will begin to drop dramatically, eventually reaching the point where your paintball gun won’t even be able to fire.
Fortunately, when using an HPA tank you’ll never have to worry about any type of liquid bypassing the regulator and seeping into the marker itself as HPA is nothing but highly compressed air. Some of the benefits of using compressed air include a consistent output pressure, a regulator with a gauge (tells you how much air is left in tank) and cheaper refills for your tank. You’ll also get none of the negative effects that are associated with using CO2.
Of course, HPA tanks do have the downside of being a bit more expensive than CO2 tanks, as well as being a bit bulkier in size. And while you can save a little bit of money by buying a steel HPA tank, the carbon fiber models are definitely worth the increase in price if you have the money. Besides being much lighter in weight, they also carry far more air than their steel counterparts.
Other Types of Paintball Markers
One of the reasons I became interested in playing paintball was because I loved the idea of being able to customize my paintball gear to be different from everyone else. This made playing paintball have a similar feeling to playing some of my favorite childhood video games.
And just like in a video game where I can customize the way my character looks and plays, in paintball I can customize the way I look and play as well. All I have to do is simply invest in new paintball gear.
The most important piece of paintball gear being the paintball gun.
So what kind of paintball guns can you buy to stand out from the other players on the field?
The three types of paintball guns that don’t follow the traditional mech or electro design are the mag-fed marker, the pump gun and the paintball pistol.
There are also many sub-variations of paintball guns such as mechanical blowbacks, electronic blowbacks, autocockers, spool valves, poppet valves, .50 cal and many more.
To learn more about the mechanics of paintball guns visit zdspb.com for more information.
If you’re a die-hard Milsim player then there there’s no better option for you than the mag-fed paintball gun. Just like with an actual firearm, magazine fed markers store the ammunition (paintballs) in a magazine clip that you can quickly remove and reattach when you’re ready to reload.
While using a magazine clip does greatly limit your fire power, it does add a level of realism to the game that many tactical players love.
Before the game of paintball was ever invented, pump paintball guns were already being used to mark objects such as trees and cattle from a distance. This is why paintball guns were originally referred to as “markers”.
In order to use a pump action paintball gun you have to manually recock (pump) the handle each time before you pull the trigger. Most pump paintball guns also come with a limited ammo capacity and have to be equipped with a 12 gram Co2 cartridge. This limits your firing capacity to around 20-40 shots depending on the efficiency of your marker.
Of course, many pump markers can also be equipped with a full sized loader and an HPA tank if that’s more your style. Or if you prefer playing with limited air and paint capacity then stock class paintball might be the better fit for you.
If you’ve never heard of stock class paintball before it’s a paintball game that only allows pump action markers with a few extra rules such as a 20-round horizontal loader limit and no air tanks other than a 12 gram Co2 cartridge can be used.
So why would anyone want to use a paintball gun that has to be pumped before/after every shot? Well, not only does it make the game more challenging, but it also helps you save money if you’re on a budget. Plus it’s a great way to increase your first-shot accuracy.
Unfortunately, the cost of 12 gram Co2 carts does begin to add up after a while. So if your plan is to save money, make sure your pump marker accepts regular air tanks.
The last style of paintball gun I want to mention is the paintball pistol. With even less ammo capacity than a stock class pump marker, the paintball pistol was built with only the serious paintballer in mind.
Paintball pistols can be equipped either as a side weapon for a little extra firepower, or as your primary weapon to make the game a little more challenging.
You can even dual wield paintball pistols if you really want to go all out. Just be warned it can be a little tricky to reload two pistols at once.
The only downside of using a paintball pistol is that they can only be used with 12 gram Co2 cartridges.