The sport of paintball can be divided into many different categories: woodsball, speedball, scenario, stock-class, Milsim, and magfed paintball.
Magfed paintball is the newest variation of the sport, where players use magazines instead of loaders to feed their paintball guns. The advantage of using a magazine to feed your paintballs is that it allows for a more realistic playing style that looks and feels more like an actual firearm than a paintball gun.
This more realistic playing style is why magfed paintball is quickly becoming the fastest-growing community in the the sport, with players all over the world attending MagFed Only Games (MFOG) and connecting with other magfed players online (in communities such as Facebook groups) to communicate and play with on weekends.
However, playing magfed paintball does have its disadvantages as well, so if you’re interested in joining the ranks of the magfed community then I would recommend you continue reading the rest of this article below. Not only am I going to list the best magfed paintball guns currently available, but I’m also going to teach you everything you need to know before buying your first magfed marker.
Who knows, you might even decide that magfed paintball isn’t for you. Or maybe you’ll wish you would’ve found this community even sooner. Let’s find out.
Tippmann Stormer (Best For Beginners)
The Tippmann Stormer Elite is the best magfed marker for beginners or players on a budget.
One of the first things I noticed when holding the Tippmann Stormer Elite for the first time was how lightweight and small it felt in my hands. While most magfed paintball guns tend to be a bit on the heavy side, the high-impact composite body of the Tippmann Stormer is both highly durable and lightweight. This comes to no surprise as Tippmann has a reputation for creating some of the most durable paintball guns on the planet and the Tippmann Stormer Elite abides by that reputation.
The Stormer comes with Tippmann’s proven in-line bolt system, top and bottom Picatinny rails, 6-position collapsible stock, and front & rear flip-up sights. The Stormer Elite (the magfed version of the Stormer) comes with two magazines, a dummy magazine, and a dual feed modular design that can be converted from offset loader to magazine fed in a matter of seconds.
All you have to do is unscrew a screw, attach or remove an offset elbow feed, and re-screw the screw with the protective plate on and you’re good to go. If you do want to use the offset loader feed just make sure to attach the dummy magazine beforehand so that the ball-detent is in place. The ball-detent will prevent double feeding and barrel rollout.
The only major downside of the Tippmann Stormer Elite is that (just like the Tippmann TMC) it can’t use First Strike paintballs. But if you’re wanting to play magfed and don’t care about shooting First Strikes then the Stormer Elite may just be the right paintball gun for you.
First Strike T15 (Most Realistic)
Widely regarded as the best magfed marker for Milsim enthusiasts is the First Strike T15.
The FS T15 is a true 1-to-1 replica of the AR-15 platform, which is why it’s called the “T15”. Of course, an actual AR-15 won’t come with an HPA tank integrated into its stock, but everything else on the T15 will be the exact same.
For this reason, the First Strike T15 is one of the most upgradeable paintball markers of all time. Just like with the real AR-15, you can upgrade virtually every part on the T15 from First Strike. Plus there are performance upgrades such as the Select Fire Trigger Assembly (full auto kit), 100-round magazine drum, remote air adaptor, and dropdown ASA that you can purchase to further separate your T15 from the rest.
Some of the features that make the First Strike T15 such a great magfed marker are the 2-piece cast aluminum construction, quad Picatinny rail handguard, and the 11-point adjustable buttstock that has a 13/3000 HPA tank integrated into the stock itself. For the die-hard Milsim enthusiasts, the T15 also comes with a fully functional charging handle, a selector switch safety, and a 2-pin strip design that allows you to perform maintenance just like you would on an actual AR rifle.
And to top it all off, the T15 also comes with two continuous-feed magazines that can accept either 19 First Strike rounds or 20 .68 caliber paintballs. You can also switch between hopper fed and magazine fed by flipping down the charge plate and attaching the offset loader adaptor.
Valken M17 (Best For the Money)
The Valken M17 (previously known as the Milsig M17) is one of the only magfed paintball guns that come out of the box with full-auto capability.
Now shooting full auto at 15 BPS may not be that impressive, but shooting full auto at 15 BPS without the use of batteries is pretty incredible. The M17 even comes with a safety selector switch so you can easily switch between safety, semi-automatic, and full auto at any time.
But wait, it gets even better..
The Valken M17 can also shoot First Strike rounds, which means at the flip of a switch the M17 can unleash absolute terror on the enemy for two to three seconds. Or you can set the selector switch to semi-automatic and shoot .68 caliber paintballs at the enemy one trigger pull at a time.
Another reason I love the Valken M17 is that it’s reasonably priced (currently under $300), making it a great option for beginners looking to get their first magfed marker. The M17 also comes with a simple mechanical blow forward design that‘s unlikely to give you problems on the paintball field. And if you ever do run into problems (or just want to perform maintenance) all it requires is the removal of two take-down pins and you can field strip the marker in a matter of seconds.
Some of the basic features of the Valken M17 include an 18 round magazine, a CQC shroud with quad Picatinny rail, and an adjustable buttstock that fits around a 13/3000 HPA tank (tank not included). One of the more nifty features on the M17 is the pressure release valve that alarms you when the velocity is set too high by making a hissing sound whenever the marker is fired.
The only major downside of the Valken M17 is that it comes with a break-in period of around 1,000 shots. During this break-in period, I wouldn’t recommend firing the marker on full-auto for long as it may chop a lot of paint and create a messy situation.
Planet Eclipse EMF100 (Best Overall)
There’s no denying the EMF100 from Planet Eclipse is one of the best magfed paintball guns currently available.
I actually own an EMF100 myself and I wouldn’t trade it for any other magfed marker. Granted, I only use the EMF100 when playing the role of paintball sniper, so I’m not too concerned about not being able to shoot fully automatic. But if the EMF100 can’t shoot full auto like the other mid-high end magfed markers, then why exactly is it such a great paintball gun?
For starters, the EMF100 is extremely consistent (therefore accurate), reliable, robust, and has a great overall design that (in my opinion) is leagues better than the competition. Sure, it may not come with all the fancy bells and whistles like the DAM or the realism of the T15, but it makes up for it with sheer performance.
The reason the EMF100 delivers such a great performance can be simply attributed to the fact it’s made by Planet Eclipse. Known for creating some of the best paintball guns in the world, Planet Eclipse really went all out when making their first magfed marker — the EMF100.
Some of the features that Planet Eclipse added to the EMF100 include dual (top and bottom) connecting Picatinny rail shrouds (to reduce length for CQC), dual-feed compatibility, PAL enabled configuration (compatible with high-speed loader that doesn’t require batteries), and the tried-and-true Gamma Core drivetrain. The Gamma Core is really where most of the performance of the EMF100 comes from as it truly delivers one of the smoothest, quietest, and most consistent shots of all time.
The EMF100 can also be configured with the Pwr Stock from Planet Eclipse. The Pwr Stock has a drop-down design that allows you to position your head correctly behind the marker so you can properly aim with your mask on. Whereas the T15 and M17 doesn’t have a drop-down stock so you can’t even aim down the sights without a mask on.
Dye Assault Matrix (Most Versatile)
The magfed marker with the coolest features is the Dye Assault Matrix, otherwise known as the DAM. Funnily enough, that’s exactly what most players say when they see the DAM for the first time.
All jokes aside.. The Dye Assault Matrix is the most expensive magfed marker currently available and well worth the price if you have the money. Unlike most magfed paintball guns which have a mechanical design, the DAM is electro-pneumatic and requires the use of a single 9-volt battery. Being an electronic paintball gun means the DAM may not be suitable for playing in the rain, but it does have the advantage of being able to shoot semi-auto, three-round burst, and full-auto.
The best feature of the DAM, however, would have to be the OTF (On-The-Fly) switch that allows you to switch between magazine fed and loader fed with the simple flip of a switch. The reason this feature is so amazing (and the only reason I would pay the hefty price for the DAM) is that it means you can switch back and forth between using regular paintballs in your loader and First Strike rounds in your magazine.
So whenever you’re in a situation where you need some extra range and accuracy all you have to do is flip the OTF switch and you have First Strike rounds at your disposal. And if you ever want to lay down some suppressive fire or just keep up with the speedballers on the field then simply flip the OTF switch back and you’re ready to go.
Some of the other cool features on the DAM include quad Picatinny rails (removable and interchangeable), tool-less access to the battery, a gas-thru frame, a competition-style trigger, and an Eye Pipe system to prevent miss feeds and double feeding. The Eye Pipe system is self-cleaning as well so you don’t have to worry about dirt and broken paint getting on your eyes.
What to Consider When Buying a MagFed Marker
Not all magfed paintball guns are made the same.
While some can shoot full auto, some can only shoot semi-automatic. While some are heavy and resemble an actual firearm, some are lightweight and look more like a paintball gun with a magazine.
So if you want to make sure you get the best magfed marker for your budget and playing style, then I recommend you consider each of the features listed below. These features include dual-feed compatibility, first strike compatibility, full-auto capability, realism, and affordability.
The first important feature about magfed paintball guns worth mentioning is dual-feed compatibility. Dual-feed compatibility means the paintball gun is capable of being converted from magazine fed to hopper fed, typically by removing a plate with a screw and attaching a feedneck in its place.
This feature is more important to players who want to be able to switch between using a magazine and a loader, but don’t want to have to buy multiple paintball guns. Now if you’re like me and you already have a marker that’s loader fed, then dual-feed compatibility may not be that big of an issue.
First Strike Compatibility
Being able to shoot First Strike rounds is the bread and butter of magfed paintball.
If you’ve never heard of First Strike paintballs before, they’re simply a type of paintball round that comes with a fin attached to the backside of the paintball to improve the range and accuracy of the round.
Without First Strike paintballs, you would simply be trading a clear field of view over the top of your marker for a 10 – 20 paintball round capacity at any one time.
I mean, seriously, they’re the bee knees, the cat’s pajamas, the cream of the crop.
While a magfed paintball gun may not have the ammo capacity to shoot fully automatic for long, it can still prove to be useful in a sticky situation. Of course, if your magfed marker has dual-feed capability then you can attach a loader and an elbow feed and be able to shoot full auto for more than 1-2 seconds at a time.
Some magfed markers such as the Dye DAM and First Strike T15 have their own version of a drum magazine (high-capacity magazine) that can hold anywhere from 100 – 325 paintball rounds. Both of these paintball guns can effectively use their full-auto capabilities.
One of the reasons so many players begin playing paintball is because of their interest in the military. Maybe their favorite movie growing up was Saving Private Ryan or maybe they just love to play the popular Call of Duty video game series. No matter the reason, it’s this fascination with the military that fuels the Milsim paintball community.
Milsim (Military-Simulation) paintball has been around since the beginning of the sport, but since the invention of the first magfed marker the amount of players interested in Milsim paintball has begun to take off.
This is because a paintball gun with a magazine is a lot more realistic than a paintball gun with a loader. However, there are some magfed markers such as the T15 and M17 that have a more realistic look and feel than say the Dye DAM or Planet Eclipse EMF100.
This should come without saying but you have to choose a magfed marker that fits within your budget.
Don’t forget that you not only have to buy the magfed paintball gun, but you also have to buy the magazines, vest, air tank, mask, etc. in order to play.
Advice for MagFed Beginners
Thinking about buying your first magfed paintball gun?
If so, then I recommend you take the time to read the magfed tips for beginners I’ve listed below. They may just change your mind.
Check If Your Local Field Allows First Strike Rounds
The first piece of advice I give to players interested in buying a magfed paintball gun is to check and see if your local paintball field allows First Strike rounds. When I first bought my EMF100 I already knew that my local field didn’t allow First Strike paintballs, but until I shot my first FS round in a game I didn’t realize what I was missing.
Fortunately, there are some paintball fields in Florida where I can use First Strike rounds, I just have to drive over an hour to get there. So make sure you’re prepared for the drive required if you want to be able to fire those sweet, sweet First Strike paintball rounds.
Be Prepared for How Long it Takes to Reload
Something I didn’t think about when I first got my EMF100 was how long it would take to reload between games. If you use a Tippmann Stomer Elite or Tippmann TMC then you can buy the Tippmann Magazine Loader (check for price on Amazon.com) to speed up the reloading process.
Now if you don’t own a Tippmann TMC or Stormer Elite then fortunately there is a way to speed up the reloading process that only requires a 10-round paintball tube and a long-thin object such as the end of a squeegee. Just push down the magazine spring with a thin object until it locks in the place and then scoop 10 paintballs into the 10 round tube and dump the paintballs into the magazine.
Consider the Cost of Spare Magazines
If you plan on buying a magfed paintball gun then you need to consider the cost of spare magazines. However, before you can do this, you’ll first have to decide how many magazines you’ll want to carry on you at a time.
If you’re going to use a 13/3000 compressed air tank then you’ll only need enough mags to hold 130 +/- paintballs. Now if you’re going to use a larger-sized air tank then you can carry as many magazines as you wish (or as many as your vest will allow).
Invest In a Quality MagFed Vest (or Belt)
Not only do you need to consider the cost of spare magazines, but you also have to factor in the cost of a magfed vest and all of its accessories (magazine pouches, tank pouch, etc.) before you buy your magfed marker.
Here are some of the best magfed paintball vests currently available.
Never Rush Into Battle Before Equipping a New Magazine
Something I quickly learned when I first started using a magfed marker is to never rush into battle on a half-empty magazine.
Even if you ask your teammate if he’s absolutely certain that the 10-year-old is the only enemy player left, and he says yes he’s absolutely certain. So you go to bunker-tag the 10-year-old player, only to find out another enemy player is sitting behind a bunker waiting to unload on you. Unfortunately, by the time you realize the other enemy player is there, it’s too late to reload and you only have two paintballs left to try to make an elimination.
Not saying this happened to me or anything..