Are you interested in buying a new paintball gun, but aren’t sure what to purchase?
Don’t worry, we’ve all been there.
With so many options available, it can be difficult to choose the best paintball gun for your budget and play style.
To help you with this decision, I’ve gone ahead and listed the most important questions to ask yourself before choosing a paintball marker (another name for paintball gun).Here are those questions.
- Do you want a paintball gun designed for woodsball or speedball?
- Do you want a mechanical or electronic paintball gun?
- Do you want to use Co2 or HPA?
- Are you more interested in buying a magfed paintball gun, pump paintball gun, or paintball pistol?
Once you’ve answered these simple questions above, I recommend you read my reviews of the top 10 paintball guns below.
If you need help answering these questions above, scroll down to the section labeled “How to Choose the Best Paintball Gun” so you can learn more about the different types of markers available.
It’ll tell you everything you need to know.
Paintball Gun Reviews
To help you get the most out of your hard-earned money, I’ve compiled the paintball gun reviews from most affordable to most expensive.
And no matter whether you primarily play woodsball, speedball, or even magfed paintball, there’s bound to be at least one paintball gun on this list that fits your needs.
Kingman Spyder Victor
I wouldn’t normally recommend the Kingman Spyder Victor, but if you’re adamant on buying a paintball gun under $100 then this would be your best option (or you can buy a used paintball gun by following my guide here).
Sure, the Spyder Victor may be kind of loud and clunky, but it’s not that bad when compared to other markers in the same price range.
Some of the features that come included with the Spyder Victor are an Eko Valve System (provides up 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, making 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 you’re forced to hold on to the steel braided hose that connects the inline ASA to the marker itself.
Now this may be a little uncomfortable, but if you’re just looking to play some backyard paintball with your friends or family then the Kingman Spyder Victor will do the job. Buying the Spyder Victor will also prevent you from wasting anymore money on rentals,which is always a plus in my book.
Tippmann Stormer Elite
If you’re a beginner woodsball player looking to buy your first paintball gun then I recommend you take a look at the Tippmann Stormer.
If you’ve never heard of Tippmann before, they’re known for creating some of the most reliable and robust paintball guns ever made. So robust in fact that I’ve even heard of people running over Tippmann paintball guns with their car and still being able to fire the marker afterwards. They’re just that well-made.
The Tippmann Stormer (much like every other beginner marker from Tippmann) uses practically the same internals as the Tippmann 98 Custom. The reason being is that they simply work.
The Tippmann Stormer and the 98 Custom do have some key differences though, the main one being that the Stormer comes in two different models: the Stormer and the Stormer Elite.
The Stormer is the regular hopper-fed version that reminds me a lot of the Tippmann Cronus. The Stormer Elite, however, is what I consider to be the best magfed paintball gun for beginners.
Even though the Stormer Elite lacks the ability to shoot First Strike rounds, you certainly can’t complain for the price! The Stormer Elite comes loaded with features such as top and bottom Picatinny rails, an internal gas line, a high-impact composite body, front and rear flip up sights, 6-position collapsible stock, 20-round magazines, and a loader-to-magazine conversion kit.
Azodin Blitz 4
If you’re a beginner speedball player on a budget – or you just want an affordable marker with a little bit of firepower – then you can’t go wrong with the Azodin Blitz 4.
Not only does this electronic paintball gun 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 (10.5 bps)
- Millennium ramp (15 bps)
- CFOA semi-auto (10.5 bps)
The Blitz 4 is also one of the few electronic markers available that can run on both CO2 and HPA. This makes the Azodin Blitz 4 the perfect paintball gun for beginners who want a high rate of fire but don’t want to invest in an expensive HPA tank.
Another reason the Blitz 4 is such a great paintball gun for beginners is because of its simplistic design. Besides the Zen board and solenoid, there’s only a few other major parts required to make this marker function.
This makes performing maintenance on the Azodin Blitz 4 extremely easy to do. Simply take out the bolt, striker, and spring and you’ve pretty much disassembled the entire marker.
Now I’m not going to lie and act like Hazen and paintball guns are top of the line, but they really aren’t half bad for the price and I would recommend one to any beginner player starting out. Just realize that you’re eventually going to want to upgrade your marker somewhere down the line if you do decide you like the sport.
If you’re looking to buy a woodsball gun that’s 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?
The A5 uses Tippmann’s patented Cyclone feed system to utilize the gas flowing through the marker to power the loader. This loader design is perfect for woodsball or scenario players as there’s 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 cool safety switch that allows you to easily turn on safety or firing mode.
My favorite part about the Tippmann A5 though is the option to choose between an E-grip or response trigger to increase your rate of fire. While I personally love the E-grip because it allows you to easily switch between Semi-Auto, Full Auto, and 3 Round Burst, the Response Trigger is a nice option as well if you want to remain battery free.
Looking for an affordable magfed paintball gun with First Strike capability?
Look no further than the Valken M17.
Currently priced right under $300, the Valken M17 is (in my opinion) the best magfed marker for players on a budget. And while the M17 may be new to Valken, it’s actually been around for many years under the previous name of the Milsig M17.
I guess Valken wanted their own magfed marker so they decided to buy the rights to a tried-and-true magfed paintball gun such as the Milsig M17.
But hey, I can’t complain!
The magfed paintball community continues to prosper by having an affordable magfed marker such as the M17 around. Besides being one of the most affordable paintball guns capable of shooting First Strike rounds, the M17 can also toggle between safety, semi-auto, and fully automatic at the flip of a switch.
Warning: The Valken M17 comes with a break-in period of around 1000 shots. During this break-in period the M17 may chop a few paintballs.
But wait, it gets even better!
Not only can the M17 reach up to 15 BPS when shooting fully automatic, it also requires absolutely no batteries to do so.
Yes, you heard me right.
The Valken M17 is actually a mechanical paintball gun.
This means the M17 shoots fully automatic in a similar fashion to how the response trigger works on a Tippmann paintball gun. Milsim players should find this as an advantage though as the M17 shoots more like an actual firearm than a paintball gun. The Valken M17 looks like an actual firearm as well thanks to the 13/3000 HPA tank integrated into the buttstock (not included).
Empire Mini GS
Do you want a paintball gun that can keep up with high-end electros, but yet only costs a fraction of the price? Well, it’s your lucky day!
The Empire Mini GS is one of the most affordable entry-level markers that can actually hold its own in a tournament setting. With a respectable price tag somewhere between $300 to $400, the Mini GS is what I consider the best paintball gun for speedball players on a budget.
It’s also a great paintball gun for players that are young or players that have relatively small hands. This is because the Mini GS is the smallest tournament paintball gun on the market. Its compact design is typically what attracts players to buy the Empire Mini, but it’s also the reason that many players dislike the Mini.
Besides its compact design, other features that attract players to the Empire Mini GS is its lightweight design (1.9 lbs. barrel included), wrap-around rubber foregrip (comfortable and easy to grip), On/Off ASA, two-piece barrel system, and its wide variety of color combinations.
I’m also a big fan of the Empire Mini GS’s inline poppet bolt system. Its air efficient, easy on paint, easy to clean (few o-rings), low on maintenance, low on recoil, quiet, and overall there’s very little that can go wrong.
The Mini GS has a maximum RoF of 20 BPS and comes with 4 firing modes:
- NXL Full Auto
The only true downside of the Mini GS is that it doesn’t come with a tooless design as most high-end electros do. But considering the price tag of the Mini GS is under $400 and not $1000+, I doubt anyone buying the Empire Mini GS will be complaining.
Planet Eclipse EMF100
My personal favorite paintball gun (and the marker I own) is the Planet Eclipse EMF100.
The reason I love the EMF100 so much is because it’s the best magfed paintball gun in terms of performance. Even though it may not come with the tactical looks of the Valken M17 or the First Strike T15, it does have one thing no other magfed marker has — the Gamma Core.
The Gamma Core drivetrain bolt from Planet Eclipse is one of the main reasons their paintball guns perform so well. This bolt can handle 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 EMF100 being extremely quiet, efficient, and having an almost nonexistent recoil.
However, the internals alone isn’t the only reason the EMF100 is known for its performance. The EMF 100 also comes with an adapter (or you can buy the Pwr Stock from Planet Eclipse) that lowers the elevation of your buttstock to give you more headroom for aiming.
Without this adapter, it’s essentially impossible to aim down the sights with your mask on, at least without the use of a mount riser of some kind. And even then, it may not be optimal.
Some of the other useful features on the EMF100 include top and bottom Picatinny rail shrouds (can be separated in two to reduce length for CQC), dual-feed compatibility, On/Off Pops ASA, and a PAL enabled configuration that allows you to use a high-speed loader that requires no batteries.
SP Shocker XLS
Never before has the process of choosing an entry-level tournament marker been such a daunting task. With so many great options around the $750 – $1000 price range, it’s virtually impossible to choose a bad paintball marker.
However, If I had to choose between any of the entry-level tournament paintball guns currently available, I would choose the SP Shocker XLS.
While I was a big fan of the predecessor of the XLS (the Shocker RSX), it just didn’t quite compare to the other tournament markers in the same price range.
Fortunately, the Shocker XLS is a huge improvement over its predecessor and in my opinion it’s one of the top three entry-level tournament markers currently available (the other two being the Dye DSR and the Planet Eclipse G170R).
The Shocker XLS is exceptionally good for players who want a lightweight, easy to maneuver paintball gun such as younger players or players who commonly play snake. The XLS is also extremely comfortable in your hands and comes with plenty of hand room and a comfortable trigger that’s easy to walk.
SP also included a few nifty features on the XLS to make your life as simple as possible. These features include the thumb wheel on the feedneck and the On/Off knob with grooves attached to the ASA.
The thumb wheel (or thumb screw) makes it simple to quickly adjust the feedneck to allow for different sized loaders and the On/Off assembly with grooves makes it easier to turn your ASA on and off when your hands are covered in paint.
The best features on the XLS, however, has more to do with performance than ergonomics. These features are the new and improved aluminum regulator and the bigger sized bolt that greatly increases the performance of your XLS.
When compared to the brass regulator in the RSX, the new aluminum regulator in the XLS has a faster refresh rate (resulting in better consistency) and is even easier to maintain.
The new bolt on the Shocker XLS is even more impressive as it’s smooth, quiet, efficient, consistent, and easy on paint. All of these improvements are thanks to increased internal volume of the bolt which lowered the lower operating pressure to 145 PSI from 170 PSI.
The last few features I want to mention are the 8-inch (.687) control bore Freak XL barrel insert (for improved accuracy), the water resistant OLED screen, and the reshaped trigger guard (offers more hand room) with a new shaped trigger that’s comfortable to use.
Planet Eclipse Geo CS2
Never again will you be out-gunned on the paintball field.
With a legendary marker such as the Planet Eclipse CS2 in your hands you’ll now be able to dominate your opponents with ease and strike fear into the heart of your enemies.
Okay.. So maybe striking fear into the heart of your enemies is a bit of an exaggeration, but you’ll undoubtedly have an unfair advantage over the majority of the players on the field.
The Planet Eclipse CS2 is by far the best paintball gun that money can buy. While there may be other high-end paintball guns on the market, none offer the wide array of benefits and features such as the Geo CS2.
One of the best features that comes included with the CS2 is the GP Core drivetrain. Operating at a super low pressure of 105psi, the GP Core and ST (Soft Touch) bolt is capable of shooting the most brittle tournament-grade paint that you can get your hands on. The GP Core is also extremely air efficient, reliable and built to withstand the worst of weather conditions.
But wait, THERE’S MORE!
Not only are the electronics inside of the CS2 the most advanced of all the Planet Eclipse markers, but everything (including the batteries, solenoid and breach sensors) are now mounted directly into the frame itself. The lack of wires and the tool-less grip removal makes the CS2 extremely easy to work on and maintain.
The last few features worth mentioning on the CS2 is the adjustable rake blade trigger, the new low-rise feedneck, and the DeadlyWind carbon fibre barrel with two back inserts (0.681 and 0.689). The Geo CS2 is also the lightest spool valve based marker (1.9 lbs.) from Planet Eclipse and is the first marker of its kind to include a Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) module for increased connectivity options.
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
Choosing the best paintball gun for yourself can sometimes be easier said than done.
While reading paintball gun reviews such as those above may prove to be helpful, you first need to figure out your budget and whether you want a woodsball or speedball marker, a mechanical or electronic marker, and whether you want to use Co2 or HPA.
You can also choose to buy a magfed paintball gun, a pump paintball gun, or a paintball pistol if you find it to better suit your playing style.
If you’re a paintball sniper like myself, or a fan of the Milsim side of the sport, then a magfed marker is going to be your best option.
Now if you’re looking more for a challenge and love proving you’re the baddest SOB on the field, then stock class paintball (pump action markers) will be right up your alley.
Or maybe you’re a fan of the John Wick movies and just want to live out your fantasy of toting around a paintball pistol and feeling like a bad*** . And there’s nothing wrong with that either!
Paintball is a sport based around having fun and there’s no limit to how you can play. With so many sub-communities within paintball itself (such as magfed, stock class, Milsim, etc) you’re bound to find at least one type of paintball marker that fits your needs.
However, 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 need to make before buying a paintball gun (besides your budget) 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 (click to find out the top 5 woodsball guns) 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 or scope) to help with aiming. In addition, many woodsball guns even come with a buttstock to further increase accuracy and stability.
Of course, using a speedball gun with a centerfeed loader 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.
Plus, speedball markers are designed to be as lightweight as possible, typically making them the superior choice for the competitive player.
Electro Pneumatic vs. Mechanical
The next decision you’ll have to make is whether you want an electronic or 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 using an electronic paintball gun is your only option. Even though some mechanical markers may be able to shoot at a high rate of fire, the lack of board makes it impossible to adjust your RoF (Rate of Fire) to preset tournament conditions.
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).
However, before you can make this decision, you first need to find out what type of propellant is available in your area.
Well it’s possible you may have easy access to go Co2 or HPA, also possible that you only have one or the other. Or none at all if you live in a remote area out in the sticks (a common saying down south that means in the middle of nowhere).
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
There are three types of paintball guns that don’t follow your typical woodsball or speedball design and that’s the magfed paintball gun, pump paintball gun, and paintball pistol.
There are also many sub-variations of paintball guns such as mechs, electros, mechanical blowbacks, electronic blowbacks, blow forwards (automags), autocockers, spool valves, poppet valves, closed bolt, open bolt, .50 cal, .68 cal, centerfeed, offset feed, warp feed, bolt-action, etc.
I think you get the point..
To learn more about the mechanics of paintball guns visit zdspb.com for more information.
MagFed Paintball Guns
Do you want your paintball gun to look as realistic as possible?
Are you a fan of the Milsim side of the sport?
Or maybe you’re a paintball sniper like myself?
No matter your reason, If you want your paintball gun to function more like an actual firearm than a paintball marker, then you need to get yourself a magfed paintball gun.
Just like an actual firearm, magazine fed paintball guns store their ammunition (paintballs) in a 10-20 round magazine that you can quickly remove and reattach another in its place when you’re ready to reload.
Warning: When using a magfed paintball gun you will need a magfed vest or belt that can hold magazines.
And while your ammo capacity and firepower will be greatly limited by using a magazine, it does add a level of realism to the game that many tactical players love.
Magfed paintball guns also make great sniper rifles thanks to their ability to shoot First Strike paintball rounds. The reason First Strike rounds make such great ammunition for snipers is because FS rounds travel 2x the distance and are 25x more accurate than a regular .68 caliber paintball.
Unfortunately, most paintball fields have banned the use of First Strike paintball rounds because it’s unfair to the other players. So if you’re thinking about purchasing a magfed paintball gun that shoots First Strike rounds then you may first want to check and see if your local paintball fields allows them.
If you want more information about magfed paintball guns then I recommend you read my post on the Top 5 Best Magfed Paintball Guns Ever Made.
Before the game of paintball was even 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”.
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 for you.
Stock class paintball is a variation of the sport that only allows pump action markers with a horizontal loader (20-round limit) and the ability to use a 12 gram Co2 cartridge.
So why would anyone want to use a paintball gun that has to be pumped before every shot? For starters, it makes the game of paintball far more challenging which many players love. Plus it also helps you save money and 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 (here are the top 5 paintball pistols currently available). 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 either 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.
Something else you need to be aware of when buying a paintball pistol is that you will need to stock up on 12-gram Co2 cartridges in order to use it. However, certain paintball pistols such as the Tippmann TiPX can be upgraded to use a remote coil and a large Co2 or HPA tank if you purchase the Remote Line Adapter Kit from Tippmann.
The biggest downside of using a paintball pistol (unless you’re using it as your main weapon) is that you will have to attach a holster and magazine holders to your body (I recommend a battle belt). The extra weight will also weigh you down over time and it can even get in your way and possibly snag on something if you plan on laying prone or crawling around.
However, as a paintball sniper I’ve encountered many situations where a sidearm would have come in handy, especially considering the fact I use a magfed paintball gun. I couldn’t tell you how many times I’ve ran out of ammunition in the middle of a firefight and didn’t have the firepower to get myself to safety.
Having a paintball pistol would have most likely saved me from an elimination.