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Whether you are playing paintball in mil-sim, woodsball or just messing around with your friends, having the proper paintball gun can really heighten the experience. Even more so, having the best paintball gun can bring your game and playtime to the next level. Paintball is a game of multiple varieties. You can either play on your own or with a team, but either way, you’ll be using a low-energy air weapon, either called a paintball marker or gun. These guns are going to be designed with compressed air or carbon dioxide, and the paintballs used as ammo will be dye-filled gelatin capsules that will not only break upon impact but also will spray each member with various different colors.
Anyone can play paintball, however, some arenas or places where paintball games are held have age or height requirements to play in specific rounds of games. In this guide, however—no matter how old you are—we’re going to help you get the proper paintball gun to match your ability and your preference. In our review, we’re going to go through the various different features available in the paintball gun realm and weigh their importance throughout the article. From the weight to the pressure, from fire rate per second (fps) to caliber and warranty, we’ve separated everything you need to know and brought it together in one place to make purchasing your first—or fifth—paintball gun much easier.
Through hours of research pouring through various websites, stores, and paintball shops online, we’ve put together this guides, bringing you our theory of the best paintball gun. You can check out our comparison table, in-detail reviews of each product, and our buying guide down at the end. Stay safe and have fun!
Whether you’ve been playing for a few years and are looking for the ultimate upgrade or if you are even just starting out but ready to come out swinging, the Planet Eclipse ETEK5 is the best paintball marker around. Period.
With its Zick3 Rammer System, Cure5 Bolt, larger valve chamber, and giving off 85psi of LPR Pressure, this marker simply cannot be beat—no matter who has it in their hands.
The Planet Eclipse ETEK5 makes it as realistic as possible, with not only its exterior looks but some of the features that are involved with this marker. Especially with the camo color, you can rest assured that you will be thoroughly hidden and can strike out people from a distance.
The gun has a contoured dual-density grip and console so it’s not only comfortable but can be held and used with ease—and weighing only 2.2 lbs, it is a great buy for the beginner.
As we mentioned before, even though it can be used for woodsball, it really has the characteristics of mil-sim, as well. With a magnetic trigger return, an RGB LED interface, and infra-red break beam sensors, this paintball marker is no toy.
It doesn’t play around either—able to dish out ramping and semi-auto modes, is developed for accuracy with its 14.5”, two-piece barrel, and is also compliant with all major paintball leagues.
Why did it make our list?
With the long barrel, you’ll have great accuracy
It is considered affordable, high-end gear that’s reliable
Efficient for wood and speedball
Weighs only 2.2 lbs, so is maximized for comfort and long games
What is not ideal about it?
The large trigger frame may be uncomfortable for some users
The Empire Paintball BT Dfender is a highly powerful upgrade pick, with a possible max pressure of 900 psi, which outshines the last pick by 300! Empire paintball has created this upgrade gun with an ultra-strong and lightweight design that shoots out magnesium shells conditioned to reach and hit every target.
The Z2 loader is located inside, making it simple to use, even for beginners. The great thing about the Empire Paintball BT Dfender is that you don’t have to worry about your loader, since it has a self-calibrating speed sensor loader.
The gun is not only convenient—having been already sent, set up right out of the box, (there isn’t even a need to adjust the chrono), it also requires only tool-less, basic maintenance. Meaning, you really just need to change the battery every now and then!
While you’re playing, your stress level can be directed elsewhere other than your marker—with Break Beam Eyes to prevent ball cops and being equipped with magnesium shells for high strength and light weight, this gun is the perfect function for beginners and those who don’t like to have to fiddle with their marker while playing.
All you really need is 6 AA batteries, designed for all electronics, and you can easily get going! The built-in hopper that it comes with is deemed as highly useful and also is extremely accurate. While you’re playing, you can also switch from mode-to-mode during the game easily, from burst fire to semi/full auto with just a flick.
What are its best features?
The selector switch makes it easy to switch modes
The built-in hopper feeds consistently
Designed with “eco air”, so you get more shots out of one tank.
Has anti chop so you don’t have to worry about ball breakage
If you want a real powerful paintball marker, the Dye Proto Rize MaXXed has a max PSI of 4,500! Straight out of the box, you will get a gun that has a two-piece 14” barrel, which is much longer than the standard—allowing you to shoot more accurately for longer distances.
You can also rely on the Lever Lock Clamping Feed Neck of the Dye Proto Rize MaXXed to make feeding in the paintballs during the game an easy feat and keep your hopper secure throughout your game. Especially if you move around constantly during a paintball game, then this marker is perfect for you.
Since this paintball marker is designed using patented fusion bolt spool valve technology, you can adjust that 4500 PSI all the way down to 140, if you want smooth shots.
Perfect for travel, as well, you can easily detach and reattach the tanks —when you’re going through airports or have to take safety precautions. Being able to really take this guy apart safely can ease your traveling experience if you’re heading to bigger games or taking your marker with you.
The Dye Proto Rize MaXXed also has 4 different tournament firing modes and a 1-year warranty.
What makes it stand out?
Has a lever lock clamping feed neck to ensure stability while moving around
The PSI can get all the way up to 4500 and down to 140
If you’re one of those players who like to set themselves up far away, you can easily get up high and out of sight with the Empire Paintball Mini GS, while still being able to hit your target.
As one of the best sniper paintball guns out there on the market, this paintball gun is specifically designed to be able to take out your other team without having to take one for the team.
With its battle-proven mini engine, you can really rely on the accuracy and control. Although it only has a PSI of 210 (it is a mini after all), the weight of this gun—only 2 lbs—is a real plus.
This marker has a full wrap-around rubber fore grip so your grip will never slip when it counts the most. Even when you do get hit (eventually) that grips also has paint-protection, helping the gun stay clean.
While cleaning and maintaining the Empire Paintball Mini GS, you can really take advantage of the ease of removing your tank and giving it a clean.
The mini design has everything you loved in the regular design in a smaller, more manageable size. From its hose-less design, its eyes, the clamping feed neck to the pressure controlled poppet engine, you can expect a great performance from the Empire Paintball Mini GS.
What stands out?
Full wrap-around rubber fore grip to help you maintain hold
The Umarex T4E Smith & Wesson M&P is a smoothbore semi-automatic paintball pistol that’s modeled on the S&W M9 M2.0. The caliber is .43 and it can fire both rubber ball and paintball ammunition. The ammo capacity is 8 rounds and the power source is a 1x12g CO2 bottle. The build quality is excellent. It is made from metal and polymer and has a weight of only 1.7 lbs. The overall feeling is solid and reliable and the slide locks back after the final shot has been fired.
The striker seems to be engaged via the blowback action with a speed of 290 FPS. The trigger pull feels similar to a double action system because the inner barrel travels back into the magazine after each trigger pull. This is an efficient system because the barrel is sealed off from the magazine between firings. This means that the CO2 supply is preserved because it isn’t wasted when the next paintball projectile is placed into the barrel for firing.
The Umarex T4E Smith & Wesson M&P is a little different from the lighter steel version of this pistol which weighs 1.57 lbs. But, this does even out when both pistols are loaded with a full magazine. The T4E has a polymer frame and metal fittings on the slide catch, barrel, slide, and magazine where you would expect to find them. In fact, this model is a very accurate replica of the S&W MP9 M2.0 Pistol, and it even has the same license markings!
When you need to field strip the Umarex T4E Smith & Wesson M&P for maintenance you will need the supplied tools and a pin must be removed. Overall, this paintball pistol feels solid and the slide action is extremely smooth. This pistol has very similar characteristics to the real MP9 M2.0 which means it can be an effective option for training. The yellow dot sights are accurate and the trigger safety is excellent. The only real drawback is the 8 shot magazine which most users are likely to exchange for a larger capacity alternative.
The KONKOR MK47-1 AK-47 Paintball Rifle is one of the best mechanical paintball guns on the market. With a heavyweight build—just like the real deal, this gun is a replica of the Type-56/AK-47 assault rifle.
Not only does it look the part, it also comes with a large number of features that can really make it seem realistic to the paintball player looking to upgrade their look—and their gun.
If you’re looking for a paintball gun that resembles militia weapons, the KONKOR MK47-1 AK-47 Paintball Rifle should be your go-to. With its .68 caliber and standard hopper adapter, you can really play like the real thing.
This paintball marker comes with a high-high-quality stock and pistol grip and an interchangeable stock that is really easy to install. With its detachable standard size steel magazine, you can also benefit from all that magazine power when shooting.
The KONKOR MK47-1 AK-47 Paintball Rifle comes designed with an adjustable metal AK style rear sight assembly, that runs with a semi-automatic firing mode, making it really easy for you to take out all your opponents (AT ONCE).
You can also adjust the muzzle velocity between 200-300 fps so you don’t have to worry about being acceptable for on the playing field.
Why is it special?
You can adjust it according to the playing field
Comes with the Allen keys needed to assemble
Already comes lubed and is easy to take apart
Looks very realistic and runs with a semi-auto mode
What are the flaws?
Heavier than most other paintball guns on the market
The Umarex Walther PPQ M2 is one of the most realistic paintball guns on the market. If you want to play paintball, mil-sim style, you’ll definitely want to look into investing in this gun.
The perfect hand paintball gun to have in your arsenal is the Umarex Walther PPQ M2. With its fully-licensed, Walther trademarks and its design, you definitely won’t regret the decision. It has a full metal slide with a front and rear slide serrations. Not only that, but the barrel it comes with is highly functional for short-range shooting and comes with a blowback assembly. The exterior is reinforced with high strength, nylon reinforced polymer frame, which makes it not only realistic but is what gives it its 1.2 lbs weight.
The grip is also quite comfortable while playing, since its designed with ergonomic texture. The adjustable hop up system is a great upgrade—perfect even for beginners. It is also safe for any age, since it has a functioning trigger safety. If you really want to set yourself apart from the rest, the Umarex Walther PPQ M2 comes with a 20mm Lower Accessory Rail for Tac lights and lasers.
It doesn’t back down in power either. A pretty powerful handgun, it has a FPS of 260-290 and spits out 0.20g BBs and uses Green Gas. It also runs as a semi-automatic.
Why are we impressed?
The grip really sets this gun apart from the rest
Very realistic look with a unique serial number
The trigger has a realistic pull
The entire body comes with a good, realistic weight
The MAddog Azodin KAOS 2 comes with everything you need to deliver a powerful shot and upgrade your game. If you’re a beginner looking for the ultimate package, this gun should be one of your first choices.
In this package, you’ll get a 20 oz. CO2 Tank (Shipped Empty), 200 Round Paintball Hopper, Anti-Fog Paintball Mask, a Maddog Deluxe 4+1 Paintball Harness, (4) 140 Round Pods and a Jerk Barrel Squeegee. With a starting kit like that, you’ll be good to go or will be quick to refill your diminishing, available gear.
The gun itself, is also pretty standard. Although designed with a more sleek and ergonomic build than the other guns in the brand, the MAddog Azodin KAOS 2 has been sought out for its durability and simplicity. The gun itself is also quite light—weighing only 2 lbs—even though it is still pretty big, with a 12” multiphase honed barrel. The lightweight build makes it easy to handle when trying to hit the most difficult of targets.
The MAddog Azodin KAOS 2 also has a screw-lock feedneck, a new slim dovetail ASA, 45-degree gas foregrip, a double trigger frame, and a stainless steel hose. It’s also relatively easy to maintain, with its quick strip bolt and striker assembly.
This paintball, like most others on the market is highly compatible with CO2 since it has a 20 oz Co2 Tank.
What do we love it for?
Performance is highly affordable and lightweight
Has great accuracy with its 12” barrel
Comes as a packaged deal with a ton of accessories
If you’re a beginner looking to come in style, the Tippman US Army Project Salvo is the perfect gun that completes the military look. With an AR15 style shroud and four picatinny rails for customization, you can expect to come into your first game with a bang.
You’re going to be fully-loaded with this mil-sim look that is backed with performance and reliability—and not just design. To back its performance, the Tippman US Army Project Salvo is designed with an 11″ quick thread barrel, removable and adjustable front and rear sights, and proven high performance in-line bolt system.
Even though the barrel is already good enough (especially for a beginner), you can even upgrade it as you get better with a 98 Custom Response Trigger and Flatline Barrel.
The paintball gun is designed with a build of an all-aluminum die cast Tippmann Project Salvo Receiver and stainless steel gas line that really won’t rust over time and use or break during a game.
With its quick-release feeder elbow, the Tippman US Army Project Salvo really runs under simply maintenance. With a 1-year warranty, you’ll also feel protected—just as much as you are on the playing field. To get more bang for your buck, this gun also comes with Picatinny Rails, which ease the addition scopes and carrying handles.
What are its best features?
Dexterity and reliability—you can flip this paintball gun around in multiple positions
Very easy to maintain
Weighs only 9 lbs and is comfortable to carry with the strap
Being on a budget shouldn’t stop you from still having an adequate paintball gun. The Tippmann Cronus is the perfect budget gun and one of the best woodsball guns on the market.
Weighing just 3.7 lbs, you don’t have to worry about the extra weight bringing you down as you run throughout the playing area. It also has a PSI of 800, so you can expect to reach long distances in your attempt to strike people out from high above.
However, what really sets the Tippmann Cronus apart from the rest of the paintball markers out there is the fact that it comes with a mock silencer with a front sight included. This mock silencer definitely comes in handy if you’re not looking to give your position away yet still want to be able to get the shot off.
The Tippmann Cronus high-impact, composite body makes it a perfect choice to bang around in the woods. Since you’ll be carrying it along with you as you run, jump, hide, slide, and shoot, you can expect that it will suffer some bags and bruises.
The internal gas line and multiple Picatinny rails make it also highly sought-out for its performance. Perfect for beginners—especially if you’re not sure if you’ll like paintball, you wouldn’t want to spend a fortune—the Tippmann Cronus has a vertical grip that makes the gun extremely comfortable to hold.
Why did it make our list?
It is extremely lightweight and portable, perfect for beginners
Comes with a 2-year warranty
Has a high-impact composite body, perfect for bangs and bruises in the woods
What is not ideal about it?
As you get better, you’ll need to upgrade the stock barrel
Things to Consider
Ready to play? Not yet! First, you’ll need to know a little bit more about these paintball markers, what features you should be on the lookout for, and if you’re a complete beginner—you’ll need to know a little bit more about the game!
Here is our buying guide to help you sort out through any questions you may have as your purchasing your first or fortieth paintball gun.
What you need to know about the paintball game
Before you head out to the paintball field, arena or game—there are a few things you should know.
First and foremost, there are a few different types of paintball games. You can either play woodsball, speedball, recball or milsim. Of course, there are others out there—but these are the most popular.
Woodsball requires any type of paintball gun, it isn’t specific on the type of marker you have because you can choose the tactical role you want to play in and then the gun that you get has to follow suit. For example, you might be a sniper and need a longer barrel, like the Planet Eclipse ETEK5 or you might be a guy on the ground and need a handgun, like the Umarex Walther PPQ M2.
Speedball often requires a smaller, lightweight model that won’t pose as a big target while you’re playing. Normally, speedball players have a long list of requirements to fulfill before playing, so make sure that your paintball gun is up to par before you start playing.
Recball is just a fancy way of saying that you’re going to be playing paintball with your friends. For this type of game, you really just make your own rules, so what the “standard” gun is, is up to you.
Milsim stands for military simulation. These paintball games are very realistic—and so are their markers. Even though there are tournaments that are milsim, there are also just reenactments that take place that are fun to play in.
Types of paintball guns
Now that you know what kinds of games there are and a little bit more about the game of paintball itself, it’s time to get into the types of guns out there.
There are three main types of guns and they are defined by the mechanism that drives them.
Mechanical is the type most often used while playing recreationally. Normally, you can find a mechanical paintball gun that is semi-automatic and can only shoot off one shot per pull. The mechanical paintball gun is easy to maintain, care for, and is affordable. They are highly sought out amongst beginners and woodsball players.
Electronic is the type that is powered by battery and can be pretty technologically advanced. With an electronic solenoid, a micro-switch, laser beam, and a heavy trigger you can send off rapid and high rates of firing—choosing between different firing modes.
Pump is the most difficult type of paintball guns to use since they are manually operated—think about how a shotgun is operated. These guns are sought out by advanced players who value accuracy rather than firepower.
Tips on playing the paintball game
Especially if you’re a beginner, you’ll need a few tips to start playing paintball and eventually, to get better.
First, you have to accept the fact that you won’t be the best out there on your first day. You’ll have to actually set aside time to practice your shots and learn how your marker works best. This means, you should definitely practice shooting—first at a stationary target then at moving targets. While you’re practicing, you should use the same gun.
Second, invest in a paintball marker that boasts accuracy—like one with a longer barrel. That way, you’ll have a better chance of meeting your mark. The Planet Eclipse ETEK5, for example, is an extremely accurate marker.
While you’re training with your shots, it’s best to learn how to shoot from different positions. “Prone” position is where you’ll be lying flat on the ground, you should also practice shooting while standing and while in motion.
Lastly, you are only as good as your weapon. This doesn’t mean you have to invest in the most expensive marker out there. This simply means that you should maintain and care for your paintball gun—after every use—and upgrade it when possible.
If you’re playing in an organized environment, safety rules and regulations—even with your marker will definitely be enforced.
However, especially since the rules differ slightly from place to place, it’s a good idea that you know before you go, a few rules and regulations about the game of paintball.
You should always wear a mask while you’re playing—even if you’re in the dead zone. Some places will require you to wear your mask at all times.
Don’t do “blind firing”, which is just shooting around—this might cause refs or bystanders to get hurt.
You should always layer up according to your pain points and tolerance. You should always have the necessary accessories with you—every time you play!
When you’re finished playing, store the unloaded and uncharged gun away, after you’ve cleaned it properly! The Tippman US Army Project Salvo is a great marker that is easy to maintain, even when you’re not playing for a while.
Features to consider while choosing a paintball gun
Finally, you’re ready to choose your perfect paintball gun. Before you make your final decision, however, there are some features you should consider that will help you pick the perfect choice. These features will vary depending on your playing level, age, preference, and playing style.
A very important factor in deciding which gun you’ll choose to play with, the weight of a paintball gun can make or break your experience. Make sure you realize that the gun won’t be the only thing you’re carrying around (you’ll have extra clothing and accessories, as well), so make sure that the gun is as lightweight as possible. This will also help with accuracy.
The barrel is the part of the gun that holds the responsibility of keeping your shots consistent and accurate. The longer the barrel is, the more accurate it is. If you’re looking to improve as a player, invest in a paintball marker that can have an upgraded barrel.
You can either invest in aluminum, stainless steel, a ceramic, titanium, or carbon fiber barrel.
Not only is the barrel important, but so is the trigger. Just like in a real gun, the paintball trigger will be the “button” you press to shoot. A trigger can differ from gun to gun by the force in which you have to apply upon it to release the shot.
The two different types of triggers are mechanical and electro-pneumatic.
Mechanical paintball triggers require to have to pull the trigger to fire and then re-cock for the next shot. Normally, these triggers run a bit slower than the other type, running at 10 shots per second. They are usually the go-to triggers if you’re on a budget.
Electro-Pneumatic paintball triggers have an electro-mechanical actuator under control. This type of trigger requires a battery for use. However, it is much faster than its mechanical counterpart and can double the output—20 shots per second. However, they are more expensive and can be destroyed if wet.
If you’re looking for a paintball gun, accuracy is one of the most important factors. What’s the point of having a great gun if you can’t hit a single shot? Fortunately, no matter what gun you get, you can actually make your gun more accurate with a few tips.
It’s important, however, to have a customizable or upgradeable marker. That way, you can invest in a longer barrel or a more accurate high-flow regulator. You should also make sure that your battery is full. As your battery life drops, so will your accuracy and velocity. While you’re playing, make sure that you always have a spare with you.
The propellant is another word for gas. The whole reason why a paintball marker is able to shoot out paintballs is based n the pressure of the air within the gun itself.
When it comes to gas, you can either choose to get a marker that is compatible with carbon dioxide or with HPA as a propeller.
CO2 is the most common propellant and will often be in every shop for fill-ups. It is much cheaper than the other alternative and is perfect for beginners and beginner guns. They are also much smaller, much lighter, and much cheaper to fill up than the other HPA tanks.
HPA/Nitrogen is the other type of propellant. They are the go-to gas for more advanced players because they deliver more stabilized pressure. If you have a marker that indulges in rapid-fire shootings, you should consider HPA tanks. Generally, HPA tanks are more expensive and not as easy to refill.
If you’re going to be choosing a paintball gun for your first time playing, you might want to ask around to see which material is best for you.
Normally, the design of the gun is based on personal preference or a requirement of the game.
If you’re a beginner and unsure if you’ll like paintball, you should invest in a budget, plastic style. However, metal guns are better if you’re going to be playing woodsball and plan on banging it up a bit.
The grip is also an extremely important factor and feature in a paintball gun. The more comfortable it is, the easier it will be to handle and play. You’ll want something that you feel comfortable with and that will shoot smoothly.
Lastly, even after reading this buying guide and all the best products out there, you still might have some last minute questions. Finding out the most you can before you buy will definitely amp up your experience and help you get the best paintball marker possible for you to play with.
We cannot stress this enough—no matter how good your gun is, it’s nothing if it’s not cared for. A well-maintained gun will not work its best but will also work as long as possible. If you’re not taking care of your marker, your accuracy and consistency will suffer. You’ll need to oil it up properly and make sure it is cleaned.
Depending on what type of paint brand is being used—the more expensive brands will be easier to wash off—a simple wash in the shower and a wash in the washing machine will do the trick. However, just to be on the safe side, we definitely recommend that you wear “paintball only “ clothes so your other everyday wear won’t get ruined.
Last but not least, if you’ve skipped over everything on this guide, you’ll want to read this:
If you’re looking for the best all-around paintball gun, whether you’re a beginner or an advanced player, the Planet Eclipse ETEK5 is the perfect choice. Weighing only 2 lbs and having a 14” barrel, you’ll be able to land those long, accurate shots with ease.
The Empire Paintball BT Dfender is the next big thing. It is such high-quality, with its 900 PSI power that the brand has backed it up with a lifetime warranty. If you’re looking for an upgrade from your beginner gun, this is the one.
The Umarex T4E Smith & Wesson M&P is one powerful son of a gun. With its durable build, accurate yellow dot sights and excellent trigger safety, you can rest assured that you will get your best shot with this one.
We hope that this guide has helped you pick out the best paintball gun—not just on the market but also for you. And remember, a well-maintained paintball marker is the best marker, so make sure that after you make that initial investment, you’re taking the time to care for your gun.