Paintball games are so much fun. But when you are constantly at a disadvantage, you will rarely see the fun in it.
Apart from probably being under the weather or going through some emotional discomfort, there is usually only one thing that can place you at a disadvantaged point. It is the condition of the paintball gun. Much more than a physical condition being the offending element is the performance level of the gun.
The best paintball markers are the ones that enhance your performance on the range. For that to be the case, it must suit the game you are using it in.
Game, in this instance, refers to the game style. You can use almost any paintball gun for casual play, but when you are looking to go serious into tourney play, then you need to consider some things.
In this article, we will be looking at the best paintball guns available in the market and why we consider them to be the best. First, we need you to understand that your game style and expertise level are the major things to determine what gun you settle for.
Your Game Style Matters
The best paintball gun for you will depend on the game type you favor. Casual players tend to go for a marker that is cool for just about any game style. This is usually based on what is obtainable at the specific local field they visit.
On the other hand, professional players tend to pick a particular style to focus on.
i. Woodsball Games
This is more about field combat. This game type takes you outdoors and involves running around, hiding behind trees and tires. To enjoy this game style, you will need a gun that provides a long range and comes with a stock to provide added accuracy.
ii. Speedball Games
This game style is all about speed. Whatever gun you pick must allow you to rapidly fire paintball down the range. Paintball guns with High-Pressure Air as propellant will offer more shots per tank fill as you aim for fire numerous balls per second.
Suitable guns for this style from our list include Empire Axe, Empire Mini, and Dye Proto Rail MaXXed. Paintball guns with compact designs and adjustable firing modes will ensure that you maintain your cover and provide the best possible firing angles for you.
iii. Recball And Milsim Games
This is a super fun game type, solely because it combines some elements of the other game types. Speedball’s cover-based shooting is combined with woodsball’s tactical style in recball games.
This game type usually involves close-quarter shooting, as it takes place indoors with different physical structures or bunkers in place. Paintball guns with a compact design and possibly a stock to guarantee added stability as you round tight corners are needful.
From our list, several paintball guns, including X7 Phenom, Cronus, and 98 Custom are perfect for recball games.
Due to the tactical simulation or hardcore war nature of milsim, the US Army Alpha Elite will be perfect.
The comparison table below will give you a quick look at the best paintball guns and some of their qualities. For more details on them, the section that follows the table handles that.
The Best Paintball Guns — Comparison Table
|Tippmann Cronus||Tippmann||3.7 pounds||300 feet per second||Beginner to Intermediate||Best Beginner Level Gun|
|Tippmann 98 Custom||Tippmann||2.9 pounds||350 feet per second||Beginner||Best Beginner Level Gun, Runner-up|
|Dye Proto Rail MaXXed||Dye||4.5 pounds||285 feet per second||Intermediate||Best Budget-friendly Tournament Gun|
|Tippmann A5||Tippmann||3 pounds||300 feet per second||Beginner to Intermediate||Best Long-Distance Gun|
|Empire Mini GS||Empire||3 pounds||300 feet per second||Intermediate||Best Lightweight Gun|
|Empire Axe||Empire||3.6 pounds||285 feet per second||Intermediate to Professional||Best Intermediate Level Gun|
|Tippmann TMC Mag Fed Marker||Tippmann||6.6 pounds||290 feet per second||Beginner to Professional||Best Mag Fed Gun|
|Spyder MR6 Black||Spyder||6.8 pounds||300 feet per second||Beginner to Professional||Best Woodsball Gun|
|Valken Blackhawk MFG Black||Valken||3 pounds||290 feet per second||Beginner to Intermediate||Best Budget-friendly Mag Fed Gun|
|Tippmann X7 Phenom||Tippmann||3.9 pounds||320 feet per second||Professional||Best Professional Level Gun|
|Planet Eclipse Etha 2||Planet Eclipse||3.5 pounds||285 feet per second||Beginner to Intermediate||Best Weather-friendly Gun|
|Tippmann US Army Alpha Elite||Tippmann||4.7 pounds||320 feet per second||Beginner to Intermediate||Best Military Style Paintball Gun|
1. Tippmann Cronus – Best Beginner Level Gun
If you are just starting in a new field, it is best to get hold of some reliable resources. It could be a person, a tool, or something else. If what you are starting is paintball, then you need a reliable paintball marker that will not cost you an arm and a leg.
The Cronus is one of such reliable options. While it does not belong on the high-end of the price scale, the Cronus does come with some high-end features and lots of customization options, which will come in handy in the future.
Its amazing features and capabilities move it from being only suitable for beginners, but also for intermediate level players who are looking for something more tactical-style, and at the same time, not too expensive. The Cronus is an upgrade of the Tippmann 98 Custom, that is designed majorly for beginners.
With the Cronus, you are guaranteed to enjoy maximum comfort when you have to play for long hours, due to the in-line bolt system.
A lot of this comfort comes as a result of this in-line bolt system that offers you a better grip. One thing that long periods of play will make you appreciate.
The Cronus features a detachable barrel shield and gunstock. Regardless of your playing style, there is a lot of room for customization, including grips and red dots. This way, your gun can be made to suit your playing style as you get better at the sport.
The high-impact housing of the Cronus with its aggressively tactical style is both realistic and super durable. Still, to ensure your comfort, the paintball gun comes with a comfortable weight.
After purchasing the Cronus, expect a set that includes a paintball harness with six paintball pods containing 140 rounds, an anti-fog mask, and a gravity-fed 200 round loader.
While the Cronus is powered by a twenty-ounce carbon dioxide (CO2) tank, do not expect the tank to be filled upon delivery, as the tank is unsurprisingly shipped empty.
2. Tippmann 98 Custom – Best Beginner Gun, Runner-up
The Tippman 98 Custom is a classic. This is like the most popular paintball gun in the world. Due to it being one of the most inexpensive paintballs, it is common among beginners.
However, due to its reputation and the fact that it has stood the test of time, a lot of professionals still have this gun in their possession, as a backup gun. It gets our best beginner tag for many reasons. While being super affordable, it is also reliable, easy to use, delivers high performance, and can be easily upgraded.
Aluminum is used for the entire body of the gun. The 98 Custom features the universal Picatinny rail system which ensures that the gun is more comfortable for you to carry around and carry out quick upgrades over time.
With the integrated rail system, you can easily add, among other upgrade optics, the red dot aiming assistant, to enable you accurately and promptly hit your target, and the flatline barrel to give you added accuracy and range.
Anti-Chop Technology is utilized in the 98 Custom to eliminate the chopping of your paintballs, thereby, making the gun more productive.
Apart from its attractive price, its ease of use is also impressive, adding to its appeal among beginners. Besides, it is easy to maintain. The gun’s mechanical operation is powered with either the now widely used High-Pressure Air (HPA) or carbon dioxide (CO2).
3. Dye Proto Rail MaXXed – Best Budget-friendly Tournament Gun
Dye is a brand renowned for the production of high-quality paintball gear. While the Dye Proto Rail MaXXed is not exactly the most affordable gun on our list, it is also not as expensive as some other paintball guns. This makes it a worthy investment for the serious player who wants a high-end gun that will not cost an arm and a leg.
The Proto Rail comes with a 14-inch barrel that shoots straight and allows you to fire up to fifteen balls per second. Something you will appreciate about this gun is that it rarely chops paint.
Another feature worthy of appreciation is the gun’s ‘sticky grips’ grip. Whether you are shooting barehanded or wearing tactical gloves, the material of the grip will provide comfort and an enhanced grip.
The Proto Rail Maxxed comes with an e-trigger. This entails that an electronic circuit will be used for powering the firing mechanism. One benefit of this e-trigger is the amount of air that will be conserved during long periods of play.
Other benefits include better accuracy, a gun that hardly makes any sound, and reduced recoil.
For what you are spending on this gun, you are sure to enjoy efficient shooting for a long time. We will like to also mention that this gun comes with a twelve-month warranty, so, your investment has some protection.
4. Tippmann A5: Best Long-distance Gun
Tippmann, as a brand, is known for delivering reliable products. So, if what you need is a reliable paintball gun that offers long distance, then the Tippmann A5 is one to consider.
With its twenty-inch barrel, you are guaranteed good accuracy and amazing range. The frame of the Tippmann A5 gives you enough room to customize the gun to suit your playing style and needs.
This means that you can start with it as a beginner and continue with it as you advance by simply making use of the upgrade options available. There is a variety of barrels, stocks, magazines, and grips available for you to combine.
No matter how far-reaching your target is, with this long-distance gun, you are sure to hit the target once the gun is well aimed. This is due to the red dot that assists your aiming.
The stock of the A5 is collapsible so that you get some extra comfort while aiming. If you want to cheek down as you aim and fire, you will enjoy the support of the gun’s 45-degree offset sight rail.
The threaded barrel of the A5 is also compatible with a variety of other paintball guns. This makes it super easy to swap if the need arises.
On the grip of the gun is a fire selector that allows you to switch between single shot and safety modes and then fire as much as fifteen balls per second. If you choose, you can also replace the grip with an improved electronic trigger equipped for full auto and single shot firing.
In addition to the upgrades available, the Tippmann A5 has a very durable housing. These two factors together with its easy maintenance guarantees that you will enjoy this gun for a very long time. Its easy maintenance also comes from the fact that the gun is lightweight, so you can easily push and remove pins.
The Tippmann A5 is used mostly for woodsball games and scenario play. While it runs on carbon dioxide (CO2) like some other paintball guns, it uses less of the gas than most guns.
The loader of the A5 is super amazing. It uses the Cyclone loading system, which allows you to load the gun smoothly without having to chop paint.
5. Empire Mini GS – Best Lightweight Gun
Empire is another brand that can be trusted. Empire paintball guns are of premium quality and are super reliable in delivering high performance.
With the Mini GS, Empire delivers a gun with all the impressive features of the best paintball guns in a compact size. So, it is a top choice among players who want to enjoy accuracy and speed, without being discomforted with a heavyweight.
Even with its small size, the Mini GS cannot be mistaken for a toy. The gun comes with an aluminum barrel and its housing is waterproof. It offers a self-lubricating brush to reduce the pull on the trigger. The gunstock is a full wrap-around that offers a firm grip and protection from paint among other things.
The Empire Mini features an ON/OFF ASA setting for eliminating any thread issues. This helps to make the tank removal seamless.
While the tank removal is pretty straightforward, thanks to the one-button process, getting to the poppet engine will require the removal of a screw. This makes it a little difficult for some beginners to maintain the gun, hence, its suitability for intermediate players.
The Empire Mini GS comes with minimum recoil. And together with the fact that it hardly makes any noise, your position will not be easily revealed.
With this gun, you will have a variety of angles to attack from, as it provides multiple firing options. As you get better at the sport, some of the internal components can be upgraded to suit your playing style and circumstances.
This budget-friendly, high-speed firing gun’s mechanical operation is powered by a High-Pressure Air (HPA) tank. One extra thing is that this gun allows a drop-in, without the need to switch the grip.
6. Empire Axe – Best Intermediate Gun
The best paintball markers are not just durable and strong, but they are also accurate. The Empire Axe is one of the best because it does the job on the first attempt. This makes it an excellent choice for tournament play.
Empire Axe is an electro-pneumatic marker that features many firing modes. The firing modes are namely, millennium ramping, NXL, PSP ramping, and semi.
The Empire Axe employs Anti-Chop Technology (ACT), which makes eliminates paint chopping. While paint chopping is prevented by electronic eyes, the shooting of fragile tourney paint is enhanced by the soft bolt face.
When it comes to maintenance, this gun makes it super easy. To prove this, the Empire Axe comes with a push-button system that is designed for removing bolts.
It also comes with a relay regulator in the form of an ON and OFF lever that becomes useful for removing the tank. Always ensure to clean this gun immediately after each use to enhance its longevity.
The bolt of the Empire Axe cannot be accessed easily because it is secured with a screw. While this may not be a deal-breaker, it may cause an unwanted delay when you are competing in a tournament where speed is usually important.
However, for long games, endurance is an important factor, and the Empire Axe is designed with this in mind, as is evident in its light weight and the comfortable, firm grip it provides.
To fully enjoy the impressive fire rates that the Empire Axe can offer, we suggest that you employ an electronic loader. Empire Axe gun is well-rounded and will suit both speedball and woodsball games.
Unlike some really expensive paintball guns that run into thousands of dollars, the Empire Axe has a not-so-high price tag.
For the value it offers, we feel the Empire Axe comes at a worthy price. Empire paintball guns are among the most reliable paintball guns in the market. So, you cannot go wrong with this tested and trusted gun.
7. Tippmann TMC Mag Fed Marker – Best Mag Fed Gun
If you are looking to enjoy a slower-paced game, played in the military simulation style, then a mag fed game is what you want to play. And the Tippmann TMC Mag Fed Marker might just be the best paintball marker for you. This gun has the tag for the best mag fed gun on our list, and the price tag it comes with is low.
One of the impressive features of the TMC Mag Fed Marker is its changeable feed style. This allows you to switch from using mags to using a hopper. This allows you to enjoy the best of both worlds.
When purchasing the gun, please expect the marker to come with two mags. Of course, you will need to get more mags, and fortunately, the mags are prolific and very affordable.
Aiming and shooting on target is easier with the adjustable sights found at the back and front of the Tippman TMC Mag Fed marker. The rubber grip provides a firm support for you.
Maintaining this gun is very easy, as it just requires that you clean it very well after use and then lubricate it before going into battle.
The customer reviews for this marker are super impressive. And this goes a long way in giving credence to Tippmann’s reliability.
The marker can be easily customized to meet your needs so that you get to enjoy its functionality and style. This marker is powered with a carbon dioxide gas tank. You need to take proper care to avoid gas leakages.
8. Spyder MR6 Black – Best Woodsball Gun
If you are into the whole field combat or are looking forward to trying it, then you will need a good woodsball gun. And we can say that one of the best paintball markers for that is the Spyder MR6. This marker features a dual loading system that is designed to allow both a loader and magazines.
The MR6 comes with a long barrel that is easy to handle and a muzzle brake that boosts the performance of the marker. To enable you to shoot consistently over a long period, this gun comes with an extra nine-round magazine. While playing, you can easily switch between mag fed and the hopper which can be easily attached during matches.
The lightweight nature of the marker makes for easy transportation and quick movement during play. This is very essential during long tournaments where comfort is well appreciated.
In addition to being easy to handle, the Spyder MR6 is super easy to maintain. Cleaning it thoroughly just once is enough to keep it running smoothly for a rather long period. This also contributes to its suitability for both beginners and intermediate players.
9. Valken Blackhawk MFG Black – Best Budget-friendly Mag Fed Gun
Here is another mag fed marker on our list. And this one gets our tag for the best budget-friendly mag fed gun. Thanks to its entry-level price.
The Valken Blackhawk MFG comes ready for battle right out of the box. There is no modification needed after purchasing it. It comes with a quad rail barrel and full metal receiver that combine to enhance its robustness for use at woodsball games. Out on the field, you will enjoy stability and impressive performance with this gun.
With the Blackhawk, you will enjoy so much flexibility, as it accommodates both First Strike Rounds (FSR) and regular .68 caliber paintballs. The major difference between these two types of paintballs is the distance covered. If fired at the same velocity and angle, a first strike round will cover more distance than a standard paintball in the same amount of time.
The Blackhawk MFG is designed to be powered with High-Pressure Air, and so, it comes with a 13 cubic inch High-Pressure Air tank that sits inside the marker’s collapsible stock. This setup does not use external hoses, giving the marker a more realistic look. It also features an integrated rail system.
The quad rail barrel shroud and Picatinny top rail both provide several connection points for extra accessories like sights, foregrips, and lasers, among others.
Plus, you also get a beautiful gun bag with the purchase of a Valken Blackhawk MFG gun. This keeps your gun covered up and protected during transportation.
10. Tippmann X7 Phenom – Best Professional Level Gun
This is a gun for the advanced player who is very serious about playing. The Tippmann X7 Phenom is a top tier paintball gun that is commonly seen in various types of simulation games and is incredibly customizable, just like the Tippmann A5. On top of the frame of this lightweight gun, you will find impressive tactical upgrades.
The X7 Phenom comes with a mechanical single shot that can be upgraded to an eGrip that has single shot, full auto, and three-round burst fire modes.
Here is a cool fact about the eGrip: you can stay in the fight if your battery dies midgame. All you have to do is to switch to the single shot mode that is powered by the propellant, High-Pressure Air. To save battery life, you can switch the marker to the safe mode which will get the internal circuitry turned off.
When it comes to performance, this marker gives its 100 percent. For medium range to long-range shooting, the X7 Phenom is phenomenal, hence, an excellent choice for woodsball games.
Combining the compact body with the light frame makes it a perfect choice for scenario play or close quarters Recball.
Its rather high cost of purchase does not, in any way, deter the professional paintball marksman from getting it and loving it. What is there not to love about a tool that comes in handy for all game types?
11. Planet Eclipse Etha 2 – Best Weather-Friendly Gun
When it comes to high-quality, cutting-edge, good looking tournament paintball markers, Planet Eclipse is a renowned brand. Planet Eclipse Etha 2 is an impressive improvement of Etha, and it screams innovation and creativity.
This gun is top tier everything. It is an electro marker that comes tournament-ready. The Gamma Core spool valve drivetrain makes it superb for many terrains and weather conditions. Whether it is scorching or freezing, you have nothing to worry about shooting with this paintball marker.
The external body of this .68 caliber is constructed as a super-durable shell. This tough exterior ensures that the tourney marker can withstand heavy impact, and at the same time, deliver maximum durability.
Planet Eclipse Etha 2 with its reliability, versatility, and numerous tech features will give the advantage at every paintball tourney you enter with it, whether you are a beginner, intermediate, or professional.
Without being super expensive, this electro marker delivers premium durability, high performance, with minimum maintenance, among other impressive elements.
With the Etha 2, you will not need to spend so much on upgrading, as it comes ready to serve you well for many years. All you have to do to get it going optimally is to ensure that you pair it with a good quality electronic loader and possibly a Freak Barrel kit.
Having paintball markers that show impressive results at speedball games, it is not surprising that Planet Eclipse has a cult-like following among speedball enthusiasts of all playing levels. The Etha 2 is the gun for some good airball play.
12. Tippmann US Army Alpha Elite – Best Military Style Paintball Gun
This is our best military-style paintball gun because it gives you that thrilling experience that comes with using a military gun. With its fast firing rate, it shoots out paintballs like a machine gun.
With the US Army Alpha Elite, you will not have to worry about refilling frequently, as the gun comes with the capacity to store almost 1000 paintballs.
Using a basic tank can get this job done. However, if you want something extra, then you can add the Cyclone feed system. This will take your shooting game to the next level.
Unlike some other markers in the market that need you to buy numerous accessories before you can start playing, the Tippmann US Army Alpha Elite comes ready for immediate use with the necessary accessories.
While you can carry out some upgrades later, a lack of upgrades will not stop you from getting impressive satisfaction from the Alpha Elite.
This gun has a strong body and tough build, as expected of a military gun. Made of aluminum, the exterior can handle tough conditions and still last for a very long time, no matter how tough the shootouts you are involved in.
You will not have to worry about getting another gun in a very long time to replace the Alpha Elite, making it a worthy investment. The M16 handle is especially beneficial for woodsball tournaments that last for a long time.
It features the in-line bolt system and provides additional space in the magazine that serves as storage for some other tools.
To stay unbeatable out there on the fields, an upgrade to the electronic version and Cyclone feeder is apt. With the Cyclone feeder’s capacity of taking 200 paintballs, you have as much confidence boost as you need. The gun allows you to switch between semi-auto and full-auto, as you desire.
The starter package comes with the gun, a 20-ounce carbon dioxide tank, 200 round hopper, seven paintball harness, six 140-round tubes, a pull-through squeegee, gun lube, spare O-ring, and of course, an owner’s manual.
As extra icing on the cake, the Tippman US Army Alpha Elite comes with a two-year warranty. If you can, just buy this gun already.
Considerations To Be Made
Before going ahead to purchase a paintball gun, you need to make some considerations which include the following:
a. How You Play
Earlier, we pointed out the different playing styles and why it is important to consider playing style before making a purchase.
It is also important to consider how often you play paintball, as any marker will serve you if you only play once in a while.
On the other hand, if you frequently in competitions and tournaments, the best paintball gun for you will be the one that suits the peculiarities of tournament-style playing.
This is a very important consideration to make. You need to determine how much you are willing to part with.
Regardless of what marketers tell you, there is a marker that fits your budget and suits your playing style. Whether you are looking to get a gun for a beginner or intermediate player, or even a professional, there is something available that will not cost you an arm and a leg.
The best paintball gun for you will not necessarily be the most expensive one in the market.
Now that you have started considering getting a suitable gun, you will need to consider the long term. You definitely will not want to get something that is easily disposable.
If you will be getting something that costs quite some money, be sure to get a gun that comes with some form of warranty. Most of the paintball guns on our list come with a one-year warranty, except for one or two that provide more in the area of a warranty.
Anyway, always make sure to make the necessary inquiry about this sort of thing.
Weight should be a major consideration if you usually do long hours on the range. Heavy markers weigh about five pounds or more.
Fortunately, all the markers on our list weigh less than five pounds, so, getting one of them will not be a burden on you.
The light weight makes for easier transporting of the gun and also the player’s movement on the battlefield. No serious player will want to be weighed down.
e. Comfort And Style
While weight plays a huge role in determining how comfortable you get while shooting, the overall feel of a gun adds to its ease of use. Be sure to go for a gun that will be a good fit in your hand.
When it comes to style, there are a variety of options to choose from after considering the more important factors.
f. Type Of Marker
Sometimes, people are particular about the exact type of marker they intend to purchase. Let us quickly look at the various types of markers and how they differ from one another.
- Pump Marker
The very first type of paintball guns ever made were pump markers. For each shot to be fired, you need to work the bolt. This usually results in a low rate of fire, hence, their unpopularity today.
However, professional players who are looking for something more challenging try out pump gameplay.
- Mechanical Marker
The durability and reliability of mechanical markers thrive in woodsball games. They function on simple mechanical parts and do not have electronic components. They are very easy to maintain and less likely to encounter any problem during a game.
- Electronic Paintball Marker
An electronic paintball marker is the most technologically advanced type of marker, and so, it is more expensive than a mechanical marker.
An electrical marker is powered by a nine volts battery. Most times, this battery is replaceable, and some other times, it is built-in and rechargeable. Electronic paintball guns will not fire if the paint is not properly loaded, thereby reducing chopped paint and misfires.
We trust that we have provided you with the necessary information to make a well-informed decision about your next paintball gun purchase.