There is so much opinion on which is the “best paintball gun” that it’s barely worth discussing such a subjective manner. And even if you were to discuss is, it is hard to tell if someone is really just trying to sell you something or not.
That’s why it’s important that you realize this one key truth: while there are many top paintball gun models and brands, every person has their own individual “best” paintball marker based on three things:
- Their skill level
- Their budget
- Their personal preferences
This article is designed to help guide you through these three major factors that will help you decide which gun is best for you.
Three Skill Levels of Paintball Guns
The first thing you want to look at is your own personal skill level and involvement in the sport. It makes as much sense buying a $2,000 gun you’re only going to use once as it does buying a $50 paintball pistol that you’ll wear out in a month.
- Beginner or Occasional Player: Those new to the sport should always look at non-electric markers to start off with. See if you like the game first and then upgrade to electric trigger frames or a better gun later. You don’t need to spend much to see if you like paintballing.
- Consistent Recreational Player: For those that are playing consistently, but only for recreational purposes, check into mid-range electric models that are capable of supporting aftermarket upgrades. Don’t buy cheap, but do think about add-ons down the road.
- Tournament or League Team Player: Once you’re at this level, you’ll want the best paintball marker money can buy (within your budget). These guns are built for constant use and stand up to the rough and tumble wear-and-tear you’ll put them through. Accuracy and lightweight guns are important for front line players and back line players should be looking for high ROF (rate of fire) paintball guns.
Next, you’ll want to decide on which type of gun you want. This involves two very unique choices: electronic versus mechanical paintball guns and spool valve versus poppet markers.
Electronic Paintball Guns Vs. Mechanical Paintball Guns
- Mechanical markers are extremely reliable and require no electricity to operate, but are slower and louder. Made mostly for beginners and recreational players due to the low maintenance factor. Also used as a reliable sidearm by professional players.
- Electric markers contain circuit boards and run on batteries. While these are more costly to buy and fix if they break, they also fire more quickly and quietly. The two main types of electric markers are electro-mechanical (which contains an electronic trigger frame that fires the gun in 3-round bursts or fully automatic) and the electro-pneumatic paintball gun (which operates by activating a solenoid valve which the air passes through, firing the paintball).
Spool Valve Vs. Poppet Markers
- Spool valve paintball guns provide the smoothest and quietest shot but require more gas refills and maintenance to keep them operating at peak performance.
- Poppet valve paintball guns provide more kick and are louder but require fewer refills and less maintenance.
As you can see, the choices you make and the preferences you have will dictate which the best paintball gun is for you.