About 40 years ago, a handful of renegades decided to chase each other through the woods in New Hampshire with marking devices designed for tagging trees and cattle. Paintball guns have come a long way since then.
The first paintball games designed specifically for the sport were simple pump action models. As the game evolved, so too did paintball gun technology. Semi-automatic mechanical paintball guns came next, followed by electronic designs. All three major types of paintball guns have been refined and redesigned by paintball companies over the years to give players the best performing models year in and year out.
Your gun is the most important piece of paintball equipment you’ll purchase and own. So how do you choose? Which design is better? Answering either question is so difficult because there really isn’t just one answer. When customers come into our store looking to buy a paintball gun, we don’t start by pushing one model on them. Instead, we ask some basic questions.
What is your budget?
When you’re shopping for a paintball gun, it’s important to think about your overall budget. A paintball gun is only one third of your setup; you’ll also need to buy a hopper and either a CO2 or compressed air tank.
If you’re just shopping for a basic paintball gun, you won’t have to spend much more for a hopper and a CO2 tank. If you’re looking to buy a more advanced setup, you’ll have to leave room for the more expensive electronic loaders and compressed air tanks. Keep that in mind even if you’re upgrading your current paintball gun.
The price tiers below should help you decide how much you want to spend on your paintball gun:
Entry Level: Up to $249.99
Mid-Price: From $249.99 to $599.99
High-Price: From $599.99 to $1199.99
Pro-Price: $1199.99 and up
What kind of paintball do you want to play?
When you think of yourself playing paintball, what do you see yourself doing?
Are you stalking your friends through the woods or an urban setting inspired by an FPS? If so, you may want to purchase a more rugged looking paintball gun that is built with woodsball and scenario players in mind.
Maybe you see yourself on an airball field, crawling up the snake looking to sweep the field, or in a gun battle on the dorito side. In that case you’ll probably want to look into paintball guns designed to meet the needs of speedball players.
The way a gun looks isn’t necessarily tied to how it performs. High-end scenario paintball guns will always perform better than entry level speedball markers, for example. However, if you’re going to start learning how to play X-Ball, you won’t need a mag-fed paintball gun with an air-through stock and iron sights.
What kind of paintball player do you think you’ll be?
The answer to this question generally boils down to how often you think you’ll play paintball. Once you have an idea of how much money and what kind of paintball you think you’ll play, think about how often you’ll make use of your gear.
If you like playing on airball and hyperball fields, but you only play once or twice a month, you can probably stay clear of the High-Price and Pro-Price tiers and have a great time with a paintball gun from the Mid-Price tier.
On the other hand, if you can’t get enough competitive play, you might want to think about investing in a High-Price or Pro-Price paintball gun that’s built to withstand the grind of running drills, scrimmaging other teams, and shooting thousands and thousands of paintballs at a tournament.
The same is true for woodsball and scenario play. If you’re just going to your local field a few times a year, you probably only need something from the Entry Level or Mid-Price tier. If you love the idea of heading to big games with hundreds of other players, you’ll want to spend more on a paintball gun that can handle those kinds of environments.
If you have a paintball gun, you can play paintball. Playing paintball is fun. That will never change.
But feeling like you’re getting the most value out of your paintball gun, like your paintball gun is serving the purpose you want it to? That just makes playing paintball more fun.
Here are the paintball gun companies we’re currently working with, as well as a list of the price points you should expect to see from them:
DLX Luxe Paintball Guns – Pro-Price Paintball Guns
Dye Paintball Guns – Mid-Price, High-Price, and Pro-Price Paintball Guns
Empire Paintball Guns – Mid-Price, High-Price, and Pro-Price Paintball Guns
Field One Paintball Guns – Pro-Price Paintball Guns
First Strike Paintball Guns – Mid-Price and High-Price Paintball Guns
GOG Paintball Guns – Entry Level and Mid-Price Paintball Guns
HK Army Paintball Guns – Entry Level, High-Price, and Pro-Price Paintball Guns
JT Paintball Guns – Entry Level Paintball Guns
Planet Eclipse Paintball Guns - Mid-Price, High-Price, and Pro-Price Paintball Guns
SP Paintball Guns – High-Price Paintball Guns
Spyder Paintball Guns – Entry Level Paintball Guns
Tippmann Paintball Guns – Entry Level and Mid-Price Paintball Guns
Umarex / T4E Training Markers – Entry Level, Mid-Price, and, High-Price Paintball Guns (These are Less Than Lethal and Home Defense markers.)
Valken Paintball Guns – Mid-Price Paintball Guns