Paintball Gun Buying Guide: Tips for Selecting, Upgrading, and Customizing Your Gun

Paintball Guns

The piece of resistance without which you cannot play paintball is the paintball gun. The paintball gun has many other popular names. Some may know it as paintball marker or simple market, others as paint gun. Regardless of these names, they all refer to the same common paintball gun.

Paintball guns play a vital role in the game of paintball. This device shoots paintballs or paint-filled pallets at opponents in the game. When someone is hit by a paintball, it is considered to be hit.

There are more than 10 types of paintball guns on the market that you can choose from. Although there are so many types, the components of paintball guns are all the same.

As it is the key to the sport, you need a high-quality paintball gun to achieve a great performance.

The best paintball guns are those that offer good accuracy when shooting, easy handling, excellent grip, reliability, durability, smooth operation, and fast speeds. Once you have found the paintball gun that offers you all this, you will dominate the paintball game. Of course, after the purchase comes the paintball gun maintenance part. This process prolongs the life of the paintball gun and makes it keep its amazing performance.

In addition to the types, they also come in a wide range of colors. This feature delights all paintball enthusiasts who want to create an outfit in a certain color. Don’t think that I mean only neutral colors when I say a wide range. They are often found in very bright colors. So, if you want a pink outfit or a gold one you can easily find a pink paintball gun or even a purple paintball gun, as well as a gold paintball gun.

Now, let’s go even deeper and see types of paintball guns, accessories, and other tips and information.

1. Types of paintball guns

If you search online for how many types of paintball guns there are, you will find that there are only three main types.

Those three main types of paintball guns that everyone is talking about only refer to the classification based on the mechanism only.

However, paintball guns can also be classified in another way, such as based on the style of play or the power source.

Let’s see what each one of them looks like.

1.2 Paintball guns classified by mechanism

  • Mechanical paintball guns: They are simple paintball guns without electrical components. They are not powered by batteries and work by mechanical means like a spring to shot paintballs at opponents.
  • Electropneumatic or electronic paintball guns: These good paintballs are powered by batteries and have a mechanical trigger that triggers a solenoid valve. They have good accuracy and are faster than mechanical ones.
  • Pump paintball guns: This paintball gun is activated by a manual pumping action. After each paintball is fired, the gun must be primed again to be able to shoot the next paintball.

1.3 Paintball gun classified by power source

  • CO2-powered paintball guns: This type of gun uses a tank full of compressed carbon dioxide (CO2) as the main source. The tank can be refilled after emptying.
  • HPA (High-Pressure Air) powered paintball guns: This paintball gun uses compressed air stored in a tank. It regulates the air pressure and propels the paintballs with power. These HPA tanks are usually larger and can be refilled after use.
  • Nitrogen-powered paintball guns: Unlike the other two, this one has compressed nitrogen as its main source. The nitrogen-powdered paintball guns have a special performance because nitrogen fluctuates less than CO2. This type of paintball gun can shoot paintballs faster.

1.4 Paintball gun classified by the style of play

  • Woodsball paintball guns: These paintball guns have a more traditional military look. The longer barrels allow the accurate shooting of paintballs.
  • Scenario paintball guns: They have a more realistic design and some different features such as larger hoppers and tanks.
  • Speedball paintball guns: They are usually powered by an HPA or CO2 tank. They can fire paintballs at speed and usually have an electronic trigger mechanism.
  • Sniper paintball guns: You can easily distinguish a sniper paintball gun due to the long barrel. This long barrel lets the player aim from a distance. They offer great accuracy but fire paintball slower than the other types.

1.5 Most popular types of paintball guns

Now let’s leave the multitude of classifications behind and focus on the most common ones used.

Some paintball guns have become more popular than others among paintball players due to their superior features and performance capabilities. Are you ready to see which ones are?

  • Electric paintball gun: This paintball gun is also known as an electro-pneumatic gun. The electronic paintball gun works on electrical power or battery power. When the trigger is pressed, it activates the circuit board that makes the gun shoot the target.
  • Automatic paintball gun: This paintball gun can fire several paintballs per trigger pull in a short time. In other words, there is no need for any other intervention on your part once you pull the trigger once. An automatic paintball gun can be a semi-automatic or fully automatic paintball gun.
  • Fully automatic paintball gun: Favored by lots of players, the fully automatic paintball gun fires paintballs as long as the trigger is held down. Its speed is extraordinary and it can shoot several paintballs per second.
  • Tactical paintball guns: You can accessorize this type of paintball gun with scopes, lights, lasers, and any other tactical pieces. Tactical paintball guns are similar to military ones and are used by those who prefer to play scenario paintball or military simulation-style games. They are also known as military paintball guns.
  • Mechanical paintball guns: If the electric paintball guns use electrical power to start the bolt cycle, the mechanical paintball guns use springs and levers to fire paintballs. They do not have any electrical power to function. They are accessed manually and are simpler than electric ones.
  • Double-trigger paintball gun: As the name suggests, this paintball gun has not one but two triggers. The double-trigger paintball gun helps you fire more paintballs than ever by alternating the finger on those two triggers.
  • Sniper paintball gun: Who says you can’t snipe in paintball? Actually, you can play the role of a sniper in paintball games and for this, you need a sniper paintball gun. This gun has a longer barrel and shoots accurately.

2. What to look for when you buy a paintball gun

We have a tendency when we are looking for something specific to try to identify the feature or characteristics that the product must have to qualify as good to buy. Of course, the material, the quality, specific features like a longer barrel, or the mechanism matter when it comes to what makes a good paintball gun.

In the case of the paintball gun, it seems that the answer is more in ourselves than in the characteristics of the paintball gun.

Why am I saying this?

To answer the question of what to look for when you buy a Paintball Gun, you must see:

  • What do you want to achieve in this sport?
  • What kind of player do you want to be? In what position do you usually play?
  • How far you’re thinking to progress in this sport?
  • Do you think you want to play recreational paintball? Then, how often? Will it be once or twice per month or a couple of times per year?
  • Do you think you want to play paintball in official and professional tournaments?
Let’s examine the first case together.

You like paintball and it is a recreational activity that makes you happy to practice it. You are not a paintball enthusiast, but you want to have fun and get a feel for it. If you consider that you will only have time for it very few times a year, then maybe you should consider buying a mechanical paintball gun.

Mechanical paintball guns are extremely durable and do not break down that easily. They are also the cheapest option of all types and some of the best paintball guns for beginners because of their simple mechanism.

If you think that you will play less than 3-4 times a year, then you need to do the math before deciding what to buy. Is worth it? Think how much it costs to rent a paintball gun and how much is a paintball gun.

If after the calculation it turns out that it is worth buying your own paintball gun, as I said, the most suitable for those who want to play recreational paintball is a mechanical paintball gun. Even if you play more woodsball, this type of gun is perfect for this style of play too.

Let’s move to the second scenario.

You are a paintball enthusiast, you know you want to compete in tournaments someday and you’re also thinking of getting into more speedball style. Then, I recommend you purchase an electronic paintball gun. Of course, this type of paintball gun is more expensive. If a mechanical one is around $150, the price for an electronic one ranges between $250-300.

Leaving the budget aside, the electronic one will deliver you exactly what you need for speedball: accuracy and fast speed. You will be able to shoot lots of paintballs in a very short time.

Of course, we can also look at this whole topic from the perspective of what type of player you are and what position you play. Various playing positions have other requirements that must be fulfilled to be good at the game.

If you play in the front line as a front player, it means that you are in the first line of defense and offense. This type of player needs a very light paintball gun to move quickly and with excellent accuracy. You need to be fast, to shoot immediately and accurately. So, go for a light, durable, compact paintball gun with a light tank.

If you play in the back of the field that means that your role is to provide support. You won’t move much, but you have to cover the others in the team. So, you will need a paintball gun that is capable of shooting large amounts of paint. The amount of air per shot is important, as well as the accuracy. Also, you will need a larger amount of paint so look for a bigger tank and loader.

For the sniper role, you need to fire with incredible accuracy. That’s why a paintball gun capable of shooting with precision suits you best. This allows the player to take accurate shots from a distance and effectively eliminate their opponents.

Once you find out what paintball means to you, you also discover which paintball gun to look at.

3. How to update a Paintball Gun

Can you upgrade paintball guns? Absolutely! But how exactly can you upgrade your paintball gun?

Understandably, those who want to be invincible in paintball want to make adjustments to their paintball gun.

You can always upgrade your paintball gun by adding various accessories that I have listed below. It depends on the need, you can attach more grips onto it for control, a scope for better visibility, a hopper for a large number of paintballs, and so on. But this is an additional upgrade.

You can also upgrade it by changing some of the main components of the paintball gun. You can set up a new trigger, a feed neck, an o-ring kit, or a barrel. The upgrade of these pieces depends on what your aims are.

Do you want more accuracy? Then, purchase a new and longer barrel or even a barrel kit with multiple back parts.

Do you want to be faster? Replace the existing trigger with a new one that offers enhanced performance and shooting accuracy.

Do you want to improve functionality? Exchange some old parts with new ones, for example, you can add a new bolt or a o-rings.

Even other internal pieces can be upgraded but they require technical skills and knowledge. If you’re not sure about the modifications, you should consult an experienced paintball gun technician.

Another important thing to know when you upgrade your paintball gun – this process can affect the paintball gun warranty.

Some manufacturers won’t accept a modified paintball gun back.

4. Paintball gun accessories

Depending on the paintball gun taken, you may or may not need accessories. Some paintball guns are sold individually, but there are also some that can be purchased as a set/kit.

If you only buy the paintball gun, you have to accessorize it to be able to play.

4.1 Paintball gun scope and red dot

Scope and red dot come in handy in paintball styles such as scenario or woodsball. Both of them are very easy to install on the paintball gun and serve the same aim: shoot accurately the target. The scope device helps you to aim a target with precision, while a red dot paintball gun projects a red dot onto the target.

4.2 Paintball gun hoppers

The paintball gun hopper is the device that houses the paintballs. It is located in the upper part of the paintball gun and supplies it with paintballs permanently. Players also call it a paintball ammo holder.

Without this element attached to a paintball gun, you cannot play. It is an essential component that puts balls in the paintball gun’s firing chamber. There are many hoppers with different designs. Some have a gravity-based design, while others have certain motorized systems to push the connecting rods. They also differ in size, so some can accommodate 50 balls while others can accommodate 200.

4.3 Paintball gun remote line

The remote line is an element that connects the paintball gun to the high-pressure air or CO2 tank. The remote line can be coiled, rigid, and flexible.

4.4 Paintball gun grips

If you think that your paintball gun can be improved in terms of grip, you can always add grip elements. They offer you better control of the gun itself.

4.5 Tripods, bipods or mono-pods

Tripods, bipods, and mono-pods are accessories that attach to the paintball gun. They serve as a platform and provide stability and support to the paintball gun to fire more accurate shots.

4.6 Paintball gun flashlight and laser

You can always attach a paintball flashlight to your gun if the visibility is low. This piece is more helpful at night. During the day it doesn’t do anything, it’s just possible to ruin your coverage.

The laser is also a device that can be added to the paintball gun. It projects a laser beam in the direction of the target. Be careful if you choose to add a laser to your paintball gun! Never point the laser beam at anyone’s eyes. It may cause serious eye damage!

4.7 Paintball gun mock suppressors or barrel covers

The suppressor or barrel cover can be added to the barrel of the paintball gun. They reduce the gun noise when shooting paintballs.

4.8 Paintball gun tank

Any paintball gun needs a tank. The tank is its main power source for shooting paintballs out of the barrel toward the targets. Some paintball guns work with CO2 tanks, while others need compressed air tanks.

4.9 Paintball gun stock

A stock improves the player’s control over the paintball gun. It also offers support when the paintball gun is placed on the shoulder to fire.

4.10 Paintball paintballs

Paintball paintballs are also known among players as paintball ammo. They are the small round ball used to shoot. They contain water-soluble paint. There are different sizes and colors available on the market. Keep in mind to buy them in the right caliber for your paintball gun.

The price varies. However, there are enough cheap paintball ammo options. Everything depends on the caliber, color, and amount.

FAQ – Paintball Guns

How much is a paintball gun ?

Mechanical paintball gun models are the cheapest. Their prices vary between $50-150.

The price of high-end electronic ones can cost anywhere from $250 to over $1,5000+.

How does a paintball gun work ?

Regardless of the type of tank or mechanism, paintball guns all work using the same principle.

The hopper releases paintballs into the gun’s barrel. When the trigger is pulled, pressure is created inside the barrel. The pressure is powered by compressed gas from the tank attached to the gun.

The pressure inside the barrel propels the paintball out from the barrel toward the target.

How far can you shoot a paintball gun ?

A paintball gun can shoot 80-100 feet.

Consider that the distance can be influenced by factors such as the effective radius of the paintballs, the weight of the paintballs, the speed of the paintball gun, and the size of the barrel. To guarantee safety, most paintball guns are limited to a top speed of 300 feet per second.

However, there is a record recorded by Guinness World Records in 2020 as the longest paintball target shot. The record register was 363 feet, achieved by Eli Haecker (USA) in Noblesville, Indiana, USA, on 29 November 2020.

How fast does a paintball gun shoot ?

The maximum velocity of the paintball guns is 300 feet per second. At this speed, however, the game of paintball is no longer considered safe. Even the most professional players find that at 300 or above 300 more feet per second the game becomes dangerous.

Final Thoughts

The variety of paintball guns is wide so there is a paintball gun for every paintball player. All you have to do is choose one that meets the needs of your play style. If you prefer a woodsball session, then take a military paintball gun, and if you prefer simulation, then buy a sniper one, and so on.

It is important to take care of it and maintain it properly to enjoy any paintball session.

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About the author: Dave Grayson

I was always the kid who could not stay put for more than two consecutive seconds. So naturally, my parents decided to make everyone’s life easier by paying for all sorts of sports classes that could successfully burn my excess energy in a healthy way.

I’ve always enjoyed all sports and I cannot imagine my life without at least four days a week of physical activity. Keep reading...

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