12 Best Paintball Guns in 2018
Paintball guns, or “markers” as they are commonly called, have come a long way in a short amount of time. The first recreational models may have been fun and simple, but now we have authentic guns that can run thousands of dollars.
From weapons that pump to ones that run off solenoids, the paintball gun you choose should match your style of play. You don’t have to have a semi-automatic Pro series pistol to have a lot of fun, but you do need to keep a few things in mind if you’re new to the world of paintball.
Not sure which is the best paintball gun for your money? Read on, and our experts will provide you with shopping tips and a list of the top models here in this detailed buying guide.
Top 12 Paintball Guns Comparison Chart
|1. Empire Paintball BT Dfender Marker||Rifle||HPA||4.7|
|2. Tippmann TMC MAGFED Paintball Marker||Rifle||Co2/HPA||4.5|
|3. Dye M2 Paintball||Pistol||HPA||4.5|
|4. ETEK4 – Planet Eclipse Etek 4 LT / AM Paintball Guns||Pistol||HPA||4.4|
|5. Tippmann Cronus Paintball Gun Mega Set||Pistol||Co2/HPA||4.3|
|6. Azodin Kaos Semi-Auto Paintball Marker Gun||Pistol||Co2||4.0|
|7. Spyder MR100 PRO Semi-Auto Paintball Marker||Short Rifle||Co2/HPA||4.0|
|8. Tippmann US Army Alpha Elite Paintball Marker Gun 3Skull Package Set||Rifle||Co2/HPA||3.9|
|9. Tippmann TPX Paintball Pistol Starter Kit||Pistol||Co2||3.9|
|10. JT Sports Tactical RTP Paintball Marker Kit||Rifle||Co2/HPA||3.9|
|11. JT ER2 Pump Pistol RTS Kit||Pistol||Co2||3.8|
|12. Azodin Blitz 3 Paintball Gun||Pistol||Co2/HPA||3.6|
Are You Experienced?
Newbies should know there are two main styles of paintball guns in the game with pistols and rifles. That said, some rifles are far more compact and easier to deal with when you’re running around the field taking and receiving fire. If you are just a beginner learning the ropes, the best paintball gun for your skill level is a basic model until you get comfortable or you could end up getting peppered while fiddling with your firearm.
Price may also be a factor and something you should consider if you’re new to the sport. A paintball gun isn’t the only gear you’re going to need; protection is key and something you can’t be without in the heat of battle. In other words, don’t be overly impressed with a laser sight or a slick paint job as you’ll need to think air tanks, Co2 cartridges, and various accessories before ever setting foot on a paintball field.
Types of Paintball Guns
As mentioned, most paintball markers come in pistol or rifle form, but there are still three styles of guns with pump, mechanical and electric.
- Pump – This is what we refer to as a classic, as it was the first type of paintball gun available. This kind of gun requires you to “pump” before each shot, and while they are at a disadvantage against semi-automatics, they are more accurate and cheaper.
- Mechanical – Mechanical markers are the most common style of gun, and you can use them with Co2 or HPA in most cases. They are affordable and will fire as fast as you can pull the trigger which makes them a great entry-level paintball gun.
- Electronic – If you want the best and price is not a concern, go electric. They require battery power for the solenoid and offer up several different modes of fire including full automatic. There are three types of electronic paintballs guns as well with poppet valves, spools, and sear trippers.
Once you wrap your head around the types of guns that are available, it’s time to think about what powers them. That would be air, which comes in two basic forms with Co2 and HPA. High-end guns can work with both systems although you may require an adapter. Either way, you need to make sure to use the proper propellant or risk damaging your gun.
- Co2 – This was the only way to go for years, and paintballers have gone through millions of those little shiny Co2 cartridges. Some guns are built specifically for those, but you can adapt most quality markers to take a Co2 bottle. Co2 is cheaper as tanks can be refilled cheaply although pressure fluctuation and chilling can be an issue.
- HPA – This is “compressed air” that also comes in a tank, which unfortunately can be a hassle to get filled unless you hit a pro shop. They are more expensive overall, but it isn’t even close when it comes to overall performance between the two. HPA-systems are efficient and provide you with consistent pressure with none of the drawbacks of Co2.
Top 5 Best Paintball Gun Reviews
Empire Paintball has produced some of the sexiest markers on the market, and the BT is certainly one of them. It’s the type of gun that will draw stares from your friends and foes, and while it is not cheap, it is worth every penny.
The Empire Paintball BT Dfender Marker is an electronic gun decked out with everything you could ask for. That includes a tool-less maintenance setup and the ability to change the velocity to suit your field’s requirements. Several freak inserts are included in case you need to adjust the paintball size as well.
Features of interest on this gun include break beam eyes to take care of ball cops and a self-calibrating loader speed sensor. It’s lightweight (sans the tank), and the magnesium body ensures it will hold up under rough conditions and weather better than most.
As with most high-end paintball markers, you cannot use Co2 so you’ll need to prepare yourself for HPA. You will also want to keep batteries on hand considering it needs six AAs for the tech. This kit comes complete with the gun, inserts, maintenance kit and a couple of barrels.
Tippmann has been a fan favorite for both beginners and seasoned paintball pros alike. That’s partly due to the fact the crank out more guns than anyone else, and having a price point for everyone helps as well. This Tippman TMC MAGFED Market is in the middle of the pack, and a fine option for beginners.
This marker looks like the popular AR-15 rifle, a design you’ll see plenty of when out in the field. It sports a 12” high-performance barrel with a break which is surrounded by a shroud and topped with a 4-sided Picatinny rail. It’s a dead ringer for the real thing aside from the colors and will stop your opponents in their track with its power. This full pneumatic marker allows you to use a regular loader or go MagFed as well, an excellent option to have on hand. Other features to note include an adjustable stock, stainless steel gas line, and a charging handle.
While Tippmann’s Marker didn’t quite edge out the BT Dfender, we feel it’s the best paintball gun for rookies or consumers on a budget. It also allows you to use Co2 or HPA which is great as you don’t have to spend a fortune to practice using compressed air. This gun comes with two 20 round magazines and a “dummy” mag.
While we love a good paintball rifle, a great pistol can be just as accurate and a lot easier to deal with at times. The Dye M2 Paintball Marker is a beauty that can be carried as a backup or used by itself depending on your playing style. It’s a Pro level gun electric gun, but one that’s incredibly easy to operate.
The Dye M2 is one of the more high-tech guns on our list. It has a laundry list of features you won’t find on other models including a 1” OLED display built into the grip which gives you the lowdown on your marker and allows you to make adjustments in seconds when combined with the 5-way joystick.
You won’t have to worry about spending a fortune on batteries either; the Dye M2 has a rechargeable battery which you can use with the included wireless charging/tech mat. As for the firing system, it comes with a Billy Wing M2 Fuse Bolt, a Hyper5 Inline Regulator, and a Magna Reach Magnetic Trigger system.
There’s no downside if you decide to pick up the M2 or any other gun from Dye for that matter – they are one of the best for a reason. This one comes with two barrels (.684, .688) and is available in 16 different colorways including wilder hues like Rasta, Endless Sky and Woody.
If you like the style of the MK2, but not the price tag, you will dig the ETEK4 LT/AM from Planet Eclipse. It’s a mid-range solution in the form of an HPA-based pistol marker, and while it isn’t as high-tech, it has several slick features you’re bound to appreciate.
This electric gun has a break beam sensor setup with a direct-mounted solenoid, so you will need to pick up a few 9-volt batteries. The moniker is a bit confusing as the LT version has composite parts for the feed tube, OOPS knob and others while the AM is an all-metal gun. No matter which way you roll, you can upgrade either version down the line with a variety of parts from ETEK or third-parties. You can go semi-automatic or single shot with this one as well although you will have to stick with HPA, not Co2.
The ETEK4 may not have as many bells & whistles as other guns in this range, but it performs admirably, and we like the fact you can upgrade this cheaply. It comes with a nice carrying case, spare parts kit, and a barrel cover.
Our first pick from Tippmann is great if you like rifles, but the Cronus can give it a run for its money. There are some fundamental differences between the two, although this one comes as a set which makes it ideal for beginners that need some gear to go along with their new gun.
The Cronus is a pistol marker with a grip that helps you hone in on your opponents. You can use it with both Co2 or HPA, and it comes with an empty Co2 tankard straight out of the box. The gun itself is reliable and functions like you would expect for a base model, so the real value with this kit lies in the accessories.
Along with the tankard, it comes with a 200 round gravity fed hopper, an anti-fog mask, and body harness to store your shots. You’ll also get six 140 round pods for that pouch, gold cup oil, and an orange jerk squeegee from 3Skull.
This kit provides you with everything you’ll need to get started except for balls that go into your hopper. We found this one easy to clean and highly accurate on compressed air, and like most markers, it’s customizable, and you can deck it out with accessories thanks to the Picatinny rail system.