If your looking at starting to play paintball, or are purchasing your first paintball gun or set of equipment, knowing where to start can be difficult.
There are tons of different brands and styles of paintball guns available, even more so in recent years.
Its definitely recommended going with a marker from an established company with a good reputation. Some of these companies include Kingman Spyders, Azodin, and Tippman. Brass Eagle makes cheap low end mechanical markers, but the quality of their products aren’t very good.
Depending on your price range, check out the Best Paintball Guns for the Money, or take a look at a few good choices for beginner paintball guns.
Some Factors to Consider
Some deciding factors to remember or find out about at when looking for paintball equipment are:
- Your budget
- Performance difference vs cost difference
- Mechanical or electrical
- Performance vs looks
- Other equipment you’ll need
- Playing style
- What you want out of your paintball gun
- Short term marker vs long term
Type of Paintball
There are two main formats of paintball. It doesn’t hurt to think about what style you’ll be playing in the future.
Speedball (Generally faster paces games, commonly on airball fields)
This likely won’t have much effect on a marker at the beginner stage though.
I still recommend a “speedball style” marker over a scenario style woodsball gun for its performance.
Woodsball describes paintball that is played in the woods. This may be at a paintball park or a friends backyard. woodsball games are generally slower paced and take place in a larger field than speedball games.
Speedball is a type on paintball played on a smaller field often less than 200ft long, and usually with inflatable bunkers. The pace is much different, both ends of the field are mirrored and different strategies are used. Speedball is the format used for tournament series as well. There are various levels of competition from local and regional tournaments, to national series. Don’t let the competitiveness of this game stop you from trying out speedball, as usually fields will have a mix of beginner and intermediate players. Not to mention you get better by playing against better players. Personally I enjoy speedball much more than woodsball because of the pace, strategy and competitive nature of tournaments.
Mechanical vs Electric Paintball Guns
If your still reading, your well on your way to learning about different markers.
The first thing you need to decide is whether your looking for an electronic or mechanical marker. Depending on the type of markers your looking at, the difference between these two categories can be small, or very large.
This decision may depend on many things such as your overall budget, what you want out of the marker, the type of paintball your going to play, ect.
Mechanical markers are often cheaper than electronic markers, but this isn’t always the case. If your looking to spend very little money, a mechanical paintball marker may be the way to go. Mechanical markers have a much slower rate of fire (ROF) than electronic markers. I would only recommend this if you have no intention of playing speedball. However speedball is very fun even as a beginner, and defiantly recommend playing this format since it is a lot of fun, and much different and faster paced than playing in the woods.
Electronic markers allow for a higher ROF than mechanical markers. Some have additional features that add a lot of performance to these markers. Over the last 5 years, some of the entry level electric markers have come along ways.
Some features that you may find include:
- Anti Chop Eyes
- High ROF capable of 15 to 20+ balls per second
- Changeable firing modes including popular tournament modes
- Anti-Chop Eyes detect if a paintball is in the breach, and avoids chopping paintballs.
- Chopping can occur if the marker is firing faster than paintballs can be loaded into the gun. This causes paint and shell to sit in the breach, or possibly jam the marker. This may also cause more paintballs to break or effect accuracy.
- The Price difference between mechanical and electronic markers isn’t very high. I Recommend anyone looking for a first paintball marker to invest in an electronic marker.
- These entry level markers, including electronic guns, can be found for under 200.
Some of these markers can be found for quite a reasonable price. However, I would recommend going with a good name behind it such as Tippmann, Azodin or Kingman.
Tippmann markers are solid mechanical markers that have been around a long time, and are more bulletproof than the Kaos and mechanical spyders. They are more suited towards recreational and woodsball players. The feedneck is not in line with the marker creating a slightly larger profile. Also the way the marker is designed, it is very long, which some may prefer to feel more like a rifle. However it is a reliable and durable blowback design. While reliable, so are many other beginner markers including electronic paintball guns.
Other Entry Level Mechanical Markers
Azodin is making some great entry level markers, and for an entry level mechanical marker the Azodin Kaos is pretty good.
For a small increase in price you can get a lot more performance out of your first paintball gun. Looking into an electronic marker for your first paintball gun is a great idea.
Kingman Spyders and Azodin markers are very good, as well as some spyder clones. All of these are blowback marker designs and function similarly with slight differences.
If you like the mil-sim look (miltary style markers), you could also look some electronic Tippmanns such as the electronic version of the Tippmann X7
When looking at your first paintball marker, defiantly keep in mind other equipment you may need.
One of the best investments you can make in paintball equipment is in your mask. Nothing will effect your paintball playing as much as the mask on your face. It is defiantly worth getting a quality mask that will breathe well and won’t fog. It will last a long time, even after upgrades and future markers.
One piece of equipment that has a direct relation with your rate of fire is your hopper.
Cheap gravity fed hoppers are a terrible idea, as they will feed very slow and make you chop paintballs, as well as jam occasionally. For your first marker I would recommend a cheap electronic hopper that agitates and helps feed paintballs. If you want a higher and consistent ROF above 10 bps, something like an empire b or halo b would be a good idea. These are great hoppers for a reasonable price.
The 2 types of paintball tanks available are CO2 or Compressed Air. Compress air is also known and High Pressure Air (HPA) or Nitrogen. Most recreational players use co2 tanks for their paintball guns, as it is cheaper and can be be filled at sporting goods stores.
- CO2 tanks generally run 15-20
- Compress air tanks come in carbon fiber or Aluminum/Steel
- Carbon Fiber tanks are currently around $30-175
- Aluminum HPA tanks can currently be found for about 40
However, CO2 has many downsides. It is very bad for your gun and can cause problems. It is in the form of a liquid under pressure. There is also no gauge to tell how full the tank is, and as a propellant, it is very inconsistent.
HPA tanks provided a consistent output pressure and are much cleaner. It is also always in the state of a gas. One of the best upgrades you can purchase for your marker is a Compressed Air tank.
Where to Buy Your First Paintball Gun
When looking for paintball equipment or starting the sport of paintball, many people start their journey at a local sporting goods store. However, there are much better resources and places to shop around.
There are some good reasons to avoid shopping at these stores:
- They usually have very limited knowledge of the sport
- They may provide bad or wrong information about paintball markers
- Have a very small selection
- Heavily promote certain brands
- Often many products are not that great