10 Best Paintball Guns of 2018 – Top Paintball Markers

When you are in the market for a new paintball gun, you need to be certain that you are not only going to get the best paintball gun for your own style of gameplay, but you get the top-rated and most reliable paintball marker available.

With the array of styles, fire power, and even cost, it is easy to get swept up in all of the options, making it impossible to be confident that you are choosing the right one.

No matter what paintball experience you have or what type of game you enjoy the most, the best paintball marker is out there. We have created the ultimate, killer paintball gun buying guide of the top paintball guns, giving you an easier time to commit to the perfect marker for you. We will break down all of the major features that you should be looking at in a good paintball gun, including its design, fire power, and how best each marker would be used.

Unless you have a tight budget, cost should not be your determining factor over which is the best paintball gun because even some of the lowest-priced markers are better than the most expensive models out there.

It is all about knowing where you are at skill-wise, what you need from the marker, and how you want to play the game. Our comprehensive guide is going to lay out exactly who each marker is meant for, giving you a chance to find your own criteria in the descriptions.

Choosing The Best Marker For Your Style Of Play

Paintball Style Of Play

Before we dive into our reviews, you need to understand that the best paintball gun for you needs to match up with your style of play. The truth is that the top paintball marker is going to vary between woodsball, speedball, and military simulation games and even then your individual style will determine the best fit. There is not a one-size fits all solution for paintball markers. Instead, you will have to review what you really want and need from a marker based on the style of play. We have broken down what each of the primary styles of play need from the ideal marker.

Woodsball Paintball Guns

Woodsball is the most common and arguably the most popular form of paintball. The paintball guns are designed to operate in different elements and hold up well against being shot with paint or banged up a bit. Woodsball is not as fast moving as speedball is, but also does not always mean that you need a mil-sim paintball gun. Sometimes woodsball guns are camouflaged and more tactical, but not always. The best woodsball guns have the option for customization with the picatinny rails, adapting your marker to suit your specific type of combat and play. These are an excellent choice for those just getting started in paintball as well as advanced players.

Speedball Paintball Markers

Speedball is the perfect name for this fast-paced form of paintball. Speedball players need a paintball marker that fires quickly with a rapid-fire e-trigger and an auto-cocker. Speedball markers are always automatic or electronic paintball markers that are programmable to fit usually the 4 primary modes of tournament play. Since speedball is played on manicured and organized playing fields, there are preset obstacles to hide behind, so trigger speed is of the utmost importance in these markers. The markers themselves need to be lightweight and easy to operate and to clean. The electronic markers almost always use both a battery as well as either HPA or CO2 for fire power.

Mil-Sim Paintball Guns 

Mil-Sim or military simulation paintball guns are sometimes placed alongside of woodsball paintball guns, but they do have some difference. The Mil-Sim paintball guns are specifically designed to give you a military experience. They are as realistic as you can get without being the real thing and offer an array of tactical gear options to further give you that scenario, real-life experience. The mil-sim paintball guns are camouflaged to better blend in with the surroundings. Teammates often will divide up into specific positions, such as sniper, pointman, and backman. Each position requires different attachments on the marker, making picatinny rails a necessity for success.

Top 10 Best Paintball Guns Of 2018

Brand

Type

Play Style

Weight

Rating

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1. Tippmann A-5

Editor's Choice

Mechanical

Woodsball/ Mil-Sim

3.1 lbs

99%

2. Tippmann Cronus

Runner-Up

Mechanical

Woodsball/ Mil-Sim

3.7 lbs

97%

3. Planet Eclipse ETEK5

Editor's Choice

Electronic

Speedball/ Woodsball

2.2 lbs

98%

4. Tippmann US Army

Mechanical

Woodsball/ Mil-Sim

4.6 lbs

96%

5. Tippmann TMC

Mag Fed

Scenario/  Mil-Sim

4.0 lbs

96%

6. Dye M2

High Performance

Electronic

Speedball

1.15 lbs

99%

7. Empire Axe

Electronic

Speedball/ Woodsball

2.3 lbs

96%

8. Empire Mini GS

Electronic

Speedball

2.2 lbs

93%

9. Dye Proto Rize

Electronic

Speedball/ Woodsball

2.0 lbs

95%

10. Azodin Blitz 3

Electronic

Speedball/ Woodsball

2.03 lbs

96%

1. Tippmann A-5 Paintball Marker 

Best Paintball Marker Overall (Editor's Choice)

Design:

Our choice for the best paintball gun of 2018, the Tippmann A-5 is designed to be a stealthy, tactical paintball gun. The front grip is designed larger than the average grip, giving you a more stable and natural feel while you are holding it. The design is simple, but that does not mean that it is not impressive, especially with its ability to be upgraded with add-ons or modifications with ease. The simple design does mean that you can completely break it down within a minute, allowing you to clean it on the field if you need to while also making it easy to maintain off the field.

The marker itself is lightweight, coming in at only 3 pounds, though it can get heavier depending on the upgrades added to it. Regardless, it is still quiet even though it is lightweight, ensuring you can maintain stealth when you want to. The A-5 is quiet because it has been stone-honed to reduce the amount of noise that it can produce.

Fire Power & Accuracy:

The A-5 comes with a Cyclone Feed System that can feed up to 15 balls per second, giving you the fire power and speed that you might have only dreamed of.  The off-set hopper keeps it out of your sightline, making it easier than ever for you to aim. The range of the A-5 is 150 feet out of the box, but with modifications and attachments you can increase the range. The A-5 still has an 800 psi regardless, ensuring it still has the power to break the paintballs where it should. The reliability of the A-5 is what keeps its players happy and the reason many players do not upgrade paintball markers after they have the A-5.

Best For:

The A-5 is simple enough for beginners but still powerful and customizable enough for the more advanced players, making it the all-around best paintball marker you can buy. The A-5 would be best-used for woodsball or mil-sim battles because of its ability to be stealthy, camouflaged, and upgradable.

  • Cyclone Feed System, allowing up to 15 balls per second
  • Simple design makes for easy breakdown and cleaning
  • plus
    Barrel specific designed for a quiet shot
  • plus
    Ideal for players of every skill level
  • plus
    Consistent to shoot and reliable
  • Not the most efficient paintball marker in terms of air use

2. Tippmann Cronus Tactical Paintball Gun

Runner-Up

Design:

While it is in second place, the Tippmann Cronus is still one of the best paintball guns you can get in 2018. The Cronus is specifically designed to resemble live-ammo guns, coming in natural and camouflaged colors, allowing you to blend in better on the battlefield. The internal gas line ensures that your line of sight is not interrupted by it and makes it less of a target for your opponents.

The 4 picatinny rails allow users to modify the Cronus to suit their needs better, whether they would prefer to add a red dot or even a flashlight to the gun. It does come with fixed front and rear sights as well, ensuring that the hopper does not get in the way of your accuracy.

Fire Power & Accuracy:

The Cronus uses a gravity-fed 200-round hopper, but it is not a standard hopper, so you will not be able to upgrade it if you are unhappy with it. The average distance you are going to get is 260 to 300 feet per second, but it could be up to 350 feet per second if it is calibrated correctly. The effective range of the Cronus is 150 feet, but it does fire semi-automatically, allowing you to reach up to 8 balls per second. It uses HPA or CO2 to power it, but comes with the standard CO2 canister. While the stock barrel is considered high performance, it is not the most accurate barrel that you can have, meaning you might want to upgrade to a shorter barrel to ensure accuracy.

Best For:

The Cronus is an excellent choice for mil-sim combat. A high-performance paintball marker, the Cronus resembles a military rifle, though it does utilize a hopper, which might deter some players who prefer the mag fed style due to the realism that comes along with them. Otherwise, the Cronus is a wonderful choice for woodsball. As for player levels, the Cronus is perfect for beginners because of its simple and straightforward design, but because of its tactical appearance, you won’t look like a newbie, even if you are.

  • 4 Picatinny rails for customization
  • Highly durable against wear and tear and the elements
  • plus
    Easy to clean and disassemble
  • plus
    Fixed front and rear end sights
  • plus
    In-line bolt system and gravity-fed hopper will conserve your gas
  • The stock barrel is not incredibly accurate and should be upgraded

3. Planet Eclipse ETEK5 Paintball Marker

Best Paintball Gun For Speedball (Editor's Choice)

Design:

The Planet Eclipse ETEK5 is a high performance paintball marker that borrows its basic structure from its predecessor, the EOG LV1. It has an integrated LPR assembling with a SL4 inline regulator, ensuring that it operates with consistency. It is also designed with an extended pitch between the foregrip and the gripframe, which allows for a stable and comfortable shot.

The ETEK5 also has wrap-around grips and foregrips with stippled inserts to give you the utmost control in any playing condition. The ETEK5 also has a tool-less bolt, rammer, and valve removal which lets you clean and maintain the marker without trouble, even if you need to clean it on the battlefield. Designed with a 16-bit microprocessor, the ETEK5 has all of the current electronic capabilities while still allowing for compressed air for fire power. There is an optional screen upgrade that you can get as well, which will allow for a larger and easier to read screen.

Fire Power & Accuracy:

The ETEK5 has 85 psi LPR pressure and a standard 2500 psi air tank will work well, though you can upgrade to a 3000 psi tank if you would prefer. The ETEK5 is a hybrid marker, using both gas and battery controls. If you use the capped firing mode, you can shoot up to 15 paintballs per second. If you use it uncapped, you will shoot as fast as you can pull the trigger, which usually will be between 12 to 14 paintballs per second depending on ability. The magnetic trigger return allows for speedy firing, letting you keep up with your opponents. The ETEK5 also has all of the standard tournament modes for speedball, allowing players who are just getting into paintball to still get a taste of competition.

Best For:

Because the ETEK5 utilizes both compressed air and a circuit board to operate, you can use it for either woodsball or speedball. It is a great choice for beginning speedball players because of its reliability and simplicity to use. It does not grow with you, however, and would not be a good choice for a professional-level player.

  • Magnetic trigger return
  • Dual-density  unibodyforegrip for stable shooting
  • plus
    All needed tournament modes for speedball
  • plus
    Tool-less bolt, rammer, and valve removal
  • plus
    Hybrid of electronic and mechanical marker, making it versatile for both woodsball and speedball
  • Not a good choice for growing or more advanced players

4. Tippmann US Army Alpha Elite

Design: 

The Tippmann U.S. Army Alpha Elite is a tactile long range paintball gun. The rifle comes with a removable front sight, a removable shroud with a lower picatinny rail, a removable carry handle, a magazine with built-in tool storage, and a six position collapsible stock. The Alpha Elite also comes with a Proto Primo paintball hopper as well. It has an all-aluminum die cast receiver, stainless steel gas line, an in-line bolt system, and a quick release feeder elbow.

This Tippmann also has the Tippmann 98 threaded barrel, which is 12 inches long and reliably accurate. The gun is durable, allowing it to take a beating during battle and still come out in one piece on the other end. While the hopper does sit on the top of the fun, it is well-designed and does not get in the way of the sights. The Alpha Elite is designed to give you more of a tactical military feel and it will not disappoint players who are newer to paintball, but still want that realistic touch.

Fire Power & Accuracy:

The Tippmann Alpha Elite uses a hopper, which allows you to use several modes of shooting: tap fire, semi auto, three round burst, and two full auto modes. The effective range of the Elite is 150 feet, meaning it is not quite as far as other long range paintball guns that are on the market, but it is similar to other woodsball paintball guns. The velocity can reach up to 325 feet per second, but this velocity is not usually approved on most paintball fields. The stock of the gun is also adjustable, allowing it to fit the shooter well and get a better shot. The Alpha Elite is also accurate and reliable; it will not disappoint you on the battlefield.

Best For:

The Alpha Elite is ideal for both mil-sim paintball and woodsball as it is specifically designed to act as a sniper rifle. As far as experience goes, the Alpha Elite is a great choice for beginners, but can also work well for more experienced players as well, though the more advanced snipers might want a marker with a longer effective range.

  • All-aluminum die cast receiver
  • Picatinny rails allow for customization
  • plus
    Reliable Tippmann 98 threaded barrel
  • plus
    Sights are removable as needed
  • plus
    High velocity
  • Lower effective range than other sniper paintball rifles

5. Tippmann TMC MAGFED Paintball Marker

Top MagFed Paintball Marker

Design: 

The mag fed Tippmann TMC is one of the most popular mag fed paintball guns on the market. Designed to mimic the AR-15, the TMC has a more tactical and military design. It is designed with 4-sided picatinny rails to allow you to customize it to meet your needs as well as a fully-functional charging handle, easy-pull trigger, 12-inch high performance barrel with muzzle break, an over molded rubber grip, and an internal stainless steel gas line to keep your sight clear. The TMC also comes in neutral colors to help you blend in better with your surroundings during the game, improving your ability to be stealthy.

Fire Power & Accuracy: 

The TMC will also allow you to use either CO2 of HPA in order to get the power that you need. The accuracy of the 12 inch stock barrel is what you would expect from an out-of-the-box barrel, meaning it is not as great as you would hope it could be. Luckily, because the TMC is versatile, you can easily upgrade the barrel for little cost, allowing you to improve the accuracy with a barrel that is better-suited to your needs. You can also improve the accuracy of the TMC by adding a red dot or sight to one of the rails, or even upgrading your barrel to a sniper barrel to improve your ability on the battlefield.

Overall, the Tippmann TMC fires straight and reliably, but it is not intended to be a semi-auto paintball gun. The speed that you shoot a round is based more on your ability to shoot quickly rather than the weapon doing that for you. Since it is mag fed, the shots are meant to be used with patience and accuracy, though it will let you use a hopper to spray paintballs if that is more your style. The TMC uses the standard .68 caliber paintballs as well.

Best For:

The Tippmann TMC is best for players who enjoy a more realistic feel to their games and who prefer a mil sim or scenario type of game. With its AR-15 style as well as the magazine for ammo, it does not have the same feel that you get from mechanical guns that use hoppers. This is a better choice for more advanced players rather than beginners since you need to understand how to play the game well before you jump into using a mag fed marker.

  • Designed with a military-style, resembling the AR-15
  • Customizable to give you the options you need
  • plus
    Comes with two magazines as well as a dummy mag to let you use a hopper
  • plus
    Easy to clean and put back together
  • plus
    Internal steel gas line

6. DYE M2 Paintball Marker

High-End Paintball Marker For Advanced Players

Design:

The DYE M2 is without a doubt one of the best designed electronic paintball guns you can get, which is why it takes second place for the best automatic paintball marker. The M2 comes with a DYE eye pipe that is third generation, making it 60 percent thicker than before. The eye pipe ensures the barrel is clear before releasing another ball, keeping you from chopping paintballs. The gas line is designed to travel through the frame, keeping it out of the way. The M2 also has a wireless connection between its frame and body, a magnetic tripper, and a lightweight 45 hourglass body. With its 5-way control joystick, programming the M2 is easier than ever before. The M2 also has the DYE Sticky Grips.

Fire Power & Accuracy:

The rechargeable battery that comes with the M2 has enough power to last for about 8,000 rounds or over three days of heavy use, ensuring the battery will get your through battle. The barrel is designed to ensure accuracy, keeping your shot straight. The M2 is also made so that any paint quality will shoot well. The M2 also has 4 tournament level firing modes, giving you the right amount of power to be competitive on the battlefield. The magnetic trigger also ensures that firing is easier than ever before, keeping the pull easy and simple.

Best For: 

The DYE M2 is a great choice for speedball. It specifically comes with all of the tournament modes that you could need in order to compete in speedball. You can also use the M2 in woodsball if you do enjoy both kinds of paintball, but if you only play woodsball, you might want to consider the Tippmann A-5 instead. The M2 is easy enough to use for beginners but it is also capable enough for the more advanced paintball players.

  • Gas-through grip frame to keep the line out of the way
  • Third generation eye pipe to keep you from chopping paintballs
  • plus
    Wireless connection between the frame and body
  • plus
    Rechargeable battery to allow you to save on battery purchases and it is chargeable with a micro USB cable
  • plus
    4 tournament firing modes with a LED circuit board
  • The battery does not recharge quickly and can take up to 7 hours to get a full charge

7. Empire Paintball Axe

Design:

The Empire Axe is one of the best electronic markers that you can possibly buy. Designed specifically for competition, the Axe has a push-button bolt removal system that makes engine maintenance quick and easy. The Axe also has a lever to initiate air flow and allows for an easy bottle removal. The Empire Axe and the Mini GS actually operate and are built much in the same way, but the Axe is a more competitive size. Like most electronic markers, the Axe is lightweight and easy to carry. The barrel that comes with the Axe is 13 inches, though you might want to upgrade it to a different length.

Fire Power & Accuracy:

The Empire Axe is known as one of the best competition-level paintball markers that you can get, meaning it is going to have all of the fire power and abilities that you would expect from a quality electronic marker. The Axe has all of the necessary firing modes, including semi, PSP ramping, NXL, and millennium ramping, but also does have the option to fire in full auto mode.

The barrel that comes with the Axe might not be the best, however, and if you are really considering competition, you might need to upgrade the barrel. There is a little too much recoil from the stock bolt as well, which could be a deal breaker for some paintball players. The Axe also uses compressed air for fire power, but should only be used with HPA as CO2 can damage the gun.

Best For:

This is an excellent electronic marker for professional speedball players and is well-known on the PSP tour. It has been proven to be dependable and effective in tournaments. Beginning or woodsball players can also have an easy time using the Axe, making it a great all-around choice if you do not know where you are hoping to go in the world of paintball.

  • Push-button bolt removal system that makes engine maintenance quick and easy
  • Semi, PSP ramping, NXL, and millennium ramping firing modes
  • plus
    Empire relay regulator with on/off level to make bottle removal easy
  • plus
    Extended grip frame for improved comfort
  • plus
    It is the electronic marker of choice for pro speedball players
  • Barrel should be upgrade to make you more competitive, stock barrel is insufficient

8. Empire Paintball Mini GS Marker

Design:

The Empire Mini GS is a budget-friendly high-performance automatic paintball marker. It is designed to have through-grip air transfers in order to prevent any external air hoses, ensuring that everything is streamlined. The Mini GS also has the integrated break-bream eyes that will prevent you from chopping any balls on the battlefield. The venting ASA regulator will also conserve your gas, stopping you from wasting any when you remove the canister after gameplay.

Designed with a simple drop-in of the Redline OLED board, allowing you access without switching the fore grip. The Mini GS is not the easiest gun to clean, however, and will might need to be serviced by a professional. The design also includes a full wrap-around rubber fore grip that creates a secure grip and protects you from paint and other elements.

Fire Power & Accuracy:

The Mini GS has multiple adjustable firing modes, including PSP and MILL, allowing you to be tournament ready. With its pressure controlled poppet engine, you will get excellent performance from this automatic paintball marker. The Mini GS uses HPA instead of CO2 and if you do try to use CO2, you are likely to ruin the electronic marker. The Mini GS high performance as well, ensuring that it is accurate and high speed with the right regulator. Even though the mini is a tiny automatic paintball marker, it still packs a punch upon firing. It does not have quite the power as other markers, however.

Best For:

The Empire Mini is a fun little electronic marker to play with but it is not going to have the speed that you need if you are a professional player. It does have the adjustable firing modes that you need for competition so it could work well for less experienced players, but is not the right choice for pro players. It is also only for speedball and would not work at all in woodsball. Its small size cannot keep up with the heavier and more tactical mechanical markers in woodsball.

  • Has the break-beam eyes to prevent ball chopping
  • Multiple tournament modes to get you set for any battle
  • plus
    Venting ASA regulator to conserve your HPA canister
  • plus
    Pressure controlled poppet engine
  • plus
    Budget-friendly
  • Not as high speed out of the box as other automatic paintball guns, but it is a smaller-sized marker

9. DYE Proto RizeMaXXed

Design:

Definitely one of the best electronic paintball markers you can buy, the Dye Proto RizeMaXXed is designed for tournament play. With its hourglass gripframe, 4 firing modes, as well as an adjustable clamping feedneck, the RizeMaXXed will keep itself in your hand throughout the game. The contoured body makes it in the same league as the more competitive markers and is specifically designed to be compact and lightweight. The Sticky Grips are durable as well, offering protection for the electronic part of the marker as well as its battery.

The aluminum construction ensures that the marker is lightweight yet durable. The two-piece barrel that comes with it is 14”, but can be changed out if it is not working for you. The RizeMaXXed also has an added feature of an on/off capability for traveling on airlines, ensuring that it is safe.

Fire Power & Accuracy:

The RizeMaXXed is extremely accurate and is well-known for its ability to fire straight. The accuracy is due to the DYE Precision 2-piece barrel, which is found in DYE brand markers. The RizeMaXXed also has a steady porting to ensure the shots are consistent and accurate. The speed of the shot can vary between 200 and 300, giving you ample to catch an opponent off-guard. The RizeMaXXed uses DYE’s closed-spool design, giving it a low 140psi, allowing you to conserve your air battle during battle. The Rize also has an eye-pipe system that will look in the barrel for you and make sure there is no reason for your paintball to break in the gun itself.

Best For:

Probably one of the best things about the RizeMaXXed is that it really can be used for either woodsball or speedball. It comes with all of the tournament modes that you would need for speedball, but also works well in woodsball, something that not all electronic markers could claim. The RizeMaXXed is an excellent choice for beginners and intermediate players alike as it is reliable, accurate, and easy to use.

  • Extremely quiet, keeping your location hidden on the field
  • Great accuracy
  • plus
    Budget-friendly, especially for an electronic paintball marker
  • plus
    Airport on/off switch, allowing you to travel with the marker
  • plus
    Comes with 4 tournament firing modes
  • Battery that comes with it is not going to get you through a battle. You will need to replace it right away

10. Azodin Blitz 3

Design:

The Azodin Blitz 3 is a streamlined design, keeping all of the hoses, fittings, and pieces out of the way. With all of the fittings out of the way, you are a slimmer target, harder to hit and to see and giving you a better range of sight. It has a sleek design with a durable nylon reinforced composite frame, keeping it sturdy with all of the wear and tear that can happen on the battlefield.

The Blitz was designed to operate well in all weather conditions and not bend under pressure, like if you fell on it for example. The Blitz 3 was designed to be 15 percent lighter than its predecessor, weighing in at 2.03 pounds, but because of the way that the body was created, any excess material was eliminated, leaving you with a durable marker that is also extremely lightweight.

Fire Power & Accuracy:

The Blitz 3 uses a 20 ounce CO2 tank, giving you all of the power that you need to be competitive. While this is considered more of a starter automatic paintball marker, the Blitz 3 still will do its job in battle. With the low pressure inline regulator, the Blitz 3 is gas efficient, ensuring you will not blow through your CO2 quickly. Electronic markers work better with HPA, however, so you might want to replace the CO2 tank with a HPA tank as soon as you can. The Blitz also comes with a spring loaded standard 200 round hopper. Because all of the fittings are hidden, you will have an easier time aiming at your opponent, with only the hopper potentially getting in your line of sight.

Best For:

The Azodin Blitz 3 is intended as a starter electronic marker for those who are new to paintball. It is not a good choice for more advanced players and will not grow with you as your skills progress. Electronic markers like the Blitz 3 are usually intended for speedball, but it could function well in woodsball as well, making it a great starter choice if you have not decided which style of paintball is the right choice for you.

  • Budget friendly: the Blitz 3 is less expensive than other electronic markers
  • Lightweight and rugged, making it easy to carry and durable
  • plus
    Good choice for beginners who are just figuring out paintball
  • plus
    Low pressure inline regulator for efficient gas use
  • plus
    User-friendly with a streamlined design
  • Not ideal for more advanced players

The 3 Basic Types of Paintball Guns

Basic Types Of Paintball Markers

Just as there is not just one type of gameplay in paintball, there is not just one type of paintball marker. In fact, there are three common types of paintball guns on the market: pump action, mechanical, and electronic. The type of paintball gun that you need depends a lot on your skill level, the type of paintball that you like to play, and your own personal strategies on the battlefield. Some players will invest in more than one type of paintball gun, but if this is your first purchase, you should start with the gun that you will get the most use out of.

Pump Paintball Guns 

The pump paintball gun operates manually, making it more work to operate, especially for the less experienced sportsman who is going up against mechanical markers. This is the original type of paintball marker that was used and it is still used by some avid sportsmen. It operates like a pump-action shotgun, where you cock the gun each time to move the paintball into the chamber to be shot. Because of how few moving parts they have, the pump action guns are typically reliable and consistent, allowing players to focus more on accuracy and tactics rather than shooting and praying for a hit.

Mechanical Paintball Gun 

Mechanical paintball guns are definitely the most common type of paintball gun that you will see on the battlefield if you are playing woodsball or mil-sim paintball. Mag fed paintball guns fall under this category. Mechanical guns are usually easy to maintain and durable as well as affordable. They are known for being the most realistic of any of the paintball guns and operate semi-automatically, meaning one shot per one pull. Mechanical guns operate off of compressed air, either CO2 or HPA. Mechanical markers are also the easiest type of marker to upgrade and customize to meet the needs of your style of gameplay.

Electronic Paintball Guns 

Electronic (also known as automatic) paintball guns operate using a battery and will also sometimes use HPA as well. It is not common for an electronic marker to use CO2 as it does not work well with the internal electronics of the gun. The triggers on an electronic marker are easy to use, similar to clicking a computer mouse. They are also normally programmable and incredibly lightweight. While some players will use an electronic marker in woodsball, they are most commonly used in speedball. Most of the electronic markers also contain “eyes” which will check to see if a paintball is already in the chamber before releasing another, preventing you from chopping.

The Ultimate Paintball Gun Buyers Guide

Paintball Player & Marker Specs

Now that we have reviewed the best paintball guns for 2018, there are some other important points that we should go over before you commit to one gun over another. You might have been able to make your choice based solely on the features of the paintball guns, but you need to review yourself as a player and understand the basics of a paintball marker.

We are going to cover all of the important questions, including the type of player you are, how a paintball gun actually operates, caliber, weight, reliability, and much more. A good paintball gun cannot simply be chosen based on price and fire power, but instead needs to be evaluated thoroughly, ensuring that you have success on the battlefield (and having a great time playing too!). Once you have a better understanding of all of the features, you will have an easier time selecting the best paintball gun available.

Are You A Casual Player Or A Professional Player?

When you begin the process of purchasing your paintball marker, you really need to ask yourself, “am I a casual player or a professional player?” The answer will make a huge difference in the type of paintball gun that you should be shopping for. The best paintball gun is going to vary depending on use and skill.

The more serious players will need a versatile, reliable, and well-built paintball marker that can handle a lot of use. Meanwhile, if you only play once in a while just for fun with your friends, you are not going to need all of the tactical gear that a more serious player would require. Speedball itself actually has pro teams that compete and as a result, speedball players need paintball guns that are tournament-ready. If you are a beginning player, you might not know exactly what you need, so sticking with the best beginning paintball gun rather than a more advanced model might be a good choice.

How Does A Paintball Gun Work

Paintball guns operate using a few different forms of power. The most common is using compressed gas, either CO2 or high-pressured air (HPA). When the trigger is pulled, a bolt will push a paintball into the barrel while sealing the paintball within the barrel. Then a valve will release the gas (either CO2 or HPA), which will expand to fill the barrel, forcing the paintball out of the end of the barrel.

There are also pump action paintball guns, which was the original type of paintball gun. Pump action markers are single fire, so you have to physically pump the gun between each shot, resetting the bolt.

Electronic guns will sometimes use compressed air to fire, but not always. Sometimes, they will use battery power and their programmed circuit board to indicate the paintball should be fired. In these cases, the trigger often operates more like a computer mouse click rather than a trigger pull.

Is It Possible To Upgrade The Paintball Marker

Not every paintball marker has the ability to be upgraded and likewise not every player is going to need or want an upgrade. Upgrades to markers can include changing out the barrels, the tanks, and even the triggers, allowing you to improve the parts that came with the marker to more advanced pieces. Some of the lower-end markers that are made for beginners will not grow with the player, meaning there is not an option to upgrade the marker and instead you would have to buy a new one if your playing has outgrown it. If you are just a casual player, however, you might not need an upgrade at all.

3 Paintball Gun Upgrades To Get Increased Performance

Paintball Gun Upgrades

If you have a paintball marker that does have the option to upgrade, you need to understand that not every part of the marker itself can be upgraded, though depending on the marker, you might be able to upgrade the parts that you would like to. The three most common types of upgrades to a paintball marker are the air tanks, the barrels, and the triggers. There are many reasons you might want one, including a poor stock barrel, air preference, or even an easier trigger, but ultimately, it is up to you to decide. Here are the types of upgrades you might need.

HPA Tanks: 

Upgrading your air tank might not be the first thing that you would consider when upgrading your paintball gun, but you should not overlook it. The majority of paintball markers will come with an empty CO2 tank and a lot of players out there are happy using CO2 as their fire power. But the truth of the matter is that upgrading from a CO2 tank to an HPA tank can have an amazing effect on your overall performance.

There is actually science behind the improved performance of HPA. The CO2 needs to expand from a liquid to a gas in order to build enough pressure to fire. The marker handles that for you. How quickly the CO2 expands can vary depending on the temperature outside, which can alter how quickly you fire. In colder weather, the CO2 will take longer to expand, making your fire power and accuracy less than it would be on a warmer day.

Upgrading to HPA takes away the expansion question that comes with CO2. Since compressed air does not rely on the temperature, you will be able to shoot reliably and consistently every time. Also the HPA will increase the life of your o-rings since it is not as corrosive of a gas.

Paintball Barrels: 

The barrel of your paintball gun is typically the first upgrade that any player would consider. There is a common assumption that the barrel that comes with the gun could be longer or shorter or more powerful. Upgrading your paintball marker’s barrel is not straightforward, however. You might have an idea of what the best choice is, but you need to be sure.

To begin with, you have to think about the reason you need an upgraded barrel. Players will upgrade their barrels in order to improve accuracy, fire power, and distance. Paintball guns do not operate the same way as live ammo guns do, meaning, a longer barrel does not mean better accuracy. In some cases, a longer barrel could be a detriment to your accuracy since the longer the paintball has to travel out of the barrel, the less power and accuracy it might have.

The longer barrels will make it a little easier to sight your target, so they might be a good choice if your paintball position is usually the sniper. Otherwise, the ideal length of a barrel is 12 to 16 inches, which will allow you to be accurate but still have the fire power you want.

Firing Mechanism (Trigger): 

Something that many beginners might not think to upgrade is the firing mechanism or trigger on their paintball guns. The firing mechanism can vary between types of paintball guns, but the goal of an upgraded trigger should be the same regardless: you want to shoot faster. There are three common upgrades for firing mechanisms: double trigger, response trigger, and electronic trigger.

Double triggers are exactly what they sound like. You have two triggers where you keep your index finger on one and your middle finger on the other, alternating fingers for faster firing. They do not work well on autocockers or mechanical markers, however, due to the time it takes for the firing bolt to move back into place.

The response trigger works by sending a bust of gas to put the trigger back against your finger after firing. If you keep your finger down, it turns it into an automatic firing mechanism. These are not always legal upgrades, so confirm before you commit.

The third popular type of trigger upgrade is the electronic trigger. Most of the time, upgrading from a manual trigger to an electronic trigger means upgrading to fully automatic firing, giving you a leg-up on your opponent in speed.

Do You Need Center Feed Or Side Feed

In terms of hoppers, you might be wondering whether center feed, where the hopper is on top of the gun, feeding straight down, or side feed, where the hopper is on the side, is better for you. The advantage of center feed is that it has the aid of gravity to move the paintballs down faster. The disadvantage is that it can get in the way of your line of sight and can also limit the attachments you can use with your marker. A side feed, however, is out of the line of sight, but lacks the gravity help you get from the center feed. To know which one you need, you need to consider the type of game that you play and what attachments you need.

What's The Right Paintball Caliber (0.68 vs 0.50) For You

The most common caliber used in paintball is 0.68. This is the standard size of a paintball, so the majority of paintball guns use the 0.68 sized paintballs. The only other caliber of paintball on the market is the 0.50 caliber. The 0.50 caliber paintballs are smaller than the standard 0.68. As a result, they require less power to travel to the target, but also do not have the same weight to break on impact, meaning you might not successfully hit your target. Most paintball players prefer the standard 0.68 caliber paintballs due to their availability and reliability when firing at a target.

Paintball Gun Weight Is Important 

The weight of a paintball gun is probably more important than you might realize. On the surface, you could assume that the lighter the paintball gun, the easier it is to use and to carry. But the weight has more to do with the gun than how easy it is to carry. It is also important to remember the weight of the paintball gun can be altered depending on the attachments placed on it, including the hopper, sights, and the amount of rails available.

A lighter gun might feel easier to carry, but in order for it to get the power and the distance required to be competitive, these markers often have a heavy kick and make a lot of noise. If you are not prepared for the recoil, you might find yourself in a tight spot. Likewise, the lighter guns will give your position away relatively easily, so they will not work if you are trying to be stealthy.

How Reliable Is The Paintball Gun

Reliability with a paintball marker can be the difference of hitting your target or being knocked out of a game. Reliability can be considered for several different factors, including the gun’s ability to not chop the paintballs, the accuracy of the shot, and how well the paintball gun utilizes the compressed air.

When it comes down to it, the most reliable paintball guns are the ones that have the fewest moving parts. The paintball guns that have the most parts have more chances for a piece of the gun to malfunction and will make it harder for you to clean and to repair when you need to. Realistically, reliability in terms of paintball guns means how well the marker is going to fire straight and if it will happen every time. An unreliable marker is only going to cause you trouble and take the fun out of the game. Likewise, you should consider how easy it is to clean the paintball marker when you are considering its overall reliability.

Is It Easy To Clean The Marker

Having a maker that is easy to disassemble and to clean will save you a lot of trouble if you wind up needing to clean the weapon while you are on the field during battle. If you wind up with a chopped ball for any reason, you will need to disassemble the marker quickly, clean it, and reassemble it also quickly. Some markers will boast that you can disassemble and reassemble the marker in as little as 5 minutes, but at the pace that paintball moves, something that can disassemble even quicker would be better. Some markers can be taken apart in 90 seconds, with the easiest being broken down within less than 60 seconds. You should be able to conceal yourself while you quickly take it apart, but remember that in this time, you could be unarmed, unless you have a sidearm handgun to keep yourself somewhat protected. Make sure that you confirm the difficulty of cleaning the paintball marker before you commit to one.

Final Verdict

The bottom line when it comes to the best paintball gun that you can get in 2018 is that nothing beats the Tippmann A-5 when it comes to woodsball or mil-sim games. Because the paintball gun is great for both beginning and advanced players, one player would not need to change out markers as his or her experience increased. With all of the mods and features that the A-5 offers, it is amazing that it operates and breaks down so easily that a beginner can do both without any kind of struggle.

If you have your eye on speedball rather than woodsball, the best competitive electronic marker is the Empire Axe, but that does not mean that it is the best electronic marker overall. The best paintball marker for speedball, however, is definitely the DYE M2 though. It is a more versatile and capable marker.

When it comes down to it, however, you will have to consider the type of paintball that you are already playing or are hoping to play as well as what your current needs and skills are. The best paintball gun for you is not always going to be the same as another player, so understand your personal needs and commit to the best marker possible. Then, get out there and have fun!

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