Guide to Finding the Best Paintball Gun
Finding the best paintball gun to fit your needs isn’t always an easy task, with so many different styles of paintball markers on the market today it can get a bit confusing to find which one is right for you. Luckily we have made it easy by categorizing the top paintball markers as either beginner, intermediate, or professional. This way you can save time and money by making sure you get the absolute best for your level of experience.
A majority of the markers available today are frankly just a waste of money and will only harm your game while out on the field. By choosing any paintball gun that we have listed below you will be sure to dominate the field next time you play without having to worry about the constant problems that are associated with low quality markers.
Top Markers of 2015
|Tippmann Gryphon||Electro Pneumatic||Beginner||C02 & HPA||$|
|Azodin Blitz - Black||Electro Pneumatic||Beginner||C02 & HPA||$$|
|Spyder Fenix||Mechanical||Beginner||C02 & HPA||$$|
|Tippmann 98 Custom||Mechanical||Beginner/Intermediate||C02 & HPA||$$|
|Tippmann A-5||Mechanical||Intermediate||C02 & HPA||$$|
|Empire Mini||Electro Pneumatic||Intermediate||HPA Only||$$$|
|Empire Axe||Electro Pneumatic||Intermediate/Professional||HPA Only||$$$|
|Empire BT TM-15||Electro Pneumatic||Intermediate/Professional||HPA Only||$$$|
|Planet Eclipse GEO 3.5||Electro Pneumatic||Professional||HPA Only||$$$$|
|Dye Assault Matrix||Electro Pneumatic||Professional||HPA Only||$$$$|
Paintball Gun Reviews for All Skill Levels
If you’re just starting out in paintball then there is no for you to go out and buy the most expensive paintball gun that you can find; instead start with a decent beginner marker and work your way up as you get better. This way you can decide if you really do enjoy playing the game of paintball and to keep you from wasting unnecessary money.
So what I’ve done is review what I consider to be the best woodsball and speedball markers for beginners, intermediates, and professionals so you can find the best paintball gun no matter what your skill level. All of the markers below are extremely good and have some of the best paintball gun reviews online so you know they will serve you well.
Tippmann 98 Custom
When it comes to beginner woodsball guns there is none better and more widely known than the Tippmann 98 Custom. What makes Tippmann markers so great is the fact they’re extremely durable and reliable on the paintball field. Tippmann is the biggest paintball gun manufacture in the entire world and has helped shaped the game to what it is today. When you use any of their markers you can tell that it is very well made and unlike most other paintball guns you won’t have to constantly worry about something going wrong. In the rare case that it does finding a helpful hand won’t be very hard due to the extreme popularity of this marker.
What really makes the 98 Custom so good though is its customizability. While this paintball gun might start off as an entry-level marker, over time you can turn it into an intermediate level one by buying the right upgrades. If you are looking for a faster rate of fire then all you need is a cyclone feed system and either an e-grip or a response trigger. What the cyclone feed does is allow you to feed paintballs up to 15 balls per second while their response trigger or e-grip simply increases your rate of fire. If you’re looking to spend a little bit more money from the start you could just get a Tippmann A-5 since it already has a cyclone feed installed but it depends on how much you’re into playing already.
Since the 98 Custom has picatinny rails on top you can get mods such as a red dot, scope, or even a carry handle/sight to increase your accuracy. Other popular upgrades include a stock for faster aiming from the hip and increased stability, better internals/externals for increased performance, and of course the barrel for better accuracy as well. This paintball gun can use either Co2 or HPA so no matter what type of propellant is readily available you’re good to go as long as you have the right tank.
All Tippmann markers also come with a two year warranty so if there are any manufacture defects with the gun you will be able to easily get it fixed free of charge. If you’re a woodsball player you really can’t go wrong with the Tippmann 98 Custom.
One thing you need to know about beginner speedball markers is that you can’t go too cheap or you will have no chance of competing with the other players. The Azodin Blitz is the cheapest entry level marker for speedball players that can actually hang up there with the big dogs. At a price of around $170 it really does give you a lot of bang for your buck.
With the newly designed Zen circuit board you will be able to shoot up to 20 bps which is pretty crazy for a marker of this price range. The Zen board also comes with Semi, CFOA Semi, NPPL, PSP Ramp, and Millenium Ramp which comply with the regulation of major circuits. The anti-chop break beam eyes on the Blitz work extremely well because out of the thousands of balls I’ve shot so far I’ve yet to chop a single one. Probably the coolest feature of this marker is the fact it works with both Co2 and HPA which is extremely rare for an electric gun.
The one and only complaint I have is that the feedneck isn’t a clamping feedneck so with certain hoppers it just doesn’t hold it down tight enough. Of course with a simple upgrade you won’t have to worry about this problem anymore. The Blitz is slightly loud as well in my opinion but if you’re playing speedball then this usually isn’t such a big deal. So if you’re new to the game of paintball and are wanting to play speedball than this is definitely the best paintball gun for you.
Empire BT TM-15
The Empire BT TM-15 is a fairly new marker that is gaining popularity extremely quickly amongst the woodsball crowd. This paintball gun is essentially a speedball marker wrapped in a functional MilSim body which makes it an extremely deadly combination. With three different firing modes (Semi, Burst, and Full Auto) and the ability to shoot up to 20 bps you will be sure to have no problem sticking up with the top of the line markers. If you have ever shot an Invert Mini you will notice this marker shoots very similar.
My favorite feature of the Empire BT TM-15 though is the shroud with picatinny rails that also reduces your sound signature. I couldn’t tell you how many times people have come up to me to say how quiet my marker was. For all the sneaky player and paintball snipers out there this marker will surely up your game. With all the picatinny rails on the shroud you can add a ton of accessories such as flashlight or grenade launcher which is always good for scenario players. Other cool features include a collapsible/adjustable stock and no external hoses thanks to the internal airline operation. The internals of this gun are a lot similar to the Invert Mini so if you have shot that marker before you will have a good idea of how this one fires.
The only feature of the BT TM-15 that I don’t really care too much for the flip-up iron sights but it’s really just a personal preference. A lot of people also upgrade to using the rip clip loader and I would say it’s an absolute must to use a remote coil as well but that’s the same with any paintball gun with a stock.
Just like the BT TM-15 the Empire Axe is a lot like the Invert Mini as well but this marker has a few tweaks that makes it much better. One of the first differences you’ll notice as soon as you hold this gun is the extra hand room you have around the grip. This makes the Axe a lot more comfortable to hold and this coupled with the internal gas line makes switching hands to shoot a whole lot easier. Thanks to the magnet return, roller bearings, and micro-switch the Axe’s trigger has an extremely good feel as well and is very easy to walk.
The marker comes stock with a max rate of fire of 20 bps as well as Semi, PSP Ramping, NXL, and Millennium Ramping firing modes. Thanks to the break beam anti-chop eyes you will never have to worry about chopping a ball during a game which is the absolute worst when playing speedball. One of the areas this marker really excels though is in how consistent the velocity is. The first time I ever even chronoed the Axe I had 7 +/- fps which is extremely good and will definitely increase your accuracy on the field.
If you do ever happen to have a problem with the Axe you will be happy to know that there is a push button bolt removal system that makes working on this marker extremely simple. In the rare case you do need to repair your marker on the field then you will definitely be thankful for how easy it is to take apart. Another cool feature to mention is the Relay ASA with On/Off switch that makes taking the air tank off a breeze which is always useful and will be sure to save you some o-rings over time as well. Overall the Empire Axe is one of the best paintball markers for its price range and if this paintball gun can win games for the professional players on the PSP tour it will surely serve you good as well.
Dye Assault Matrix
If you’re searching for the ultimate woodsball marker then look no further than the Dye Assualt Matrix. If you are a fan of tactical milsim markers like I am but still looking for functionality then you just can’t get any better than this. What makes this the best paintball gun for woodsball players in my opinion is its ability to use both regular paintballs and First Strike Paintballs by the use of a 10 round magazine clip. You can even buy a 20 rd magazine clip if you find 10 to not be enough as I did.
Since First Strike paintballs can shoot up to 50% further than the average paintball with unrivaled accuracy this allows you to actually have an unfair advantage above everyone else on the field. Even if another player has the Tiberius Arms T8 or T9 which the First Strike paintballs were made for they still won’t be able to switch over to shooting regular paintballs in a moment’s notice with the flip of a switch. Beware though because the First Strike paintballs do come with a heavy price tag of around $40 for 100 but if you want you can always put regular paintballs in the magazine clip instead just in case you run out of paint in your hopper mid-game. If you were wanting to play true sniper mode you could even take the hopper and feedneck completely off and use a little plate that comes with it to cover the hole which is an extremely cool feature.
Since the Assault Matrix is essentially a high-end electric tourney marker it performs extremely well even when compared to top speedball guns on the market. It can change seamlessly between the three firing modes (semi, three round burst, and full auto) and can shoot up to 25+ bps. If you want to program some crazy firing modes you can do that as well even while on the field. You can also do a board lockout if you want to play in a tournament or any firing mode-restricted areas.
Installing any accessories such as the really cool IZON red dot is no issue on the Assualt Matrix thanks to the tactical shroud with picatinny rails. You can even remove and interchange the bottom and side rails if you’re not using them to reduce the weight of the marker which is pretty useful because it is slightly on the heavy side at around 5 lbs with the magazine included. One of the little aspects that I like so much about this marker is the trigger which has vertical ridges and an extra wide face much like what completion shooters use on real guns. This coupled with the spring tension adjustment really gives it the perfect pull.
The only place where I would say this marker lacks though is in terms of efficiency. Using my 68/4500 HPA tank I would only get around 850-900 shots which really isn’t that good to be honest. I’ve also heard of problems with using brittle paint especially in cold weather but I live in Florida and hardly ever use low quality paint so I couldn’t tell you if this is true or not. Overall though this is one of the best paintball guns on the market today and definitely one you should look into if you have the money and love playing woodsball/rec ball.
Planet Eclipse Geo 3.5
After coming out with the GSL which was a really big hit, Planet Eclipse knew they had to really bring it this time with the Geo 3.5 and I have to say they definitely succeeded. Everything that I didn’t like with the Geo 3.1 was fixed with the 3.5 and even more. They took the IVCore drive assembly which made the GSL so popular and brought it over to this marker which gave it a significant increase in efficiency but also improved the feel of the gun and made it much quieter as well.
One of the new features to the Geo 3.5 that also came from the GSL is the much needed pop-up tool-less bolt removal. This allows you to instantly take the IVCore out of the marker which is a lot better than the old threaded cap design. Frankly I’m surprised it took Planet Eclipse this long to come out with this design as it’s really nothing new to the industry but it’s still really nice nonetheless.
With the Geo 3.5 you get a paintball gun that works exceptionally well for not only speedball but woodsball as well. One of the first aspects of this marker you will notice after you shoot it a couple times is that there is hardly any kick at all. I mean it really feels like there is absolutely no barrel rise which is definitely good for accuracy. The efficiency is also like no other and at times you might even think you have an endless tank of air. I know personally I hate having to air up my tank so often and with the Geo 3.5 this will surely be less of a nuisance. At a weight of 2.02 pounds including everything but the hopper and air tank you should really have no problem easily maneuvering around the field and diving around. Thanks to the low sound signature you can even stay hidden playing woodsball which is always a big advantage.
When it comes to changing the speed of the bolt it can easily be done by adjusting the dial on the trigger guard. By selecting a lower speed you will get a quieter sound signature as well as a softer shot and with a higher bolt speed you will get an insane rate of fire that will shoot as fast as you would ever need it too. With all the different trigger options as well this marker does a great job of being able to tailor to fit your needs. You will be able to choose between magnetic and leaf spring return trigger mechanisms as well as micro switch or optical trigger sensing circuits. An all-metal multi-ported bolt as well as a rubber-tipped anti-rollback bolt come with this marker as well to really give you everything you could ever ask for.
The last cool feature I have to mention is the AT Pipe system which was brought over from the Ego line to the Geo. The AT Pipe system makes it so you don’t need a macroline from the POPS ASA to the inline regulator and instead just transfers the air from the AT Pipe to the SL4 inline regulator. This makes it much easier to take apart the marker for either cleaning or maintenance. Overall I would have to say this is the best paintball gun of 2014 and will definitely give you the edge you need to win tournaments. I’m sure something else will come along eventually to replace the Geo 3.5 at the top but for now it remains the best.
So what Type of Paintball Marker is Right for You?
If you’re an avid paintballer already then you probably have a good idea of what type of paintball gun you’re looking for, but if you’re an absolute beginner then you should probably keep reading. There are many different options you have when it comes to choosing the best paintball gun and before you know them all it would be unwise to go out and make a purchase. You should know what game type you prefer playing, what style of marker you want to use, and even what accessories you will need or maybe want in the future.
Everyone has different preferences when it comes to choosing the best paintball marker so it’s important you know exactly what you’re looking for. There is nothing worse than buying a paintball marker only to find out it’s not the one you actually want so let’s try to keep that from happening.
Woodsball vs. Speedball
There are two different games type in paintball known as woodsball and speedball; which one you choose to play will decide the type of paintball gun you’re looking for. When the average person thinks of paintball they imagine people shooting it out in the woods and hiding behind makeshift bunkers and this is what is known as woodsball or often referred to as rec ball. Usually if there are no woods on the field and just a lot of random bunkers or forts it will be considered rec ball.
Speedball on the other hand is a very fast paced game where two teams of five get on either side of a small symmetrical field covered in inflatable bunkers and shoot it out until one team is victorious. Speedball games are very competitive and you can expect to shoot tons of paint while doing lots of running and diving around. Woodsball is more of a family oriented game that is meant for fun but a lot of players do take it very seriously as well. If you do decide to play rec ball then you will most likely be interested in scenario games as well which are usually 16 or 24 hour matches that are based on a topic such as a movie or famous war battle where your goal will be to complete missions for your team. These are extremely fun and often what rec ball player’s look forward too while the average weekend game at the local field is just practice until the next big scenario.
How to Choose a Paintball Gun for Each Game Type
There are a few key difference you need to know when choosing the right paintball gun for either woodsball or speedball. While you can use any paintball marker for both game types it is recommended to gear for a particular one in mind. This way you will do better on the field and get more eliminations which always makes playing more fun. While speedball markers tend to do pretty well on a rec ball field as well the same couldn’t be said for the other way around so it’s good to know the difference.
Electro Pneumatic vs. Mechanical
The first decision you want to make is to either go with a mechanical or electro pneumatic paintball gun. A mechanical marker works by a hammer hitting the valve whenever you pull the trigger which means you are basically stuck to using semi auto; the only exception to this is a Tippmann 98 Custom, A-5, or X7 with a response trigger. Electric paintball markers use a battery to trip the solenoid to fire and have what is known as a board which gives them different firing modes that allow them to shoot much faster.
This is why speedball players always use electric paintball markers so that they can shoot lots of paint and be able to compete with the other players. The board will give you different firing modes such as semi auto, three round burst, full auto, and often different ramping modes as well which makes your marker shoot a certain rate of fire after so many trigger pulls. Ramping is usually used for tournament play to make sure everyone is on an even playing field.
Rec ball players do well with electro pneumatic markers as well but will often go with a mechanical just so they don’t have to worry about a little bit of rain or running out of battery while out on the field during a long game. Not all mechanical marker shoot slow though, some have a double trigger with a very light trigger pull just like speedball markers that allow you to “walk” the trigger. Walking the trigger is essentially moving your index and middle finger back and forth in an extremely fast motion so that you can pull the trigger back over and over and increase your rate of fire.
Co2 vs. HPA
The next most important aspect when choosing the best paintball gun is whether or not you want to use Co2 or HPA(high pressure air). Co2 is the most common type of propellant and can be found in many different locations while HPA is usually just found at paintball shops or fields. HPA is actually cheaper when it comes to filling your tank but the tank itself is far more expensive.
Mechanical paintball guns tend to usually work with either Co2 or HPA while electro pneumatic markers almost always require strictly HPA. Before purchasing a paintball gun it’s always vital to find out which type of propellant it takes because the wrong type can destroy your paintball gun.
If you’re looking for the absolute best then you will definitely want to go with HPA as it gives you far more consistent fps which increases your accuracy. Co2 does even worse when it comes to consistency in cold climates but unless you plan on playing often then it should do just fine.
Centerfeed vs. Offset
The majority of paintball guns are either centerfeed or offset and this is usually the biggest difference when it comes to woodsball and speedball markers. A centerfeed paintball gun is where the hopper is directly above the gun and allows the paintballs to drop straight down into the chamber. This is what speedball guns always have because it allows you to easily shoot more easily with both hands so you can fire from both sides of the bunker without sticking too much of your arm and hopper out there.
Offset feed paintball guns is where the hopper is put off to the side to allow you to aim perfectly down the top of the marker. This is a lot better when playing woodsball because it make sure first couple of shots far more accurate. You can take this a step farther and install a red dot on top of your paintball gun and you will be extremely accurate if you learn to use it right. Speedball players also care less about accuracy due to the amount of paintballs they shoot so the first couple shots aren’t quite as important.