Whether you’re first starting out or you’ve been in the game for a while, choosing the best paintball gun for your playing style can be a bit of a daunting task.
Never fear! We are here to help you break your decision down into bite-sized pieces so that you can walk away knowing that you found a marker that suits your needs. If you’re lucky, you might even impress your friends on the field with your shiny new toy. Even better if they first see it moments before getting gogged!
The paintball guns that we’ll review below have received the most critiques and the highest ratings, so you know that they’ll give you that competitive edge needed to get ahead in this fast-paced sport. Plus, it’s nice to know that they’ve been thoroughly tested by the top players around. The top markers have been given our gold star of approval and have earned their spot on the homepage. If want to make an informed decision without researching for days on end, rest assured that you’re in the right place.
Top 19 – The Best Paintball Guns for Any Budget and Skill Level
Buying Guide – How to Choose Your Paintball Gun
You just spent your weekend at a paintball retreat with your closest group of buddies. You had never played paintball before, but really enjoyed being out in the woods with your crew, shooting off paintball guns and pretending like you were carrying out a top-secret military mission. You can’t wait to go paintballing again.
But instead of renting paintball gear and accessories, you’ve decided to buy your own paintball marker and protective clothing, which is how you found us here at Best Paintball Gun Review. To start — we get it — trying to figure out which paintball gun is right for your budget can be tricky, especially if you’re fairly new to the world of paintball. That’s why we’ve designed this handy buying guide to help you find the right paintball gun for you and your unique shooting style.
Different Types of Paintball Guns
While there are a wide variety of paintball guns you can choose from, the most common gun types are electronic guns, pump guns, and mechanical paintball markers.
Although electric paintball markers were once considered to be luxury paintball guns, there are now several manufacturers who produce affordable optoins. Electric paintball guns are generally powered by a replaceable 9-volt battery or a rechargeable battery. They still need compressed gas to shoot, but the firing mechanisms are aided by the electric supply.
The main advantage of choosing an electric paintball gun for your next event is that it is very easy to quickly pull the trigger. Paintball experts compare pulling the trigger on an electric paintball gun to pressing the clicker on a computer mouse. The fast-twitch design of electric paintball guns means you can quickly splatter a buddy with a barrage of paintballs during your next speedball competition.
Pump-based paintball guns are quite dated, and these days are really for guys who prefer to shoot with a manual gun. Pump paintball guns have a shotgun-esque design that needs to be cocked before you shoot it. Obviously, cocking a gun before you shoot it requires a lot more time and effort than clicking a trigger. Despite the added effort needed to operate a pump paintball marker, design is ideal for guys who play paintball in heavily-wooded or sandy areas. This is because pump paintball markers tend to be much more durable than the other types of guns.
Easily the most popular type of paintball gun for light recreational paintball players is a mechanical paintball gun. Mechanical paintball guns are often semi-automatic, and shoot one paintball per trigger click. This semi-automatic nature makes mechanical paintball guns easy to use, quick to clean, and easy to maintain, which is why they are popular among rec-league shooters.
Paintball Gun Reviews
The M2 is the product of the more than decade-old DM series from DYE Precision, one of the leading companies sport since nearly it’s inception. As a result the M2 is entirely tricked out with cable-free charging, two UL barrel backs, and even its own operating system – MOSair. The operating system allows for unparalleled access to tuning, performance data, and service reports. All of this is on top of the incredible features such as its beautiful ergonomic design, the ease of switching between firing modes, a top-notch pressure regulator, and the list goes on and on. The M2 absolutely reeks of high end.
The best way to fully understand the quality of the M2 is to try one in person. From the way it feels in your hands to how quietly and quickly it fires, there’s really no comparison. You can easily tear through a hopper of paint in no time (if that’s what suits your fancy), and if you need a little help with your trigger walking you can fully customize a firing mode to suit your needs. If there’s any question in your mind, just ask someone at your local field if you can try theirs. You’ll quickly feel the type of luxury you’re getting into. Simply put, this is the paintball gun you’ve always wanted.
Dye DAM Assault Matrix
Dye makes some of the best top-tier paintball markers on the market today. They run the gamut from handheld units to massive beasts like the Assault Matrix. This particular marker is as close to a work of art as you’re going to get in the paintball field – and it’s worth every penny.
When you first unbox the Assault Matrix, you’ll notice that it looks spectacular. It’s not just aesthetics, either – this is a particularly well-engineered piece of work. Everything works exactly as advertised, with each system working in concert to give you the best paintball experience possible. From the way it feels in your hands to the way it shoots, you’ll notice that this one is different from other paintball guns. It’s a spectacular experience that gets better every time you take it out on the field.
There have been results of some air leakage issues with this marker, but they do seem largely to be connected to user error rather than a design flaw. It’s still a little worrying that proper set-up seems to be so difficult for some, but it’s better to know about the problem ahead of time so you can set the marker up properly. If you can deal with the fact that this unit might not work perfectly without a few minutes of work, you’ll find yourself really enjoying the overall experience. Once you get everything sorted out, you won’t have to worry about the problems again.
Planet Eclipse ETEK5
If you’re looking for a high quality paintball gun but products like the DYE M2 are out of your reach, the Planet Eclipse ETEK5 is another option certainly worth checking out. Standing on the shoulders of Planet Eclipse’s high end marker the EGO LV1 (View on Amazon), the ETEK5 has inherited the basic ergonomic design and quality components. Of course, the high-end bells and whistles have been stripped down to provide a more affordable option. That said, the ETEK5 is still a light, durable, and smooth shooting.
One drawback of the ETEK5 over higher-end markers would be that it is a bit heavier, but this is to be expected with more fairly priced options. With a comfortable grip and trigger, this should be well suited for quick snaps and a rapid firing rate. If you are an avid woods ball player, there are a few camo options (View on Amazon) that will help you blend in a bit more (or perhaps stand out if you’re a speedball player!). This is an all around high quality paintball gun that will pack all of the power you’d ever need, while still maintaining a fairly reasonable price.
When you get to the championship level, you begin to expect a lot out of your marker. They don’t just need to enhance your play – they have to work with your own natural skills in a way that’s seamless. Fortunately, Dye’s DSR is a fairly functional marker that gets the job done.
When you choose the DSR, you’re making an investment in your sport. Fortunately, the investment is one that will pay off for top-tier players. It’s got good action, doesn’t have much of a kick, and definitely shoots as straight as advertised. It’s a natural extension of Dye’s top tier line, something that’s reliable enough for tournament play but that’s still a lot of fun. It’s not going to miraculously make you a better player, but it will let your natural skills shine through.
The only real flaws with this unit would be unnoticeable almost anywhere else. There are a few paint errors, most of which will escape notice unless you’re really looking. The trigger frame is also a lot sharper than it needs to be – not sharp enough to draw blood, but definitely sharp enough to cause some discomfort. Again, not the kind of thing that you’d notice elsewhere but a minor imperfection on an otherwise flawless unit.
Empire Paintball Axe
The Empire Paintball Axe offers a high performance paintball gun at a very reasonable price tag. While it won’t afford you the luxuries of the higher end models, it has all the essentials – fast shooting, low profile, and easy maintenance. It’s quality is backed up not only by the vast number of players using it on the fields, but also by professional players using it in tournaments where the stakes are high.
It’s arguably not the most attractive gun out there, and the stock barrel could probably be upgraded. That said, a decade ago the paintball markers in this price range were had nowhere near as much to offer as the Empire Axe brings to the table today. It would serve as an excellent choice for anyone who enjoys the sport, but doesn’t want to break the bank to get in the game. It’s also an excellent backup to keep on hand for a high-end marker because it will still give you everything you need as a fall back. Since it lacks the wide array of features available in today’s markers, there’s a lot less that can go wrong with this choice. For the price, the Empire Axe is pretty tough to beat.
DYE Proto Rize MaXXed
The Proto Rize MaXXed resides neck and neck in our ratings with the Empire Axe, and it pulls ahead slightly in performance whereas the Empire Axe has the slight price advantage. The Rize MaXXed works great out of the box, and it’s light, compact, and ergonomical. It shoots very smoothly and the trigger feels quite responsive.
The MaXXed comes equipped with the UL hourglass gripframe that first appeared on DYE’s DM series. Many people love the UL gripframe, but others are not as fond of it, so this is something to consider before purchasing. It’s best to hold one in your hands and see for yourself. We happen to be in the former camp – please excuse our slight bias in regards to this aspect of the review.
Another edge on the Axe, the barrel on the Proto Rize is relatively well designed. It also comes equipped with the hyper 3 regulator, which has been regarded as a quality component for years now. While it is slightly more expensive and the UL frame may not be for everyone, the Rise MaXXed has a lot going for it. If you like it, you’ll probably love it.
Empire Paintball Mini GS
The Mini platform is a fantastic subset of the overall paintball world. The markers are light, easy to use, and have an awesome ability to feel perfect in the hands of almost any player. It’s no surprise, then, that one of the better markers out there is the Empire Paintball Mini GS Marker.
The Mini GS is a weird marker in the best way. On one hand, this is absolutely the kind of marker you should hand someone that is just looking to get into the sport for the first time. It’s light, easy to use, and very accurate. On the other, this is a great marker for tournament play – it’s got a great firing speed and won’t tire you out while you’re out on the field. It’s one of the very rare markers that’s really recommended for almost everyone who loves to play the game.
This is, unfortunately, another one of those paintball markers that takes a long time to get set up. This is a huge problem for those who expect their markers to be ready out of the box, but it’s something that most long-term players have learned to live with by this point. Once you get it set up how you like, you won’t have to mess with it too much – it’s just that initial set-up phase that will be a problem. Beyond that, this isn’t a marker that has a lot of issues and will serve you well.
Dye Proto Rize Paintball Marker
Starting out in paintball can be a painful experience for more than one reason. Not only are you likely to get shot over and over, but you’ll be using some awful equipment. Once you get away from the rental markers you find at the fields, you’ll get a chance to start looking at solid beginner models like the Dye Proto Rize.
As a far as beginner markers go, the Dye Proto Ryze is a treat. It’s light, easy to use, and won’t cause many problems. It’s also almost strangely efficient, so you won’t have to worry about your gas levels while you play. Beyond that, it hits the major high-points that most new players are looking for – it’s accurate and fairly quiet, so it will support most players who are learning how to compete. It’s not exactly the kind of model that’s going to make it in tournament play, but it’s good for those who are thinking about getting up to that level.
Of course, no marker is perfect. This one has a host of the usual little problems, most of which are going to shake out after regular use. Perhaps the biggest drawback to this one is the grip – it’s plastic and it just doesn’t feel great. That’s fairly easily fixed, of course, and not something that should turn most buyers off the marker. All in all, most players would be grateful for any marker that has such minor overall issues. This is a solid piece of work that will help most new players figure out exactly how they want to play the sport.
Planet Eclipse Etha LT
It’s nice to play paintball with a marker on which you can rely. Knowing that it’s your skill that eliminates other players feels great, and knowing that missed shots can be remedied with a little extra practice is also a nice feeling. If you really want a marker that will do all that, you want the Planet Eclipse Etha LT.
There are two really solid selling points for this particular marker. First and foremost, the Etha LT is a light marker. Weighing in at around two pounds, you’re never going to get tired carrying it during a game. While that might not seem like a big deal, it’s important for those who spend hours out on the field playing paintball. On the other side of the equation is the accuracy – this marker will send paint flying exactly where you want it to go. While for some it might be hard not to be able to blame the marker for missed shots, it’s a good fit for most who take the game seriously.
Even though it’s a really good marker, there are some drawbacks to this paintball gun. The big one is the body – the construction just doesn’t feel up to the standards that you would expect from a good, competitive marker. Beyond that, you’re looking at fairly minor issues – it kicks a bit and it’s a little loud. None of that is worth passing over the unit, though. You’re going to get far more pleasure from playing with this marker than worry, which makes it more than worth carrying.
Empire Paintball Slice G36
Paintball guns should, in a perfect world, look impressive. Unfortunately, there’s a real trend to put function so far above form that many great markers look a bit too much like toys. If you want something that looks great, you shouldn’t have to force yourself to play with substandard gear. That’s why it’s nice that products like the Empire Paintball Slice G36 exist.
A good place to start with the Slice G36 is with looks. Modeled after a real-world H&K gun,
it’s certainly one of the best markers that you’re going to see on the field. Even if you put aesthetics aside, though, you would still have a wonderful marker. It’s got good action, won’t pull you out of the game, and is remarkably easy to use. While it’s not the highest-quality marker out there, it’s amazingly versatile when you take it on its own merits. This is a marker for people who care about form as much as function, but it luckily doesn’t make the mistake of skimping on the latter.
This is not, however, a particularly friendly marker. The G36 will work well for you while it’s active, but the maintenance is always going to be a problem. It’s a difficult marker to assemble and it’s not even easy to adjust the various settings. This isn’t a huge problem for those who have been working on paintball guns for years, but it’s exactly the kind of thing that will frustrate novice players. If you don’t mind having to do a little work, though, this marker definitely won’t let you down.
Electronic markers can be hit or miss – and no, that’s not just a pun. They’re harder to maintain, less reliable overall, and take a lot more work than the tried-and-true mechanical units. There are, however, some truly great electronic markers out there that are well worth a seasoned player’s time. If you want to get into that field, though, you need to start with something a little simpler. That’s where the Spyder Fenix comes in.
The Spyder Fenix is as close to an entry-level electronic marker as most players are ever going to find. Compared to most other e-markers, it’s relatively resilient and the maintenance is simple. It’s not going to win any awards for its style or power, but it doesn’t have to. Instead, it presents a really great experience for those who want to move over to something that’s a little more complex than the markers they find at a field.
The problems with the Fenix are pretty much the same as you’ll find with any other electronic marker. It’s a little touchy, it’s not as easy to maintain as a mechanical marker, and you certainly are going to run into technical issues from time to time. None of these problems make this a bad marker, of course – they’re just things that buyers need to know about. If you’re going to make the jump from mechanical to electronic, this is one of the best first steps that you can make.
Paintball guns are much easier to use than the average new player would expect. The big issue isn’t the game, but rather it’s the equipment that players are given. The paintball guns used in most fields are old, used hard, and not maintained as they should be. If you want to really get a feel for the game, you have to try out equipment like the Tippman A5.
The Tippman A5 stands out as an ideal marker for those who are making the transition from using range equipment to those who are getting serious about the sport. It does everything that you’d hope a paintball gun would do, of course, but does it with far fewer problems than most models out there. It’s not exactly a standout in tournament play, but not every marker has to reach those levels. Instead, this is the kind of marker you want to use while you are learning how to play the game.
There isn’t much to complain about when it comes to the A5. The biggest issue is that it breaks a little paint, but even that is remedied if you upgrade the hopper. All in all, it’s the kind of paintball gun that you want to use when you really want something dependable. Given that the vast majority of users tend to praise this marker and few have any complaints, it’s one of the better markers to try out when you’re figuring out your own game.
D3FY Sports D3S
It’s important to know what you want out of a paintball gun. Those who are new to the sport generally want something that looks cool, but those who have been playing for a bit know that it’s what’s inside the counts. If you want a good paintball gun, you want something that will allow you to hit targets without causing problems. That’s exactly the kind of experience the D3FY Sports D3S gives to its owners.
Accurate and reliable are the general watchwords for the D3S. It isn’t the fanciest paintball gun out there, but it really doesn’t have to be. Instead, it’s the kind of paintball gun that will tend to keep working once you get it set up properly and the kind that’s not going to leave you in a bind when you are on the field. It is incredibly accurate even for its size and it won’t cause you many problems – and honestly, is there really much more the average player wants out of his or her paintball gun?
Is this a perfect paintball gun? Unfortunately, it’s not. It has a few problems, though they’re more annoyances than anything else. This gun will require some significant tinkering when you take it out of the box, especially if you are looking to get pinpoint-perfect accuracy during your early games. It’s also got the tendency to break paintballs on a semi-regular basis, so you’ll run through a hopper much faster than you might otherwise. Even with that said, it’s a very solid product that tends to be far more of a hit than it is a miss. Consider this one as a good secondary paintball gun.
Tippmann 98 Custom
The Tippmann 98 Custom is the age-old standard. It has been long known for extreme durabilty and reliability. If all you need is a paintball gun that works, then this is the one for you.
You will not find anti chop eyes on this marker, but it’s probably not a big issue because it only has a single-finger mechanical trigger. As such, your firing rate will be limited and a loader is quite arguably unnecessary.
The main advantage is that these markers keep working through practically everything. We’ve seen them fall in brooks and still come out shooting. Little maintenance is required, though of course it’s recommended. Don’t forget that the lack of cutting edge features gives this marker a distinct price advantage, and it’s also a forgiving choice for someone just starting out.
Spyder MR100 PRO
Name brand can go a long way when it comes to paintball markers. If you were a fan of the sport during its earliest days, you definitely recognize the Spyder brand. While there are some very solid competitors out there now, Spyder continues to make great markers with units like the MR100 PRO.
Straight and accurate are the watchwords for this Spyder model. You’re not going to find a lot of fancy bells and whistles on this mechanical model, but you really don’t need them. All you need to know is that the marker will fire straight and that you won’t be losing out on hits due to problems with the unit. Instead, you’re going to find that your biggest enemy is your own aim – if you’ve been compensating for problems with a lesser marker, you’ll probably find yourself having a few issues here.
As good as it performs, there are some telling problems with this marker. The construction is pretty brittle, so don’t expect to put it through its paces without some structural problems. It’s not going to break during an average game, but those who punish their gear will soon find this one ruined. It’s also got a real issue with chopping up paintballs, which can be an expensive problem. It’s not a bad marker by any means, of course, but it’s good to know what you’re getting into before you buy.
Making the jump from a beginner marker to something more serious is tough. When you’re a beginner, all you really need to worry about is accuracy. If you start to take paintball more seriously, though, you’ll need to deal with other factors. Not only will you want something that’s going to be efficient, but you’ll want something that can stand up to repeated use. You’ll also want something that is very consistent. One of the better markers that has all of these qualities is the Tippmann Cronus.
There’s a lot to love about the Cronus. First and foremost, it looks great. It’s rare that an intermediate-level marker will look like anything but a toy, but this one actually has some style. Beyond that, it’s got all the usual selling points – it’s accurate, it’s light, and it works incredibly well out of the box. You won’t find yourself spending hours trying to get this one working and you should have a relatively similar experience when you hit the field for the first time and for the hundredth time. In short, it’s about as good as you’re going to get at this level.
So, what’s the downside? If there’s anything, it’s the parts. This is a mostly plastic marker, which helps it with weight but doesn’t exactly make it the most durable marker on the market. Most Cronus models hold up particularly well, but you’ll want to make a note of the construction if you’re really planning to put it through its paces. Fortunately, most players aren’t going to run into any major problems playing – and those that do might want to start looking at something closer to a professional model of paintball gun.
Spyder’s long been one of the big names when it comes to entry and mid-level paintball guns. Unfortunately, they’ve put out a few models in recent years that really haven’t been worth the brand name. The good news, though, is that the Xtra feels like a return to the type of paintball gun that you probably remember playing with.
There are a lot of little things that make playing with the Xtra fun. It’s a solid mechanical marker, with none of the problems that tend to be found in mechanical units. At the same time, it’s a fast marker for a mechanical unit, one that keeps up with almost everything else on the field. You won’t see a lot of complaints surrounding this one, and for good reason – it’s about as reliable a marker as you’ll ever find. This is paintball done right by a company that knows its strengths.
Are there issues? Sure. It’s not the best looking marker out there, and there are a few others that do the job just as well at a better price point. As an all-around paintball gun, though, you’re going to have a hard time finding faults here. This is exactly what you want to use for a day out on the field.
Tippmann TMC MAGFED
It shouldn’t be too surprising that there are a few variants of paintball guns. If you’ve only played with rented equipment, though, you’re probably only used to playing with markers that use hoppers. If you want a slightly different experience, you might want to try out a magazine fed marker.
If you’ve never played with a magazine fed marker before, the TMC MAGFED is a great place to start. You’ll notice it’s a little bit less unwieldy than most of its hopper-fed counterparts and that it lacks the unseemly gas lines. You’ll also notice that it just feels better than most hopper-fed markers – this is definitely a unit that’s made for serious play. On top of all that, it’s also almost scarily accurate – you’ll find better out there on the market, but not at this level.
Unfortunately, there are some real downsides to this marker. It’s pretty rough when it comes to accuracy, especially if you are counting on shooting at extreme range. There are also some issues with the mag – nothing that’s abnormal, but enough that you’ll want to pay attention. It’s an imperfect marker, but that’s fine – it’s still not a pro-quality paintball gun. Instead, you’re looking at a mag-fed marker that’s going to serve most players well. Don’t expect miracles from this one, but you should absolutely expect to have a great time playing the game.
Tippmann makes so many good markers that it almost seems unfair to compare them. Perhaps the best thing about the company, though, is that it makes markers for so many different types of players. While not everyone is going to fall in love with the Gryphon, it’s ideal for many.
This is perhaps the best marker for a beginner out there. Does it have a ton of high-end features? Of course not – that’s not who needs this paintball gun. Instead, it just works well out of the box. You’re not going to spend a lot of time messing around with setup, but you will spend a good deal of time actually playing paintball. That’s probably one of the most valuable traits that any marker has, making this unit one of the best choices for novices currently available.
If there is a knock against this marker, it’s that it doesn’t do anything spectacular. There are beginner markers out there that are either more accurate, easier to use, or that look better. If you need something specific, this isn’t going to be your go-to marker. If you want something that’s going to work and allow you to hone your skills, though, you won’t find anything better. This is the all-around marker that will help you learn exactly how much time and money you ultimately want to put into the game.