You might have your paintball skills down, but in the end you’re only as good as the paintball guns you have in your arsenal.
Paintball guns have come a long way since the sport was first invented. From basic markers all the way to advanced, high quality tactical guns, the range is huge and caters to all kinds of individuals. Whether you’re an amateur or a veteran, having a reliable paintball gun is essential to get the best performance and overall best experience out of the recreational game.
Best Paintball Guns Money Can Buy
Paintball guns or markers come in various shapes and sizes, and it can get confusing for any individual to decide which one suits them best. The huge price range doesn’t help either – from a hundred bucks all the way into the thousands, the variation in pricing is large enough to cause a headache.
To make your choice easier, we’ve handpicked the 6 best paintball guns available in the market, covering all price ranges for all levels (beginner, intermediate, and pros). There’s also a detailed buyer’s guide at the end of the review to help you with your purchase decision.
Our Top Pick
The Ideal Paintball Gun for Beginners and Intermediates
The popular Tippmann Cronus is the ideal choice for most paintball players because of its versatility. It features a mechanically-powered trigger and a rail to add various attachments and upgrades to it. The design is ergonomic and feels comfortable, and the gun is very accurate.
Given how affordable the Tippmann Cronus is, you wouldn’t expect it to perform as incredibly as it does. It is the best choice for mainstream paintball players, and that makes it our top pick.
The Enthusiast’s Weapon of Choice
The Empire Axe is expensive, but it offers unparalleled performance for enthusiasts. It has a rapid firing rate, is incredibly lightweight, and utilizes a high quality electro pneumatic trigger. It is easy to handle because of its smart trigger guard design and offers great accuracy.
As an enthusiast, you’ll definitely want to take a look at what the Empire Axe has to offer. This is the premium choice for the pro paintballers out there for its all-round great performance.
The Tippmann Cronus is one of the most well-known paintball guns among intermediate and enthusiast players. Coming at a reasonable price, this versatile gun takes inspiration from the famous Tipmann 98 custom and improves on it with a few design changes.
These design changes include an optional barrel shield and a stock that can be mounted on this gun to give it a more realistic look and added better stability (and by extension accuracy). There is also a rail on the gun to attach red dot sights, lights, or a grip.
The design of the Tippmann Cronus is ergonomic, making it easy to hold and maneuver. The trigger on the Chronis is mechanical, and the air capability of this gun supports both CO2 and HPA.
Tippmann Cronus’ design and affordability combine together to make it the ideal choice for beginners and intermediate players. It is durable and sturdy so it’ll last you a long time. It is ideal for both Woodsball and Speedball game modes.
- Affordable price
- Sturdy and durable
- Lots of upgrade options
- Requires upgrades to get the best out of it
Azodin’s Blitz 3 is another great option for beginners and intermediate players due to its ease of use and affordability. It has a fast firing rate of more than 20 bps, and is ideal for both Woodsball and Speedball modes.
This is an electronic marker that is built with simplicity and function in mind over features. It is incredibly lightweight with a comfortable design. It also comes equipped with a new preset feather regulator to make it even easier for beginners to use.
The gases used in the Azoden Blitz 3 are CO2 and HPA, both widely available. It also offers 4 different types of firing modes.
The Azodin Blitz 3 is a popular choice for all beginners because of its affordability and accuracy. It is one of the few paintball guns available in a wide variety of colors. It is the go to paintball marker for most amateurs.
- Affordable price
- Lightweight design gives it easy maneuverability
- Requires little maintenance
- No option to add upgrades
The above two paintball guns were great for beginners and intermediates, but the Empire Axe market is all about the pros. This incredibly built paintball marker is superior to the vast majority of paintball guns available on the market.
One of the major features that of the Empire Axe that stands out is the large trigger guard and the trigger itself. There is a convenient gap between the foregrip and the trigger guard. The trigger is electronic and can be adjusted for any type of game.
The long barrel of the Axe makes it highly accurate, and the versatility you get from the trigger system adds to the overall experience. It remains consistent in its performance for a long period which suggests how durable it is, and it offers different firing styles.
The Empire Axe comes at a premium price, but it is designed for “pros” and enthusiasts in mind. It also comes in three different color schemes.
- Highly accurate
- Adjustable firing modes
- Easy to maintain
- Very versatile
- Great durability
- Very expensive
Like Empire, DYE is another company that makes high-end paintball guns with great features meant for the advanced players. Yet despite such a reputation, the DYE Proto Ryze MaXXed isn’t going to cost you an arm and a leg to buy, which is what makes it one of the best paintball guns you can buy.
The Rize is described by the company as a tournament quality paintball marker that comes at a competitive price. In the field, it consistently outperforms most guns within its price range. It’s still not the cheapest paintball gun you can buy, but it’s highly accurate and ideal for most intermediate and advanced players.
The complete package will cost you less than $450, and it includes the gun, mask, CO2, ammo loader, and everything else you need to start painting your targets.
Like the Empire Axe, the DYE Proto Rize is an eletro-pneumatic shooter. It can shoot at a speed of 18 bps thanks to its Fusion bolt technology and has great accuracy. It is also really quiet, which provides a great tactical advantage on the field.
- Competitive pricing for the performance
- Very lightweight
- Large barrel/compare_box_row] [compare_box_row]Very quiet operation
- Uses up more than usual amount of gas
The Spyder MR100 has a similar design to our top pick, the Cronus. It sports a longer barrel than the Cronus which gives it more range, and the weight is counterbalanced by the sturdy stock that also increases accuracy. Both the Cronus and the MR100 Pro are often mentioned together in one breath due to their similar performances and functionality.
The trigger on the Spyder MR100 Pro is by default a double tap trigger which makes it versatile for both Speedball and Woodsball modes. It comes in an anodized matte finish that gives it the classic look of a real weapon. There is also a rail mounting system to add different attachments such as dot sights, lights, and more.
The Spyder MR100 Pro is primarily designed for beginners and intermediate players. It is easy to use and requires little maintenance.
Though this gun performs well overall, it can be a bit inconsistent in-terms of accuracy. However, because it is aimed for beginners and intermediates, its functionality is more important than accuracy because, well, paintball guns are generally not very accurate due to the nature of the pallets.
- Durable construction
- Lots of accessories/compare_box_row] [compare_box_row]Double tap trigger
- Doesn’t suit advanced players due to inaccuracy
The Dye DAM could easily be confused for a real weapon. This incredibly stylish gun is perhaps the best tactical gun for Woodsball out there. This is because of its feature-packed design, incredible accuracy, and unmatched tactical versatility.
One of the standout features of the DAM is its ability to go from a loader-fed system to a magazine fed system with a flip of a single switch. You don’t need any tools at all and can do so during a game if the referee allows it.
It features three different firing modes: semi-auto, three-round burst, and full auto. It also has a quick release bolt system and a built in hyper regulator. There is also a rail to add additional attachments to the gun such as lights, dot sights, grips, and more.
In the package, you also get a hardcase, additional magazines, and a repair kit. The gun is also very lightweight, making it easy to maneuver despite having the size as big as a real assault rifle.
The price point is the biggest turn-off for this paintball gun, but it is dedicated to cater to the enthusiasts and professionals.
- Unparalleled tactical versatility
- Incredibly accurate
- Very lightweight/compare_box_row] [compare_box_row]Multiple firing modes
- Very expensive
- Requires regular maintenance
An important part of your paintball gun purchase decision should be the barrel. Some paintball markers offer replaceable barrels, though not all of them do. The most important feature of the barrel is what it is made from and its length.
The length of the barrel affects its range. The longer the barrel, the higher the range of the marker. Accuracy is also affected by the length of the barrel as the pallet can travel in a straight line longer with a longer barrel.
The material of the barrel greatly influences the weight, which in turn influences the balance of the paintball marker. The most common material used is aluminum because of its light weight and affordability. Aluminum barrels however can bend easily.
Ceramic barrels are also available, and they are lighter in weight than other barrel types while also being tough. They are also self-cleaning. However, ceramic barrels tend to be expensive.
When it comes to durable, stainless steel and titanium barrels are the way to go. Stainless steel barrels however are heavier despite being affordable, which isn’t ideal if you are a mobile player. Titanium barrels on the other hand are very light but extremely expensive.
Other less common materials such as carbon fiber and brass also exist and are more expensive. Brass barrels are smooth and tend to push the paintball out faster, but they can bend under pressure.
Carbon fiber barrels are lightweight and incredible durable, but extremely expensive. They are by far the best type of barrel, but they are also very rare.
Paintball guns come with two types of triggers: mechanical and electronic (or electro-pneumatic). A mechanical trigger is powered by mechanical operation, where the firing process is initiated when you pull the trigger. The energy is stored in springs.
Mechanical triggers have a slower firing rate, and the consistency of the shots is not maintained. Mechanical triggers however are more durable and easier to manufacture, so they are commonly seen in more affordable paintball guns.
Electro-pneumatic triggers are more common now in intermediate and advanced paintball markers. These triggers are controlled by a solenoid which acts as an actuator. The power is provided by the expansion of the compressed air, but when the trigger is pulled it is the electrical pulse provided to the solenoid to open the valve for the paintball.
For the pulse to be generated, electro-pneumatic triggers utilize a battery which needs to be replaced often. This increases the cost and maintenance frequency of such triggers. However, electronic-powered paintball guns fire at a rapid rate and the consistency between the shots remains the same, causing less vibrations and in-turn improving accuracy.
Two propellants are commonly used in paintball guns: CO2 and HPA. Modern paintball markers can use both, though some brands like to restrict their product to a single type.
CO2 is the most popular propellent available. Carbon dioxide is cheaper and their tanks don’t need any maintenance or certification to be used. It is easily refillable, and the tank is usually small and light.
HPA is less common among amateur and intermediate players, but it is the propellent of choice for some professionals/enthusiasts. This is because HPA doesn’t have any fluctuations with different pressures and temperature. This allows the user to indulge in rapid fire shootings even in cool weather.
HPA tanks are more expensive than CO2 tanks are more difficult to refill. HPA tanks use aluminum or fiber-wrapped composite
Why should I go for HPA over CO2 or vice versa?
CO2 is the propellent of choice for majority of the conditions because it is cheap and easily available. However, if you play in cold weather or in fluctuating conditions, CO2 will cause a lot of problems. That’s where HPA comes in as it is resistant to temperature and pressure changes.
Can paintball guns kill you?
Even though paintball guns can injure you if they are shot too close (while you are unprotected), they cannot kill you. However, you should take all necessary precautions to prevent any serious injury and wear a helmet and neck protection.
What are the different paintball game types?
The two most popular game types are Woodsball and Speedball. Woodsball is a paintball game played in the woods. The fields are large and wide, and requires coordinated team work to play. The type of play is asymmetrical. Paintball guns with more tactical variation are ideal for this game type.
Speedball is fast-paced and played in a small arena. It calls for fast and accurate paintball markers. This type of play is symmetrical and requires speed over tactical teamwork.
Scenario or Mil-sim is another type of paintball game that utilizes specific scenarios and objectives that are included in the game. This makes the game highly tactical and requires top-end paintball markers.
What are the safety recommendations for paintball?
Even though paintball is a game designed for fun, there are some mild risks associated with it. To avoid serious injuries, there are specific safety measures you need to consider. Referees will explain these safety measures thoroughly in every arena, so pay close attention.
Some common safety rules are:
- Always wear a mask and keep wearing it even if the dead zone is in range. Only take the mask off once you’ve left the arena
- Do not fire without aiming
- Always adhere to the minimum safe firing distance
- Always use a barrel plug or sock to blog the gun when not in use