Best Paintball Guns – Review and Buyers Guide

Best Paintball Guns

Paintball is the game that can be played in some indoor venues, but it is principally an outdoor sport. Most competitions are made up of two teams, generally with 5-10 people per team.

There are many different variations to the sport, with major ones a combination of hiding and seek, capture the flag, and tag. Some are played on an open field, with man-made obstacles, and others in wooded areas, using natural objects for protection and camouflage.

Our Personal Best Choice

Best Full Paintball Gun Sets

Best Overall Model

MAddog Spyder MR100 Pro

Best Value Model

MAddog Azodin KAOS 2

Best Honorable

Mention Model

Tippmann Cronus Tactical

Best Paintball Pistols

Best Overall Model

Walther PPQ

Best Value Model

JT ER2 Pump Pistol RTS Kit

Best Paintball Rifles

Best Overall Model

Tippmann A-5

Best Value Model

Tippmann Cronus Tactical

Best Honorable

Mention Model

US Army Project Salvo

Equipment requirements are fairly basic. You will need a marker (this term goes back to the original use of paintball guns, marking cattle and trees), balls, gas cartridge, and a hopper or magazine for holding the paintballs. Personal protective equipment is paramount in this sport, due to the reasonably high muzzle velocity of the balls leaving the gun. The potential for serious eye injury requires the use of a full facial mask.

painball gun pack

While being struck by the balls can be painful, the impact is not lethal. However, some players will also wear additional personal protective equipment, such as vests, knee or elbow padding, neck protectors, and the like. We’ll talk more about the equipment later in this review. Because many of these are exact replicas of actual firearms, they are restricted or even outright banned in individual states and municipalities.

Users should always carry them off-course in a case, as they could easily be mistaken for real firearms by law enforcement personnel. Brightly colored barrel plugs or bags are also recommended for additional safety.

Comparison Table

In this review, we will look at a total of fifteen paintball rifle markers; pistol markers; and paintball packages, containing all you need as a rookie paintballer in one kit.

Learn more on how we came up with the table

Each item in the tables has been selected from the Amazon website.

For each type, we’ll give a brief overview of the item; then, in the next section, talk about some of the features and specifications for you to consider in making your choice of which item to purchase.

In some cases, there are only a few buyer reviews for some of the guns, where one overly good or bad review can skew the results. In these cases, we will highlight the number of reviewers in the comparison tables. In some cases, we will also check either manufacturer or other seller’s websites for additional information to be presented.

One additional comment, which is specific to the full package sets. Rather than list all the equipment in the tables, we will only list additional or varied equipment, or note if some of the standard equipment is not supplied, or varies from the standard. The equipment that comes standard with each of these five package sets is a marker, full mask, four paintball pods, a hopper, an air tank (usually for CO2), a barrel squeegee for cleaning, and a paintball harness.

ProductBest FeaturesRating (No. of Reviews)Price Range View on Amazon

Full Paintball Gun Sets

MAddog Spyder MR100 Pro

MAddog Spyder MR100 Pro

  • has a .68 caliber military-style gun,
  • all the basic equipment,
  • gloves and neck protection,
  • anti-fog mask

5 out of 5
(3)

$$$

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MAddog Azodin KAOS 2

MAddog Azodin KAOS 2

  • semi-automatic fire .68 caliber gun with adjustable muzzle velocity,
  • comes with 6 pods, tool kit, anti-fog mask

4.5 out of 5
(16)

$$

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Tippmann Cronus

Tippmann Cronus

  • comes with Tippman Cronus gun (reviewed later),
  • anti-fog mask,
  • six pods,
  • tool kit

4.3 out of 5
(265)

$$

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Tippmann US Army Alpha Elite Foxtrot

Tippmann US Army Alpha Elite Foxtrot

  • semi-automatic .68 caliber gun,
  • marker has folding stock, tool kit

3.9 out of 5
(35)

$$$

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Tippmann TMC MAGFED Silver

Tippmann TMC MAGFED Silver

  • powerful 420 – Anti-fog mask,
  • magazine-fed or traditional loader firing capable,
  • adjustable muzzle velocity

3.3 out of 5
(15)

$$$

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Paintball Pistols

Walther PPQ

Walther PPQ

  • licensed by Walther,
  • .43 caliber paintballs,
  • realistic blowback and look,
  • fits standard holsters

4.2 out of 5
(17)

$$

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JT ER2 Pump Pistol RTS Kit

JT ER2 Pump Pistol RTS Kit

  • uses standard 12g CO2 cartridge,
  • comes with 30 paintballs and three loading pods, barrel plug for safety

4.0 out of 5
(209)

$

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Tippmann TiPX

Tippmann TiPX

  • Military-style pistol,
  • uses 12g cartridge,
  • maintenance kit and carrying case included,
  • .68 caliber

3.8 out of 5
(76)

$$$

Check Price

Paintball Rifles

US Army Project Salvo

US Army Project Salvo

  • An AR-15 replica,
  • four-rail system for added equipment,
  • folding stock,
  • magazine load

4.5 out of 5
(16)

$$

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Tippmann Cronus Tactical

Tippmann Cronus Tactical

  • internal gas line,
  • mock silencer attachment,
  • composite body,
  • collapsible stock,
  • integrated sight

4.4 out of 5
(114)

$$

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Tippmann A-5

Tippmann A-5

  • hopper load,
  • 15 balls per second firing,
  • external safety switch,
  • short, machined barrel for accuracy

4.4 out of 5
(69)

$$

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Tippmann TMC MAGFED

Tippmann TMC MAGFED

  • Hopper or magazine feed capability,
  • two 20 round mags included,
  • collapsible stock,
  • aluminum receiver

4.2 out of 5
(66)

$$$

Check Price

Empire Mini GS

Empire Mini GS

  • Smaller size but full performance marker,
  • air source adapter for cartridge improvement,
  • microswitch trigger,
  • various colors

4.2 out of 5
(71)

$$$

Check Price

Tippmann Cronus Basic

Tippmann Cronus Basic

  • Composite body,
  • internal gas line,
  • multiple rails for accessories,
  • fixed front and rear sights

4.1 out of 5
(504)

$

Check Price

Azodin Blitz 3

Azodin Blitz 3

  • Lightweight at just over 2 pounds,
  • composite structure,
  • air regulator

3.3 out of 5
(106)

$$

Check Price

A Brief History of Paintball

The history of paintball actually has two different beginnings. Initially, over fifty years ago, paintball guns (or markers, as they are called within the sport) were used by loggers and ranchers. Loggers used them to mark trees to be cut down, while the ranchers used them from horseback to mark cattle for branding. These original paint guns used oil-based paint, for permanency of the markings, and were built by Daisy Manufacturing, known for their BB guns, soon to be followed into the marketplace by Crosman, also known for their air guns.

Paintball as a sport traces its origin to 1981. Three friends were debating the ability of a city person to survive in a wilderness-type environment being hunted by a country person. This argument and the discovery of a paintball gun in a farmer’s catalog led to the organization of the first paintball game. The game was held in June of 1981, with nine players in total, in a variation of “capture the flag“. More on this later.

Following the game, one of the players wrote an article on the game, which was published in Sports Illustrated. Another player saw a commercial opportunity and started selling a survival game package, which evolved into the paintball industry as we know it today.

As the game evolved, so did the equipment. By today’s standards, the early games had relatively crude guns and very limited ammunition. The guns were single shot, with a twelve shot maximum, and required cocking and loading after each firing, making for a prolonged game. Initial developments led to the introduction of pump-action for easier and faster cocking of the markers, and improvements in the gas systems used as propellants for the balls. The balls also developed from using oil-based paint to today’s formulations of a gelatin-based coating over vegetable oil, dyed for better spotting visibility.

Interestingly, paintball markers also have used in riot control and crowd dispersal, providing a non-lethal way for law enforcement personnel to break up hazardous situations. They can also be used for apprehending suspects in a non-lethal manner, as paintballs containing pepper spray are available commercially.

The first significant paintball tournament was held in Canada in 1983, only two years after the first paintball match. From those small beginnings, the Sporting Goods Association now estimates that as many as ten million Americans play paintball every year.

The diagram below illustrates how a paint gun works. While there will be some variation based on the type of gun, such as a pistol or rifle, the overall concept is the same. A hopper or magazine feeds the paintballs one at a time in the chamber of the gun. This feed can be either mechanical or a simple gravity feed. Pressurized air, typically either carbon dioxide (CO2) or high-pressure air (HPA) is held in a tank or cylinder. An airline connects the tank to the firing chamber, although in some cases, the airline is internal within the marker. Pulling the trigger mechanism allows air to shoot from the cylinder into the firing chamber. This sudden release of high-pressure air forces the paintball down the barrel, firing at the target.

paintball marker build

Buying Guide

The purpose of this section is to give you some familiarity with the features, terminology, and specifications of paintball marker and related equipment. Having this information and understanding will help you to make a better buying decision. There can be wide variation within the same specification from gun to the gun so that a detailed comparison may be required, especially in those higher-priced items from our list.

When it comes time to purchase, we recommend that you classify these items and features in a type of hierarchy – I must have that, I don’t really need that, but would use it, or completely unnecessary for my use and application. This will help you get a greater value for your purchasing dollars.

We will try to keep these descriptions brief but still give you enough detail for understanding them. Further information can always be found on the manufacturer’s website, or in any of the paintball groups listed earlier in this article.

Paintball hoppers

Paintball hoppers

paintball hopperThe paintball hopper is a chamber that holds extra paintballs. These are typically seen on paintball rifles, as opposed to pistols, and give the additional capacity for ammunition without stopping to reload.

The hopper feeds the balls into the firing chamber of the marker. There are two different types of feeding systems – gravity and electronic, or motorized. The gravity hopper, as the name implies, uses gravity to drop the next paintball into the chamber. They are typically fairly slow to feed the chamber, and occasionally will plug up, but a simple shake will usually clear any plugging.

A simple mechanized hopper may have a paddle rotating inside it to keep the balls moving and not plugging. More complex loaders will force the balls into the chamber, giving increased firing rates, reaching as high as thirty balls per second.

Paintball magazines

Paintball magazines

paintball magazinesAs with a real pistol, a magazine will hold the ammunition and feed it into the firing chamber. The magazine will typically snap up into the grip of the gun, and use the gas system to push the balls to the firing chamber. Some rifle models also offer magazine feeding systems, either in place of or in addition to the hopper feed. A major consideration of the magazine is the capacity for paintballs. As the magazine is emptied, it will either require manual reloading while in the field or having spare magazines to exchange for the empty one.

Paintball size

Paintball size

All the markers reviewed here use either .43 or .68 caliber pods. For reference, .43 caliber converts to about 11mm, or .4 inches. The .68 caliber pods are about 17mm, or .7”. Obviously, they will not be interchangeable in different sized markers. The industry standard is the .68 caliber ball, which gives the best mix of distance, power, and accuracy. However, the smaller balls allow you to get more in the hopper, and require less gas for firing them.

The quality of the paintballs is also essential, as lower quality balls may break inside the barrel or hopper, making a mess that will need to be cleaned. It’s a tight trade-off, as some level of durability is needed for the balls, but they also need to break easily to do their job of marking the target.

Materials of construction

Materials of construction

The materials used to produce these markers will have a direct impact on the weight of the guns, and also their durability. Most of the guns will contain some plastic parts, typically the body and stock. These can be either standard plastics, or higher quality engineered plastics such as ABS or other polymers. Many of the firing mechanisms and other moving parts will be made of aluminum or other metals, which will add to the gun weight, but be longer-lasting.

Weight

Weight

The overall weight of the gun is a consideration, as you will likely be carrying it for extended periods. Weight, as we already noted, is primarily a function of the materials of construction, but the weight of the hopper, paintballs, any accessories, etc. also come into play. Some of the rifles will have hooks for attaching a sling, which will help relieve the weight of the gun by distributing it across your shoulders.

Propellants

Propellants

paintball propellantsThese markers all use some type of gas to force the paintball from the firing chamber down the barrel. Typical gasses used for this are carbon dioxide (CO2), nitrogen (N2), or standard compressed air. Carbon dioxide is the original propellant for paintball markers and is still commonly used today.

CO2 is stored as a liquid under pressure and changes to a gaseous form as released from the container. This pressure is what pushes the ball down the barrel. The difficulty with CO2 is that the pressure is subject to temperature fluctuation and may even freeze up in the marker if used continuously.

Compressed air, also known as high-pressure air (HPA), and nitrogen are the other primary propellants used. Their advantage is that they are stored as gasses in the cylinders, so you get a consistent pressure regardless of ambient conditions, and you can fire continuously with no issues. They use a regulator, tied to the gun’s air source adapter, to deliver a consistent pressure to the firing chamber. Their major disadvantage is that the tanks are heavier, larger, and bulkier.

Compressed air tanks will also have periodic retest requirements, typically between three to five years from the date of manufacture. Without a retest certificate, these tanks cannot be refilled. Both types of propellants can be used interchangeably.

Shots-per tank

Shots per tank

The number of shots you can expect from your gas tank is a key consideration when selecting your marker, and the gas type you will use. We’ve outlined some of the pros and cons of each in the section above about propellants. Shots per tank will vary based on the tank size, the propellant used, and the ambient temperature. Larger tanks deliver more shots than smaller tanks, and cold weather will reduce the number of shots per tank because the tank pressure will drop.

Barrel length will also impact shots per tank, as a more extended barrel requires more gas to propel the paintballs. A 12g CO2 pistol cylinder should deliver about 35 shots, while a 20 oz. Tank for a rifle will provide about 1100 shots. The HPA shots per tank will vary based on the combination of tank size and the loaded pressure of the air. As an example, a 96 cubic inch tank with 3000 pounds per square inch (PSI) pressure will deliver about 960 shots. The same size tank with 4500 PSI will deliver over 1400 shots. There is an excellent conversion table that you can use as a reference at zdspb.com.

Rail systems

Rail systems

Some of these markers will have between one and four rail systems as an integral part of the gun. These rails are used to mount various accessories to the gun. These accessories include scopes, night vision equipment, lights, and lasers.

Scope optics

Scope optics

As many of these rifles have rail systems, it’s worth taking a minute to talk about scope optics. Scopes will be one of the more popular options purchased with your rifle, as they expand your viewing capability, thereby improving shooting accuracy. Scope optics are usually expressed in terms of a multiplier, such as 5X. What this means is that you have five times the magnification of the naked eye, so an object 50 yards away will appear as if 10 yards away (50 divided by 5 equals 10).

You will also see optics displayed in the format of 10X35, where the second number refers to the size of the objective lens in millimeters. The quality, clarity, and focus of the scope will improve as the size of the objective lens gets bigger. Most objective lenses will be in the range of 25mm to 35mm, but occasionally you will run across larger ones.

Muzzle velocity

Muzzle velocity

Muzzle velocity refers to the speed at which a paintball exits the barrel of the marker. This speed is usually expressed in feet per second or FPS. To put muzzle velocity into perspective, a velocity of 300 FPS translates into a speed of 204 miles per hour. Several factors can influence muzzle velocity. The pressure delivered from the propellant tank is the primary factor in determining muzzle velocity. The higher the pressure, the higher the muzzle velocity.

The second factor is the barrel length. The longer the barrel, the more friction, and resistance on the ball, and the lower the muzzle velocity. Many courses and organizations will establish a maximum muzzle velocity for the competitions for player safety and game enjoyment.

Barrel length and bore

Barrel length and bore

As we noted in the section above, barrel length has a direct impact on muzzle velocity. For optimal velocity, many manufacturers recommend a barrel length between twelve and fourteen inches. The bore is the measure of the inside diameter of the barrel. A consistent bore will improve both accuracy and distance. If the bore is too large, gas will escape around the paintball instead of pushing it out of the barrel. A bore too small can result in jams or broken paintballs, potentially requiring disassembly of the marker for cleaning.

Masks

Masks

A mask is an absolute necessity for any paintball competition, and should never be removed unless in a designated safe area. One problem with masks is fogging, as the player may sweat and generate heat, resulting in condensation and fogging on the mask, reducing visibility and tempting the player to remove it to clean it off. Many of the better masks have anti-fogging construction, with a small air chamber between two mask lenses to keep the outside temperature and the inner mask temperature from the interaction.

Most mask lenses will be made of polycarbonate, which has good strength, but also a tendency to scratch easily. One final consideration in choosing a mask is the ease of removing the lens for cleaning paint splatters and other dirt.

Safety equipment

Safety equipment

In addition to the mandatory mask for eye protection, many players will also wear protective vests, knee and elbow pads, neck guards, and other protective clothing. Gun safety should include a safety switch to prevent accidental firing, a barrel block, or a barrel sock. The block inserts into the end of the barrel, so paintballs cannot escape the barrel accidentally.

The sock is a cloth bag that ties over the end of the barrel, thereby catching any balls that are accidentally discharged. The primary advantage of the bag is the clean up of the expelled paintballs is much easier, as it is all outside the barrel of the marker.

Warranty and customer service

Warranty and customer service

Although there is not significant complexity in paintball markers, problems do come up from time to time, and some level of support may be needed. Domestic-based customer service is preferable to remote due to the time zone impact, potential language issues, etc. Equipment warranties should also be factored into your decision. In some cases, extended warranties can be purchased for an additional charge.

Spare parts and maintenance

Spare parts and maintenance

It is not unusual for some wear equipment, such as 0-rings at the gas connection, to require replacement from time to time. This ring wear is especially common in CO2 powered guns. Make sure that extra parts, magazines, and so on are readily available. Maintenance kits consisting of Allen wrenches, screwdrivers, etc. may be part of the gun purchase, or may need to be bought separately. A squeegee to clean out the barrel if a paintball break is also recommended.

Blowback

Blowback

Blowback isn’t really a performance criterion, but more a factor of user satisfaction. Blowback is a factor only in pistols and refers to the simulation of the recoil experienced when firing a real pistol. After the chamber is emptied, the slide will lock back, indicating that reloading is necessary. Blowback qualifies as a “nice to have” or “feels good” feature but may be important to some users.

Price

Price

If we all had unlimited budgets, we wouldn’t be talking about price here. Unfortunately, that’s rarely the case. Almost all the items featured here require a fairly expensive cash outlay, so the important thing is to get optimal value for the money you spend. Your wants and needs will drive that value within the constraints of your budget. We feel it’s more important to get the gun you really want, that meets your expectations, rather than buying a cheaper marker that you won’t be happy with overall.

Best Paintball Gun Sets Review

Just to recap before we look at the individual items, these packages are sold with the intent of giving the purchaser an “all in oneoption to be immediately ready for paintball, rather than buying all the items separately. While you lose some flexibility in choosing your marker, you gain the convenience of one-stop shopping and having everything you need at once.

As noted earlier, we won’t list all the included items for each individual kit, as they have a high degree of overlap. The equipment that comes standard with each of these five package sets is a marker, full mask, four paintball pods, a hopper, an air tank (usually for CO2), a barrel squeegee for cleaning, and a paintball harness. We will note significant variations if the kits have more or less than this standard equipment.

MAddog Spyder MR100 Pro – Best Overall

You get a couple of extras with this package, in the form of an anti-fog mask, protective vest, fingerless gloves, and a neck protector. The marker is realistic looking, with an adjustable stock, front grip, and external gas line. The four included pods hold 140 rounds of .68 caliber paintballs each. The air tank is high pressure certified to 3000 PSI and is rated for about 1500 shots per tank.

MAddog Spyder MR100 Pro

Features and specifications:

- rifle is polymer construction, with an aluminum rail system and trigger frame

- hopper has a detent system to avoid double feeding of paintballs

- one-piece velocity adjustment

- braided, stainless steel gas line

Check Price!

Pros

Pros
  • The high-pressure air tank is a nice upgrade
  • Hopper has an electronic feed, up to 15 balls per second depending on shooting speed
  • 5.0 rating, but only three reviews

Cons

Cons
  • The major concern is a low number of ratings. Checked rifle individually on other sites, no ratings for the marker separately or in kit form.

MAddog Azodin KAOS 2 – Best Value

This is another kit from the MAddog line, this one featuring their Azodin line of markers, available in several color choices. The marker is smaller, with a 12” barrel, resulting in a lighter weight gun. Additional equipment includes two extra pods (six total), an anti-fog mask, and a small tool kit with some spare parts. It comes with a standard 20 oz. CO2 tank, rated for 800 – 1100 shots per cylinder.

MAddog Azodin KAOS 2

Features and specifications:

- marker is designed for .68 caliber paintballs, lightweight at two pounds

- adjustable muzzle velocity from 250 – 325 FPS

- hopper is gravity fed, holds 200 rounds. Pod capacity an additional 6x140 rounds

- HPA compatible, but tank not rated for HPA and must be purchased separately

Check Price!

Pros

Pros
  • Extra ammunition capacity with pods and harness
  • Highly rated as a beginner package, but under 20 reviews
  • The shorter barrel should result in greater accuracy, higher FPS

Cons

Cons
  • No rail system available for accessories
  • A limited number of reviews on Amazon and other sites

Tippmann Cronus Tactical – Best Honorable Mention

This is the first of several markers from the Tippmann line and features the Cronus Tactical model marker. There is also a Tippman Basic marker package, but this review is for the upgraded Tactical marker. You get all the basics, plus an anti-fog mask, two extra pods, and a small tool kit. A standard CO2 tank is included, and the marker can be used with HPA with a separately purchased tank. It’s the number one seller in Amazon paintball packages, with a solid 4.3 overall review.

Tippmann Cronus Tactical

Features and specifications:

- standard 200 round capacity, gravity feed hopper

- .68 caliber paintballs, internal gas line, front grip, fixed front and rear sights

- barrel and canister upgrades available for separate purchase

- single rail available for mounting accessories

Check Price!

Pros

Pros
  • Very high (4.6) rating for accuracy, beginners, and value
  • Some extras included in the package
  • Durable, military simulated body, adjustable stock

Cons

Cons
  • Several complaints about customer service and leaking gas bottles
  • Several negative comments about the quality of accessories in the kit

Tippmann US Army Alpha Elite Foxtrot

Another Tippmann, this one modeled after a US Army tactical rifle. The package is a top 25 Amazon seller, having all the standard equipment, plus a small tool kit, but missing the chest protector others have. It has a folding front grip, adjustable stock, and a carrying handle. The included tank is 20 oz. CO2.

Tippmann US Army

Alpha Elite Foxtrot

Features and specifications:

- top rail system for mounting scope or other accessories

- comes with “red dot” sight system for accuracy

- gravity-fed hopper, with electronic hopper system available as an upgrade

- goggle-type mask is (apparently, but not explicitly stated) anti-fog, with quick removal system for cleaning

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Pros

Pros
  • Almost 75% of ratings are 4- or 5-star
  • Realistic replica, right down to bottom magazine that is for looks only, but doubles as a tool kit holder

Cons

Cons
  • No chest protector included, as in other kits
  • Several complaints about missing or broken parts, leaking bottles
  • Red sight is blocked when the hopper is in place

Tippmann TMC MAGFED Silver

This kit carries the highest price of the five packages reviewed, yet the lowest quality rating. It’s unique in that the firing mechanism can be either hopper-fed or magazine-fed. The marker has a four-rail system, so it is adaptable for multiple accessories. It comes with adjustable front and rear sights for improved accuracy.

Tippmann TMC MAGFED Silver

Features and specifications:

- adjustable muzzle velocity from 250 – 325 FPS

- set includes two-20 round spring fed magazines

- standard CO2 tank capable of 800 – 1100 shots per cylinder

- anti-scratch, anti-fog lens

Check Price!

Pros

Pros
  • Firing flexibility of the marker makes it suitable for various game situations
  • Mostly positive reviews on the marker itself, but lower reviews on accessories
  • One-year manufacturer’s warranty

Cons

Cons
  • Quality of accessories rated low
  • Price vs. rating

Before moving on to reviewing paintball pistols, let’s make a quick summary of the best packages’ reviews.

Best Overall Model

MAddog Spyder MR100 Pro

Best Value Model

MAddog Azodin KAOS 2

Best Honorable

Mention Model

Tippmann Cronus Tactical

It was tough to pick just one for the best value category, so I waffled a bit and chose two. The packages are virtually identical, as are the ratings and the cost. If you are looking for a solid starter set to get into paintball, either of these two will work just fine.

Best overall was a much easier choice. While this package is $50 more than the best value packages, you get additional equipment included. Add in the “purchased separately” prices for the vest ($23) and the HPA rated cylinder ($45), and you could make a good case for this package is the best value. As it is, this is a solid, high-end starter package, with my only concern being the low number of ratings for it.

Best Paintball Pistols Review

Walther PPQ – Best Overall

This is a fully licensed replica of a Walther pistol, using .43 caliber paintballs as ammunition. It comes with good safety features, realistic blowback, and weighs just under two pounds. It uses a standard 12g CO2 cartridge as a propellant and fits most standard holsters.

Walther PPQ

Features and specifications:

- functional trigger safety with two settings – safety and semi-automatic

- muzzle velocity is rated at 300FPS, resulting in a range of about 120 feet

- aluminum and nylon fiber polymer construction

- eight round magazine

Check Price!

Pros

Pros
  • High user satisfaction for performance – over 80% five-star reviews
  • Can also be used with rubber balls and dust balls (powder rather than liquid marking)
  • Rail system for mounting accessories

Cons

Cons
  • Eight round magazine is fairly small. Additional magazines expensive at almost $50 each
  • Only 17 user reviews

JT ER2 Pump Pistol RTS Kit – Best Value

We move to the opposite end of the price spectrum with this pistol, costing only $30. This pistol uses .68 caliber paintballs, fed from a top-mounted hopper system of ten round pods. It works from standard 12g gas cartridges and comes with a barrel plug for safety.

JT ER2 Pump Pistol RTS Kit

Features and specifications:

- lightweight composite manufacture, features pump-action reloading system

- hopper pods (3 supplied) hold ten rounds each. Top mount for each changeover when empty

- comes with 2 – 12g CO2 cylinders

Check Price!

Pros

Pros
  • Overall 4.0 rating, 4.3 ratings for ease of use
  • Price makes it an easy start-up option
  • Even with larger caliber paintballs, users claim muzzle velocity of 280 FPS

Cons

Cons
  • Over 20% of ratings are one- or two-star
  • Most complaints refer to CO2 seal integrity, hopper staying in place, durability
  • No return policy

Tippmann TiPX

We move from the far and away lowest price pistol to the highest price pistol. This military-styled replica pistol uses .68 caliber paintballs, and comes with a maintenance kit and carrying case. It’s solidly built, weighs just under two pounds, and is a top-five seller paintball marker. The marker has a manual safety system, and textured grips.

Tippmann TiPX

Features and specifications:

- external muzzle velocity adjuster

- magazines have low tension spring systems to prevent jams; 8 rounds per magazine

- under-barrel CO2 system easy to load and change

- feed rate is eight balls per second

Check Price!

Pros

Pros
  • Solid reviews for accuracy; over 85% 4- and 5-star
  • Easy change gas system
  • Two seven ball magazines included

Cons

Cons
  • Most complaints are about gas leaking and making the gun unusable
  • Once punctured, gas cylinders will leak out charge

Let’s look at a quick summary of the pistol reviews before moving on.

Best Overall Model

Walther PPQ

Best Value Model

JT ER2 Pump Pistol RTS Kit

The “best overall” was a fairly simple call for me. You get a highly rated marker, with solid construction and five-star reviews. The eight-round magazines are small, but they are still bigger than the other competitive pistol here. The Tippmann is not a bad pistol, but the higher price and lower rating push it down the list for me.

After a lot of hesitation, I put the “best value” tag next to the $30 ER2 pump. I have difficulty calling what is likely a throwaway gun a value, but if you want to start out with paintball, see if you have any target skills, and potentially move on to other equipment, this marker is a good place to start. The purchase price is probably not that far off the price of renting a gun at a paintball venue.

Let’s move on to the last review session and look at the seven rifle-type marker guns.

Best Paintball Rifles Review

US Army Project Salvo – Honorable mention

This .68 caliber AR-15 look-alike marker has an aluminum firing mechanism for durability, and an in-line bolt system for fast, accurate firing speed. The gun itself comes in at a mid-level price but is built so that it can easily be upgraded for improved performance. Upgrades include barrel, quick response trigger, and a high-speed loading system. The mock magazine is a storage compartment for the included tool kit.

US Army Project Salvo

Features and specifications:

- four rail system for mounting accessories like scopes, night vision, lights, carrying handle

- six position collapsible and folding stock, front and rear adjustable sights

- lightweight at less than one-pound weight (without hopper or balls)

- exterior, stainless steel gas line

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Pros

Pros
  • Highest rated marker at a mid-range price; also has a 4.5 rating on 46 reviews at ansgear.com
  • Paintball gun can be custom upgraded to fit individual user preferences

Cons

Cons
  • Limited information available on specs like muzzle velocity, firing speed, etc.

Tippmann Cronus Tactical – Best Value

This marker received our “best value” recommendation as part of the evaluation on starter packages for paintball. It’s the second-lowest price of all the rifle markers reviewed here, and it’s Amazon’s number one selling rifle marker. It has a four-rail system for easy addition or modification of features.

Tippmann Cronus Tactical

Features and specifications:

- high-impact composite body, internal gas line, fixed front and rear sights

- collapsible stock, vertical grip, and carry handle included

- in-line bolt design for enhanced firing speed and accuracy

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Pros

Pros
  • High ratings (over 4.0) for beginner use, accuracy, and durability
  • 90% of ratings are 4- or 5-star
  • Upgrades available for customization

Cons

Cons
  • Limited information available on specs like muzzle velocity, firing speed, etc.

Tippmann A-5 – Best Overall

This is the second of four Tippmann marker rifles to be reviewed here. This marker has a shorter, 8″ barrel, and 20-inch overall length while weighing a hefty 3-pounds. The manufacturer’s two-year warranty reflects the quality of the gun. Like the other Tippman products, there are many upgrades available for separate purchase.

Tippmann A-5

Features and specifications:

- included high-speed, low profile air-driven hopper feeds up to 15 balls per second, with an 8 BPS firing rate

- external selector switch to change between safety and firing modes

- can operate on CO2, compressed air, or nitrogen

- front and rear sights, with a more extended front grip for firing stability

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Pros

Pros
  • Solid 4.4 rating, with 92% or reviews either 4- or 5-star; top 10 best seller
  • Fast firing rate on semi-automatic mode
  • Easily upgraded and customized

Cons

Cons
  • Most users recommend upgrading barrel immediately

Tippmann TMC MAGFED

This Tippman marker was also reviewed earlier as one of our packaged paintball systems. The rifle has a dual feed option, either through the top-mounted hopper or the bottom-mounted magazine system. Its AR-15 styling comes with a four-rail system, aluminum firing mechanism, and integrated sling mounts. It’s a top twenty paintball marker seller on Amazon.

Tippmann TMC MAGFED

Features and specifications:

- like the other Tippman models, easily upgradable and customizable

- two spring-driven, twenty round magazines included

- internal stainless-steel gas line, collapsible stock, front and rear sights

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Pros

Pros
  • Built to add accessories or customize for your individual preferences
  • Overall 4.2 rating, but 4.8 or above for value, accuracy, and weight
  • Users claim FPS of over 200

Cons

Cons
  • Many one- and two-star complaints about leaking gas, damage on receipt
  • Price is relatively high for the corresponding rating

Empire Mini GS

This .68 caliber mini-marker is available in a wide variety of color combinations, and is compact, with a 12-inch barrel. The adjustable muzzle velocity has plenty of power, and large users claim the gun is an easy fit even given their size. It operates on either CO2 or HPA gas.

Empire Mini GS

Features and specifications:

- out of the box muzzle velocity of 250+ FPS

- microswitch trigger allows up to 8 BPS firing rate

- upgradable for personal customizations

- pistol-type grip, with additional front grip for extra firing stability

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Pros

Pros
  • Internal gas system so no hoses in the way
  • Rubberized grips and weatherized housing for better handling and durability
  • Rating of 4.6-stars for accuracy

Cons

Cons
  • Most complaints concern air leaks, and variations in muzzle velocity FPS as a result
  • Highest price gun on the list

Tippmann Cronus Basic

This marker is the little brother of the Cronus Tactical reviewed earlier in this section. You give up some of the niceties like trading the folding stock for a pistol grip, but you still get a durable, high-impact composite body and the Tippman name, all at a low $79 price tag.

Tippmann Cronus Basic

Features and specifications:

- multiple rail system for adding accessories

- internal gas line, vertical grip for stability, front and rear sights

- smaller size and lightweight for use in close-quarter situations

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Pros

Pros
  • Has standard Tippman in-line bolt system, same as more expensive models
  • Highly rated beginner’s gun, user rated at about 280 FPS
  • Low price but a respectable 4.1 overall rating; 4.5 on ansgear.com

Cons

Cons
  • Same gun as the tactical model, but without some extra amenities

Azodin Blitz 3

This is the last gun of our review, and it’s a mini, much like the Empire we reviewed in this section. It comes in a wide variety of color combinations and comes with a newly designed, compact gas regulator. It’s at the lower end of the price scale, so probably a good beginner’s gun, but it also has a relatively low 3.3 rating. The composite construction weighs in at just over two pounds.

Azodin Blitz 3

Features and specifications:

- this mini has a 19-inch overall length, 12-inch barrel, almost 9-inch height

- can use either CO2 or HPA propellant

- four pre-set firing modes, ranging from 10 BPS to 20BPS, plus safety setting

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Pros

Pros
  • Nicely priced and functioning beginner’s gun
  • Coated steel braided airline, fairly short to prevent tangles in wooded areas
  • Light enough for younger users

Cons

Cons
  • Gun is loud, with fairly strong recoil. Can be reduced by purchasing optional parts.
  • Only 43% 5-star ratings, 23% 1-star ratings

Before we close off this review, let’s do a quick recap of the “best of” in the paintball rifle category.

Best Overall Model

Tippmann A-5

Best Value Model

Tippmann Cronus Tactical

Best Honorable

Mention Model

US Army Project Salvo

I liked the US Army Salvo paintball marker, but, frankly, was a little put off by the low number of reviews (16) and the lack of technical specifications everywhere I looked. It still seems like a reputable, good quality, reasonably priced marker, so it may be worth checking out in more detail if you like the looks of it.

The best value fell again to the Cronus Tactical, just as it did earlier when reviewing the all-inclusive paintball packages. At just over $100, it has solid ratings, and decent features and specs. Again, a little concern over the lack of technical details, but given the rating and number of reviews, it sold me.

Now, given that, I’d also recommend the Cronus Basic, pretty much the same gun as far as mechanism and make-up, but without a couple of niceties. If you’re looking to save another $30 on a beginner gun, this might be a good choice for you.

Best overall was a pretty easy choice. With the Tippmann A-5, you get a top ten seller, solid ratings, and solid performance and technical specifications. Factor in the two-year warranty, available upgrades, and the loading and firing speeds, and this selection was quite easy.

Conclusion

So, wrapping up, we’ve presented a pretty good cross-section of paintball equipment, whether you are a beginner, intermediate player, or seasoned professional. We hope this has been helpful to you and will make your buying decision a little bit easier. Happy hunting!

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