Paintball Gun Comparison
Paintball Gun Buying Guide
Things to Consider
Before you start looking around at the different types of paintball guns it will help to have a good understanding of what you are looking for. There are a few things that you will want to ask yourself regarding your preferences and needs. The answers to these questions will steer you in the right direction to find the perfect paintball gun.
- Will you be playing paintball on private property or an official, commercial field?
- Do you know where to get your air tanks filled? Do they have CO2 AND compressed air available?
- Do you want to be able to shoot a lot of paintballs quickly or do you plan on doing more stealth sneaking and less shooting?
- Do you have a specific budget you want to stick to?
Features of a Well Constructed Paintball Gun
You will find a lot of great features in a well built paintball gun. We have listed them below so you can understand the features that a good quality gun will have.
- Paintballs will not be shattered during firing
- Lighter weight and higher maneuverability
- No miss firing
- Higher degree of accuracy
- Capable of higher firing rates
- Comfortable, ergonomic design
- Higher durability allows for more natural movement
- Components are more durable and longer lasting
If you are interested in using your gun for paintball competitions be sure to consult the rules so you get the right type of gun and features for competitions.
Paintball Gun Components
The gun is your main piece of equipment in paintball. Another name for the gun is the marker. This is because this type of gun used to be used for marking paths through forests. There are several components that every paintball guns have.
- The Body
- The Hopper (also called the loader) This is where the paintballs are stored
- Air tank or gas tank
The Body of the Paintball Gun
Paintball gun bodies are usually made of aluminum and all have a somewhat similar design. There are some that mimic real guns if that is what you prefer. Look for a gun that has the trigger frame around the middle of the body. This is a desired feature that the best paintball guns have. The benefit to the design is that it allows the gas or air tank to be mounted closer to the center of the gun. This ensures that the gun is as compact as possible.
Another important part of the body of the gun is the trigger. Base models are usually operated by springs but this tends to make the trigger inefficient and can lower the firing rate and speed. Higher quality models will have electronic triggers which increases the firing rate.
The purpose of the hopper is to feed paintballs into the firing mechanism. There are many different shapes and sizes of hoppers that paintball guns can have. The difference between the hoppers is based on many different principles.
- Gravity Fed – This is the most common type of hopper. It has a high capacity which can change depending on the size and is usually the cheapest type of hopper as well since it is a plastic container. Gravity fed hoppers have a firing rate of 11 balls per second. Plastic containers are not the hopper of choice with electronic markers and they can jam as well. This can be fixed by shaking the hopper.
- Stick Fed – This type of hopper is stick fed and mounted in a parallel line with the ball. The purpose of a stick feed hopper is to keep the design slick and uncomplicated. These hoppers can hold 10-20 balls. A major drawback to this type of hopper is that the gun has to be tipped to load the ball into the firing mechanism, making them very inefficient.
- Agitating Fed – This type of hopper looks like a gravity feed hopper. The difference between an agitating feed and a gravity feed is that the agitating feed contains a spinning mechanism that is propeller or gas powered. This ensures that none of the paintballs get jammed. Unfortunately this spinning mechanism doesn’t increase the feeding speed.
- Force Fed – This type of hopper is found on high performing paintball guns. It can reach feeding speeds of as much as 50 balls per second. It looks like a gravity feed hopper that is mounted on top of the gun but the impeller keeps the paintballs flowing at a constant rate. If you are involved in competitions or plan on being in them, this is the type of hopper for you.
The Gun Barrel
There are different sized barrels that are available to choose from. You want to ensure that the thread on the barrel matches the thread on the gun. There are two features to look at when it comes to the barrel of a paintball gun.
- Bore – The bore refers to the internal diameter of the barrel. You want to ensure that the barrel has the right size bore for the paintballs you are using. If the bore is too big the paintballs will slow down, too small of a bore will cause them to explode inside the gun since they can’t come out.
- Length – Length of the barrel will vary from model to model. The length of the barrel you choose is personal preference but the most commonly chosen length is 12” to 16”. Watch out for venting ports which are holes that have been drilled into the barrel to vent the gas. If the thread is close to the venting ports the shot will be a lot more silent.
This popular competitive sport has gained a large fan base of players that love playing and competing too. Adults enjoy it as much as kids and teens do. It doesn’t matter if you are just beginning or if you are an experienced player, having the right paintball gun is one of the most important decisions you’ll make.
Because of all the choices available, it is important to remember that you need to purchase the best gun you can for your budget. Your paintball gun is not something you should skimp on and looking for the cheapest model you can find will only result in disappointment.
The information in this guide is designed to help you understand the features that make one paintball gun better than another. It isn’t the only piece of equipment you need but it is the most important when it comes to getting everything you can out of the sport.
Don’t forget to consider the safety gear you will need when playing. Having the right safety gear will ensure that you enjoy the sport without injury. Paintball guns and all the equipment can be costly, but since it is not a sport that is just for children, it is something that you can enjoy for a long time.
Once you have learned how to sort through the different types of paintball guns and you are ready to purchase one, you can be confident that you will make a choice that will provide high performance playing and enjoyment every time you go out to play.