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Paintball Guns - How to choose a paintball marker

Updated on November 28, 2015

If you're new to the world of paintball and you need to purchase a new paintball gun, or you're simply ready to upgrade your marker, you'll find there are a lot of choices out there and settling on a paintball marker is never something to be taken lightly.

Your decision will have a lot of variables to factor in. We'll look at some things to consider, and see if we can narrow down the search field a little bit.

First, I need to make it clear that rarely is there an instance where "it's the gun". More often than not, in my personal experience, "it's the player". What I mean by that, is that I've personally seen players stomp all over the field like a raging Spartan with a $60 gun from Walmart. I started playing with a Viewloader Highvoltage and had many a game where I was the last one off the field. With that said, there are still a number of perks to different paintball guns that will give you an edge on the field.

Where are you going play? An important question, and plays a part the initial selection. Guns function just about anywhere, but when you start breaking it down into the little things that make up a location you start weeding out marker types out. Will you be indoors, or outdoors? Are you playing on a small field (speedball) or a large one? Will you be playing in the woods (woodsball)? Let me go over a few reasons why these factors are important.

· Indoors – Typically short range, small fields. You're in luck if you can get a larger field. You'll want something designed for speed (light weight and mobile, ) When I want mobility and reliability it's a tossup between the Kingman Spyder TL-x and a 98 Tippman 98 Custom. Custom is a little on the heavier side in my opinion, but it has no electronics – less chance of a glitch in the middle of a close firefight

· Outdoors – It's up in the air with outdoors play. It all depends on the field. If you're playing a speedball field, with short lanes and close combat then you'll want to stick to a gun similar to what I listed above. You can get some reliable markers even on a small budget, like the Diablo Sabotage Vertical. MSRP is about $50, it's a good cheap gun but it's loud.

· Moisture – If you're playing outside, consider the likelihood that you'll play when there's moisture around you. Whether it's around puddles, damp trees and bushes, wet grass or worst case; it starts raining. This is where you'll need a waterproof marker, something without an e-trigger. Electronics can quickly fail if you get overwhelmed with a heavy downpour. If you don't have a good waterproof hopper, you can kiss your paintballs goodbye.

What are you playing? The game dictates the weapon. The type of game you're playing has an effect on the marker you choose just as much as the environment does.

· Woodsball – I run with a lot of guys in woodsball, it's where we typically play and we've got about 50 acres that we play paintball on. Every gun on the field run with a longer barrel and some form of rifle mod, like the Alpha Black Tactical or Project Salvo. With long shots the preferred method of tagging someone out (you don't want close quarters, it hurts…) consider a longer barrel.

· Speedball – Pretty much any short game on speedball fields, indoor or outdoor. If this is your preferred style, go for a marker similar to what I mentioned above for indoor play. Most tournaments are held on speedball fields (not all, however) The Smart Parts ION seems to be a pretty popular choice among speedballers.

· Military Simulation (mil-sim) - This is the meat and potato side of paintball. I'm a mil-sim fanatic. Tippman A-5 and Custom 98 are fantastic markers for woodsball. A longer barrel to increase accuracy helps stay hidden without giving away your position. Sometimes I get a little guerrilla and pull out my Viewloader Highvoltage just because I like how loud it is. Noise can intimidate. The Automag RT is also another (extremely) popular design for woodsball/MilSim. S

A few other things to consider – There's always a few extra little catches. Decide on the propellant you'll be using and what's readily available. Most guns retail with a stock setup for Co2. The more expensive guns are often configured for compressed air, or in some cases nitrogen. Configurations and upgrades can be made to change out your propellant type, but it's best to stick with a stock co2 config. That's what is most readily available, especially if you find yourself on a backwater rinky-dink field like ours.

Paintballs! – Yup, you'll have to get some of those too. You won't get very far without ammo. Most guns fire .682 (68 cal) paintball rounds. You'll find some other sizes, but it's not common in the major retailers (like Dunhams or Walmart) . Check the required ammo size for the gun you pick, make sure you can buy ammo for it locally.

Accuracy – These are ideal for woodsball, and even speedball.
If you're looking for accurate markers:
-Tippmann 98 Custom
-Tippmann A-5
-Any other Tippmanns.

Speed is also important and extremely important for speedball and indoor paintball.
If you're looking for guns with high rates of fire:

-Evil Minion

-Smart Parts


Durability and reliability is extremely important. You don't want to be stuck in the bush constantly field-stripping your gun to fix it when it jams.
Here are a few reliable paintball markers:
-Black Maxx

Before buying a marker, visit your local field and talk to some veterans. Most larger fields and clubs have rental equipment. You should rent various markers and find a style that fits you and the type of game you play.

Derek is a full-time copywriter and enjoys fleeing for his life in the woods playing mil-sim paintball with the Alpena Paintball Club


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