Our quest for the best paintball gun continued this year at the NXL ‘Las Vegas Open’ in March, which kicked off this year’s XBall season.
It was exciting to see Bryan Smith back in action.
But the real fun started when we got our hands on some of the best paintball guns in the business.
We put a lot of them through the motions, including entry-level markers, mag fed ones, mid-priced guns and the super-priced ones ($2000+).
There were a few surprises but more or less, the list of the best ones was what we expected it to be.
Psst…you can cut to the chase and check out our top 3 best paintball gun picks over here:
- 1 1 – Tippman A5
- 2 2 – Tippman Cronus
- 3 3 – Dye Proto Rize MaXXed Paintball Marker
- 4 4 – Tippman TMC
- 5 5 – Empire Paintball Mini GS Marker
- 6 6 – Tippmann 98
- 7 7 – Dye M3
- 8 8 – Planet Eclipse Etha 2
- 9 9 – Planet Eclipse Etek 5
- 10 10 – Proto Reflex Rail 15
- 11 How to Find the Best Paintball Gun for You
- 12 Lets Cut to the Chase: Important Questions
- 13 Different Types of Paintball Guns
- 14 A Few Last Words…
Most people that we spoke to, quipped about how Paintball has changed as a game courtesy upgraded gear. There was a lot of talk about fancy features, Bluetooth enabled masks, markers with large LED display screens and other bells and whistles that are enough to overwhelm a newbie.
The fact is, once you get on the field, irrespective of whether its speedball or woods ball, it all boils down to how accurate your gun is, how fast it can shoot, whether it gets jammed in the middle, whether its light and comfortable enough to carry and whether or not it shoots a hole in your wallet.
Everything else is a marketing gimmick.
Key takeaways: Fast, accurate, lightweight, comfortable and affordable! That’s what we have based our selections on.
P.S. These are our picks for the best paintball guns, based on our personal research, after speaking to some of the biggest names in Professional paintball, speaking to customers, moderators on forums and analyzing customer reviews. The guns are not necessarily rated in an ascending or descending order.
1 – Tippman A5
We bet you expected the 98 custom. Well, sorry to disappoint. The A5 is one of Tippman’s finest products. One that works equally well for rank newbies and professionals alike. (The Tippman EFFECT used it for a while before swapping it with the 98)
It can be dismantled, cleaned, reassembled, upgraded and custom moded by anyone looking to level up in their game.
It is cheap, shoots fast and is as reliable as they come.
Old, Reliable Warhorse
The A5 IS NOT one of the new age space weapons that seem to be dominating paintball these days.
It is an old, mechanical marker that still ticks.
You will love the feel of it when you hold it in your hands.
It feels solid and weighs close to 3 pounds. Now, some folks might feel that its heavy, especially during practice sessions or club games. But in a tournament scenario game or a mil-sim game, when you are heavily padded under body armor, you will prefer the A5 over feather-light markers. There’s a lot of metal on that chassis with a hint of heavy duty plastic in the right places. At 19-inches, it is not a very petite gun and rightly so. You can choose from three colored finishes, the most notable among which, is the camouflage finish.
Shoots Like A Charm
One of the reasons why the A5 still outscores a lot of newer markers is because it shoots accurately and fast. Out of the box, it is semi-automatic and you can ramp up the speed to about 15 balls a second with zero ball chopping, thanks to the patented cyclone feed system. Upgrade that stock 8-inch barrel to something better, like the Empire Apex 2 and you will have a completely new weapon in your hands, that can put those $500 markers to shame. Spin, loop, curve, whatever’s your shooting style, you are covered.
An E-Grip upgrade is also something we highly recommend. Why use only one finger on that trigger when you’ve got more? Switch to full-auto and go Rambo on your frenemies.
It’s given that after a while, you will outgrow that stock barrel or get bored of that body kit and will be raring for more power with that trigger. The Tippman A5 can be modified in almost every possible way. Get a swankier, new body kit to replicate your favorite real world firearm, add set of glass to accurately track down your targets or get a hopper that’s lower profile. You can even strip down the marker without specialized tools and polish the interiors for reduced O-ring friction.
- Budget price tag
- Works flawlessly out of the box
- Patented cyclone feed system
- Zero ball chopping
- Many upgrades possible
- Can easily be upgraded to compete with a $500 barrel
- The stock barrel isn’t as accurate as you’d expect it to
- No full-auto mode in the base model
Conclusion: The Tippman A5 is one of those markers that will serve you for a considerable amount of time with minimum upkeep. If you are a beginner, then this is a worthwhile investment for a first marker. For an intermediate player, this is a very versatile marker that transcends play styles and game scenarios.
2 – Tippman Cronus
It is cheap, light weight, has an a M4 Carbine inspired body that’s tailor made for mil-sim games, is easy to use and it can take an absolute beating.
No wonder its popularity in paintball rentals continues unabated.
Looking for an inexpensive beginner’s marker to test the water? There’s no better choice than the Cronus.
The head turner
Walk into a mil-sim game with the Cronus and you will grab a lot of eyeballs. The body kit looks amazing in both, the tan and black as well as the olive finishes. For an extra 20 bucks, you can get the tactical edition which features a vertical carry handle, a 6-position collapsible stock to adjust to various body types and a mock silencer with a fixed-front sight.
That’s a complete military firearm for you, right there.
The body is rugged, composite plastic (Hence the light weight) and weighs around 3.7 pounds. You can carry it all day without any problems whatsoever. On the field, the adjustable stock and the molded rubber grip allow for a comfortable experience handling it.
Dress It Up
Tippman throws in as many as four Picatinny rails allowing you to dress up the Cronus with your favorite tactical accessories. That includes extra sights, a flashlight if need be and grips. That might sound gimmicky for an experienced paintball player. But the gun is aimed at young ball players who dig the whole ‘head into the woods’ thing and it serves the purpose.
When it comes to performance, the Cronus is essentially the 98 in a tactical body. We all know how reliable the 98 is. It is a .68 caliber, semi-automatic and features the same in-line bolt system from some of Tippman’s other markers. The stock barrel is 9-inches and it is reasonably accurate. If you are aiming for marksmanship practice or will be playing mostly with beginners, shooting at 100-150 feet or so, you will be very happy with it. But if you are looking at intermediate level gameplay, swap it for something more reliable, like a J&J ceramic.
Ball chopping is never an issue with Tippman markers. The only gripe with the Cronus, is that it isn’t the easiest gun to strip down and clean. Make no mistake, there are customers who have never stripped it down and it has worked flawlessly for years. But us being us, like to dissect markers and get up close to the interiors.
That’s not easy to do with the Cronus.
- Cheap, lightweight marker
- Stunning mil-sim design like the M4 carbine
- Four piccatiny rails for accessorizing the gun
- In-Line gas system
- Adjustable position stock
- Front grip
- Gravity fed system
- Stock barrel screams for an upgrade for serious paintball players
- Not the easiest of guns to modify
- Difficult to clean
Conclusion: The Cronus is the best paintball gun for a mil-silm scenario. Its affordable price tag and reliable performance are an unbeatable combo.
3 – Dye Proto Rize MaXXed Paintball Marker
What tournament grade marker would you upgrade to, that doesn’t cost you an arm and a leg?
We’d personally pick the Dye Proto Rize Maxxed.
Entry-level price tag, tried and tested bolt system, ASA and lever feed neck. If you are wondering what difference that is going to make to your gameplay, then read on.
Sturdy Little Upgrade to the Rails Maxxed
The Rize Maxxed is a sturdy, lightweight marker that replaces Dye’s Rails range of markers. It is available in a variety of two-toned bodies. Some subtle ones, like the black and grey and a few over the top ones like the blue and lime. It has a very low profile like most other tournament markers, including Dye’s own M2 that retails for more than $1000.
The Ultralite (UL 45) trigger frame with the famed hourglass design and the rubberized sticky fore grip allows you great control while shooting.
The Rize Maxxed comes with an excellent 14-inch two-piece barrel. Of all the markers that we have tested, this one has the best stock barrel out of the box. It is accurate, silent and well-constructed. Weighing just under 4 pounds, the Maxxed is not overly heavy either.
Lever Feedneck System With an Air port On/Off
There are two excellent design upgrades that make the Rize Maxxed stand out. First is the lever feed neck system that allows you to remove your hopper in the blink of an eye. No more fiddling with screws to get that hopper off.
The second one is the on/off for the air port which allows easy removal of the gas tank. A quick turn of the knob is all that it takes.
Coming to the most important part, the Dye Rize Maxxed shoots as well as any high-end marker does. That’s a tall claim to make. But its every bit true.
The 140 PSI operating pressure allows for butter smooth shooting with very little chopping. Feedback is almost absent. The first few times you fire this; you might wonder if the gun is actually operational. It’s that smooth.
This also allows you to use some of the best paintball for the money. Time to get the Empire Premium or the GI Five star.
The gun is not a gas hogger. On a 68/4500 tank, you can easily get 1100 shots or more from this.
There are four tournament firing modes and you can tweak the rate of fire. Most importantly, the solenoid issue in the Rails range has been fixed. The Maxxed is one of the easiest guns to clean and maintain.
Overall, you’d be hard pressed to find a better performing gun at this price point.
- Budget-priced tournament-grade marker
- Lightweight UL 45 frame
- Low profile design
- Variety of colors
- 140 PSI operating pressure
- Feed neck design for quick hopper change
- Air Port on/off for easy gas tank replacements
- Solenoid issues fixed
- The rubberized grip on the regulator tends to get loose after a while and it can be annoying as it moves around when you are using the gun
Conclusion: The Rize Maxxed is an excellent, budget-priced tournament grade marker. It is backed by a tested performance and has a bunch of new features to boot. Hard to find a better choice at this price point.
4 – Tippman TMC
This has led to an influx of mag-fed markers in the market. There’s the MR6 from Spyder, the FS T9.1, the Maxtact G36K and the RAP4. But most of these are obscenely priced or have serious design flaws.
That’s the market that Tippman aims to capitalize on with the TMC. It is a good quality mag fed marker with an entry-level pricing.
Like everything Tippman, it is built like a rock and can take a pounding.
The Mag Fed Cronus
The TMC is essentially a mag fed Cronus. It has the same body styling (without the tactical paintjob) and is available in three colors. There’s the all-black, a black and tan and a black and grey. The portions of the body that are colored black are lightweight aluminum, whilst the colored parts are high density nylon.
It weighs just 4 lbs. and features a four-position adjustable stock. All parts of the gun that will be in contact with your hands are wrapped in rubber and give you a firm grip while handling. This includes the trigger and the handle (with finger grooves). Tippman also throws in front and rear adjustable iron sights taking it one notch closer to the AR-15 carbine.
The stock barrel is 98 threaded and includes the 4 picatinny rails for the tactical doo-dahs. That gives you plenty of room for upgrades because there are tons of quality barrels that are 98 threaded.
Dual Feed System
This is compatible with both hopper and a magazine. So, if your fellow players are showering paint on you with their bulk-fed guns, swap the magazine for a hopper and fire away.
Attaching the hopper is super-easy thanks to the clamping neck on the hopper adaptor that’s included in the package. The other extras include two magazines of 19-rounds each in the package, along with a dummy magazine that comes into play when you are using the hopper instead.
However, unlike some of the higher-end mag fed paintball guns, you cannot use both feeding systems simultaneously. Its either a mag or a hopper. Not a biggie.
We said earlier that the TMC is a mag fed Cronus, which in turn is a reshelled Custom 98. The first marker for many a serious paintball player.
Tippman’s build quality and reliability on field are legendary.
The TMC will give you zero reasons to complain. It fires away accurately mag after mag. For best results, we recommend that you run a remote line.
There have been minimal instances of ball chopping if any.
Since it operates on Tippman’s blowback bolt design, there is bound to be some kick when you fire this. Especially because it’s such a lightweight marker that runs on around 750 PSI. But it’s not unmanageable.
When the TMC was first launched, there were minimum upgrades available for it. That’s no longer the case. Engler offers a custom mod that allows you to fire first strike rounds with the TMC.
- Budget priced mag fed paintball gun
- Built on the Custom 98 platform
- Dual feed system
- Front and rear iron sights
- Rubberized grip and trigger
- Reliable and durable
- Includes two 19-round magazines
- Tippman’s magazines tend to jam occasionally. If this happens, you just have to swap it for a new mag. Unjamming the mag is a pain in the arse.
Tippman’s reliability, build quality and a very affordable price tag! Can’t ask for more. If you are looking for your first mag fed, here it is folks.
5 – Empire Paintball Mini GS Marker
Enter the new and upgraded Empire Mini GS. Yeah, we know that the name reminds you of the old Empire Mini. The only thing that the new one shares with its predecessor is part of the name.
Everything else is new. Empire have managed to walk the talk and all of the niggles of the previous version have been fixed.
The new mini GS is a very small paintball gun with a super lightweight aluminum chassis. It weighs a tad under 2 pounds and is available in a variety of colors. Sadly, there’s no camouflage or all-black. So stealth fanatics are going to make do with a little flashy, shiny color here. It’s not too overwhelming though.
The gun feels excellent when you hold it. The grips are rubberized and the stock 12” barrel make for a very comfortable shooting experience. You can walk with this all day and not even feel it in your hands.
Big kudos to Empire for addressing the trigger wobble which has all but disappeared in the mini GS. The new trigger self-lubricates and has a very responsive click to it.
Revamped ASA Switch
One of the most annoying problems with the original mini was with air leakage and lack of pressure. The new revamped ASA On/Off switch solves the problem. This makes it effortless to degas the tank and remove it. Your O-rings and threads will last much longer.
Empire has not tried to cut corners here despite the mini GS being a budget-priced marker. The On/Off switch is the same one that’s found on many of their higher end markers.
Another change is the new feed neck that prevents the hopper from getting stuck. A couple of turns with an allen wrench is all it takes to swap the hopper.
Fast and Accurate
One of the best things about the Mini GS is that it will offer you ample playtime before you even start thinking of upgrades.
The stock 12-inch barrel works flawlessly and there are no ball chops which we attribute to the break-beam anti-chop technology. It can shoot up to 15 balls per second depending on your skills of course and the accuracy is pretty good for speedball ranges.
There is some amount of kick which is expected in a speedball marker. But it’s not something that should bother you. A few hours with it and you will get used to it.
Get a new hopper, probably something like the vMax plus or the Rotor and you will thank yourself that you did. The Mini GS really shines with the added power.
- Excellent entry-level speedball marker
- Lightweight and comfortable to hold
- Revamped ASA On/Off switch
- New self-lubricating trigger instead of the Hall Effect one
- 12-inch barrel
- Multiple firing modes
- Empire sometimes sends out a flimsy cheat sheet instead of a manual. Check online if you can find a pdf
- Some users have noticed a problem with low fps despite the ASA cranked up. This happens sometimes due to a dry O-ring and can be fixed easily.
Conclusion: Great pick for your first speedball marker. Cheap, fast and easy to use. Disassembly is a breeze too which is an added plus. Throw in a new hopper and up the barrel and you will easily compete with a $1000 gun.
6 – Tippmann 98
This is the new and upgraded Platinum series that takes one of the best paintball gun designs and adds a bunch of amazing features to it.
But at heart, it is still the old 98 Custom that’s almost indestructible. You can bury this in your backyard, dig it up after twenty years, throw a hopper and a gas tank and it will still work like new. Ok. Don’t try that.
The Most Popular Starter Gun
The 98 Custom has been the first paintball gun for thousands of players around the world. Thankfully, Tippman hasn’t fiddled much with the winning design. The platinum series features the same aluminum frame with the contoured grips and the 8-inch stock barrel. It is hands down, the best paintball gun to grip and use for a beginner.
Tippman’s picatinny rails allow you to stack as many accessories as you probably can and the trigger pull is nice and comfortable. You can power this with CO2, nitrogen or compressed air irrespective of the tank size.
Tons of Mods and Aftermarket Products
The 98 Custom itself supports a mini industry of mods and aftermarket products. There are tons and tons of upgrades possible with this one. Some of the more popular ones include a larger barrel (something like the nightstick), a custom trigger kit, a collapsible stock (AR-15), drop forwards, cyclone feed systems and conversion kits.
There’s a saying in the world of paintball that if it can be done, it can be done to the 98 custom.
On the field, it is reliable and reasonably fast. There will be a slight kickback. But even the most difficult-to-fix flaw with the 98 can be fixed with an upgrade.
- Legendary, time-tested performance
- Tippman’s reliable in-line bolt system
- Easy access to the interiors
- Can be stripped down bare and modified from the ground up
- Tons and tons of upgrades and aftermarket products
- Can seem obsolete as compared to some of the flashier markers of today. But who needs bells and whistles when you have performance as reliable as this? Also, this one holds a prime position on the walls of many a player who has since then moved on to newer markers. So, it’s a collector’s item.
Conclusion: This doesn’t even warrant a recommendation. Just buy it. You cannot go wrong with it as proven by hundreds of others before you.
7 – Dye M3
Let us start off by saying that the Dye M3 is the best paintball gun in this list. Period.
It is crammed to the brim with features and is a professional-grade marker that will give you the edge you seek in a tournament.
The price tag might seem a little steep. But anyone who has used this gun will never downgrade to a cheaper one again. It is addictively-good!
Amazing Low Profile with Stellar Ergonomics
We talk about ergonomics while reviewing every marker. But the Dye M2 gives the term a new meaning. With a profile that’s incredibly low, it gives you a clear line of sight while in action. Add an efficient hopper, like the rotor 2 or the Spire 3 and you’re loaded with enough ammo that doesn’t interrupt one bit with your view.
The body is High-Grade Aluminum and is available in a whopping 19 colors. Right from stealth to flash, you’ve got it all. Despite the all metal construction, it weighs a feeble 1.15 lbs. only. Talk about an all-day marker that doesn’t strain your arms.
Your fingers fit perfectly into the semi-contoured grips and the magnetic trigger is butter smooth. No spring on this one and you can pick from 20 trigger adjustment points that best suits your shooting style.
The package includes two 14” stock barrels (.684 bore & .688 bore) that you can swap depending on the quality of the paint you are using.
Easy Setup, Multiple Training Modes
Right from color coded O-Rings and an O-ring map that helps you set up the marker easily, to a large air port ASA, you will be up and running in minutes with the Dye M3.
The 1” OLED screen makes usage effortless even though there are tons of presets and customization options in this. It displays almost every minute detail and most importantly, it is not difficult to figure out. You can see battery status, average rate of fire, peak rate of fire, anti-bolt stick, pressure details (hyper and LPR) and other critical game data.
The screen is extremely bright (90 Lumens) and has a contrast ratio of 10000:1. You won’t miss a thing even if you are playing in the bright sun. Need something better? Check out the MOS Air upgrade kit.
There are three integrated training modes that help you hone your speed, accuracy, muscle reflex and trigger response times. You don’t need gas or paint to practice and you get detailed logs that show your performance.
Fast Charge and Reliable Performance
The Dye M3 features a rechargeable battery that lasts a whopping 10000 shots on one full charge. You won’t be charging this frequently for sure.
Lastly, as expected, the gun is flawless on the field. Dye’s patented Billy Wing spool valve system gives it unrivalled efficiency and it operates at just 135 psi.
It is silent, fast, has tight groupings with decent range.
- Super lightweight tournament-grade marker
- Great ergonomics and low profile
- 15 lbs only
- Two stock barrels
- Large and bright OLED display
- Three training modes for practice
- Patented Billy Wing Spool Valve system
- Low operating pressure of 135 PSI
- Tight groupings and decent range
- We tried our best folks. But we couldn’t find a nit to pick with the Dye M3. The price tag maybe?
Conclusion: If you are looking to go professional with paintball and need a marker that can give you speed, reliability and tons of bells and whistles, the Dye M3 is your best bet. It is upgradable, fast, easy to maintain, lightweight and cost effective (not a gas guzzler). Cannot ask for more.
8 – Planet Eclipse Etha 2
The Etha 2 is the successor to the wildly successful Etha from Planet Eclipse, and to be honest, we expected another budget-priced marker with a few cosmetic upgrades. But the Etha 2 is a different beast altogether.
This is hands down, one of the best paintball guns in the market currently. Planet Eclipse has revamped the Etha inside out and the laundry list of features rival much higher priced guns.
Let’s take a closer look.
Composite and Aircraft Grade Aluminum
The Etha 2 has a very clean and streamlined design that may seem a tad minimalistic as compared to some of the newer markers in the market. But it’s far from an eyesore. In fact, the camouflage version looks very much like a high-end tactical marker.
The body is made of Glass reinforced nylon composite which is more durable than ordinary nylon or PE. It won’t warp or get scratched that easily and the temperature resistance is excellent. On the inside, there’s a lot of aircraft grade aluminum that keeps it impervious to rusting or damage.
Despite this, it is not overly heavy and will not weigh you down.
Handling the Etha 2 is a breeze. The handle does not have the customary finger grooves. Instead, it has a ribbed finish which provides you with a firm grip even when you are changing positions. One of the best features is the spacious micro-switch trigger which gives you great control and is comfortable for your fingers.
Shoots Fast and Accurate
This is one marker that you would never have to upgrade unless you have some elaborate fancy plans about 3d printing a new casing for it.
It shoots fast and accurately out of the box. The stock 14.5″ 2-piece barrel provides great accuracy and the spring return bolt system ensures that ball breakage is minimized.
There are multiple tournament-compliant firing modes like semi-automatic, ramping, de-bounce and controllable rate of fire. An intuitively positioned ambidextrous LED light allows you to toggle through the modes with ease.
Last but not the least, the Etha 2 works on the Gamma Core spool valve drive train which eliminates your weather woes. Come rain, snow or Daenerys Targaryen’s fire-breathing dragons, the Etha 2 performs consistently and reliably.
- Lightweight and rugged marker built on the Etha platform
- Gamma Core Spool Valve for excellent weather resistance
- 5” stock barrel
- Spring bolt system
- GRN composite exterior and aircraft grade aluminum interiors
- Tournament-grade performance
- Multiple firing modes
- Ambidextrous LED light to monitor the firing modes
- Low maintenance
- A little loud
- Can guzzle some serious gas
Conclusion: The Etha 2 is one of the best paintball guns at this price point. Works phenomenally well out the box and with a few upgrades, you will be tagging pros in no time in your local tournaments.
9 – Planet Eclipse Etek 5
However, Etek’s glory days were cut short abruptly when the Empire Axe came along and changed the market completely. So Planet Eclipse did what they do best.
They went back to the drawing board and came up with a brand new Etek 5 that irons out the crevices in the older model and in the process, looks a lot like the Ego LV1.
Well, we aren’t complaining. The LV1 is a brute of a marker and a great one to mimic.
Since we already spoke about its semblance to the LV1, we won’t go harping about how elegant it looks. The marker feels sturdy and comfortable in your hands. The rubberized grips are thick and provide a firm grip. The chassis is mainly glass reinforced nylon and we have spoken earlier about it. It is as tough as it can get.
The Etek5 weighs just 2.2 lbs. with the battery and the feed tube. That’s ridiculously light. You can run all day with it without the slightest problem.
The trigger is smooth and actuates faster than the previous iteration. A lot of people have drawn comparison with the trigger on the Axe. But we personally find the trigger on the Etek5 to be faster. There is a slight amount of side play. But that’s negligible and certainly not a deal breaker.
The Zick 3 Kit, A Programmable Board and Others
One of most critical gripes with the older Eteks were that any paintball of high quality wouldn’t make it out of the barrel alive. It would get smashed courtesy the high bolt acceleration. The new Etek5 solves that problem by introducing the Zick 3 kit borrowed straight from the LV1.
The acceleration is gradual and no matter what the quality of the paint, it does not break.
Programming the gun is fairly easy provided you can remember flashing lights and trigger combination presses. For the lazy ones who prefer a display, check out the OLED Display upgrade.
Finally, the Etek5 shoots consistently good and is gas efficient. The low operating pressure (150 PSI) has improved the efficiency by miles.
- Great ergonomics
- LV1 inspired design
- GRN chassis
- 1 lbs only
- Upgraded trigger
- New Zick 3 kit
- Programmable gun with LED display
- Optional OLED display upgrade
- Low operating pressure
- Silent and efficient
- Some people don’t like the side play on the trigger. Like we said before, that’s subjective. We didn’t find any problems with it. On the contrary, we found the trigger to be better than the one on the Axe.
Conclusion: The Etek5 is a serious contender for the title of the best paintball gun in 2018. It rivals the LV1 not just in looks but also in performance. And that’s no mean feat. If you always dreamt of owning the LV1 but didn’t have $1500 to blow, then here’s the next best thing. And hey, it’s affordable too.
10 – Proto Reflex Rail 15
The Reflex Rail 15 is a high-performance electro-pneumatic marker aimed at the intermediate and professional paintball players. It features an ergonomic lightweight design clubbed with a patent pending Eye Pipe system that delivers consistent and glitch-free performance.
Ultralight 45 Frame
Like some of DYE’s top-end markers, the Reflex Rail features the super lightweight UL45 aluminum frame with sticky grips on the handle and the regulator. It is ergonomically designed, has a very low profile and gives you superior handling on the field.
At 1.94 lbs, it is one of the lightest paintball guns in the business.
The solid construction and minimal kickback allow even newbies to use it with ease. The Reflex rail features a two-piece 14-inch stock barrel that provides excellent accuracy and range. Unlike what occurs with most entry-level markers, you won’t feel the need for a barrel upgrade with this one. But if you are one of the guys who needs a backup barrel, we recommend the .681 DUL.
One of the best features is the Reach trigger that allows the user to customize the angle and the distance (reach) of the trigger. If you have ever felt limited by lack of room to move the finger, then this is the marker you need. Adjust it the way you want to and go trigger happy.
Self-Cleaning Anti-Chop Eye System
Dye’s patent pending Pipe-eye design system is retained in the Reflex Rail and it houses some of the best technical features that we have ever seen in a marker. For starters, there’s the anti-chop eye system that remains dirt and dust free and constantly monitors ball drop and breech.
The bolt ring automatically wipes the pipe clean and there are no instances of double or missed feeds.
Keeping the airflow consistent and leak-free is Dye’s upgraded Hyper3 In-Line air regulator. This is one of the reasons for the incredibly petite design on the Reflex rail. The marker uses the proven and tested 1-piece Fuse Bolt System and has a surprisingly low operating pressure at 145 psi. So, its silent and gas-efficient.
The cam lock feed neck lets you attach and lock the rotor without the need for tools. Also, the feed neck is so low on the frame that the rotor rarely interferes with your line of sight.
To ensure effortless maintenance, Dye adds their signature color coded O-rings that takes the guess work out of replacements.
- Ergonomically designed low-profile marker
- High quality UL 45 aluminum frame
- New, compact In-Line Air regulator
- Fuse Bolt Technology
- Four tournament modes including auto fire
- Low operating pressure 145 PSI
- Tool free cam lock feed neck
- Patent pending Pipe eye design
- Self-cleaning anti-chop eye system
- Color coded O-rings
- The foregrip is a little closer to the trigger frame than what it looks like in the pictures. If you feel that this is interrupting with the handling, just remove the rubber grip on the regulator and it works fine.
- Disassembly is a little difficult because instead of the conventional swivel fittings with a microline, the marker uses Dye’s steel braided one that takes some tinkering to get right.
Conclusion: This is an excellent marker for speedball. It’s user-friendly handling and ergonomic design make it a great choice for a beginner as well as a seasoned player. And like most other markers from DYE, there’s ample scope for upgrades. Highly recommended!
How to Find the Best Paintball Gun for You
So, you have been curious about paintball for a while now, and you have started browsing for the best paintball gun you can find to take to your adventures? Well, you might be getting ahead of yourself. After all, while the design is definitely important, without at least some experience, you can’t really distinguish the good choices from the bad ones. That is where we step in to help. We have a lot of experience with paintball, and we can pinpoint the features you should focus on.
First of all, we would definitely recommend going to the local paintball site with your friends and simply trying the game out. There is no need to buy a new marker if you haven’t played the game a couple of times. But, once you do get some shots in, you might notice that there are two issues with using the site’s markers.
The first one is the fact that you won’t get the same marker every time. And, most markers they use have a slight flaw that takes a while to get used to. So, getting a gun for yourself will help you up your game and become a better player.
The second reason lies in the fact that you don’t get the same satisfaction playing with the site’s gun as you would with your own. Not only will your performance significantly increase once you get familiar with a single gun, but you will quickly grow attached to it as well. And that is where the real fun lies. After all, there is nothing quite like having your own gun to take to the site as your trusted companion.
With that out of the way, there are, of course, the specifics you have to consider before you purchase a gun. Manufacturers have upped their game in the last few decades, and you just might realize that you have too many choices to make. So, in order to do this properly, you should start by figuring out what you actually need. Let’s get straight into the main questions you should ask yourself before you start out.
Lets Cut to the Chase: Important Questions
How Much Money Are You Willing to Spend?
As with pretty much anything in life, your first decision should solve the issue of budgeting. Getting the best paintball gun for yourself can be incredibly cheap, incredibly expensive or anything in between. There are guns you can get for around 30 dollars that are still decent, and there are guns that would have you spend upwards of $1,500 to buy. For most markers, the difference in performance is quite noticeable. If you ask pros or other people which is the best paintball gun out there, they will probably give you different answers, but one thing is for sure – it won’t be cheap. However, what is true to them isn’t necessarily true to someone who is just starting out. After all, the best paintball gun is the one that will give you the least headaches and the most fun.
As we have said, you can probably find a decent marker for under 50 bucks. As long as you don’t play quite frequently, these markers should last you a good couple of years. However, you should bear in mind that many of the important components tend to be made out of plastic. That won’t make it especially hard to maintain the gun, but it will reduce the amount of punishment the gun can take. These guns are inexpensive, but they are not strong enough for serious play. And, you should be relatively careful with them. Once you break an important component, it is usually cheaper for you to buy a new gun than to repair the old one, especially since you can still sell the old marker to someone who can repair it. So, while the community won’t say that a $50 marker is the best paintball gun out there, it just might be the best paintball gun for you and your needs.
If you are willing to spend a bit more money and find yourself a gun that is durable and upgradeable, you won’t have to spend too much at all. In fact, you can still find some of the best paintball guns for anywhere between $200 and $300. If you are willing to spend that much, you should focus on avoiding low-cost design solutions. For example, the body of your gun should be cast aluminum or glass-filled nylon. Furthermore, in this range, you will actually run into some new fancy features. For example, you won’t have to pay extra for clamping feednecks, quick strip, or anti-chop eyes.
Moreover, once you go over the 500-dollar line, you will get into the high-performance territory. While not the guns a beginner would necessarily need, these guns are must-haves for people who are trying to be as competitive as they can. For a pro, the best paintball gun has to be very lightweight; it has to be able to shoot quickly, be very precise, and, most importantly – the best paintball gun has to be incredibly reliable. But, just as with other high-end products, taking care of one might also cost you more than a bit. Namely, you will have to stick to the specific brands of components to keep the gun running perfectly.
CO2 vs. HPA?
One thing many beginners don’t consider when they get into paintball is the fact that they have to refill the tanks. In fact, you will usually purchase a marker with an empty tank. In order to fill it up, you will have to turn to professionals or get some serious tools. However, most of the time, it’s quite enough to simply go to a local paintball site and ask them. But, you should bear in mind that not all paintball tanks are the same. Some use CO2, while others use air. And, you can’t just use whichever gas you want with the tank you have. And yes, there are differences in performance and costs between the gases.
For example, the main reason CO2 tanks are incredibly popular is their cost. Namely, they are very inexpensive. So, if you’re planning to go out for an entire day of heavy action, you can stock up and buy multiple tanks without breaking the bank. And, even the refills are cheap. Furthermore, if your paintball site is nowhere near where you live, you can visit a different store. Namely, supply stores for welding equipment or fire extinguishers stock CO2 as well.
But, CO2 canisters are not quite perfect. And, once you get some playtime behind you, you will be able to notice the disadvantages. Sometimes, paintball guns that work with CO2 will stutter and even slowly stop working. One of the reasons this happens lies in the way CO2 tanks work. Namely, they provide propulsion by expanding CO2 liquid and turning it into a gas. However, that also chills the CO2 quite rapidly.
If you keep rapidly pulling the trigger, your marker will start getting colder and colder. In fact, it might even start freezing up. And, even without that type of an issue, the temperature shifts can affect the accuracy. As the gun cools, the pressure will start fluctuating. That issue has the potential of sending pellets out well above the safe speeds.
On the other hand, you can go with air tanks. These are a lot more difficult to get than CO2, the prices are higher, and the tanks are usually bulkier than the CO2 ones. However, High-Pressure Air (HPA) simply outperforms CO2 when it comes to shooting. The system uses regulators to always give you a consistent output, and there are no irregularities. Furthermore, the system works perfectly in cold and hot weather, and it is very accurate. In fact, if you decide to purchase an electronic marker, you might have no choice as they are mostly made to accommodate HPA tanks.
To be quite honest, you can easily get by with just the gun. But, you will still be running into issues with having to rent the equipment at your local site. So, if you plan on going to paintball frequently, we would recommend getting at least the basic starter set. The additional gear is not that much more expensive, and it will help you out significantly. At the very least, you should get a protective mask and a barrel maid.
How do You Want to Play?
Believe it or not, not every marker works the same. Some are better for full-auto paint spraying, while others are preferred by people who like to be sneaky and take well-aimed single shots. Lastly, there are real-world gun replicas that shoot paintballs for people who want to enjoy realism. While there are technical differences between these guns, personal preference is a lot more important than them when it comes to choosing the playstyle.
Now, let’s talk about some “specifics” regarding paintball guns.
Different Types of Paintball Guns
OK, we have tried to keep the article as “newbie-friendly” as we could. But, in our experience, that approach can only take us so far. We should now start talking about some specific features of different paintball guns. For starters, we should talk about the three primary types of guns:
The Pump Action
The least “technological” and the oldest type of paintball guns works by having you manually “pump” the marker in order to load the ball and ready the gun to fire. These markers are usually powered by CO2 cartridges, and they are generally far more beginner-friendly than other options. However, they do have their flaws. For starters, they have a very low rate of fire, which means that you have to make every shot count. After all, you have to repeat the pump motion for every single one. It is an excellent and a reliable tool that will last you for a while, and more importantly, it will encourage you to work on your accuracy. So, if you ever buy a mechanically advanced gun, you will still have the precision you built with a slow-shooting marker. Unfortunately, there is a drawback to these that is very significant. Namely, if you are playing against people who are using semi-automatic or automatic markers, you might be in trouble.
The most common gun type you will probably see is the mechanical marker. In fact, if you are not a regular at your local paintball site, it could be the only type of marker you ever see. Most of the time, these guns are semi-automatic. For those who don’t have experience with weapons or paintball, that means that you get one shot per trigger pull. The mechanism is very simple, which makes it easy to maintain, and usually, it’s not too expensive.
But, the big advantage comes from the fact that they are extremely easy to use. Not only is the system simple because these guns don’t require pumping, but you also get to shoot as fast as you can move your finger.
Not so long ago, buying electronic guns was reserved only for the wealthy. However, that is no longer the case. And, with a myriad of powerful features, some people might find it surprising that mechanical guns are still more popular. The electronic markers use batteries to power the system that operates the gas tank. In essence, they still work similarly to the mechanical ones, but the trigger system is much more advanced. Some of them work through microswitches, and some even have laser beams that detect trigger action. These guns allow the users to fully control their rate of fire. Whether they want a 3-ball burst, semi-auto, or even full-auto action, they just need to set it up.
The Feeding System
Once you get more serious hours behind you, you might notice that some people use offset feednecks. These allow people to hold the gun “normally” and not have to worry about the feedneck blocking their vision. However, we believe that, for casual players, centerfeed is still the better choice. You can solve the aiming issues by simply tilting your gun sideways, and you can use the gun equally with both hands. We can honestly say that nobody in our team is truly ambidextrous, so sometimes it’s useful to switch the shooting hands depending on the situation. That is something you can’t do with the offset feedneck.
But, on the other hand, the offset feedneck allows players to set up scopes on other sites and really “pimp out” their guns.
A Few Last Words…
All in all, the decision is still on you. We have some recommendations about which gun is the best paintball gun for all players, but paintball is a different experience for every individual. So, if you dislike our recommendations, don’t be scared of going in an entirely opposite direction. If you are a beginner, getting used to your gun might be more difficult than it has to be, but that is also okay. The important thing is that you are having fun and enjoying your new marker.
We just hope that our short list of things you should consider can help you out in your search for the best paintball gun for yourself.