The Best Paintball Guns / Markers of 2016 Are…

Are you just getting started playing paintball?  Maybe you’ve been playing for a while but you want to upgrade your gun.  Either way I’m sure mind is filled with questions and concerns. The paintball guns themselves typically are the most confusing topic – with so many choices and so many options it can be hard to decide what is important to you. That’s why I created PB Guy – to help you take an in-depth look at a number of paintball markers.  The following reviews are what we believe are the best paintball markers in the industry today.

Although very confusing and intimidating, we want to make sure that that you choose the correct paintball marker for your wants and needs. There are hundreds of models with thousands of options to choose from. And don’t get us started on pricing – the perfect gun can cost anywhere from under $100 to over $1,000!  However, if you know what features you’re looking for then you should have no problem narrowing down your search and finding the perfect paintball gun.

If you follow our expert reviews and helpful tips we can guarantee you’ll love your shopping experience – almost as much as when you finally get to use your new gun out on the field!

ImageModelSkill LevelWeightPriceOur Rating
Tippmann 98 CustomBeginner2.9 lbs$4.5
Azodin Blitz 3Beginner2.05 lbs$4.2
Tippmann Cronus TacticalBeginner4.0 lbs$4.0
DYE Proto RizeIntermediate2.0 lbs$$4.2
Tippmann x7Intermediate3.5 lbs$$4.3
Empire AxeIntermediate3.5 lbs$$$4.8
Proto Rize MaXXedIntermediate4.0 lbs$$4.4
Planet Eclipse GTekIntermediate2.05 lbs$$$4.5
Planet Eclipse Etek 5Intermediate2.2 lbs$$$4.5
Empire Axe Pro Paintball GunPro1.7 lbs$$$4.7
Dye M2Pro1.0 lbs$$$$$4.8
Dye Assault MatrixIntermediate4.76 lbs$$$$$4.9
Planet Eclipse CS1Pro2.0 lbs$$$$$5.0

DYE Proto Rize Paintball Marker

The DYE Proto Rize paintball gun is one hell of a marker for the price.  The DYE comes with a unique feature called the Rize Fusion bolt.  This patented piece of shooting technology will allow you to fire paintballs at speeds that no other gun at this price point can. Also the Proto Rize has a custom adjustable trigger made of aluminum – making it even easier to fire off more balls per minute. The tactical advantages don’t end there – the Proto Rize’s accuracy is also top-notch.

Don’t you hate when your paintballs break before you even get to fire them?  You don’t have to worry with the Proto Rize – this gun comes stock with anti-chop eyes so you never have to worry about a ball breaking in your gun again. At 4 pounds the gun isn’t the lightest available but it shouldn’t slow you down either.  The DYE Proto comes standard with a one-year warranty so you don’t have to worry if something breaks.

That being said you shouldn’t worry as this marker has been built to incredibly high standards.  This paintball gun is ideal for someone looking to get serious about competition paintball but isn’t ready to shell out the big bucks just yet.  Get this gun if you’re looking for affordable quality and performance.

Planet Eclipse GTEK

Our next affordable yet still extremely high quality paintball gun is the Plate Eclipse GTEK – and boy can I tell you – this is one of the most reliable and indestructible guns around. This is the ultimate beginners/intermediate gun for high volume game play and competition.  You could literally use this gun every day.

One of the most unique features is the use of breech sensing tech.  This technology allows the gun to trap up to 33 PSI of co2 pressure while being fired – this will help your tank last longer and fire stronger.  I consider this to be the most efficient gun on the market.  The gun is both quiet and powerful and fires at only 135 psi – one of the lowest pressure fires ever built!

Like all Planet guns this model comes with a one-year warranty.  Not only can repairs be handled by Planet themselves but a number of authorized resellers and paintball gun specialists can repair it under warranty for you too.  Combine all of this with the light weight aluminum frame that is resistant to all forms of corrosion and you’ve got a real winner.  The GTEK is the ultimate in mid skill ranged paintball guns – this is our top recommendation for experienced amateur paintballers.

DYE M2 Paintball Marker

Although this gun does cost more than any other on our list today I think any serious paintballer would be silly not to consider it. The DYE M2 is, without a doubt, one of the most technologically advanced and lightest weight paintball guns available today. Featuring an OLED interface changing firing modes can be done without even adjusting your grip.

The M2 fires paintballs at an extremely low pressure rate of 65 PSI – this results in blazing fast paintballs while being as close to silent as I’ve ever heard. As mentioned before this gun is extremely light – at only 1 pound 10 ounces I can sometimes forget I’m even carrying it. If you’re looking for the absolute best paintball marker, one that blow away your competition and your friends will be jealous of then look no further.  The DYE M2 is for you.

 

Tippmann A-5 .68 Caliber Aluminum

This is one of the most popular products ever made, it is made with aluminum, which makes it very light, it is very easy to customize and upgrade, and it comes with a two year warranty. This paintball marker has the cyclone speed system that allows it to fire 15 balls per second, without using batteries. It comes with a two position switch that allows the user to quickly and easily change between fight mode and safe mode, and a longer front grip, which gives you a better grip. The A-5 is also easy to maintain, and can be taken apart in 60 seconds without using tools, the easy customization of this marker makes it great for beginners and intermediate users.

Tippmann X7 Phenom

The Tippmann X7 Phenom is an awesome product that has a military style design, that can be customized to many different looks, like the AK-47, M-16, MP5, UMP, and various other assault rifles, and it is also very reliable in battle. As well as many other Tippmann products from our list, the product is very durable and will last for a long time. The only disadvantage of X7 is its barrel that cannot be customized.

Tippmann U.S. Army Project Salvo Paintball Marker

us army

This military simulated look paintball marker has Tippmann’s proven inline bolt system; it has an all aluminum receiver, and has been tested for performance and durability. The marker looks like an AR-15, and has a six position folding and collapsible stock; the magazine can also double as a tool holder, making it a favorite among pb enthusiasts. A marker that performs this well is usually very high priced, but this marker is actually under priced for the value you receive, making it an ideal marker if you are just starting out, or even if you have been paintballing for a long time.

ETEK5 – Planet Eclipse Etek 5

This is a top of the line paintball gun and very close to the best paintball gun on the market. The ETEK4 comes in different designs and colors. The frame is made with glass reinforced impact resistant composite parts, while the other parts are made from the same high grade alloy materials, making it lighter than most of the other guns on the market, it is a very easy to use paintball gun that is very accurate, and easy to maintain. The best part is that it comes with extra replacement parts, so if something should fall apart or break, you can fix it easily, without paying for the parts- all of these factors make the ETEK4 Planet Eclipse the top paintball marker of 2016/2017.

Empire Axe

These top of the line paintball markers are made for people who know what they are doing, it has a very useful push button bolt removal system, which makes it easy to clean and maintain. This gun is also equiped with an Empire relay regulator that has an on/off switch which makes removing the tank very easy. The front grip makes it easier to handle, giving you better accuracy when you shoot, and it has multiple firing modes that don’t waste your paintballs. The Axe marker is a lightweight marker with an aluminum barrel that makes it easy to carry around during battle. Being the best paintball gun, it is a more expensive than the others on this list, because it is a quality product, but it is worth the price, and once you use it, you will understand why. Empire Axe is undoubtedly the best paintball gun of 2016 and if you want to read a detailed review of the product, click on the link above!

Choosing a Paintball Gun

The best paintball guns (also known as the best paintball markers) come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and prices. Expect to pay around a couple hundred dollars for a good, entry-level paintball gun. If you go extremely cheap, remember that as in all things, you will get what you pay for. Check reviews to find a happy medium between finding a good price and a good gun – but always try to get the best paintball gun that you can afford. The last thing you want is to purchase a gun that you end up disliking and having to run back out and pay even more to upgrade to a decent one.

When you first start shopping for a good paintball gun, remember that size matters. This doesn’t mean that bigger is better; it means that you need to get a gun that is an ideal size for your physical frame. If you’re a smaller person, it’s going to be frustrating and tiring for you to lug around and use a giant paintball marker. For a larger-framed person, a big and beefy paintball gun might fit the bill. Either way, a lighter-weight gun will allow you to move more easily and quickly.

Once you settle on price and general size, you’ll have many decisions to make about the details of your gun. If you’re a beginner, your best bet is to start simple. As you become more familiar with what you do and don’t need on a paintball gun, you can decide if many of the extras are worth it. A longer barrel will make the gun a bit more unwieldy, but will give you more accuracy and control over your shots. You’ll have the choice of mechanical, pump action or electronic paintball markers. Keep reading below for more information on the difference between the three.

You’ll also need to know if your paintball gun fires using CO2 tanks or HPA (High Pressure Air) bottles. Most paintball guns use CO2. HPA allows for more shots per canister, but it’s more expensive than CO2. HPA-powered guns also require regulators in order to function. Paintball markers that use HPA can also fire on CO2, but this can damage those models of guns, so it’s extremely important to know what your gun is made to use.

As you research your new best paintball gun, look into the kinds of upgrades that will be available for it once you get comfortable and decide to start tinkering with it. Upgrade options are endless. Electronic trigger upgrades allow people to shoot faster. Longer barrels give players even more control. Scopes give you amazing aim. You’ll also want to make sure that repair parts are easily available for your model of gun in case it breaks down.

Three Kinds of Paintball Markers

Pump Action

A few years ago when paintball was first gaining traction with players these were the only style of markers available. Players had to manually pump the gun for each round fired – this resulted in a painfully slow firing rate. The best way to imagine this is to think of an old single barrel pump shot gun.  Yes – that bad.

Although they are older and considered obsolete by most players you can still find a select group of enthusiasts who love the raw nature of a pump paintball gun. One major reason is reliability.  With fewer moving parts and less dependence on technology you can pretty much guarantee an accurate shot every time.  They require much more skill than modern paintball markers but they will improve your overall skill on the battlefield.

These old school paintball guns are now shaking up the paintball scene once again.  Many fields and leagues are introducing pump-style only competitions which can be a lot of fun.  It’s like the underground vinyl collectors club of paintball.

Mechanical

This style of paintball gun is the most popular on fields right now.  These guns operate just like a semi-automatic rifle – each time you pull the trigger one round is fired off.  This makes them a much faster alternative to the pump action guns but still much slower than the electronic style guns.

You can find mechanical guns at just about every price level and every skill level.  The maintenance on these are also a plus as they are very easy to keep clean and are generally reliable.  They do break more often than an electronic style gun so be sure you buy one with a good warranty.  I would say nearly 9 out of every 10 guns you see on the field today are mechanical guns.  However, this will most likely start changing in the coming years.  Read below to find out why.

Electronic

Electronic guns are the up-and-coming stars of the paintball world.  They are the newest and most high tech options available today.  The technology in these guns have single handedly taken the entire game to another level. When first introduced, these guns were reserved for the paintball elite.  They were incredibly expensive and only the most die-hard paintballers would shell out the money required to buy one.

But, like computers, TVs and all other tech, the prices have since come down.  Today most of the guns available are powered by a convenient 9-volt battery and are programmed to give players a variety of shooting styles.  Some of these styles include:

  • Full-on-Auto which allows a player to simply hold down the triggers and the gun will quickly fire off round after round until the trigger is released.
  • Three Round Burst which will quickly fire off three rounds each time the trigger is pulled.

The simplicity of this style of gun is also incredible. Because the gun makes use of a spool valve, which only has one moving part, there are virtually no needs for repair and post match cleanup can be done in no time at all.  These two reasons alone are why many people will buy an electronic paintball gun today.

 

Different Kinds of Hoppers

The hopper is the device that holds your paintballs and the best paintball gun requires the best hopper. It also feeds the paintballs into your gun as you fire. Two things you’ll need to think about when choosing a hopper is how many paintballs it will hold, as well as how quickly it can feed them into your gun. The feed rate is measured in bps, or balls per second.

Starting at around 8 bps, the most basic kind of hopper is a gravity-fed hopper. This works just the way it sounds; gravity pulls the paintballs into your gun’s chamber. These hoppers are the most quiet and affordable. They’re also the most slow and can jam easily (although shaking the hopper can easily dislodge any stuck ammunition). If you’re considering an electronic paintball marker, don’t purchase a gravity-fed hopper, as the feed rate will go a lot slower than your gun can fire.

If you want to up your bps, you’ll need to move up to an electronic hopper. These will work perfectly for any mechanical marker and most of your entry-level electronic markers and can fire up to 25 bps. As you become more familiar with the game, you may want to move up to a more complex hopper. You can find ones that fire at astounding rates up to 50 bps!

The All-Important Paintball Mask

In addition to (and more importantly than) a paintball gun, you’ll need the best paintball mask you can find. If you get hit in the eye with a paintball, you could lose that eye. Getting hit in the nose or mouth by a flying projectile isn’t much fun, either. You’ll note that paintball masks are just that—full-face masks. They’re more than just goggles. Wearing a set of ski (or any other kind of goggles) is not smart or sufficient for paintball. You need full-face protection and you want a mask that’s specifically designed with paintball in mind.

In my experience, you should always buy a paintball mask. Seriously—even if you’re not going to play that often, you don’t want to run around in a nasty, sweaty, ill-fitting rental mask. It’s worth the investment to wear a mask that hasn’t been running around on someone else’s face in the hours before you use it. It’s also important to have a mask that fits you well and feels comfortable as you play. Here are some things to keep in mind as you shop for a paintball mask:

First of all, you’ll need a mask that’s sturdy and made of good-quality materials. If the mask is cheap and poorly-made, it’s not going to do a good job of protecting your face. The lenses need to be made of material that won’t easily scratch up, as paintball masks take a lot of abuse. 

Next, you need a mask that’s comfortable. It needs to fit well. You’re going to be running around and sweating for hours with this thing on your face. If it gets so uncomfortable that you can’t wear it anymore, it’s game over, so pick one that feels great.

Finally comes all the extras. Make sure your mask has good ventilation (as I mentioned above, you’ll be sweating) to keep you cool and breathing easily. You need to be able to hear well from within your mask; it’s no good if everything is muffled and you can’t hear enemies approaching. Apart from that, you’ll find masks in a variety of styles, so you’re sure to be able to find one that suits you.

Our overall recommendation?  Make sure you get the best paintball gun and the best paintball mask you can.  These two tools are the most important things you can buy (and also usually the most expensive).  Buy these first and continue to add other accessories as you and your love of the sport progress.

Protect Yourself with Additional Gear

One of the biggest mistakes that new paintballers make is showing up to a match wearing thin clothing. Paintballs fly fast and hit hard. Not to mention that when up against an opponent with the best paintball gun you can end up getting welted up very badly. And they hurt when they hit. They hurt quite a bit.

You’ll quickly learn that thick, padded clothing is the best way to go when hitting the paintball field. There are specialized jerseys made for paintball and war games. These long-sleeved shirts feature padding in the chest and collar areas, as well as elbow padding. Paintball pants provide similar protection, and many even feature mesh panels along the legs so that you don’t sweat to death while you play. Keep in mind that the best tactical pants will protect you better than any civilian clothes.

Another must when playing paintball is tactical gloves. You should never play paintball with exposed hands, as getting hit on the hand by a fired paintball is extremely painful and the best tactical gloves will save you a lot of pain. Paintball gloves feature extra padding that you won’t find if you wear gloves that are meant for another purpose. They’re durable, snug-fitting and designed to let your hands move to work your paintball marker. Some of them even leave your fingertips uncovered so that your trigger finger has the ability to move freely.

A good pair of boots is another great addition to your paintball attire. Combat-style boots will provide protection to your feet and ankles. In addition to shielding them from paintballs, they’ll also give lots of ankle support as you move and pivot—sometimes over obstacles. Look for boots that are comfortable for wearing over long periods of time. The best tactical boots should last you a very long time. They should also be lightweight so that you can move quickly.  If you have the best paintball gun you’ll also want the best gear available!

Good Excuses to Play

As I mentioned at the beginning of this article, paintball is like playing a real-life video game. It’s a great way to bring out the kid in anyone. Should you need some good reasons to suit up and head out to shoot some paintballs at people, here are some of the many reasons why people love paintball so much.

• It’s a Social Game

Paintball gets you out and about, interacting with other people. You can organize a game with a group of friends or family members. You can also meet new friends on the playing field. Fans of paintball love the social aspect of the game. Keep practicing and you’ll soon be known as the Paintball King (or Queen) of the Pack!

• Exercise

Another obvious benefit of paintball is exercise. Why spend an hour on the treadmill when you can spend an hour jumping, running, dodging, sweating, and shooting? Paintball is a wonderful cardio workout. It’s also great for building muscles as you run around carrying your gun and gear. Paintball players get fit while having fun.

• Blow Off Steam

Playing paintball is a perfect way to reduce stress. Because it’s so fast-paced, you’re forced to focus on what’s happening on the field. Those problems at work? The deadlines you have looming? All of that melts away as you fight for survival on the paintball field. For at least a little while, your only problem is hitting or being hit.

• Team-Building

Whether you’re playing with co-workers, with your spouse, or as a family, paintball is great for team-building. It’s a really great feeling to plan out a strategy and then try to play it out. Even if you fail, it’s an incredible amount of fun. Which brings me to the last reason that people play paintball…

• Fun

Paintball is just plain fun. There’s no better way to set aside all of your cares and simply go crazy for a few hours. Whether you’re playing to get fit, to de-stress, or to hone your target practice skills, each paintball game is a brand new adventure. Get off the couch, get suited up, and go shoot some paintballs, preferably with the best paintball gun.

In The End…

Thanks for reading – I hope you’ve found our guide to the best paintball gun and paintball gun reviews to be helpful.  Feel free to reach out and contact us if you have any questions.  Also be sure to check out the rest of our website for great links to tactical gear and other paintball accessories.  Enjoy!