Paintball Gun Reviews: How to Find Your Perfect Paintball Gun
If you are a professional paintball player, then you probably have a pretty good idea of which paintball gun is best suited for you. But for everyone else, it’s not such an easy task because there are so many different paintball guns to choose from. This website through the list of the best paintball guns out in the market today as well as individual detailed reviews of each gun. These paintball gun reviews will highlight the best features of each paintball gun so you can quickly find what you are looking for.
Electro-Pneumatic or Mechanical?
These are the two terms most players should be familiar with. Paintball markers are either use either mechanical or electro-pneumatic firing systems. Mechanical markers are inherently an easier design so they tend to be cheaper than electro-pneumatic markers.
Mechanical markers are the simplest types of paintball markers. They do not use any types of electronics and is only powered by the force of you pulling the trigger. Using a series of springs, the marker transfers the energy of you pulling the trigger into releasing compressed air into the barrel and launching the paintball out of the barrel. An example of a typical mechanical marker would be the GoG eNMEy.
Mechanical markers can only shoot as fast as the person pulling the trigger. On average, most players can get off 10 rounds in a second while more experienced players can get 11 or 12. They are also not the most consistent compared to electro-pneumatic markers. Because there are so many moving parts, mechanical markers will have slight aberrations every time the it is moved and lowering the overall consistency.
Electro-pneumatic markers are considered the modern type of design. Instead of a hammer striking the springs, electro-pneumatic markers utilize a circuit board controlled solenoid to open and close a valve that lets the compressed air into the chamber. Every time the trigger is pulled, an electrical signal is sent by the circuit board to the solenoid which then opens the valve.
Electro-pneumatic markers will have firing speeds faster than mechanical markers because the solenoid can open and close the valve much faster than a human can pull the trigger. Often times, these markers will have a full auto setting and they can get up to 20+ rounds per second. They are also more consistent and accurate because there are less moving parts. One small drawback to electro-pnemuatic markers is the circuit boards can be easily damaged by water and needs to be maintained often.
Speedball vs Woodsball/Scenario Paintball
There are several variations of paintball that is popular right now. They are speedball, woodsball, and other types of scenario paintball. Generally, speedball and woodsball/scenario paintball have different types of paintball guns and gears. Speedball players tends to have lighter and faster guns while woodsball players utilize large and more militaristic looking guns. If you want to find out more about the different types of paintball games, click on the link below.
Speedball is the most recognizable form of paintball. It is often almost played in a closed indoor or outdoor field that is filled with barriers on both sides. Matches tend to be very fast because of the small area and players play in teams of 5 to 7 players. Speedball markers have to be small and light in order for the player to maneuver around the barriers. Almost all speedball markers come in a wide variety of bright neon colors.
In contrast to the fast playing style of speedball, woodsball involves more planning and commitment. Usually involving a large number of people, woodsball can be played in any large wooded area and has no official rules. Woodsball markers are often larger than speedball markers and can have more accessories added to them. These markers have dark color palettes so it is easy to hide them between the woods.
Besides woodsball, there are many other types of scenario paintball where the main objective is not just win as fast as possible. One of the most popular types is military simulation (milsim). Milsim paintball games take it to the extreme by mimicking real military battles. They often wear the uniforms and use the gears of their favorite military unit. Milsim markers are heavily modified woodsball markers that give them a true militaristic look. Like woodsball, most scenario paintball games have no official rules and it is up to the players to decide how much they want to commit to the game.
What Type of Air Do You Need?
Most paintball guns use either CO2 or HPA in their systems. A majority of the paintball guns out in the market today can actually use both types of air. But what exaclty is CO2 and is one better than the other?
Paintball markers first used liquid CO2 and has been the standard until recently. Liquid CO2 tanks work by using energy to turn it back into a gas state. As the gas expands, it takes up more space and increases the pressure,which in turn, actuates the firing mechanism. CO2 can either come in disposable canisters or refillable aluminum tanks.
Advantages of CO2
One reason why CO2 is popular is because it is very cheap and easy to get. You can buy CO2 tanks or refill it at many places other than a paintball shop. Places like home improvement stores sell CO2 for a reasonable price. CO2 tanks can last and supply more pressure than a HPA tank.
Drawbacks of CO2
One drawback of CO2 is that due to its gaseous properties, it experiences the chilling effect. As more of the liquid CO2 expands, the tank and the paintball gun gets colder and colder. Normally this isn’t a huge issue but when the firing speed goes up, it will start to negatively affect the gun. Another side effect is that some of the liquid CO2 gets can get sucked into the gun itself. This can damage the fragile internal components like the electronic circuit boards or the solenoid firing mechanism.
Mechanical markers such as the oens made by Tippmann, are less susceptible to CO2 damages because they have larger bodies that do not have fragile components inside. They can also be easier to clean in the event liquid CO2 does leak into the insides.
HPA (High Pressure Air or N2)
HPA air is just highly compressed N2 or a mix of N2 gases that creates the pressure needed to propel a paintball out of the marker. The tanks are usually heavier and more bulky than CO2 tanks. Tanks are usually made of steel or carbon fiber. Steel is cheaper but can hold less while carbon fiber is more expensive and can contain a higher psi.
Advantages of HPA
HPA is more reliable than CO2 because it can be used in many climate and temperature settings. For that reason, a majority of the electro-pneumatic markers only use HPA to protect their vital electronic components. HPA’s consistency is important to many professional players who rely on their markers to be functional at all times.
Drawbacks of HPA
HPA can be relatively hard to obtain outside of paintball stores. Normal air and tire pumps do not have the power needed to reach the 3000 or more psi needed for HPA tanks. HPA tanks need to be bigger and heavier to contain the high pressures so they are on average more expensive than CO2 tanks.
So Which One is the Best?
HPA is hands down superior to CO2 in many aspects and should be your first choice when looking at potential paintball markers and tanks. While CO2 might be cheaper and easier to get, the reliability of HPA is essential to paintball. HPA is the the current trend in most paintball community and CO2 is slowly being phased out by many paintball gun manufacturers.
Hoppers and Loaders
Hoppers hold the actual paintballs similar to how a magazine holds the bullets in a gun. Most hoppers are found attached to the top of the paintball marker and uses gravity “feed” the paintball into the marker. Besides being gravity fed, hoppers can also be agitated or force fed. Remember: A hopper is the actual container holding the paintballs while a loader is a hopper that has a electric powered system that speeds up the feeding process.
Gravity Feed Hoppers
Gravity fed hoppers are the simplest types of loaders. It only consists of the hopper attached to the marker at the feed neck. It uses the force of gravity to pull the balls down. This type of hopper has the most problems because balls often get stuck together at the feed neck and you can end up firing chopped up balls or firing nothing at all.
Agitated Feed Hoppers
An agitated feed loader system is an improved version of gravity fed hopper. In addition to using gravity, an agitated feed hopper has a series rotating paddles that guides the paintballs into the marker and prevents them from jamming. Agitated feed hoppers can either work without power or can be powered by an electric motor.
Force Feed Hoppers
Force feed loaders are the fastest types of hoppers and the only types used at tournaments. They can feed up to 50 balls per second. Force feed loaders rely on a specialized rotors to “force” the ball through. These types of hoppers do not rely on gravity and is much more reliable for electro-pneumatic markers.
So Which Hopper/Loader is the Best?
This depends on the type of marker you have or are looking to get. If are buying a high end electro-pneumatic marker, then you should definitely consider getting a force feed loader. These two go hand in hand and are perfect for each other. On the other hand, buying a hopper that can feed 50 balls per second into your mechanical marker doesn’t make sense since the marker can’t even fire that fast.
Some markers have their own specific hoppers/loaders that are recommended for them. For example, the Tippmann A-5 is an electronic paintball marker but works the best with Tippmann’s own gravity fed Cyclone Hopper. Make sure you check to see which hoppers and markers are compatible for optimal use.
Goggles and Masks
You should ALWAYS wear a mask when you play paintball. Even if you are just shooting in your backyard, wearing a mask protects your eyes from permanent damage in case something goes wrong.
There types of masks range from just a pair of goggles for minimum protection to a full blown double-layered mask with a throat guard for maximum protection. This might seem extreme but remember paintball rounds can reach speeds of 300 ft/s. Without proper protection, rounds at those speeds can cause serious injuries.
Fogging is a Serious Problem
Without proper ventilation, a lot of goggles and masks can fog up easily and make you lose your vision. Many players try remove their mask to defog it and risk getting hit in the face. Some paintball masks have double or thermal lenses where the air current between the inside and the outside panels are separated to reduce the effects of fogging. Other more advanced masks even have small electric fans inside to remove the excess moisture clogging up your vision.
What to Look For in a Good Paintball Mask
Generally, you should look for masks that are on the smaller side. A smaller mask means that you become a smaller target. However, keep in mind that the smaller the mask is, the more expensive it likely is. Another tip is to try the mask on for a few minutes before buying it. If it feels too hot or too constrictive, do not buy it. If the mask gets uncomfortable so fast, it will be even more unbearable for you in an actual paintball match.