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Of all the recreational shooting sports, paintball is probably the best at preserving the thrill of a gun battle, but all the while ensuring user safety. You’re required to wear adequate protection, including either a mask or goggles. And there are regulations as to how fast a paintball gun can fire a paintball pellet (no more than 280 feet per second) and the range of a paintball gun is usually no more than 100 feet. But, despite all of the regulations on how a paintball gun is allowed to shoot, there’s a wide variety among paintball guns.
You can find very affordable pump guns with a very simple design, and on the other end, fancy electronic paintball guns which are capable of automatic fire. And there are mechanical models in between the two extremes. By looking at the features, you can decide whether you want something that will fire a lot of rounds quickly, or whether you’ll go with precision.
We’ll go through some of the options among paintball guns on the market presently. You’ll find that getting enthusiastic about paintball is addictive!
We can distinguish between paintball guns by the method in which they propel the paintballs. There are electronic guns, mechanical guns, and pump guns.
Electronic: These will be powered by a battery. This type of paintball gun either uses a spring that is released when the trigger is pressed, a pneumatic valve, or a spool valve that works on compressed air to propel a paintball. One example is the Dye Rize CZR Paintball Marker. It itself uses a 9 V battery, and you can attach an electronic paintball hopper that uses 3 “AA” batteries. It can fire as many as 30 balls per second, and the hopper can hold up to 80,000 paintballs!
Dye Rize CZR Paintball Marker
Dye LT-R Electronic Paintball Loader
Mechanical: These are usually semi-automatic, meaning that they fire 1 shot per trigger pull. That usually means that they don’t have as fast a rate of fire as the electronic type of paintball gun. They can use CO2 or compressed air canisters to propel the paintball. An example is the Tippmann Cronus Tactical Semi-Automatic .68 Caliber Paintball Marker. This is a “tactical” version, meaning that it includes a holding rail on top, a stock in the back for you to support the gun on your shoulder, and a front shroud on the barrel that acts as a “silencer”. It also uses the top-loading hopper to supply ammunition, such as the Empire 200-Round Loader.
Empire 200-Round Loader
However, the Valken M17 Magfed Paintball Marker is a mechanical paintball gun that requires their specialized Valken Compressed Air Tank as a propellant. It can fire in both semi-automatic and automatic modes. You load the paintballs by means of the Valken M17 magazine that you insert into the gun. It can take standard .68 caliber paintballs or special First Strike paintballs that travel further. There is also an option to adjust it to accept hopper-fed paintballs.
Valken M17 Magfed Paintball Marker, with the magazine and compressed air canister
Pump: There are also paintball guns that you have to pump manually to load another paintball to get off a shot. These are the least expensive versions of paintball guns because they’re noticeably slower. But they’re excellent for beginners. And if you’re aiming more for accuracy than speed, you may prefer this model. An example is the JT ER2 Pump Paintball Pistol Kit. It comes with 12-gram CO2 cartridges and 5 tubes of 10 paintballs each.
JT ER2 Pump Paintball Pistol Kit
We went over some customers’ impressions of the paintball gun that they bought:
Prefer hopper to a magazine: Some customers were thinking of using their Valken M17 Magfed Paintball Marker for home defense to ward off intruders. Some people said that you can use “jawbreaker rounds”: .68 caliber solid steel ball rounds, steel rounds with a PVC coating, or pepper balls. But one customer said that using other types of ammunition in his Valken M17 damaged his gun. But then he thought that a hopper feed would circumvent the problems that he encountered with loading ammunition with the magazine.
Possible to upgrade: Also, customers noticed that even a paintball gun that is within the game regulations can be upgraded by changing the springs.
Inserting O rings: It’s recommended that you clean your gun after every day of use since paint residue can clog the gun’s mechanisms. Some experts recommend taking a picture of every step when you disassemble the gun so that you will know how to reassemble it. Be extremely careful with the rubber O rings, since they must be inserted properly to ensure that the gun will not leak. Some guns have color-coded O rings so that you can easily identify which one goes where.
Here are some tips and features of different paintball guns, which may help you make a decision when shopping:
Cleaning time: Remove the gas canister and the hopper that supplies the paintballs before disassembling the paintball gun. Squeeze the trigger to release any paintballs still in the gun. Place a cover over the barrel, to avoid accidentally releasing a ball or trapped gas when cleaning. Remove batteries. Unscrew the barrel and clean it with the barrel swab. It is important to clean it so as to maintain accuracy. Then clean the body of the paintball gun, then the hopper and magazine that holds the paintballs. Use paintball gun oil on the O-rings.
Electronic hopper: We mentioned before that there is a battery-powered electronic hopper that feeds the paintballs into your gun. This has an advantage over the mechanical hopper. You may find that you have to shake the mechanical hopper if you suddenly notice that something is stuck. The electronic hopper has less risk of that happening.
We touched a bit on some of the different types of paintball guns. Within each category, there are numerous subcategories of the mechanism by which they work. Whether you want a paintball gun for recreational use, or to use it as an alternative to a real firearm to defend your home or property, there’s probably an affordable option in the Best Reviews Guide list for you!