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The best paintball guns to get on the field for 2020

Paintball is a fun and tactical outdoor activity that lets you get some exercise and blow off steam. Perfect for a wide range of ages and skill levels, this physical game is great for developing problem-solving and other cognitive skills. Paintball requires a variety of accessories, but the most important ones are paintball markers. Gearing yourself with the right paintball gun is the key to obtaining victory and having a good time.

Whether you’re looking to get into paintball for the first time or you’re an enthusiast looking to step up your game, there’s a paintball gun that will fit your needs. When buying one, make sure to take reliability, customization variety, overall shooting capacity, and your playing style into account. We’ve listed here our picks for the best paintball guns, all of which are highly rated and that you can count on for durable gameplay.

At a glance

  • Best overall: Tippmann Cronus
  • Best for small frames: Empire Paintball Mini GS
  • Best splurge: Dye M3+ MOSair Paintball Marker
  • Best bundling kit: Action Village Tippmann Package Kit
  • Best kit for beginners: Spyder Victor Paintball Gun Kit
  • Best low-impact: Valken Gotcha Paintball Shotgun
  • Best for kids: JT SplatMaster z200 Duel Kit
  • Best pistol: Umarex T4E Smith & Wesson M&P M2.0

Best overall: Tippmann Cronus

Tippmann Cronus Tactical

The Tippmann Cronus line is an excellent way for beginners to get into the game with a reliable marker. It’s also a great choice as a secondary paintball gun with high-end features and plenty of customization options for later. 

It includes a removable barrel shield and stock with plenty of room for customization, including red dots and grips. The high-impact composite housing is highly durable and realistic, with an aggressively tactical style. It’s comfortably weighted, and an in-line bolt system keeps things straightforward and reliable.

It’s a dependable option for beginner to intermediate players who want experience with a tactical style marker but aren’t ready for a higher-end model. Plus, as you grow your skills, Tippmann offers plenty of customization options for their frames.

Best for small frames: Empire Paintball Mini GS

Empire Paintball mini side

The Mini GS is an excellent choice for smaller players who want speed and accuracy minus the weight. This version comes with improved grips and an aluminum barrel. Despite its small size, it’s not a toy, offering weatherproof housing and self-lubricating brushing for less pull on the trigger.

The one-button tank removal is straightforward, but you’ll have to remove a screw to get to the pressure-controlled poppet engine. Minimum recoil and very little noise keep it from giving away your position while multiple firing options provide variety for your attack angle. You can upgrade a few things internally to make it better suited for your unique style and play circumstances.

It’s not going to be comfortable for larger frames because the lightweight stock can get a little out of control without the right sizing. However, if you hate the way some of the larger, tactical-style markers handle, this could help your issue. 

Best splurge: Dye M3+ MOSair Paintball Marker

The M3+ is one of the most advanced options on the market — with a price to match. However, that’s a trade-off we’ll gladly take. You can customize just about every aspect of this marker with a range of paint sizes and updated breech geometry.

The gun has no exposed screws or plates, opting instead for Dye’s Slide and Lock Airport (SLAP). It offers optimized flow control and a two-speed operation, with a soft initial release for accuracy and a speed boost operation. The BWing21 Mag-Reach Trigger Blade adds firing speed with reduced feedback. It’s the paintball marker of the future.

This is the paintball marker you never thought you’d see in your lifetime, too. With enough capability stacked inside an almost perfectly sleek housing, you won’t risk catching anything as you’re moving around. It’s incredibly light and packed with high-tech features.

Best bundling kit: Action Village Tippmann

This bundle is a great starter kit for anyone looking to start paintball sport. In addition to the Tippmann paintball gun are an assortment of excellent paintball accessories, such as a red dot sight and carry handle, a CO2 tank, mask, pods, and a folding grip. Get out into the field ready with this complete set.

Best kit for beginners: Spyder Victor Paintball Gun Kit

Those looking to dip their toes into paintball for the first time will find love with this kit. The Victor model is one of the bestselling entry-level paintball markers on the market and is known for its reliable performance and simple maintenance. It’s also shorter and lighter than the older models, making it perfect for small-framed and young players alike.

Aside from the paintball gun, the bundle also includes a variety of accessories. There’s an Empire X-ray mask with a dual-density goggle foam and visor for exceptional comfort and eye protection, an Empire CO2 bottle that can be reused and filled as many times as needed, translucent plastic Dye’s Alpha Pods that can hold 150 rounds of .68 caliber paintballs, and an adjustable Warrior’s Deluxe harness belt system for holding tanks or pods.

Best low-impact: Valken Gotcha Paintball Shotgun

Have fun backyard battles with the Valken Gotcha. This affordable paintball shotgun is spring-powered, meaning it does not require any additional source of air energy, like CO2 or compressed air.

Shooting at only 110 to 130 feet per second, it uses 80% lower energy and has a lesser impact than a regular paintball, so you don’t have to worry about bruising. You can even see the color-filled ammo balls travel and watch the bright splats as they hit your enemies. All these features make the Gotcha safe for all ages.

Best for kids: JT SplatMaster z200 Duel Kit

If you have adventurous kids looking for a new and exciting outdoor game, you may want to get them the JT SplatMaster z200 Duel Kit. Specially made for children, the paintball gun has an extremely low impact, so there are no worries that your little ones will get bruises and welts.

It also does not need CO2 or batteries since it uses a spring action system. Additionally, it can fire up to 100 feet and isn’t heavy to operate with a smooth pump action. The whole bundle includes two JT SplatMasters markers, two Gen-X paintball masks, and two packs of ammo.

Best pistol: Umarex T4E Smith & Wesson M&P M2.0

This pistol-style paintball marker is great for sidearm purposes. It’s well balanced in your hand with durable housing and a powerful shot. It may not be your primary weapon, but it can certainly deliver in a pinch. It boasts a fixed front sight and an adjustable rear sight, is powered by economical CO2, and features a Picatinny accessory rail for lasers or other sights. You have some variety of ammo with .43 caliber paintballs, powder balls, or rubber balls and firing power of up to 355 fps. It fits duty holsters as well.

Its ultra-realistic feel is also suitable for practice and training when you need to be on point. It’s a heavy-duty choice for a sidearm and provides you with an easy way to get more out of your sessions each time.

How did we choose?

Each paintball gun is well-reviewed and offers customization options for better gameplay. The housing of each gun has to be able to withstand both indoor and outdoor play, so all of them do to some extent. They also provide excellent firepower with great accuracy.

Can a paintball kill you?

There are no recorded instances of a paintball hit being lethal. It may cause a bruise or an unpleasant numbness for a few seconds on the impact sight, but overall, the game is very safe.

Be sure to invest in the right safety gear for your eyes and face so that you don’t damage your sight, and play by all the rules of the game. Other than that, you don’t have to worry. There’s no way a paintball can travel fast enough and have enough power to be lethal.

What does being hit with a paintball feel like?

It varies depending on the location of the hit, the distance and power behind the paintball, and the type of gear you’re wearing. In many cases, people report that it feels like being slapped with a wet towel, a rubber band snap, or in some cases, just a tap on the shoulder.

It can leave a bruise or a welt, but if you’re wearing the right protection, none of the effects are long-lasting or debilitatingly painful. Don’t allow the fear of potential pain deter you from taking up this thrilling and fast-paced sport. Like anything with the right precautions, it’ll be fun and safe.

How should I dress for paintball?

A critical factor in your safety and fun is going to be covering your skin. Wear clothing that you don’t mind getting dirty, in dark colors that are difficult to see. Long pants and sleeves are a must no matter the weather, and be sure to wear layers if you aren’t sure what the temp will be like after you’ve been running around.

Loose-fitting clothing will allow you to move around and get into a position more quickly. If all you have is jeans, don’t let that stop you from playing, but get something more comfortable as soon as you can. Sneakers or combat boots will ensure you can maneuver, and don’t forget to bring a change of clothing for after each game.

What equipment do I need for paintball?

You need your paintball gun, of course, but you also must invest in the right safety gear to ensure your face and head are protected. While paintball guns aren’t lethal, they can be dangerous without the right precautions.

  • Face mask — Before you blow your budget on a gun, you need a mask. This single piece of equipment is one of the most critical pieces you can have because it protects your eyes while helping you maintain the clearest vision during the game. You can get away with a budget marker (gun), but you’ll quickly be down for the count with a cheap mask. 
  • Safety gear — Other safety gear like knee and elbow pads can smooth out your gameplay. Gloves are also an excellent option, but only if they allow you to maneuver quickly. Other gear depends a lot on your type of gameplay. Vests explicitly designed for paintball that could be useful. Take a long look at how you play to figure out what you need.
  • Hopper — The “magazine” in paintball is called a hopper. Gravity-fed hoppers are basic and have less that can go wrong, but electronic hoppers allow you to get off more shots in a shorter time. If this is your first go-round, gravity-fed should be fine to get some experience.

What kind of paintball guns are there?

There are three basic types of paintball guns.

  • Pump paintball guns — These are the OG paintball markers. They allow you to use a pumping action to build up PSI and are great for focusing on necessary skills. You don’t have a lot of firepower, so you have to focus on accuracy. These are the hardest way for a newbie to get into the game but can be a nice challenge if you’re an expert bored with your current games.
  • Mechanical paintball guns — Mechanical paintball guns are great beginner models. They’re often affordable and use either compressed air or CO2 to provide power. Most are also semiautomatic, with one shot per trigger pull, and are easy to maintain. If you’re new to the sport, this is probably the way to go.
  • Electronic paintball guns — Electronic paintball guns use a small battery to click a microswitch trigger that feels more like clicking a computer mouse. They use circuit boards and deliver high rates of fire per trigger along with a variety of easy to choose firing options. These models could be suitable for advanced players willing to drop money for high-tech features.

How long does a paintball tank last?

Tanks are typically suitable for refilling for around five years, but it’s your responsibility to make sure that you’re maintaining the tank. Manufacturers put the date of manufacture on the tank itself, so be sure to check.

It’s illegal for a refilling center to service an out of date tank because of the potential of danger. Be sure you’re keeping up with all the maintenance required of your equipment, not only to keep winning games but to ensure you’re as safe as possible.

Testing involves pressurizing the tank to a rate far higher than what the tank is designed to handle. If it holds, the testing site will apply a new date to the tank, and you’re good to go.

Check the dates and the testing rates for more information about your tank and its required maintenance.

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