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The best paintball guns for 2020

The tactical nature of paintball is such a fun and dynamic way to get some exercise and blow off steam. The game requires physical skill and is an excellent way to build your problem solving and other cognitive skills.

Whether you’re obsessed with the game already or looking to get into it, we have a list of paintball markers designed to level up your game. They’re highly rated, provide durable gameplay, and offer a few customization choices to make the weapon yours. Whether it’s the aggressively styled Tippmann Cronus, the elite Dye M3+, or a sidearm option from Walther, we have just the right choice for you.

At A Glance

Tippmann Cronus-Best Budget Choice

Tippmann Cronus Tactical

The Tippmann Cronus line is an excellent way for beginners to get into the game with a reliable marker that won’t break the bank. 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.

Empire Paintball Mini GS – Best for Small Frames

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.

Planet Eclipse Etha 2 – Best For Weather Variation

Planet Eclipse Etha 2 side

The Etha 2 is a highly reliable, versatile paintball gun with plenty of tech to ensure you have the advantage. It’s .68 caliber with an ultra-durable shell and a proprietary Gamma Core spool valve drivetrain for a variety of terrains and weather. Freezing to scorching, your marker is ready to go.

It has an ultra-responsive trigger with a hoseless system to reduce leaks, all connected to a microswitch. A fully adjustable circuit board gives you more control, so switching between firing modes is more natural. LED indicators are universal for monitoring settings.

If you tend to play outdoors in all types of weather, this is an excellent option to have. It allows you a lot of freedom to play without having to worry about temperature changes or other environmental contingencies.

Empire Paintball BT Dfender – Best for Hyperfast Play

Empire paintball bt dfender side

For those of you looking for a clean line of sight, the BT Dfender takes a unique, aggressively styled approach. It removes the loader from the typical location — on top of the gun — and places it into the stock. The result is a beast with a clear, minimal sightline.

The selector switch gives you five firing modes while the casing is ultra-durable for variety o weather conditions. It tucks nicely into your arm for firing mode while in motion, providing a smaller silhouette designed to hide your location. Hyperfast shooting helps you out without sacrificing accuracy.

You get a straightforward yet ultra-fast playing experience for when you’re pinned down and need to make a significant impact quickly and accurately. Plus, the aggressive styling looks great in action.

Dye M3+ MOSair Paintball Marker — Best Splurge

DYE M3 Paintball gun side

The M3+ is one of the most advanced options on the market with a price tag to match, but that’s a trade-off we’d 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 to follow up. 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. 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.

Umarex T4E Walther PPQ – Best Pistol

T4EWalther paintball gun side

For sidearm purposes, this pistol-style paintball marker offers a realistic 9mm design with plenty of room for customization. It’s heavy but 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 features an adjustable rear sight and comes with an eight-round magazine. It’s powered by 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 feet per second. It fits duty holsters as well.

Its ultra-realistic feel is also suitable for practice 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.

Tippmann A5 Sniper — Best Long Distance

Tippmann A5 Sniper front

If you need something reliable with a lot more distance, the old reliable A5 gets an extension with this particular housing. It uses the classic A5 frame with an extended 20-inch barrel for incredible range and accuracy.

Red dot aiming assistance helps you in getting those far-reaching targets while a customizable approach from Tippmann gives you plenty of room to help your gun grow with you. It uses a collapsible stock for better comfort during aiming, and 45-degree offset sight rail for when you cheek down.

The housing is custom, but for long-range aim, this is one of the best options out there. Plus, the A5 frame allows you to customize your weapon in a variety of ways for better playing on the field.

How did we chose?

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, even on skin. 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 you 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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