If you are looking for the best cheap paintball gun then it can be confusing to know where to start or what to look for. What makes one marker better than another? Is there much difference between markers when they all seem very similar? How much should I spend? Will I really need that expensive Co2 tank if my local field only uses compressed air?
There is a huge range of markers available and to make it worse they all seem very similar which can make choosing one extremely difficult. This article aims to demystify the world of paintball markers by giving you some guidelines that should help you find the best cheap paintball gun for your needs. We’ll also discuss some of the “extras” that you may want to consider when making your choice.
Types Of Paintball Guns
A paintball marker is the part of your equipment that actually propels the ball, there are two main types of markers, mechanical and electro pneumatic.
A mechanical marker operates by manually pulling a trigger that engages a sear to fire a solenoid valve. The bolt or hammer then travels forward to strike the ball and propel it out of the barrel. The bolt returns to a resting position by either being stopped in its forward rotation or by the force of gravity, depending on your gun’s design.
Mechanical markers are very simple in their construction which means they are cheap when compared to an electro pneumatic marker, making them great if you are looking for the best cheap paintball gun.
An electro pneumatic marker uses the solenoid valve to release compressed air or Co2 to strike the ball and propel it out of the barrel. The bolt then returns to its resting position assisted by either a spring (in which case you will need to add some form of a regulator to reduce the pressure used to return the bolt) or by a pneumatic ram (in which case you will need an external air source such as Co2 tank, HPA tank or remote line).
Electropneumatic markers use sophisticated electronic components and control systems to monitor their operation. Because of this, they are slightly more complicated to maintain and repair than their mechanical counterparts. This is not to say that they are difficult, the components used in electro pneumatic markers are highly reliable and can be easily replaced if required.
When you begin your search for the best cheap paintball gun you may find yourself wondering what the average price of a marker is these days. The truth is that prices vary greatly depending on the features and quality of the gun so it is difficult to make generalizations. To give you some idea though here are a few marker examples from each end of the price spectrum:
Basic Mechanical Markers – $50-$100
These entry level markers are made with basic machined metal components, a simple trigger, and a barrel. They are great for coarse tuning your shooting skills but for anything more demanding you should spend a little more on a better marker.
Basic Electro Pneumatic Markers – $200+
Again these markers have basic functionality, they will shoot accurately up to about 15-20 feet and can be used to play at a local level. If you begin to play at a more competitive level though, or if you want to use your marker for scenarios, then it is worth investing in a better quality model.
Premium Electropneumatic Markers – $500+
The majority of electro pneumatic markers have an aluminum body and are fitted with high performance electronics and upgraded internals for superior accuracy and rate of fire. Premium markers are the choice most players make when they begin to take paintball seriously, although there is no reason you cannot buy one if you’re on a budget.
When buying your first marker it is easy to get carried away by the number of features available. Although it is important to choose a marker with all the functionality you require, there are also certain things that should be considered in order to get the best deal.
This deserves to be at the top of any purchasing guide because for most people price is the determining factor when buying a paintball gun. Quality markers vary greatly in price and within each price bracket, there is a range of quality and features available.
In order to get the best deal, don’t just settle for the cheapest model because you will never know how far you can have taken your budget. Look around at prices from different companies and compare them to find a marker with all the features you want at a price that makes it affordable.
As with all products you buy, the brand name does have an impact on price. Only you can decide how important it is to stick to a particular brand or whether saving money is your only concern. All marker brands are made by reputable companies so there are no significant differences in quality between them. The main difference between brands is what ‘extras’ they offer so always keep this in mind when choosing your marker.
Although many people are happy with the choice of markers available to them, there are some who want something that is a little bit different or more exclusive. If you fall into this category then you should expect to pay a higher price for your marker since it is being made in a limited quantity.
As well as the basic functionality of a paintball marker you should always have an idea of what extras you want your gun to have so that there are no surprises when you start shopping for it. The main things worth paying attention to include:
All electropneumatic markers use batteries to power the electronics, some more than others. If you plan on playing all day or night for several days in a row then make sure your marker has enough battery life.
Different barrel lengths offer different advantages so it is worth deciding what is most important to you before buying a marker. Longer barrels are generally used on woodsball fields because they enable you to shoot more accurately over long distances, whereas shorter barrels are designed for speedball where accuracy is less important.
The weight of the marker also makes a difference to your playing experience so it is worth considering this when you are buying your gun. A lighter marker will be easier to carry all day but some people prefer to have something that has a bit more weight to it.
Last but not least, the style of your marker is entirely up to you. There are many different styles available so look around at what other people are using and find one that suits you. At the end of the day, it’s all about personal preference so make sure whatever you buy is something you will be happy with for years to come.
A step-by-step guide to buying a marker:
1. Decide on your budget – Make a list of all the features that are important to you and carefully look around at different markers until you find one that offers everything at a price that suits you. Remember that you will always get what you pay for!
2. Do your research – Before buying, read up on all the brands and markers available to make sure that it is something you really want.
3. Buy the marker – Once you are satisfied with your choice of a marker, buy it from a reputable company so that should anything go wrong they will be able to help you.
4. Start playing – Now that you have your marker, all you need to do is enjoy yourself! Paintball is a great way of having fun and bonding with your friends or family so make the most of it.
Common Injuries In Paintball
Although paintball has been described as a dangerous sport, there are many ways of reducing the risks involved. As with any other activity, knowledge and preparation will always be your best defense so read up on what to expect before you play and take every precaution you can think of – including wearing all the right equipment – to stay safe. The most common injuries include:
Burns from hot gas, markers, or paintballs are the most common type of injury. Never stand over a player who has been shot and always check for burns on any new clothing before playing with it.
Cuts from broken glass or nails in bunkers can happen when climbing through windows or crawling on the floor. Make sure your marker is set to semi-automatic and only use bunkers that are properly maintained.
If you wear a mask, make sure it fits properly and always remove it when reloading or cleaning your marker gun. When using CO2 cartridges, never stand directly over another player as the gas may escape when punctured.
If the ref isn’t watching then don’t remove your mask except when absolutely necessary to avoid taking out an ear with your paintball gun like in this video.
Always carry correct first aid equipment and make sure someone knows where you are playing in case of an accident. Although it is unlikely that you will break a leg from being shot, it is important to be aware of the possibility and know first aid if required.
Although this isn’t an injury as such, some people find playing paintball very stressful and may need counseling afterward. If you feel like this on your first few visits then don’t worry because it is quite common and it will get better.
Sometimes accidents just happen but there are many things you can do to protect yourself from the most common injuries – burns, cuts, eye injuries, ear injuries, and broken bones. Always make sure that your mask fits properly so you are fully protected when you are playing paintball. It is also important to wear the right clothing, especially gloves to protect your hands from burns or equipment that is designed specifically for paintball.
And of course, if you are playing on a paintball weekend away make sure you relax and have fun. Paintball is an exciting game so don’t put too much pressure on yourself by taking it too seriously – just enjoy being out in the fresh air and playing a great game!