What to Look for in Your First Paintball Gun

what to look for in paintball gun

What to Look for in Your First Paintball Gun

Have you gone to the field a few times and had so much fun that you think you want to dive deeper into this amazing sport?

Every time you have gone you have rented a marker. More than likely this gun was a Tippmann 98 or something comparable. The reason fields rent these guns is because they are INDESTRUCTIBLE. These guns are just built to last.

I know that buying your first gun may be very intimidating. You’re not sure what to look for or which companies have good customer service in case you need help. You’re also not sure what else you might need to buy with the gun i.e. mask, hopper, air tank, etc.

Low maintenance options at low price

If you are looking into a marker that will last forever and needs very little maintenance, then you’re looking for a Tippmann marker. Tippmann has been making paintball guns since 1986 and have come out with over 15 paintball guns! Tippmann also has an amazing customer service. Parts are always easily available and if you have questions, Tippmann is always there to help.

Tippmann 98 Custom

The Tippmann 98 custom is one of their most popular markers to date. One reason is because they require so little maintenance. Field and store owners love these guns because they can easily be stripped down, cleaned, and are ready to go again. The only parts that need to be replaced on a Tippmann 98 will be the rubber ball detent and the orings.

The rubber ball detent is a little orange rubber finger inside the breech that keeps the paintballs from rolling out of the barrel. The rubber orings inside the gun also need to be replaced at some point. They will either wear out or dry out. These do not need to be replaced very often. Only when they are so worn out or dry that it affects the performance of your marker. The Tippmann 98 also has many “bolt on” accessories, such as stocks, barrels, and mock magazines.

Tippmann A5

Another Tippmann to look into would be the Tippmann A5. This gun is similar to the Tippmann 98, but comes with a cyclone feeder built into the gun. The cyclone feeder is a hopper system that runs off excess air, or CO2, which force paintballs into your marker faster so you can achieve a faster rate of fire. This gun, like the Tippmann 98, is also very durable and requires very little maintenance.

One potentially negative aspect of a Tippmann gun is they are on the heavy side – depending on who you ask. For younger players, this might be an issue.


The GOG eNMEy is another solid gun for beginners. It has a lightweight protective polymer body. This feature makes it exceptionally light, great for younger players who are just starting out. This gun is also very quiet and comes with some great features, such as a BOB (Bolt Out Back) body, a nice consistent regulator, a clamping feed neck, spool valve bolt design for a soft shot, and GOG’s lifetime warranty (to the original purchaser). This gun requires a little more maintenance and orings to care for, but it shoots quieter and is lighter and has better ergonomics than any Tippmann.

Are you the type of person that likes to read the manual front to back? Twice?

Are you ready for something that needs just a little more upkeep?

Step your game up

2011 Proto Rail

Then a marker you might want to check out would be the Proto Rail. The Proto Rail has your typical spool valve bolt system. This lower end gun actually has many high end qualities not found in Tippmann markers. Some of these higher end features would be the Hyper 3 regulator. This is one of the most consistent regulators on the market and extremely easy to take apart to maintain and clean. The eye pipe system is also found on this marker. This is a polycarbonate tube that holds your detents in place and also keeps your eyes clean. Last but not least, are the color coded orings. Every oring for this gun has its own color. No more guessing if it’s the right size! This is a great feature for newer players. All three of the features listed come standard on the DM11, which is a $1300 marker, but the Proto Rail retails at $249.

Empire Mini GS

One more gun that needs a little more maintenance is the Empire Mini GS marker. This gun is a poppet valve gun. It will get a little better efficiency than all the guns listed above. The Mini GS is built for smaller players. It has a comfy fore grip, on/off ASA, and a clamping feed-neck. The on/off ASA is simple to use. Also, KEE (Empire) has one of the best customer service departments in the industry. If you need help with anything you can call or email them and you will get a fast reply. This gun is very simple to maintain. All you need to do is take the bolt out, lube it, and you’re ready to play again.

Now that you’re ready to invest in your first paintball marker, hopefully you can make an informed decision about which marker best fits your needs. Some markers are extremely reliable, some are lighter, and some have better performance. I’m sure there is a gun out there that is built for you. To learn more, check out our paintball for beginners section.

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