The Best Paintball Gun

Dye Proto Rail Paintball Gun

Our Top Pick for 2016: Dye Proto Rail Paintball Gun
Read our full review.

See it on Amazon for $249.95*
*Price typically updated every 24 hours. Current price may be different.
Too expensive? See our budget pick.

Paintball fans knows that good gear can make the experience more fulfilling. Paintball markers are made to fill a variety of uses, and you can find what you are looking for no matter your needs. Below you can read about our top picks as well as the best gun if you want to stick to a budget.

Table of contents

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Pressure Controlled Poppet Engine
Worry Free Performance
Military-style Marker
Integrated Break-beam Anti-chop Eyes
Self-cleaning Anti-chop Eye System
Three Position Selector Switch
Adjustable Firing Modes
Eliminates Miss Feeds
FlexValve Technology Allows Operation Under 300psi
Wrap-around Foregrip
Sticky Grips
Feeds 15 Balls Per Second Without Batteries
Venting ASA Regulator
Works With All Bottom Line Configurations
Changes From Electronic To Mechanical Operation On The Fly

*Price at time of publishing and may not reflect current pricing.

#1 Gold pick (Winner): Dye Proto Rail Paintball Gun

Dye Proto Rail Paintball Gun Gold Pick

View it on Amazon for $249.95*
*Price typically updated every 24 hours. Current price may be different.

2016-gold-winnerThe Proto Rail Paintball Gun by Dye is the Gold Pick Winner because of its lightweight body, innovative regulator, and special Eye Pipe. Each feature included on this marker set it apart from others in its price range. At just $249.95 it is not only affordable but a smart purchase because of its quality.

The first thing you notice about this gun is how light it is. It weighs just 1.62 lbs making it a great lightweight gun that will not fatigue you during those long matches. The general aesthetics of this gun are pleasing. It is one of the cleanest looking markers in its class. You will be proud heading into a match with this marker at your side. Not only is it beautiful but it is full of features that push this gun into the professional sphere of quality.

The 12 inch barrel is ideal for short and long range engagements alike. The Rail was built with accuracy in mind making it an excellent marker for a wide range of scenarios. The Eye Pipe is a self-cleaning system that makes sure that the eye is clear at all times. Expect amazing handling with this marker. The Rail also has a non-slip grip that ensures this gun will be of use no matter how dirty you get. This is an important part of a good marker. The last thing you want is to drop you gun because your palms are sweaty, your grip is full of mud or any other issue that might arise.

The Hyper 3 regulator is a prime feature of the Rail. You will get around anywhere from 1-34 balls per second from this gun making it competitive for a variety of play styles. There are four different firing modes including fully automatic giving this gun more power. Firing the Rail you will feel and see just how solid this marker is as it does an excellent job avoiding jams and busted balls. Some users even reported shooting thousands of times with zero broken balls. That in and of itself speaks volumes to the design of this marker.

If upgrades are important to you as a paintball enthusiast you can rest assured knowing that the Rail can be upgraded with most feeders and hoppers on the market. Grips and barrels can also be found if those are parts you wish to change out. While there are not as many upgrade options as other markers the Rail has enough to satisfy the itch for customization that some players have. You also may want to consider grabbing a large HPA tank as the Rails uses more gas than some other guns.

Also included with this kit are an Allen wrench set, Dye lube, an o-ring kit, a 9V battery and a custom barrel sock. Having these parts go with your purchase adds to the list of reasons to check this gun out. You will not have to worry about scrambling to find tools to make quick adjustments. Dye saves you that trouble and helps keep you playing for longer.

The Rail comes in a sleek custom paintball marker case that is heavy duty and durable. This eliminates the need to spend extra money to haul your new gear around and is an added bonus you receive by going with Dye.

Not only is this gun great for advanced users but its ease of use and durability make it a great choice if you are just getting into the sport. Everything about this marker caters to players of all skill levels. Beginner and professionals will find hours upon hours of use in the Rail. For the price you will not find a more efficient, powerful and innovative paintball marker.

#2 Silver pick (Runner-up): Empire Paintball Mini GS Marker

Empire Paintball Mini GS Marker

View it on Amazon for $299.95*
*Price typically updated every 24 hours. Current price may be different.

2016-silver-winnerThe Silver Pick is the Empire Mini GS paintball marker. This marker is incredibly lightweight, offers smooth functionality and high rates of fire without sacrificing durability. Empire is known for their high quality markers. That tradition extends to the Mini GS. You can expect only Empire quality by going with this marker.

Weighing at 1.18 lbs the Mini GS is one of the smallest and lightest markers of its kind. The design of this gun is minimal. There is nothing flashy about the frame. Every aspect of the appearance fits into a necessary function. That is a huge bonus because you will not have to worry about useless aesthetics ruining your experience.

The grip features an ergonomic design that ensures maximum comfort when handling. The foregrip has a wrap-around style that protects your hands while also keeping them comfortable. It is small but users of all sizes should be able to use this marker with ease. The rubber grips also save the gun from unwanted elemental damage from outdoor use. This is something to consider when weighing your options.

The barrel is 12 inches. This is a good medium range barrel that can stay accurate in close battles. For long range shooting this gun is accurate enough but upgrading to a longer barrel might be considered. Either way this gun can shoot at speeds around 18 balls per second without losing accuracy or experience jams.

Removing the tank on this marker is painless. With the custom On/Off ASA you can change out tanks with speed. This eliminates the issues caused by threaded slots. Also included is a clamping feedneck that adds to the ease of use of this marker. Switching out hoppers is quick. The feedneck also keeps all the aspects of the gun tight which gives you an advantage because your hopper will not protrude if you are hiding.

The micro-switch trigger clicks when you fire. This helps you know not only when a shot is fired but how well it fires. If the gun hiccups you will feel it. This allows you to make any necessary adjustments on the fly without ruining your competitive edge. There are multiple firing modes included. You can switch from semi-automatic to PSP or MILL making this gun perfect for tournament play.

The Mini GS shoots around 270-275 feet per second. The velocity can be adjusted if you need that extra speed. Depending on the size of your tank you can shoot around 10,000 balls before needing to refill or change tanks. For tournaments and long games this is very important as you do not want to be left with an empty tank when the match is not near being over. If you play in the woods or away from refill access the Mini GS will allow plenty of shooting.

For a middle of the market gun the Mini GS from Empire is a solid choice that will not break you bank at $379.95. This gun can be upgraded to fit different roles and is a great starter gun as well as a solid marker for professional use. Whether you are buying your first gun or looking for a spare this marker will do the trick and more.

#3 Bronze pick (3rd place): Tippmann X7 Phenom Paintball Marker Gun

Tippmann X7 Phenom Paintball Marker Gun

View it on Amazon for $299.00*
*Price typically updated every 24 hours. Current price may be different.

2016-bronze-awardTippmann is one of the most popular paintball marker manufacturers on the market for good reason. Tippmann has consistently brought high quality and forward-thinking markers to users around the glob. With the X7 Phenom you will understand why Tippmann is so well loved. It features efficient air usage, manual and electronic firing, sharp accuracy and tons of mod options.

Air usage in the X7 is regulated by keeping the PSI under 300. This means that you can expect more balls out of the barrel before your tank is drained. A standard 4500 PSI tank will give you around 1,400 shots.

You can select between three different firing positions. The third has five modes of fire. This gun uses both mechanical and electronic trigger functions. Firing speed sits at about 20 balls per second making it a quick marker compared to others in its class.

The X7 has a 9.5 inch high performance barrel that keeps your shots accurate in close to medium engagements. Recoil has been eliminated with the use of the custom Spool Valve technology ensuring you will hit your target. This gun weighs close to 4 lbs. This adds to the accuracy because it keeps the weight centered and low. It is not heavy enough to cause fatigue with extended use, however.

The X7 body can utilize over 20 modifications. Tippmann boasts that this model has 1,000 different style options depending on how you mix and match the mods that are on the market. Users of this gun love it because of the customization options. If that is important to you then you will not find a better model.

Optional modifications include:

  • extended barrels
  • scopes
  • stocks
  • military style hoppers

There is no limit to what you can do with this marker as far as looks are concerned. If you want a military-style rifle that can be done. If you want sights to improve accuracy Tippmann can deliver. This marker is unique in the fact that it can be so deeply customized, something that most other paintball markers fail to do. Each option not only makes the gun look more interesting but can also add to the functionality making the X7 Phenom solid for professional activity.

Included in your purchase will be a maintenance pack, lubricant and a plug for the barrel. A 2 year warranty comes with all new markers from Tippman so if you are not satisfied or the gun breaks you can easily have it replaced or returned.

You can own an X7 for $349.00. This is more than some paintball makers aimed at beginners but is still well within affordable range compared to other high-end paintball markers. If you want a marker that can bring you a unique look and range of features the X7 Phenom will not disappoint. There are enough features and mods to satisfy the new player as well as the veteran.

#4 Budget pick (Best cheap): TIPPMANN Cronus Paintball Marker Gun

TIPPMANN Cronus Paintball Marker Gun

View it on Amazon for $99.95*
*Price typically updated every 24 hours. Current price may be different.

2016-cheap-budget-pickIf you want to Ball on a Budget Tippmann has you covered. The Cronus paintball marker is suited to casual players who want a decent gun but are low on cash.

The Cronus is another military simulation style marker from Tippmann and features a comparable range of customization possibilities as the X7 Phenom. You can attach a mock silencer, AR-style stock and carry handle as well as sights, scopes and other barrel accessories. While there are not as many parts to choose from as the X7 there are enough to make your marker unique.

The body is light. It weighs around 3.5 lbs and features a composite body. The size makes it a great pick for smaller players and young persons who wish to try out the sport of paintball. The grips are molded rubber and focus on comfort and long use. For any beginner to paintball the Cronus is an attractive purchase because of its feel and design.

The design of this marker is made to withstand abuse. It is rigid and durable so you can take it on the most daring of adventures and expect a workable gone afterwards. For younger players this might be important because endurance and agility may be not be developed. You do not want to keep replacing a cheap gun. The Cronus will take plenty of beatings before it gives out.

The barrel is quite small at only 9 inches. It is more suited for closer encounters but performs well at medium ranges. The build allows for smooth operation and quick shooting. The trigger is responsive and easy to pull so faster shots can be achieved if needed.

The greatest feature of the Tippmann Cronus is the price. It runs at only $80 and is sure to save you money while giving you an awesome paintball experience. For an introductory marker you cannot find a friendlier or more reliable gun. Consider your needs and if a low cost, custom and durable paintball marker sound like something you want then give the Cronus a try. Chances are you will not be upset with your decision, and you will open the door for more discovery in the paintball hobby.


Pre-purchase considerations

Durability

If a new paintball marker breaks after only a few uses then you have wasted money, time and emotions on a faulty product. Pay attention to what reviewers are saying about the durability of the marker you have in mind. Find out what makes one marker stronger than others and go with a gun with a long life expectancy.

Things to look out for are tough body materials such as composite or high quality aluminum. These are light and durable materials that will not tire you from holding them. Remember that just because a gun is not heavy does not mean that it is weak. Lighter materials can be durable. Keep that in mind when looking at marker specifications.

Think about the types of games you will be playing. If you are an outdoor paintball enthusiast make sure that your next gun can withstand the elements. For an indoor player you may not need something that is waterproof. However all quality guns with be able to operate in different settings without fault.

Firing Speed

To stay ahead of the game you want to have a good firing speed. If your gun is too slow you can bot make the shot in time. Look for a paintball marker that has variable speed options. Most guns should have adjustments that allow velocity to be changed on the go. If you need a special tool to make that adjustment be sure to keep it on you when you play.

Some guns can shoot quite fast. The faster the gun the smoother the internals of the marker need to be. You will want to know that your new gun can handle the super fast firing speeds without jamming or breaking too many balls.

Also look at the hopper design and how the balls are fed. If the balls do not feed fast enough having a fast shooting speed will be useless. All of the parts must work in harmony to produce a firing experience that is reliable, satisfying and smooth.

As always choose a gun that will work for your style of play. If you do not need extra speed then consider a marker that is quick but not too fast as that may cost you a little more money. Some guns allow for speed upgrades. In that case you can leave the option open if you choose to upgrade the speed.

Upgrade Options

Many paintball markers can be upgraded. The most usual upgrades include hoppers, barrels and triggers, but there are guns that are more limited than others. If you are unsure about what you might need in the future go with a marker that has some available upgrades. You might find yourself in a position where you can save time and money by upgrading the marker that you have rather than purchasing a completely new system.

Aesthetic upgrades can be exciting but they usually will not give you any extra performance. Some models can be made to look like a variety of realistic weapons. That might appeal to you so be sure to see what you can do with the marker before buying it. Color options are available with most standard models if that is something that is important to you.

Depending on the brand your model might be able to fit a new sight, scope, laser sights or other optical enhancements. This can lead to a great advantage when playing certain paintball scenarios. Other upgrades you may see are foregrips, stocks, handles, rail systems, and triggers.

Ease of Cleaning

Your gun will more than likely get dirty after a while. If you play outdoor games cleanliness will be vital to your game. A dirty gun has a greater chance of a clogged barrel, slow trigger and other performance deficiencies.

Be smart when picking out a new marker. If it is full of unnecessary plastic that holds no function you will waste more time cleaning the gun than needs to be spent. A proper marker will be easy to take apart. This allows for quick and efficient cleaning.

Practice taking your gun apart. Know what each piece does and how it relates to the gun as a whole. Pay careful attention to how you clean the parts. Do not use lubricants on electronics, and try not to get water where it should not go. Spend ample time putting your gun back together and check that it works well.

It is not difficult to clean a paintball marker. Taking the time to learn proper care will extend the life of your gun. This grants you with many more hours of use and will save you money in the long run as you will not be blowing cash on new parts often.

Conclusion (Wrapping it up)

Anyone who is searching for a new paintball marker should spend time researching what is on the market. There are hundreds of models to choose from. Each one will offer you something different. What you want to look for may vary but it is wise to go with a reputable company with a line of great products. Consider the ease of use of each model. Some guns are made for slow firing while others are fully automatic with a high rate of fire. Each type of marker has an intended use. Understand what you will be using it for and go with the one that best fits your intended use.

Educate yourself before making a purchase. Your experience will be that much richer, and you will quickly understand why paintball is loved by millions. Weigh all of your needs against what is being offered. With time, research and intuition you will soon become the proud owner of a new paintball marker.

Discussion and comments

We want to know what you think. Do you own any of the products we discussed? Which did you buy and how did it work out for you?

Do you know of an even better product?

Comment below and help your fellow consumers make the right choice. Over to you!

Resources

  1. Is the empire mini gs worth it?, reddit.com, May 6, 2015
  2. Dye Proto Rail Review, The Paintball Professor, May 12, 2015
  3. Tippmann Cronus Marker Review, The Paintball Professor, June 9, 2014
  4. PBMission, Tippmann X7 Phenom Mechanical Paintball Marker Review, paintballmission.com, March 23, 2014
  5. ahunt01, Empire Mini GS, pbnation.com, May 20, 2014

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