Paintball is a fun outdoor activity that requires teamwork and proper tactical planning to make sure you always come out on top (also known as a winner).
Truth is, skills aren’t enough for you to win a paintball game. Inadequate gear, especially the wrong type of gun, will likely ruin any fun you’re hoping to have.
Choosing the gun isn’t easy either, as there are many types available in the market and knowing which type will suit your needs can be difficult.
We’ll be demonstrating the different types in this article to guide you in the buying process.
Types of Paintball Guns
There are three main variations of paintball guns that you could choose from according to your preferred mechanism of shooting and your budget.
With each mechanism, comes a wide range of sub-variations, which will be further discussed below.
Pump Paintball Guns
This is the oldest and the most basic type of paintball gun.
Pump paintball guns operate similar to real pump-action shotguns, both have pumps, and you need to pull their pumps backward and forward to prepare the gun for the next shot.
Furthermore, you should manually insert the paintballs one by one, as this type of paintball gun has no magazine.
This gun works best on improving your paintball skills as it’s reliable and provides higher accuracy, rather than focusing on the firing rate.
Due to the manual handling of the gun, it has a slow firing rate and isn’t recommended for beginners, as the lack of experience will almost always guarantee a loss when battling against other players with semi-automatic guns.
Mechanical Paintball Guns
This is the most common and preferred type by paintball fanatics on a medium budget, who play just for fun.
Think of mechanical paintball guns like pistols, meaning that one trigger pulls fires one shot, also known as semi-automatic. This mechanism is operated on CO2 or compressed air tanks that can be refilled easily.
Because they have a semi-automatic shooting mechanism, their firing rate is as fast as your ability to pull the trigger.
To propel the paintball out of the gun’s barrel, a blowback design is used.
This is where a trigger pull moves a sear catch, which is the piece that controls the movement of the hammer to release the spring tension and open the valve long enough for the paintball to be released.
The pressure caused by the shot returns the hammer back to its initial position, where it’s caught by the sear again while the next shot is automatically prepared.
There are two types of mechanical paintball guns, either stack tube or inline.
Stacktube guns are more gas efficient, which comes in handy when gas refills are difficult to obtain, whereas inline guns aren’t as gas efficient but allow for more upgrade options.
Electronic Paintball Guns
They were an expensive type of paintball gun to obtain in the past but now have become more affordable.
They operate using a solenoid, which is a coil of wire that generates mechanical energy from electromagnetic energy powered by the electric energy of a 9-volt battery.
When the player pulls the trigger, a micro-switch is clicked, which operates the circuit board that controls all the commands going to the solenoid.
This mechanism makes it easier for the player to pull the trigger, instead of a long and heavy trigger pull like other paintball guns. This will provide the player with extremely higher rates of fire at click similar to that of a mouse button.
There are three types of electronic paintball guns: electric sear trapper, pneumatic poppet valve, and spool valve and each of them operates using a different mechanism.
Electric Sear Trapper
They’re a hybrid of mechanical and electronic paintball guns, as the sear catch in the gun is moved by the electronic solenoid when the trigger is pulled to fire a shot.
This provides the player with an increased firing rate compared to a mechanical gun and will give you more firing modes to choose from.
Pneumatic Poppet Valve
They operate using a similar mechanism to that of a stack tube blowback design on a mechanical gun. Instead of a hammer, a pneumatic ram that’s connected to the bolt is used to release the paintball from the barrel.
This makes the shots fast and consistent, which means you have a higher chance of hitting your target.
It operates only on compressed air, as using CO2 can damage the solenoid of the gun.
This type of electronic gun is most common among paintball players as they prefer the ease of firing mechanism, which consists of only one moving part, which is the bolt.
This also makes them very low maintenance. They’re not as gas efficient as a pneumatic valve gun, but they’re quiet which can give you an advantage over your opponents.
Other Types of Paintball Guns
From electronic paintball guns come a variety of other guns that provide different firing modes.
3-Shot Burst Paintball Gun
It’s an electro-pneumatic type of gun where players can switch between two types of firing modes: a 3-shot burst and semi-automatic.
In the 3-shot burst, pulling a trigger once releases three shots at a time, which will be helpful when faced by more than one opponent at once.
They can be difficult to operate by beginners as the switching between the two modes can become confusing.
Ramping Paintball Gun
Continuos firing is an option with this gun, as the more consistently you pull the trigger, the higher is the shooting rate.
They’re not allowed in many tournaments because it can be dangerous and may cause injuries.
Fully Automatic Paintball Gun
This gun is considered to have the best firing rate, as holding down the trigger will keep shooting until your grip is released.
The price of the gun depends on the firing rate that you choose.
Now that you know the types of paintball guns available on the market, you can decide which will fit your requirements and look at some of the reviews of various brands.
Don’t just go ahead and buy the most expensive gun as other gear will also need to be taken into consideration.