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Paintball was first played all the way back in 1981, it soon went on to become one of the fastest growing pastimes.
The U.S. paintball market is worth an estimated $3bn, has seen an average annual growth of 4.1% and is the third largest alternative sport in the U.S.
Of course, you don’t need to know that. You’ve played it and you’re hooked, you need to get yourself a paintball gun (or ‘marker’ as they’re officially called).
But what are the questions to ask before handing over your hard-earned dollars?
We’ll give you all the advice you need to know and think about before making that decision.
Beginner Paintball Guns And Gear
Before going down the route of buying your own marker, there are a few things that you should be aware of.
Buying the marker is just the start of it. Don’t forget that you’ll also need all of the safety gear and maintenance equipment.
Try not to let your paintball gun budget be over-ruled by the need for the accessories though.
Do some proper research regarding your purchase. Don’t assume that the salesperson has your best paintballing interest at heart!
You should also be aware that these things can hurt – play safe!
Questions To Ask
There are a number of questions to ask, here’s our top five questions that you should be thinking about:
How often do you play?
Is it a question of you’ve had a game or two and now want to invest in your own equipment because you can?
Or you’ve been playing awhile and feel that now is the right time to step-up a gear?
Truthfully, if you only intend on playing once or twice a year, then there’s a good chance that you’ll be better off (financially) by renting your gear on a game-by-game basis.
Having said that, there’s nothing like having your own gear when participating in a sport, and there will be benefits.
You should also think about ‘how often?’ when considering a budget. (see the next section!)
What sort of budget do you have?
If you’re going to be playing every other weekend, then a $60 marker isn’t going to be the best choice for you.
Think about repair costs – a cheap paintball gun is often going to cost more to repair when it breaks than it will to buy a new one. And you will break it.
Speed, accuracy, reliability – all these improve as you move further up the budgetary range.
How upgradeable is it? If you’re thinking long-term, then you’ll definitely want to consider what options can be fitted to it. The less-expensive paintball markers generally have fewer upgrades available.
Repairs & Servicing
Will you be carrying out your own maintenance?
Some guns are only serviceable by a professional, you need to do some research into what is or isn’t possible for the brand(s) you’re considering.
Are parts readily available? You don’t want to miss out on any action because you’re still waiting for your widgetthingamebob to arrive from a foreign country. Via pigeon-post.
Generally speaking, larger brand names have a better support structure in place, either for repairs, maintenance or spare parts.
What type of paintball gun do you need?
More often than not, the mechanical guns are less expensive, but that’s because they are generally slower and noisier, but they do tend to be very reliable.
The electronic versions are usually electro-mechanical or electro-pneumatic and they both have good and bad points.
An electro-mechanical gun uses an electronic trigger frame which is capable of firing quickly, often in three-round bursts or as fully automatic.
Whereas the electro-pneumatic gun shoots the paintballs by activating a solenoid valve, allowing air to pass through and shoot the paintball.
The electro-pneumatic guns are usually more consistent, quieter and more expensive.
5) What type of paintball do you want to play?
The final one of the ‘questions to ask’ is perhaps the most important one.
There are a number of different paintball game styles, and it isn’t a case of ‘one size, fits all’.
If you’re looking to play scenario games or woodsball, then something that can be used like a rifle will probably be more your thing.
Games like speedball require something a little smaller, faster and lighter.
And if it’s just a general all-rounder that’s to be used for every type of paintball activity, then consider something small (ish) that could perhaps take a stock and a grip.
While it may be tempting to get an all-rounder, if you’re looking to get serious, you’ll need a different paintball gun for each discipline.
Look to the future – a less-expensive paintball gun will be great for a month, you’ll soon get bored with it though – it will limit your playing experience.
Go for something that could last a year or two, easily upgradeable and maybe even customizable.
Stick to well-known and popular brands – they became that way for a reason.
Spend some time researching exactly what it is you want – just because ‘Joe’ from next-door tells you his gun is the best, it doesn’t necessarily make it so.
Word of mouth recommendations are a great way to find a new paintball marker or even supplier – talk to your local clubs.
Some organizations can offer discounts or have special offers available only to their members – find out who can offer what!
Check legislation – some states have regulations on who can play paintball, how paintball guns are carried and where they can be used.
Remember that in most places throughout the U.S., using a paintball marker for anything other than paintball could get you some serious trouble.
And Finally …
If you can think of any other questions to ask, let us know in the comments below.
We aren’t here to sell you anything, we just have a passion for all things paintball.
We have a whole world of helpful information and tips when it comes to paintball, why not have a look and let us know what you think.