The Different Types Of Paintball Guns You Should Know

The Different Types Of Paintball Guns You Should Know

Several types of paintball guns exist, but are under three different categories. Understanding the various types of paintballs is important for paintball players. Why?

It’s important to choose a paintball marker that suits your style to deliver great performances any time you step into the arena or woods.

Using a paintball marker you’re not comfortable with can make paintball uninteresting to you and you may even struggle to make an impact. 

Let’s discuss the various types of paintball you’ll find out there. 

What Are Paintball Guns?

A paintball gun, as the name implies, is a device that resembles a real gun. Most people may even assume it’s a real gun when viewed from afar, but can tell the difference when they get close.  

Paintball gun is needed to play the sport called paintball. Also, paintball guns don’t use any other bullets besides the spherical, tough, and bristle, paintballs. 

Paintball guns are used to shoot paintballs at opponents during paintball games. And they can fire a varied number of balls per second and some paintballs (electronic ones) can ramp. 

We have already discussed what ramping is in our previous posts.  But let me throw some light on it here. Ramping is a mechanism paintball guns possess, allowing them to shoot multiple paintballs per second that ordinarily aren’t humanly possible. 

For instance, you can shoot up to 15 balls without pulling the trigger as much time when the paintball marker enters ramping mode. 

Paintball guns are also called paintball markers and they have a tank at the back that stores pressurized gas.

Another question most people have been asking is who invented paintball, a device that’s giving thousands of people around the world a chance to get outside, and get sweaty while having fun?

Charles Nelson is said to have invented paintball in 1976. He made a foam-based projectile launcher that boasts compressed air and this launcher was used to launch foam balls. 

Furthermore, paintball had its first commercial field in 1981, and it was the work of three friends famous for designing military simulations for video games. 

Today, paintball has grown in popularity, and even though it’s not as popular as soccer, basketball and some other sports, it has great potential to reach the top. 

The Different Types Of Paintball Guns

Three specific types of paintball guns exist and they differ based on cost, ease of use, power, and firing speed. 

However, two important factors players consider when choosing paintball guns are skill levels and preference. Now, let’s discuss the three categories of paintball guns you’ll come across in the market. 

  • Pump paintball guns
  • Mechanical paintball guns
  • Electronic paintball guns

1. Pump Paintball Gun Types

Pump paintball guns have been in existence for long. They are the oldest type of paintball markers to ever exist. In addition, you need to operate the pump paintball manually to fire it. 

Pump paintball gun uses shotgun-like pump for cocking the marker and fire shots. So, the pump paintball gun is operated manually.  

So, what’s unique about pump paintball guns? The first thing is their prices. Pump paintball guns are the cheapest in the market.

In addition, pump paintball guns are reliable and are a good match for players looking to concentrate on their skills and accuracy instead of firepower.

Is a pump paintball gun a wise choice? 

Understand that pump paintball guns have the lowest firing rate, though they are the cheapest. However, using a pump paintball gun in a game where other players are using semi-autos or expensive markers with higher firing rate can put you at a disadvantageous position. 

So, if you’re on a budget and want to focus on improving your accuracy and improving your skill, a pump paintball gun will be a wise choice. 

On the other hand, if you’re playing in a competition, you might have to consider other options with higher firing rates. 

2. Mechanical Paintball Gun Types

Mechanical paintball guns are common in recreational play. They are affordable and a breeze to maintain. 

Mechanical paintball guns can either operate on CO2 and compressed air, with the latter easier to top off when playing in a business field. However, if you can’t find a place to refill your compressed air tank, you should consider using the readily available CO2 tank. 

The mechanical paintball guns are semi automatic, meaning when you pull the trigger, you’ll fire a single shot. 

Most mechanical paintball guns you’ll find in the market are called “blowback design.” 

Here is what happens when you pull the trigger in a drawback-designed mechanical marker. 

A sear catch moves when you pull the trigger, releasing a hammer under a high spring tension. The hammer hits or strikes the valve and opens it long enough to allow the paintball to travel through the barrel. The process is repeated every time you pull the trigger. 

Two types of blowback mechanical paintball guns exist. Check them out below. 

  • Stack Tube design
  •  Inline design

Both blowback mechanical paintball guns boast their advantages and disadvantages. For instance, the stack tube is gas efficient than the inline design. 

So, if you’re playing paintball where getting gas refills is an issue, you might want to consider stack tube markers, as they’re more gas efficient.

You can play paintball for a long period with a stack tube marker since it is gas efficient. 

On the other hand, inline markers come with extra features that the stack tube guns don’t have. So you can do tricks with your inline paintball marker you can’t do with a stack tube. 

3. Electronic Paintball Guns

Electronic paintball guns are an upgrade on the pump and mechanical paintball guns. Though they used to be more expensive, electronic paintball guns are now cheaper.

However, electronic markers are a bit pricier than pump and mechanical markers though will offer you a better advantage. In other words, they have higher firing rates.

How does an electronic paintball marker operate? They use an electronic solenoid and 9-volts battery. 

Pulling the trigger of the electronic paintball marker is so easy. It’s just like clicking a button on your computer system or clicking the mouse to open a page. 

Instead of the weighty and long trigger force mechanical markers are known for, electronic markers offer something much simpler. It just snaps a miniature switch and that’s it. 

An electronic marker boasts a circuit board, whose function is to control all the commands sent to the solenoid. These markers are equipped to perform several functions the mechanical markers can’t. These include bursts, full-auto and ability to add more shots and diverse shooting modes.

Electronic paintball markers are of three types:

  • Electric solenoid (sear tripper)
  • Pneumatic poppet valve
  • Spool valve

The sear tripper or electric solenoid is a mechanical paintball gun that uses a solenoid to move the sear catch or piston. You’ll enjoy increased firing rate on an electric solenoid electronic marker and get other benefits the mechanical markers offer. These include ease of maintenance and use. Additionally, electric solenoid markers offer varied firing modes.

The pneumatic poppet valve is different from the electric solenoid marker. The pneumatic is similar to stack tube blowback in concept. The major difference is that it doesn’t use a striker, but a pressure-powered ram. 

The pneumatic poppet valve’s firing is very fast and consistent. Gas efficiency is another feature that sets it apart. You can fire plenty of shots per fill. 

The spool valve is another type of electronic paintball marker, praised for its ease of use. This marker doesn’t have many moving parts like the other options. In fact, the only moving part it has is the bolts. 

Spool valve markers don’t have recoil, and are a breeze to maintain. In other words, they have very low maintenance compared to the other options. 

What Makes A Paintball Maker A Good Option?

Paintballers have to consider several things before splashing the cash on a paintball marker. The first two include performance and accuracy. 

Performance focuses on how simple the paintball is to load and shoot. Can you easily load the gun between games or is it tricky?

You need a paintball gun that is a breeze to load, not the other way around. Remember that you might run out of paintballs during games. 

The second factor to consider is accuracy. How accurate can the paintball gun shoot? If you have improved your skills and can shoot accurately, you’ll find it easier to identify a paintball that has an accuracy challenge. 

Beginners need to work on their shooting accuracy. Learn to position your hands, and the marker to take accurate shots. 

You can also go for some upgrades. For instance, you can get a tank and attach it underneath the paintball marker to increase the number of paintballs you can carry.

With the paintball tanks, you can take your marker’s storage from 200 to 400. So make the upgrade that can improve your gameplay. 

Finally, consider the weight of the paintball marker before splashing the cash. Choose a lightweight marker that won’t be a burden to you when running.


We have discussed the different types of paintball guns, and we hope you can make the right choice when the need arises. 

You can make every paintball game interesting by choosing the best paintball marker for you. So, take time to read this post before making your choice. 

Understand the different mechanical and electronic markers available, including the advantages and disadvantages of each type of marker. 

John Henrick

My name is John Hendricks, and I am a passionate paintballer who loves to play and compete. I have been involved in the sport for many years and have a wealth of experience to share.
I believe that paintball is a great sport for people of all ages and skill levels and should be accessible to everyone. That’s why I created this website – to provide a one-stop shop for all things paintball.

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