Paintball markers aka. paintball guns are the thing that makes paintball possible. Paintball guns are traditionally called markers because they were originally used by lumberjacks to mark trees for logging ... after work the lumberjacks would play around with the markers and so 'paintball' was born.

The two basic types of paintball markers are pump and semi-automatic. Pump guns are called that because the user is required to move a section of the gun before each shot in order to load in a new paintball. These guns are frequently used by beginners and encourage the players to avoid the "one case, one kill" attitude. Semi-automatic guns, however, automatically load the paintball in after every shot, thereby allowing the user to fire faster than a pump gun, and these guns become very powerful in the hands of a good player. However semi-automatic guns load the new ball in relatively slowly causing some problems with the max firing rate. Here are some of the more common paintball guns today, in debatable order of popularity.

Paintball guns are usually entirely mechanical, but more recently electronic guns have developed. The old paintball guns used little cartridges of CO2 to propel the paint however nowadays most guns have large CO2 tanks, about 20 ounces, that last much longer (~800 rounds). Mechanical guns usually use a spring-loaded mechanism in the gun to release a small blast of air when the trigger is pulled. The air then propels ball forward usually at the restricted speed of 200fps.

Electronic guns, however do not have moving parts as an electric mechanism controls releasing the air. This allows electronic guns to fire faster, make less noise, and have less kickback. Newer electronic guns will even fire automatically or with multiple shots per trigger pull, however most fields restrict all guns to one trigger pull, one shot (semi-auto).

Paint is fed into the paintball gun using some sort of hopper to hold the paintballs. Hoppers usually hold about 150 rounds however older models sometimes only held 10. Innovations are occurring in hopper design to help feed balls into the gun faster for the new extremely fast electronic guns.

Other types of weapons used in paintball include:

  • Blowguns
  • Paintball launchers
  • Paint grenades
  • Paintball pistols
  • (usually much smaller and slower than regular paintball guns).
If you are a beginner looking to purchase a marker I highly recommend the Tippman Model 98 and the Spyder.

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