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It's Easy to Get Started

Playing paintball is extremely fun, especially in the summer. It's super simple to buy paintball gear and our selection below includes the best paintball products that are easy to assemble, maintain, and low cost.

Buying your Paintball Gun

Tired of using somebody else's rental gun, or borrowing your friend's old paintball marker? There's a lot of choices out there for a gun, but probably the two most important considerations for a beginner are cost and ease of maintenance. Ultimately, the gun you pick will depend on how you want to play, and how you want to feel when you play, so deciding whether your ultimate aim is sniping in a MilSim scenario or dominating in a speedball tournament is key, and also personal. We've tried to lay out some criteria to help you choose the right starter gun for you.

Low-Maintenance Markers at a Low Price

Graph: How Do Tippmann Guns Rank for Beginners?
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Tippmann Guns

Some of the best guns on the market that are both price-conscious and low-maintenance areTippman guns. Tippmann has been in the market since 1986, and always have great customer care. Because these guns are the go-to for field rentals and entry-level woodsball players alike, parts are ubiquitous. The one major drawback to a Tippmann gun is that their solid construction comes at the cost of heavy components, so for younger players they aren't ideal.

There are two basic varieties of starter guns that Tippmann sells. These are the 98 Custom, and the A5.

Tippmann 98 Custom

TheTippmann 98 Custom is one of their most popular markers on the market because they can be easily stripped down and cleaned. About the only maintenance a 98 requires is replacing the rubber ball detente and the o-rings.

The Tippmann 98 is also popular because it can make use of "bolt on" accessories. The 98 Custom is at the heart of the US Army Project Salvo series, which uses real sights and scopes along with mock silencers and magazines to give the marker the appearance of a real military weapon.

Tippmann A5

Tippmann's other entry-level platform is the A5. The A5 is similar in design to the 98, but comes with the cyclone feed system incorporated into the gun, and comes with a hopper. A cyclone feeder uses the extra propellant run-off to pull balls from the loader faster, so you can fire at a higher rate.

Graph: How Does The GOG eNMEy Rank for Beginners?
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GOG eNMEy

GOG's eNMEy is a solid choice for beginners. It's body is built from lightweight polymer, so it's great for younger players. It's quieter and more ergonomic than Tippmann guns, and has a few nice additional features, including a bolt that slides out of the back for easy maintenance, though it will still require more upkeep than a Tippmann. The eNMEy is also capable enough to do double duty as a speedball marker if you think you might want to test those waters.

Want better performance? Try a mid-price, medium maintenance gun

Graph: How Does The Proto Rail Rank for Beginners?
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2011 Proto Rail

The Proto Rail is definitely a step up from the previous two guns. The Proto line boasts many of the same innovations and features of the Dye's ultra-high-end DM series, but at a quarter of the price. It uses a Hyper3 regulator, an anti-chop break beam for its self-cleaning eye pipes, and a spool valve bolt. The rail also features color-coded o-rings to simplify maintenance, and is easy to take apart for cleaning or upgrades. In terms of speedball, it easily outmatches the eNMEy.

Graph: How Does The Empire Mini GS Rank for Beginners?
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Empire Mini GS

The Empire Mini GS is definitely going to require a little more maintenance. But it's also the most efficient marker on this list. It's built for smaller players, and has comfy foregrips. While being the most high-end of the markers here, it's still fairly easy to maintain- all you have to do is remove the bolt, lube it, and you're ready to play again. While sporting a higher price tag, the Empire Mini GS is easily the best in this class of beginner speedball guns, and if MilSim isn't important to you, can also give you an edge in a tactical game, too.

Final Word in Selecting Your Gun

No one can tell you which marker is right for you but you. But we can help. Feel free to call our paintball experts at the number in the footer, and we'll get you shooting straight.

Buying your Paintball Mask

The paintball mask is easily the most important piece of paintball equipment you can own. They're also the most subjective, since mask sizing can be difficult. It's important to choose a mask foremost based on what is most comfortable. When possible, borrow different masks from friends or teammates to get a feel for them. You can buy from PaintballOnline.com with confidence, because if you try on your mask and it doesn't fit, just send it back and we'll give you a refund to try something else.

The one important thing to keep in mind when buying a mask is lens type. There are two types of lens available, single and dual pane. Dual pane, sometimes called thermal lenses, function like storm windows and keep your lenses from fogging. The price difference between thermal and single pane is usually less than $20, and the difference in performance is important. That's why all of our suggested goggles come with dual lenses standard.

And with masks comfort is king. You can get a cheap, sufficient mask, but you might be better off spending a little more to get a great mask that you can keep using that both looks and feels great.

Graph: How Does an Empire Helix Rank for Beginners?
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Empire Helix

The Empire Helix is probably the cheapest thermal goggle on the market, meaning it won't fog up when the going gets tough. It features a quick change lens system, in case you need to switch in another lens. It sports a visor to protect your eyes from the sun, your lens from the rain and your forehead from wayward paintballs. It also comes with dual density foam so it's both soft against your face, but capable of absorbing an impact.

Graph: How Does a Proto Switch Rank for Beginners?
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Proto Switch

The Proto Switch is built around Proto's quick change lens system. It has a soft, rubber lower mask that will give you a comfortable fit and promote ball bounces, a feature usually reserved for more expensive masks. These masks can also swap out the foam, to keep this mask going strong for years to come without requiring you to jury-rig a replacement.

Graph: How Does JT Spectra Flex-8 Rank for Beginners?
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JT Spectra Flex-8

The Spectra Flex-8 is the only full-head mask on this list, which makes it appealing for a new player, especially a young one, who might be concerned with taking a hit to a part of the head not covered by most of the other masks on the market. It doesn't have any kind of quick change lens system, so on those rare occasions when you need it, you'll be forced to take the lens apart the slow, old-fashioned way. It does boast a thermal lens and comes in a variety of sleek camo designs, though.

Graph: How Does a Sly Profit Rank for Beginners?
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Sly Profit

The Sly Profit is velvet-lined for comfort, and sports its own variation on a quick-change lens system. It also comes in a wide variety of styles, making it perfect for either woodsball or speedball. Some players have issues with the fit of the Profit, but overall it is a well-designed mask that will work for any kind of play style.

Graph: How Does a VForce Profiler Rank for Beginners?
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VForce Profiler

The VForce Profiler is one of the workhorses of the paintball industry. Most every player has tried one, and most still swear by it. The Profiler has one of the widest fields of vision of any goggle, quick-change and camo styling. Its only real weakness is price, but for the money, a Profiler is a sound investment.

Graph: How Does a Dye i4 Rank for Beginners?
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Dye i4

The Dye i4 is one of the most stylish masks in all of paintball. It's also one of the goggles with a wider view than the profiler. These goggles are comfortable, boast a quick-change lens, a variety of colors and patterns, including some camo. The only drawback, besides it being a larger investment, is that the i4s are so low-profile that they don't fit well on people with larger proportions. Otherwise, an i4 is a goggle that can stay with you no matter how your play style might evolve.

Final Word in Selecting Your Mask

These are just a handful of the masks available, and in paintball, it's hard to go wrong spending a little more on a mask. It's the piece of equipment you'll be most aware of if it isn't a good fit, and only some higher end goggles even offer upgrades, so it's important to get something that's going to keep you happy long-term. Browse our wide selection of paintball masks.

Buying your Paintball Tank

There are two basic varieties of propellant used in paintball, CO2 and HPA, and they each use a different class of tank.

Graph: How Does an CO2 Tank Rank for Beginners?
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CO2 Tanks

CO2 is a great choice for beginners. Tanks are cheap, refills are cheap and you can fill the tank virtually everywhere. It's also the propellant used with cartridges, so most pistols use it. The downsides of CO2 are that it's impacted by weather, the tank has to be completed emptied before it can be refilled, and it won't work for most mid to high-end markers, so if you're looking to grow, this tank won't go with you. But if you're just looking to dabble, a CO2 tank is a great entry option, and coiled remote would be an excellent add-on to keep you from spilling CO2 from your gun.

Graph: How Does an HPA Tank Rank for Beginners?
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HPA Tanks

High Pressure Air systems are better. The only caveats to that are that an air tank will usually be more expensive, and might be a little more difficult to fill. That's because of the extreme pressure that paintball tanks use, between 3000 and 4500psi. Most paintball guns operate at 800psi or below. HPA is necessary for most high end guns, as CO2 can damage electropneumatics. HPA is also more stable, and isn't dependent on the weather the way CO2 can be.

Fiber-Wrap Tank

HPA has one further wrinkle. There are two different kinds of tanks, operating at different pressures and designed from different materials. Steel tanks are smaller, and operate at 3000psi. Fiber-wrap tanks are larger, and operate at 4500psi, but because of their construction tend to be lighter than steel tanks at the same capacity. HPA tank sizes are measured in cubic inches. Both a higher psi and a higher ci mean more shots per fill.

Final Word in Selecting Your Tank

Because tanks are tightly regulated, most brands of tank will work just fine. Whether you want a CO2 or HPA tank, it's hard to beat the value of a CORE tank. Click here for a more in-depth look at paintball propellants.

Buying your Paintball Loader

There are two basic varieties of loader used in paintball, gravity-fed hoppers and electronic loaders. Which you want is more dependent on the kind of gun that you buy, because a loader can't make your gun fire faster, but it will need to keep up to its rate of fire, or risk slowing it down.

Gravity-Fed Hopper

Gravity-fed hoppers use gravity and the 'hopping' of a marker being fired to move paintballs into the barrel of a paintball gun. Some come with options, like transparency, which can help you know how many shots you have left before a reload, but they are essentially the same. These are best used with lower-end semi-auto mechanical markers, like Tippmann guns or the GOG eNMEy, and are usually under $15.

Electronic Loader

Electronic or mechanical loaders use energy to load paintballs into the barrel. Tippmann's cyclone, which uses expelled gas to cycle paintballs, is technically a mechanical loader. Other electronic loaders force balls into the loader. Some are activated by sound, others by an eye sensor. There are a lot of different options for electronic loaders, and

Final Word in Selecting Your Loader

With most paintball gear you get what you pay for, especially in the middle tier. The difference between the higher end gear might be down to taste. But most middle gear, especially when it comes to loaders, will show a decent speed improvement over a simple gravity-fed hopper. Beyond that, let your budget be your guide when you browse our selection of loaders.

Last Word on Buying Paintball Gear

Paintball can be an expensive sport, but it doesn't have to be. While you could spend over $1000 on a marker alone, you can buy a whole Tippmann package for a fifth of that. To take some of the guesswork out of getting started, our veteran players have assembled an entire department dedicated to paintball starter kits featuring everything you need to get started, including a mask, hopper, tank, pods, harness and more. The only thing you'll need is your propellant.

Or, you can call our dedicated staff at the 800 number below, and we can help you assemble a beginner package tailored to you.