What are the different types of paintball guns?
The Answer: Pump, Mechanical and Electronic are the 3 main types of paintball guns.
Paintball guns AKA markers, can be placed into three category types. Both have pros and cons depending on the paintball players needs.
Lets start with Pump Paintball Guns:
Pump paintball guns are among the oldest type that have seen a large resurgence recently. Pumps do require manual operation to fire. Typically pump play is called stock class.
For the paintball gun to operate the user must cock the marker and chamber the next paintball for each shot. Sort of like a shotgun. Pump guns including Empire sniper pumps are some of the most reliable and help player focus on field skills and shot accuracy instead of increased firepower.
Using a pump action paintball gun is a rewarding challenge it is also one of the hardest ways for a paintball player to join the sport, especially when up against a group of opponents with semi-autos.
Mechanical Paintball Guns
The most common markers seen in recreational play are Mechanical paintball guns. Mechanical paintball gusn typically are semi-automatic, This means they fire one shot per each trigger pull. Most are easy to maintain and affordable. They can be the easiest markers to use with the right accessories. Mechanical markers can operate on CO2 or Compressed Air unless otherwise specified by the manufacture. Tanks can be refilled easily when playing paintball on a commercial field or pro shop.
Mechanical paintball guns use a blowback design. Pulling the trigger moves a sear catch. This releases the striker or hammer thats under tension by a spring. This is how the operation works. First the striker hits a valve, opening it for enough time to propel the paintball out the barrel. The striker is thrown back by the pressure until it is caught by the sear while the next paintball falls into the breech.
Blowback paintball guns are either a stack tube design like Kingman Spyder guns or inline designed like Tippmann paintball guns, BT paintball guns, or Valken paintball guns. Stacktube designed paintball guns are typically more CO2, Air, or N2 efficient. Inline paintball guns are not as efficient but have more upgradable options.
Electronic Paintball Guns
Electronic paintball guns are know more affordable than ever. Utilizing an electronic solenoid to fire on each trigger pull like mechanical marker an electronic guns trigger clicks a micro-switch or trips a laser beam.
Pulling the trigger is like clicking a gaming mouse button allowing for a very high rate of fire. A circuit board controls all the commands going to the solenoid. Most electronic paintball guns are capable of burst, full auto, ramping. Ramping adds extra shots the more you pull the trigger or other wise called burst shots. Electronic paintball guns can be broken down into three basic types. These are electric sear tripper, pneumatic poppet valve and spool valve.
Electric sear trippers are mechanical markers that use an electronic solenoid that move the sear catch. This increases the rate of fire and allows for more firing mode options. Electric paintball guns are easily maintained like mechanical paintball guns. Some of the more common electronic sear trippers include the Kingman Spyder, Tippmann with E-Grip and the Empire Battle Tested BT-4 ERC.
Pneumatic poppet valves use a pressure-powered ram instead of a striker similar to stacktube blowbacks. The result is a extremely fast and consistent firing paintball gun. This also make the paintball gun very gas efficient, getting many shots per fill. Planet Eclipse paintball guns a great example of this style of paintball gun. Pneumatic poppet valve markers use compressed air to fire. Note it has been know that using CO2 can cause permanent damage to the solenoid. Compressed CO2 is liquid and can freeze internal parts of a paintball gun.
Spool valve paintball guns are popular for a many reasons. Spool valve paintball guns use one moving part (the bolt) creating extremely low to no recoil and are also low maintenance.
Spool valves have a low compact profile and are very quiet when shot. Please not they are not as gas efficient as other paintball guns and cannot use CO2. The Smart Parts Ion was one of the most revolutionary designs that brought the spool valve to the masses! Some of the current more common and popular spool valve paintball guns to date include the GOG eNMEy, Empire Mini GS, Empire Axe, and Planet Eclipse line up.
A List of Paintball Gun Brands
- CCI Phantom