Paintball is a lot of fun, but if you play a lot the equipment that you can rent from most places can leave a lot to be desired. Buying your own gun, or marker as it is known in the industry, is essential if you want to raise your game to the next level. Before you fire up your browser and start searching for a deal on the web, there are a few key questions you need to ask yourself. The following checklist will help you decide on a marker that meets both your performance needs and your desired budget.
As with any purchase, the first thing to ask yourself is how much you are willing to pay. Starter models with very basic setups sell from $60 to $120, without plastic pumps.
This is where the math comes in. How often do you play, or how often do you predict you will play after you have bought your gun? Complete sets of equipment can be rented from most paintball stores for around $15 a day. That means that, if you only use your gun once or twice a year, it will take you around six years to break even. Set your budget according to the amount of use you plan to get from your gun.
What class of gun do you need?
Now that you have figured out how much paintball you will be playing, it’s time to decide if you are going to choose a low, mid or high class gun. Entry level guns will do the trick for most players. For $60 to $150 you can get a solid, reliable and upgradeable piece that will meet any casual paintballer’s needs. If you want to compete in any way, the price range goes way up. Competition guns need to be fast, consistent and above all else: durable. Speedball field games require fast and fluid mechanics, while 24-hour scenario games will require a gun that can take a beating and survive the wear and tear. Competition models will set you back $300 and above.
What if it breaks?
Just like any other equipment, maintenance and repair costs are just as important as the purchase price. Before you buy your gun, make sure you know how much it costs to fix it. As with cars, replacement parts for paintball guns can vary greatly; both in price and availability. If you can, choose a gun whose replacement parts are made by more than one company, so you can be sure to get replacement parts quickly and cheaply, should the need arise. Another thing to consider is how easy your gun is to upgrade and service. While some guns are made to be user friendly, there are others that can only be serviced by professionals.
Paintball pros and amateurs alike are spoiled for choice when it comes to the variety of guns and mods on offer. Having your own gun provides a sense of confidence and allows you to improve your game much faster that you would if you rented all the time.