Paintball is a high-octane and thrilling sport and if you love to play as much as I do, then you're eventually going to want your own gun! But, what's the best paintball gun when your budget is up to $300?
In this article, I provide you with a review of 13 guns and I talk about 8 more all under $300-. If you just want to know my overall pick... Here it is: the Tippmann A-5 (I'll go into more detail below).
Once you've decided that you aren't renting a gun anymore and you want your own, then lets talk a little bit about what you should consider in a gun:
Your paintball marker is going to be your most valuable ally in every game, so you need one that’s not only dependable but will also grow alongside you. But as important as it is to make sure that you’re getting the right kind of marker – whether you’re planning to play recreationally or even looking to go pro one day – no-one wants to break the bank on their first marker.
That’s where we come in. This guide will go through the best markers available on the market, what your best options are when considering what your price range is, and what the pros and cons of each marker are.
By the end, you’ll have a great idea of what kind of marker will be best for you while considering your budget.
It’s been said by many others in the paintball community before, but the Tippmann A-5 is truly the AK-47 of the paintball world, coming down to how customizable it is. But asides from that, the A-5 has many incredible features that make it stand out from other markers of the same price.
The Tippmann A-5 is designed to be a rapid-fire marker and accomplishes this using a cyclone feed system. This works by connecting the feeder sprocket to the marker’s internal air system, which gives its shots a lot more power. This design allows you to more easily load and shoot paintballs, which can be difficult or even stressful to newer players.
The A-5 is quite quick, with a very rapid firing speed. It is also highly accurate and is not prone to breaking down easily, meaning that it is a very reliable marker to take into the field. More than that, it feels great to use with how smoothly it fires.
The Tippmann A-5 is also one of the best-looking markers as well. A large part of this comes down to it being one of the few markers that use an integrated bolt system, which makes it look like a very sleek gun. When coupled with its smooth black finish and long-lasting aluminum body, the A-5 has a very realistic and pleasing design.
As we suggested earlier, the A-5 is often praised for how easy it is to customize, as well as for how many customizable options it has. With how easy it is to install supportive parts, this marker can be a very versatile piece of gear, that can be made to match the situation.
With how quick the Tippmann A-5 is, most owners of this marker will use it for woodsball or for different scenarios/scenario play where precision and speed matter the most.
If possible, it is recommended to invest in the A-5’s mega set. The Tippmann A-5 3Skull mega set comes with:
Another product from the Tippmann line, the Tippmann TMC is another highly rated paintball marker that is both high-end and versatile, giving you an incredible bang for your buck.
The TMC is well-renowned for its most unique feature – the ability to choose whether it will be fed ammo by magazine or by hopper, also known as its dual-feeding system. Depending on the type of match you’re playing in, you can switch between modes to get an advantage on your opponents. Being given the ability to choose depending on the situation you’re in is a large part of what makes this marker the best value deal available for a $300 price range.
But that isn’t all that the Tippmann TMC has to offer. Regardless of which feeding system you use, the TMC shoots quickly and provides users with a high level of accuracy. Because it uses a more high-pressure operation, the TMC can be a little loud and gives a little bit of kick. But it more than makes up for it in how surprisingly lightweight a marker it is. You can travel and maneuver around the battlefield with the TMC with ease. Its quality is well-beloved and highly rated among its users.
Like the A-5, the Tippmann TMC is also crafted incredibly well, making use of sturdy parts and being highly resistant to breakage or even scratches. Its design utilizes metal for its inner gears, frame, and trigger assembly, with the rest of the marker being composed of a high-level grade polymer. Even if a part was to somehow break, it can easily be replaced given how accessible parts for the TMC are. Beyond that, with its in-line bolt system, the TMC has a real look of military authenticity, looking very similar to an actual AR-15 style rifle.
Also, like the A-5, the TMC is highly customizable. While some feel that there are parts that should be replaced as soon as possible (the stock barrel being one such example), you’ll never have to worry that you’re limited in what you can change and upgrade. Its lightness is especially useful as it allows you to upgrade it as you like without having to worry that it will become too heavy.
The Tippmann TMC can be used for various kinds of matches, but almost everyone agrees that it is the king when it comes to mag fed play.
The latest in the KP line, the Azodin KP3.5 Kaos Pump is a marker that boasts high efficiency, accuracy, and overall performance. Being a pump paintball marker, to operate the KP3.5 you have to physically pump the gun before every shot, making it much slower than other kinds of markers.
However, while some might not consider a marker that gives up so much speed, the KP3.5 more than makes up for it in stability and precision.
The KP3.5 features a dual-pump, or cocking rods, that provide a more secure and smooth feel with each pump you make. This design makes it very beginner-friendly while still providing the performance quality that experienced pump players would expect.
The KP3.5 provides a different experience from either the Tippmann A-5 or TMC, but it’s still a very satisfying one.
In comparison to its predecessor, the Azodin KP3.5 has been heavily redesigned from the KP2. Using its new internal ZeRO assembly and acoustic bolt, the operating pressure has been lowered which results in both the sound of fire being much more suppressed and increasing its precision. Other standard features have also been improved, including:
KP3.5s are very reliable, easy to fix, and have enhanced ergonomics which provide a comfortable playtime. It is possible to customize your KP3.5, but few upgrades offer significant changes – the KP3.5 is already a very good marker.
They’re also very stylish, coming in a variety of different colors to match the look of its user. However, while the body of the KP3.5 is very sound, you should be aware that the finish is not as perfect as it could be, and that after some time it may see wear and tear.
All things considered, however, the Azodin KP3.5 Kaos Pump is the ideal marker for pump-based games.
The Azodin Blitz 3 is an entry-level, electronic marker that offers a variety of firing modes. While many beginners may be intimidated by electronic markers in general, the Blitz 3 is relatively user-friendly and easy to figure out and use, making it a great choice when you have a budget that you need to work with.
Being electronic, it has a variety of different firing modes, including two different semi-auto modes (one capped at 15 rounds/second and the other at 20 rounds/second), PSP ramping, and a fully automatic mode. In addition, all these modes are programmable, meaning that you can customize the settings to your own preferences.
The lightness of this marker is one of its key features and makes it a pleasure to use. With the Azodin Blitz 3, you can easily maneuver around the field without having the worry about your marker slowing you down. Being a highly powerful and highly accurate marker, wielding the Blitz 3 makes you a real threat in almost all situations.
Being mostly metal, the Blitz 3 is very durable. However, it does have a few pieces of composite plastic which may degrade over time. Its design has been vastly improved and streamlined, meaning that you won’t need to worry about being distracted by the marker’s moving parts like you would have had to for its predecessor.
The Blitz 3 is remarkably easy to maintain and take care of, making it ideal for persons who don’t want to spend much time tinkering with their markers. However, with how pricey parts can be for this marker compared to the low price of the Blitz 3 itself, it’s not really worth it to upgrade it. If you’re determined to upgrade your marker in the future, the Blitz 3 may not be the best choice.
Being as well-rounded as it is, the Azodin Blitz 3 is a great budget marker for pretty much every kind of game.
Other suggestions for markers under $200 include:
Often praised as the “best beginner marker”, the Tippmann Cronus Basic is as efficient as it is affordable.
The frame is very solid, and this marker is durable enough that you can constantly go out into the thick of things without having to be concerned that it will break down on you. Its design also has a very militaristic likeness, being very cool and attractive, making it a good fit for mil-sim style games.
The Basic gives very little recoil, meaning that players can use this marker for a long period of time without becoming disoriented. Even better, with it being such a lightweight marker, even players with smaller statures can make use of the Basic without being quickly tired out. Its molded rubber grips only continue to increase how comfortable and easy it is to use this marker when carrying it around the field.
In spite of its affordability, it is not a bad marker. The Tippmann Cronus Basic has both very high accuracy and a fast firing rate. It has been built to be efficient for various situations and game types.
The Tippman Cronus Basic is also very open to customization. With customization options including barrel, shield, red dot sights, grip, and lights, players can change this marker to more efficiently match their play style. If desired, one could even turn it into a full tactical marker.
If you’re a completely new player and in need of most of the gear needed for paintball, then the Cronus Paintball Starter Package is highly recommended. This set comes with:
Just like the Azodin Blitz 3, the Tippmann Cronus Basic is a great fit for almost any game. For any beginners who are interested in getting into the sport, or intermediate players who like to play casually, this marker would be a great fit.
Finally, if you’re looking for a great marker that’s under $100, look no further than the Spyder Victor.
Despite its very low cost, the Spyder Victor is remarkable when it comes to its high level of performance. Its external velocity adjuster gives you extreme control over your shots resulting in a high level of precision. It is also very efficient with its gas, being able to fire as much as 1,500 shots from a 20 oz. Co2 tank (compared to the typical 800 shots per 20 oz. tank for other markers), meaning that you can outshoot most other markers of this price range.
In addition to being powerful, this marker is also very reliable. The Victor rarely has jamming issues on the field meaning you’ll never be caught unarmed. With its comfortable grip panel, you can expect a good level of comfort while holding and shooting this marker. And, with its incredibly light weight, you can easily move around the field and will always be prepared to take an essential shot.
Another very useful feature of this marker is that it is very simple to maintain it. Disassembling, cleaning, and reassembling the Victor can be done in just under five minutes. When it comes to customization, however, it is suggested that you keep upgrades simple: a major suggestion being that you replace the adjustable screw for the feedneck with a lever-style clamp.
While the Spyder Victor is an overall great product for its price, it is unfortunately not perfect. The main downside to this marker lies in its durability. Because the composite material used to craft the Victor’s body is of a lower level to the other markers on this list, you can eventually expect some wear and tear.
Despite that flaw, this marker is still a great choice and can be utilized for all types of play. If you’re looking for a budget marker for under $100, we recommend the Spyder Victor.
For a sport like paintball where your equipment can make or break a game, you might think that buying a brand-new marker is the only way to go. However, we’re happy to say that this is not the case.
Used and refurbished markers are absolutely a great option and one that is chosen by not only beginners but also by high-level players of the game. If you’re fine with using gear that has been previously used, you can end up saving a lot of money that you can later invest in other pieces of equipment, attachments, or ammo.
The question is, what are the important things to consider before buying used or refurbished?
Superficial wear and tear usually isn’t a problem. However, if there are any obvious signs that the marker has been worn down, cracked, or is generally non-functional, it would be a good idea to pass on it.
If you’re purchasing the marker online, investigate the seller’s history. Trusted shops in the industry are ideal. Be wary of individuals who might just be trying to make a quick buck by selling you a broken gun.
It’s a good idea to make any purchases through a payment system that can keep track of your money, like PayPal. That way the seller can’t run off with your cash if the marker does not come as described.
There’s no better way to see how the marker handles than by trying it yourself. If the marker is the real deal, then the seller should have no problems with letting you test the marker yourself under their supervision. If they refuse without a good reason, be wary of a possible scam.
If you’re purchasing online, ask for a shooting video.
The following websites are trusted and verified sellers of used and refurbished markers:
Alternatively, you can find independent sellers on the following sites, just be sure to do your research before making any purchases:
Finally, there are some groups and pages on Facebook and Instagram that sell used/refurbished markers:
If you’re open to used or refurbished paintball guns, there is no other marker that we can recommend more than the Empire Mini GS.
The image above will take you to Amazon, however for used and refurbished guns and equipment, I would also recommend checking eBay. I've found some really great deals on eBay... The bottom below will take you to a current search for Empire Mini GS on eBay.
Sometimes called “a legend” of a marker, it was highly praised in a review by Mensgear.com, where it was stated that “the Empire Mini GS beats out any gun in its price range while also having the same quality and feel of a high-end expensive marker.”
Being one of the most cost-effective markers on the market, the Mini GS is a great marker whether you are a beginner or intermediate player. At its best, you can get a top firing rate of 293 FPS, and with 45/4500 HPA tank, you can fire as many as 100,000 paintballs before your tank runs empty.
But just because you can shoot a high quantity doesn’t mean that this marker isn’t related to a high quality. The Mini GS offers a pristine and precise shooting experience and is very accurate to boot. Offering very little recoil, this marker is a pleasure to fire in a game, and with its extreme lightness, you will be able to travel and fire it all over the field.
Even if you are a beginner, the Mini GS is amazing to handle, especially due to its rubber grips which provide a high level of comfort. Beyond just how light it is, it is also very well balanced, meaning that this marker slipping out of your hands would be a very rare situation. Having a near non-existent learning curve, it only takes around 10 minutes to properly set up before you are all set to play.
With its aluminum frame, the Mini GS is quite durable, and you also won’t have to worry about it breaking down on the field even if it is under constant and intense use. However, it’s important to take care when disassembling and maintaining this marker. Beginners may initially struggle to properly maintain the Mini GS, but it is highly important to learn how to do so. Otherwise, this marker may not last for as long as it is truly capable of.
The Empire Mini GS is designed to be primarily catered towards speedball, but this marker can be utilized for any kind of game type. If you can find a used or refurbished Empire Mini GS in great condition for under $300, we highly recommend that you take it.
|Best performance and customization overall Long-lasting and durable
|5 out of 5
|Easy to upgrade and customize Very versatile marker
|Prone to breaking
down Difficult assembly
|4.7 out of 5
|Azodin KP3.5 Kaos Pump
|Quick and easy pumping action Very user-friendly
|Double pumping causes paintball breakage Slightly heavy
|4.8 out of 5
|Azodin Blitz 3
|Very light weight Offers multiple firing modes
|Slightly uncomfortable Not ideal for customization/upgrading
|4.5 out of 5
|Tippman Cronus Basic
|Very simple and comfortable Good for beginners
|Frustrating to disassemble Prone to gas leakage
|4.2 out of 5
|Very gas-efficient Very lightweight
|Not the most durable Not good for customization/upgrading
|4 out of 5
|Empire Mini GS (used / refurbished)
|Has many unique features Great for both beginner/intermediate players
|Maintenance can be difficult at first Only obtainable for less than $300 in used/refurbished condition
|5 out of 5
All things said and done, there are many great options to choose from when looking for markers under $300. But before purchasing any markers, it would be best to ask yourself the following questions:
Depending on how often you want to play, it may be a better idea to rent rather than buy a marker of your own. However, if you play often you may become frustrated with the lower quality that rented markers have to offer. Adding in rental costs, it would be worth buying your own marker if you plan to play often.
Almost all types of paintball games require a large amount of space. There are plenty of spaces in the U.S. designated for players to play paintball. Be sure to look for areas close to where you live.
If you only plan to play a game of paintball once or twice a year, it may be a better idea to rent a marker rather than buy one. Keep in mind that if you don’t regularly maintain your marker it may become damaged over time.
While getting a cheaper marker might sound like a good idea at first, keep in mind that they also break down a lot easier. Cheaper markers also require more customization/upgrades to keep up. All of this results in paying more money than you would have for a better gun.
All types have their pros and cons, and it really comes down to your preferences.
Pump markers are slower to fire but ideal for players who value precision shooting.
Mechanical markers don’t need batteries and are very reliable but are typically slower and louder.
Electronic markers can fire more consistently and are quieter but are more expensive and harder to fix.
There are various kinds of paintball games (woodsball, speedball, scenario play, etc.), but even the best overall marker might be beaten by a ‘weaker’ gun. Look into the different styles of play and be sure to pick a marker that would work the best for you.
Before buying a marker, research some common problems and fixes that it has. Consider if you have the skills to repair it or if there is a specialist nearby who you can reasonably take it to so that it can be repaired.