What is the best beginner paintball marker?By Bea Paxson
Depending on what style of paintball you’re getting into, here are some helpful tips to help you make an informed decision on what is the best beginner paintball marker for you. We will also give you some examples from select fields in North Carolina, Louisiana, and Texas, and share with you what has worked for them at their respective businesses.
You’re really hooked on paintballFirst off, you want to ease into the paintball experience first before buying a new paintball marker. Most fields across the globe offer rental markers that are built to last. Save yourself some money initially by renting the equipment and asking a lot of questions to the people on staff. Understand safety first and as you play, also get a good grasp of the features of the marker you’re renting.
If you’ve already been playing paintball for a few months and you find yourself making it to the paintball park at least once a month, it’s probably a good time to invest in a paintball marker to call your own. Most people who have a great first experience often find themselves hooked on paintball pretty quickly, so buying a marker is the next logical step.
Have you been playing paintball in the woods or on concept fields?
The type of marker you get depends on what style of paintball you’ve found yourself really enjoying. Do you like playing in the woods or do you prefer the tournament style of play atop a field plotted with airball bunkers? Because many paintball enthusiasts believe there is a difference between the more patient type of woodsball play versus the faster-paced tournament style, there will be two different types of beginner markers to choose from.
Regardless of your style of paintball play, the important factors to look into are the same for a woodsballer/scenario type player versus the tournament/concept field style player. The factors are as follows:
You want to choose a marker that will work right out of the box and something that has proven to be a reliable product based on its history, like the Valken SW-1. Toby Gilreath, the owner at Line of Fire Paintball in Horse Shoe, North Carolina, has owned his own paintball field and store since October 1994. They will be celebrating their 22nd Anniversary October 22-23rd of 2016 and Gilreath has been renting Tippmann’s almost exclusively and feels that this marker is one of the most reliable and shared, “We feel great about putting these markers in the hands of our new players.” At Line of Fire, on average, they bring in about 60 players every weekend. Gilreath also puts on some of the best scenario games in the country, but he also has a tournament team that competes. With those players that enjoy the concept field experience more than the woods, he likes to recommend the Proto and Planet Eclipse Markers to the up and coming speedballers at Line of Fire.
Another important factor when buying your first marker is how accurate it is. You definitely want to make sure it shoots straight and at Tank’s Paintball in Richmond, Texas, John Tankersley aka “Tank” has been advising beginners to use the Spyder brand as a good beginner marker. They’ve been in the business of paintball since 1998 and bring in close to 425 players every week. The Tippmann and Spyder markers have been around for a long time and have been a popular seller, therefore accuracy is one of its features that attract first time paintball marker buyers. In order for a marker to sustain its accuracy, however, you have to be sure you’re doing all the right things to properly maintain it regularly, which brings us to the next important factor – maintenance.
When choosing your first paintball marker, you want to find one that is easy to maintain. If something goes wrong with your marker, you don’t want to just walk off the field and give up. Knowing how to maintain and fix things quickly behind a bunker means longevity during game play. Even understanding that by simply having a battle swab (a tool that cleans the barrel if you break paint, for example), is part of maintenance knowledge.
The Valken SW-1 is one of the easiest markers to maintain because very little is required. You’ll find that most woodsballers are content using a Tippmann 98 stlye marker. However, for the speedballer type, a marker like the Planet Eclipse G-tek is also a low maintenance choice. Knowing how to lube the parts and remembering to keep a fresh battery in it makes for an easy to maintain type of marker. At Duson, Louisiana’s Levena Paintball, owner Damien Parcells said, “The Valken SW-1 / Tippmann A5 are great starter markers because of their reliability and great price.” Levena Paintball brings in over 80-150 players weekly and they’ve been in the business since August of 2011.
Finding a marker like the Tippmann 98 or Valken SW-1 will last forever, is affordable, easy to maintain, and will almost always shoot straight. When taking into consideration how easy it is to maintain, being able to put compressed air or CO2 through the marker, and having rebuild kits that are inexpensive to obtain, these markers are the best beginner paintball markers on the market. Once you get more experience in handling your first purchased marker, you can then pass it forward to a friend you’ve introduced to the game for the first time and take your game to the next level marker in line.