Are you new to paintball and need some help understanding the differences between certain products? Here is your ultimate resource to finding out exactly what you need! 

First off we are going to be looking at the differences in paintball guns. The main differences are if they are electronic or mechanical.

Electronic Paintball Guns

Guns that are electronic have circuit boards that are usually in the grip frame. These boards allow you to fire in many different modes and allow you to really tune the way your gun shoots.

Firing Modes:

  • Fully Automatic
    • Should be pretty self-explanatory, this firing mode allows you to fire your gun fully automatic. Press the trigger down and hold to continue firing! 
  • Semi Automatic
    • Also pretty self-explanatory, the gun will fire as fast as you can pull the trigger! 
  • Ramping
    • This mode starts out in semi-automatic, however, when you pull the trigger multiple times at a fast rate the gun will start to fire in 3-shot bursts. So as the name suggests it ramps from being semi-automatic to firing in burst mode if you keep pulling the trigger at a certain speed!
  • NXL
    • NXL is another version of ramping, however, in NXL mode the ramping is only two shot burst and is capped at 10.5 balls per second. This is the regulation firing mode for the National X-Ball League!

Dwell Explained:

  • Dwell
    • Dwell is the amount of time the solenoid will stay open allowing the release of air to fire the paintball. The higher the dwell is set to the higher the velocity, however, the higher the dwell the less consistent the velocity becomes. When fine tuning the dwell it is best to start at the factory setting for your gun and slowly work your way down. Make sure you shoot 5-8 balls to test consistency when changing your dwell each time. 

Mechanical Paintball Guns

Mechanical guns are only fired in semi-automatic, which is perfectly fine if you plan on playing woodsball/scenario paintball! There are many different options for mechanical paintball guns at very affordable price points, as an example any of the mechanical Tippmann guns are great starter purchases. 

Should I get an electric or mechanical paintball gun?

It depends on the type of paintball you are planning to play. When playing woodsball/scenario paintball there is no incessant need for an electronic paintball gun. It comes down to preference at that point. There are many different choices for woodsball guns at great price points, for example, The Tippmann A5 is a great starting mechanical paintball gun. There are hundreds of customization options including an electronic grip. 

When playing speedball it is a necessity to have an electronic paintball gun. Mechanical guns will not keep up with the speed and consistency of an electronic paintball gun when playing speedball. In order to play competitive speedball you need to be able to shoot at the firing mode the other players are, which is usually NXL/Ramping. Mechanical guns are not able to shoot at these modes, they can only fire semi-automatic. If you are looking for an entry level electronic paintball gun I would highly recommend the Planet Eclipse GTeK/Etek markers.


Now to look at the difference in playing gear.

First off we are going to look at the difference in paintball masks!

There is one very big difference in masks and that is if it has a thermal lens or not. The difference between thermal and non-thermal is the problem of fogging. Non-thermal lenses will fog up quite often, while thermal lenses will never fog up. This is definitely a huge thing to consider when looking for a paintball mask, I would never suggest getting a non-thermal lens as they will fog up on you when playing. 


Now we are going to look at pod packs! What is the right size for me?

The size depends on the style of paintball you plan to play, if you are playing speedball I would recommend a pod pack with 4 pod holders. Most packs come with extra holders that are elastic along with the main 4 holders. 

If you are playing woodsball then it comes down to preference once again. There are two different options you can go with, either a vest or a standard pod pack. If you are looking for a more tactical look I would definitely go with the vest. If you are looking to play both woodsball and speedball I would recommend the pack mentioned above for speedball, the standard 4 pack.

Another thing I would recommend taking into consideration is if you are planning on using a remote line on your gun. The remote line allows you to hook up your tank to your marker and carry it in a pouch. There are vests/pod packs that have holders specifically for tanks. The use of a remote line can make your gun a lot lighter and make it look/feel more realistic.