A Player's Guide to Paintball Pistols

A Player's Guide to Paintball Pistols

Paintball has been popular since its beginning in the 1980s, and as time has passed, advancements have been made in the pistols you can use no matter your skill level. Paintball pistols are a great beginner option before purchasing your first marker. They will teach you the importance of stealth and speed in big games.

While a paintball pistol is not nearly as powerful as a full marker, you can be an advanced player and rely primarily on your pistol in close quarters situations.

In this article, we will walk you through the different types of paintball pistols to help you determine which one is best for your playing style.

Read on to learn more about various paintball pistol varieties.

Paintball Pistol Varieties

The primary types of pistol varieties are electric, pump, and mechanical pistols.

Electric pistols have a fast rate of fire but are more expensive. Pump pistols have less capacity but are simpler to use and maintain. Mechanical pistols are similar and can be operated using carbon dioxide power.

Paintball pistols usually fire .68 caliber rounds, similar to markers. They can have varying capacities from just one round to several dozen with multiple cartridges.

Below, we will dive into each variety more closely.

Electric Pistols

One of the most attractive options to a new player with money to spend it's a marker that uses electro-pneumatic power. These weapons have some of the fastest rates of fire and the most advanced technology in place. The trade-off is that these weapons can be very sensitive with a steep learning curve, especially for newer players.

Again, the distinctive feature here is that an electro-pneumatic marker can have a significantly faster rate of fire compared to other paintball pistols. You'll need to take more care and effort maintaining these pistols over the long term because their machinery is more complex and delicate. In fact, the electro-pneumatic marker is in many ways a cousin of the fully equipped paintball marker.

In electro-pneumatic markers, there's a different link between the trigger and action of the paintball gun. Instead of a purely mechanical link, these guns use an electric switch that connects to a larger circuit board or possibly a solenoid valve. This is a more complex technology but results in a trigger action that is much simpler for the player.

When you want a gun that is fast and reliable, the electro-pneumatic marker simply cannot be beaten. These paintball guns are effective for both new and seasoned players with a little bit of practice.

Pump Pistols

The other primary variety of paintball pistols is the pump pistol. The mechanism of action for this pistol requires you to pump the gun manually before use. It is no surprise that this weapon has the slowest rate of fire compared to other types of paintball pistols.

These pistols need no inputs or external power, but they operate slowly.

This sounds like a major disadvantage, but it is not unlike using a shotgun in a similar situation. However, you may be at a serious disadvantage if the majority of players on the opposing team are using an electro-pneumatic pistol.

On the contrary, games that require pump action in pistols can be great fun as everyone is on the same playing level.

Mechanical Pistols

For most amateur players, the mechanical pistol offers the next reasonable step up. These pistols typically use either compressed air or carbon dioxide in an external tank that is attached to the weapon. 

Despite the major disadvantage of speed and rate of fire, you're most likely to see mechanically operated markers out on the playing field in amateur or recreational competition.

The reason is that these guns have much simpler action and don't require nearly as much maintenance and care. They are more cost-effective and therefore have a lower barrier to entry for most players who are not competing at higher levels.

Mechanically operated markers also have the advantage of durability. They can withstand harsh weather conditions and are less sensitive to mud, rain, or other forms of precipitation. These weapons are simply point-and-shoot.

Certain mechanical markers and pistols also have the ability to shoot multiple rounds in succession with a single pull of the trigger. Most of these weapons will have to be preset in advance for this action. Mechanical pistols are often powered with carbon dioxide cartridges.

We typically suggest that newer players who have the funds to invest in an electro-pneumatic pistol do so. However, a mechanical pistol can be great fun and help your players get more into the game.

Mechanical Pistol Upgrade: Three Shot Burst Pistols 

One variant of the paintball pistol is a three-shot burst variety. These pistols can be electro-pneumatic or pump-style, but they work especially well as a mechanical pistol. The way this weapon works is by firing three times in a row in short succession with a single trigger pull.

For many players, the pistol is going to be a backup weapon. It is used when an opposing player approaches in close quarters by surprise. Many recreational players aren't going to want to spend up to get an electro-pneumatic pistol for this purpose.

That's where a three-shot burst mechanical pistol provides excellent value. It can be used in a last-minute point-blank situation and the burst feature allows for a player to miss the first or even second shot and still connect on the third.

Certain burst electro-pneumatic pistols also allow you to switch back into a semi-automatic mode. This can be done instantly, allowing you as a player to return to using repeated firing if you need more than three shots in succession. This is a more advanced arrangement in a weapon and is better suited for players who have been using pistols for some time.

Ramping Paintball Pistols

Ramping paintball pistols allow you to hold down the trigger and continuously increase the rate of fire of your weapon. Some of the better ramping pistols can achieve rates of fire upwards of 15 to 20 rounds per second.

If you are a newer player, a ramping pistol is a good choice because having a faster rate of fire helps to compensate for poor aim or a lack of accuracy.

For most ramping pistols, you can pull the trigger once and release a three-shot burst.

Fully Automatic Pistols

A fully automatic pistol is best reserved for an advanced player. These weapons can continuously fire with a single pull of the trigger until the player wishes to stop shooting. Inexperienced players may find the power of these weapons challenging to control.

Purchasing a weapon with a relatively higher rate of fire will be much more expensive, as players at the top tier of competition tend to seek out these weapons for their massive advantages.

Top Paintball Pistol Picks From Lone Wolf

If you are interested in purchasing your first paintball pistol, we have you covered. Here are two recommended options we stock depending on your playing style and needs.

First Strike FSC Pistol

The First Strike FSC Pistol retails for $349.95. The FSC can be powered by carbon dioxide and makes a perfect lightweight sidearm with a customizable platform. This weapon uses 26 round magazines, offers ambidextrous safety, and a 20% smaller grip compared to the standard pistol. It comes in .68 caliber.

Check out our video review of this pistol here.

Tippmann TiPX Pistol

The Tippmann TiPX pistol also comes in a .68 caliber package and can be used as a sidearm or a primary weapon. The gun offers a quick-release magazine that can carry eight rounds with a sliding system that allows for quick reloading.

The gun is also carbon dioxide powered and a single CO2 cartridge can supply up to 30 rounds of fire. The gun is unique in that it accepts most threaded barrels from Tippmann, leading to longer and more accurate shooting.

Check out our video review of this pistol here.

Which Paintball Pistol Is Right For You?

As you can see, there are many paintball pistol varieties to choose from. When looking at paintball pistols, you'll need to consider how much you are willing to spend as well as how important it is to you to be able to achieve faster rates of fire with control. You'll also need to consider how much time and effort you wish to invest in the game and in the maintenance of your gear.

If you are looking for a faster and simpler option that has the disadvantage of the slower rate of fire, and mechanical pistol may be a better option for you. Otherwise, a fully automatic or electro-pneumatic marker may be a better decision if you can front the upfront cost.

We offer a variety of options to customize your paintball pistol so you can take the field by storm!