Yesterday I told you everything you needed to know about looking after and caring for your paintball marker. But at the start I specifically said that the post probably wouldn’t be of much interest to those of you without your own marker yet, so to balance things out, this one’s just for you.
There are literally hundreds of debates, article and forums online giving you tips on what to look for in a potential marker purchase, and I’ve even discussed how to buy a paintball marker before too, but this one’s a little different. Of course you don’t necessarily need to buy a marker to go and play paintball, thanks to loads of great paintball venues supplying you with their gear, but if you absolutely must have your own, here are a few questions you should definitely ask yourself first.
Why do I need to buy a paintball marker?
The most obvious one first. For most players the answer should be simple right? You love playing paintball and, after playing it a bunch of times, have decided that it’s time to start ‘taking it seriously’, which means getting your own gear instead of just using the stock equipment available at paintball venues. But why? Well, having your own marker will give you an edge, as not only can you potentially buy a superior marker to the rest of the players, but you will also over time become far more familiar with its strengths and weaknesses too. Or alternatively, perhaps you want to play more open field woodsball, where a team of you play freestyle paintball in woodland, instead of at a designated paintball venue.
How often will I be able to use my own marker?
Or much paintball can you play? If you want your own marker so you can go down the local paintball venue and blow the competition out the water, then consider your options carefully. (a) A lot of venues don’t allow players to bring their own markers due to testing and insurance regulations, and (b) is having a potential advantage over the rest of the players such a good thing? Surely it’s more important to just be a great paintball player without having to rely on excess firepower? Or, to put it another way, who wants to be a big duck in a small pond?
However, a more ‘legitimate’ reason for wanting to buy your own marker would be to perhaps start a local paintball team. If there isn’t one already, or indeed grounds on which a team could play on, then this is the ideal opportunity for someone (you) to go out there and start one!
Can I afford my own paintball marker?
Well, can you? A very basic paintball marker starts at about £60 brand new, and beginners can usually pick up very good value starter packages for around £80. However, there is little point in buying your own marker unless it is equal or better to the markers that are out there on the paintball sites already, so consider this initial expense as an investment, as if you look after it well, a marker should last you for many years. But on top of the marker, always consider the cost of peripherals too: paintballs are very expensive, and can you also afford to buy the essential safety gear to go with it too?
What kind of marker do I want?
Weigh up how often you will use it. If you plan on playing paintball frequently, then by all means go for one that’s reliable, easily maintained and adaptable. However if you just want a marker to use for dirty weekends or paintballing birthday parties now and again, then maybe aim for a budget model. The flip side of this is that you should also consider what position you play, or plan on playing. Do you want a marker that is ideal for snipers? Or a particularly quick trigger mechanism perhaps? What accessories will you need with – a scope? A strap? Investing in a marker also means investing in your future paintball playing, so choose wisely as a good marker should never hinder your enjoyment, only add to it.
Can I buy second hand?
If you don’t mind using second-hand gear, then you could perhaps save yourself some much needed dosh. Paintball markers are inherently sturdy and durable bits of gear, so buying one second-hand is actually a great way to own a marker that’s a step or two up from your usual pay grade. Get online and read user reviews though, as if you’re buying second-hand then you need to make sure you’re getting a reliable brand and model, and one which you can easily fix if there are any issues. It won’t be under warranty, so do your research and find out where you could get any essential repairs or maintenance done if you’re not confident enough to do it yourself. Gumtree, eBay and Craiglist are all good places to start.
Best of luck!