Paintball markers are the most popular way to shoot paintballs, but that doesn’t mean they’re the only option. There are also a number of paintball marker pistols on the market and that’s what we’re looking at here.
These markers are distinguished from even the smallest regular marker by their design. They’re designed to look like pistols, which means they don’t have external hoppers or tanks; everything is contained within the body of the pistol. In terms of paintball gameplay, this means you can actually holster one of these; if your main marker jams or runs out, you still have a sidearm to pull off the shot that saves you or wins the game. Just make sure that everyone is OK with pistols in the game and that your pistol’s muzzle velocity is within regulation for the match.
Outside of playing paintball with others, paintball pistols are a fun toy for some backyard target practice or small-scale paintball games with friends. The following four paintball pistols are a good place to start when it comes to these relatively rare paintball makers, and in the right hands they’re a recipe for some real fun.
T4E Umarex .43cal Walther PPQ Paintball Pistol
The Walther PPQ is the 2011 update of the venerable P99, a gun that you may not know by name but have certainly seen. The P99 was made famous by Pierce Brosnan as James Bond in the late 90s. Since then, this striking pistol and its successors have been wielded by everything from vampires to John Wick himself. Clearly any replica will be the epitome of cool.
I can’t deny that this T4E replica by Umarex definitely looks the business. That should come as no surprise, since this is a fully-licensed copy and every important detail is there. It fires 0.43 caliber paintballs; these are significantly smaller than standard, but that’s necessary at the very least to make the barrel look realistic.
Because of its realistic proportions, you can use any standard holster that would hold a real PPQ. The CO2 mechanism provides a blowback function, much like a gas Airsoft pistol. It will take just about any 0.43 caliber ball, which means you can shoot paintball for fun on the weekends and then load it up with pepper balls for home defense the rest of the time. The firing velocity is about 300 feet per second and in line with the rules at most paintball venues. This means you can look like a total badass while wielding this cool little sidearm.
The price may be a bone of contention, but given the quality and licensing, I think it’s worth the premium price.
Tippmann TiPX Paintball Pistol
This pistol comes from none other than Tipmann, arguably the biggest name in paintball marker technology. While the TiPX is not a replica of a real licensed gun, the styling here is quite good. It’s definitely giving me that tactical sci-fi pistol feeling – something Tippmann refers to as “true military-style” design.
Unlike the Walther we looked at above, this fires standard 0.68 caliber paintballs, which means you don’t have to buy two different sets of ammo. The paintballs are fed using a magazine and can provide an impressive eight balls per-second feed, using a low-tension spring system. Since each magazine has only a 7-ball capacity, you can empty the whole thing in a moment if you wanted to. Luckily, there are two magazines included in this package, in case you wanted to go out in a blaze of glory.
As with most CO2 pistols, you simply load a cartridge and then on the first shot it will be punctured automatically. So you can put a new cartridge in without worrying about gas leaks until you actually use it to shoot.
The TiPX is designed to minimize recoil, rather than use a blowback feature to feel more “realistic”. This is meant as an efficient paintball marker, not a pistol replica. Based on what owners of this pistol have said, it seems you’ll get about 14 shots per cartridge at the fastest speed, so the two included mags are just about right.
The TiPX is pretty accurate at close to medium range, making it a good choice as a competitive sidearm, and it’s priced well to boot!
JT ER2 Pump Pistol
This paintball pistol isn’t really a paintball pistol. I say this because of how it’s designed. The ER2 is basically a regular, hopper-fed paintball market sort of squeezed into a pistol form. The paintballs are stored in a tube that is inserted into the top of the pistol. As a marker it works just fine. In fact, most people who own one are very impressed with the speed and accuracy of the ER2, but it’s not a great choice for use as a sidearm during play, simply because that tube hopper makes it impossible to holster.
If you want to play some small-scale paintball matches or just do some target practice, this is, however, a great option. I especially like the transparent body, which lets you see some of the workings as you fire. Just keep in mind that this is not a semi-auto pistol. You need to reload after every shot. A little disappointing in a CO2 pistol, but the simplified design helps keep the cost down.
You get some decent extras with the kit as well. It includes three of the hopper pods and 30 paintballs. In my mind that also makes it the perfect gift for someone you want to get into paintball but don’t want to blow the bank for either. Two CO2 cartridges are included, which should be just enough to finish off the included paintballs.
So let’s bottom-line this sucker. It’s a dirt-cheap pistol that you can’t use as a sidearm but is fun for backyard play and small scale use. Buy some for your friends as well!
JT SplatMaster z100 Duel Kit
Speaking of buying a paintball pistol for your friend, here’s another product from JT I quite like the concept of. This whole kit costs much less than a single premium paintball pistol does, but includes everything you and a friend need to start playing on your own. Seriously, you get two pistols, two masks, and 2000 rounds of ammo.
Let’s talk about the Z100 pistols for a second. This is about as old-school as you can get. These pistols don’t use CO2 gas, having a spring-based system instead. That means you need to cock the pistol after every shot.
The Z100 looks as cheap as it is. This is the bargain basement, but that doesn’t mean some fun can’t be had. The magazine holds seven rounds at a time, so you and your buddy won’t be slinging large volumes of paint around. That is rather the idea, though, so one can’t count it as a negative comment on the product itself.
Would I use this as a sidearm in a proper match? Probably not. But that single shot before needing to reload could save your behind and you could always use both pistols like some 90s action hero.
Lock ‘n Load
Despite its not being the most popular marker design, I really do like the idea of a paintball pistol. Most people who buy these use them as non-lethal security, shooting pepper balls and the like. That doesn’t mean recreational paintball players should pay no attention to them. As we have seen here, there are some interesting options available. From expensive licensed replicas to cheap backyard toys, there’s no lack of potential here.
Don’t be too worried, either, if the paintball marker you really like is too expensive. There’s a thriving used gear market. With people moving in and out of the hobby all the time, you can always find a few bargains. If that’s an appealing approach, check out the small guide I have that details what to look out for when you buy used gear.