For tournament play, you will find some of the most expensive paintball guns on the market costing upwards of $2000. For woodsball, the most expensive markers are by far the magazine fed. The high price is for the different internals of these guns but mostly the external details. For some players, the fun is found within the details of using only the most realistic paintball guns and gear possible. These players are often ex-military, law enforcement and scenario enthusiasts who love to get lost in the game and become totally immersed in their mission. Magazine fed paintball rifles and pistols do have an actual use besides recreational play. Conflict simulations are important for military and police training to prepare these peace keepers for real life situations. These exercises must use the most realistic gear possible to mimic actual potential events and these realistic markers definitely fit the bill. For recreational players however the extra realism comes at a cost that extends beyond the pricey initial investment. Using a magazine fed paintball gun demands changing the way you play and also requires other accessories for additional costs.
While they may look much cooler and more realistic, magazine fed paintball guns are lucky to hold a tenth of what standard markers carry. While most standard markers use hoppers that contain up to 200 rounds, typical magazines generally hold about 20. This is a significant reduction in ammo capacity leaving the mag fed player at a distinct disadvantage. This means mag fed players must have good shooting accuracy so every shot counts. Beginners who are anxious to shoot their guns often use up all their ammo in the first few minutes of action and end up hiding behind cover until the game is over. Magazine fed paintball guns are best for experienced players who are better at shooting and have more patience to last through an entire game. The reduced ammo capacity may also have to be taken into account for the role you play on the field. If your job is to provide copious amounts of cover fire so the front players can make maneuvers, perhaps this type of marker is not the best tool.
With magazines only carrying up to 20 rounds, this also means players will have to carry numerous full clips during a game. These accessories are bulky and should be carried so they are easily accessed for quick reloading when empty. The best way to carry these ammo cartridges is with a tactical paintball vest customized with as many magazine pouches as possible. This is an added expense but a must-have if you choose this type of realistic marker. Specialized leg harnesses are also available for carrying magazines however only hold 2-4, but offer another option for packing the most ammo to extend game play. Standard hopper fed paintball guns are easily reloaded by dumping a pod of balls in for a fast refill; this can generally be done in the middle of a game without issue. Magazine fed guns are as easily reloaded by simply popping in another loaded clip, however they must be loaded one ball at a time and must be done before the game starts.
Another expense that must be considered before buying a magazine fed paintball rifle is the type of ammo it requires. These guns are particularly hard on paintballs and must use a certain grade. Paintball ammo comes in different grades separated/classified by the hardness of their shell. Premium grade is used for tournaments and has very brittle shells so they break easier upon impact. This grade of paintball tens to break inside magazines causing a mess in your marker leading to more maintenance procedures. Recreational grade paintballs are the lowest class of paint and has the firmest shells. This is the best grade to use for magazine fed guns however some brands work better than others. Valken’s Graffiti and Redemption brands work well; Rap4 also makes a paintball specifically for this type of gun that’s also very consistent. While most commercial fields sell recreational grade balls, it’s smart to call ahead to first find out if they allow mag fed guns on their field, and second to find out if they have the right kind of ammo for your marker.
You can also expect a bit more maintenance with magazine paintball guns. While every type of marker that shoots paint will require some amount of cleaning and maintenance, these guns have a few extra parts that need attention. Not only are the internals a little different but the magazines themselves sometimes require cleaning or pieces that need replacing. Fortunately, magazine fed paintball markers have been out for more than ten years and prototypes have come and gone. When they were first introduced, most models were riddled with problems and it seemed like the movement would never get off the ground. Now there are only a few magazine fed brand names but all of them have very finished, reliable products that shoot accurately and are fun to use. Despite this, it’s smart to read product reviews, check the company’s history and study their warranties/return policies before buying any new paintball gun.