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  • Writer's pictureCaleb T. Hayes

I Tested And Ranked The Best Paintball Pistols In 2023

I'm reviewing paintball guns for a living, so I speak from experience when I say that Umarex pistols are incredibly realistic. They offer value for money and are perfect for training. Here are hands-on reviews of my favorite models.

best paintball pistols

FYI, Prices and ratings are accurate as of time of writing.

1. Umarex T4E Smith & Wesson M&P M2.0 .43 Caliber Paintball Marker

Top-rated: 732 ratings | 161 answered questions

best paintball pistols


Highlight: Fires .43-caliber chalk, paintball, rubber or pepper ammunition, and shares many features with the original: trigger safety, Picatinny rail and adjustable sights.

Helpful review: "So, I've had several of Umarex's different models, and I really like them as a company. In particular, their .43/.50 calibers offer amazingly realistic models to their real-world counterparts. Only an expert would be able to tell the difference between this and the real thing short of dropping the mag or firing a shot. It also works perfectly with any holsters, accessories, etc made for the original.
Now, let's get to the more important point, and that's if it's worth the cost considering you can just about buy the actual firearm it's modeled after for not too much difference in price. I personally would purchase it again in a heartbeat, but I think this will just depend on what you're hoping to use it for. For a much cheaper/quieter shooting experience- for instance, a day at the range for target practice- this thing is amazing. It feels very similar to shooting the real thing with just slightly less recoil and quite a bit less noise. The biggest issue with using it for this purpose is that a 12g C02 obviously just can't come close to the power needed to fire rounds at anything more than 20 yards MAX before you're going to start having a massive drop off in accuracy (and I found that to be the case using the rubber balls- due to a lack of weight- or the steel balls for the exact opposite reason). And though the ammo is indeed cheaper than 9mm rounds, it can still add up quickly if you're shooting outdoors and can't find them all. For this reason, if doing strictly target practice, I'd recommend the paint/powder versions, which while not reuseable, the cost difference more than makes up for it imho.
Now, on to the second reason I can see someone wanting this over the real thing, and that's due to the obvious fact that this thing can no joke make for a VERY REAL defense weapon without having to worry about being off target and accidentally hitting a family member through the drywall in your house, or simply just not wanting to have the potentially serious side effects of being unfortunate enough to have to use lethal force, no matter what the situation that required it. And for this reason alone, I would HIGHLY recommend this weapon. To keep it simple, if the sight of the gun alone isn't enough to stop most would be attackers, I guarantee one of the pepper rounds will certainly get the job done 99% of the time, even if your aim isn't perfect (or all that close even for that matter lol). And worse case scenario for any innocent bystanders who might come into contact with it, they'll be uncomfortable, but they'll be alive. And at the end of the day, isn't that the whole point of having a weapon for self-defense? To keep your loved ones alive. This will definitely make that a much more likely outcome should you ever end up in a situation that would call for the use of something similar, and to me, that's easily worth $200." — CodyBur

Get it from Amazon now: $229.99 & FREE Returns


2. Umarex .50 Caliber Painball Revolver

Top-rated: 743 ratings | 149 answered questions

best paintball pistols


Highlight: Includes five 6-round rotary paintball magazines.

Helpful review: "Ever since the lockdown happened, we've noticed an increase in petty crime. Someone tried to break into our car and I thought "My 12 gauge will stop anyone breaking in, but I really don't want to end up killing someone who was just trying to feed themselves of satisfy an addiction." Enter the Umarex TR40. With Rubber balls or pepper balls, I can stun anyone dumb enough to try and come up my stairs, and if for some reason that doesn't work I can always resort to the aforementioned shotgun. I had no problem nailing a 10x10" target at 50 feet, so this will do nicely for home defense where my maximum engagement range will be 20-30 feet. That said, getting the CO2 canister to pop is actually REALLY hard. You have to hit it with a LOT of force. I'm not completely confident in my ability to do so yet, so it hasn't made it to my nightstand quite yet. A little more practice in the back yard and I think It'll be ready for nightstand duty." — Kat
Trending review: "I like that this is a paintball revolver. Only one manufactured that I know of. Loading is easy. Only problem I had is that the screw for the CO2 cartridge is tight and my fingers can't get a grip on it to unscrew it. Easily fixed with some pliers in my multitool that I keep on me for paintball gun maintenance when I'm playing. Great gun, will definitely buy again so as to dual-wield in some matches." — Ethan

Get it from Amazon now: $109.99 & FREE Returns


3. Umarex T4E Walther PPQ M2 .43 Caliber Paintball Marker

Top-rated: 648 ratings | 215 answered questions

best paintball pistols


Highlight: Featuring Walther's superior grip and the ability to share holsters with the original PPQ M2.

Helpful review: "The operation and function of the marker is high quality as CO2 weapons go. This item will be used for both training and as less-than-lethal personal protection device when loaded with pepper balls. (I recommend an OC+PAVA pepper ball load with additional purchase of the fast-piercing co2 magazine for self defense purposes). My product only shipped with one mag which was disappointing as I did read the questions and answers section because the number of mags was not listed in the product description. I saw in the answers that other buyers received 2 mags. Overall I like the blowback and function of the pistol to a point.
The gun will discharge co2 on a trigger pull without being racked even with no paint/rubber load as well as when the slide is locked back. I’m sure this is just a function of c02 markers in general but it would be nice if there were a more accurate operation as a firearm will not fire with no rounds in the mag and certainly not with the slide locked.
There are many sharp edges. When removing the back strap from the grip to access the Allen key, it is very easy to cut yourself (or painlessly tear into a callus in my case) when you remove the back strap. I find that for users with softer hands that it could be a minor injury waiting to happen.
The included mag loads and drops rather intuitively. However, the somewhat costly (for a marker) fast puncture mag is less smooth. There are a few issues with the design here. It doesn’t load smoothly and gets tight/snags halfway into the grip. A bit more force is needed to load this mag. And before anyone thinks that it might not be the correct magazine for the model, it absolutely is and functions well aside from loading. But loading is a bit of an issue as it is not as smooth as a firearm mag would be and it is rather easy to pinch yourself (or have a spouse pinch themselves) when loading as you’re trying to give it that slight extra force to load.
If you’re wondering how one might pinch themselves if they’re loafing the mag from the base, it is because you can not slap the mag in from the bottom of the mag because you don’t want to also engage the fast pierce button if you’re loading the mag for personal defense use. There is a very small surface to work with from the bottom of the fast pierce mag without piercing the co2 cartridge.
Just about everything else.
The eight-shot mag provides that same welcome disappointment you get at the range with when having so much fun plinking that you’d go for some ridiculous mag capacity if not for training for a real-life usage and marksmanship scenario.
It does feel pretty accurate to holding a .40 or .45 Walter PPQ subtracting the realistic recoil that an air gun just cannot replicate. (You’d have some unrealistic recoil issues when training with 9mm but carrying .40 cal on duty though so it’s best to always shoot your true ammunition as much as possible.)
But the extremely low cost of using paint rounds for tactical training as well as being able to accurately mark live simulated aggressors is something you simply can’t do in any other format with such an accurate feel as carrying an exact replica of your carry pistol.
The additional benefit of this air gun is that it can reliably be used as a less-than-lethal option for civilians who either don’t want to carry a firearm or want an additional option for stopping an attacker with less chance of ending a life. I have not and do not plan on “testing” the damage on a live person or myself as it’s not a toy and so many others have already documented the self-same experiments online.
Suffice it to say that the power is adequate and from my own experience having just run the marker through its paces; it is a defense weapon as well as a training tool. About 60% of the paintballs penetrated multiple layers of cardboard target without bursting until meeting harder material. I would absolutely not want to be shot with this marker/pepper ball launcher.
I think it’s safe to say any product can be improved upon and I am aware that there are newer generations of this very PPQ already available and some of my concerns may have already been addressed, however I can only review the device I received. Overall, though, I have to say that Umarex has made an exceptional product here. You could go for the incredibly pricey TCP, Salt, or Berna devices that don’t have as realistic a feel for training and essential are just pepper ball launchers, or you could go with the reasonably priced markers from Unamex that are multifunctional with the same ft/s as the afore mentioned alternatives. I think the choice is pretty clear.
Umarex, thank you for making a fine product, and I hope the newer models have already adjusted for the concerns I have personally. I will recommend you to whomever will listen but I absolutely hope to have an even higher quality product at similar price points in the future." — Adam A. Morgan

Get it from Amazon now: $199.95 & FREE Returns


4. Umarex T4E .43 Caliber Training Paintball Marker

Top-rated: 357 ratings | 95 answered questions

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Highlight: Highly recommended for training by rangemasters.

Helpful review: "I would have been more interested in buying the Umarex T4E Walther PPQ or the S&W M&P, but for some weird reason neither would ship to me at my California address in all black (or even LE blue!) at the time. However, the S&W became available to me in all black a couple of days after my order for the TPM1. I don't know why, but I really dislike colored guns, so the TPM1 in all black, being as it's fairly close to a Glock 17, was a good compromise for me. There is an official Glock 17 clone but it's $170 more than the TPM1 while the other licensed products are all more or less the same price. Would I have liked it? Sure, but it just felt like a price gouge.
So, anyhow, I've been looking for a way to train without spending a fortune on FMJ .380 ammo for my Walther PPK or having to go to a range, so this does away with both - I'm using reusable rubber balls and I can train almost anywhere. The pistol itself seems like it's good quality and I've had no performance issues, save one rubber ball jam to the point where I had to pull real hard to get the magazine out and then discard the then damaged rubber ball. I don't know why but I ran probably 75-80 rounds through the gun in about 30 minutes and that was the only problem.
Accuracy-wise, I was getting really good rapid-fire groupings at 7 yards on an 8" target, and slightly high and left but still tight groupings at 10 yards. The latter might be me (it's been a LONG time since I fired a weapon of any kind) but it could also be the gun or the ammo. For now, until I can rule out my technique, I'm aiming low and to the right when shooting from any kind of distance beyond 7 yards to be on target.
So far as penetration - I made a ball catcher out of an 18 gallon storage tub and packed it with a moving blanket. I then cut out a hole in the tub's lid and fastened some wooden batons around the edge so I could staple cardboard sheets with target patterns printed on them to it. That way I wouldn't be chasing most of the rubber balls around whatever space I'd be shooting in. It actually worked really well - some did ricochet of the tub's sides, but I was inside a room with dark red carpeting and using yellow rubber balls, so I only "lost" 3 of the 75-80. BUT the ones that ended up getting trapped in the tub actually cut into the storage blanket! This thing has some power! I would literally HATE to get hit by one of the balls at full force!
That said, I'm not really sure about using it for defense. At least not in California. I'm as liberal as they come (some liberals do enjoy owning and using guns, contrary to popular opinion!) but even I think it's crazy that we can't buy pepper balls. At all. And to my mind, they would be the best use of this kind of non-lethal. And, while they might hurt like the dickens and could maybe put an eye out, I think I'd rather have 10 9mm rounds coming out the end of whatever I'm carrying rather than 8 .43 cal rubber balls! However, in a 2 defender situation, where one defender is traditionally armed and one defender is armed with non-lethal, the non-lethal defender might be able to get the less than committed perp to abandon his attack (at least until he realizes that he's not getting shot with real rounds). Or at least provide adequate distraction that the traditionally armed defender is able to get a good bead for a take down shot.
Anyway, I'm very pleased with the Umarex T4E TPM1, and I could maybe see me adding more of the range to my collection. Well, so long as I can get them in all black, that is!" — Michael J. Walsh

Get it from Amazon now: $189.95 & FREE Returns

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