To spend excessive amount of money in a marker can not be explained with reason since there is so little technology included when compared in a 100 cellular phone.
The accuracy what is desired. Accuracy is defined by: quality of paint, your skills as shooter and HPA pressure. The marker has least impact on accuracy. When spent hours and hours of training you can take out opponents with any marker as without target practicing you will most likely miss with what ever kind of marker you use.
Sensible marker when playing up to 4 times a year. Being cheaper than 98 but with the same interior.
Tippmann Crossover XVR
A bit expensive but when all upgrades needed are already built in makes it worth the money. XVR is quite air efficient compared to 98. Also the mechanical/Electrical mode is good addition if you want to mix your play style occasionally at Speed ball field but also handicap yourself wit slower rate of fire in mechanical mode when there are new beginners on the woods ball field. (Pump guns is also a way to handicap yourself and train skills as a shooter).
Tippmann Phenom X7
89 and A5 are cheaper alternatives for this markers and they also have more upgrade kits. However kick is reduced to absolute minimum why one does not need to readjust the aim in rapid fire. For this marker do make sense one needs to play woods ball more than four times a year. Preferably once a month or more. Another thing what promotes a higher prize are the macroless design and the field strip speed during maintenance.
The CO2 cartilage is placed in the barrel making the magazine lightweight. However the individuals playing CO2 prefer to have the cartilage in the magazine so they never loose pressure at a critical moment. A CO2 cartilage can push out about 2½ normal magazined of balls. However I would use this marker with an extension cord to a tank on my waist belt/vest.
This is purely a woods ball marker but a bit on the expensive side. This is why one needs to play more than four times a year before this should be your primary marker.
This marker suits for sniping due to its limited magazine size. I would use this mainly in buildings and close corner combats.
A magazine usually is loaded with 7 balls why one needs to conserve amo to hit on each time. When using external large magazines CO2 pressure would drop quite fast when wasting paint on suppression fire thus making mag size pointless for TIPX. If using HPA with extension cord larger magazines becomes useful.
Well recommended one of the cheapest marker for speed balling, also suitable for woods ball. Even if it has a good prize it exceeds at this point any other marker within its segment. This has enough upgrades to be kept in mind as ones first marker. Also the prize makes it sensible why it will not loose much value when trading up to your next marker if you realize you want to play speed ball on weekly basis.
This is marker is well recommended and duels in the same entry level class as Azodin Kaos but is ~250 more expensive. No buy, in my book.
Empire Axe Pro
The standard Axe would be my reason to pay as much as for the mini. But for this prize range I would like to have the upgrades built in why I would prefer the Pro version of Axe. However the prizing starts to roof up to own absolute max what a marker may cost. There are better markers at Axe Pros prize range.
Valken Proton (previously Aura Mokal)
For the price range this appears to deliver the same qualities as the Axe but is easier when flipping modes on the run. The lightweight of this marker together with its price makes it one of my top choices for professional speed balling.
Dye/Proto Reflex Maxxed
This is an interesting marker. In proto version you get it for less money but with older technology. There are also rail and rail maxed but they lack the upgrades I am looking for in markers why this reflex would be my own choice. The Eye pipe and color coding of o-rings are really good inventions and should be industry standard. Dye versions are more up to date but also over prized.
Also a marker to keep in mind. It originally was one of Smart Parts invention but was transferred into JT:s colours.
This has similarities with Planet Eclipse Etek 5 and EGO markers but the due to the kick I would prefer to use GEO style of markers why Impulse type of markers will not get into any top positions on my list of marks.
JT SplatMaster Z100 pistol
This is my top choice as a secondary marker for close range combat. Due to the spring load it will never run out of air. But OBSERVE this uses 50 cal paint (children’s game paint) together with the spring force it will most likely to bounce at distance. But it is quite sufficient when dominating close corners. When the corners are cleansed I would take up my primary marker again for distance fights.
SP Shocker RSX
This marker is my top choice when ever upgrading from my current Crossover XVR to a once a week speed ball marker. It is at the same prize range as Empire Axe Pro but includes same details as its more expensive sibling DXL Luxe witch competes at the segment of GEO 3.5 and CS1, the CS1 is better on conserving battery capacity and also the macroless design reflects how future design of markers will be.
The Shocker has Freak back and All american upgrade built in and there is no need to upgrade other than purchase different bore sizes. The LED board also appears to give clear and enough information of functions. This marker is also extremely light weight why you will be able to keep the marker up longer than opponents with heavier markers.
On the down side is the mode setting complexity. For this prize range the mode setting should be easier than on mid level markers.
Buy cheap and upgrade or buy all you need at once for less money than all upgrades combined together?
To answer this you must know how much paint you will consume on monthly basis. Below own suggestion.
Of course you are able to use entry level marker to your weekly training but I would guess the training frequency might drop dramatically if you cant reach speed and accuracy of your colleagues. There is also very little sense to purchase the best of the best and only use the marker every second year.
Level of engagement
One might say there are three levels of playing paintball
- Going rental or frequent enough to save some money by having own ENTRY level equipment.
- Playing paintball regularly as hobby with own MID level equipment. You are able to play professionally with this level equipment but you are most likely playing freelancing without sponsor contracts why you play as much as you can afford.
- Frequent training to fit into the league with HIGH end markers. At this level the cost are constant and you can afford to waist paint since you are sponsored for playing committed to the teams goals.
Mike Phillips focuses on entry level setups in Budget Baller 3.0 but covers also milsim markers.