Paintball guns come in variety of configurations.
Paintball is a fast-growing and popular sport in which teams or competitors use paint guns to mark one another in games of martial strategy. There are myriad paint guns on the market — not all are for use in paintball games — and it helps to know the basic demarcations before jumping in and buying a new paintball gun.
Tree-Marking Paint Gun
Don’t confuse these utilitarian implements with the recreational accessories used on the paintball field. According to the U.S. Forest Service, hand-held paint guns are routinely used by Forest Service employees to mark trees in the forest. These types of paint guns may be automatic or manual and, generally, attach to the top of a paint can. They deliver an amount of liquid paint to mark the bark of selected trees, unlike paintball guns that fire plastic capsules filled with marking dye.
Manual/Pump Action Paintball Guns
Manual and pump-action paintball guns are the oldest of the types of paintball guns. These guns must be manually reloaded and cocked between shots, meaning that they have much slower rate of fire than other types of paintball guns. As the sport of paintball has evolved, these types of guns have lost ground to other kinds of guns that bring higher rates of fire to the table, though many beginners start out with manual or pump-action paintball guns. (See Reference 2)
Semiautomatic Paintball Guns
Semiautomatic paintball guns, like real guns, have a higher rate of fire than manual or pump-action paintball weapons. Semiautomatic paintball guns, according to Paintball Time.com, use a variety of means to automatically cycle the action of the gun and load a new paintball into the chamber with each touch of the trigger. With the burden of cocking and recocking after each shot alleviated, players using semiautomatic paintball guns can fire more paintballs in a shorter period of time. (See Reference 2)
Electronic, Full-Auto and Sniper Paintball Guns
Paintball guns have evolved to the point that there are now many variations on the standard gun. Electronic and fully automatic paintball guns can fire paintballs at incredible rates of speed as long as the trigger is depressed. These streams of fire can be tweaked to shoot in bursts, too. Also, longer, more specialized sniper-style paintball guns are on the market that allow players to make long shots on targets far down field from the safety of cover. (See Reference 3)