At AG Paintball, we have one of the best pro shops in the area and our techs are certified by the manufacturers to properly repair and work on any marker. Given that, we see a LOT of paintball guns come in for repair. One of the patterns that we see too often is new players come in with a marker that they purchased on craigslist because it was cheap. The issue most of these guns have is that, in addition to being just cheap markers, they are usually sold with issues that a new player can’t see and ultimately, they need repair. We know that it's very tempting to pay $70 on craigslist and get a bunch of paintball gear. The downside is you will likely end up paying more for repairs and missing play time because of the equipment.
Every paintball marker has some form of air that shoots the paintball. The air moves through the gun where it should based on o-rings all through the marker. These o-rings make sure your gun does not leak but they also need maintenance and occasionally, need to be changed. This is where most gun issues start. Someone has left their paintball marker in a closet for a few years and the o-rings have gone bad. So while the marker may look great, once you try to put air in it you will start to hear the air coming out of your gn in spots it shouldn’t. In these cases, it's hard to diagnose the issue since you have no idea which o-ring is leaking and that requires an o-ring rebuild. This will cost you $15-$20 depending on the marker. So that frugal purchase has already cost you an additional $20.
Now that you’ve paid for a rebuild, our techs will test the marker again. Hopefully all goes as planned but we frequently notice that parts in the gun have gone bad. Paintball markers have many moving parts that can wear down over time. The biggest issue that these craigslist buys face is whether or not replacement parts are even available! Too often we see these markers come in that someone paid $50 for but they need a part that is no longer available. While we do our best to find any part, sometimes it just doesn’t work out and that new, cheap marker you bought becomes a new expensive paperweight!
Assuming you dodged those 2 major bullets, you now have a working paintball marker! Congratulations, now get out on the field. The only issue is that once you do, you may find that the marker you have doesn’t seem to keep up with other players guns. Their guns may shoot faster, be slightly more accurate and are making life much easier for the other players. This is because that cheap marker you bought has outdated technology that was mediocre (at best) back when it was made. You see, there is a reason that the paintball marker you bought cost so little, in paintball you generally get what you pay for. The less you pay for a marker, the less performance you can get out of it. This is really an issue because it either brings down your paintball experience, or it pushes you into a new, more expensive marker even faster. Either outcome really makes that craigslist purchase look more wasteful.
There is just so much that can go wrong with one of these cheap, older markers that it is really troublesome that so many people buy them. Worse yet is when people are sold paintball packages off of craigslist. Often times these come complete with an out of date tank (not safe to use), a mask with a damaged lens (not safe to use), and a hopper that barely works, if at all! Most people see package deals as a better value, but too often they just become a larger sinkhole. It's recommended that you replace paintball lenses each year so you can image the terrible shape of one that's been in a closet for 3+ years!
When it comes to buying paintball gear we compare it to buying a car. You wouldn’t buy your first car off of craigslist unless you had a strong understanding of how cars work and function. The same holds true for paintball gear. If you know what to look for and how to check for issues, then craigslist can be a great spot for local deals. If you don’t have a deep understanding of how paintball markers function then craigslist becomes the greasy used car lot, complete with the salesman focused on closing the deal.
Don’t get trapped into wasting your money on what you think is a good deal. Come into AG and let us talk you through what to buy and what to avoid. We stock entry level markers up to the top of the line equipment for our shoppers. Buying from a store means you have a legitimate business behind the product, not a person who you will never see again. On top of all this, AG offers lifetime labor on any gun we sell as well as seasons passes included with every gun sale, up to a $200 value! If you have questions about how to get into paintball, what marker to buy, or anything paintball related! Shoot us an email, facebook message, or just call and we’d be happy to help you get on the field!