Paintball Barrels

Your barrel determines how straight you shoot, plain and simple. The longer your paintball gun's barrel, the straighter your shot will be, the further it will go, and the more accurately you'll hit your opponents.

Furious Lotus Black Barrel

Barrels generally come in 12", 14", and 16" sizes. There are 18" barrels as well, if you look for them.

The problem with having a really long barrel is the handling. It's much easier and quicker to manuver and aim a gun with a shorter barrel, but the balls leaving such a weapon will be a lot less accurate. The increased accuracy of a longer barrel vs. the greater comfort of a shorter one is a definite tradeoff, and it's up to you to find a middle ground you're comfortable with.

DYE makes some really great barrels for paintball, and they've been around forever. I've got one 16" stainless steel barrel from DYE that I've had since the very beginning of my amateur paintball career, and I absolutely LOVE it. I usually end up switching it on and off all my different guns as I play with them.

The types of different barrels you can choose for your paintball marker are below:

Stainless Steel Paintball Barrels

DYE Stainless Barrel

A very common and popular choice, stainless steel barrels are very smmoth and low friction. This allows for better paintball travel and better acceleration inside the bore.

Steel barrels are also very durable. They can take a beating out on the paintball field; you can bang them against trees, shove them into the dirt, and smack them up against obstacles and bunkers with little to no effect.

They also tend to be heavier however, and a very long steel barrel can weigh down a gun. Ideally you want your gun balanced, so make sure you're okay with whatever stainless steel choice you might make.

Finally, steel barrels are more expensive than aluminum. This is because they're harder to manufacture, and use up more precious materials in the making.

Aluminum Paintball Barrels

DYE Ultralight Dust Barrel

Aluminum barrels are lightweight and less expensive than steel. This makes them fast, manuverable, and easy to use on the playing field - even the longest barrels won't weigh your gun down.

Aesthetically, this type of gun barrel is even cooler. Because aluminum can be anodized, you can pick up all kinds of crazy colors, patterns, and designs. Some are specifically made to match whatever paintball marker you might be using, so there's a nice bonus right off the bat.

The only drawbacks to aluminum is that it's not as smooth and frictionless. Because of this, your barrel will require more maintainence (and squeegee time) than steel barrels do. Friction can lead to balls breaking within the barrel itself, and more downtime as you bunker up to clean your gun.

Two-Piece Paintball Barrels

DYE Two Piece Barrel

Two-piece barrels combine steel and aluminum to get the best of both worlds. The ball leaves the firing chamber and enters the steel part of the barrel first, where it accelerates against the surface with less friction before leaving the ported aluminum tip.

Check out this full selection of paintball barrels for more shapes, sizes, and styles available.

Barrel Ports

Ports are the holes drilled into a paintball barrel to allow gases to escape. Barrels will have different port sizes and styles, and manufacturers will toy with all kinds of port patterns just as golf ball manufactures mess around with ball dimples.

Some ports will spiral in a rifled pattern around the length of the barrel, to spin the paintball before it exits the gun. Other ports appear near the tip, and these are designed to disburse air more evenly or silently. Even on a paintball field, a quieter gun is good. If your opponent doesn't know where you are, it becomes easier to creep up on him.

Choosing the Right Barrel for Your Paintball Gun

So in the end, which barrel should you pick for your marker?

Do you go with steel for durability? Aluminum for less weight and mobility?

Should you pick a shorter barrel to make it easier to get around the field quickly, or a longer barrel for better distance and accuracy?

Well, it all depends. I mean, think about your game, and what you'll be using the weapon for in that particular type of game.

Are you playing on a larger field, out in the woods, with opponents scattered and far away? If so, a longer and smoother barrel would be better. The benefits of being able to shoot further and more precisely far outweigh the drawbacks of a lighter or shorter barrel, and you can get more people out before they even reach you.

But hey, if you happen to be playing speedball? On a small, closed field? A longer barrel might well get in your way. It could accidentally trip you up while running, or catch on all kinds of different obstacles - especially those soft inflatable shoot-around bunkers that speedball fields are known for.

In this case, something shorter and quicker to manipulate would be a good idea - especially if you'll be running quickly from flank to flank, or position to position.

Some of today's most popular barrels are listed below:

Custom Products 2-Piece Barrel Custom Products 2 Piece Pro Paintball Barrel Multicolor
Deadly Wind Tippmann Barrel Deadlywind Tippmann Fibur Carbon Fiber Paintball Barrel 14"
DYE Barrel 16 Inch Dye Tip Paintball Barrel Front 16 Inch Clear Dust
Smart Parts All American Freak Barrel Smart Parts All American Freak Barrel Front 12 Inch Red
J & J Ceramic Tippmann Barrel J & J Ceramic Tippmann 98 Barrel 16 Inch
DYE Ultralight Spyder Barrel Dye Ultralite Spyder Barrel Back .688 Blue Dust
Stiffi Impulse Ion Mamba Barrel Stiffi .689 Impulse Ion Mamba Paintball Barrel 14 Inch Black
LAPCO TPX BigShot Barrel Lapco TPX BigShot 8 Inch Paintball Barrel .687 Black

Ultimately one barrel isn't "better" than the other, but might be better-suited for different types of play. It's always best to figure out what you're going to be doing first (game-wise) and then switch out a barrel that will best fit your needs.

For TONS more barrel types and styles, check out Zephyr Paintball Gear. They've got barrels to fit every major brand of gun or marker, including some cool limited edition barrels that look more like works of art. They offer free shipping on all orders over $100 as well.

Other Paintball Guns, Equipment, & Playing Protection

Choose from the categories below to see everything necessary to get started with paintball. From beginning players to expert speedballers, you'll need to gear up in most of the following areas:

Paintball Gear