If you're a new paintball athlete, or someone looking to take their game to the professional level, then you need to have the best paintball marker you can get. The range of equipment available is staggering, with hundreds of different paintball marker guns competing for your attention. Today we want to look at one of best paintball guns on the market today, the Empire Dfender. This bullpup framed paintball marker is a favorite of professionals and beginners alike. Let's dive a little deeper and find out why so many people love this paintball marker.

What Is the Empire Dfender?

The Empire Dfender is a paintball marker designed for precision play and high-end handling. With an internalized firing system and a laser activated auto-feed chamber, this marker stands out from the other options on the market. There are a lot of different features we want to talk about, all of which contribute to an overall paintball marking gun that makes you feel like a professional.

Product Specs

There are dozens of unique features included in the Empire Dfender package, like the ported aluminum barrel, inline pressure controlled poppet feeder, and break beam eyes that prevent ball chopping and half-loading. We would like to take time here and call out some features on the Empire Dfender that make this a superior machine for any grade of user.

Magnesium Unibody Shell

The unibody shell of the Empire Dfender is lightweight but strong, giving you a safe place to house the inner working of the marker. Because the valve and loader system is all inside the body, the Dfender makes maintenance a snap. The more delicate pieces are all contained inside where most of the other markers on this list have an exposed valve and flow-control system.

Group of people playing paintball

​Image via Pixabay

Empire Loading System

The included hopper has a 230 ball capacity with a fast-feed mouth that connects to the self-sensing loader chamber. A laser sensor activates the internal loading piston when you're firing. The two mechanisms work in tandem to deliver a steady stream of paintballs from the hopper to the firing chamber. This clean and fast loading system cuts down on back-end recoil and puts all the velocity back into the barrel. This means you have better range, higher accuracy, and a much-improved firing rate.

Programmable Trigger

The trigger system has a three-way programmable bearing, giving the user more control over the tensile strength and pull-back resistance. The smooth feeding system and high-velocity pressure release make it easy to rapid fire with flutters on the trigger. The loader is connected to the trigger as opposed to the firing chamber so that makes rapid refill firing easier and more efficient.

How It Compares

W​e looked at the Empire Defender along with three top competitors. These four markers were judged on several metrics, including overall design quality, the total range of the paintballs, the accuracy of the gun, and the warranty coverage offered through the manufacturer. We have taken care to call out any of the strengths and weaknesses we found in each of these phenomenal paintball marker guns.


What We Reviewed


Empire Paintball BT Dfender / Dfender / Defender, Dark Earth
  • Self calibrating loader speed sensor
  • Tool-less basic maintenance/battery change
  • Break Beam Eyes in breech prevent ball cops

Accuracy

Range

Design Quality

Warranty

This is the most accurate marker we reviewed, with a tight grouping even at the long-end ranges of firing. The inline pressure system makes sure the airflow is even and powerful, giving tight and short bursts that work with the continuous bar loading hopper. With a full load of 230 balls in the loader and an additional 20 in the system, this also makes it fast and accurate.
The Empire Dfender has a full range of fifty feet with high-yield velocity and accuracy. The aluminum rifled barrel and unibody gives enough balance and control for the operator to deliver long-range hits with maximum accuracy.
The bullpup-style frame and unibody are great for recoil control and muzzle sweep. The integrated Break Beam Eyes system helps to prevent ball chops in the breach, and the programmable bearing trigger all make for an excellent high-end paintball marker.
The Empire Dfender has a limited lifetime warranty offered through the manufacturer. If this product is registered shortly after the time of purchase, and if the owner keeps the original purchase receipt, KEE Action Sports will cover all defects on the Empire Dfender as long as the original owner has it. This is the best warranty of all the entries we reviewed, with Tippmann coming a distant second with only a two-year limited warranty.


PROS

  • Lifetime warranty on all defects
  • Excellent accuracy and design

CONS

  • The most expensive marker on the list

Tippmann Cronus CQB Paintball Gun with Electronic Red Dot Sight and...
  • Tippmann Cronus CQB Marker
  • Tactical Semi-Automatic .68 Caliber Paintball Marker
  • CQB Design

T​he Cronus CQB is a simple, efficient, no-frills paintball marker gun. The sturdy unibody design includes a large capacity integrated hopper and solid mill body frame, which gives it a good feel in the hand and makes it easier to fire accurately from the hip. This is also inexpensive, coming in as the lowest-priced marker on our list. But that doesn't mean there isn't room to grow. The slide bolt rails on the frame make swap-outs and upgrade simple. The Cronus has a great selection of additional accessories that can easily integrate with the CQB style marker.

Accuracy

Range

Design Quality

Warranty

The QCB in this marker stands for close quarter combat, which means this paintball gun is dialed in for precise and short-range hits. The high-yield pressure regulation system makes for fast and accurate shots. This is a great paintball marker for a growing paintball athlete that's trying their hand at some urban style shooting courses. This is great for the SWAT and capture the flag player that needs an accurate and fast marker in a close combat situation.
Because the regulator and barrel are dialed in for close combat, the long-end of the range is sacrificed. This marker loses push when it drops out beyond twenty feet. That means that even in some close quarters situations you might find your range killing most of your accuracy.
This is a great design for the price, making this a fine value for an amateur paintball athlete. The 200 round hopper and fast-feed bolt system make it swift and reliable, especially in high-pressure close combat situations. The design quality is superb, just as long as you take the short range and limited upgrades into account.
Tippmann offers a limited warranty on all of their products for up to two years. This covers anything that could be considered a factory defect and replaces the product in the event of an issue. Tippmann is within industry norms here, offering a fair length of time for a shooter to discover any problems with the marker.


PROS

  • Least expensive option on this list
  • Made for close quarter fights

CONS

  • Loses the long-end range


Tippmann A-5 Marker with E-Grip & Selector Switch
  • Semi-automatic, .68 caliber receiver with open bolt blow back design for smooth consistent firing.
  • Patented Cyclone Feed System for faster feeding & firing.
  • The new Selector Switch features a magnetically activated hall-effect trigger that lasts 7 times longer than physical...

W​hile it's true, the Empire Dfender is more expensive than this entry on the list, the A-5 makes it obvious that you get what you pay for. There are great features on the Tippmann A-5, like the stone-honed barrel or the fully contained fast action bolt system. These are great additions to a small but fast hip-style paintball gun. Where the A-5 falls is when you need true accuracy and significant carry range. The 608 version paintballs don't fly the way you would expect with this kind of high-pressure firing system.

Accuracy

Range

Design Quality

Warranty

As a semi-automatic, you can't expect the tightest groupings when firing the A-5. That being said, the open bolt blowback design makes for one of the more accurate high rate markers on this list. The precision was dialed in with the union piece receiver, giving the shooter a little more control when using lower caliber balls.
The A-5 is a short-distance marker, especially when compared to the Empire Dfender. This high pressure, low caliber barrel system makes for a long arc on your paintball. This makes the range a factor when playing for the fast distance. This is a problem if you consider the price tag as the other entries on this list add real value to the marker with the range and accuracy features.
The stone-honed barrel is made for high performance, with an 8 1/2 inch receiver made of die-cast aluminum. The fully enclosed receiver is possible because of a front cocking knob, bringing the housing together into one solid piece. This makes the marker durable, shock resistant, and gives you more recoil control from the palm.
Tippmann has a limited two-year warranty on all of their markers. This will cover parts or replacement on anything judged a factory defect for up to two years after the original purchase. This is in line with industry standards and falls within expectations for reasonable coverage from a manufacturer.


PROS

  • Good accuracy for a semi-auto
  • Affordable as a secondary marker


CONS

  • Poor value for the lack of features

Proto Rail MaXXed Paintball Gun - Black Lime
  • Proto 2-Piece 14" barrel
  • Dye UL on/off Bottom line (ASA)
  • Macro line kit

T​he Proto Rail MaXXed is the culmination of years of research and discussion with the world's top pinball athletes. The feedback Dye received was distilled into a strong and accurate marker. This marker paintball gun has a lot of similarities to the Empire Dfender, including a dynamic housing system that keeps your regulators and air lines safe from the rough elements of the sport. The Proto Rail issues Fuse Bolt technology, an Ultralite airport, and a bright LED display.

Accuracy

Range

Design Quality

Warranty

The inline regulation system for the Rail MaXXed is improved on this model, so the airflow has more punctuation and delivers a crisp shot inside the firing chamber. This helps with gaining needed velocity for accuracy. Some users have reported grouping problems at longer distances, but that can be fixed with some fine tuning of the pressure system.
This marker has an ideal firing range of ten to forty feet, but the total back-end depends on your pressure. This marker can operate at very low PSI, going down as far as 140psi for shorter range firing.
This is one of the easier to maintain markers on the list. The Rail uses a collared o-ring system that makes identifying a replacement and leaky separations in the gun much easier. The gun uses DYE's closed-spool valve design, giving high-performance ratings to the recoil and bolt action cycle.
The MaXXed Rail has a limited one-year manufacturer's warranty. This will cover any factory defects for up to one year after the original purchase. This is the weakest of the warranties offered on this list. While the Empire Dfender has a full lifetime warranty, at least Tippmann gives their customers two years to make reasonable exchanges. 


PROS

  • Maintenance is easy
  • Operates at 140psi

CONS

  • Shortest warranty coverage on the list

Conclusion

Man with helmet holding a paintball gun

​Image via Pixabay

There were some serious competitors on this list, with the Proto Rail coming in close. After all of our thoughts were organized and our favorites discussed, we have to agree that the Empire Dfender is the most reliable, sturdy, and accurate paintball market we reviewed. It is a high-performance machine with a price tag to match, but for the discerning paintball athlete, only the best will keep you clean and out of the paint. Because of the excellent suite of features and manufacturer's reliability, we give the Empire Dfender four out of five stars.

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