Paintball is a game of skill - there’s no question about that. Getting good at this combat sport, you’ll need to work on your tactical skills a lot.
However, even the most skilled paintball player can really benefit from a game-enhancing marker.
One such marker is the Empire Mini GS, which was released by Empire a few years back. Technically, the Empire Mini GS models still available on the market aren’t exactly the same as the ones originally released.
After customers experienced some hiccups with the original design, Empire reworked the product and released the new version.
The 2nd revision of the Empire Mini GS has gone down a treat with Empire’s customer base, with players of nearly all ability levels going as far as to declare this marker the best they’ve ever used! This is the model we’re going to be reviewing today.
In this article, we’ll be reviewing each of the main features of the Empire Mini GS paintball marker. Once we’ve provides a complete picture of this paintball gun, we’ll wrap up with a comprehensive overview of the product and our final thoughts.
There’s a reason this marker is called the Empire Mini GS.
While it may not be physically much smaller in size, it’s much more lightweight than previous Empire markers, as well as the majority of paintball markers on the market.
If you’ve got any prior experience with paintball, you’ll know that it’s not a sport for the faint-hearted. Aside from the pain of being hit by airborne objects being pelted at you at speeds of around 200 mph, here’s a lot of physical exertion and agility-based movement involved.
That’s why it’s so important to carry a paintball marker that doesn’t weigh you down too much, especially if you’re a beginner still getting used to the sport.
Bearing that in mind, the lightweight build of the Empire Mini GS has to be one of our favorite things about this paintball marker, and once you get your hands on it, we’re confident that you’ll feel the same!
The entire marker, once assembled, weighs no more than a meager 1 lb and 14 oz, so you’ll have no trouble darting around the game zone with this marker in tow.
With that being said, the slimline profile and lightweight construction of the Empire Mini GS might not be ideal for players with big hands or those who have been playing for many years and are accustomed to and content with heavier, less compact marker models.
Everyone has their own preferences, but we still feel that the reduced weight and surface area of the Mini GS will present a distinct advantage for the majority of paintball players looking to enhance their speed and efficacy in the zone.
The feature that gives the Empire Mini GS paintball marker its unforgettable power is its electro-pneumatic poppet engine.
For anyone who isn’t familiar with paintball marker mechanics, a poppet engine is an engine with a poppet (or ‘mushroom’) valve. What does this poppet valve do, you ask? Well, the better question is probably what doesn’t it do?
Primarily, a poppet valve’s job is to regulate the flow of air or gas in the engine. The valve remains closed until it’s forced to open using either airflow or an electrical switch (in the case of this marker, both are used because it’s electro-pneumatic).
This might not sound particularly special, but it’s actually crucial to the high performance of this paintball marker.
In terms of ensuring superior functionality in a paintball marker, a poppet valve in the engine makes all the difference.
Not only does its mostly-closed state prevent the majority of contaminants from finding their way into the engine, but the poppet valve also responds faster and generates less friction than the spool valves built into many competitor paintball markers.
This translates to faster and smoother shooting as well as lower maintenance requirements, which is partly what allows the Empire Mini GS to fire a maximum of 23 balls every second without that accuracy-diminishing recoil.
The air pressure inside the marker during operation can vary between 180 and 200 psi.
If we hadn’t made it clear already, this isn’t your bog-standard paintball marker.
While many paintball guns feature just one firing speed, the Empire Mini GS goes above and beyond with a total of 4 different firing models and 6 shooting functions that you can use to tailor your marker’s functionality to your gameplay.
The shooting modes built into the Empire Mini GS are fully automatic, semi-automatic, 3-shot, and PSP (quicker firing) mode. Between these 4 modes, you’ll be able to speed up, slow down, or automate your firing speed to suit whatever situation your game puts you in.
In addition to these 4 primary shooting modes, you’ll also be able to take advantage of 6 competitive tournament modes!
So, this marker’s build is suitable for beginners while providing all the necessary settings for advanced tournament play.
A sturdy, non-slip foregrip is key to ensuring accuracy and consistency in the paintball arena, and that’s exactly what the Empire Mini GS provides.
Hand fatigue is one of the main reasons why so many paintball players don’t perform at their best in the game zone. After all, it’s difficult to focus and maintain accuracy when hand cramp is added into the equation.
Empire has proven that the company is dedicated to helping paintball players to unlock their full potential, and this is reflected in the superior comfort of the foregrip that comes with the Mini GS.
The grip consists of a relatively thick layer of rubber, which is far superior to the flimsy plastics we often see featured in budget marker construction.
It’s ever so slightly tacky to the touch, which may sound less than ideal, but hear us out - the mildly ‘sticky’ feel of the foregrip helps it to serve its purpose better by enhancing your natural grip.
Moreover, the grip can actually be removed to reveal the shockwave board and battery compartment. This means that you get to enjoy a superior, more comfortable grip as well as easy access to your marker’s internal components when necessary.
One feature of the GS Mini that’s been raved about by reviewers is the ASA regulator.
The function of a paintball gun’s regulator is to control the flow and pressure of air that is fed into and released from the marker.
The regulator built into the GS Mini is special because it has a manual ‘ON/OFF’ function (similar to the regulator we’ve seen on Empire’s Vanquish marker model) that allows the user to control the airflow and remove the air tank as needed.
In conjunction with the poppet valve in the engine, this regulator switch really enhances the air-efficiency, thus, the shooting functionality of the GS Mini marker.
Integrated, anti-chop, break-beam laser eyes are built into the chamber of the GS Mini.
This is one of the features that really makes this marker stand out because they help the player to enjoy an uninterrupted game without damaging either their paintballs or, more importantly, the inside of the marker.
A common problem that paintball players are often faced with is ‘ball chop.’ This is what occurs when the trigger of a paintball marker is pulled before the next round is fully loaded into the chamber.
The result is that the bolt comes down on the paintball and, instead of effectively firing it, essentially cuts part of it away.
Not only does this prevent the marker from firing the paintball powerfully and accurately, but it also contaminates the inside of the marker with flecks of paint, which will force you to maintain your marker more often.
Empire avoids this issue with anti-chop laser eyes on both sides of the chamber. These lasers detect when a paintball is completely loaded into the chamber.
If a ball is only partially loaded, the laser beam created in the chamber will not be broken, and you won’t be able to pull the trigger. Only once the paintball is fully inside the chamber will the beam be broken, allowing the ball to be fired.
Any experienced paintball player will be able to tell you that the barrel is one of the most important components of a paintball marker.
Clearly, Empire is also aware of this foregrip and has designed and built the autococker barrel of the GS Mini accordingly.
The barrel Empire has included with the GS Mini is slightly shorter than your average paintball barrel, at 12-inches as opposed to 14. This will mean that some players will take time to get used to the shorter profile.
However, this barrel does work brilliantly with the poppet engine to facilitate smooth shooting rounds.
It’s also durable and wear-resistant because it’s made of aluminum, and since it uses autococker threading, it’s able to shoot more accurately over longer distances.
If you thought we’d mentioned all the features the Empire Mini GS has to offer, think again!
Not only will you outperform your past self and your competitors with this gun in hand, but you’ll also look good while you do it.
Of course, not everyone’s too bothered about what their paintball marker looks like - it’s mainly about the functionality, after all.
But for those who like to reflect their inner confidence on the outside with their paintball gear, Empire’s got you covered.
The version of the Empire Mini GS most widely available through online retailers such as Amazon is none other than the Limited Edition Day of the Dead model.
The bold black and red color scheme and beautiful skull-and-roses graphic is unisex (although, of course, any marker can be!) and conveys both elegance and power.
However, the Mini GS is also available in a range of other colors, including dust tan and red, dust silver and green, dust silver and blue, dust gray and navy, and plain dust black.
These designs cover most of the primary color spectrum, so anyone looking to use their paintball marker as an extension of their personal style will have plenty to choose from.
The pieces of hardware required for threading the barrel of the GS Mini are provided alongside the marker itself.
These hardware components consist of screws, o-rings, and some lubricant to maintain them.
The screws themselves are easy to work with, and the o-rings are straightforward to install, but you may need to use 1 or 2 hex wrenches to loosen and tighten the screws when your marker is due for maintenance.
- Suitable for beginner and intermediate players
- Lightweight, compact build
- 180 - 200 psi
- 4 shooting modes
- 6 tournament settings
- Powerful poppet engine
- Autococker barrel
- Detachable rubber foregrip
- On/Off ASA Regulator
- Easily accessible internal components
- Multiple style options
- Hardware and lubricant included
- Lightweight construction may not suit all players
- The shorter barrel takes time to get used to
Whether you’re a complete paintball newbie or a seasoned player, we think you’ll find that the Empire Mini GS Paintball Marker improves your play, as well as your overall experience, noticeably.
Thanks to the marker’s innovative design, including a lightweight profile, powerful poppet engine, anti-chop eyes, non-slip fore grip, and extensive shooting modes, there really is very little left to be desired with the Empire Mini GS.
We should reiterate, however, that if you’re a paintball player with particularly large hands, or if you’ve been playing with larger, heavier markers for a long time, this marker may take some time to get used to or may simply not suit your style of play. In the same vein, the shorter 12-inch barrel, despite its high functionality in all areas, may not be to all players’ tastes.
We would recommend the Mini GS to beginner paintball players hoping to start off strong with a performance-enhancing marker, all the way up to intermediate players who need an advanced build to match their improving skillset.