I frequently get asked which brand of paintball gun a beginner should buy. While it always depends on the person, after talking about Tippmanns, Piranhas and the like, I usually suggest a Spyder paintball gun for a few reasons.
1. Most beginner paintball players will do one of two things - play a few times and kind of give up on the sport or get very involved and want a nicer gun. Either way, a Spyder makes some of the cheaper guns available and if the gun is only going to be used for a short amount of time, you might as well spend less money to begin with.
2. New Spyders are center-feed which means there's no need to worry about elbows.
3. Basic Spyder models are relatively reliable and will last as long as most people are willing to play with them with minimal upkeep.
4. This final reason is probably the most important: Spyders are easy to care for. Cleaning a Spyder takes a fraction of the time it takes to clean a Tippmann and doesn't require tools. Also, if there's a problem, fixing a Spyder is much simpler, and usually cheaper than fixing other guns since Spyder parts are so easy to find.
My general suggestion to go with a Spyder doesn't apply to all people. If someone has some experience playing and is ready to purchase their first gun, they'll probably have a pretty good idea what they want. Or, if there's a sale going on and you see a good deal, it might be wise to go with that gun.
Whatever the case, a first paintball gun should be viewed as an introduction to the sport and it makes little sense to spend hundreds of dollars until you're sure you're really going to use it. Countless beginner guns exist which will work well, but, if you ask me, I'd recommend a Spyder Extra, Sonix or Victor.