- "I'm an athlete and an avid martial artist. I'm always the guy that doesn't give up. Ever."
- ―Paul Marinaccio[src]
Paul is a detective and firearms instructor residing in Fairfield, New Jersey. He learned to shoot from a childhood friend's father, and has gained experience in many weapons from World War I and World War II. Along with shooting, Paul is also an athlete and martial artist, who had formerly wrestled in high school. He has a wife and a young child at home.
- "I have seen people handling big firearms like this, and they either wind up getting hit in the face with them or it goes flying."
- ―Paul on the Smith & Wesson 500 Magnum[src]
Paul arrived for Top Shot along with the other sixteen contestants. Here, the host of the competition, Colby Donaldson, stated that the placement of each individual would be determined by a Preliminary Challenge. In pairs the contestants would shoot the Smith & Wesson 500 Magnum at three targets. Whichever of the pair could hit all of the targets before the other would become victorious and become a member of the Blue Team, while the loser joined the Red Team.
After four pairs had competed, Colby called Paul and Michael Marelli to shoot. Paul hit his first target before Michael let a shot off. However, when his opponent did fire, he missed. This gave Paul an opportunity to go for the second target, hitting it on his first shot. Michael missed a few more times on the first target before Paul finished the course, resulting in his victory and spot on the Blue Team. After the remaining pairs competed, Colby allowed the contestants to head to the house they would be staying in during the competition. However, the Red Team arrived here first, claiming all of the bottom bunks of the beds, giving the Blue Team a very limited choice on where to sleep.
The following day, the contestants arrived at the Shooting Range to participate in the first Team Challenge. Here, they noticed a number of platforms set up with targets in the distance. After the contestants got situated, Colby explained that for the challenge, two contestants would be assigned to one of the four platforms for their team. Once on these, each individual would use the Larue Tactical OBR to take out a target before proceeding to the next station. Colby then stated that the contestants would not be climbing the ladders built onto the platforms to get onto them, but sixteen foot poles which would have to be carried to each station. Whichever team finished the course would first would be victorious. Before engaging in the challenge, the teams decided on the shooting order, with the Blue Team choosing Jake Zweig and Paul for the second station. After the first station, the Blue Team managed to gain a lead over the Red Team. After both Jake and Paul climbed onto the second platform, the former began firing at his target, managing to hit it in a few shots. Jake handed the weapon to Paul, who was able to hit his target on the first shot, which helped maintain Blue's lead over their opponents. At the third station, Blue Team's lead had diminished due to difficulties with hitting the targets. However, at the final station, Blue Team was able to catch up to Red Team and take the last two shots, resulting in Blue Team's victory.
When the contestants returned to the house, the Red Team held a team meeting while the Blue Team went to the kitchen. Here, Dustin Ellermann read some encouraging verses from the bible. He concluded by stating that when he read these, he thought, "sucks to be Red", which was humorous to many of the Blue Team members. Later, the Red Team headed to the Nomination Range to vote two people into the Elimination Challenge. When they returned, it was revealed that Amanda Hardin and Mark Schneider would compete for their spots in the competition. Later the next day, Red Team departed to witness the first Elimination Challenge. They returned with Mark, who nailed a red target bearing Amanda's name to the wall, in tribute.
After Amanda's elimination, the contestants were given a night of rest. The following morning, the Blue Team got up to prepare for the next challenge by pretending to shoot a firearm and work on sighting. Afterward, the contestants arrived at the Shooting Range to attend the first Practice Session. Here, Colby stated that they would be shooting the AK-47 under guidance by expert, Craig Sawyer. This satisfied Paul, because he owns a variant of it and was very comfortable. Blue Team walked away from the Practice, feeling very confident they would win the upcoming challenge.
The following day, the contestants returned to the Shooting Range to participate in the second Team Challenge. Here, four obstacles and stations were set up. The first obstacle was a pipe that was to be crawled through. Second was a pit of water, followed by a crawl through mud and then sand under barbed wire. Two contestants would be assigned to a station, with an exception of the last one, and would have to endure the obstacles in the way. At these stations, each contestant would destroy a target with the AK-47, with an exception of the last one, where a single person had to take out two targets. Whichever team finished first would be victorious. Before participating in the challenge, the Red Team had to decide who to sit out on the Blue Team, due to having one less member. They ultimately decided on Jarrett Grimes. After this, the teams decided on their shooting orders, with the Blue Team choosing Mike Hughes and Paul to shoot at the third station. After Alex Charvat and Sara Ahrens had completed the second station, Paul and Mike made it through the pipe and water pit to grab the AK-47's and then crawled through mud to get to the third station. After Mike hit his target, Paul commenced firing at the other, hitting it in only a few shots. By this time, the Red Team had gained a lead over the Blue Team. Jake, the last shooter for the Blue Team, eventually made his way to the third station, grabbed the AK-47 from Mike, and sped towards the final station. However, Jake was not able to let any shots off before Chris Collins of Red Team hit the final two targets for his team, resulting in the first Blue defeat.
When the Blue Team returned to the house, they washed off and then held their first team meeting. It was difficult for many of the contestants to decide who to nominate, but many stated they would vote for Sara. Later, they arrived at the Nomination Range to vote two people into the Elimination Challenge by shooting the target bearing the name of that contestant. When Paul was called to vote, there was already a vote towards Dustin Ellermann and one towards Sara. He ended up voting for Sara based on her physicality. After everyone had voted, both Dustin and Sara were given the spots in the Elimination Challenge. The following day, the Blue Team departed once again to witness the challenge. Here, using the Smith & Wesson M&P .45, the contestants would shoot at red foe targets situated on a rotating cylinder while trying to avoid hitting the blue friend targets. Whichever of the contestants ended up hitting the most targets would be victorious and receive a $2000 gift card. In the end, Dustin became the victor, having gained 23 points in comparison to Sara's 11. Afterward, the Blue Team returned to the house, where Dustin nailed a blue target bearing Sara's name to the wall.