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npk8927 Tuesday, April 26th, 2005
Period of
Product Use:
Less than a month35 of 39 people found this review helpful.

More than 5 years
Products Used:
I've never used a gun similar to this other then firing a hopper's worth on a Mini-Mag.
Marker Setup: SP Ion(Black)
64/3000 PMI Nitro tank
CP Regulator (long)
16" SP All-American Standard AA Front
18" SP All-American Freak Front
WGP ASA drop-forward
Fast Hopper
Aftermarket Regulator
Strengths: - Cheap
- Light & rugged
- Very quiet
- High rate of fire
- Easy maintenance
- Accurate & consistent
Weaknesses: - Pain to switch between modes on the fly
Review: Alright, I started playing paintball back in the fall of 1997. My first and only marker is the good ole' Spyder Compact A. It's the only marker I've ever used and to this day it still serves me well, but it's starting to see the end of its days. I did what every person with a Spyder does, buy a ton of aftermarket mods for it. Expansion chamer, new barrel, bolt, double trigger, you name it. Unfortunately after years of use I've got problems getting a proper seal inside the chamber now due to the bolt having eaten away at the housing. So I finally decided it was high time to purchase another gun.

Now I randomly jump back into paintball here and there, still don't get to play as often as I'd prefer, but I get chances to play heavily for a few months out of the year. I've been thinking about purchasing a new gun for a while now. For the past few years I'll check out what new equipment is on the market, maybe do a bit of research, and think I've settled on my next upgrade, but for some reason I'd always get cold feet. I've always wanted something that peforms better then my trusty Spyder, but most of the guns that do that just cost way too damned much.

So I guess I bided my time in a rather unintentional way until a really stellar marker was finally created that ended up suiting my needs. Low and behold I hit one of my seasonal time frames where I jump back into the sport with a group of buddies that have all decided to purchase Spyders. Well the temptation to acquire a new mark reared its ugly head once again. So as I've done before, I began to scour the internet and magazines searching for a potential candidate to satisfy my new gun cravings.

At first I thought, maybe and A-5, but the price was a little much versus what I considered to me an alright performance. I got to try one out at the local field, it was neat, but I felt my Spyder served me as well as the A-5 could have. Well the notion of getting a new Spyder came up (since all my buddies were getting totally new, completely supped up versions of my first gun). I had actually set my mind on exactly what Spyder I wanted to purchase, when browsing through some retailer's website, I stumble across a Smart Parts section. I thought to myself, I wonder if they still sell the old shocker (the big black beast) because I had always dreamed of owning one back in the day. Well I find out they've been extinct for a long while and have been replaced with some thousand dollar job. Then I see the Ion. Hmmm, whats that? So I check it out. Three hundred bucks, not too shabby. High-end marker for an unbeatable price you say, not bad at all, But would it be everything it's cracked up to be? Well after conducting alot of research (articles, reviews, videos) I got really excited. I finally decided that this may be the gun I'm looking for.

So I got my funds in order, found a retailer that had them instock, and placed my order. Now after having read through tons of reviews, I realized there might be a couple of upgrades that I should purchase right off the bat. With the gun, I ordered a new barrel (good ole' All-American), a new regulator (hearing that CP was probably the best on the market), a fancy hopper (Egg 2 was a good deal), and a nitro tank (felt good to finally move up from CO2, being an upgrade to me).

So I get my initial batch of new toys in, slap it all together (after having read the manual, which sucks, and remembering other screw-up stories of new Ion owners), and head out to the local field to test her out.

Well, after firing about 1000 rounds through the gun on the firing range, all I can say is I was in an utter state of awe and amazement. It was quiet, it consistent, it was fast as hell, and its was totally accurate. Now mind you, I've been playing with a Spyder for eight years now, and it never shot like this gun.

So I then jump in few a few games, and for the first time in a long while, I felt like I was unstoppable. Anywhere I wanted to hit , the gun would hit there. If I needed to lay down covering fire, I'd burn through a hopper in less then a 45 secs (which is fast enough for me). The gun was simply a godsend.

After a full days play and a little over a case of paint, I chronoed her in once more for a consistency check, and found I was shooting roughly +/-5-7 BPS. This is leaps and bounds ahead of my Spyder. Since I've been using it, not once have I ever chopped a ball, which is amazing to me.

I always play woods-ball and a requirement for this type of environment is a rugged gun that can take a beating. The Ion seems to me to be very durable. I'm not scared of damaging it in the slightest. Good maintenance habits are a must, but they are with any gun, but I'm pretty confident that if it gets banged a bit, you won't have any problems dusting her off and getting back into the fight. If you're into speed-ball, the rate of fire is fast enough that you can lay down a decent volume of paint, enough to compete with more expensive guns. ROF isn't a huge issue for me, however, since I try to play relatively conservatively. But I warn you, you will find yourself laying down more paint then usual ( so be prepaired to by more paint then you normally would).

Now having gotten to play a couple more times with it, I do realize that there are a couple of problems, but they can be overlooked if you are pretty easy going about these sorts of things. First off, the access to mode changing. This is my biggest beef. I've seen other guns with buttons that allow you to change the mode of fire on the fly. The Ion does not allow this (have to open the trigger frame). Maybe an after-market handle will provide this comfort later on, and if so, I'll be first in line. Second, doesn't bother me, but it bothers some people, the look of the gun isn't fancy enough for them. Now I've always played woods ball, and to be running around with some neon blue or hot pink marker is simply retarded in my eyes. Black has always been my choice and frankly performance is more important. If you care about a gun that catches the eye, it may not be for you, but if not, then this shouldn't be an issue.

I did end up also buying a drop-forward and an asa with an on/off valve. The stock duck-bill forces a clunky nitro tank to far into your forearm and shouldering with it creates a much larger profile then you'd want. Also, with the gun being as light as it is (2.2lbs) it felt poorly balanced with the duck-bill. A decent drop-forward purchase totally solved all these problems. Now the gun feels much better when loaded up, the damned tank is no longer in the way, and shouldering is much easier. The on/offf valve I really recommend, as well, to save O-rings.

Conclusion: After having played with what some consider (including myself) to be an average rec gun for 8 years, the Ion was a vast improvement to my paintball arsenal. I've felt I've really achieved the most bang for my buck with this marker. I realize that some of the hardcore players out there may think that it'll never live up to some 1000 dollar marker, and they're probably right, but in my eyes, the Ion fits the bill. If you're a casual player (especially into woodsball - with a need for a rugged marker) with your eyes on a serious upgrade, there is not a better gun on the market for you. Pick one up, go out and play for a day, and I'll guarantee you'll leave the field with a feeling that every dollar was well spent.
9 out of 10

Review Comments
npsquire1 Friday, April 29th, 2005 | 10:15 pm PST
"I've seen other guns with buttons that allow you to change the mode of fire on the fly. The Ion does not allow this (have to open the trigger frame)."
The reason this isn't allowed is the fact that the Ion was intended to be a tourney gun, so this was to prevent the change of firing modes during a tourney.

fl_799 Friday, May 6th, 2005 | 3:11 pm PST
Originally posted by npsquire1
"I've seen other guns with buttons that allow you to change the mode of fire on the fly. The Ion does not allow this (have to open the trigger frame)."
The reason this isn't allowed is the fact that the Ion was intended to be a tourney gun, so this was to prevent the change of firing modes during a tourney.

And this is stupid since most people buying these play recball and would like an easier way to set the modes without having to deal with taking off half the grip. Even the E-Spyder's have external mode selection and an internal tourney lock for this very reason.

Nice review NPK. May your old spyder "RIP"!

De4d On Targ3T Tuesday, November 1st, 2005 | 9:27 pm PST
nice review

Ion Crazy Monday, June 26th, 2006 | 11:08 am PST
What is the stock dwell set on I just got a qev and getting a Firebolt help me with these settings? Thank you ION

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