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lvroolla99 Saturday, May 14th, 2005
Period of
Product Use:
Less than a month18 of 18 people found this review helpful.

2 years
Products Used:
Tested and demo'ed various Angels, Intimidators, Shockers, and Wraths.
Marker Setup: Out of the box stock except for a 3 year old Benchmark Rail drop-forward and short pull trigger mod. Four year old Revvy 9v.
Depends on level of play. For me, none.

*Edit May 21, 2005: Maybe a new, proven accurate barrel and more consistant regulator.
Strengths: Lightweight
Simplistic appearance
Easy to aim
Minimal Kick
Weaknesses: No external interfacing
Tricky Hoses
Quality control
Frame screws in awkward positions
Review: Edit: May 21, 2005.

After playing with the Ion on six different game nights, I now have a better idea about the marker. Here is an edit of my review after some more experience with the Ion.

Last night, I noticed the trigger frame was a tiny bit loose from the body of the gun which allowed some paint to sneak in between the frame and body and sit there. I decided to go ahead and completely disassemble the marker to clean it out and to check it out. Removing and reapplying the two frame screws was a pain in the a**. The screws are in fairly awkward positions so you don't have full rotation on the screws. Rather, you get maybe 1/3 of a turn and must readjust. When first inspecting the separation of the body and frame, i noticed the banjo bolts and air lines are held into place with NO wiggle room. Which means your air hoses will be stressed as you slightly move the body of the Ion to reach the banjo bolts for removal. I managed to create a leak in one of the air hose connections by moving around the hoses to make room for an allen wrench. Leak was quickly diagnoised and fixed.

After watching a disassembly video tutorial of the Ion, I noticed I was missing a part! I was missing a set screw used to hold the body to the frame that is located inside the body below the barrel. How could Smart Parts send out a product without counting all the damn screws on it first?? Although it is not a very important part (the two main screws already hold the body to the frame), it was still rather annoying that they forgot it. Quality control DEFINITELY dropped that ball in my book.

Tonight, I was able to shoot many other markers and compare it directly to my stock Ion running on HPA. There was another new Ion with a fancy regulator and barrel... Didn't shoot any better than mine. Played with a DYE DM4 and found that it only outperformed the Ion in terms of it's silence and more consistent shooting which is not enough reason for the price increase. I played with a stock Spyder Fenix ACS on HPA and found that it was *much* more accurate than my Ion although louder and heavier. I was very surprised and gave it the proper respect that was due. Finally, I played with my 5 year old stock Bob Long Millenium (Spyder clone). It was sad to say that this was the most accurate marker out of all that I tried with the Ion being 3rd on the list behind the Fenix. Playing with these variety of markers today gave me a better idea of where the Ion stood in the scheme of things. I ended up prefering my Bob Long Millenium due to the light weight and extremely thin body profile. It's sleak and simple body profile made me realize the Ion's fat plastic body cover really interfered with that would have been a skinnier marker. The Ion just wasn't as easy to aim as the Bob Long Millenium and it didn't feel as natural either.

Overall, I still like the Ion. I'm considering a proven barrel for it. The ROF in semi mode is plenty for me and I find that it is helpful in certain situations. The reliability and peace of mind of knowing that it will shoot and will not jam is also excellent to have. I still recommend this marker as a cheap and reliable marker which doesn it's job... but it is not without it's flaws. Even so, those flaws can be overlooked and I'm still happy with my purchase. I am downgrading the Product Rating from a 9 to an 8.

Original Review:

Returning to paintball after having played for two years with three years off proved to be a difficult ride. I found that my trusty Bob Long Millenium that I've been shooting before didn't have the reliability I once remembered so I opted to buy another marker and retire the Spyder clone to backup. I looked at and shot quite a few guns before finally deciding on an ION.

Coming back to the game, I never could see myself as an electro user spraying down the field in ropes and ropes of paint. It just isn't my style. I shoot only when it counts and a 200 round hopper full of paint will usually last me 3-5 indoor rec games. So I automatically ruled out buying any electro marker because I assumed they were only good for laying down paint like a garden hose sprays water. I looked at the autocockers mainly because they were a great performing mechanical marker having used them before. Right before settling on one, I posted for recomendations for markers in the 300-400 dollar range and one of which recommended was the ION.

I gave it a serious research review and found that everyone raved on and on about how many BPS it could handle for being a under 300 dollar marker. I wasn't interested in BPS so I passed it up... until I shot one.

Things have changed since my Bob Long Millenium. The ION blew me away and convinced me electro markers were not just for spraying paint. Upon first trying it, i found them to be accurate, reliable, small and compact, lightweight, and very very "tidy" with the right drop. Perfect for that agressive front player... me. My Spyder clone just wasn't reliable enough for me to play front effectively.

Afterwards, I got my hands on a Wrath and Shocker to test out and demo as potential markers. The Wrath just wasn't as "simple" and "plain jane" as the ION was. I like a minimalist design that effectively does the job. I don't like anodizing, shiny metals, or a ton of contraptions on my markers to make it look "cool". The Wrath seemed heavier and just didn't seem to lay down accurate shots and bursts like the ION would. Next, the Shocker performed great. No real complaints except the fact that the ION would and could do everything the Shocker could. I'm shooting 3 round bursts at the maximum and never play in full auto or rebound modes... so the extras of the Shocker wasn't worth the money to me. Not to mention they're not as small as the ION.

Autococker vs. ION... ION. Cheaper, simpler, more compact, lighter, electro mouse clicking trigger.

Using the ION at the field tonight felt very natural. With a 68/45 tank, the set up was a bit back heavy which was perfect for pulling up the light ION for snap shooting. Just rolled the tank butt right up the shoulder and lined up the shots. The front grip is in a comfortable position for use. Aiming down the sides of the marker was easy as there was nothing blocking the view. Well, except on the left of the marker... pressure guage. Not much considering all the garbage do-dads on other "fancy" markers. Snap shooting was a breeze.

Accuracy down the field was good, not excellent. It could have been the field paint. I haven't used other barrels to see any difference in accuracy. The stock barrel is very effective for range and accuracy, however. three out of three balls per burst would land where it was intended. Not intending to bonusball, but I was hitting people with 2-3 balls average per elimination at a distance bursting. The was virtually no kick in firing and the ION is quiet! Big bonus for me as it really feels like I have a quality designed piece of equipment on my hands.

Ease of use. Turn the power on, turn the power off. Simple. I'm not sure what everyone is saying about the difficulty of using the power button, but it was pretty da,m easy for me. It has no feedback feel to let you know you've pressed the button, but just use light pressure and be patient. The button is pressed. No need to try to push on it with all your might and damage the board. I used very light pressure with full finegred gloves on and never had a problem. However, I must point out that the power button is just a rubberized plastic disc placed over a LED membrane and that my power button was not aligned properly. A little to the left. Poor quality control or poor customer satisfaction policy to let something this stupid out the door.

Efficiency? my PMI 68/45 had 2.5x1000 psi left on the guage and after five games and 500 rounds later, my guage showed 1000 psi. Also, I mistakenly shot in Vision Mode Off settings the entire game thinking I had the eyes on. 500 rounds later and not a single break from playing with the eyes off and not even knowing it.

Adjusting between modes, 3 round burst, semi, full auto, rebound, seemed to be a waste of time. You have to remove one side of the grips to expose the board to make adjustments. This pretty much means a good five minutes. I'd like to have an external way of adjusment. The current design says, "cutting production costs" all over it. The again, it doesn't bother me that much. I don't use anything except semi mode. I'm not a paintball garden hose and most likely never will be.

The trigger allows adjustment for return tension and post travel distance. I made a ten cent mod to the trigger guard to nearly eliminate all return travel on the trigger. This gave the trigger the feel of clicking a mouse button. The good thing was that I didn't ruin my aim from messy pulls of the long trigger. The negative thing was that I kept discharging the gun by accident shifting the marker between left and right shooting positions. My first game, I must have accidentally shot the marker 10 times.

I will update this review as I put more game hours into the ION. I'm sure more positives and negatives alike will creep up.
Conclusion: Again, I am a minimalist. It looks like a simple, no-frills marker and that's exactly what I was looking for. I wanted something simple that would shoot well straight out of the box and was reliable enough for me to not worry about it up past mid field. The rubber design elements do not bother me but I wouldn't mind it if they weren't there at all. I would probably prefer that. The ION will meet the demands of those who go through half a case of paint per game reliably as demonstrated by so many others on the forums. It will also meet the demands of people like me who want an accurate, consistant, marker that is light weight and does it's job without the fuss. I never use the high ROF options on the marker so I could care less about it. My 9v Revvy kept up with the ION just fine. Shooting semi is bliss and the ION delivers.

I recommend one if you like small and tight set-ups that perform.
8 out of 10Last edited on Sunday, May 22nd, 2005 at 12:34 am PST

Review Comments
jc3191989 Saturday, May 14th, 2005 | 1:39 pm PST
you do know that the shocker is only 1.14lbs right? and the ion is 2.2lbs... so the shocker is a lot better. and the ion has 3 shot and full auto on it too.

jc3191989 Saturday, May 14th, 2005 | 1:44 pm PST
very good review though, that is going to help a lot of people

paintballa73 Saturday, May 14th, 2005 | 8:40 pm PST
he knows the ion has 3 rnd and fully

lvroolla99 Saturday, May 14th, 2005 | 11:53 pm PST
bearly over one pound weight difference does not justify the price difference between the shocker and the ion, in my opinion. that 1.14 pounds can be saved using a smaller tank such as a 45/45. the weight can be saved elsewhere. also, a 1 pound difference is not a big deal for a marker that is already light. just how i came to decide on my purchase.

jc3191989 Monday, May 16th, 2005 | 5:24 pm PST
Weight is a huge factor though. Look at the tippmanns, everyone rags on them cause they are so heavy and bulky, the lighter the gun, the faster you can snap shoot. faster you can move. I really like the ion. i'm just sayin that 1 pound can make a difference

autocockerkid99 Saturday, September 9th, 2006 | 6:00 pm PST
spyder fenix shot better then a ion? what kind of paint were you shooting? i had a fenix once and it was horrible. go buy some differnt paint or somthing cuz my ion shoots ffkn arrows. and any ways wtf do u mean it was missing a screw? ive never heard of that with any gun u probably just lost it. thumbs down on the review.
Last edited on Saturday, September 9th, 2006 at 6:05 pm PST

egghopperman Tuesday, February 20th, 2007 | 12:25 pm PST
I can assure you that the shocker performs drastically better than an ion because i own both of them. The shocker has better internals, an all aluminum body, much higher rate of fire and comes with the freak barrel. The ion is decent stock but the stock barrel and feedneck are garbage.

and if you prefer older mechanical shouldn't be playing speedball anyway
stick with you single hopper load and play in the woods
Last edited on Tuesday, February 20th, 2007 at 12:26 pm PST

McEd Tuesday, December 18th, 2007 | 10:28 pm PST
another great ion review, and isn't an aluminum body easier to scratch and heavier than then then composite? but the feedneck is a prob i agree there

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