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Comments on Riddler's Review

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Riddler Tuesday, July 7th, 2009
Period of
Product Use:
3 months1 of 1 people found this review helpful.

Paintball
Experience:
More than 5 years
Similar
Products Used:
Just about everything on the market for the last 15 years.
Marker Setup: My Threshold is pretty much stock. I just use a barrel kit with it.
Recommended
Upgrades:
A good barrel kit.
Strengths: Well-made, simple, reliable, fast and smooth. DP has good CS as well.
Weaknesses: Small product run; not much aftermarket support.
Review: Even though I was taking a bit of a break from the sport at the time, I remember the launch of the Threshold. I very nearly pre-ordered one. The design, appearance and early feedback on the performance were very appealing, particularly at the $550 level. At the time, DP was a relative unknown, one of many companies competing in the stacked-tube poppet bracket. They hadn't yet made a name for themselves.

I came back to paintball this year after a little hiatus. I had sold off most of my equipment, so I decided to pick up a new marker or two. The Threshold had stuck in the back of my mind from late 2007, and though it was a limited run marker that had already been discontinued, I decided that I still wanted to try one, and the price was right, so I picked one up gently used.

I could talk about the packaging, allen wrenches, key chain, etc., that DP includes, but I honestly don't find any of that stuff all that important. It's fluff.

On to the gun itself. As you all well know, the marker has some pretty intricate milling. It's an organic design, probably one of those 'love it or hate it' type things, but I dig it. The milling itself is well done. There are very few tool marks, less than expected in something so intricate. It is quality work. Performance is most important, and I'll get to that soon enough, but style is important too. The gun gets an A in the aesthetics department.

The Threshold is designed on an electropneumatic, unbalanced spool valve platform. I won't go too deep into the specifics; the basic overview is that it works a lot like a blowforward such as an automag. A constant supply of air is fed to the rear cap of the marker, behind the bolt. This pressure wants to push the bolt forward and fire the marker. A small supply of air provided by a solenoid holds the bolt back until you pull the trigger, at which point the board tells the solenoid to switch the air off for a few milliseconds, which allows the pressure behind the bolt to push it forward, chamber a ball, and fire the marker. The solenoid switching the air back on resets the bolt. A couple other markers built on this firing platform are the Ion and Freestyle.

For a little gun, the Threshold is surprisingly well-balanced. It's very comfortable to hold and shoot, both stationary and on the run. The 45 frame is plenty large enough for my big hands, and the stock grips are quality stuff. Other than the solenoid switching, the marker only has one moving part – the bolt. Combining a well-balanced marker with very little reciprocating mass means that it has virtually no kick when fired, which helps put paint on paint during rapid fire.

People talk about markers being accurate. This term is somewhat misleading, because it usually refers to single shots. By that definition, any paintball marker can be accurate. That sort of accuracy is dependent upon user familiarity with the marker and some small amount of velocity consistency.

Consistent shooting, however, the ball-on-ball stuff we demand from performance markers, requires a stable shooting platform and excellent consistency. I've already mentioned the marker's excellent balance and low kick. It also has a tremendous stock regulator, which makes it very consistent. At a recent scenario game, even with some inconsistently-sized paint (which messes with your paint-barrel match and therefore your velocity consistency), I was averaging +/- 2fps over the chrono. The reg's consistent airflow and fast recharge rate allowed me to dump large amounts of paint during rapid fire with pinpoint accuracy. My only gripe about the regulator is how sensitive the adjustment is. Just a quarter-turn can swing the velocity 20 or 30 fps.

Most spoolers get pretty poor efficiency. The Threshold actually isn't too bad. In my couple days out with the marker, my average is in the neighborhood of 1000-1100 shots from a 45/45 bottle.

Efficiency is a quality of varying importance to different people. It is really important to people playing renegade ball, for example, who have to last all day on one fill; but it matters a bit less to those who go to fields and can get fills between games. I've been both player types, so I do value efficiency pretty highly, even though right now I'm pretty much just playing scenario ball and can get fills when I need them.

The importance of efficiency to me is this: If I can comfortably shoot all the paint I carry onto the field without worrying about running out of air, I'm happy. It does that.

The stock board is the weak point of the marker, in my opinion. Let me clarify that. It doesn't have any real flaws. It's just.... average.

One external button controls the power and the anti-chop eyes. Holding it down powers the marker on and off, and tapping it toggles the eyes. Adjustments are made via dip-switches, which feels a bit dated. The board has a bunch of modes to choose from, including semi and several ramping, full auto and tourney modes, and has adjustable dwell and ROF. There is no debounce setting, but I haven't had any bounce issues, so I suspect that the factory debounce setting is high enough to prevent all bounce in a property-tuned marker. The only thing that I see this board lacking is the ability to edit, or create new modes, such as for tourney formats that are always changing their rules. There's no option for updating the board's firmware (such as via a mini USB). I typically play in 25bps semi, and it's fast as hell for me, so I cannot complain too much about the board, but I do feel it's the weakest point of the marker.

The stock trigger is a blade variety. It's nice enough, and is a bit adjustable. The stock board uses an optical sensor to detect trigger pulls. It's totally personal preference, but I'm usually a microswitch man. After a few days of play, I'm starting to like it a lot better than I did at first, and can make it sing pretty well.

The Threshy comes with a decent stock barrel. I'd still recommend a barrel kit to ensure a good paint/barrel match, but you can safely put away the kit when paint fits the stock barrel. It's rather nice. The marker's standard features also include the signature DP locking feedneck and RAPS, which are pure awesomeness.
Conclusion: All in all, the Threshold is an enormous bang for your buck. As I mentioned above, the board is the weakest point of a great gun, and that's only because it's a bit basic. Design and construction are excellent, performance is top-notch, and the Threshy has a slew of great stock features. DP hit the nail squarely on the head when it released this marker, and I honestly think this gun is what catapulted the company to success. For this price bracket, it's that good.
Rating:
9 out of 10
 

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