Multiple flavors of Spyder
Early Angels (pre-04)
Ion with CP Trigger, CP On/Off ASA, CP Clamping Feedneck, Redz Pepperstick 12" Barrel, Spyder Fasta 18v Hopper
Feedneck, On/Off ASA, new barrel
Volume of Fire
I've been a recball player since college, playing every once in a while generally with a stock automag or an archaic but tricked Spyder. I've tried out several markers in this class and above, pretty much every one I could get my hands on. I settled on buying an Ion after getting buried in paint one day at the field and realizing my trusted but ancient markers were no longer usable for my playstyle. I also wanted to treat myself to a decent marker.
The Ion is a much maligned marker. I purchased mine stock (save for an aftermarket trigger) and used from eBay with 68/45 tank and Fasta hopper. I was non-plussed by the plastic shroud, but that passed quickly when I compared the heft of it to the automag. Before I even shot it, I replaced the duckbill with an On/Off ASA and the feedneck with a CP clamping feedneck, as the Fasta hopper didn't fit the OEM feedneck at all. I shot a hopper through it, and it felt good. Consistent at the chronograph with the stock LPR; +/- 2 FPS. The gun seems to handle 17 bps without issue, and has a reasonably nice staccato sound when it reaches that rate. Virtually no physical response from the gun when firing (no kick), very stable despite it's relatively light weight (I'm a big guy though, so light may be relative). The stock barrel is decent, though the Redz barrel I threw on there did give some performance improvement.
It's not a top-flight marker. Better players with better markers still beat me in a shootout. However, it's all but ideal for the recball player; cheap enough to splurge on, nice aftermarket options, reasonably fast and very reliable (in my experience). I can play all day without my arm feeling like it's going to fall off, but it doesn't feel wimpy like a lot of light weight markers do. It's as fast as if not faster than most of the other owners I play with, but mellow enough to avoid overshooting (for the most part). It's very paint tolerant, as I tend to shoot the cheapest stuff I can find that isn't banned at the local fields. It's obviously faster than anything a Tippmann can do, and of course outshoots any Spyder I've tried.
I've seen Ions at the field that have problems. I can't really speak to that, as I've not faced the same issues with mine, but I know others have had trouble. I tear mine down and clean and regrease it after every day at the field, and I attribute some of it's all but flawless record to being well maintained. Teardown isn't bad, though it's not necessarily easy either. You do have to tear it down completely to get to the bolt, a minor annoyance for me.
I've now played with it for a year, and it's still running like clockwork. It runs down batteries in a hurry, which is an annoyance. Gas efficiency seems decent enough, nothing out of the ordinary with that.
The bottom line is this marker puts you at the upper end of the performance curve for recball play. It's a good intermediate marker with plenty of potential. It's not high end, but it's as good as anything at this price point. I have recommended it to friends and collegues looking to spend a little for a lot more performance.