Piranha USP (unreliable)
RAP226 (now illegal in Canada)
Spyder MR2 w/T-board, Halo
2x KT Chasers w/1 extra magazine
Poor magazine retention system (fixed in newer Chasers)
I play woodsball, typically on a farm. As there are barns and buildings about the field, there tends to be close-ranged firefights. Therefore, I might overemphasize the importance of a pistol, as I have more need of one than a typical woodsball player.
I used to run with a RAP226, which was a decent .43 pistol, if inefficient with CO2 (to cycle the slide). However, due to Canadian firearms laws, I had to sell off my replica and replace it with something more legal. (I have heard plenty of people say that replica firearms are not illegal in Canada. As a historical reenactor, I assure you that they are.)
The timing couldn't have been better, since Kingman Training had released the Chaser and Eraser this year. Since I prefer Kingman markers, and am familiar with .43 paint, I bought the Chaser.
The box contains the marker, a magazine, extra parts, one hundred .43 paintballs, two 12 gram CO2 cartridges, a barrel plug, and a squeegee. There are also the usual compliments of manuals and registration cards, etc. The box isn't as nice as the pistol case that the RAP22g came with, but it's fairly organized. There aren't slots for extra magazines, so it's not meant as a carry box.
The pistol feels a little top-heavy due to the metal slide and internals balancing poorly with the plastic grip. However, I don't believe it interferes with the handling of the marker, which is very fast to bear, allowing easy acquisition of targets. The trigger has pretty average pull, and the marker has almost no kick. Overall, this leads to extremely good performance for a pistol.
Good handling lends itself well to accurate firing. Though the Chaser has a tiny barrel, it fires quite well, striking an opponent at 25 feet without much trouble. I haven't done proper accuracy testing, but it has done well on the field.
One my favorite things about the KT Chaser is its quiet operation. Shooting smaller paintballs with greatly reduced gas, there isn't much bark to the Chaser. While it might seem that relative silence isn't a big deal, consider that everyone else is letting rip with .68 markers, making so much noise that the KT's "pop, pop" isn't noticeable.
The Chaser operates somewhere halfway between a pistol and a Spyder marker. The bolt is charged by pulling back on the slide and letting it spring forward. A nine-round magazine fits into the grip, and is released by a button located on the grip. The safety is the same as you'd find on most mechanical markers, and should be familiar to most players. The internals are basically the same as you'd find in any Spyder, but scaled down.
NOTE: The magazine retention problems I've noted below are present on one but not both of my Chasers. Either the newer Chasers are better built, or my first pistol was just a lemon.
I have some issues with the magazine retention system on the Chaser. The magazine is held in the grip by two magnets, which are just strong enough to hold it in under most circumstances. However, the last thing you want is to swing your pistol around and watch the magazine go flying into a bush. To compound the problem, the magazine release button is positioned quite poorly, just under the trigger guard, and is so sensitive that if I so much as brush against it, it drops the mag.
Putting the marker in a holster can also be problematic, as the marker could shift as you move, and the button could rub against fabric and release the magazine. I have to insert my marker into my holster upside-down to ensure I don't lose my mag.
NOTES ON .43 PAINT
Be sure that you're playing on a field that allows .43 paint. Some don't, either due to insurance issues, or because they won't provide .43 field paint. Naturally, if you can't use the marker on your field, don't buy it.
People have complained about .43 paint not breaking -- I had the same issue with RAP4 paint. However, Kingman Training has vastly superior paint that works like a charm. I have had fewer bounces with KT .43s than I do with typical .68s.
That, however, is assuming engagement at "pistol ranges", which are about half what you'd expect from a .68 marker. The smaller paint doesn't travel as far as its larger cousin, as it has less mass and is traveling at roughly the same speed. This isn't an issue if you're using the pistol for CQB, however.
Lastly, there's cover avoidance. Smaller paint is more likely to fit between blades of grass, between wooden boards, or other cover. Just today, I fired at an opponent hiding behind a small bale of hay and hit him through it (not typical results -- good luck is necessary). When everyone else's shots are bursting in tall grass, you'll be able to get rounds on target.
EDIT: I should note that I have never had to change the CO2 cartridge in a typical four-hour day of paintball. I believe it's good for about sixty rounds, maybe seventy.
Overall, I have had a great time with my Chaser. It works quite well as a short-ranged pistol, it's quiet, accurate, and easy to use. Just as .43 paint fails at regular engagement ranges, it excels at CQB, and I have yet to see any .68 marker that can match it in a close-in firefight.
EDIT: My second chaser does not have magazine retention problems, thus giving me reason to raise the rating to 9.
There are problems, however. The magazine retention system is downright awful, and you may find your magazine hitting the dirt fairly often. If it weren't for this glaring flaw, I'd happily give the Chaser a 9/10 rating -- hopefully the issue will be resolved in future products.
As it stands, I'll give the Chaser a 7/10 -- for all that the marker excels at what it does, the magazine issue is a significant flaw in basic functionality.
9 out of 10
Last edited on Tuesday, January 11th, 2011 at 8:35 pm PST