Vector 939, Evol II hopper, Palmer Stabalizer, Micro Rock LPR
Regulator, Electronic Hopper
Accuracy, speed, stablity, ruggedness
Lack of aftermarket upgrades, very loud
First, the Vector doesn't belong in the blow back section. It's not a blow back, it operates very much like an autococker with a ram.
The Vector has all the best features of an Autococker without the autocockers shortcomings.
The Vector fires from a closed bolt, but at rest is in an open bolt, plus it has a selanoid 4 way instead of a mechanical. It is also literally impossible to short stroke.
How it works.
When the Vector is gassed up, it self cocks. The bolt is is open, the 4 way is set, and the trigger is reset. Clicking the trigger trips a sear, which starts a process controled by two other sears which opens the 4 way. This causes the bolt to close, once closed, the striker is released, this strikes the air release and the Vector fires. The 4 way valve timing the moves the bolt back into an open position and is ready to fire again.
A unique and very usefull feature is if the bolt encounters resistence when closing, such as hitting a ball or finger, the bolt stops, flipping the safety resets the 4 way which will open and allow the ball to fall or finger to be removed. Then the Vector is ready to fire.
You can't short stroke becaues the trigger only controls a sear. It's like a mouse click, even if you squeeze the trigger 100 times a second, until the 4 way has completed it's process or the safety is reset, which simply forces the 4 way to reset, pulling the trigger has no effect. You simply can't fire the marker faster than the timing will allow. The pull is about 1/16 of an inch. It is very crisp, but in stock mode is a bit too hard.
Because the Vector has so few moving parts, and these parts are light, there is very little movement when firing. This allows for great accuracy. Plus, it makes the Vector very easy to maintain. The things are like tanks, solid chunks of metal.
Which is one disadvantage, they are heavy. An empty Vector weighs 3.5 lbs. It has great balance, so this isn't too much of a problem.
Which its great accuracy and rate of fire, the Vector would make a good sniping or long range marker, but it is so loud that everyone knows where you are at. It has the sound of a .22 firing. While this can help if playing against newbies who are intimidated, it gives your position away against any experienced player. You can make changes that reduce the sound, but they require custom milling. The sound is caused by the air being compressed as it leaves, this was to provide good consistence with CO2 and Liquid CO2, but the velocity increases to beyond the speed of sound. With a regulator there is no need for this compression, but it's intergal to the marker and thus hard to change.
Of course, anything is hard to change on the Vector. They are all nearly 10 years old or more, many were made with such close tolerances that you can't even use parts from another Vector. All changes require custom millwork. You can't even get replacement barrels. The standard barell is terrific, one of the best ever made, but people like to change their markers.
Playing this weekend, I could easily outshoot the autocockers, both in rate of fire and accuracy. Hitting people at 75 yards was common, the consistency of each shot is good enough to place a ball on a very small target even at range. All you need to worry about is enough velocity at that range for a break.
Each one is a work of art, basically hand made, and more durable than any marker you've ever seen. You could litterally drive a tent stake with one. Of course, this is over kill on a paintball marker and adds to its weight.
The Vector is a 10 year old marker, but one where the basic firing mechanism is still superior to any found today. It's simple, accurate and has a great rate of fire. Someday, someone will use the same type of firing in an electric marker and have the ultimate marker. It would be as fast as any other electro, as accurate as any marker, and could be as light and small as the smallest markers out there.