I've decided to wait for a while before I Really wrote a review on this gun. This way I could give as accurate of a review as possible. After 1 year of use I've decided to share my insights. I've also decided to do a review on this based on MINIMAL upgrades (Barrel, hopper, trigger). And let us also keep in mind that this gun is targeted at a little higher end Entry level (I consider Brass eagle guns entry level. Nothing wrong with them for people JUST starting out in the sport). So it is very unfair to compare this gun with Angels, cockers, bushys, etc. BUT you can upgrade it to compete with many of these.
Out of the box the stock trigger is worthless. It is my personal opinion that the FEEL of a gun is 90% of everything. With an upgraded trigger like the Check-It Sweet Spot OR the Zenitram trigger you can make the trigger pull as light as a mouse click. For the price I don't think you can find a faster gun. Because of this you will HAVE TO get a motorized hopper capable of at LEAST 12-14 bps. nothing short of a revy 12v will do. I have an empire reloader, and with 14 bps full auto I have no problems with long strings of shots. Still a faster hopper would be nice (evo2 or halo B)
The frame itself is fairly comfortable, however there are little to no upgrades for the grips (ie. sticky grips). You can get replacement frame covers, but it's not quite the same. So the frame isn't AS comfortable as other options out there, but really it doesn't affect me personally. The frame also accepts Spyder Drop forwards. It is electronic with several firing modes such as turbo (fires semi until trigger pull gets fast enough then kicks in auto), semi, auto, burst. Semi and Auto are adjustable up to 20 BPS. VERY nice set of firing modes, don't have to worry about the frame limiting your speed. Takes one 9v battery. with decent batteries it seems to last quite a while. TAKE THE BATTERY OUT AFTER THE END OF THE DAY. I've been told your battery will drain if you leave it in there. If the gun has problems firing then there is a 90% chance it is because the battery is low or a sear related problem.
This gun comes with a gas through fore-grip and a bottomline regulator. Initially I only had the option to run co2. I'm thinking the CO2 messed up the regulator because nothing I do will make it adjust the PSI. With HPA you might have better luck. Keep this in mind because you might consider replacing the regulator with something better. Added costs, but in all honesty its not a necessity. Gun functioned fine for me with stock reg.
This features a Snap-Back bolt. Cock the bolt back and the cocking mechanism snaps back into the gun and stays stationary while firing. No beaver-tail required. Kinda hard to explain but it is very nice not having to worry about the bolt coming back and hitting your mask.
Stock barrel is adequate. There are two different barrels that people have been receiving. I had the 1 piece all black 12 inch barrel come with my gun. it has a very nice mirror finish and a fairly good sized bore, making it pretty good for cheap paint. Like most all other stock barrels you will get much better accuracy with an upgraded one. I bought a Dye Boomstick 14inch. But the stock barrel DOES shoot fine if you are just getting into the sport, and don't have the option of using marbs as your choice of paint. I've been using Wal-mart draxxus paint with VERY good results (diablo dusk in particular).
The gun also comes with an aluminum venturi bolt. I upgraded to a Delrin check-it bolt for higher flow and because delrin is much MUCH easier on the internals of the gun. Plus it will also have less kick (important for tight shot groupings).
Cleaning the gun is easy. It is VERY simple to remove the bolt and hammer to clean. I HIGHLY recommend that you take it apart and oil all the o-rings after each days use. Doing this allowed me to have one of the most reliable guns on the field. So it is not AS maintenance free as say a tippmann 98, but it also is a lot more complex. Love the gun and it'll love you back :) This is good practice if you get into higher end guns that can be very temperamental.
Seeing how this gun is a spyder clone it is compatible with almost all parts (trigger frame is the exception). This makes it VERY upgradable. You can change the Bolt, Trigger, Hammer, Springs, Valve, drop forward, feed neck, Volumizer, fore-grip, etc. At the end of all these upgrades this gun does compete with some very high end guns. If you start getting serious about the sport and end up getting a $1000+ gun eventually, this will make an EXCELLENT backup. Don't have to worry about the gun letting you down. But it is STILL a blow-back and will have all the limitations of being a blow-back. Because of the design of a blow-back, you have parts inside the gun slamming around. This causes noise and kick. But it also doesn't cost that much. I got mine for $180 exactly 1 year ago today.
For the price and the longevity you CANNOT go wrong with this gun. This isn't a brass eagle that you buy and toss once you get a replacement gun. This gun can evolve with your skills. Eventually if you REALLY take the sport seriously you will consider upgrading, but this can be said with even the highest end markers. There are guns that operate at lower PSI, have less kick, shoot more accurate, and are much quieter, but NOT For this price. If you are looking for a gun for your children that are getting into the sport, or a friend, etc then look no further. This is perfect.
I chose this over a kingman simply because I believe in the M3 company (M3 recently acquired by dragun international). It was very similar to kingman offerings (this came out first though) but I felt it was higher quality.
With all this said I should also note that M3 is now Dragun International (www.dragunempire.com). The Patriot series and the Sniper are no longer available (they ARE still honoring the warranties and support). There are alternatives that Dragun International provides that are almost identical, so this review applies for them almost as much as it does for this gun.