PMI Trracer, PGP, both not nearly in the league of the Phantom
VSC Phantom with 45 grip, 14" stock barrel, and clear parts kit(main gun)
Spyder SE with 16" Dye Ironman Stainless Boomstick
Spyder TL+ Java Edition that uses the 16" Boomstick
"The Nemo Talon", Talon painted blue from the inside (just for fun, pump loaner)
Great out of the box, perhaps a 3.5oz CO2 tank if you don't want to mess with 12 grams, you may also wish to get direct feed for those times when you don't want to play stock class, you also will definitely need some 10rd tubes.
Durable, reliable, accurate, good looking, well built
Really none—autotrigger not stock class legal, but usually acceptable, lack of aftermarket upgrades
The Phantom is a venerable gun, a truly respectable piece of machinery.
For 4 years I used semi-automatic markers, then I decided not long ago that I was getting fed up with the Rate-of-Fire race and the Balls-per-second crap, and so I placed an order for a Phantom. I got mine from White Wolf Airsmithing for $250, that included the installed Clear Parts Kit.
I've played with it both in the backyard and two Saturdays in a row at the field, I can draw several conclusions thus far:
1. The Phantom never breaks balls. If a ball is broken, it is your fault. You either cut the ball in the breech by pumping incorrectly, had the velocity up, or had a terrible paint-to-barrel match. The Phantom will treat you well if you treat it well.
2. The Phantom turns heads at the field. You will always have a few people who are like "Dude is that a Phantom!", and then the majority will wonder what it is. They usually think it's pretty cool once you show them how you can pick off that small sign 30 yards away with one shot, and you can't deny that it just looks cool.
3. It is an extremely light gun. Even carrying 3 or 4 CO2 cartridges in one pocket and 5 or 6 10rd tubes in another, the Phantom will make you a faster player. Not only is it light, but also very low-profile. On speedball I have found I can have the Phantom sticking halfway out of the bunker and have little chance of being hit. In this way I can snapshoot much more effectively, since I just have to turn quickly around the side of the bunker.
4. IT WILL MAKE YOU A BETTER PLAYER. I have yet to pick up a semi since exclusively using the Phantom for just about 3 weeks, but I have gotten good with the Phantom, good enough to keep up with the semi players in most respects, and I am sure that once I pick up a semi again I will be a better, more conservative player. I'll update this review once I do play with a semi again.
I've heard people complain about the pump, it really isn't that bad, if you think it is bad perhaps you ought to lift some weights? Over time the pump gets smoother.
If you really have a problem with the pump, you can remove the return spring, although now you have nothing to spring the pump back forward once you have pumped it back. I left it on there, and I prefer it. The pump has gotten smoother and I like it very much.
I bought the Phantom initially as a way to improve my game and conserve paintballs...I have come to love it for what it is. It is the best built marker I have ever handled, it is rugged as a Pro-Carbine, while keeping the weight to a minimum. It is the most accurate marker I've ever used, I can literally pick off a gas pipe warning sign from 40 yards away, with one or two shots.
Don't have any qualms if you can afford it. The Phantom is the best marker value in the world, pump or semi.