The Kingman Fenix Spyder paintball gun is best described as affordable and reliable. It sells for around $150, making it one of the cheaper paintball guns on today’s market. Below, we delve into the marker’s specifics to determine whether it is worth purchasing.
The Spyder Fenix’s valve system really separates it from other markers in its price range. The gun has a special Eko valve system with a highly unique technology that is only available on Spyder markers. The valve empowers the marker to rip off upwards of 1,600 shots with a 20 oz CO tank. This is about double the shot capacity of the average tank. The Spyder Fenix’s impressive shot total is made possible by the low pressure dual source air system that creates an expanded capacity without sacrificing power. The masterminds at Spyder like to refer to this bit of magic as the “synergy of engineering”.
The marker has an electronic trigger frame that allows the player to change between semi-automatic quick ramping (either Ramp PSP or Ramp Millenium) in an efficient manner. This is the type of marker flexibility that every paintball player deserves. Its clamping feedneck allows it to rip off 25 balls per second. It is worth pointing out that some players have complained about the 3 way response magnetic response trigger not being as responsive as desired. Just about everyone agrees that the marker is much too loud when fired.
There’s also a Break Beam Eye technology that functions as an anti-chop system. This prevents the gun from firing paintballs until they are properly settled into the chamber. It really does stop the balls from chopping and enhances the marker’s cleanliness. Other features include a color access mode display, dual textured panels, a vertical adapter, a velocity adjuster and an adjustable inline regulator that permits quick charges.
The Spyder Fenix is made of sturdy materials yet it is not excessively heavy. It is actually 25 percent lighter and 15 percent shorter than its previous incarnation. The new design facilitates quick play, empowering players to avoid the time consuming management required of complicated features.
The marker’s grip has more girth than most competing markers, especially those in the Spyder Fenix’s low price range. While it would be a gross mischaracterization to label this grip as uncomfortable, players with slight hands might find its thickness to be troublesome. You should definitely hold the marker in your hands before plunking down the $150 that it costs.
You can use this marker right out of the box without much fiddling. However, it is important to point out one caveat. The Spyder Fenix requires some breaking in. It will not provide elite performance during the first use. Head on out and rattle off a few thousand test paintballs to allow the Spyder Fenix to hit its stride.
The Spyder Fenix has an LEP circuit board that supports its Break Beam Eye technology and an array of other features. There is also a 9 volt alkaline battery that helps the marker function as designed. Unfortunately, the charge does not last nearly as long as the average paintball player desires. Yet the Spyder Fenix can be loaded with a 9.6 volt rechargeable battery for extra power. It is prudent to have a second battery on hand so that a quick switch can be made in the mix of battle.
The Spyder Fenix is very easy to clean. Such a statement might seem rather unimportant but in the world of paintball markers, it holds ample weight. Anyone who has attempted to disassemble a paintball gun and give it a good cleaning knows that all guns are not created equal. Plenty of expensive high end markers are annoyingly difficult to clean. Remember, if you can’t keep the marker clean, it will not operate as designed.
The Spyder Fenix has a top cocking bolt engineered with a quick strip functionality. It hardly takes any time at all to remove the bolt and clean out the marker’s inner parts. Also, the rear plug is tool free. This means that maintenance procedures can be handled in mere minutes. If you ever have trouble with your Spyder Fenix all you have to do is dial up Kingman’s customer service line. Kingman is revered for its top notch commitment to high quality customer service. The company has been in the paintball business since 1992. Its customer service representatives really know their stuff. They go to great lengths to troubleshoot marker issues in an attempt to solve your problem and earn your continued loyalty.
There are plenty more criticisms of the Spyder Fenix aside from the aforementioned battery issues and noise pollution. Players have complained about the marker’s Spyder style threads, its odd air source fittings, the lack of an on/off ASA, the absence of a quick release on the macro line fittings and the fact that they can’t change the programmed firing modes. Many fault Kingman for equipping the Spyder Fenix with macroline which is not found on the company’s other markers. The macroline is the line of air that extends from the ASA all the way to the regulator. Players have expressed frustration with having to use a wrench to remove it.
While the Spyder Fenix’s bargain basement price will attract paintball newbies, you will also see veteran players rocking the marker as well. It brings just enough to the table in terms of features, reliability and overall value to attract players of varying skill levels. The marker has its flaws but it is one of Kingman’s best sellers for good reason. It looks good, shoots with respectable accuracy and does not bust a player’s budget.
Planet Eclipse’s Etek 4 paintball gun will set you back between $400 and $550. It is available in two different models: LT and AM. The LT version constitutes the base model. It is lighter and a bit longer than the AM. While the LT is made of aluminum and glass reinforced nylon fiber, the AM (all metal) is constructed with only aluminum. The AM costs more than the LT. The Etek 4 is available in a couple different colors including blue – black, Earth – black, red – black, forest – black and plain old black.
This marker’s build is basically a single piece design with updated milling. There is now a male front regulator mount (FRM) built into the body that is compatible with the SL3 regulator. The marker’s aluminum is T6-6061 grade, which means that it is very light and durable. The LT version’s glass reinforced nylon fiber is extremely rigid. The grips are very soft and provide optimal comfort.
The Etek 4 has a nifty angled regulator swivel like those used on Ego markers. Many will question whether the Etek 4 is really worth the extra money when the Etek 3 has significantly dropped in price. The truth is that if you already own an Etek 3, upgrading to the Etek 4 is likely a waste of your money. For everyone else who does not own an Etek paintball marker, the Etek 4 is absolutely worth your consideration. All in all, the Etek 4 is a slightly modified edition of the Etek 3 with a couple of minor alterations including a new regulator and ASA.
The Etek 4 is a very high tech marker. It has a SMC solenoid connected to its body. There is a filter within the minifold that connects to the regulator. This prevents dirt and other debris from sliding inside of the gun. The Etek 4 even has 3 color LEDs that improve the marker’s programming processes. The board can be programmed for a wide range of firing modes including Ball in place, Dwell, Eyes Off ROF and Capped ROF. The Etek 4 is considered to be a mid-level tournament marker so it is easily programmed to comply with all different types of tournament regulations.
The Etek 4 has a Deftek Feed system that actually rolls the paintballs into the marker’s chamber instead of dropping them in. The slightly offset feed rolls ball after ball into the breech so that no bouncing occurs while the hopper force feeds and the bolt resets. Once a paintball moves through the Deftek, the marker’s Break Beam Sensor System verifies its presence, prevents chopping and permits the actual firing of the ball once it is in the breach. There is even a quality control subroutine that is engineered to clear away impediments.
The Etek 4 uses the same Cure Bolt as the Ego marker. It can also accept upgrade bolts like the Cure 3+ and the Cure 4. These bolts all seamlessly fit into the marker’s body and rear space. The Cure Bolt succeeds in shooting paintballs without any breakage in the feed and breech. The marker also has the Zick2 Rammer with a special cap that is only found on the Etek4.
Prospective buyers will be happy to know that the marker contains a regulator commonly used on paintball guns that cost two times as much money. The SL3 is used on markers like the Geo 2.1, the CSL and the Ego 11. It can be paired with any style of tank and swapped between different pressure levels without any internal or external modifications or a significant output change.
This marker has the exact same ASA as the Etha paintball marker which is also made by Planet Eclipse. It is an “OOPS” low profile on and off purge style valve that has been engineered with a hose exit mounted on the front. It twists quite easily to open and mounts nicely to the marker’s slot rail. The gun is also compatible with the POPS ASA as well.
The Etek 4 is built with a Shaft4 barrel that has a diameter of .693”. This is basically the same barrel used on the Ego Shaft 4 marker and the Geo marker. Pick up the Shaft4 Boost Kits and you will be able to mix and match as you desire.
The marker’s trigger is a standard reverse curve that clips nicely into the holding frame. It is fully adjustable so you can alter it to your heart’s content until you find the ideal position. The trigger is self lubricating and is built with a magnetic return for greater fluidity. Players can even adjust the magnetic return strength if desired.
This is a nicely balanced, lightweight marker that stands the test of time. In terms of disadvantages, the Etek 4 does have a substantial kick when fired. Many players complain that the standard trigger is not very comfortable. Expect malfunctions to occur when the marker’s battery is low on juice.
If you love paintball and can afford to spend around $500 on a paintball gun, you should consider the Etek 4. It is chock full of high tech niceties that tournament players adore. Those who are new to paintball and those who do not take the sport very seriously should look elsewhere for a more affordable marker.
The Tippmann US Army Project Salvo is one of the more affordable paintball guns on the market. It costs between $149 and $170. This marker is basically a Tippmann 98 Custom. Tippmann has invested over a decade’s worth of time, effort and money refining the 98’s design. Those who are familiar with Tippmann paintball markers will testify to the 98’s reliability and its proven design.
While many argue that this marker was designed strictly for military simulation fanatics and those who desire to engage in firearms training simulations, the average paintballer should not be ruled out of consideration. This US Army licensed product is more than merely a gun for military geeks. It looks cool, it is fun to play with and it is extremely cheap. There is no doubt that the marker has some mass appeal, albeit a bit limited in scope. Let’s take a closer look at what differentiates the Tippmann US Army Project Salvo from the 98 and other markers.
The Tippmann US Army Project Salvo is built with a standard 11 inch anodized quick thread barrel, rails, shroud and stock. It is a .68 caliber marker that can be paired with the typical paintballs that are available at local stores. Yet many of those who have played with the Tippmann US Army Project Salvo advise others to use high quality paintballs as the lower to mid-end balls can compromise the marker’s firing mechanism. This mechanism is a semi-automatic open bolt blow back style system that operates on CO2, nitrogen or highly pressurized air.
The marker has a cycle rate of 8 paintballs per second. The front shroud has 4 picatinny rails along with a built-in sling mount to facilitate the attachment of accessories. There is also an aluminum die cast receiver, a stainless steel gas line and a high quality in-line bolt system.
The marker shoots like most others in its price range except it is relatively quiet. Some players have mentioned that there is a bit of a left hand pull that has to be compensated for. The marker can be used in military simulations involving team tactics or, alternatively, by the average woodsball player. However, it has a low fire rate and a fairly burdensome weight so it should not be used by those who play speedball.
Tippmann claims that the marker’s range is over 150 feet. Yet those who have used the gun are adamant that this is an exaggeration. The truth is that range depends on a number of variable including the player’s skill level, the air pressure used and weather conditions.
Numerous upgrades are available. Many opt to upgrade with the eGrip. Some shell out $60 for a Cyclone hopper to replace the disappointing standard gravity fed hopper. Others choose to upgrade with their unique choice of electronic hopper. Players often add sights, foregrips (like the Alpha Black E-Grip), tactical flashlights, bipods and tripods. You can also upgrade the barrel to something like a 14 inch J&J ceramic barrel. It is important to note that some players have complained that the barrel shroud impedes a number of barrel replacements and other modifications.
Aside from its rock solid reliability, the marker is widely lauded for its dexterity. It is multi-positional and has a standard folding stock. When measured from the breach, the stock is capable of collapsing down to just over 11 inches. It can expand to a little over 14 inches. When completely folded down, only and inch and a half emerges from the breach.
Those who use the Tippmann US Army Project Salvo tend to rave over its look. It is created in the mold of a US Army AR15 firearm. It looks just as good, if not better, than most of the customized milsim markers used at paintball fields around the world.
Players also love the marker’s feel. It weighs nearly 9 pounds when loaded with paintballs, but it still feels comfortable in the player’s hands. It rests nicely against your shoulder when you lift it for a carefully aimed shot.
It Is Far from Lightweight
As mentioned above, the marker is fairly heavy, coming in at about 8 and a half pounds when loaded up with paintballs. This is an issue for players of diminutive stature, especially youngsters and some women. Those who play extensive matches or play on back to back days often opt to connect the Tippmann US Army Project Salvo to a sling for shoulder, arm and hand relief. Yet it should be noted ballers can reduce the marker’s weight without compromising its functionality by removing some of its unnecessary parts and/or upgrades that have been tacked on by the player.
A Disappointing Hopper
Plenty of players are not content with the marker’s standard gravity fed hopper. Experienced paintballers agree that this style of hopper often causes what is known as the “shaking technique” during the midst of battle. Yet the problem is ameliorated with the use of a Cyclone hopper.
A Difficult Disassembly Process
Some players have complained that the Tippmann US Army Project Salvo is fairly difficult to disassemble. While this is not a universally held opinion, many players have aired their qualms with the gun’s design. This is actually a common complaint amongst those who are loyal to the Tippmann 98 product line. These markers tend to break down quickly and they are a pain to reassemble as the internal components are subjected to an egregious amount of pressure.
Be careful when you disassemble the marker as the slightest move in the wrong direction can cause parts to fly everywhere. Don’t even try to take the gun apart while you are in the field. Work on it at home with the marker’s maintenance pack easily accessible. It includes a spare tank o-ring, an approved barrel sleeve, a cleaning cable and an Allen wrench set.
Dye Precision’s Proto Rail is a solid marker for entry level and mid-level paintballers. While those who play the sport at a high level of competition likely won’t be satisfied with this marker, those who are casual players or new to the game will enjoy it. Dye Precision is known for selling high end markers yet the Proto Rail sells for about $250, so it won’t break the bank. Dye Precision actually created Proto as a subdivision in order to sell paintball guns under a new name that has more of a mainstream marketability to “lay” style players. While the Proto Rail is affordable, it does not excessively scrimp on quality or technology. This is a solid marker in nearly every aspect.
The Proto Rail is a bit more diminutive than the popular ETEK marker. Yet it is larger than some other guns on the market, making it a mid-range marker in terms of size. The Proto Rail is built with a solid aluminum hourglass Ultralite Ergonomic Frame. This straight edged marker has a wide range of features including an eye pipe system that prevents the accumulation of debris and dirt, an adjustable clamping feedneck, lasers within the chamber that guard against ball breakage, an 11 inch Proto barrel and an LED circuit board.
The Proto Rail is a beautifully anodized gun is sold in a chic looking box that lifts your hopes as soon as you see it. This is one of the most attractive paintball markers on today’s market thanks to its sharp lines, aggressive curves and general sheen. You will be hard pressed to find a more aesthetically pleasing marker in the Proto Rail’s price range. The fact that players love to shoot it makes it all the more alluring. The marker is available in a wide variety of colors including black, blue, clear, olive, orange, red, lime, purple and tan.
While the marker looks rather heavy, it is surprisingly light once you have it in your hands. It weighs a mere two pounds once the tank, loader and barrel are put in place. It feels well balanced and won’t slide along your hands thanks to its comfortable handle grip. This grip is the same as those found on high end Dye Precision markers such as the Dye DM14.
Like all Dye and Proto guns, the Proto Rail features the Hyper 3 regulator. This feature is the catalyst for the marker’s optimal performance when compared to guns in a similar price range. It provides respectable air efficiency operating at 155 psi. This .68 caliber autococker electro-pneumatic marker shoots 15-18 balls per second with reliable accuracy. There are four tournament modes that can switch and a very handy auto fire feature. Players have expressed their appreciation for the fact that there is enough space to finger spray. Players can even can adjust the Proto Rail’s aluminum trigger length as desired.
Unfortunately, many ballers have described the Proto Rail as a “gas hog”, so you will likely choose to play with a larger tank than you have grown accustomed to with your past markers. Yet the Proto Rail creates little kick back upon fire and it really feels like a true extension of your arms and hands.
Many paintballers have commented that the Proto Rail shoots similarly to antiquated markers that were first used in competitive play. Do not misconstrue that statement as a veiled jab. It is actually a compliment as many hardcore paintball players still use those guns and dominate the competition with them. It is worth noting that the Proto Rail can be used in a tournament thanks it its PSP standards.
The marker’s box contains a complete color manual, lube, Allen-wrenches, a warranty card, a barrel bag, the aforementioned 11 inch barrel and the marker itself. The typical Proto Rail paintball gun will operate beyond half a million total shots thanks to its 9 volt battery which provides 40,000 additional shots. Those who perform regular cleaning and tuning of the marker will find that the marker’s parts last for years. The Proto Rail also comes with uber-cool color coded o-rings to facilitate maintenance procedures.
The Proto Rail is compatible with the vast majority of feeders and hoppers on today’s market. Unfortunately, other batteries and some parts beyond feeders and hoppers are not compatible with the marker. However, a wide number of Dye replacement grips are available in all sorts of colors. The barrel can also be replaced. Peruse the web and you will find that there are plenty of rail board upgrades as well. These include Tadao and Hater. You can also add a new aluminum bolt cap, an on/off rail mount asa, new grips for color coordination and macroline / fittings that permit easier access to the marker’s regulator.
While the Dye Precision Proto Rail might not be jam packed with the latest high tech features that highly competitive paintball players desire, it is an excellent starter gun. It feels nice in your hands, shoots accurately and has impressive durability.
An appropriate analogy for the Proto Rail is the Mini Cooper automobile. The Mini Cooper is created by the masterminds at BMW yet it does not sell for the same lofty sticker price as a BMW. Both the Mini Cooper and the Proto Rail appeal to customers who desire quality machines but do not want to devote a considerable amount of their discretionary income toward those purchases.
Yet it must be noted that this relatively cheap gun should not be immediately neglected by more experienced players. Plenty of paintball aficionados have picked up the Proto Rail as a second, very affordable marker, that functions as a solid backup.
The Azodin Zenith 2 has a wealth of features yet many still label it as an entry level paintball marker. It sells for around $299.95 on the web, which is absolutely a fair price for a marker of this quality. This powerful marker now has a lighter striker along with a new ZeRO System. It looks fairly similar to the Azodin Blitz marker with the same slight angle and sleek body milling. Yet the inside of the marker differs from the Blitz as well as other paintball markers.
When you open up the marker’s box you will find the marker, the manual, Allen Keys and a spare parts kit that includes o rings, grip screws and a set of extra detents. Be sure to read the marker’s manual as it contains a wealth of very useful information. There is a parts list with numbers along with helpful diagrams that instruct you how to assemble and disassemble the marker.
The marker has a two piece barrel, a twistlock feedneck, an on/off ASA, a Zen OLED Board and Azodin’s unique ZeRO system which we will delve into more deeply below. The marker comes with a one year warranty on both parts and labor. It is equipped with the Feathered Striker that weighs about a third less than the typical strikers of blow back markers. This helps to reduce the mass of the gun’s internal moving parts when it is fired. The marker has significantly less recoil as a result of the reduction in weight.
Paintballers far and wide will love the Azodin’s ZeRO System. The feature is located above the inline regulator and looks like the low pressure regulator found on the more expensive markers. Yet it functions in a similar manner without adding too much of an extra expense. There is an adjustable spring in the valve system and a screw that can be tightened with the Allen key provided with the marker. When the system is tightened, it boosts the pressure on both the valve and spring. As a result the gun achieves improved air efficiency. Yet there is a downside as well. While you will make better use of your air, the marker becomes louder and the kick increases as well. Those who decide to back out the screw will decrease the pressure applied to the spring and have a reduced air efficiency. This significantly reduces both kick and noise. In a nutshell, the system allows each user to find the perfect mix of air efficiency, noise and kick.
The twist lock feedneck isn’t exactly highly lauded in the paintball community. Yet it’s not a total let down on the Zenith 2. The feedneck can be easily upgraded as the marker comes with ion threads. There is also a Delrin bolt that self-lubricates. This is made of a very durable plastic composite that is extremely light. For a paintball gun that is considered to be on the “low end”, Delrin internals are quite the nice addition. The bolt is designed with a quick release that allows players to take the marker apart quickly and easily.
The marker comes with the user programmable Zen OLED Board that prolongs battery life and and reduces voltage requirements. It allows for an array of firing modes including millennium ramping, PSP ramping, CFOA semi and NPPL semi. The marker also has Break beam eyes that only permit it to fire if there is a paintball within the breach. Players will love this aspect of the marker as it prevents the chopping of paintballs.
Additionally, the marker has dual ball detents and an ASA with on/off. This empowers players to depressurize the marker and facilitates the screwing and unscrewing of the tank. The marker is also unique in the fact that its ASA comes out horizontally rather than at an angle like other Azodin guns. It is quite the nifty design and gives the marker a “high end” feel. Players love that it allows the tank to sit horizontally as it produces a more comfortable and efficient playing form. Other features include a rubber backplate, a mass flow valve and a rock steady regulator.
The marker comes stock with a sleek 14” two piece barrel. It has a .689 back and a .694 ported front. Like most paintball markers, it is autococker threaded. There is an AZ sling trigger with roller bearings. Just about everyone who shoots the marker is pleased with its accuracy. There is really nothing to complain about in terms of the marker’s shooting capacity. In terms of comfort, the rubber grips are quite ergonomic.
Overall, the Azodin Zenith 2 is a solid marker, especially considering its affordable price. Azodin has a nearly impeccable reputation and its entry level markers are revered by players across the land. If you ever have an issue with the marker, you will be pleased with the company’s customer service. They go to great lengths to help their customers, especially new players who need help with troubleshooting.
The Tippmann X7 Phenom runs at $399 as a new Tippmann X7 paintball sniper. It is equipped with a FlexValve technology that operates below 300 PSI for optimal air efficiency. You'll be able to lick off 1,400 shots from a 4500 PSI tank with ease. The X7 Phenom is the first ever electro-pneumatic gun to provide a series of highly coveted upscale marker niceties in combination with one another.
These features include manual and electronic firing modes, excellent accuracy, superior air efficiency and the ability to use either compressed air or CO2. It really is the total package for those in search of a high quality tournament marker. In particular, woodsball players will take a liking to the X7 Phenom. Let's take a closer look at the marker.
This .68 caliber marker is built with a Spool Valve design to minimize recoil. You'll experience hardly any kickback when you fire the X7 Phenom and as a result, you'll have a much more accurate shot. If you were to survey X7 Phenom owners, the vast majority would have no complaints about the marker's accuracy. Not only is the marker accurate but it is extremely quiet as well.
Its hopper can hold up to 200 balls. Thanks to the new cyclone feed system, paddles create a feed rate of 20 BPS, a firing rate of 20 BPS and it has an effective range of 150 feet. The marker fires every time you press the trigger without exception. All of this is possible without the use of batteries.
The trigger is made of all metal for improved stability. There's a three position selector switch that allows for up to five firing modes. There's also a nice “E-grip” style design that lets players flip a switch to enter semi mode. Other modes include 3 shot, Full auto and Full auto response.
In terms of the feel of the shot, there isn't much wobble. The grip is easy to hold and provides a stable foundation for the ensuing minimal recoil. The push pins are rigid and there's absolutely no rattling when the gun moves.
Players will like the fact that Tippmann put a coil around the air line that connects to the cyclone for additional protection. The trigger is extremely smooth and the pull is very light. This is a well-built, sturdy gun that shoots better than most other Tippmann markers. In a word, the X7 Phenom's shot feels snappy.
The X7 Phenom has what is known as a searless design that makes use of less wear parts than most other markers. This facilitates maintenance procedures. The marker really is based off of the already existing X7 foundation but is about 3 inches shorter.
Overall, it weighs just under 4 pounds, has a length of 19.75 inches and a stone honed barrel with a length of 9.5 inches. The marker's body is made of a very lightweight aluminum. There's pushpin construction to facilitate quick and easy field stripping. Players also like the quick release magazine and its built-in storage space for tools.
The marker looks more professional and military-esque than most others on today's market thanks to its internal gas line and the fact that there is no cocking handle. It has a very low profile and the hopper is conveniently offset so that the shooter always has a clear line of sight. The marker's internal regulator empowers players to adjust the pressure, which in turn adjusts the velocity.
There's even a diagram available to show you which way to turn the part to increase or decrease the velocity so you don't have to rely on your memory. It's a simple process that really lets you fine tune your shot's velocity to fit the context of your competition. In terms of negatives regarding the design, some players have complained that the X7 Phenom is too bulky and heavy compared to other markers.
The marker can accept over 20 X7 modifications and upgrades. One of the most popular is the Flatline Barrel. You can add all sorts of aesthetic upgrades as well for thousands of different styles. The marker is equipped with a Piccatinny upper rail in addition to another rail to permit the addition of new handles, sights and scopes.
You can remove both the front and rear sights whenever desired. Some will upgrade with a remote line as this marker is heavier than most others. Many have chosen to use an upgraded bolt from NDZ and TechT.
Players love the fact that they can upgrade the X7 Phenom to an electric version from the standard mechanical version. It only requires the purchase of the X7 Phenom e-grip that replaces the mechanical grip. Other accessories and upgrade options include a Dominator Barrel, Deluxe Remote, Pathfinder 14” Barrel, Low Profile Hopper, Freedom Fighter Barrel and a 16” Straightline.
However, it is worth noting that this marker is fairly heavy. It is prudent to avoid adding additional equipment that will significantly increase the marker's already substantial weight.
The X7 Phenom comes with marker lubricant, a barrel blocking device and a general maintenance pack to take care of all the other upkeep involved with the marker. Since there is no external air hose, the X7 Phenom is that much easier to clean than plenty of other markers.
Be sure to keep the marker's cyclone clean and apply grease along the ratchet as well as oil to the piston. You'll be able to use this marker for years and the cyclone will almost surely stay intact. Like all Tippmann Phenom markers, the X7 Phenom comes with a two year warranty.
If you are willing to spend $400 on a paintball marker, the Tippmann X7 Phenom is absolutely worth your consideration. This is a versatile marker with plenty of power. It is ideal for the woodsball paintball player who requires a lightweight marker that is very easy to handle and can be fired on the run without a hitch.
While it is a bit on the heavy side, there really aren't many more commonly held criticisms of the X7 Phenom. You can upgrade it to your heart's content and it will provide you with years of high quality paintball play.
The Azodin Blitz Evo sells for just under $200 and offers fantastic performance for its price level. While it isn’t flawless, it is quite serviceable thanks to Azodin’s willingness to please its customers. Most of the marker’s new features and functions are the result of carefully listening and responding to customer feedback. While the Blitz Evo has evolved from its prior incarnations, it doesn’t cost more than most other paintball markers. This is the ideal marker for the typical woodsball or recreational paintball player. It is especially appealing for beginning paintball players who want an affordable marker that is simple to maintain.
The Blitz Evo has almost too many positives to encapsulate in a single review. There’s a new ASA on/off feature that just needs a quick twist to get the marker ready for competitive play. The ASA on/off’s contour also gives the marker more of a stylish and aerodynamic design. Players love the fact that the Blitz Evo has very few O rings that really facilitates cleaning. There’s also a re-designed trigger that has been specifically made for the Blitz Evo. In place of the traditional curved rocking trigger is the new sling trigger. This has more of a conventional shape for a marker, resembling the “s” style curved trigger.
The marker’s Rock Steady regulator betters performance and reduces FPS variation so that each shot is as accurate and quick as the next. The regulator has a new Mass Flow valve to boost air efficiency and allow for a faster rate of fire to give you the edge that you need during competitive play. The Blitz Evo’s Zen Board now has LED lights to help players alter settings, tune, tech and also provide a warning if there are problems with the eye system. It enhances battery life and provides four modified firing modes: Full Auto, Semi-Auto, Millenium Ramp and PSP Ramp. All in all, players love the changes, especially the addition of the on/off ASA. For a marker that only costs around $200, this is a significant feature.
The Blitz Evo weighs only 2.49 pounds so it is very easy to carry during tournaments that last for hours. It has a 12” stock barrel and a 9 volt battery. It measures 18.8 inches in length, has a height of 9.5 inches and a width of 1.38 inches.
The Blitz Evo’s feather striker hammer doesn’t have an o-ring, so cleaning and maintenance is much easier than most other markers. This is especially helpful for beginning paintball players who are hesitant to take their markers apart. Those who experience problems with their Blitz Evo will be happy to know that Azodin is lauded by paintballers across the globe for their elite customer service.
Most of the time, the Blitz Evo shoots paintballs on a rope. It has above average accuracy that most players will be pleased with. Yet it also has a significant amount of recoil and noise. Still, for a marker at the $200 level, this is to be expected. The new trigger mentioned above rides on a super lightweight ball bearing design with a beveled edge to provide incredible balance and control. When you walk the trigger, it will feel so smooth that you will feel like you are running it. It also has some nice adjustments like the micro trigger switch. While the Blitz Evo’s shot has its flaws, it will be good enough for most players.
You’ll get 280 FPS and the marker will only spread by about 5 FPS up and down. This is important for those who must abide by their field’s legal speed limit. When you walk the trigger, you’ll be able to rip 12 balls a second without a problem. This is an ample rate of speed that will appease most players. The Blitz Evo shoots with much more consistency than many other markers, even some that are hundreds of dollars more expensive.
There are some common complaints amongst those who’ve purchased the Blitz Evo. There should be no doubt that the Blitz Evo is meant for beginning to intermediate players. While this is an excellent starter marker, it just feels like something is missing. Many players aren’t happy with the stock trigger. While the trigger’s new design is worthy of praise, some have complained that it feels too loose. Others have said that the trigger isn’t large enough and sometimes it is so light that it feels as though it isn’t even there.
They’ve also expressed some discontent with the 12 inch stock barrel’s average performance. Those who decide to use the Blitz Evo in a competitive environment will find that the 12 inch barrel leaves much to be desired in terms of accuracy and distance. Some have mentioned that the marker’s interface is a bit chunky. Plenty have complained that the regulator hose line moves much too easily. There is a macro line swivel to turn on the air hose but it has to be either completely tightened or very loose to function properly.
In the end, the Azodin Blitz Evo is an excellent marker for its $200 price tag. The Blitz Evo really stands out from its peers thanks to its unique features that are quite rare on a marker at this price level. Although it has its drawbacks, the other guns in this price range have similar flaws. The main problems with the marker are its kick and noise. You can probably find a marker for $200 that is a bit quieter and stable but it’ll have other flaws that you don’t find with the Blitz Evo. So the noise and recoil issues shouldn’t be deal breakers. All in all, the Blitz Evo makes for an excellent beginner’s gun or a backup marker for the more experienced player who wants an insurance policy of sorts for those times when his primary marker malfunctions.
The Planet Eclipse Etha runs about $349 at most retailers. It is somewhat similar to the Geo marker but its design and functionality are unique. If you’ve seen or used Planet Eclipse’s E-tek marker, you’ll find that the Etha is fairly similar. Let’s take a look at what the Etha is all about.
The Etha makes use of a spring return to send the bolt back into position after paint balls are fired. This engineering approach makes the pneumatic operation of the gun quite simple. Just like the Etek, the Etha makes use of durable nylon composite materials for its grip frame, eye covers and feed neck. Experienced paintball players will hesitate to take the leap of faith with a marker made of composite plastic. It seems like an inferior material compared to metal markers. Yet those who use the Etha understand just how strong this material really is.
In terms of performance, the Etha is another fantastic marker in a long line of extraordinary Planet Eclipse products. The marker comes with an SL 3 regulator just like all the other high end Planet Eclipse guns. The regulator is flexible to handle a variety of tank output pressures. It is reliable and really serves to boost the gun’s performance. It doesn’t matter if your tank’s pressure is high or low, the regulator will still function as designed. The Etha’s two piece barrel lets you fire in several different modes including PSP and semi. There are capped and uncapped modes within semiautomatic. As soon as you fire the Etha, you’ll notice that it has very little kick back. While it is a bit on the loud side, it isn’t loud enough to constitute an annoyance. The noise that it produces is likely due to its barrel tip’s lack of ample porting holes.
The marker’s trigger feels pretty crisp but many have criticized it for using a spring return instead of magnets. Players who have grown accustomed to magnetic adjustable triggers might dislike the Etha’s trigger design. Some have also stated that competing markers like the Drone and Axe fire a bit better as they don’t have as much of a vibration or ping as the Etha. Yet the Etha fires quite accurately and it feels nice and smooth as you rip off consecutive shots. It fires up to a thousand paint balls with a 4,000 psi fill before any drop off is noticed. Only those with the highest standards will complain after shooting the Etha.
Overall, the Etha is quite light and comfortable. It has an aluminum body and barrel and weighs just over 2 pounds. The shaft is 14.5 inches in length. Some players have complained that they don’t like the limited space between the trigger guard and the reg. Yet most feel that the marker’s contoured dual density panel grips (156mm pitch) are quite comfortable. When it is in your hands, it feels good. It feels just like the top end tournament markers but comes at a much more affordable price.
The Etha has a proprietary grip so there are no aftermarket grips for the marker. You can upgrade the marker with a new feedneck yet the standard feedneck is serviceable. You can also upgrade the barrel, ASA and trigger. There are several different triggers available from Violent Products. There’s also a highly popular APE rampage LED board for the Etha as well. It has an array of software and hardware features like switch on the fly firing mode control, manual eye on/off control, bright multicolored LEDs and a 3 stage battery level indicator. Or, you can go with the Virtue OLED board. This 10 million operations per second processor has an organic display screen, an OLED board maintenance monitor to track bolt cycles with the marker’s eyes and a lube monitor that lets you know when the marker needs lubrication.
The Techt MRT bolt for the Etha optimizes the marker’s efficiency. It comes with a high flow, soft face tip, a super soft spring and a tough aluminum body that is very light. All in all, Techt claims that this upgrade can cut down the bolt’s weight by nearly 60 percent. It also adds between 20 and 25 fps. It even comes with a full lifetime warranty. An EMC tactical body kit is also available for the Etha. It encases the marker without modifying it. The kit is super light but made with sturdy glass reinforced nylon. There are three 7/8″ tactical rails on the body so that all sorts of lasers, sights and other accessories can be accommodated. The back of the body can function with Tippmann 98/BT-4 shoulder stocks. This kit really empowers players with the flexibility that they need to adjust to a side array of play scenarios.
Eclipse markers are famous for their autonomy. You don’t have to perform much maintenance to keep this gun operating at peak efficiency. You’ll have to lube it up after every 3 to 5 cases but you could probably go much longer without performing any maintenance. Every now and then, you’ll have to wipe down the bolt, apply a swab to the breach and lube the o-rings on the back part of the bolt assembly.
Some have complained about the poppet spring issue yet Eclipse has sent out free springless poppets to those who purchased new Ethas. Still, this is something to be aware of if you purchase a used Etha. The move is characteristic of the brand’s reputation for going out of its way to please paintball players. Fans of the Planet Eclipse brand rave about the company’s elite customer service.
The Planet Eclipse Etha is a fun marker for paintball players of all levels. It really has mass appeal no matter how experienced you are. It shoots with excellent accuracy, is quite light and has a fantastic user experience design. Best of all, it is fairly cheap compared to other top flight paintball markers.
If you are looking for a new paintball gun, the D3fy D3s is worth your consideration. It sells for around $249 at most retailers and most who’ve fired the marker agree that this is a decent deal. The marker shoots nicely but it has some flaws. Let’s take a look at all the D3fy D3s details.
The D3fy D3s is available in a variety of colors from “mixed” to metallic. Many of the available colors are very light so this marker stands out a bit in the field. Players will know it is you out there just by catching a glimpse of your D3fy D3s. That’s not exactly a good thing though it does provide the flare that style conscious players desire. It has a nice 2 piece barrel that looks like it is a bit out of place on this affordable marker.
The D3fy D3s is built to withstand the rigors of paintball play. It is made of aluminum along with a polyvinyl chloride “Rhyno skin” body shell cover. The D3fy D3s is built with an F2 Bolt engine that uses a spool-bolt and regulator together in one piece for low operating pressures of 150-160 psi. It has a 14 inch two piece barrel, a barrel bore size of .689, a total length of 20.5 inches and a weight of 2.1 pounds. So, it is light and fairly small.
The marker’s Micro SQ board is built for easy operation. It boasts a diminutive square design that allows a 9 volt battery to comfortably reside in the trigger frame. It has ACROS eyes, a break beam laser optic, that really do prevent balls from chopping within the chamber.
The marker features special air ports situated in strategic places to cut down on the amount of air that is needed to shoot paintballs. You’ll find that this allows you to stay on the playing field more consistently. The on/off ASA’s smooth profile allows air to rise from the tank to the regulator without any hoses or fittings. There’s also a nifty beveled knob that provides a sturdy grip so that you can switch from on to off with ease. It is worth noting that some players have complained that the hopper comes loose and can actually spin around while playing.
The gun feels unremarkable in your hands. The only major qualm that players have is that the grips aren’t the most comfortable around.
The D3fy D3s shoots nice and smooth but does have some kick. The typical paintball player won’t mind the bounce back but more demanding players might not be satisfied. In terms of accuracy, the marker shoots where you aim it. Players have complained about the trigger feel. Yet some players have reported that they’ve put DP G5 triggers onto the D3fy D3s without a problem. Many have noted that once they’ve adjusted the trigger to their specific desires, it feels much improved. Still, numerous players have stated that the trigger makes it difficult to keep a rope going.
A ver 2 board is available for free once you register your D3fy D3s marker but this does not empower you to program modes. Many have complained about this as a significant limitation. You can shoot with four different modes: 3 shot burst, Full Auto, PSP Ramp and Semi Auto. It is worth noting that many players consider the D3fy D3s to be a “battery hog”. The 9 volt battery fits nicely into the trigger frame but its functionality with the marker isn’t up to par.
The D3fy D3s is an affordable entry level marker with some disappointing idiosyncrasies. Experienced paintball players will likely be let down but most novice to intermediate players will argue that the marker is sufficient. While D3fy Sports likes to claim that the D3s is a high end marker that doesn’t carry a high end price tag, most players who try it out will argue that defining it as high end is a bit of a stretch. It is far from perfect, yet entry level players aren’t exactly expecting a flawless gun. In short, the D3fy D3s serves its purpose.
The first ever Sniper paintball gun was made in 1986 and the marker is still going strong today. Based off of the famous Autococker design, the Sniper is a tournament level paintball marker that runs about $350 to $400 (see lowest price). It looks super cool, is built for harsh conditions and delivers solid performance.
The Sniper is a pump style marker with low pressure operation, autococker barrel threading, a 10 round vertical feed system and an auto trigger that rattles off quick shots. There’s an aluminum 14 inch barrel with two pieces and 3 barrel inserts: .675, .680 and .685. It is built with a removable pump assist plate, a Delrin pump handle and an inline regulator equipped with a swivel adapter. The marker’s double stainless steel pump style rods significantly improve the marker’s stability. There’s also a 300 psi gauge that can be positioned on either side of the marker and a T-mounted on/off bleed ASA.
To use the marker, all you need is a hopper, an air bottle and paint balls. It is one of the lighter CCM pump markers at just over 2 pounds and it has remarkable balance. The Sniper’s on/off bottle adapter is operated by a lever and sends air between the air bottle and the marker’s inline regulator through an angled air adapter. There is a small Delrin bolt that remains sealed with the help of 3 o-rings. It also has a lever clamping feed neck that holds the hopper in place.
The internal parts are kept moving and operating as intended thanks to the dual stainless steel pump rods. There is a spring return style pump handle that is extremely light and very easy to hold. This is a very convenient function as it empowers shooter to hold his target and rattle off sequential shot with ease. Players can use a variety of hoppers and air bottles of different sizes depending on their personal playing preferences. It’s a highly functional marker that works exactly as designed.
The Sniper’s grips have a molded wrap around them for extra comfort. There’s also a nice finger groove as well. The gun feels great in your hands and its shooting performance is held in high regard throughout the paintball community. While it looks somewhat like the original Sniper, this updated version has contemporary pump features that put it at the head of the pump pack.
There’s plenty of buzz around the Sniper because it performs like a champ. It fires nearly as fast as the majority of semi-automatic paintball markers. Most consider the Sniper to be the gold standard for elite pump models because it shoots with speed and accuracy. Shots can be fired from 50 plus feet away and almost always hit their target or come very close.
The marker’s pump handle pump assist empowers ballers to re-cock the marker by merely squeezing two fingers. This can be accomplished while still keeping the barrel pointed at a target. Follow up shots are efficiently executed with slick precision. The marker’s adapters allows both left and right handed players to lick off shots with ease. The .45 grip frame is ergonomic and the single auto trigger has been drilled for ideal weight. There’s also an easily accessible safety button as well. Although it is a point of contention, many players consider the Sniper’s shot to be fairly quiet. This is attributed to the marker’s two piece aluminum barrel that allows for significant amounts of porting.
The Sniper is only available in silver / grey colors. The parts are all black. So it is a rather boring looking marker but has just enough style to look halfway decent. The dull colors can be viewed as a positive as they help keep the Sniper camouflaged in the woods and other playing environments. The Empire logo is engraved on the marker along with a logo jewel and cross hairs.
The Empire Sniper is ready to go right out of the box. You’ll love how little maintenance is required. Your main responsibility will be to clean the bolt and apply lube. Doing so will ensure a slick and relatively quiet shot. Also, players mind find that it helps to lube the pump rod to improve the pump stroke. The regulator should be removed and lubed after every 4 to 5 cases. Players can also adjust the marker’s hammer lug to alter when the trigger will enable the hammer to fire.
The Sniper is beloved by most paintball players. The few complaints typically center around the marker’s 3 piece barrel kit. Many ballers think that this is insufficient. Also, there are very few upgrades available for the marker. Amongst the limited upgrade options are the TechT Hush bolt to lower firing volume, the CP Reg Extender and the Exalt Reg Grip. Some players have reported that the marker’s gauge is fragile can break when impacted by a significant amount of force. Others have complained about the marker’s firing noise in comparison to other similar guns.
A handful of players have noted that the pump stroke isn’t as seamless as expected. In particular, some players noted that the marker’s rubber detentes move against the bolt with too much pressure. Add in the marker’s weighty main spring and return spring and it becomes easy to see why some consider the pump stroke to be rather rough.
The Empire Sniper is a fantastic pump paintball marker. It is a bit costly, coming in around $350 but it isn’t intended to attract casual players who are shopping on a budget. This is more of a hardcore player’s marker and it delivers excellent value. Ballers who play recreational paintball or pump tournament paintball will love the Empire Sniper.