I've been playing paintball for almost 14 years and this is my first electro-pneumatic marker. My first marker was a VM-68 which I replaced a couple of years later with a 68 Automag. My mag has been a great marker, and I have further Pneu-mag surgery planned for her in a few weeks, but this year I looked at how cheap the electro-pneumatics had gotten and decided it was time to pick one up.
I'm usually not one to pick up the first model of any new product, whether it's cars, electronics, or paintball markers, but I made an exception this time with my EOS. I spent several weeks looking at what was available in the price range and decided the EOS, backed by Smart Parts renowned customer service, was the best value for the money. I purchased my EOS just before the new year at a local paintball store (gotta support the local stores) along with a new DXS 48/4500 "Stubby" tank with Proto Tank Cover, a CP Razor Drop, CP Pro Mini On/Off ASA, and Dye Sticky 3 Grips.
The marker looks great. The milling is stylish with sleek eye-catching lines, and the liquid carbon anodizing matches perfectly with the black trim. The marker has a nice, low profile, though too long for my taste with the barrel and tank attached to the stock ASA making it feel like I was holding the marker at arms length rather than in tight to my body. That isn't a negative comment, it's simply a matter of personal opinion and something I had already planned to address with the CP drop.
Next I easily aired up the marker with stock On/Off ASA and checked for leaks in the air system. Everything was perfect. There were no leaks and the guage on the LPR was holding steady at ~235. I turned the marker on by pressing the power button located on the side of the grip frame and lifted the marker up to dry fire it a few times. Hmm..nothing. I checked everything over again. The air was on, the marker was powered up with a fresh battery, but no joy. I stripped everything down, removed the tank, re-attached it all again, aired up the marker, powered it on and still nothing! %*#$@! I set the marker down and glared menacingly at this stupid power button blinking blissfully once every second or so. I swear I could hear it taunting me with every pulse of red, glorious light seeming to say, "Heeheehee. Wouldn't you love to play with me?" I sat for a moment contemplating methods for marker-cide...death by acid...death by dremel...death by asphyxiation, wait, no, that wouldn't work. My eyes narrowed to slits as I stared again at that single...pulsing...light. Hmmm. My thoughts cleared as a grabbed up the marker, tapped the power button again which responded with double pulsing lights indicating the Vision anti-chop eyes were disengaged, and fired the marker. Victory! Well, at least I know the eyes work.
The marker fired problem free and went through a hopper of paint without any breaks. The trigger feels awkard to me though and has a clanky quality to it when you pull it. I've adjusted the length of the trigger pull, but it still doesn't feel right. Perhaps that's something I'll have to get used to coming from years of using an all mechanical marker. My experience with electronic markers is nil, so my trigger comment is really just my personal opinion and not a judgement on its quality. I've heard from others with more experience using electro's that are quite pleased with the stock trigger.
After a few dry fire shots, I set the marker down, degassed it, and removed the tank. This is where I started to notice a few things that concerned me. The first negative thing I found was that the stock grips were hard as a rock and very slick. While they did provide easy access to the grip internals for replacing the battery and programming the board, they offered nothing in the way of a comfortable or secure hold on the marker.
The second negative, and one that was more concerning to me, was the stock ASA had decided to make a light snack of my tank threads. This was a brand new tank and the top thread that first grips the ASA was a bit dented and chewed on. The last 1/4" inch or so of the tank thread near the end of the threads had been completely broken off! Now whether or not this is an issue with the ASA or tank I don't know, so I can't put the blame on SP for this one, but I did want to mention it. Nothing needs to be repaired thankfully, and the tank screws in fully to the CP ASA without a hitch, so I don't think I'll have to replace anything.
The third negative is the stock ASA didn't fit onto the CP dovetail mounting at all. Perhaps I wrongly assumed that dovetail mountings were fairly standard, but I had to go back to the paintball store and purchase the CP Pro Mini On/Off ASA which not surprisingly slipped right into place. Ultimately it's probably best to match aftermarket add-ons, but it wasn't something I was expecting to be forced to do. Again, this may just be standard fair for the industry, but I was disappointed at the additional expense for something I expected to 'just work'.
My last negative is that I've noted a small blemish on the body of the marker where the anodizing or something has started to flake or chip off. It's small right now, a little less than the size of a pencil eraser head, but it's definitely there and rough to the touch. I'll keep an eye on it to see if it grows.
I still haven't had a chance to get the marker out to the field yet, but I've been through several hoppers of paint without any problems and really like the feel of the setup. The marker is light, has a tight setup, and is very easy to strip down for cleaning and maintenance with the bolt-out-back (BOB). I'm still messing around with bolt inserts and board settings to get a better feel for the marker. A day of play will be the ultimate test though, and I'm eagerly looking forward to getting a chance to take the EOS for a real test-drive. So far I'm very pleased with it and feel my money was well spent. I'll post back here with an update after I get some play time in.
Enjoy the pics!