The Splatmaster Rapide was a double action paintball gun, a predecessor to the modern semi-automatic blowback gun. Advertisements for the gun advertised a high rate of fire and accuracy from its integrated brass barrel, a great improvement over the Splatmaster's plastic barrel. Unlike the Splatmaster, the Rapide had much text on the gun, including a safety warning quite reminiscent of warnings put on lower level guns such as the Tippmann A5 and Viewloader Orion (among many others). Instead of using a hopper, a 20 or 40 round "clip" was attached to a plastic rail on the top-side of the gun. Paintballs would drop down into the chamber and each box contained 4 "compartments", similar to 10 round tubes. When one compartment was out of paintballs, the user would turn the entire box, which would pivot on its plastic base. However, many home modifications were constructed to allow the use of an ammo box or hopper. The gun had a rear "block" that held the itnernals into the gun and housed the rear sight, as well as a fixed front sight. The CO2 plug threads were the same as the Splatmaster pistol, but the gun did not have a finger rest like the original pump gun.
To date, the Rapide is mostly remembered as a bad gun. Double action gave a great deal more rate of fire over pump guns, even with autotrigger, but the trigger pull chambered and fired the round. As a result, the trigger pull was very long and uncomfortable. Sustained, rapid fire was very tiresome on the fingers. Aftermarket stocks and foregrips made this process slightly more comfortable but keeping the gun stable while firing was still the largest challenge of the Rapide. Changing clips on the gun was also an awkward experience, as the box does not always cleanly slide onto the gun. The strange twisting of the clip, combined with changing 12 gram cartridges, were great sacrifices in time for the bonus of rapid fire.
The internals of the Rapide are nothing like the Splatmaster, and the Rapide is the only other unique gun (aside from the original Splatmatser) that National Survival Games created. The Rapide had more upgradability than the Splatmaster, including polishing the brass barrel, different length barrel kits, attachable foregrips, constant air adaptors, and shoulder stocks. Still, most older players admit that the Rapide was not a great gun.
The Rapide could also be fitted with the TASO Alligator Kit, which included various attachments to make the Rapide pistol operate more like the Rapide Comp. This kit included a stock, constant air adaptor, and a 40 round box magazine as opposed to the 20 round one issued with the pistol. However, this setup did denote some differences with the out-of-the-box Rapide Comp.
The significance of the Rapide lies in its timing. The Rapide's advent helped bridge the gap between the traditional pump gun and the conventional semi-automatic marker. It was NSG's attempt to enter the rapid-fire market, as the name of the gun implies. Yet after the Rapide, NSG did not enter the blowback semi-auto market and the industry standards passed NSG by.
The Clear Rapide
Today, clear plastic airsoft and paintball guns give players the chance to see what's going on inside of their guns while they fire. Big names in either industry include Crosman, Unicorn Hobby Company, and Brass Eagle. Yet the clear Rapide was the first clear paintball marker on the market. Many collectors note that the clear Splatmaster Rapide functioned and had the same accuracy as their grey, brown, and green counterparts but were aimed toward store displays. Apparently, the clear polymer was weaker than the opaque colored plastics used for "field" Rapides.
This post has been edited by slinkyaroo: 18 January 2010 - 11:52 AM