Special Ops Paintball: SP-1 vs. Ion - Special Ops Paintball

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SP-1 vs. Ion Please check your bias at the door, Plskthx Rate Topic: -----

#1 User is offline   FlyingCanOpener 

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Posted 08 March 2009 - 08:48 PM

So after a six month hiatus I drug out my old JT Tac-5 out of my closet, stripped it down, oiled it up, and went to the local field to get back into the swing of things. It was the first time I had been to this field (I moved to the general area back in August for the new school year) and was mildly surprised by the friendliness of the staff as well as the folks from the local team who were milling about. They were practicing and let me in on the practice because they needed someone else...not to mention no other walk-ons showed up that day.

Needless to say I was chewed up and spat out with ease by the guys running about with their high-end electronic markers , though I acquitted myself decently in the last match when I was down 4-1, and managed to get three of them with some well-placed shots, only to be bunkered nicely by the fourth guy. Compliments and commiserations were passed about, not to mention some friendly ribbing about me and my "wanna-be army marker" showing up for an airball match. I wonder what gave it away. Perhaps it was the red dot sight and stock. Nah, can't be that. :)

Before Saturday, I had been pondering picking up an electronic marker as it was, so the 8 welts I received didn't exactly hurt me thinking I needed some more firepower. Over the course of me peeking about I had been looking for a good reliable marker in the ~$200 range and by the end of the day I narrowed my search down to Smart Parts markers*. Now, I know some of you folks who swear on a pile of Recon Magazines that Tippmann is the greatest marker company to stride about on this planet, which is a fine opinion to have I suppose, but at the end of the day I think I'll be getting my money's worth with a Smart Parts marker, despite what some of you folks say. :P

My choices are essentially down to an SP-1 and an Ion. I've been going around and around as to which would be the better deal for myself, and I keep on coming to a stalemate as I've used both and really enjoy both of them. The way I see it, the SP-1 has the following for it:
  • Easy Field Maintenance
  • Weaver rails galore
  • I can put a stock on it if I feel so inclined
  • In a pinch, I can reset the board and use CO2 without any issues (since I run off of a remote setup)
On the other hand, with an Ion I get
  • Decent maintenance issues for an electronic marker
  • Great right out of the box
  • 15-18 bps
  • Lightweight, though a dedicated speeball marker (Though with that said, if I'm dying for a red-dot sight on my Ion, I can always put Weaver rails on it...)
I know with an SP-1 I can put junk on it to my heart's content, but after playing this weekend, I think if I lose the stock I won't miss it because of the awkwardness of aiming with a mask on. However, with the 45-degree rails on the SP-1 I lose that issue. Not sure which way to go, so I put it before you folks. Thanks!

*I know a Proto SLG beats an Ion right out of the box, and on the field most of the time, and can be bought now brand new for $200 but the area in which I live makes me a bit queasy about getting one. The nearest place that can work on one is in Houston, a 5 hour drive from here. <_< The local field can do Smart Parts work.

This post has been edited by FlyingCanOpener: 08 March 2009 - 08:49 PM

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#2 User is offline   mstrchef117 

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Posted 09 March 2009 - 08:02 AM

Its basically your preference I guess. I mean, the only reason I went for the SP1 is the fact that its mil-simish. The ion, I heard does not have bolt out the back[B.O.B] unless its and ION XE which would be a bit more expensive than a regular ion.
B.O.B makes maintenance significantly easier (a fact which I rub in my friends face [he has an X7])
The SP-1 only fires 11bps stock. But the black heart board upgrade gives it eyes and 20bps max so if you want to upgrade later on you can.
Fire both of them and see which one you are most comfortable with. There is no significant difference between both markers so its just your personal preference and how comfortable you feel holding the marker.

This post has been edited by mstrchef117: 09 March 2009 - 08:02 AM

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#3 User is offline   FlyingCanOpener 

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Posted 09 March 2009 - 01:48 PM

View Postmstrchef117, on Mar 9 2009, 10:02 AM, said:

Its basically your preference I guess. I mean, the only reason I went for the SP1 is the fact that its mil-simish. The ion, I heard does not have bolt out the back[B.O.B] unless its and ION XE which would be a bit more expensive than a regular ion.
B.O.B makes maintenance significantly easier (a fact which I rub in my friends face [he has an X7])
The SP-1 only fires 11bps stock. But the black heart board upgrade gives it eyes and 20bps max so if you want to upgrade later on you can.
Fire both of them and see which one you are most comfortable with. There is no significant difference between both markers so its just your personal preference and how comfortable you feel holding the marker.


I was under the impression that in the past year Smart Parts began manufacturing the SP-1 and Vibe with a three-mode board (semi, 3-round burst, and full auto 13bps) installed by default, though with no eyes.
School teacher by weekday...paintballer by weekend. || Only the awkward question; only the foolish ask twice. --Warhammer 40k
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#4 User is offline   mstrchef117 

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Posted 09 March 2009 - 01:58 PM

Well, I have select fire on my SP1, though I think its capped at 11bps stock. I don't think its 13. Unless, every site I looked up the SP1 was wrong. But you are correct there are no eyes default.
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#5 User is offline   Green Army Men 

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Posted 09 March 2009 - 02:00 PM

go with the Ion its the most upgradeable gun in paintball, Just make sure it has Bolt out back, up the trigger, Qev, board and their u go
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Its a Tippmann(It probably has the stock Accuracy of a Grapefruit) -----destoryka
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#6 User is offline   Nom Carver 

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Posted 10 March 2009 - 02:58 PM

View PostGreen Army Men, on Mar 9 2009, 05:00 PM, said:

go with the Ion its the most upgradeable gun in paintball, Just make sure it has Bolt out back, up the trigger, Qev, board and their u go


Most of the time, if not all the time: better gun out of the box>crappy gun out of the box that you have to pour upgrades into. I would personally go with the Vibe. It comes with better parts out of the box, such as a clamping feedneck and BOB design. I've never really seen any need for a red dot on a paintball gun, but I guess that's personal preference. I know that you said no SLG, but if you really commit yourself for about an hour or so you'll know the gun inside and out, and SLGs rarely break down anyways. You can always buy a parts kit for the SLG if you're really that worried about it breaking down. I can't imagine that everyone at your field shoots SP markers, but I guess it's possible.

Again, if you just aren't feeling the SLG, go with the Vibe, or SP-1 if you really need mil-sim. I wouldn't recommend the Black Heart board, seeing as it is basically what should be packaged by SP with all of their markers, but isn't. Instead I would go with a Virtue or another company, much more of an upgrade than a Black Heart.
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#7 User is offline   FlyingCanOpener 

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Posted 10 March 2009 - 04:55 PM

View PostNom Carver, on Mar 10 2009, 04:58 PM, said:

Most of the time, if not all the time: better gun out of the box>crappy gun out of the box that you have to pour upgrades into. I would personally go with the Vibe. It comes with better parts out of the box, such as a clamping feedneck and BOB design. I've never really seen any need for a red dot on a paintball gun, but I guess that's personal preference. I know that you said no SLG, but if you really commit yourself for about an hour or so you'll know the gun inside and out, and SLGs rarely break down anyways. You can always buy a parts kit for the SLG if you're really that worried about it breaking down. I can't imagine that everyone at your field shoots SP markers, but I guess it's possible.

Again, if you just aren't feeling the SLG, go with the Vibe, or SP-1 if you really need mil-sim. I wouldn't recommend the Black Heart board, seeing as it is basically what should be packaged by SP with all of their markers, but isn't. Instead I would go with a Virtue or another company, much more of an upgrade than a Black Heart.


I know the SP-1 is a Vibe in a Mil-sim body, and I like the concept of the ease of maintenance. If I played more than in a casual setting (albeit a little more often than your average recball player) I'd do what you said and get an SLG and do any work myself. I have a degree in aerospace engineering, but that doesn't mean I enjoy working on stuff. :dodgy: As for the field I was playing on, they rent Ions and SP-1s, though the speedball freaks were spraying paint with Dyes, Egos, and I think an Angel.

I think I'm almost done with my Milsim kick, and if I want to go all the way and indulge in my inner John Wayne, I've can play with my Tac-5 since it's all modded up. Otherwise, it almost seems something with the ability to throw paint downfield in a hurry is a must even in the rec scene these days. I think you've sold me on the concept of getting a Vibe. If I do, however, get more serious (Like, you know, get on a team or something.), something like an SLG would really tickle my fancy.

Thanks!

This post has been edited by FlyingCanOpener: 10 March 2009 - 04:56 PM

School teacher by weekday...paintballer by weekend. || Only the awkward question; only the foolish ask twice. --Warhammer 40k
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#8 User is offline   Kodiak 

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Posted 11 March 2009 - 04:52 PM

Since you've decided on the Vibe and have mentioned that if you get "serious" you'll consider other markers, I suggest you look into the Infinity Legend in the future. It is similar in design to the Eteks but is simpler with no LPR and a spring return. One moving o-ring to lube. It's fast, durable, reliable, air efficient, and you can find one in the $300 dollar range used very easily.
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#9 User is offline   Sneaky Big Foot 

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Posted 12 March 2009 - 04:56 PM

Is nitro/compressed air available and if you don't play at a field is their some where near you that fills it (I am assuming that the field is like 45 minutes that's the deciding factor.
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