You cannot gauge "reliability" on the idea that a business can't or won't go 'out of business.' That's just a silly notion, considering ANY business can just "up and quit" at any time........or in the case of Smart Parts, have your bank loan yanked right out from under you.
Consider that you get a 20 year mortgage. You paid on it for 11 years and then re-use that equity to upgrade that home. After everything is done, you are [basically] starting from scratch and now, all of a sudden, for any reason [or none at all] the bank says "we want it all now or we're taking your house."
Now what do you do?
They have the following to back up their ridiculous prices on their guns. PE and DYE lead the way as far as paintball gun companies go. With that knowledge I can feel pretty comfortable buying a gun and not worrying about parts being available (I know SP's guns parts are readily available but it's still the point) and I know my warranty will run out before the company runs out. That is the point I'm trying to make.
You still haven't addressed what I said about their "patent - cease and desist" letter. Might i take that to believe that it's ok for you [all] to gripe about one company but not your FAVORITE company when they IN FACT did the EXACT SAME THING? Hypocritical much? I tend to think so.
Yes, I know your going to come back at me and say "well smart parts made such an abundance of guns that any part for any of their markers are available at this time."
Actually, I was going to say that there are so many AFTER MARKET products available, that you could probably build a marker from scratch.
Well I got an Evil Omen marker...the cup seal blew out on it. Evil no longer makes any parts for the gun, and I'm up poop's creek with no paddle....This experience alone is enough for me to stay with stronger companies and more reliable companies in the economic end of paintball.
OMG...did it ever occur to you that it was the player market that caused the downfall of the Omen? I mean Jesus...the OMEN? As a marker it sucked and is why it never really 'took off' in the first place. For one, you can't [easily] remove the valve. That alone should tell you it wasn't meant to be "user serviceable" in the first place. Since it never "took off" in the first place, why bother to make aftermarket parts or enough spares to cater to those who actually bought it?
In regards to "the economic end of paintball" [last sentence of your post]......who in their right mind, thought that of ALL companies, Smart Parts would have suffered this fate until the bank yanked the carpet out from under them? No one. Sure there were those who HOPED it would happen...but no one saw this coming...not until the day it was reported that the layoffs occurred. All signs pointed to a strong company and force in the paintball world.
That alone should tell you that even the heartiest of companies are still at the mercy of those who are "in charge." In this case, the ones in charge were the banks that held their loans because It certainly wasn't the players spewing their hate mail around the internet. Those people like to think they had some help in "killing an evil empire" when in fact, their involvement was minuscule at best. But...they can pipe dream about it all they want. It was the bank that killed SP...not the few hundred disgruntled players who whined about them.