UPDATED - Was Smart Parts ahead of it's time?
The SP8 is build on an awesome marker, the ION, but it hasn't gotten much traction on the sales side. The only thing wrong with the SP8 is the side feed tube, but put a nice loader that pushes balls down and even that isn't an issue.
So what is up with the SP8?
My guess is that most people don't know the "look" is based off a killer new weapon system for the US Military ( experimental XM8 ). Smart Parts heard the cry from the scenario players and stepped up.
You should give it another look...
The new SP8 a Scenario Player's dream
review by Young Choi
|Straight out of the SP lab|
has finally satisfied the Scenario Players’ needs with their new SP8 marker. They (Smart Parts) modeled the SP8 marker after the experimental XM8
that the military is currently putting through test trials as you read this. Smart Parts even emulated some of the modular components of the actual XM8 rifle; I’ll get more on the modular componenst later.
|Removable mock magazine|
The heart of the SP8 is the successful Ion marker, the Ion chassis has an all new grip that will hold a mock ammunition magazine made of durable plastic. This mock magazine is the shroud to conceal the Ion regulator. Adjusting the regulator adjusts the velocity. The magazine easily detaches from the SP8 via a push tab right in front of the trigger guard. The trigger is a straight stick trigger with the same adjustment screws familiar with any Ion owner. A low pressure gauge is to the right of the SP8 in front of the trigger guard that indicates the pressure going into the marker.
The SP8 has a 45 degree feedneck that requires a 45 degree elbow that is included with the gun. I would have preferred a vertical feed but this would eliminate the option of a scope that many Scenario enthusiasts would probably mount on the weaver rail right behind the carrying handle. I do have a concern about the feed neck, it is made of the same dense plastic that the upper receiver is and I don’t have too much faith in plastic when it could be holding a very heavy object like a fully loaded Halo loader. In a “oops I tripped over that stupid root on the path at full speed tumbles,” I’m pretty sure that the 45 degree elbow will snap off first before the feed neck does but I still have my concerns about the material used on such a stress component.
New wrap around grips are meaty and thick. For those of you with large paws, you’ll appreciate this feature. Just like on the Ion, the access to the button settings on the circuit board are behind the grip on the left side. The on/off button is just that, a button on the SP8. I hate the on/off panel on the normal Ion, on some Ions I have found it to be a chore to turn the gun on/off. Hopefully this little feature will become available of future renditions of the Ion. At the bottom of the trigger frame is a simple two screw straight ASA to take your preset bottle.
The “stock” Ion comes in a “submachine gun” style out of the box. There is no butt stock on this variant and the barrel/front guard accommodates a 14 inch barrel. The barrel has a mock four pronged flash suppressor. There are spots to clip a sling on the front of the carrying handle and to the rear on the butt cap.
|SP8 in 3 parts|
"Time Consuming." I use these two words to describe the amount of time it takes to get to the bolt of the SP8 to lube it. The SP8’s major down fall (has nothing to do with performance) is the fact that the whole marker has to come apart to get to that bolt to lube. For those that love to work and caress their markers good for you! For those lazy, like me, bad! It shouldn't take the average person that is capable of reading and understanding the included instruction manual more than 10 minutes to disassemble, lube, and reassemble the SP8.
|SP8 all snipered out|
Smart Parts also offers two upgrades unique to the SP8 in modular fashion, the adjustable stock and the Stealth Barrel Kit. The stock is adjustable to seven different lengths. A push button tab can be pressed at the back of the butt plate to make the stock longer/shorter. The new elongated shroud included in the Stealth Barrel Kit conceals a 19 inch ported barrel. Both the adjustable stock and the barrel shroud are secured by the same pins mentioned earlier.
|Mock flash suppressor|
For testing, I decided on using SP8 “sniper” with the Stealth Barrel Kit and adjustable stock. I took the SP8 to one of the largest paintball theme parks in the Northwest, Danger Zone Paintball
. On the day that I went there to test, it looked as though I chose the right day to come out cuz it looked like a Scenario Players convention out there. Everyone was all camoed up, helmeted, and armed up like a scene out of Counterstrike. I donned my old cammies that I haven’t touched in years, funny they were really loose fitting 10 years ago…
As soon as I pulled out the SP8, I was the center of attention for quite some time with a lot of people asking me questions about the new scenario marker. Had many of them not mentioned that it looked like the new XM8 experimental assault rifle, I would have referred the SP8 to that rifle out of “Starship Troopers.” I do have to admit, I felt proud to have had this thing out there amongst some hard core scenario players.
I ran into a problem right off the bat. You cannot mount a HPA bottle onto the SP8 with the adjustable stock. There is just not enough clearance for the bottle to screw in. I hadn’t brought a remote or a harness capable of going remote. I wish I had messed with the SP8 more before leaving the office so I would have countered my oversight on this fact. Had I caught this before leaving, I would have mounted an angled ASA so that I could have mounted an HPA bottle directly to the gun. I was bummed out about taking off the adjustable stock but life goes on.
The SP8 gets the same performance as the Ion. The gun is very accurate and with the included wrench, velocity adjustments were very easy. The SP8 Snipered out and Reloader hopper (fully loaded) broke the scale at 7.65 pounds (assuming no bottle on the gun with remote setup).
On the field the SP8 with the 19 inch barrel is very quiet, so quiet in fact that the sound activated Reloader sometimes would not register a shot being fired and led me to smack the barrel shroud to activate the Reloader. Danger Zone has this crazy village field with enough buildings to do what the military dubs, “Close Quartered Combat.” This is room to room fighting and when I got the opportunity to enter one of the buildings on the edge of the village I progressed into stalking the opposition.
In one game, I got into an outskirt building and proceeded to use one of the openings that would give me a shot through a window or door of another building. I noticed that there were quite a few of the opposition facing away from me and I had the opportunity to snipe out one player after another, one shot at a time. I was getting center mass and head shots. From my position, I shot out five players as I stayed patient waiting for that perfect shot. I was within the shadows of my building and I only took the shots when they had their backs to me. After the game, the referee came to me and told me that I raised a lot of pandemonium as the eliminated players couldn’t tell where the shots were coming from causing everyone to vacate that building to an exit opposite from me. I think I made that referee’s day with my sniping antics. I don’t want to sound like I’m boasting or anything cuz I only fired a total of five shots that whole game and either got a head or center mass shot each time. Mind you, these shots were taken at a distance of approximately 60 feet away.
I have never been an advocate of “the longer the barrel, the more accurate the shot” theory. But shooting the 19 inch barrel on the SP8 with PMI Polar Ice paintballs made it a bad day for anyone that wasn’t aware that I was in the same neighborhood. I truly got to put the fear of God in some of these guys as they walked off dumb founded time after time with one well aimed shot.
By the end of the day, I have no idea why I bought a case for I shot less than a hopper full of paint, The SP8 brought the fun back for me and gave me a nice break away from the grind of the speedball fields/drills/practices that I am accustomed to. My last gripe of the SP8 is that I will need to shop for a sling for this thing. After hauling this thing around all day, my arms were a bit sore. But before I go out again, I’m gonna find me a red dot site to mount onto the SP8 just for the intimidator factor alone.
*All ratings are 1 to 5, 1 being the lowest and 5 being the highest.*
Trigger- 4 (adjustable)
Operation Type- Electronic, pneumatic blow-forward Barrel Thread- Ion/Impulse
Military assault rifle appearance and feel
Upgradeable with accessories using weaver style rails
Capable of single, full-auto, 3 round burst, and rebound modes
Excellent sniper marker