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The Smart Parts Ion is an electro-pneumatic marker with a ramping board capable of doing 17 bps with rebound, full auto, 3 round burst and of course, semi-automatic. With break beam eyes, the Ion is the first marker to be classified as “high-end” for under $300. I had the privilege of playing with one for a full day and was thoroughly impressed.
When I first saw the Ion I didn’t think much of it; looks sort of like plastic, and felt like it too. The powder-coated aluminum makes it look a lot like plastic. It is very light and that also contributed to the plastic feel.
The trigger was originally very stiff and when you tried to shorten it, the tension only got tighter. After a quick mod someone found, the magnet was taken out. This only led to some crazy bouncing. The ASA that comes with it is long and when you try to put say a 68ci 4500psi on there, you're holding a rifle. The regulator had a rubber cover, which was comfortable. but made it feel more like a Piranha.
When I aired it up, it seemed fine. We shot a few hundred rounds through it and it sounds like an amazing Shocker or a Shocker low on air.
The power button was a little hard to figure out. Unlike the old buttons, there isn't a "click" or noticeable movement when the button is depressed. You just have to use your judgement to know if you’re pushing it hard enough.
After running some paint through it with a Halo, I was shocked at how accurate it was, for a stock barrel. It could be better, but out of the box it's pretty darn good. The ramping is fun with paint; it throws a nice steady line. We had no chops all day long.
In terms of efficiency, the Ion is about the same as a stock Shocker, somewhere around 600 shots out of a 68ci 3000psi tank. Not great, but respectable for an out of the box $300 marker. It runs at an operating pressure of around 175 psi, so there is almost no kick.
If you are playing at tournament level or in local tournaments, this is the best marker for the money. If you are looking to buy a gun for under $300, no doubt this is the one to get.
However, if you are looking for much higher performance, you might want to consider a different marker.
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Overall, this is a great marker. I personally do not like the feel or the bouncing (our fault) but I think Smart Parts did a great job on this marker. This marker can hold it's own with some of the most expensive markers available. If you're looking for a new gun and you’re on a tight budget consider the Ion.