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Paintball Games International Shorts for "Dope": September

Archangel! - The Gabriel Chip

Gabriel Chip

Want to turn your Angel into an Archangel? Consider the new Gabriel chip from Kennesaw Mountain Markers. Gabriel is a replacement chip for the WDP Angel that comes mounted on a standard WDP board and plugs quickly and easily into your Angel’s grip frame. The folks at KM2 had to reverse-engineer the Angel’s chip to program Gabriel and add a host of new features never before available in the Angel.

So what does Gabriel offer? Like the Zip chip from WDP, Gabriel offers semi-auto, burst mode, and full-auto firing modes. Gabriel ups the ante by adding turbo mode (1.5 shots per pull), Autoresponse (firing once on the pull and once on the release), and allowing you to choose any number of shots you like in burst mode. Not enough? Consider - Gabriel allows you to program the firing mode through a series of trigger pulls when the ‘gun is turned on, allowing you to switch modes without tools or having to open the grip-frame.

Want some details? In Auto-Response mode, it will fire only a single shot if you hold the trigger in for 1/3 of a second after firing once, allowing you to snipe and avoid panicking the chrono judge. In turbo mode, turbo only kicks in if you’re pulling the trigger three times per second or more, so it only assists with rapid fire while still allowing you to snipe with single shots at slower pull rates. Burst mode stops immediately when the trigger is released, even if the burst sequence has not completed it’s full set of shots. Finally, rate of fire in all modes is limited by the ROF dial on the board.

There have been questions raised about the safety of Turbo mode since, at 1.5 shots per trigger pull, an extra ball can be discharged after the last trigger pull if it’s in the middle of a sequence. I’m not going to bother going into all the details of exactly how the Turbo mode is timed and works. The relevant point is that it can only discharge, at most, a single paintball after the last trigger pull, and that can be discharged no more than 1/5 second after that last pull (and only that long if you’re firing at the slowest possible rate that kicks in Turbo mode). Frankly, I just don’t consider that unsafe. If you don’t have a problem with the Shocker Turbo, you won’t have a problem with this.

Play tournaments? You’re not left out in the cold. Gabriel offers 3 dip-switch set lock-out modes in addition to the programmable mode. The lock-out modes are semi-auto, turbo, and Turbo-9 (limited to the NPPL limit 9 shots per second).

At $100, the Gabriel chip is not cheap, but it offers a host of clever and completely unique features for the Angel along with the coolest programming mode ever. One word of warning: this board makes WDP very very angry and could void your warranty. It would be very unwise to send an Angel in to WDP for servicing with the Gabriel chip installed.

Shocktech Angel Bolt

Shocktech’s bolt for the Angel will be quite familiar to those who have seen the Shocktech Autococker bolt. The Angel bolt is just the plastic head of the Autococker bolt with the required pin to fit it to the Angel. It’s simple, it’s light, and it absolutely rocks.

The angled inlet and 3-hole venturi face make for an extremely free-flowing bolt. Not surprisingly the first thing I noticed when dropping the Shocktech bolt into my Dark Angel is that it allowed me to drop the operating pressure by 40 psi - nothing to sneeze at given the Dark Angel’s already low requirements.

The second thing I noticed was that this thing just doesn’t break paint. I was testing this bolt out with the Gabriel chip. The Angel is already absurdly easy to shoot fast. With turbo and auto-response available the results are absolutely amazing. Even when tearing shots out as fast as I could, the paint just kept flying without chopping a single ball. When I activated full-auto I found that the rate of fire was set way too fast for paint to feed. Rather than chopping, the paint was just bounced back up the feed tube without breaking a single ball. Amazing.

At $29.99, the Shocktech bolt is a very affordable upgrade for an extraordinarily expensive paintgun.

Straight Shot with a twist - Bad Boyz Toyz squeegee-strap with Straight-Shot

When in the middle of a heated shoot-out with an opponent, speed is essential. I’m not just talking about rate of fire, but how fast you can clean your barrel after a break. For quick cleans in the middle of games, the Straight-Shot stick squeegee has become the fast-clean tool of choice. The problem, of course, has been the question of where to carry the silly thing. Many ideas have been tried, including side-cars on the sides of paintguns and holsters that strap to the leg. Recently, tying them to a string around the player’s neck has come into fashion and as become quite popular on the tournament scene. I myself used a pair of old McDonalds children’s shoelaces to fashion a strap for my own Straight-shot - a ridiculous and inelegant solution, but one that worked.

No longer. Bad Boyz Toyz is now offering what will undoubtedly become (if it has not already) the most copied product in paintball. They’ve made a cool-looking, tough strap with "Bad Boyz Toyz" emblazoned in the fabric. A metal clip hooks a ring on the squeegee and keeps it firmly attached. Want to loan it to a buddy on the field? No need to strangle yourself trying to get it off in the middle of a firefight. The spring-loaded clip snaps open with a touch of the thumb to release the squeegee from the strap.

Looks cool, works great, cost with squeegee: $15. $6.99 for the strap alone. Bargain. Go out and buy the original now.

JT Barrel Plugs

Hey, look! More barrel plugs with a manufacturer’s name. This time it’s JT coming out with a pretty standard plastic 3 O-ring barrel plug with the JT logo neatly stamped into the day-glo plastics. This plug has a neat new feature, though. The in-barrel end is molded to help you install and remove JT goggle lenses. I’m not entirely certain how it’s supposed to work, but it’s a groovy idea none the less. Cost $2.95. Place: Bad Boyz Toyz.

JT Video: Game On!

"JT USA is proud to present a visually spectacular new film that defines the sport of paintball. From a beginners first day of competitive play on the field up to the professionals that tour the world, GAME ON takes you on a field adventure in a sport that brings virtual reality to life! You will revel in the adrenaline of the game as directed by Dana Brown of world renowned surf classic, Endless Summer II. You will follow Team Ironmen through a day of practice. You will learn from the pros, including appearances by Marty Bush and Dave Youngblood. And you will be thoroughly entertained by both the action and the amazing cinematography. Never before has a film captured the feeling, the camaraderie, and the fast-paced adrenaline rush of the fastest growing sport in America."

That’s the tag line about the video at the JT web site. Not an entirely off-base description either. It’s actually a very well taped video that portrays paintball in a very positive light. It features both player interviews and game footage of both walk-on play and an Ironmen (Dave’s, not Bobby’s) practice. As such, it gives a nice balance and shows paintball as both a fun recreational game and an exciting tournament sport.

As a video meant for the masses it does have some corny slow motion scenes, and players familiar with the tournament scene may roll their eyes a bit at some of the Ironmen’s boasting of past success and Marty’s legendary prowess. Nevertheless, it is a nice and extremely well made video. Though players with many years of experience will probably find it to be a bit light and fluffy for their tastes, newer players and people only just considering getting into the sport will find it a good watch. Shops with TVs and VCRs will also likely find it a good tape to put in for new customers with an interest in paintball.

Automag Z-Valve on/off replacement

I’ve been waiting for someone to come out with a product like this. It makes perfect sense. Someone has finally taken the Automag RT’s on/off valve concept and applied it to an on/off for the standard Automag. The on/off pin has a wider top diameter than bottom. By having these two different diameters, the on/off returns with more force than it takes to pull. If you want a full description of how this works, read my article on the Micromag that appeared in issue #124 of PGI. As it only offers the on/off changes from the RT without the major regulator differences, the trigger kick-back effect is nowhere near as strong as found with the RT.

In use, I found the Z-valve to provide the effect advertised — you really can feel the trigger kick back a little bit harder than the force you needed to pull the trigger. How much of an advantage is it? Well, that really depends on what you’re looking for. If you’re hoping to eliminate starving out from short-stroking the trigger, you’re out of luck. I found that if I didn’t practice good Automag trigger hygiene (all the way on and all the way off the trigger with each trigger pull) I was just as prone to starving out as I ever was. On the other hand, I did really like the extra return force since it prompted me not to ride the trigger and made it a little less likely that I’d short stroke. It’s a cool effect that will definitely appeal to some people, but don’t expect it to effect a miraculous transformation.

At $42.50, it isn’t cheap, but some will definitely find it worth having.

KAPP Drop-Zone cradles

Currently the most ripped-off product in paintball is KAPP’s Drop-Zone cradle. These nitro cradles come in two varieties to fit just about every nitro system on the market, and each one is available in both black hard-coat and gorgeous chrome. The Drop-Zone cradle a long hexagonal boom that attaches to the bottom of your grip frame and provides the drop-forward. A ring-shaped fitting attaches to the boom and provides the mount for most nitro systems. Due to the hex-shape of the rod, the ring can be mounted to orient your nitro tank straight down, or offset to the left or right. Since it’s hex-shaped, the mount will stay fixed in place without the risk of coming loose and swiveling around during a game (the knock-offs haven’t figured this out yet).

As always, I support innovators over knock-offs. KAPP’s Drop-Zone cradle is an awfully nice product put out by its inventor. It is cleverly thought-out, well made, and darn near fool-proof. Prices are $59.95 in black, $74.95 in chrome.

Angel Tweak: cut down KAPP cup seal for lower pressure

This tip is only for the serious tweak-fiend who really knows the inside of his Angel very very very well. I definitely don’t recommend anyone who isn’t supremely confident even considering trying this. Add to that the fact that doing this will probably bring the wrath of the WDP Gods down on your head and void your warranty.

That said, I’ve found that stock Autococker cup seals and Angel cup seals are very similar. In fact, the only big difference is that the Autococker cup seal’s stem is a bit longer than that in the Angel. When I noticed that, I started to wonder how KAPP’s high-flow cup seal for the Autococker would work in the Angel. After about 10 seconds of debate I cut down the KAPP seal to match the length of the Angel cup seal, dropped it into my Angel, and fired it up.


Well, to start, it sealed right up off the bat — no problem there. Dry firing it at home, it really seemed to be moving a lot more air than the stock valve had. When I finally got it out to the field, I found that I was getting good velocity at a pressure about 40 psi below what I’d needed with the stock cup seal. I really didn’t notice much of a difference in performance. Efficiency seemed to be about the same or a little bit better. Lower pressure is supposed to result in fewer breaks in the ’gun, but I really don’t know how much I buy that argument. I’ve always found that a paintgun that is properly tuned and timed with a barrel that is the right size for the paint almost never breaks paint anyhow. It certainly didn’t hurt the ’gun’s performance any. Combined with the Shocktech bolt I managed to cut my operating pressure by 80 psi or so — not an insignificant amount.

Anyhow, it’s a fun and inexpensive mod. If you really know the inside of your Angel and don’t care at all about your warranty, this is a much cheaper way to cut your operating pressure than replacing the entire valve assembly. Note: you may need to readjust your dwell and LPR pressure to get the best performance from this mod.

All material at this site is © Ravi Chopra, 1999