PMI TrracerSA

My son who just turned nine, made out like a bandit at his birthday party netting over one hundred dollars in cash.  He’d been itching to get himself a paintball gun even though he knew I wasn’t going to let hem play on a commercial field until he turned ten.  I decided on the PMI TrracerSA to be his first gun.  Knowing absolutely nothing about the gun in particular I made the choice based on past experience with PMI guns and the idea that if he were to lose interest we wouldn’t have made a major investment.  That being said the following are my thoughts and observation of the gun over the short time I’ve played with it.

At First Glance
The PMI Trracer is one of a growing number of low cost, entry level paintball guns to hit the market recently.  The gun is mostly plastic in construction and at first glance feels too light to be durable.  However the plastic used is not like that used in some Spyder grip frames that is to brittle and can break if dropped wrong.  This appears much more pliable and dense and truly feels sturdy.  In fact, the only parts of this gun that aren’t plastic are the barrel, hammer, and valve assembly.  It comes with a partially integrated bottom line, direct feed ball tube, double trigger, ported aluminum barrel and cocks from the rear.

On Closer Inspection
One of the first things that caught my attention was the rather unique rear cocking mechanism.  It is attached to the bolt and is set by pulling it strait back like many other rear cocking guns. But instead of then staying extended and moving in and out when it is fired, the slide can be pushed back into the gun (or will pull itself back in on the first shot) and is designed to stay unless it is needed.  I thought this was kind of neat.  The bolt itself was also somewhat different.  It has four O-rings, one at the back of the bolt behind the air inlet, two between the inlet and the feed tube and one at the front end past the feed tube.  The O-rings are also unusual.  They appear to be grooved.  I’m guessing this is all to improve the seal against the plastic walls of the body and to cut down on blow-back into the feed tube.  The feed tube is direct, not a power feed.  I rather prefer direct feeds. It doesn’t get in the way of the sight.  The barrel is simple aluminum with porting at the end.  The threads are the same used in most of the Spyder and Piranha paintball guns so upgrades should be easy to come by.  The bore of the barrel is not as smooth as I like (but better the stock Tippmann Model 98) and seems like it might be a little small.  But again there are plenty of aftermarket barrels available and with a smaller bore you could run a honing tool through it yourself (I plan to do just that).  The barrel threads into a brass collier that is integrated into the plastic body.  The fit is tight and secure.  The bottom line setup is a little different.  It uses a standard steel braded line that treads directly into the gun in front of the valve but the ASA adapter on the grip frame is molded into a plastic piece that is attached to the frame.

In The Field
 Out of the box the velocity left some to be desired.  It maxxed out at about 245 feet per second.  I was able to get it up into the 280s with a stronger hammer spring from a Spyder spring kit.  The accuracy is about what I expected with the stock barrel.  But was more than acceptable.  Trigger pull is a little long but all in all the gun performed admirably and it didn’t break any paint.

 As a first gun and especially for a kid it looks like a good option for the price.  Its light and easy for a nine year old to handle.  Both my son and myself are quite happy with it.

On Another Note
 Not long after we got the gun it was recalled.  Evidently there was a problem with another gun that was based on this same design. If the Co2 tank was left in the sun and the blowout disk on the tank failed to pop at rated pressure (3000 psi), then the gun itself could blow apart.  PMI made it clear that this had never happened to the Trracer model, but to be safe had me send the gun back to be modified.   All this modification entailed was the installation of an ASA adapter with its own backup blowout disk.