I bought a new marker recently and it was waiting for me at the field this morning. It was actually used, but new to me. It was also the same type of marker that I normally play with, so it didn't even seem that new to me.
I have several personal markers (I don't actually know how many, but let me just say that I have more than I need, by quite a number). All of them are pumps, except one, a PPS Blazer, that I've used only once or twice , and that several years ago. My main marker is a CCI Phantom. Phantoms can be set up in different configurations, but the main part of the marker doesn't really change. Over the years, I've configured mine to the way that seems to suit me best. Nothing really special. It's a modified Vertical Stock Class Phantom with 45 grip, a 15 round feed offset to the right, and a WEVO undercocking kit (same as the ones now available from CCI direct). I run mine off a 13 c.i. air tank, Not really a whole lot different than any other VSC Phantom.
So the new marker I used today was also a VSC Phantom with a 45 grip, 15 round feed but not offset, and a regular pump handle and I ran it off a 3.5 CO2 tank today. It was very similar to what I normally played with, although it wasn't broken in quite as much. It worked flawlessly. it was also very attractive, but the attractiveness factor has never been important to me.
So why am I writing about such a boring thing as a new marker that is barely different from what I normally use? It's because I couldn't hit anything with it. I played the same style of play as I have for years, mostly snap shooting, but I was missing my targets. Not by much, but still missing more than I normally do. The marker was shooting straight, so it wasn't the marker's fault. It was me. And it was because I was using a marker that was a little different from what I normally use.
Thinking about it, it made me appreciate those people who have several markers in their gear bag and switch between one and another and don't seem to be fazed by that. I can't do it. Even small differences make enough difference for me to throw my game off. It's why my Lapco Grey Ghost (very much like a VSC Phantom)doesn't see action very often. It's different enough that my game suffers.
It's like the tournament speedball team that tried using pumps during practice to save paint and concentrate on making that first shot count. In theory it should help, but in reality, they are using a marker completely different from what they are used to and they would have to practice for days like that to adapt well enough to hit anything with their first shot. By the time they've adapted, they would need to relearn how to shoot their regular marker again so they could hit something with their first shot once again. It would be a rather pointless exercise in my opinion and would probably make the team a worse team because of it.
I think even those that can jump back and forth between markers seeming effectively, would actually be even more effective if they stuck with just one.
I did have a lot of fun playing today and I did end up improving quite a bit with my new marker over the course of the day, so that by the end of the day, I was feeling much more confident and was actually shooting quite a bit more consistently. I am still going to be selling this new maker again, which was the intent when I bought it. I mean, who really needs more than one Phantom? I own three now. That's two too many.