BT-4 ERC vs. Tippmann A5
For this article I have decided to skip the bare-bones entry level markers and step up to the upgraded versions of some tried and tested classics. The Tippmann A-5 is the beefier, modifiable version of its cousin the Tippmann 98 Custom. We will pit the Tippmann marker against that of another industry giant; Battle Tested and their BT-4 ERC. Let’s compare the individual components of each marker out of the box, and then discuss performance and value.
Each marker is an inline blowback style that allows for automatic cocking of the marker each time the trigger is pulled. It does this by redirecting some of the air back against the striker to push it back again (but we can talk internals another time!) What this means for you, the owner, is that each marker is capable of both semi-automatic and fully automatic firing modes provided that you have an electronic trigger to give you that automatic boost!
Examining the Trigger Frames
That leads us to the grip, or, trigger frame. The Tippmann A-5 comes stock with a semi-automatic trigger, where the BT-4 ERC has that electronic trigger grip from the start. Keep in mind that the A-5 is upgradable to an electronic trigger. The BT-4 ERC trigger and marker will have you firing up to 13 balls per second at its fastest setting, while the A-5 e-grip clocks in at 20 balls per second. Each frame will require the use of a 9-volt battery.
The Feed Loader Systems
In order to keep up with that high rate of fire, each marker must have some sort of mechanical feed loader to chamber the paintballs at a rate fast enough to keep up with the trigger. The A-5™ does this with its Cyclone feed system. This works by redirecting a small amount of compressed gas to a series of paddles which will turn at the same rate as the trigger is being pulled, timing each rotation perfectly and without the use of batteries.
The Cyclone is more than capable of keeping up if you want to unload your hopper quickly! The BT-4 ERC uses theBT RIP CLIP(some people will tell you that the ERC stands for Electronic RIP CLIP – it does not. It actually stands for Every Round Counts. But I digress…). The RIP CLIP works in a similar fashion to the Cyclone in that it forcibly rotates the balls in to the chamber. The RIP CLIP however, is sound activated and will rotate each time the (adjustable) microphone picks up a noise – such as the firing of a paintball. This set up will require the use of four additional AA batteries to drive your RIP CLIP.
Your markers will each come with a barrel that will mount to your marker. The Tippmann A-5 uses their standard 8-inch smooth bore barrel, and the BT-4 ERC includes an APEX barrel that will allow you to alter the trajectory of your paintball, letting the ball curve around objects, drop down over top of cover, or even give your shot a little extra range.
The hoppers that you will find with each product are almost identical – so much so that they are actually interchangeable. They will hold roughly 250 paintballs and keep you supplied for a while!
Lets break down the performance of each item in the box of your respective product
The markers themselves are both sturdy, well built and will stand up the even the roughest style of play. I would call the design and durability of each marker a tie. Each marker has a system for mounting accessories and gadgets to customize your marker to your playing style. However I will give an edge to the Tippmann A-5 for the sheer number of upgrades and accessories that are compatible with the marker. On a side note, many of the accessories that are built for an A-5 are quite easy to modify to fit on to your BT-4 ERC with the help of a rotary tool.
In terms of the electronic triggers that will be added to your markers, the edge goes to the Tippmann A-5 with E-grip. This is mostly due to the fact that all you have to do to switch between firing modes is flip the selector switch with your thumb. Easy, simple and effective. The BT-4 ERC however, requires you to open the grip up with a screw driver and adjust some small switches on the circuit board. While this gives you some extra options in terms of customizability, it is rather time consuming. While the point goes to the Tippmann A-5, keep in mind that the E-grip is generally an aftermarket upgrade that will add to the total cost of the marker.
In the battle of the loaders, I give the win to the Cyclone feed system. This is based on the reliability of the system to chamber a paintball properly EVERY TIME (I have NEVER had an issue with a chop or jam in my Cyclone), and also its ability to keep up the load rate without the use of batteries. In my personal experience I have had very few issues with the RIP CLIP, however I can think back to two different instances where I have missed an opportunity to tag wide open opponents because of improperly chambered paintballs.
The barrel on the Tippmann A-5 is satisfactory and will get the job done, but the APEX barrel is simply too much fun to use and will give you different options and angles of attack. It is for that reason that the BT-4 ERC earns the edge in the barrel category.
The last category that I will mention will be the “value”
Here is where the BT-4 ERC really excels; the kit will generally run approximately $270 for all of the items listed above. The Tippmann A-5, however, will be up around the $340 mark after upgrading to the E-grip and an apex barrel. The BT-4 ERC offers a very good marker for a very reasonable price and while I have given the performance edge to the Tippmann A-5, the BT-4 ERC is not very far behind at all!