Is The VMech M1 Hopper The Future of Loaders?
(DL) — Could the VMech M1 Hopper be the future of loaders with its Force-fed hopper without the need for batteries?
How many times has your hopper’s batteries run out during a gunfight? How many tournaments have you run around like a chicken without a head looking for a 9v or AAs? How often do you forget to turn your hopper on before the game starts? No more!
VMech has developed something truly different. The capacity of a speed-feed with the simplicity of a gravity-feed.
The Mechanics of the M1
The M1 is spring loaded. No need for batteries. Just turn the charging wheel to tighten the spring. The spring turns the loading corkscrew which pushes the balls into your marker.
The tension of the balls in the corkscrew will keep the spring from winding. With each shot, the spring will spin, thereby loading another ball into your marker.
VMech boasts that the M1 can handle 11+ bps. To our delight, it does not disappoint. Testing in the shooting range and in-game play demonstrate that the spring can and does keep up with even the happiest of trigger fingers.
What are the downfalls of this new wonder? Well, unfortunately, there a few big ones.
The hopper holds about the same amount of paint as the average (about 180). However, each full charge of the spring only shoots 100 balls. VMech does include a divider that will limit the paint to match if desired.
The easiest way to get around this problem is the constant wind spring. Between each engagement, while bumping to each new bunker, wind it while crouching in cover. Have a full charge so if you need that 100 rapid shots, you have them.
The M1 includes a wind meter under the winding wheel. As you charge the spring, a red indicator moves along a guide. Larger blocks show more shots.
The lid can be a problem for a few different reasons. Each unique play style will have a different issue with this.
As of the writing of this article, there is no speed-feed attachment. This is a big problem for a speedballer trying to lay ropes downfield.
The lid has a nice tight lock but not a good seal. The full load opening is not covered so rain and condensation can easily get inside. This is an obvious issue for scenario play as anyone who has been to ION will tell you.
One more downfall that will be a deal breaker for some is the sound. On every shot, the spring unwinds a bit. This is not a quiet endeavor.
Once you get used to the sound, it will fade into the background. For those that consider themselves as stealthy, snipers, or generally sneaky, this could be a deal breaker.
How does the M1’s price compare?
Currently being sold for $39.99, the M1 is a great deal. The average gravity fed will usually sell between $5-10. The other extremes are high-end loaders like the Rotor or Spire which go for hundreds.
VMech has set its hopper in range with competitors like the JT Revolution and other agitating loaders. These usually sell between $35-50.
Whether it be a used $20 Revy, or top of the line shiny-new Spire III, batteries will add to the cost. A one-time purchase of $40 is a better value than continuously shoveling out $20 every few weeks or months.
The M1 will get better.
Within just a few short months of original release, VMech made changes. The customers were heard. Improvements made.
Players wanted ball count to match paint loaded. This led to the included (and incredibly easily installed) separation plate.
Players mentioned issues with the winding paddle. So VMech changed the paddle to a handle. Now it is easily grasped. You can wind it easily with one hand.
Did these changes come as the M2? No. They simply improved what was already a decent product. Did the changes raise the price? No.
The creators of the M1 seem to care about the players and the game. Making a great experience for anyone using their product.
Useful For These Types of Players
Who should use the M1?
While this is not the ideal for a speedball game, it is a great tool for rec ball and scenario play. Especially those long scenarios of multiple days. You never need to carry or change batteries on the field again.
Got a daughter, nephew, etc that you want to introduce to the sport? Grab a Tippmann Cronus and a VMech M1 and they’re ready to go!
For anyone who plays only occasionally, maybe even only once a year. Do you change your batteries every time? Or do you just hope they work when you get to the field?
With the M1, you don’t have to do either. Grab it and go. The ease of this loader cannot be overstated.
So what do we ultimately think of the M1?
It’s fun. Something different that you can show off and say Hey look at this weird hopper I bought!
It has ups and downs but for the price, it’s amazing. Grab yourself a VMech for your next (dry) scenario and show it off. It may not be the showiest but it’s fun and will make a few heads turn.