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Old 06-05-2015, 03:36 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Review of the Azodin KP3 --- by CA_Tectonics

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Review of the Azodin KP3

I was fortunate enough to obtain a Azodin KP3 prior to public release. The KP3 will be sold as both a standard marker package and a special edition (SE) package. The color combination and finish of my KP3 is that of a special edition. More on what is the difference between the standard and SE packages below. From my understanding, the KP3 I have is very similar to the actual production run model. There are a couple of small differences that I will note in the text below (the differences, as I understand them, are the shape of the top of the pump handle/handle plate; overall packaging (I have none); and the inclusion of a second, smaller bore barrel back for the SE package). I would like to add a little disclaimer that all of the testing, tuning, and playing I have put into the KP3 was done with all stock parts as much as possible. However, given the nature of a closed-bolt system and tiny paint I ran into here in California, during my “play day” outings I used a TechT iFit kit a few times. For general testing, the reballs I use at home are about a 0.684 and work well with the 0.685 stock barrel.

I have organized this write-up into parts so that it is easier to follow and easier for me to write and edit if anything should change in the future. If edits are justified, I’ll be keeping the original text here and line it out or use a different color text for changes. My goal is to provide an accurate and thorough evaluation of the KP3 as I can. Typically, I would have liked to compare new markers with others in its class or at least to its immediate previous model (if applicable). However, the only comparison I have at this time is to my original KPs (the early model with gas through foregrip and smaller/weaker pump arm/sled). Of course I will be adding my own opinions on things since many subjects are subjective but I will note my opinions accordingly. I should also note that I am not a pump player. Prior to this KP3, I occasionally used my Upgraded KP and stock KP. I did take A LOT of pictures and have included some of them here so, be warned. Enough on this rambling intro and on to the good stuff…….


What you get:

Since the KP3 I received is a pre-production model, it did not come with any packaging. However, Azodin recently released a photo of several KP3s all boxed up and on display. Based on that picture (below), it appears that the KP3 will ship in a cardboard box with a foam insert. The foam is cut to fit the KP3 body, barrel front, two barrel backs, and a small rectangle section for a barrel condom. Based on previous models, I suspect the KP3 will also include a small spare parts kit and a booklet style manual (both may be hiding under the barrel condom). The photograph released by Azodin……



In my case, I received this beautiful marker:



*** Note: Yes, there is a color difference in some of the purple parts – primarily the frame being a lighter color than the other purple parts. It is my understanding that this is will not be the case with the production run markers. I think I came across a post from Azodin addressing this topic when asked but I don’t recall the specifics other than this is only an artifact of the pre-production markers.


Moving on from the packaging are the accessories and documents I would assume would come with the KP3, based on Azodin’s history with marker sales. These are only my best guess as to what will be included along with the marker.

As they have done in the past, the KP3 will likely come with a booklet style manual that covers the essentials for operating and maintaining the KP3. Because the KP3 is purely a mechanical marker, unlike its older predecessor, the KP+ with auto trigger, there is no board or electronics to worry about. The manual will also likely have a schematic of the KP3, as they have done with marker manuals in the past.

The small spare parts kit included with earlier models typically included some o-rings, a cup seal or two, and a few allen wrenches. I suspect that an extra pair of detents may also be included in the spares kit (this is only my guess though).

Lastly, a Azodin barrel condom will be included in the packaging (confirmed by the Azodin picture above). The barrel condom that came with each of my KPs was full size with a typical cord cinch lock on it to adjust the cord length and it appears the one included with the KP3 is the same.

On to the marker. The KP3 will come with a couple different finish options. The standard KP3 package will include the main marker color in an anodized dust with gloss accent color combination. For the SE model, the finish is a little out of the ordinary for a stock paintball marker finish. The main white marker color is achieved by using what appears to be a powder coat under a clear gloss topcoat(s). For the colored accents of the KP3 SE, the parts are a typical anodized polish finish.

Azodin has noted that the colors to be released (at least for now) are:

Dust Black with Polish Black Accents -- standard package
Dust Blue with Polish Green Accents -- standard package
White with Polish Purple Accents -- SE package
White with Polish Gold Accents -- SE package

However, I have already seen a retailer offering color-swapped KP3s on pre-order so it shouldn’t be too difficult to find a color combo to your liking and Azodin has stated that authorized dealers have been given permission to swap colors.

I think there are two main outstanding questions that people may likely have with regards to the finish of the KP3 SE and those are durability and if it will stain. So far, the white on my KP3 has not stained at all despite taking a couple of direct hits. I also tend to give my gear a quick wipe-down between games and I do clean my gear after a day (or weekend) of play. With the nice smooth surface created with the clear gloss seal coat on the white, it is easy to wipe down and to clean. As for durability, one thing that I have noticed is a tendency for the finish to come off as little rolled bits in areas where there is tight metal to metal contact – such as the threading of the barrel and ASA. I haven’t had the need to take the regulator off as often as the barrel and a tank out of the ASA so the threads of the regulator appear to be less effected. The result is that of any typical paintball marker ASA and barrel threads – some showing of aluminum on some of the thread surfaces. It looks just like normal anno wear in the same areas of other markers on the market after use. An example of this wearing of the finish can be seen in the ASA threads here:



As I had mentioned earlier, the KP3 will have a couple of options when it comes to barrels – but only as additions as part of the SE package vs. the standard. It will likely be possible to purchase backs (and even fronts) separately in the future. At a minimum, the standard KP3 comes with a 2-piece barrel in a 0.685 bore size with an overall length of 14 inches. For the SE package, an additional matching barrel back in a 0.681 has been mentioned by Azodin. At one point, a 0.679 size was briefly discussed but I have no conformation with 100% certainty what the actual bore size is for the second barrel back. For the barrel of my KP3, the finish of the barrel’s exterior is as described above – powder coat/clear gloss white front and anodized polish purple back. The interior is a nicely honed surface. The barrel front also includes plenty of porting running almost the entire length of the front.

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Old 06-05-2015, 03:37 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Compatibility:

The KP3 appears to be revamped from the ground up compared to the previous KP models. There are a few parts on the KP3 that are actually interchangeable with previous Azodin KP markers. The few things that are interchangeable with previous KP models are the regulator, barrel, ASA, detents and detent covers, and main spring backcap. The feedneck (with associated collar) may also be compatible but I have not tested this out yet.

With the exception of some o-ring sizes and screws, that is where compatibility ends. The KP3 has a redesigned pump action with dual pump arms and center pump guide rod. The connection of the pump arms to the bolt is now done using the bolt pin through a collar around the back end of the bolt. The sled used in the previous KP model is gone. Azodin also added a modified version of their Zero system.

The bolt has been redesigned and now includes o-rings to minimize air loss during a shot and also for a quieter sound signature.



The hammer of the KP3 is also different. The slot for the bolt pin is shorter and the small nub on the tip of the older version has been replaced with a flat face and three holes (presumably for weight savings).




Despite the slight differences in the new vs. old hammers, the weights are nearly identical. The KP3 hammer comes in at 1 gram lighter than the original KP hammer:




*** KP3 hammer is in the top picture and the original KP hammer is in the bottom picture.


However, in general, the action of the bolt, hammer, main spring, and backcap (with velocity /tension adjustment screw) is the same between all KP models. They all use a slotted hammer that is pushed back against the main spring by the bolt pin to set the sear.



The list can go on and on for KP3 parts that will not work on older KP models.



Features of the KP3 and differences compared to KP, KP+, and KP2:

Obviously, there are some changes incorporated into the KP3 that differ from the previous Azodin KP models. Rather than go over every single one, I’ll hit the major ones, and some of the minor ones here. First thing you can notice is the KP3’s appearance. Aside from the actual white color of the SE and the milling of the barrel and body, the KP3 shrunk in some spots and grew in others.

Overall, the height of the KP3 is reduced compared to the KP (and KP+). I would guess that it is shorter than the KP2 as well. The frame height is less on the KP3 but the body height is about the same as the others. It is also easy to notice that the body is half-blocked on the KP3. The lower profile of the clamping feedneck on the KP3 also helps reduce the KP3’s overall height dimension.



Just by looking at the KP3 it is obvious that the single trigger grip frame is a change from the old. Azodin did produce a single trigger frame a while back but this is the first KP that comes with it stock. The single trigger frame includes the trigger with a return spring pivoting around a typical trigger pin (no bearings for those familiar with some electronic markers), the sear with spring which also pivots around its own pin, a safety on/off button that will prohibit the trigger from tripping the sear when the safety is on, and a standard dovetail on the bottom of the frame.




One thing I don’t like about the frame, and this is actually for all KP frames, is that the snatch grip comes to a relatively sharp edge along the back. It isn’t enough to actually cut anything but for me, I find that edge to slightly dig into the meaty part of my hand between my thumb and index finger. It may just be my big hands as well. Just something I am aware of when using any of my KPs and it might not affect others in the same way.
The trigger on the KP3 is, of course, a single trigger. Like the triggers of the older KPs, the trigger pull is light and has a rather long pre-travel until it touches the sear, at which point, the pull becomes a little on the heavy side. The long trigger pull continues during the portion where the trigger is engaging the sear up until the sear releases the hammer. The post travel of the trigger is again, light and relatively short – bringing the trigger nearly all the way back to the frame itself.

On a side note, if taking the safety assembly apart, be careful. There is a tiny spring and ball bearing that can be easily lost if not careful…not that I’d know firsthand or anything :ugh: .

The twist knob style on/off ASA of the KP3 is relatively small, sleek, and easy to use. In addition, Azodin has come out with their own version of low-profile macro fittings similar to the CCM fittings. One thing that did take me a little bit to find is the actual seal in the ASA (you know, the one that stops the air from just gushing out of the front knob area). The o-ring is actually inside the threaded silver piece that the ASA pin goes through when assembled.




A big improvement (at least over the original KP) is the inclusion of Azodin’s Rock Steady high pressure regulator. Not only is it nice having that collar that puts the macro fitting at a 45 off the reg but the performance is as the name states. To be honest, I was very surprised how consistent the speeds I was getting over multiple chronos (the X-Radar and older RADARchron I have at home and the “Big Red” out at the field). Especially when using my reballs at home, I consistently get fps numbers on the order of 285, 287, 287, 287, 284, 285, and 286 after I set the reg. I’ll take 286 +/- 2 to 3 any day. Maintenance of the regulator is simple since there are few parts and fewer seals.



As I stated earlier, the main spring backcap of the KP3 is the same as what was on previous models. The main spring itself, is not the same. The main spring of the KP3 is noticeably longer and also feels a little softer.



I’ll wrap up direct parts comparisons with the valve. The valve of the KP3 features a rubber bumper that helps in eliminating the farting noise made by previous KP models when the hammer bounces on the valve pin (poppet) following each shot. Other than the addition of the bumper, the valves themselves appear to be the same:




*** KP3 valve on top, original KP valve on the bottom

Last edited by CA_Tectonics; 06-05-2015 at 03:43 AM.
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Old 06-05-2015, 03:37 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I wouldn’t be doing my due-diligence if I didn’t mention where the KP3 grew. That would be on the scale. Despite being half blocked with a smaller frame, the KP3 manages to gain a little weight – at lease over my original stock KP. The KP3 comes in at 44.40 ounces vs. 41.60 ounces with the stock KP.




Having pointed this out, there is a simple and reasonable explanation for the weight gain….it has more stuff. Literally. The KP3 has a regulator, the KP is a gas through foregrip; the KP3 has 2 stainless steel pump rods, my KP only has 1; The KP3 valve has a bumper on it, the KP valve does not; the KP3 cup seal of the zero system is MUCH longer than the KP cup seal; the KP3 comes with a 14-inch 2-piece barrel, the KP has a 12-inch 1-piece barrel; the KP3 bolt has 2 o-rings……sorry, just had to throw that one in there :P . Anyway, the point being is that even though in my comparison, the KP3 is slightly heavier, the reasons for the additional weight actually ends up making it a better marker than the KP. Besides, I’m a big guy, 2.8 ounces will not stop me from being able to hold up the KP3.

Moving on to more features of the KP3. Another large step up, IMO, from the KP to the KP3 is the clamping feedneck. The clamping feedneck of the KP3 tightens onto an insert that screws into the feedneck threading of the marker body. The insert can be seen in this picture (the silver piece):



To prevent double feeding if using a force fed hopper (more on this in a bit), the KP3 uses old Intimidator/Spyder finger-style detents held in place with detent covers. Hopefully these detents are readily available because I know of a few owners of older Intimidators (like myself) that are finding it harder to find these style detents. Unfortunately, what the detents don’t prevent are rollouts. Although it was odd, the triad retaining system on the original KP barrel (basically an o-ring around the breach end of the barrel that had three slots milled through the barrel) prevented rollouts in most cases. My most recent outing included having to use some of the tiniest paint I’ve ever seen. Resorting to my iFit kit to prevent rollouts, I ended up having to use the 0.667 insert because the paint would roll right through the 0.670 insert. Like closed bolt systems of the past, present, and future, there are several tricks (other than tiny bore barrel backs) to prevent rollouts – such as building up a thickness of fingernail polish on the inside tip of the barrel back, using electrical tape there instead, having the barrel back lightly dented with a punch to form “detents”, and…..just buy bigger paint – to name a few.



I did manage to find a slight issue when using a force fed hopper (no big surprise though, after all, it IS a pump). Using a gravity fed hopper lets the return motion of the pump handle/arms move smoothly, even if not aided using your hand at all for the return stroke. However, if using a force fed hopper (I just threw my Prophecy on just to see what would happen), you must use your hand to pull the pump handle forward. Otherwise, it short-strokes, you get no shot off, you then need to pump again to reset, and now you have a doublefeed.

As I had noted previously, the KP3 includes Azodin’s Zero System. This helps with sound signature, giving the KP3 a softer, quieter sound than the original model.




Of course the heart of any pump marker is going to be the pump action itself. Originally, the first KP was released with a single pump arm that was made out of aluminum (I think). The pump arm was threaded and Loctited to the sled that was located under the bolt and connected to the pump action by the bolt pin running through a hole in the sled. One problem with this configuration is that the rearward force applied to the pump handle, during a pump stroke, was transferred laterally along the pump arm and then to the joint where the pump arm was attached to the sled. Some people, including myself, found that the pump arm would bend or even brake at that joint and obviously cause problems. Azodin corrected this issue by making the pump arm a little larger in diameter and out of stainless steel. The KP3 carries this one step further by using dual pump arms (still made from stainless steel) and they are connected to a collar that fits around the rear of the bolt. The collar is held in place by the bolt pin. So, with the KP3, if you wish to remove the bolt, you must completely remove the bolt pin so that it can be freed of the pump assembly. The pump arms themselves are attached to the bolt retaining collar by threading into the collar. The pump arms are held in place on the backplate of the pump handle by fitting into holes on the backplate and retained in place by grub screws. The nice large delrin pump handle attaches to the backplate by two screws. The location of the screws are far enough apart from the centerline of the backplate that there leaves plenty of room for the addition of a hitman modification. The stabilizing rod on the KP3 has also been changed a little. On previous KP models, the stabilizing rod had two o-rings on it which helped in keeping the pump handle from rubbing on the stabilizing rod during the pump stroke. These o-rings required occasional lubrication to keep the o-rings from excessive wear, rolling, and in keeping a relatively smooth pump stroke. The KP3 stabilizing rod does not have these o-rings since the pump handle is delrin and the drag between the rod and handle is naturally low. That makes for two less o-rings to have to worry about.



Overall, the configuration of the pump assembly makes using the KP3 easier than its predecessors. To me, the pump return spring feels light enough that it doesn’t seem like I have to put a lot of effort into the first half of the stroke. However, the return spring is strong enough to return the pump assembly fully to the start position by itself. I also like that the front of the pump handle is flat so I can use a more relaxed and natural hand position with my index finger across the front.

On to an issue that I believe was addressed for the production runs. The pre-production KP3 I have has very little space between the barrel back and the top, inside corners of both the delrin pump handle and the handle backplate. There are a couple of issues with this. First of all, using a different barrel on the KP3 may or may not be an issue. I actually found that the iFit I have (which has a slight flair out along the front rim due to overtightening by a previous owner) actually wouldn’t fit. The flair would rub on the delrin handle. I was able to straighten out the flair on my iFit so I could at least get it on the marker. This brings up a second possible issue, the outer diameter of my iFit is just slightly bigger than the stock barrel. The top inside corners of the handle backplate (although they are rounded), would slightly rub on the iFit and leave small scratches. However, when I was using the KP3 at home and using just the stock barrel, the handle backplate had enough clearance that my barrel back is not scratched at all. I can see how it is possible to scratch the stock barrel back though. The pump assembly has a little bit of both horizontal and vertical play to it – not a lot, maybe a couple millimeters at worse, but if the pump handle were pulled or pushed to one side and/or pushed up toward the barrel, it may be possible to get those top inside corners of the handle backplate to come into contact with the barrel back and create scratches. My understanding is that Azodin was to make a slight change to that backplate, rounding off those top inside edges a little more in order to gain a little more clearance.

Last edited by CA_Tectonics; 06-05-2015 at 03:41 AM.
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Old 06-05-2015, 03:38 AM   #4 (permalink)
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KP3 Maintenance:

Like the previous generations of KPs, the KP3 is very easy to maintain and does not require a lot of continual maintenance. There isn’t a whole lot of moving parts to any of the Azodin KP markers so continual lubing of a particular part isn’t really relevant. On occasion, the regulator should be serviced and the bolt at least cleaned. For the regulator, I think it may be fine to use just about any paintball grease of your choosing. For the bolt, I would suggest using a paintball oil like Gold Cup or maybe even some Tri-Flow oil. Not much else is needed.


Azodin KP3 performance compared to the KP:

Since I also own a couple KPs, I took the markers out to evaluate how all of them performed. For my comparison, I have the stock KP3, a stock KP (with only the updates stainless steel pump arm), and an original KP that I’ve modified (stainless steel pump arm, Bob Long torpedo regulator, magna valve, spring kit for main and poppet springs, on/off ASA, and clamping feedneck). There is a very noticeable difference in sound signature. The KP3 has much more quiet sound than the all stock KP and a little more quiet over my modified KP. Probably the most noticeable difference is the lack of the characteristic “farting” sound of the previous KP models. I have seen videos of other KP3s and some appear to still have a slight “fart” sound to them (although not nearly as exaggerated as the original KPs). While out and about using my KP3, I don’t notice any “farting” sound. Maybe my springs haven’t had as much use as others and are a little more stiff, maybe I just got lucky, or maybe Azodin did it right and greatly improved something that has been a complaint in the past. I don’t have an answer but it is obvious that Azodin did put some time and effort into addressing previous KP models shortcomings.

I have not directly compared air efficiency, but my guess is that the KP3 may be slightly more efficient that the older KPs. The reason being is that the older KPs wasted air due to the “farting” issue. Also, since I don’t play a lot of pump, I do not own a small tank. When I am out playing pump, I’m using either my 45/4500 or 68/4500. Needless to say, I never have to refill the entire day using either of those tanks.

It is also worthy to note that the regulators I have on my tanks are all set to low pressure outputs. This works just fine with the KP3. Most of the time, I use a Ninja Pro V1 with all shims removed, giving me an output pressure around 430 psi (measured with a tester I made). Since the operating pressure of the KP3 is about 230 psi and that the rate of fire on a pump is very slow compared to an electronic speedball marker, the output pressure of an LP tank regulator and the recharge rates of both the tank reg and KP3 vertical reg are more than sufficient that shootdown will not be a problem.


Overall Impression:

I like the KP3. Simple as that. I think it looks and shoots better than the older KP models. I do realize that I’m probably not the best person to judge the KP3 against most other pump markers on the market simply because of my lack of experience and exposure to various pump markers. However, what Azodin has done is simply produced a decent, relatively inexpensive pump marker that performs quite well and comes with plenty of features all stock. I will admit, the KP3 does have some things that could be better. Personally, the frame could have a better shape and feel to it (less blocky, I guess) and the grips could use a complete overhaul. The trigger could be a little more crisp and a little more clearance on the pump handle/backplate would be good. A lot of this is just minor preferences or tweaks though.

Overall, it is pretty simple in design internally. I think this makes it very simple to work on if need be. With the exception of the things as I have pointed out above, I think Azodin did a very good job in addressing and changing a lot of the major components that previous KP markers may have fallen short with – mainly, the pump assembly and valving. The pump stroke just feels smoother and less metallic that the KP (and I would assume the KP+ and KP2). The older model had almost a metal sliding on metal feel when pumping it, whereas the KP3 doesn’t. The trigger pull feels similar with all KPs but the single trigger frame gives the KP3 more of a natural shooting feeling to it (if that makes sense at all).

I know that was a novel but I wanted to cover as much detail as possible. I’m sure I probably missed a few things but I hope this gives people a better idea about the pros and cons of the KP3.

Feel free to post up any questions and I'll answer them as best as I can. Thanks for reading.
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Old 06-05-2015, 03:38 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Old 06-05-2015, 03:39 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Old 06-05-2015, 03:40 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Old 06-05-2015, 07:58 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Great review! I'm waiting on mine to arrive. Any day now...
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Azodin - KP3 Gold and white edition.
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Old 06-05-2015, 10:33 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Thanks for sharing comparison of the internals. I had been curious about the cup seal and what they were doing about the farting noise. Both improvements are solid and make this a serious contender for the price.
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Old 06-05-2015, 02:54 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Thanks Fellas. I hope people at least some find this useful in either checking one out for themselves or just to see how it ticks inside.
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