Paintball Gateway (and as of July, Sanchez Machine CS) review
Prompted by a recent order with the Southern California based paintball store, PaintballGateway.com, and considering my past experiences and a very recent experience with the store, i've decided to post my own review.
I've ordered from pbgateway only a couple times in the past, either opting for local shops, buying used, or simply finding items cheaper. But every now and then, i'll turn to them. First, i'll go into general experiences. Then i'll go into the most recent purchase.
Selection:they have a fairly decent variety of goods available. Not ANSgear huge, but better than the average brick-&-mortar. Strangely, i don't often find what i want there but usually because i always seem to be looking for gear that isn't widely available (or i can't afford brand-new prices). I mainly turn to them for cocker parts and random juicy clearance items.
Communication: their site does not feature a live inventory status, so i always email first. And i always get responses within 24 hrs, and it seems they are most likely to respond near the end of the business day. Responses are brief and courteous, and always address precisely what i want to know (helps that my questions are very straight-forward).
Payment options: they accept paypal. That's all i care about.
Shipping options: like everywhere else, you order so much and you get free shipping. $99 or more gets you free UPS ground. Now i hate UPS like a Westboro Baptist, but free is free. There's also USPS Priority which i love, but don't always wanna pay for.
Other policies: can't comment on all the rest, but see the part about my recent purchase below.
Website itself: their webmaster(s) does a good job. Easy to navigate, easy on the eyes, loads fast on my dinky connections.
Now on to recent events!
6/11/12, around 5:00 pm CST, i emailed pbgateway asking if they had a Sanchez Machine dual arm pump kit and Sanchez Machine externally-adjustable IVG (uses that little "y" shaped tool) in stock. I've grown fond of my Trilogy Tactical pump, so felt like dropping some real money into it. Just 2 hrs later, i got a response saying both were in stock. Another 2 hrs later, i ordered the stuff, along with some odds & ends to round out the price to qualify for free shipping.
6/12/12, i received an email saying the items shipped via UPS ground. Joy!
6/18/12, about 6:00 pm, my package arrived. Rather spookily, i might add; i stepped out my door to head to the mailbox, at the exact moment the delivery guy was coming towards my door. Even he thought that was eerie. Items were packaged well, box was appropriately sized and there was tons of packing peanuts. After unpacking, i stuffed everything into a gearbag for later droolings.
6/19/12, around 6:30 pm,i had the time to finally install the goodies. IVG went in fine. Pump kit went on fine. Upon sliding the bolt in place, i noticed this:
Anyone else see it? Well, what you see (or don't see) is a hole in the back block for the bolt pin. It was never drilled. How no one noticed from the machinist, to the anno-ist, to the pbgateway shippers/receivers-ist, i have no idea. So around 7:00 pm, i emailed them with, "Hello, I received a Sanchez Machine Trilogy pump kit. However, the back block has no holes milled for the bolt pin. May i get a replacement backblock?
My order number is *****. Thanks."
6/20/12, almost exactly 24 hrs later, i receive a reply:
"We apologize that you received an incomplete Back Block. We have sent you a replacement via USPS Priority."
I responded with "sweet. Thanks!"
About an hour later, i realized, what am i gonna do with the current back block?
So i emailed again with, "Forgot to ask, do you want this back block sent back to you so Sanchez Machine can drill & re-anno it?"
Another hour, they replied, "No need to ship it back."
Now i await my replacement back block, which will warrant an update once it arrives. But as it stands, my recent experience, and all prior experiences, with PaintballGateway have been positive.
7/18/12 - wow, a month since the last update. The situation had not taken this long to resolve, i was just waiting on a shipment.
I received the replacement back block, milled for the bolt pin. But the threaded holes for the pump arms were either stripped or too large, rendering the NEW one just as useless. Contacted Mike @ PBGateway, and he told me to call Louis Sanchez directly, as they were instructed to route Sanchez Machine issues directly to him.
So i called Louis a couple weeks ago, explained the situation, and he told me to shoot him an email w/ my address so he can ship another replacement, but he would also include new pump arms so they'd be guaranteed to fit properly. Earlier this week, i received the new arms and back block, packed in a plastic tube, inside a large priority mail box full of styrofoam peanuts. Looks good, just haven't installed it all yet.
7/18/12 EDIT: installed and works fine. Arms seem kinda long though, as the pump handle sits forward enough that the spring doesn't even engage until i've pulled the handle back about a 1/2 inch or more. Since i've got 2 sets of good pump arms (thanks, Louis!), i might cut one set short (arms in the handle are held on with set screws, they're not threaded). Guess i could make a review on the pump kit itself now.
i buy from them on occasion and it has been very positive as well.
bought from them over and over again. Never had an issue. Both in store and online. I always likes to stop by when i am in LA.
One of these days i'll have to drop by the brick-n-mortar. Periodically they advertise in-store-only sale/clearances that i MUST check out.
At first you will be like.
OMG I'M GOING TO GET SHOT.
Then you are like:
WHERE IS THIS PLACE? I DON'T SEE DOORS
then you will be like
OK I'M DUMB
Finally when you walk in you'll be like
HOLY COW HEAVEN ON EARTH DOES EXIST.
They're in the ghetto? No surprise there. I have yet to visit a paintball shop that wasn't, lol!
i actually ran into lechooch when i went there. they are quite busy though, since they never meant for that location to be a store. pbgateway is mainly trying to be an online order shipping thingy like amazon.
you'll find a building with just a driveway going in the middle. once you parked look for a door with a spyder logo poster lol.
it's true about ghetto though. i think i saw 2 curb side arrests just while trying to find the place...
iisports is in the area too. they're good for soft goods and old parts while gateway is probably better for the up to date stuff.
I have never 'purchased' directly from them but my local shop at the time, CS Paintball in Anaheim, was able to get me a stock, BNIB MacDev Clone (non VX model) for $800. They also had the deal on their website but I like to support the local shops.
Been buying from them for yrs. Nice folks, great paintballers too.
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