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By Bill Mills - Photos By Dawn Mills - June 2006
Podloaders are a phenomenon in paintball that grew rather quickly. While a few 10 round tube dispensers came and went over the years since paintball’s birth in the early 80s, teams were content through the 90s and early new millennium to simply fill their pods by hand. Then in the summer of 2002, at the International Amateur Open, X-Ball made its official debut. At the same time, a pod loader was being shown in the event’s trade show.
The rest is history. In the following year X-Ball grew, creating a demand for teams to load pods quickly in the staging pits as they had a limited turn-around time between points. A number of companies introduced pod loaders to meet this demand. One of the loaders was the Pod Loader from AJP.
AJP’s original pod loader was built from very durable injection molded plastic – the type used for children’s ride-on toys and shopping carts. It was designed to mount on a table, and required two hands for operation – one to hold the pod, and one to push the slide. The original Pod Loader is not an uncommon site in X-Ball staging pits.
Following up on the Pod Loader, AGP has released the Pod Loader V2.
In overall shape and operation, the V2 is much like the original – a conical hopper holds paintballs over a sliding gate, which dispenses them into pods. The differences in the new design are in materials, and a number of small features for easier use. Although a little smaller in overall size than the original Pod Loader, the V2 still holds and dispenses a full case of 2,000 paintballs with room to spare.
The plastic used in the V2 is more flexible, which means that the walls of the main hopper halves can be thinner, and lighter in weight as they will flex under stress instead of cracking. The V2 takes up about the same space as an original Pod Loader when disassembled, but the flexibility and lighter weight makes packing into a gear bag or luggage a bit easier.
Flexible locking tabs hold the two halves of the hopper section together during assembly, making the V2 easier to build than the original. Another bonus of the new plastic is that it is translucent. It is possible to see how much paint remains in the V2 without having to open its lid.
Small tabs on the bottom of the hopper twist-lock into grooves in the base. Compared to the original Pod Loader which relied on a tight friction fit, this makes the V2 easier to disassemble after use.
The slide protruding from the front of the loading gate on the Pod Loader is missing from the V2. Instead, a curved panel protrudes from the bottom of the gate. When a pod is pressed against it, the gate slides open, allowing for true one-handed operation.
Like the original Pod Loader, the V2 includes table clamps, which allow it to be mounted firmly in place. Realizing that sometimes teams stage under pop-up shelters without tables, AJP added a pair of attachment points at the top of the hopper section. An optional non-elastic bungee cord, or a user-supplied bungee can be used to suspend the V2 from a tree, tent, tailgate, or any other sufficiently high point.
The Pod Loader V2 works like its predecessor,
but is easier to pack, easier to operate, and more versatile in how it
may be mounted.
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