In this video I’m cycling some paint through a leaking double action BE-90.
The BE-90 is a double action semi automatic that is spring fed and takes two 12 grams in the grip frame. Produced in China with inferior alloys/materials, this neat looking paintgun was distributed in the early 90s by Taso. Details apart from Taso distribution are a little harder to come by though.
The original design of the BE-90 was USA Crossfire Equalizer and was slated for release in late 1987. Although similar looking, the Equalizer was supposedly a world apart from the BE-90 in build quality.
I’m not sure how that quality translated into operation but I think with better tolerances the Equalizer would have performed better to start with and with better materials the Equalizer’s pieces would have held up to more wear, meaning a more reliable paintgun in the long run.
Sure, this paintgun was never publicly released as the Equalizer to the public and that could have been because of operating problems, but part of the story that I have heard from Paul Schreck, who met the Equalizer’s designer (Brian Sullivan of ACI) and got to shoot an actual prototype of the Equalizer around two years back, was that the technical drawings for the Equalizer were taken/stolen and sent to China by one of the investors in the project while development was taking place. This started a dispute and development/production stopped.
I’m not sure how accurate this story is since the original Equalizer didn’t resurface as the BE-90 until several years later (around 1990). Which makes me thing the design was abandoned and then produced as the BE-90 later.
Taso offered the double action BE-90 in some of their ads but I don’t think Taso had anything to do with production (unless AGS/Taso was somehow an investor?). The BE-90 pictured in the video was actually imported from Norway in 2008 or 2009.
I think a more likely explanation would be that the Equalizer was under development but far too complicated as a double action compared to nelson and sheridan valves of the same period. And from late 1986 until late 1987 most paintguns made the transition to direct feed as well so a double action spring fed paintgun wouldn’t be as popular the longer the design was pushed back.
I’ve also wondered if Sullivan possibly consulted for Line SI on their double action Advantage? Both are break breech and double action. The Advantage was much later though, appearing in Action Pursuit Games in the June 1990 issue meaning it was likely released early to mid 1990 and the Equalizer first appeared on the cover of the December 1987 Action Pursuit Games.
I asked Randy Kamiya, past editor/writer/photographer at Action Pursuit Games, Navarone team member and employee at the Skirmish Store, about USA Crossfire’s Equalizer and he remembered back to his days on Navarone:
“I remember seeing an Equalizer at a Navarone practice out in Fontana, but I don’t remember who had it. We still had pumps. The Equalizer mechanism was very similar to the Adventure Game pistol that was a .60 cal double action pistol based on the Crosman revolver.”
Randy didn’t think there were connections between Taso/AGS as an investor in the Equalizer or Brian Sullivan providing any contract work on Line SI’s Advantage. Randy emailed me back, “The Equalizer was several years before the Advantage….I don’t know if Brian Sullivan had anything to do with the Line SI Advantage. I’m pretty sure it was Jerry’s project.”
Kamiya went on to write, “I don’t think Adventure Game Supplies in California had anything to do with [the USA Crossfire Equalizer].”
If anyone has contact information for Brian Sullivan please pass it on to me so I can try to dig up a more accurate history instead of just speculation on the USA Crossfire Equalizer and BE-90.
And another video with Don “Bored383” Howard and I talking about the BE-90 from last year.
Eventually I’ll edit a video with Paintball Tek where he goes over the operation.