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Tippmann Pneumatics is a manufacturer of paintball markers, paintball equipment, and airsoft guns. Tippmann also manufactured pneumatic sewing machines and some industrial products under the name of Tippmann Industrial Products. Originally a family owned business run from Fort Wayne, Indiana, in 2004 Dennis Tippmann Sr. sold a majority ownership stake to Summit Partners, a private equity firm. A separate corporation markets a line of paintball markers under the brand BT Paintball for Ben Tippmann. Known for their innovations in the sport of paintball, Tippmann is considered one of the pioneers of the sport by designing the first automatic marker and the use of refillable air systems in place of 12 gram cartridges. They are also known for other design innovations such as the Cyclone Feed System, the Flatline barrel, and the Tippmann C-3, the first propane-powered marker.
- 1 History
- 2 Current Paintball Markers
- 3 Previous Products
- 4 Additional equipment
- 5 Current Airsoft Guns
- 6 References
- 7 External links
- 8 See also
In the 1980s Tippmann was known as Tippmann Arms Company. As such, they produced scaled down .22 cal replicas of military machine guns.
In 1986 gun laws changed, and the owner of Tippmann Arms Company, Dennis Tippmann Sr., was looking for new business. Dennis noticed the growing popularity of paintball and started to develop paintball markers with his knowledge from developing machine guns.
Early Paintball Markers
The first Tippmann paintball marker on the market was the SMG60. The SMG60 fired .62 cal as a full automatic. The SMG60 used a side feed system using a stripper clip and a screw on constant air (CA) tank now known as a threaded CO2 tank. As paintball calibers became standardized, Tippmann developed the SMG68 which used .68 cal paintballs and only produced a few of them. The SMG68 is now worth more than $800 USD.
The next Tippmann marker was the Tippmann 68-Special, which was semi-automatic and used a hopper, then called the Ammo Box, that could contain up to 40 paintballs. Tippmann also released a product which converted the SMG68 into the 68-Special.
Tippmann went on to produce other notable markers, such as the semi-auto Pro-Am which used a solid machined aluminum receiver proceeded by the well known Pro-Lite (widely used as a rental gun because of its durability), and the SL-68, a pump marker that was based on the Nelson Nel-Spot action. Tippmann also released the Factory F/A, which used the first force-feed system and a fire rate limiter to shoot semi and full automatic, and the Model 98 which used a cast aluminum design to retain the requisite dimensional accuracy while permitting their products to be offered at lower prices.
Current Paintball Markers
Alpha Black / Bravo One
The Alpha Black, also called U.S. Army Alpha Black, or Bravo One, is the newest addition to the Tippmann family. The most popular version of this marker is called Tactical and looks like M16 rifle. The marker comes in four versions:
- basic that comes with a marker and barrel
- e-basic that comes with an electronic firing mode
- most popular version, the tactical, that also includes a stock and handle and looks like M16 rifle / M4 Carbine|M4A1 Carbine
- tactical electric that comes with the tactical version and the electric firing mode
The 98 Custom is known for its ease of use, durability and reliability. It was originally the 98 Model, until Tippmann added improved modifications. The simple inline blowback design is very reliable and easy to maintain. Originally a black sheep in its overall design, it has become known as one of the most upgradeable markers for the new player.
It is important to note that most of the upgrades are of cosmetic nature only. And many so called "performance" upgrades have been shown to provide minor, if any benefits.
By pressing down on the front sight, the player can swing-down the feedneck, allowing for easy access to the chamber and thus allowing for fast in-game swapping of the feedneck. Many players have found that an occasional few drops of marker oil in the air input (ASA) is all this marker needs to function reliably. It is because of this low level of maintenance that this is the number one marker used for field rental at commercial paintball fields.
Another feature of the 98 series of guns is their clam-shell design. By removing the six bolts on the left side of the marker you can dismantle the marker into two halves or shells. This allows users a very easy method of cleaning and maintaining the internals of the marker. It is cumbersome, and not advisable to do out in the field as there are small parts that may be lost. The clamshell design was updated with a more modular design in the A-5. The only part not easily accessed nor easily cleaned is the valve, but this part is generally low maintenance and rarely, if ever, needs to be cleaned or taken apart.
One feature incorporated in later iterations of the 98 Custom is the inclusion of Anti-Chop Technology. This simple system prevents the front bolt from chopping the paintball if it does not find its way completely into the firing chamber when the trigger is pulled.
In early 2008, the 98 Custom product line underwent a refresh, simultaneously yielding the 98 Custom Platinum and termination of manufacture of the older 98 Custom non-A.C.T. models.
The Tippmann Custom Pro is an upgraded version of the 98 Custom.
It comes stock with:
- double trigger (two-finger trigger)
- drop-forward which moves the tank down and forward, changing the center of gravity making the paintball marker more balanced
- 11-inch high-performance stone-honed barrel
The powdercoat on the Custom Pro is also very scratch resistant. Although it is approximately $30 USD more expensive than the 98 Custom, all these accessories separately would cost a recreational player even more. There is a common misconception about the Tippmann Custom Pro's electronic Trigger. The Custom Pro does not use the E-Grip, instead it uses the E-Trigger system shown here
The A-5 is a semi-automatic paintball marker. It utilizes a new loading concept called the "Cyclone Feed." This enables the gun to have a high rate of fire without the addition of aftermarket loaders. It uses a larger surface area and a series of rotating arms to move paintballs into the firing chamber of the gun. The arms come together to make a star shape, holding a total of five balls between its arms. The arms push the paintball completely into the firing chamber, almost eliminating the chance a paintball will be chopped by the front bolt.
The stock Cyclone is rated for a maximum of 15 balls per second. While higher rates of fire are possible, the stock mechanics are not designed to deal with the stresses this will place on them. To achieve higher rates of fire there are several third party cyclone ratchets available. This limitation was addressed during the creation of the X-7.
In addition to the stock semi automatic function, the A-5 can be easily upgraded with either the Response Trigger or an electronic grip frame . The response trigger (r/t) uses a small pneumatic piston to create automatic fire and runs off excess blowback gasses. The E-Grip uses a 9-Volt battery, a microswitch, and a solenoid to trip the sear . The A-5 can often be purchased with these upgrades already installed.
In appearance the A-5 was modeled after the Heckler & Koch MP5K but can be modified to look like a number of different guns. It is one of the most upgradeable markers on the market, with many different cosmetic and performance parts.
The general paintball community sees this marker as one of the best basic utility markers of the woodsball crowd. However its lower general rate of fire, excess weight, and large profile make it an unpopular choice among serious and tourney paintball players. While this marker is a good starter marker and can be had for a small relative investment, the price of upgrades can quickly outstrip the costs of higher end base marker with identical or superior capabilities.
First Propane Marker
The C-3 with PEP technology is a paintball marker produced by Tippmann that is the first paintabll marker to run on propane. It is a hopper fed gun with a 16 ounce propane tank that has up to 50,000 shots per tank. The propane is safe and it does not change with temperature like CO2.It is a pump gun with a 13 inch mandrel wrapped composite barrel for increased accuracy and reduced weight. It is made for players looking for marksmanship and strategy, and it is also made for new paintball players. It has a standard trigger and a normal feed system. It is 17.5 inches long and it weighs about 3.75 pounds without the tank. Currently, there are no accessories. Tippmann says that the MSRP for this marker is about $229 USD.
The C-3 is a unique pump-action marker that utilizies propane combustion rather than the usual carbon dioxide or compressed air. The manufacturer claims that it is capable of approximately 50,000 shots per 16oz. tank. Propane has similar properties to other propellent gases, but is much more widely available than others, at hardware stores and other shops that stock the small disposable propane tanks, designed for use with a camp stove. This marker is especially enticing to those who live in remote areas that may not have CO2 filling stations available. According to Tippmann, propane is not as significantly affected by temperatures as CO2 is, and is more like nitrogen or compressed air (which is mostly nitrogen) in this respect.
On November 20, 2006, Tippmann launched their X-7 marker product line in cooperation with Special Ops Paintball. Tippmann boasted that it is the most customizable marker on the market, claiming over 1000 different looks.
The X-7 is the next generation A-5. While similar in general design, the X-7 is different is a few subtle ways.
- It has a new soft paddle cyclone that can achieve up to 20 balls per second.
- The marker body has been modified to be sleeker and has more accessory rails.
- The X-7 is generally (5-16 ounces) heavier than the A-5 depending on configuration.
- Stock X-7 comes with the very popular "low profile" cyclone hopper
- The E-grip uses a Hall Effect Sensor (HES) trigger instead of a physical micro switch.
While the X-7 shares the same barrel threads as the A-5, its body design has been altered so most A-5 accessories (stocks, magazines, pneumatics) can not be used on the X-7.
The X-7 currently comes in three stock variations:
- Basic X-7
- Response Trigger
The stock Basic X-7 includes:
- Magnesium receiver which is lightweight and durable
- Cyclone EP (Enhanced Performance) system feeds up to 20 BPS
- Air-thru stock compatible system eliminates gas line under the marker
- Low profile, offset hopper for clear sight line
- Modular shroud with four rails to add on sights and scopes
- AR15 style magazine with built in tool storage
- Picatinny top rail to easily add new risers, sights or handles
- Upgraded adjustable rear site helps with long range aiming
- Push pin design for easy field stripping and accessory add ons
- Maintenance pack, barrel sleeve, and gun oil
The Tippmann X-7 website can be found at http://www.tippmann.com/product_guide/markerDetails.aspx?categoryid=12
In 2006, Tippmann Pneumatics launched a line of (.68 cal) paintball markers called the "Triumph Series".
The triumph series is aimed at capturing the "other half" of the entry level market of paintballers who favor a more compact and lighter marker and who have no desire for the classic MILSIM look that Tippmann is famous for.
The Triumph series consists of 3 markers:
- Triumph XL: Semi-Automatic
- Triumph XT: Semi-Automatic, Expansion Chamber included
- Triumph eXT: Electronic (Single-shot, 3-round burst, Full-Auto 12 BPS, Full-Auto 15 BPS), Expansion Chamber included
All Triumph markers include:
- High impact composite body
- Double trigger
- Center feed neck
- In-line bolt system
- 200 gravity feed round hopper
Triumph XL includes:
- 8½" basic barrel
Triumph XT and eXT includes:
- 11" barrel
- In-line expansion chamber
- Front grip assembly
Triumph eXT includes:
- Electronic, 4 mode trigger
Very few aftermarket upgrades can be purchased for any of the Triumph Series, and are said to be available in October.
The SMG 60 was one of the first fully automatic paintball markers on the market. Notable for its similarity to the British Sten of World War II, and for the clouds of CO2 produced when fired, because it ran on liquid CO2 through a siphon tank. Many players complained about its overpowered nature in game play. However, this is countered by the fact that it uses 3 stripper clips of 5 balls each (for 15 total), making its capacity quite limited. The entire magazine can be emptied in about 1.5 seconds. It was chambered in .62 caliber, instead of the now popular .68. Also the barrel is fixed, i.e. not removable, and steel, which had a tendency to rust. Quickly becoming a collector's piece, they can sell for as much as $250, even though ammunition (paintballs) of a correct size are extremely hard to find. The SMG60 was also one of the first guns to standardize a constant air-source, while most of the paintball world was still relying on 12grams.
The same as the SMG60, except it was chambered in .68, was configured for only semi-automatic operation, and the barrel was removable. Tippmann offered a trade-in system in which SMG68's could be converted into 68 Specials, by adding a pront bolt, and external linkage arm. This factor has greatly contributed to the SMG68's rareity.
The SL-68 was a pump gun designed for improved durability over prior product designs. The body was constructed from a cast and machined magnesium aluminum alloy, and the hopper adapter was integrated into the body casting, reducing the overall number of parts. The pump handle was originally manufactured with a cast metal, but was later replaced with a fiber-reinforced plastic. A squeegee could be stored in the pump handle, and a breech port could be used to quickly clean the barrel.
The 68 Special was an inline poppet valve design very similar to the SMG-60 in layout and design. One interesting feature about this gun is that the hammer can be moved out of position into a safety position preventing the gun from being able to fire, like the PMI-3/VM-68. It had a built in back bottle setup that ran on liquid CO2 and was very inefficient, partially because of the hammer weight (nearly 1 pound). It was one of the first semi-auto markers on the market, and cycled at 6 balls per second, which was very fast considering the loader technology at the time.
- Main article: Tippmann SL-68 II
A pump marker, the Tippmann SL-68 II superseded the original SL-68, adding anti-double feed and modified breech features. Most importantly, the constant-air adapter was relocated to an ergonomic position in the base of the cast gripframe meaning that players could easily aim with a full mask on.
The Pro-Am is an open bolt semi-automatic marker. Early models had cast metal foregrips and pistol grips (the Pro-Am), while later models had composite foregrips and grip frames (the Pro-Lite). The loader connection was built into the foregrip, and by clicking the foregrip forward with a sear at the front of the gun the paint was kept from feeding, and the breech became open to clean the gun with a pull through squeegee. This allowed a player to clean the gun really fast with a pull through squeegee, without removing the barrel, or removing the loader. Like all Tippmann markers the Pro-Am was nearly indestructible and extremely reliable gun. While the Pro-am was like the 68 Special in layout, being an inline poppet valve design, it was a major change in design, with a different body, valve, breech, hammer, hammer to bolt linkage, and sear arrangements. Also the tank was moved to below the grip frame for better balance and to allow different bottom line arrangements and stocks, instead of the Lone Star (M-16 style) grip that had been on the previous Tippmann Semi/Full Auto lines. Also it was the first Tippmann Semi-Auto that didn't require a siphon tank to run liquid CO2, even though it could in colder weather without any problems. At one point in time, it was the gun used by the Ironmen, except for David Dehan (Youngblood) who used a PMI-3/VM-68.
The Pro-Lite is a semi-automatic open bolt marker. It is nearly identical to the Pro-am differing only in the materials used to make the foregrip and pistol grip. The Pro-lite used composite plastic while early Pro-Ams used cast metal foregrips and pistol grips(later Pro-Am models used composite foregrips). The difference in materials made the Pro-Lite considerably lighter than its predecessor. Like the Pro-Am the Pro-lite was designed for durability and is extremely reliable. Paintball Fields commonly used Pro-lites as rentals because of their ease of maintenance and ability to take extreme abuse. Tippmann Pro-Lite general technical gun modifications PaintballTipps. The Mini-Lite is essentially a Pro-lite with an extra CA adpter mounted just behind foregrip.
The F/A was a select fire, force fed, blowback paintball gun based on the Pro-Am/Pro-lite body, with the Star feed apparatus on the side. It can be said that the F/A's Star feed, which is close in function to the modern Cyclone feed, is the predecessor to the A-5. The F/A could be switched between safe, semi, and fully automatic firing via a fire selector lever. The full-auto setting changed the sear from a disconnecting version (used in semi-auto) to a full open sear. It used a hydraulic key/linkage/shock style system to slow the rate of fire by dragging 2 sets of keys on the top of the hammer. Although the rate of fire was adjustable from a few shots a second to 15+, the adjustments were seen as "tricky" by some users. Also, the Star feed required manual winding, and no other loaders on the market could feed a marker at that rate of fire. This feed system was prone to breaking paint, partially due to the spring tension, and partially due to the heavy action of older Tippmanns. The F/A, like the Pro-Lite and Carbine series, shares barrel threading and basic valve design with the A-5.
The Tippmann model 98 is the original version of the 98 custom. One of the workhorses of the tippmann line, it has been superseded by the 98 Custom and the Custom Pro.
Special Note: New style thread 98 barrels will fit both the old thread and new thread guns.
Pro-Carbine and 68 Carbine
The Pro/Carbine is a popular rental gun for paintball fields. It is semi-automatic and is known for its durability and reliable function. The Pro/Carbine is also known for its "rifle-like" forearm grip and Thompson SMG Style Action (even though it's only a Mechanical Semi Automatic). This gives the gun an appearance that is similar to that of a real-life rifle. It is a popular woodsball/scenario marker due to its focused upgradability toward Mil Sim, but is less popular in speedball or Tourney games due to its handling, weight characteristics and slower rate of fire. The Pro/Carbine is also known for being hard to upgrade but nevertheless, it remains revered by many paintball players and is known for being the most reliable on the field.
Special Note: Pro-Carbine Barrels will fit 68 Carbine and A-5 Models.
Tippmann recently introduced a feature known as A.C.T. (Anti-Chop Technology), which is a mechanical system integrated into the bolt system to reduce the chance of jams due to mis-fed paintballs in the 98 Custom and Custom Pro paintball marker products. The new system does not affect the velocity of the paintballs. Also, unlike competitive anti-chop systems, no blowback occurs with the Tippmann system.
It works by not having the bolt linked to the hammer during the first half of the forward bolt stroke, it is instead pushed against the hammer by a spring. When the bolt reaches the halfway mark in its forward stroke, a bend in the linkage arm forces it down into a depression in the hammer, locking it to the hammer. By this point in the bolt stroke, a paintball would have either been chambered correctly or pushed out of the breech, so there is no chance of a chop at this point. The bolt closes locked to the hammer, which ensures a good seal between the bolt and the chamber wall. If a paintball is incorrectly fed into the breech when the bolt is closing, the bolt stops on the paintball with little pressure from the ACT spring, while the hammer continues on its stroke unlinked to the bolt. It hits the valve and is blown back open, where it re-engages the linkage arm and retracts the bolt, letting the paintball fall into the breech correctly. The marker is now ready to fire again.
An alternative to purchasing the Tippmann A.C.T. can be found here. This is a home modification requiring only the purchase of an inexpensive (approximately $5) spring. This mod has been tested many times, yielding good results 90% of the time. This modification, however, will not work with markers with Low Pressure Kits, or ebolts (older style 98 customs are compatible with the discontinued ebolt).
The Tippmann A.C.T feature is very similar to Spyder's ACS bolt.
Cyclone Feed System
Much like the Response Trigger System, the Cyclone Feed System uses the excess gas from firing your marker to cycle a feeding mechanism providing up to 15 b.p.s. (Some have tested the unit at 20+ Balls Per Second with some commercially available modifications). In comparison with conventional hoppers, the Cyclone has a much wider mouth, holding multiple paintballs in the feeding mechanism even without a hopper.
As a shot is fired, excess (normally waste) gas from the shot is scavenged through the side of the marker via a banjo fitting (a T-type fitting is required for use with the response trigger system). The gas is utilized to rotate the cyclone as the marker re-cocks, force feeding a paintball into the chamber. The Cyclone Feed System comes standard on the Tippmann A-5 and an enhanced version comes on the X-7. Tippmann offers Cyclone upgrades for 98 Custom and Custom Pro users. The advent of the Cyclone Feed System marks the first widely used, non-electronic, agitated hopper. The lack of electronics means the user can expose the system to moisture (rain, snow, etc) which would interfere or destroy other, mechanical systems.
The Cyclone feed concept first appeared on the Tippmann F/A as a spring operated system that required manual rewinding.
The E-Trigger is an electronic means of firing the marker. Utilizing battery operated components, the E-Trigger replaces the trigger function, to where the trigger simply closes a micro switch. The switch sends a signal to a small circuit board, activating a solenoid. The solenoid uses a push rod to actuate the sear in this system. The board has multiple firing modes, allowing semi-automatic, burst, automatic and other modes. A few models of boards are available from different manufacturers, with different features, but the same dimensions to fit into the guides in the grip.
The term E-Trigger is usually applied to the system in the 98 Custom and Alpha Black, while the term E-Grip is applied to the A-5 and X-7 markers, because they use a removable grip frame that contains all the electronics.
Flatline Barrel System
The Flatline barrel is the first curved paintball barrel. The slight bend or arch, in addition to a roughly honed surface texture in the barrel, creates |backspin on the ball which increases its range to upwards of 250+ feet (100ft over a standard barrel) and creates a flat trajectory. With a regular paintball barrel, a player will often have to raise the angle at which he/she is shooting in order to reach the opposing player. The accuracy of this barrel system is dependent on more factors than a standard barrel. With backspin being put on the paintball, inconsistency in the shape of a paintball will create unusual trajectories. Another disadvantage is its tendency to break thin shelled paintballs more easily. However, this can be remedied by avoiding the use of low-grade paintballs. The Flatline barrel shroud, on the 98 Custom, looks somewhat like that of a rifle and allows one to hold it as such. The 98 Custom Flatline shroud can be removed but is necessary to hide the unusual shape of the barrel. The standard shroud for the 98custom flatline system is made of dense plastic and comes as part of the system. The 98 Custom Flatline must be re-adjusted for accuracy whenever it is removed and reinstalled. Therefore it's a good idea to "mark" where the barrel is aligned for reinstallment. Also the flatline barrel curves above the markers normal sight system, which is replaced by the sight system integrated with the barrel shroud. The A-5 Flatline, which resembles a large suppressor (though it does not operate as one), only extends the length of the barrel, so the normal sight rail system is not changed. The A-5 Flatline system can be removed and installed to the same position, making it unnecessary to adjust unlike its predecessor the 98 Custom. Also the barrel system does not have any porting and is therefore louder than a typical paintball barrel.
It is also important to keep the marker adjusted to no more than 300 f/s for higher velocities cause paintballs to curve upwards before reaching its maximum distance, which in turn decreases the barrel's normally high effective range. Tilting the barrel to the left or right will also cause the trajectory to be altered in that direction.
Tippmanns are among the most popular paintball markers to transform into a "MILSIM" model. MilSim is an acronym meaning Military Simulation, an element of realism extremely popular in scenario paintball. MilSim markers generally are upgraded with the purpose of looking like a real gun, to make the battles played in some scenarios seem more war-like. There are a variety of websites specializing in external modifications to enhance the MilSim look such as Opsgear.com.
Current Airsoft Guns
SP-200 Spring Shotgun
The SP-200 is a spring-loaded, aluminum-bodied airsoft gun. It must be pumped once before every shot, which can be a great disadvantage by decreasing the rate of fire. But like almost every disadvantage there is an advantage to cancel it out. This gun shoots 350 ft/s making it worth all the pumping. The SP-200 also features the hop-up system for greater distance and accuracy
Designed like the MP5SD, this gun offers a 125 round magazine capacity with a pump-action shot. All you have to do to get lot of power (300 fps) and fast shooting is hold the trigger and repeatedly pull the pump handle back into place and out again. This gun also gives a lower price and offers fast shooting without CO2 cartridges and batteries.
The AEG-700 is a full/semi automatic airsoft gun made to replicate the look of the ever-popular AK-47. This gun fires 600-800 rounds per minute with each BB flying at 300 ft/s. This gun is relatively cheap, and includes a sub-par (in comparison to a battery typically used with an AEG) battery. This gun also features the hop-up system and a carrying sling.
Resembling the XM8 rifle, this rifle has more or less the same specs as the 700, one difference being it fires at another 50 feet (350 fps with a .12 gram BB) per second. Tippmann prices it at the same value ($150 USD, depending who you buy it from) as the 700 as well, though it is still much less than the high-end competitors such as Classic Army, which cost upwards $300-400 USD. Some users report that after short use, BBs start jamming and repair or a replacement is needed.
- (2007): Special Ops Paintball  URL accessed on 5th Jan, 2007
- Tippmann Pneumatics official web site
- Tippmann Industrial Official Website
- Tippmann Pro-lite unofficial website