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FT-12 First Look:

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tallen702 View Drop Down
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    Posted: 04 August 2012 at 10:01pm
I came into possession of a FT-12 today and so far, I'm really impressed.

Let me preface this whole thing by saying that I was a skeptic as to the commercial viability of this marker outside of the field rental world. When Tippmann sent me a survey several months ago looking for feedback on the idea of selling this as a private-sales marker rather than just for field rentals, I noted that I would be interested in one, but most likely as a back-up to my older, but technologically advanced Mini and my own 98/LCD hybrid. Now that I've had the FT-12 in my hands, I must say that I'm very much on track to become a believer.

As far as reviews go, I can tell you that I have had to tear down and re-build countless Pro-Ams, Pro-Lites, Pro-Carbines, and almost all of the Model 98 line over the many years I worked as an airsmith in NY and as a mid-level supervisor at a paintball park in the DC area. For rental purposes, I actually preferred the Pro-Lite to any other marker out there. The reason for this is that Pro-Series Tippmanns rarely ever required take-down to clean. You could hose them out, hit the ASA and breech with a little oil, and fire them dry. Wash, rinse, oil, fire, repeat. We always had more trouble keeping the 98's clean and in repair. For one thing, space is always limited in the armory. With the clam-shell design on the 98 (the most prolific marker ever) there were too many screws to lose, too many springs to go flying across the room, and simply "hosing it out" wasn't an option since the receiver wasn't made from a solid piece of machined aluminum. They were tedious, always dirty, and while tough, they had too many small parts to keep track of in the dimly-lit and dirty cleaning and repair areas you find in at most paintball parks.

The FT-12 was made to correct those gripes. This is immediately apparent from the fact that the flip-top design which provides access to all the moving parts in three simple motions. You simply remove the barrel, un-screw the retaining cap where the barrel screws into the breech, and then swing the top up and rearward. No Allen wrenches needed.



The internals are really similar to the classic Model-98 with the exception that the linkage rod is set off at 45* from the normal position at the top. This is to allow for the top-mounted charging handle to operate without interference. The top-mount charging handle is indirectly mounted to the hammer, so it stays in place instead of moving with each shot, like the A5, it also keeps the internals sealed from the elements, meaning less dirt, grime, water, and paint get into the system preventing wear and tear on the o-rings. When you lift out the hammer, power tube, and bolt, you expose the drop-in trigger group, much like you find in Tippmann's A-5 and newer models. This prevents small springs and pins from flying all over the armory when you have to remove the trigger group to make repairs.



The power tube is similar to all the other CVX power tubes, but the no-tool lift out design is a godsend for take-down. No threads to mess up, no loc-tite, no teflon tape, just lift it out and then drop it back in. The metal connection points also mean less chance of cracking, an issue with the plastic power-tubes of the past



Some other features I noticed right off hand. The velocity adjustment screw is located on the right-hand side of the marker, no more awkward angles to deal with when adjusting the velocity. You can see it just above and to the rear of the push-button safety in the following photo.


The feed neck is super easy to remove for a full barrel squidgy. Simply rotate the retention lever and slid the feed neck up and off, giving you complete access to the breech and barrel.



One huge problem I faced as a supervisor and referee was that it was always difficult to get barrel bags to stay on markers. The FT-12 has a specific notch in the back to prevent the elastic cord from slipping down the marker, allowing the barrel blocking device to come off.



While I didn't catch a picture of it, it's incredibly easy to replace the ball detent as well. With the barrel and locking collar off, simply slide the fore-grip forward and you have access to the detent, again no tools needed.

Also, it accepts standard 98 threaded barrels, and given the massive number of makes and models out there, it should be no problem finding one that works just right. Mind you, the stock barrel doesn't look too shabby! Definitely a million times better than the old Model-98 barrels.

Finally, it's just a sharp looking marker! It looks like it means business without being overly realistic in nature. The design definitely hearkens to the open-bolt sub machine guns of the 70's and 80's like the Uzi and MAC-10 though, so I'm sure it won't be long before we start seeing home projects where the vertical fore-grip gets shaved off for that IDF/Mossad look.



I haven't test-fired it yet, but will be running to the local pro-shop tomorrow to pick up a new 20oz tank (I haven't had CO2 forever!) and will be hitting the field for a walk-on game this week!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Reb Cpl Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 August 2012 at 8:12pm
I love your review- and I agree completely. One thing i can add, is that I hate the sights. Very much. The rear sight post isn't necessary at all with a notch cut into the cocking knob.

Granted, nobody really USES them- but its a bit annoying to have 4 points to align.


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote tallen702 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 August 2012 at 8:14pm
Originally posted by Reb Cpl Reb Cpl wrote:

I love your review- and I agree completely. One thing i can add, is that I hate the sights. Very much. The rear sight post isn't necessary at all with a notch cut into the cocking knob.

Granted, nobody really USES them- but its a bit annoying to have 4 points to align.




Honestly, with the amount of space that they have behind the cocking knob on the top cover, I thought an integrated picitinny rail would have been nice.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote kendall Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 August 2012 at 10:10am
excellent review - makes me want one.

simplicity is key for parks, no doubt. i've always admired the parks that stayed on top of their rentals. i'm the kind of player that breaks down and thoroughly cleans every gun i bring to the park every single time - and that's typically two a5's and a 98 act. i've been bringing my girlfriend's son with, and trying to decide the perfect starter marker for him. perhaps this is it.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote kendall Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 August 2012 at 10:31am
i have to agree that i wish they had left a little room for modification. rails, stocks, etc. but i guess that was never the purpose of the gun was it? 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote sinisterNorth Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 August 2012 at 1:09pm
Interesting marker indeed. Nice review!
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