Review: TIPPMANN T-400 (Colt 1911 Custom) CO2 powered Gas Pistol
FPS: Approx 330-350fps
Capacity: 16 rds
Semi Auto / Double Action Trigger
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I was intrigued when I recently read that TIPPMANN (the biggest name in paintball) has begun selling Airsoft guns. One of Tippman's offerings is a CO2 powered 1911 variant pistol.
It appears that Tippmann is reselling guns imported by Palco/FirePower, which are in turn re-branded Taiwan guns by various makers including KWC, HFC, and others. I don't know which Taiwan maker originally built the T-400 but if anybody finds out, please let me know.
The box itself looks very American in design, chock-a-block full of text stating the specs on every side of the box. Unlike the much cleaner design of Japanese and Asian packaging (I'm a graphic designer so I notice these things.)
When I opened it, I was underwhelmed by the obvious plastic of the gun exterior and generic trademarks 'Sport 6mm?' Don't get me wrong, they did a decent job of trying to match a matte gunmetal finish but it does not compare to higher-end full-metal airsoft guns. The box comes with a tiny supply of .20g BB's, a steel-brass-plastic magazine, a fibre optic sight, instruction manual, and two small paper targets. C02 cartridges do not come with the package.
FEEL and APPEARANCE
This gun modeled after a customized Colt 1911, similar to match and tactical guns like STI's double stack custom guns.
The double-stack design makes the handle exceptionally boxy and wide (like an oversized GLOCK.) And the receiver and slide look widened to accept the double stack magazine. But the double stack design allows the real steel version to carry 50% more rounds. Overall this feels like a bit like holding a baby Desert Eagle.
The feel in the hand is a very bottom heavy gun, not unlike a match grade competition pistol. Some steel in the mechanism (confirmed with magnets.) Additional internal lead or alloy weights are in the extended magwell skirt and in an insert that forms the heel of the handle. The slide is unweighted as far as I can tell (though I haven't opened the gun up, so I can't confirm.)
The gun is a non-blowback (which I prefer for performance.) The non-moving slide is rather hollow feeling, flexing with squeeze pressure. The breech is also exceptionally fake looking. Some sort of thin chromed plastic by the looks of it, and mine was dented.
The trigger and hammer are plastic. Another weird thing is that the trigger is styled after a match grade (hollow) single action type. But it functions as double action trigger/pivot type. I don't know if there is a real steel example of this or if this is just some mistake. The rear grip safety, slide release and receiver safety are non-functional . The working safety is in the form of a switch above the trigger on the right side of receiver, similar to KWC's safety on their M92.
Firepower(Palco) also sells an all metal version of this gun, though Tippmann does not. I am curious to see how much better that looks compared to this gun but it is $100 more.
The magazine has a large side slot allowing you to swap out the CO2 cartridge. With a new cartridge in the mag, you tighten the cartridge screw in the baseplate of the mag, pushing the cartridge into the top. You will hear a hiss when the valve pierces the cartridge seal. Just tighten, until the hiss stops, but avoid overtightening as you may damage the valve and o-ring. The magazine stuck a bit when trying to eject. Some interior part of the magwell or the mag may be rubbing up against eachother. This got better after repeated use.
One nice touch is the interchangeable front sights. It comes with a plastic 'iron' front sight and I swapped it out for the included 'fiber optic' sight (a translucent plastic rod). This has the added advantage of being able to adjust the windage of the gun. But be advised that the sight may need to be secured with tape to keep it from jarring out of position during field use.
Despite my initial disappointment with the looks of the gun, its performance makes up for it.
FPS is in the 330-350 range based on the Poor Man's Chrono Test.
Accuracy is excellent, once I got the elevation zero'd in (note the high and low shot.) At 20 ft, I was able to achieve an impressive a 2"-3" grouping with the rest of the mag (14 rounds.).
I was able to test outdoors at Tolcom this weekend. I placed a plastic shopping bag (chest sized) on top of the long grass/weeds as a target. Measuring out 50ft with a marked rope, I was able to land 5 out of 5 with the hop-up providing a flat trajectory with .2g BB's. Measuring out to 100ft the BB's started to dip at approx 90ft. At a 100ft, 6 out of 10 shots landed on target by aligning the top of the barrel with the rear sights. Accuracy remained excellent with the remainder of the shots either falling below or above the target (except for 1 BB that curved wildly to the right.)
Be advised that CO2 gas will slowly leak out of the gun after the cartridge seal is broken. This is a slow process and you should not percieve any loss in FPS during a typical day in the holster. But after 24hrs of storage the FPS on my gun dropped below 280FPS (unable to pierce even one side of a coke can.) So if you play an overnight game, I would advise you load a fresh cartridge every day you skirmish, even if you do not fire your sidearm.
This gun has a quite smooth and relatively mild trigger pull for a NBB (as evidenced by my tight target grouping). With a GBB gun, the hammer is cocked every time the slide is blown back. But with the NBB, you use the trigger to both pull the hammer back and release it, hence the usually longer and often heavier trigger pull. You can also achieve a lighter trigger pull by cocking the gun before shooting, like a revolver. For safety reasons I would not advise keeping the gun 'cocked and locked' in your holster as this gun's safety will not function with the hammer in the cocked postion.
At this time, the identity of the Taiwan manufacturer is unconfirmed, so compatibility of parts and thus mods are unknown. I have been told that the OEM for the gun is by Win-Gun. If someone could post a link to their site or other examples of their guns, I will happily add this to the review. The match grade extended magwell (skirt) can be removed via steel locking pin. This makes the gun a little bit lighter and gives it a more tactical look, but does expose the CO2 cartridge tightening screw in the mag buttplate. The locking pin sticks out a bit without the magwell, so I would advise either getting a shorter pin or securing it with electrical/gaffers tape. Due to my relative inexperience with gas pistols I have refrained from taking the gun apart or modifying it beyond this point.
Whilst this is a relatively inexpensive, yet high performance gas gun, it remains to be seen how durable it is. But because it is being sold by Tippmann, they will cover it under their 30 day warranty, and if there is an issue their customer service is more easily reached than a manufacturer in Asia.
Also, the C02 cartridge system should prove to be a cheaper alternative to green/red gas (60¢ per cartridge and cheaper in bulk.) Tippman claims up to 150rds of BB's per cartridge. Plus, it's easier to transport a pack CO2 carts than a can of green/red gas or a pony tank of propane.
CO2 guns also seem to offer much higher FPS than stock green gas guns. CO2 seemed like a natural gas to use as it's been common in airpistols and BB guns for years. It surprises me that it isn't more common. Perhaps somebody can tell me why this is.
• Sold by Tippmann, a US manufacturer, so issues can be brought directly to them.
• Low price of gun
• Low price gas cartridge
• CO2 works better than green gas in cold weather
• Fiber optic sight
• No trades
• Sticky mag eject
• Unknown OEM (possibly Win-Gun) so mods and upgrade parts are TBD
• Fake looking breech/barrel
• Fiber optic front sight needs to be secured for field use