Review: KSC TMP Gas Gun
Published: 5 December, 2003
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Updated 10/04/2004 with TMP Troubleshooting Guide
I am writing this review after getting my second TMP. I previously had one a few months back that I regretted selling, so I decided to buy another. When I first saw the TMP sitting in its Styrofoam box, the first thing that crossed my mind was how large it was. I had owned 2 M11s before the TMP, and was expecting something roughly the same size, but overall the TMP is quite a bit larger.
On the rather large box is a picture of the gun with a suppressor and red dot attached, as well as TMP in huge white letters and 2 "Hard Kick" stickers. Inside you will find a TMP manual, a KSC catalog, a loading tool, Hop-Up tool, a bag of BBs, a little card attached to the trigger guard with a piece of ribbon, and a tiny slip of light green paper with nothing but a small diagram of what appears to be the piston with some Japanese writing on it.
After handling the gun I realize how comfortable it was to hold. Again, I was used to M11s with their short, completely rectangular grip, so the contoured grip of the TMP was a very nice change. The controls on the TMP are, for the most part, where they would be on a pistol. The bolt release catch is easily reachable by you thumb, as is the magazine release. You can also easily access the fire selector with your thumb, which is much quicker than using your other hand, or shifting your grip. The sights are fully adjustable, the front for elevation, and the rear for windage.
The gun has a very nice matte black finish, which closely matches the finish found on TMPs in pictures of the real steel guns. The TMP has full trades, reading "Steyr Mannlicher" with a little symbol on the left side, as well as "MADE IN AUSTRIA" and then "XJ40230" on the right side. The bolt reads "TMP 9x19 50117 BDR" and then some little symbols. The external metal parts on the gun consist of the barrel, thread protector, bolt catch, magazine, magazine catch, front sight post, takedown levers, and the end of the spring guide sticking out the back of the gun. The bolt is one large chunk of metal, which I have no doubt would be able to withstand abuse from Green Gas. The majority of the internal parts are metal as well, so I assume the TMP will be able to last quite a long time. One thing I noticed is that the trigger is plastic, although it is 100% flex free, and feels very strong, I don't get why they didn't just make it out of metal (maybe it's plastic/polymer on the real TMP?) Overall, the quality of the gun is what you would expect from KSC.
One thing that pleases about the KSC TMP is that it fires from a closed bolt, like the real TMP. This is most likely a factor in its great accuracy compared to other GBB SMGs. This also stops dirt and debris from getting inside the gun and fouling things up. The TMP can fire in either Full-Auto, or Semiautomatic mode. You change firing modes by pressing in a small rectangular button about half an inch above the magazine release. When pressed in all the way, so that you can see the white fully exposed on the right side of the switch, the gun is in safe mode. If you press the switch over to the left until it clicks, the gun is in semi-automatic mode. If the switch is pushed all the way over to the right so that the red is fully visible, the gun will fire full-auto.
The gun field strips very easily, but unfortunately tools are involved (well, one at least) you must remove a small screw from the front of the gun, above the barrel. Then, press the button on the back of the upper receiver (which is actually the end of the recoil spring rod) Then, just lift the back of the upper receiver off, and you have access to the bolt, and other internal parts. To remove the bolt the process is a bit trickier, so I'm not going to go into it.
You cock the gun in a way very similar to an M-16, by pulling back on a cocking handle located on the upper rear of the receiver. The bolt is very easy to pull back, and lets out a little metallic "clank" as it slams forward. The cocking handle worries be a bit, it's made of plastic and is quite flexible. I assume this was intentional, since the right side has to be able to flex to allow you to pull back on it since it has a locking mechanism. Seeing as it's not a high stress part, I doubt anyone would ever have any trouble with it, but it's just something that feels a bit cheap.
I have owned both a Maruzen Micro Uzi, and a KSC M11, and the TMP outperforms them both in pretty much every respect. The M11 was very well made, and was quite powerful, but it sounded fairly silly to me, and recoil was almost nonexistent. The Uzi had good kick, made quite a racket, but was very light, and almost felt like a squirt gun. The TMP combines the good qualities of both guns, having great performance, good recoil, and great build quality. The M11 just seems to vibrate in your hand, but with the TMP you can feel the bolt slam back every time, and it jumps around quite a bit in full-auto. One thing it doesn't have is an attractive price tag, compared to the other two.
The TMP is one of the hardest shooting GBB Pistols or SMGs I have used, so I would make a guess it shoots around 320-330 FPS on Green? I don't have access to a Chrono; so I can't provide any precise figures, but using the Coke can method (Yes, I know, not too reliable) it will consistently shoot through both sides of the can.
Range on the TMP, with properly adjusted Hop-Up, it right around 130 feet using .20g BBs with Green Gas, swerving out of control after that, which is about average range, nothing too spectacular. Accuracy is better than both the Maruzen UZI and the KSC M11, but I wouldn't go as far as to say it's as accurate as an AEG, as I have heard some say. The simple fact that it has a heavy metal bolt flying back and forth can account for a certain level of inaccuracy.
Gas consumption seems a little high, compared to my other TMP, but it is most likely due to the temperature. I can always get a full magazines worth of BBs fired off with a charge of gas, and anywhere from a few shots, to almost another magazines worth of BBs depending on how often I use full-auto, and if I space my shots. During the summer, or even spring I have no doubt whatsoever that you could consistently get 2 magazines worth of BBs with a full charge of gas.
The rate of fire on the TMP is quite a bit lower than the M11 and the Micro Uzi. I can shoot quite a long time on full auto with the TMP, whereas with the Uzi and M11 after a few seconds of full-auto fire the magazine would be empty. I would estimate the ROF to be around 850-900 RPM. One reason I can find for the comparatively low ROF is the fact that the recoil spring is somewhat soft, causing the bolt to return forward rather slowly. This can be remedied with a stiffer recoil spring, which would also solve another problem, which I will explain later.
The TMP is a really great gun, but there are a few things that may (and I emphasize the word “may”) make it a slightly unreliable sidearm. The main problem is that the bolt fails to return forward quite often. I’m not talking about one or two times a magazine, more like once every 2 or so, but nonetheless it is still a problem. I think the weak recoil spring (which I mentioned earlier) contributes quite a bit to this, as does the design of the magazine. The weak recoil spring doesn’t allow the bolt to slam forward hard enough, it seems, to catch the BB from the magazine, and then load it into the chamber. The magazine design also is a factor in this, as the BBs don’t slowly transition into a single (or close to it) stack form at the top of the mag, so the BBs are secured in the magazine a bit more than is needed. I have tried to push a BB out the top by pushing on the back of a BB with the loading rod, and it takes quite a bit of force to get the BB to pop out. So imagine that the recoil spring has to exert close to this same force, as well as push the heavy bolt forward, which is why the bolt gets hung up on the BBs every once and awhile.
It also seems the lip on the top of the Magazine that keeps the BBs in is quite sharp, sanding this area smooth helps with feeding quite a bit. Another recoil spring related problem is that sometimes the bolt will move forward, chamber a BB, but just doesn’t return forward hard enough to allow the hammer to fall. A stiffer recoil spring would eliminate these problems. The next problem is that very seldom a BB will get lodged in-between the outside of the nozzle, and the inside of the bolt. This has happened 4 times if the roughly 1000 rounds that I have fired though my new TMP, and happened about the same number of times in my old TMP. This is not a huge problem, but can get very annoying. I find the easies way to remove the BB is to get a long rod, and tip the gun upside-down. Then, through the grip just pry it out. The last problem with the TMP is that they supposedly have a problem with the back of the receiver breaking off. This hasn’t happened on either TMP that I have had, but I can see how it would happen. As the bolt shoots back, the only thing that stops it is the top of the bolt colliding with the end of the recoil rod.
The other end of the recoil rod is seating in a plastic plate that comes up from the lower receiver, and then also sticks out the upper receiver. So basically every time the gun fires the force of the recoil is concentrated on that plastic plate, which could conceivably break. This piece of plastic is quite thick, and quite stiff, and I really don’t worry about it at all, but I guess everything is possible. I added a small length of additional spring on the recoil rod, as well as smoothing out the magazine lip, this really resolved most of the problems mentioned.
There are a few upgrade parts for the TMP, an array of suppressors, 2 stocks (one KSC, one made by SFL, neither of which seem to be available anymore) Tight Bore inner barrels, High-Flow valves, scope mounts, and slings. Other than that you’re out of luck if you want to really accessorize something, but in all honesty no upgrades are really necessary (except maybe a stiffer recoil spring)
If you are looking for something that is a bit different than all the M11s and Uzis out there, and don’t mind the high price tag, you should really look into the TMP. It’s built well, and performs great; I really don’t think you can go wrong with the TMP.
KSC TMP Troubleshooting Guide
Even though I had always thought the TMP to be a great SMG, compared to others it’s fairly unreliable. I mentioned this briefly in the review, but didn’t go into detail which I would have liked. In this guide I will cover a few problems that the TMPs are most known for having.
Probably the most well known (and hard to fix) problem with the TMP is the weak upper receiver. The area where the rear of the receiver connects is very thin, and is under high stress when the bolt recoils. Because of this often times it will snap, leaving you with a gun that still functions, but looses quite a bit of value and looks terrible. Your only options are to either buy a new upper receiver from KSC, or repair the stock piece.
Purchasing a replacement is no easy task. The language barrier between most people in the US and KSC makes it quite hard. Not only that, but shipping costs from Japan to the US (assuming they would ship directly to the US) are rather high. That leaves you with either looking for a cheap parts gun, or somehow reattaching the broken piece. As mentioned earlier, the area where the rear connects to the rest of the receiver is rather thin. Using superglue or epoxy may work for a short amount of time, but it’s nearly impossible to make a repair last on a long-term basis.
This all sounds so horrible, what’s to be done? Well, if you’ve had the misfortune of breaking your upper receiver, the answer is not much. But prevention is the key. It’s best to take of things before something does go wrong, which is the point of this article.
If you take a look at your TMP you will notice the bolt is stopped when it slams against the recoil spring guide rod. You will also notice a tiny bit of rubber protruding from the end. While softening the blow of the bolt to a small degree, it does not alleviate the problem in the least. Because of this, you will need to create a bolt buffer, or something that stops the bolt before it makes contact with the guide rod. If not, the bolt will continue to pound away at the upper receiver until is gives.
One way to make a bolt buffer is to drill and tap the back of the lower receiver, and the steel plate that it’s lined with on the inside. This allows you to thread a bolt into the rear of the gun, enough so that it stops the bolt before coming in contact with the recoil rod. This brings up a few problems as well, though. Not everyone has a tap lying around, or wants to go out and buy one specifically for this purpose. In addition, you have a hole in the back of your gun, as well as an ugly bolt sticking out. In my opinion that’s not much better than having the rear of the receiver snapped off.
The other option is to epoxy a block of plastic or metal to the inside of the gun. Move the bolt back until it just about comes in contact with the guide rod, and measure the distance between the rear of the bolt, and the inside of the lower receiver. This is how thick your buffer must be. To attach the buffer I would suggest using a high strength epoxy, and mixing a bit more resin than hardener. This way the bond will be more flexible, and more able to absorb the vibration of the recoil. If you do it right, the bolt should no longer come in contact with the recoil spring guide rod, and you won’t have to worry about your upper receiver.
My first TMP was used, and wouldn’t fire BBs. The bolt would cycle just fine, the kick was crisp and hard, but the BBs would just roll out the barrel. The problem eventually went away, and came back again. I had no idea what the cause of this was (happened when using both Green Gas and HFC134A) I had inspected the internals over and over, cleaned the piston assembly very well, used copious amounts of oil, but nothing was of any help. I eventually found the cause of this problem to be a cracked nozzle. When this happens the gas only recoils the bolt, but fails to fire the BBs.
What’s the cause of this? To put it simply, the nozzle cracks when you slam the magazine into the gun. The nozzle is thin plastic, which doesn’t hold up too well against the magazine. Just take care to ease the magazine into the gun and you shouldn’t have any trouble.
What do you do if it’s already broken? To fix the nozzle I simply spread some epoxy over the crack. Again, I suggest you use more resin than hardener to avoid the epoxy cracking off. You could also use some fiberglass, or carbon fiber tape wrapped around the nozzle with a thin coating of epoxy over that.
I hope this guide proved useful to someone, the few problems of the TMP are easily fixed, after which you have one of the best GBBs on the market today.
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