The new magfed marker from Tippmann, the Tactical Combat Rifle, is based solidly on the already successful TiPX design, leading some people to complain that it represents a holding action on the part of Tippmann rather than real innovation, or that the differences from the TiPX do not justify the TCR’s price. Personally, I don’t see the problem here: even the detractors acknowledge that the TiPX makes a solid, functional base marker, so why fix the pieces that aren’t broken? As for the pieces that are broken, or absent, it’s certainly possible to mod all or most of them onto a TiPX, but between parts and labor, the cost of doing so rapidly outstrips the $349 price tag on the TCR.
And for that $349, you get a range of adjustments and additions to suit any style. Start with ammunition: the TCR accepts both the 7-round Tru-Feed magazine you may be used to and a 12-round extended magazine with First Strike compatibility, as well as the 20-round Zetamag if neither of those are cutting it. The larger magazine may not be necessary, though, with the self-locking quick release system that makes loading and reloading a snap. But if magfed in general doesn’t suit your mood, included with the TCR is the feed neck to transform it into a hopper-fed marker, no tools required. The TCR is ready to serve whatever you need it to be, making it ideal for the buyer on a budget.
Speaking of versatility, the TCR also offers options for air routing. It accepts 12-gram carbon dioxide cartridges, and one of its unique innovations is that the TCR cam-lock system is designed to allow one-handed reloading of said cartridges. Moreover, the system can be configured to load from either the right or the left side, so you won’t be stuck fumbling with your off hand. Once again, much more accommodating to your personal preferences. But that isn’t all: already built in is a flip-down remote-line adapter, should that prove more convenient for you in the moment. No need to waste money on extra parts or time on switching them out; the TCR is ready to go whenever you are.
Not that there’s no room for further customization; quite the opposite, in fact. With four Picatinny rails already in place, you can add anything you feel Tippmann forgot. This design is also modular, so if you want to upgrade the barrel (though with an eleven-inch, First Strike-compatible barrel already in place, you may not want to) or modify the stock, either with currently-available components or ones that become available in the future, such as the intended air in-stock design, you can make whatever changes your heart desires with no need to worry about damaging the core functionality of the rifle.
That’s if you can think of any adjustments you’d like that the TCR isn’t already designed to make for you. This marker includes both front and rear sights, both of which can be flipped down when not in use. The front grip is likewise flip-down, so you need not be bothered by it getting in your way. Said front grip is fully adjustable while you walk, no tools needed – and that means no fiddly little pieces you could suddenly find you’ve lost somewhere in the woods, sometime in the last two days. The stock and cheek rest can also be adjusted on the fly, so if you have issues with other markers not being sized quite right to be comfortable for you, the TCR may well be your chance to finally lose that slight edge of annoyance that can cost you reaction time.
On a perhaps slightly shallow note, this marker has an excellent overall look, its professional, military design doing its part to make the experience as realistic as possible. It’s lighter than most comparable products as well, taking some of the burden out of your play (which is less realistic, perhaps, but one of those things no one minds letting slide).
While the TCR should be solid and durable enough to stand up to whatever you may throw at it, accidents do happen, and when they happen to the TCR, you can know you’re covered under Tippmann’s two-year warranty. When you consider the potential costs of repairs, replacements, and customer service, $349 with all that included starts looking better and better.
Overall, the TCR may not be the complete game-changer some people are clamoring for, but it includes enough smaller improvements and additions to provide as much of a boost as that game-changer would, without any of the frustration that goes with struggling to make using a new system as smooth and instinctive as the old system was. Even if you still have the urge to customize beyond what you’re given, in the TCR you have a marker that’s made for customization rather than fighting you every step of the way. Save the fighting for your opponents. And if you’re still starting out, or considering branching out into a style you’re not familiar with, what better way to test the waters than with a single product that can give you a sense of so many setups without having to buy them all separately? At all skill and experience levels, the TCR is a product no one need be ashamed to be seen with.