Special Ops SD Shroud (modified - See edit.)
Lapco Theaded Aluminum mock Suppressor
Smart Parts Freak Front
Smart Parts All-American Back
Special Ops MP Mag to Remote
Special Ops Flattop Rail
Opsgear G36C Stock (for now)
Pure Energy Remote
Accepts stock front ring sight and vertical grip
Setup (see review body)
Hardware (see review body)
Anyone with a passing knowledge of firearms notices that the Tippmann A5 paintball marker looks strikingly similar to the Heckler and Koch MP5K, the cut down personal defense weapon version of the famous MP5 9mm submachine gun, used widely around the world by police and military tactical and counter-terrorist teams. This shroud replicates the distinctive front end of the MP5SD, the version of the sub-machinegun that features an integral baffle-type sound suppressor.
The packaging is a simple plastic bag, with a stapled on cardboard closure. It contained the two halves of the shroud body, a bagged selection of screws, a small bag of shims and a simple instruction sheet.
The shroud is built of matte black fiberglass reinforced plastic. The screws are anodized black. It should be noted that this shroud imparts no sound suppression properties. Holes in the shroud accommodate the ‘fin’ that is part of the front of the marker receiver. There is a space at the front of the grip to fit the stock front sight, as well as a section underneath that will allow you to use the front vertical grip is desired (or a number of aftermarket parts designed to use that mounting point). However, a longer screw will be needed to utilize this feature. Considering the SD Shroud will add just under 11 inches to the overall length of the marker, the weight addition seems almost negligable
FIT AND FINISH
The SD Shroud attaches to the marker using longer screws that replace the screws d the two halves of the A5 receiver together for a secure, wobble-free fit. Setup is a rather simple matter of mounting the two halves, noting if the barrel runs straight down the shroud. If not, the selection of shims will be sufficient to adjust the shroud so it will sit properly, although it can be a time consuming process to get right.
The barrel is where the real problems begin. The A5 barrel adapter has a tendency to loosen so that it turns rather easily in the receiver after a few months of use. This means that the barrel can have quite a bit of wobble, and when using a shorter barrel can be firing perilously close to the edge of the shroud. This can be solved with the mil-sim paintballer’s secret weapon: electrical tape. To be fair this is a flaw of Tippmann's, not Special Ops.
The 'ribbed' section of the shroud provides a really solid, non-slip grip surface both for gloved and non-gloved hands.
The shroud, once installed, makes removing the barrel for cleaning quite a chore. The shroud opening is about 1’ wide, which doesn’t give much room to get your fingers in to remove the barrel, ultimately meaning you have to remove the right hand side of the shroud to access the barrel. If you're playing a long game this could be a real hinderance if you should chop a ball.
After playing a game with a case of dimpled and misshapen Torks (at an isolated field, so I didn't have the option of hiking back out, driving an hour to pick up a case of new paint) I've discovered that 'quite a chore' doesn't really adequately describe getting your barrel out. It's damned near impossible to do quickly. If you are serious about a MP5SD look, I suggest you instead get the 'Shorty' version of this shroud and use a Lapco Mock Suppressor. I just finished Dremelling off the front end of the shroud and replacing it with the threaded alluminum supressor which allows for much easier barrel access. This setup also has the added advantage of getting rid of the somewhat unsightly row of four Special Ops logos along the barrel.
In a somewhat poorly cogitated move, Special Ops couldn’t get or chose not to use screws that use the same Allen wrench sizes as the stock screws, meaning you’ve got one more hex wrench to carry around with you (and hopefully not lose) in your maintenance kit.
Another small issue is that because the shroud runs to the edge of the cocking handle, it can be a bit tough to hook the knob with a finger to cock it. Special Ops did have the foresight to put a strip on non-ribbed surface around the cocking handle, so it won't prematurely wear out your glove, or rub you finger raw.
CARE AND MAINTAINANCE
Once you get that inevitable marker hit, you'll have to clean this sucker, and luckily, that's a fairly easy chore. Most of the paint will just wipe off with a damp rag. However, since there are 9 screw holes to suck up the paint and trap it, it's probably be worth the effort to just wholly remove it and give it a rinse. Just make sure you dry it well and oil the brass screw fittings.
A solid cosmetic modification, but with some technical issues. This is a solid buy, and really enchances the mil-sim look of the A5, but has some serious drawbacks. It's disappointing to see that from the retailler whose corporate motto is "Mods that make sense".
7 out of 10
Last edited on Tuesday, February 7th, 2006 at 12:01 am PST
A review that has substance, useful information, real-world testing, objective conclusions and clear explanations concerning the product…on this website?!
I mean, where are the misspelled words, the atrocious grammar, the idiotic claims and my absolute favorites…“d00d get dis bicuse it is da r0xzors!”, and “evyne who has dis gun is a n00b and I am da god of paintball cause I know!”
Thank you. It is because I occasionally run across reviews like this that keeps me coming back to this site even if it means wading through the other 99% of garbage here.
I have to agree with wolvie, a very well thought out review with lots of information. btw I got the "shorty" version becuase it is easier to remove the barrel. I've never had any problems. And with my "shorty" version, its smooth around the cocking knob so you dont rub agianst it. Anyway great review!
Last edited on Thursday, February 16th, 2006 at 7:03 pm PST