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mallen7818 Monday, April 21st, 2003
Period of
Product Use:
Less than a month717 of 736 people found this review helpful.

6 months
Products Used:
14 Inch Smart Parts Barrel - Increased accuracy over the stock barrel, but not in the same category as the Flatline.
Marker Setup: Tippmann 98 Custom with Response Trigger and Folding Stock
Tippman Flatline Barrel System
Tippmann Expansion Chamber
Drop Forward
Anti-Siphon System
Best - RPS Marbs, RPS Premium or RPS Big Ball
Good - Diablo Dusk
Fair - I-Balz, Zap Sport
Poor - Brass Eagle
Strengths: Accuracy, Distance, Zone Control and Intimidation
Weaknesses: Installation, Price and Paint Requirements
Review: The Flatline System for the M98 Custom is a personal choice for most players. The advantages will far outweigh the disadvantages for most recreational players.

I would recommend this system for any player that has prior military experience or training as a MUST have upgrade. The difference between a regular barrel (excluding the stock barrel because it's useless) and the Flatline is the difference between shooting a 9MM and an M-16 when playing paintball. The Flatline gives you a MUCH better chance to "reach out and touch someone" than you get with a non-Flatline system on your M-98.

For younger players, I would recommend that you borrow a M-98 with the Flatline before you go and purchase it. It improves the balance of the marker by giving you a forward position to place your hand, but it may be too "long" for younger players or players with short arms.

Fact - Better Distance/Accuracy

The Flatline offers users the opportunity to reach targets at a greater distance than is possible with conventional technology. While I have yet to experience the "awesome" range increase that some users claim, I am easily able to shoot an offhand 12 inch group at 135 feet (yes we measured) placing 24 out of 25 balls (RPS Marbs) within a 12 inch grouping at that distance.

Fiction - Eats Paintballs

The Flatline doesn't "chop" any more balls than any other barrel if you use the correct paint. I enjoy testing things and on our most recent country outing, I fired 6000 paintballs to test various paint in the barrel (having read so many reviews about what a vegi-matic this system was.)

1000 RPS Marbs
500 Single Shot (Zero Breaks)
500 3-5 Round Burst (1 Break)

1000 RPS Premium
500 Single Shot (Zero Breaks)
500 3-5 Round Burst (Zero Breaks)

1000 RPS Big Ball
500 Single Shot (1 Break)
500 3-5 Round Burst (2 Breaks)

1000 Diablo Dusk
500 Single Shot (3 Breaks)
500 3-5 Round Burst (Zero Breaks)

As you can see in the decent to premium paint range the Flatline broke 7 out of 4000 paintballs. I didn't sort the bags or look for mishapen rounds, I just dumped them in and fired away.

1000 View Loader I-Balz
500 Single Shot (1 Break)
500 3-5 Round Burst (5 Breaks)

500 Zap Sport
250 Single Shot (Zero Breaks)
250 3-5 Round Burst (7 Breaks)

The lesser quality paint was much more prone to breakage when firing rapidly . A friend of mine had box of Brass Eagle Ammo that he wanted to get rid of, so I bought it from him for a few dollars. When trying to use BE ammo, the breakage was unbelievably bad.

When you break a ball in the barrel, it does affect the accuracy of the marker. I was unable to to consistantly hit anything past 70 feet after breaking a ball in the barrel, but cleaning the barrel with the supplied tool takes less than 20 seconds.

Fiction - The Balls "Float"

I have a friend that can dispell this myth in a hurry. I've read that the balls appear to be moving slower because of the lack of arc. I can't attest to that, must have lost my physics degree somewhere, but I can tell you that my friend said the balls coming from my gun towards him looked "slow and lazy" so he decided to catch one. He was off the field icing his hand shortly after that, he also said the next round that I shot (the one that hit his mask) hurt quite a bit. Some people say the balls from the Flatline travel so slowly that they can be dodged. At 280 FPS the ball leaves the barrel approaching 190 MPH, a human being standing 60 feet away has 0.20 seconds from the time the ball is fired until impact. How far can you move in 0.20 seconds? Your mind can't even register that the trigger was pulled in that amount of time, so I'm dubious about claims that people "dodge" paintballs.

If you're shooting a longer distance, the ball actually gets there first. At 80 feet my friend with a M-98 has to aim slightly high to make sure the ball reaches the target. We stood an equal distance from a target as someone counted down and pulled the trigger at the same time. His ball had to arch through the air (thus traveling farther) while mine went straight downrange. My ball hit the plywood noticiably before his.

Fact - At Extreme Range Balls from a Flatline May Not Break

This seems like a no brainer to me, but a big deal to some people. Yes, if you're shooting at something 175 feet away (even something hard) the ball from the Flatline may not break (I'd say one out of two do though.) But since you CAN'T hit something that far away without the Flatline a 50% chance of breaking on the target seems like a huge improvement over a 0% chance.

Fiction - Maintenance is a Problem

If you have the wit to work on/clean a real firearm, the M-98 with a Flatline presents about as much challenge to maintain as pumping gas. I'm no mechanical genius, but I can break down the whole system in under two minutes.

Fact - Installation Takes Care and Concentration

To install the system correctly, you need to take your time and follow the directions. The only problem I had was the spring clip that provides tension to the front sight (and the bar that allows you to swing the feed arm down) kept popping out of place. Poor design on Tippmann's part, really ZERO to do with the Flatline because it's part of the stock M-98 marker.

Fiction - The Barrel Uses more CO2.

I won't even dignify that complaint with a response.

Fiction - The System Makes the Gun Too "Big/Heavy"

This is likely true for players of short stature, I'm 5'9" and it's not a problem for me. As for it keeping you from "taking corners" here's some advice. Most paintballers I've seen move around the corner and follow with the marker. The head/shoulder of the player comes around the corner and then the marker is aligned for the shot. In the Army we used to call that "dumb." Point your marker down (not up) and move it around the corner first, as you bring your leg around snap the gun up into firing position as your shoulder clears the obstacle and bring your head around and crouch. If it's clear proceed, if not, from the crouch you can make the decision to engage (your marker is up and ready to fire) or retreat behind cover. Crouching lowers your profile. If you watched any of the Iraqi war coverage, you saw how the soldiers moved around corners. Weapon first, snap it up, bend slightly, look, fire/retreat/advance. I know for a fact that an M-16 or even a cut down M-4 is longer than a Tippmann with a Flatline.

As to it being to heavy, maybe if your 10 or really weak it is, for me nope and I doubt it is for most players either.
Conclusion: This system allows "Zone Control" on an unheard of level in the arena of paintball. Since adding this to my M-98C, I have the ability to control everything within 75 feet of my position. I mean CONTROL. Nobody gets within that arc unless I let them or I don't see them. I can shoot through a fork in a tree at 75 feet, first time every time, if you're within 75 feet and in the open, you might as well save yourself the bruise and call yourself out because you're going to get painted, period. If you're farther away than that, I can still pin you down and paint you if I throw enough balls your direction. The system takes experience to use properly. It takes patience to find the right velocity setting to propel the balls at 280 to 300 FPS. The system requires a higher grade of paint and is thus more expensive to operate. I am no longer allowed to play on defense when we play capture the flag because I could sit back nice and safe and pop anyone that gets close to the flag, so I'm relegated to offense only.

I would not say this system is for everyone, but it's made me a more capable player and it intimidates the other team more than you can imagine to know that they still have 20 to 50 feet to cover before they can get an accurate shot at me even though my balls are breaking around them.

Recommend for Adults with Military Training, Hunting Experience or individuals that are more comfortable with a marker that fires/feels closer to a real weapon than a shiny ray gun.

Not Recommended for Children, Individuals under 5'6" or people that like to spray and pray.

I'm giving this product a 9 because it does have its flaws, but the good truly outweighs the bad. Matched with a R/T it's almost an unfair advantage.
9 out of 10

Review Comments
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PB4841LVR Monday, May 24th, 2004 | 2:48 pm PST
The only weakness of the flatline is that it makes the paintballs curve upwards when shooting in the wind. That makes it impossible to aim. It does shoot far though. Super swirls are horrible. They chop bad and lack gloss of any sort. Get some Dusk or Diablo Heat.

elmatto91 Monday, May 31st, 2004 | 6:35 pm PST
Go to you can find the flatline for only 90$ brand new

Uncle Sam04 Friday, June 4th, 2004 | 9:13 pm PST
Originally posted by spydah_07
nice, thorough review. i just think there are alot of other barrels that get pretty much the distance and easily the accuracy, that are in fact cheaper. so when i look at someone with the flatline, i think they could have spent their money a little wiser. it does indeed get its job done, but i like my all-american ($45) i dont know if they make it for tippman though :( i got one for my agressor and Electra

how could you compare your barrel to the flatline if you have never owned one.

erik vandenavon Monday, June 7th, 2004 | 8:02 am PST
you were comparing paintball guns to real guns.if you turn your 98 into a m-16 it might look cool and be accurate but if you play paintball like your in the army some one like me is going to pop up behind you and take out your whole team.

Cauldronborn66 Tuesday, June 8th, 2004 | 12:01 pm PST
Originally posted by erik vandenavon
you were comparing paintball guns to real guns.if you turn your 98 into a m-16 it might look cool and be accurate but if you play paintball like your in the army some one like me is going to pop up behind you and take out your whole team.

are you suggesting people with infantry training cant be good at paintball? I've played with lots of people who are or have been in the military (my own father for instance, an army major) and i know a member of the local SWAT team, they care more about accomplishing the objective (capturing the flag, saving the hostage, etc.) than showing off some shiny gun or painting the countryside. yes paintball is totaly different than real world combat, but have you really ever played against someone who was trained by the best army on earth AND is an experienced paintballer?
as for a stupid slightly relevant story to back that up
the first time my father ever played paintball, while the rest of us were emptying our hoppers at each other he ran off (with a brass eagle pump) and came back 15 minutes later with the enemy flag without firing a shot (this was after the first round where i had neglected to tell him that the marker i had handed him was a pump, and he had to cock it to fire)

god bless any past, present, or future defenders of the USA

S77bubba Friday, June 11th, 2004 | 10:44 pm PST
Which barrel is better, the empire twister, evil driver, teardrop, or flatline?

dyslexiccow Saturday, June 19th, 2004 | 9:18 pm PST
I've used the flatline on a friend's gun before, and I must say when it's on right it works amazing. Even the guy down at the shop I go to with the $2000 setup says they are amazing barrels. However, that doesn't automatically make them and Tippmanns the best on earth.

DpaEinVterO Tuesday, July 6th, 2004 | 5:34 pm PST
Great review!! Best i've prolly ever read on this sight. Everything was true about it. Agent Orange is stupid to think that they will be cleanin there guns. Ive only broken 3 balls shooting bout 8000 paintballs. GREAT REVIEW!!

Pattons3rd Wednesday, August 4th, 2004 | 12:30 pm PST
Thanks for the review. The info on what paint works best was VERY helpful. For all those guys who thinks someone with a flatline will have to be cleaning it soon will end up being shot from 150 feet away by a flatline.

Pattons3rd Wednesday, August 4th, 2004 | 12:37 pm PST
Hey. Im lookin at a used Tip98 w/ Flatline and Response Trigger. Is that a smart combo?

TXtippmann Wednesday, August 18th, 2004 | 9:08 pm PST
Originally posted by indybeast36
i would just like to say that all of u people say that this barrel is worthless need to think about something:
the people who recommend this gun r members of the most powerful army on the face of the earth. I think they kno what they r talking about when they say that this marker performs more like a real gun that a "shiny ray gun". I am inclined to believe they kno what they r talking about.

I have been using the flatline for eight months now. In that time i have shot at least 20000 round with it. I have yet to have a problem with chopping and i buy the cheapest paint i can find at the local paintball store. Also, i have yet to see anyone dodge my paint no matter how far away i am. I have played both woods and speed ball and i can outperform anyone on the field with me with the flatline. I play a mixture of sniper and berserker depending on the situation. i recommend the barrel for both. I am 18 and i play with a team of ex-military men who regularly enter and compete in major tourneys. I am now a valued member of the team and i am sought after as a teammate. I owe most of my success to the flatline.
to all the people who say i wasted money on my gun i would like to say this:
my gun cost me just under 400 dollars. i compete with and beat guys with 500 dollar cocker's and jts and also with guys who have 1000 angels. look at the results and tell me who wasted money.
u guys can call me a newbie all u want but all of ur slander cannot touch the fact that the m98-c w/ flatline is one of the cheapest most effective systems out there. I consider myself smarter than the guy who bought the 1000 dollar angel, and all of u flatliners out there can back me up on this.

I'll back you on that, and I'll take on anyone who doesn't. I don't have any problems tagging people with my 98 and flatline. I'm willing to compete with any other gun out there.

TXtippmann Wednesday, August 18th, 2004 | 9:11 pm PST
Originally posted by MRFIXIT08
"But since you CANT hit something that far away without a flatline a 50% chance of breaking on a target seems like a huge improvment over a 0% chance."-Quote from Mallan7818. I think you are overating the FL quite a bit. i have a Pr/Carb with a 14'inch Lapco Bigshot on it and i can make accurate shots well passed 175 feet. the most was between 240-280 feet. my friends A-5 with a armson stealth can also make shots like that. other than that very informative review.
Not in the woods you can't. Only with a flatline.

Rienholt Friday, August 27th, 2004 | 6:30 pm PST
Very nice review! Excellent explanation. I must say though I have managed to dodge the flatline. Of course I was being shot at and I saw the stream of balls. Managed to not run into it then duck it... Of course it may have been luck. ;)
Last edited on Friday, August 27th, 2004 at 6:33 pm PST

TXtippmann Friday, September 3rd, 2004 | 1:11 pm PST
Originally posted by Rienholt
Very nice review! Excellent explanation. I must say though I have managed to dodge the flatline. Of course I was being shot at and I saw the stream of balls. Managed to not run into it then duck it... Of course it may have been luck. ;)
You can do that at the farthest reach of its range if you see it coming. The thing is, a regular barrel has a hard time even making it that far so you don't have to dodge it.

DESC Thursday, September 16th, 2004 | 9:11 am PST
I like this post, it is awsome, very helpfull.

bluespider Tuesday, September 21st, 2004 | 1:47 pm PST
Alright, I like your writing style, and I like the flatline, but you should not contradict yourself. It makes you seem less credible and therefore makes people think that the flatline maybe isn't so great. You said, "Your mind can't even register that the trigger was pulled in that amount of time," then you said, "my friend said the balls coming from my gun towards him looked "slow and lazy" so he decided to catch one". Now, if you can't register that the trigger has been pulled, how are you going to have time to reach up and catch the paintball. It is comments like these that in support of the system that makes people look down on the flatline.

TXtippmann Thursday, September 23rd, 2004 | 4:57 pm PST
People don't look down on the flatline because of comments like that. They look down on flatlines because they are Tippmann haters, or they are too lazy and stupid to install and use it correctly.

jonrl999 Tuesday, September 28th, 2004 | 2:57 am PST
I have an old BOA barrel(one of the best barrel companies ever incase you never used one) that I use on my 98c. it uses the same backspin technology as the flatline, and i have to say it greatly increases the distance, and this barrel definately shot much more accurate then the stock barrel. I have not used the flatline yet, but i am sure its as good as everyone says it is. a bunch of my friends use them and love them, not one bad review from any of them. i love my cockers and use them all the time, but just for fun i like using my 98c with this barrel, because of how good it makes the gun shoot. good review btw, lots of info. and all you tippy haters just shouldnt post about something you dont use and dont know anything about. anyone that knows anything about paintball knows that most of the skill in paintball is the individual, then the paint then the barrel and last the gun. anyone who wants to test that theory, just let me know, cuz ill play against ya with either of my cockers my spyder or my 98c, and ill show you just how accurate any gun can be.

wickedlester Tuesday, September 28th, 2004 | 9:27 am PST
Great review, but it says you have only been playing for 6 months. If this is true then you learned a lot in 6 months. You also say you tested out 6,000 paintball with it, but you only had the product for less then a month. So that's three cases in under a month. That's a lot of shooting. Dont get me wrong you did a excellent job on the review and I love Tippmanns and the Flatline, but you sure know a lot for a 6 month paintballer.

goatfarmer Friday, October 22nd, 2004 | 9:11 am PST
Wow what a load of comments. Did you really get that much range? Are the laws of physics different in your area. It was your review that made me buy this barrel and i found it only went 60 ft. Are you sure you have purchased this barrel or are you just rambling on out of sheer boardem.
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