Here's my review, also over at pbreview.com Period of Product Use:
More than 5 years Recommended Upgrades:
- Either polish the barrel or get an aftermarket barrel. A-5 barrels have the same threading
- Rear velocity adjuster (RVA)
- Easy/inexpensive to maintain
- Great for "do it yourself" paintball hobbyists
- no chops
- Design of trigger/sear are simple, unrefined
- Biggest problem can be inconsistent FPS on CO2
My pro/carbine now seems like an antique compared to the electro-markers that rec-ballers show up with today. I started balling again after almost 3 years and I got a lot of comments about my pro/carbine, mainly of the "what the heck is that" variety. Compared to the $199 electros you see on the field today, this marker is becoming the equivalent of a Civil War musket.
On the other hand, it appears that the milsim markers being produced enmasse today are direct descendants of the pro/carbine. A lot of custom milsim markers are being built today that use the pro/carbine as their base. The rifle-like appearance of the marker will be appealing to woods-ballers. The fore-grip is obviously a holdover from the pump days of paintball, and many pro/carbine owners cut off the foregrip (the so-called "combat feed" mod) in favor of a vertical ASA.
Other than barrels and a vertical adapter, there are not very many "drop-in" upgrades for this marker. However, the pro/carbine's simple design means there's actually a lot that you can do to improve this marker, all of which will be "do it yourself" projects in the garage. I've had a lot of fun working on my pro/carbine, and I've learned a lot about how markers work generally.
Another comment that my pro/carbine receives frequently at fields is that it is accurate... I have no point of comparison. At ranges of about 50-60 ft, it's relatively easy for me to hit a small (loader-sized) target, and I have been able to get eliminations snap-shooting at that range.
I credit any accuracy to the combination of the Palmer Stabilizer and Lapco Bigshot 12" barrel. The inside of the stock barrel looks awful by comparison to any aftermarket barrel. I have tried other barrels, including a TASO Eliminator 10", a CMI Tru-flight 16", and a Bigshot 8.5" (edit: which only fits with the combat feed mod). For the price, the Lapco Bigshot 12" seems to give the best results for this marker and is now widely available for the A-5 (edit: the A-5 has the same threads, but the barrel also has to fit in the plastic foregrip and be able to screw all the way into the receiver; some A-5 barrels are too wide or too long at the receiver end)
The internals of the pro/carbine are worth noting. I believe the CVX valve is still in use today, which speaks to its quality. However, the weakest aspect of the pro/carbine is the trigger/sear combination, which is unrefined compared to Tippmann's current line of markers. The stock trigger spring is heavy and the sear spring is very noisy (loud pinging sound that echos in the tank). The side-to-side trigger play is pronounced and the trigger pull is very long. All of these issues can be reduced through DIY modifications.
However, even with polished internals, lightened springs, and reduced trigger pull/play, it is difficult (if not impossible) to get the pro/carbine past a 7bps cycle rate. If you look on the web, you'll find people who have adapted e-grips for pro/carbines that cycle at 20bps.
Over the years, the most frustrating, recurrent problem as been FPS consistency. The stock velocity adjuster is imprecise, choking off airflow. An expansion chamber did not seem to improve performance noticeably. I haven't broken in my palmers stabilizer yet, so I don't know how much is will help FPS consistency when combined with anti-siphoned CO2 performance. Another alternative is HPA, which the P/C can run without modification.
I've had paint break in the barrel (I was using a CMU Tru-flight, and I believe that the paint was too large for the barrel). But, it should be nearly impossible to chop paint with this marker due to the low cycle rate. Conclusion:
I think that it is now safe to say that the pro/carbine is a woods-ball/milsim marker. If you go to a tourney-style field with this marker, you're a believer in the "player, not the marker" attitude. I have done everything I can to make my pro/carbine at home on today's small fields, and I think it will serve me as a rec-ball marker for as long as I am playing.
By today's standards, this marker is better than average for similarly priced products.
If you're a devoted pro/carbine owner looking for upgrade ideas, these sites are great resources:
Pro/Carbine Owner's Group
Matt's Pro/Carbine Page