Today we are going to take an in depth look at the Echo1 MTC-1, Echo1’s latest offering in the ‘Not An M4’ Lineup. The first thing I notice is that the MTC looks fantastic. It has a nice matte textured finish on the polymer externals. The rail system, the entire top rail, and the buffer tube are made from machined aluminum, and are anodized black rather than the typical Chinese low quality paint. The top rail has built in fixed iron sights, and the airsoft rifle features steel locking receiver pins. The crane stock has rubberized cheek rests, and a nice aggressive texture on the stock plate to avoid slipping on your shoulder. It takes M4 magazines right out of the box, no adapter needed. M4 magazines fit and fed well too.
After taking it to the range for some test firing and chronograph, here are the performance results
Today we are going to take a closer look at the long awaited HK 416 CQB from Umarex. First, I can confirm that these are actually manufactured for UMAREX by VFC. The externals are what I have come to expect from VFC: solidly built, accurate to the original, and an excellent finish. Of course there are licensed trademarks and they look great. With the exception of the “warning this is not a toy” marking, they are perfect. Unlike many past 416 clones this has a true 416 upper, lower, RIS, sights, magazine, and pistol grip. The pistol grip and front sight are the older style, but are quality parts. The stock, however, is a standard M4 crane stock, not the HK variant. I personally prefer this stock due to the ease of getting a battery in it, but I hear they will release a version in the future with the authentic HK stock along with an updated pistol grip for those that must have it.
Next, we took the rifle to the range to get a feel for how it performs. Umarex claims it shoots 335fps /w a .20g BB. Our chrono results were 359 FPS +/- 3 FPS with a .20g BB. This is very consistent for a stock gun, and for those that want to play outside the higher than advertised FPS is a good bonus. For those wanting to use it in CQB, sadly you will have to respring the gun. With the hopup adjusted for .20g BB’s the HK 416 CQB was hitting a man sized target out to 150 feet, and a paper plate sized target out to about 100 feet. That’s a pretty respectable showing for a short barreled rifle. The rifle was tested with a 1300mah LiPo in both 11.1v and 7.4v. The HK 416 CQB operated flawlessly with both batteries and fired 18 RPS, and 13 RPS respectively. Fair warning, though: while the gun is LiPo ready ,UMAREX does not warranty the use of 11.1v LiPo packs, so use them at your own risk.
Now for my favorite part, lets see whats under the hood!
Today we are going to take an in depth look at the Bolt Airsoft B4A1 Recoil Shock System AEG from White Tiger Tactical.
The externals are all metal with a nice black finish, and a few of the smaller parts are done in a flat grey finish that gives the rifle a nice contrast. Sadly there are no licensed trademarks on this rifle, just the Bolt Airsoft logo. The furniture is made from a very nice polymer with a rough texture and flat finish. The front and rear sights are both adjustable. So far so good, but how will it perform?
The SAT Variable Velocity Device, or VVD, seems to be an ideal solution to a constant airsoft dilemma: How can I easily change the FPS of my airsoft rifle? Perhaps you have one rifle you really love, and you want to use it for outdoor use and CQB. Or maybe you have a precision DMR, but not all airsoft fields have semi-auto DMR rules. Either way, the SAT VVD promises to be a simple solution. But how well does it actually work?
The new Javelin Gun Works M4 CQB sports a metal body and a metal rail system that houses the battery. The finish is high quality, not your standard china paint. The gun feels very solid and the reciprocating bolt makes a satisfying clank when it fires. The collapsible stock sports some extra storage space for CR123a Batteries, and the AEG has an HK style Ergo grip. On the outside, this is a great package with a lot of extras for about 130$ less than competing manufacturers. Taking a closer look at the RIS, the rails are metal, but the retaining ring that locks into the Delta ring is plastic. However, it locks in very solidly and doesn’t feel fragile in the least. The battery compartment is easy to get into and houses an NiMh chain type battery or a 7.4v 1300mah LiPo with room to spare. The AEG package includes an 8.4v chain battery. It also includes your standard 300 round Hicap magazine, and a cheap brick wall charger. The manufacturer claims it shoots 360-380 FPS, and the one we tested chronos 350-360. While not on the high end, it is within specs. One thing of important note: while the gun shoots well out of the box, the hopup adjustment had no affect on the BB’s at all (we will cover more on this in the internal section of the review).
The latest version of the Echo 1 SM Short, AKA the G36C, boasts quite a few positive changes over previous models. It looks like Echo-1 really delivered a top quality AEG in this gun.
Echo1 SMC EXTERNALS
The shiny ABS plastic has been replaced with a much sturdier feeling material. It features a nice flat textured finish similar to the composite used on a Classic Army G36. The body pins on the handguard and magwell have been replaced with much nicer steel locking pins. The overall impression from the outside is that this almost can’t be an Echo1! It feels fantastic!
Echo1 SMC PERFORMANCE
When the gun shoots it sounds nice and clean, much better than most entry level guns. At the Chrono it gave us a solid 370 FPS. Out of 10 shots it fired 1 low of 360, 1 high of 381, but the other 8 were all 370 +/- 4fps, so it’s pretty consistent for a budget AEG. It clocked 14.8 BB’s per second, with an 11.1v 1800mah LiPo battery. Yes, it handles the LiPo beautifully. The Rate of fire may not be outrageous, but that means you won’t blow up the insides. For those that insist on higher rates of fire, simply replacing the torque motor with a high speed one should do the trick for you.
Echo1 SMC INTERNALS
Now for the insides: the good news is they did just as good a job on the inside. We have an 8mm bearing gearbox, 8mm sleeve bearings, metal spring guide, a redesigned hop-up unit, new wiring and an improved switch. The spring guide isn’t anything fancy, but it is metal and that’s a pretty big improvement over the original plastic one.The gearbox shell is similar to the old one, but it’s 8mm instead of 7mm, so it can handle even more punishment than before.The 8mm sleeve bearings are a very interesting change. They do not appear to be standard ball bearings. Instead they appear to a 2 piece steel sleeved roller bearing. What that means is you get the reduced friction of a bearing with only 2 moving parts instead of 10. At any rate if you prefer the standard ball bearing bushings they are standard 8mm holes so you can put any aftermarket bearings you want in there.
The wiring isn’t a huge change but it is a welcome one.
The first thing I noticed is the lack of a second mini tamiya connector; it has been replaced with more convenient and tighter fitting spade connectors. There is also less wiring than before, and it’s a bit neater. Overall, less wire means less resistance.
The switch inside the gearbox is much nicer than previous generations. For once it actually stays in place when you open and close the gearbox. It is also made of a very cleanly cast polycarbonate material. The trigger plug moves smoothly and is cleanly cast as well.
The hop-up unit has been redesigned so that you will no longer have to deal with broken hop-up brackets that result in feeding issues. It still has our familiar G36 hop-up wheel, but the feed end looks more related to a G3 or M4 hop-up. When seated it fits snugly up against the gearbox resulting in a good air seal and very consistent feeding. It also boasts a MadBull Blue 60 degree hop-up bucking.
The other parts are all of good quality, but are almost identical to previous generations.
The gears are Chinese, but they are metal and durable. The piston and piston head are white polycarbonate and very serviceable if not very exciting.
The piston head does not have bearings, but it is ported. The cylinder head is plastic, but gets a good air seal with the cylinder and the air nozzle
The motor looks like a standard Echo 1 motor, it runs smooth and provides plenty of torque.
My overall impression of the Echo-1 SM short is very good; it is one of the best guns I’ve seen Echo 1 produce to date, and at about $200 the price can’t be beat. It saddens me greatly that after all the work that was put into making this gun, this will be the only production run available. They are sure to go fast, so if you want one, get them while they’re hot.
The first thing you notice about the Real Sword SVD is that it is built like a tank; everything is steel and I don’t mean cast pot metal “steel” but real machined, forged, blued steel. Everything from the rear sight to the clip on cheek rest is solid and substantial feeling. There are no creaks or wobbles anywhere on this gun. As I flipped through the contents of the box I was pleasantly surprised by a very well written step by step takedown guide accompanied by very useful pictures. The take down guide is simple, to the point, and covers how to break the gun down into all its various parts assemblies: barrel, inner barrel/hopup, receiver/stock, and Gearbox. It does not cover disassembling the gearbox itself, but it covers enough that you can easily perform routine maintenance, cleaning, hopup changes, and barrel swaps. During the takedown process I was pleasantly surprised by some of Real Swords positive design choices:
1.The Upper Receiver cover is removed by rotating a locking lever, instead of the ever so popular button at the rear of the receiver, this means the cover doesn’t wobble, wont fall off, and is easy to remove and replace.
2.The Selector lever is of a similar design no screws to come loose, no tiny snap on covers to lose, just a rotating lock and release mechanism, it holds it in place firmly, is easy to remove and replace, and the selector doesn’t have all the tiny little parts like many other AK replicas out there.
3.The trigger mechanism is very different from other designs, it is mostly external and very intuitive, it makes the gearbox assembly easy because you don’t have all those tiny little parts under spring tension on the inside.
First impressions can be hard to break. Especially in airsoft, a first impression of a gun or a brand can leave an irreversible impression. The Ares H&K G36 series airsoft rifles, through some impressive performance and stress testing, were able to overcome our initial doubts. When the Ares H&K G36 AEGs were first released, there were high hopes that it would be a top quality airsoft replica. Since no other G36 airsoft rifles were available, the Ares G36 with authentic H&K trademarks was highly anticipated by collectors and players.
When we first received the Ares G36 models, the externals were as we expected. Quality polymer construction was combined with tightly fitting parts for a solid construction overall. The H&K G36 Airsoft Rifle features a strong integral bipod, as well as a dual function scope. The Ares H&K G36K sports a 3X scope, along with a rail for attaching a second optic. The Ares H&K G36C, as usual, is equipped with iron sights and a full length picatinny rail. Airsoft requires more than just external looks, though. Internal reliability is what we were interested in.
The first few H&K G36 airsoft rifles we sold gave us reason to worry about their reliability. One customer needed a repair to his hop-up, because the bucking was torn. Another two had gearbox problems. Pretty soon, we were doubting whether the Ares H&K G36 rifles were worth the hassle, much less the cost. The Ares distributor was more than happy to repair the rifles under warranty, and recommended that we give them one more shot. We suspected that rifles that broke once could break again, though, and we never want to sell something that we aren’t confident in. In order to guarantee that the H&K G36 rifles were up to spec, we set out to break them. If we couldn’t, our customers can’t either.
First up was an Ares H&K G36C airsoft rifle. We started our test using an 8.4v battery. The chrono was reading about 360 FPS with a .20g BB. On the first magazine, we tested both semi and full-auto, pulling the trigger as fast as possible in semi automatic. We didn’t experience any lockup in semi-auto, and full auto functioned smoothly. On the next magazine, we fired longer bursts in full auto, with a few bursts well over 100 rounds. The gun didn’t even blink, though the test battery did wear out rapidly under those loads. Overall, we fired more than 1200 rounds through our G36C, and tested long, harsh bursts, as well as range and hop-up adjustment tests. The Ares G36C passed all of these smoothly, without a single lock-up, jam, or failure.
Next in line was the H&K G36K. We decided to step up this test, so we started with a 7.4v 1300Mah lipo battery. This airsoft rifle chronoed right below 400 FPS. Hop-up adjustment was accurate and easy, and the included 3X scope worked decently. With two mags through the rifle, we changed the battery to an 11.1v 1300Mah lithium polymer battery. A fully loaded magazine was wound and inserted. On an 11.1v battery, we fired the entire 450 round magazine in a single trigger pull. Both the battery and the gun ran smoothly, even at approximately 20 rounds per second. The extended load didn’t bother the G36K at all; it ran smoothly during the test, as well as before and after.
Overall, we tested 4 different Ares H&K G36 rifles, testing almost all of them with 11.1v lipo batteries. Each rifle fired no less than 1200 rounds, and each rifle passed its test perfectly. This test was enough to convince us that the Ares G36 rifles are capable of handling airsoft combat pressures, and are even 11.1v lipo ready. As it turns out, our customer’s initial issues with the rifles were traced to entry level BBs which were coincidentally purchased by each customer, leading to issues later on. With our precision BBs, the Ares G36 AEGs put out flawless performance and exhibit all the characteristics of a top of the line airsoft rifle.
After these tests, most of our staff was convinced. Any airsoft rifle that can fire 450 rounds in a single burst on an 11.1v battery as smoothly and easily as these rifles did is worthy of consideration. Since we traced the problem earlier to low-end BBs, not a single Ares G36 has failed to perform flawlessly. For some of the rest of our staff, it wasn’t until after we performed an internal examination that they were won over. If you want to see more about the features of the Ares G36, check out our takedown review. Suffice to say, these guys rock, and if you’re looking for an airsoft G36, the Ares H&K AEGs are your best bet.
It has always been one of our goals at Airsoft Outlet Northwest to find high quality Airsoft gear and deliver it to the customer at a reasonable price. We’ve prided ourselves over the years that we continually weed out products that “boomerang” around on us, or in other words have a high probability of failing quickly. This is why we’re always on the prowl to try out new and exciting things. Yesterday we received a large sample of high quality replica optics from a manufacturer that we’ve never seen before, and it’s exciting to say that we’ll likely be bringing in a variety of their quality products. These sights look to be some of the best Chinese constructed Airsoft optics we’ve seen yet. The ACOG replicas feature super crisp glass, clear reticules, rubber coated bodies, and a few even have a legitimate fiber optic BUIS along the top. We’ve been sending these out to specific customers who will be testing them not only on Airsoft guns, but on M4 rifles as well. We’re hoping to find that these optics not only deliver superior value, but are also able to handle the recoil of a 5.56mm round.
Let’s just say that we were so excited to test these out that we couldn’t mount just one!
We’ve also received some protective mesh facemasks for sampling. These masks are based around a popular design that’s gaining popularity among Airsoft players worldwide. We have two types and three colors to choose from (sorry no M.C. yet). The larger mask completely envelops the jawline with a soft cushion while the wire frame is flexible enough to bend around and cover the ears. The smaller mask offers protection primarily for the mouth, cheeks and nose, and is suited for those who do not want a lot of face protection for mobility/aiming sake.
We tested the quality of the wire mesh by shooting each mask point blank with a G&G G96 gas powered sniper rifle which shoots approximately 548fps w/ a .20g bb. We used an Airsoft Innovations propane adapter w/ .43g airsoft bb’s and placed the mask firmly against a dummy head. Needless to say we were pleasantly surprised how well the mesh held up.
The mesh did bend, which was expected after eight shots in the same place, but had no signs of actually breaking. We were able to push the wire back in to place which left the mask looking new except for the chipped paint. It’s easy to see why this style is becoming a popular trend with Airsoft players. The ergonomic design and flexibility of the mask allows for a comfortable fit while offering good sight picture with optics or iron sights. I used a Classic Army M6A2 PSD to test the visibility of iron sights while wearing this mask and was glad to see everything uninhibited.
We hope to have these masks as well as a new line of optics before the holiday season so be sure to stay tuned if you’re interested in any of these products.
The CA M15A4 PMC is a newer M4 AEG from Classic Army. It features external and internal components that are usually aftermarket upgrades, but have been included in the stock gun. From the RIS and Flip Up Sights to the Pre-Upgraded gearbox, this AEG has everything you could need in an airsoft M15A4 Carbine.
Internally, the PMC features Classic Army’s new 2009 X-series Pre-Upgraded gearbox. 7mm ball bearing bushings, as well as bearings on the metal spring guide and piston head reduce friction and increase rate of fire. The Teflon coated cylinder and reinforced air nozzle seal in air to make the most efficient gearbox possible.
The M15A4 PMC is also rock solid on the outside. A one piece outer barrel joins to a metal body with a full rail system. This provides the accessory mounting space you need while maintaining a solid platform. Flip up sights are adjustable for windage and elevation, and can be moved out of the way if you use optics. The crane stock houses the battery, which eliminates the need for a bulky battery box.
As a part of the new 2009 series, the PMC also has a new metal body. A working charging handle and bolt stop allow you to adjust your hop-up without fiddling with the dust cover. Pull the charging handle and press the bolt stop to release the fake bolt when you are done. The new 2009 X-series bodies also feature self-retained body pins as well as a new steel selector lever which provides very positive feedback.
For a different configuration, look into grabbing a RIS system like a MadBull Noveske Free Float 7 inch. Check out other M4 parts and accessories to see all of your options. With parts that are normally aftermarket upgrades, the Classic Army M15A4 PMC is nearly a custom airsoft rifle right out of the box. This saves you time and money and gets you on the skirmish field faster. 400fps is outdoor field ready, and the crane stock and the RIS on the CA M15A4 PMC get you as close as possible to ‘High Speed, Low Drag’ as one AEG can.