Tuesday, September 22, 2009

KWA Mac 11 NS2 version Review

I have been a Mac fan for many years. I have fired many "real steel" models throughout those years in all of the different incarnations and calibers, even owned a mac 11 for a while ( .380 ammo has never been cheap).

My love affair with this little "room broom" carried over into my early days in airsoft when we imported the MGC blowback mac-11's. They were a lot of fun, but you soon tired of the shell reloading and the cleanup that was required.

When I returned to airsoft a few years ago, my 2nd, 5th and 10th and 11th purchases were of this model from different manufacturers. I have had the HFC, Marusin and the KSC/KWA. All of them worked for me and I even carried one around in the 1st two games that I played.


All this is but a prelude to the review on the newest 11 to hit the market, the KWA NS2 version.

This new version NS2 system is described by KWA in their words,
"In the heart of the new M11A1 SMG is a brand new lightweight alloy bolt featuring the NS2 gas system with a redesigned composite jet nozzle for improved performance and durability. The hop-up unit has also been redesigned to incorporate a integrated feed ramp for positive feeding during continuous full-auto operations. Another new feature is the addition of the impact block reset to increase cyclic rate and improve overall reliability. New M11A1 magazines now feature reinforced feed lips and silent fill valves. Taking full advantage of the NS2 design, the new M11A1 fires at an average of 330 FPS with an impressive ROF of 25 to 28 rounds per second."

Comparing it to a older model (with a G&P metal body kit and some upgrades, come on, I don't think I ever owned anything that stayed stock for long)  you can see some of the differences.

new on left old on right                                         same here


As you can see, the mags are not interchangeable.




This is my G&P model, nice trades
The KWA has no trades on it.

Both are close in looks, the KWA model has a plastic body though, I have seen a few reviews that have said it was metal, sorry, it's not. Metal stock and bolt though

Weight on the KWA without the mag was 1lb 15oz and the mag weighs in at a hefty 15.5ozs by itself.
The G&P has a gun weight of 2lbs 7oz and the mag weighs in at 16ozs, about 8 1/2ozs heavier.


I was able to get two full mag loads out of a green gas fill, in filling the mag I used the very scientific method of counting  until the gas came out around the fill valve, Average count I found was 25.

Although I have read a few reviews that put the FPS at 375-380 I was only able to achieve a 345 FPS average in outside temperature conditions at 83 degrees.

Rate of fire was high, 1200 to 1310 rpm out of a ten mag test.

Accuracy, come on, your kidding right!
That being said, it is really not that bad. I will be doing some more tests in the next few days and will let you know. 

 I could not find any difference in the two guns as far as performance went.
My G&P is a few years old but has a tad bit higher fps, and the same basic gas consumption and velocity .
Longevity I can not speak on yet, that maybe where the NS 2 system shines.

One thing about these that you can not harp on enough is, DO NOT INSERT A MAGAZINE WITH THE BOLT IN THE FORWARD POSITION.
you will screw up your mags, and then the only thing they are good for is to stake down the follower in the mag and use it as a "dry fire" mag only. ( I do have a few of those that I keep in a diffrent mag pouch, if I run out of loaded mags in the field, I put one of the DF mags in and man, does it work to keep pursuers heads down! Don't tell anyone)

So, to get to the question, should you get the new NS 2 system?

If your a diehard hardcore Mac fan, yes, it is suposed to last longer.

Average Joe that just wants a fun gun for field use once or twice and to impress his friends, no.

Street price is running at  Airsoft Atlanta   139.00
                                       Shorty               139.00
                                       Airsplat              139.00
                                       Evike                  140.00
Do you see a trend here?

If you don't have one, get one. Get a HFC or a KWA, whatever you can afford, buy a couple extra mags and you will have a blast. this and the 93r are the most fun airsoft guns made, when most people pull the trigger for the 1st time, they giggle, I swear. Even the hardcore gunnys get a charge out of firing one of these.

Build quality       8/10
FPS                  10/10
Sheer fun nus      11/10

Let me know if I missed anything, till next time, CK6 and remember you only have 1*

PS
Found a neat front grip for the mac at 
http://www.mac-11.net/review4.htm

A little pricey at 55.00, but very cool none the less

I know, but it is coming soon


Due to recent disasters on the trip to Tulsa, I have experienced some delays, but the KWA Mac-11, G&P zombie killer and other reviews are in the pipeline. Till then here is a pic of X-Calibers display at the NTOA

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Replica Knife review. K-Bar and 1918 trench knife

Just wanted to jump in with a review on some extremely well made fighting knife replicas.
The two I just got in a few hours ago are cast off the real deal, perfect of airsoft, reenactments or even knife training.
 
The 1st on is a replica of the world renown K-bar fighting knife. Used by the marines in WWII, and by anyone else that could get their hands on them.
A little history stolen from Wiki
The name "KA-BAR" came to be after the company received a poorly written English letter in which the author wrote how the company's knife saved his life after he was attacked by a bear and his gun failed to kill it. All that was legible was "k a bar", and the company adopted that as their trademark. [5] In 1942, soon after the United States' entry into World War II, American troops experienced the problematic nature of the M1917/1918 and Mark I trench knives that they were issued initially and, realizing the need for knives suited to trench warfare, a design was chosen from a catalog of hunting gear. The Marines bought many different knives and designs from a large number of suppliers during World War II, but it was the KA-BAR fighting knife that was most common and popular. It was chosen for continued purchase and issue after the war was over. The final shape was decided upon by the Marine Corps. The changes included a slightly longer blade for combat use, introduction of a small fuller to make the blade lighter and stiffer, and the pinned pommel and stacked leather handle as standard. In addition, the blade, guard, and pommel were all finished in a non-reflective matte black or gray phosphate finish instead of the brightly polished steel of the original.
Millions were made during World War II by KA-BAR, Ontario Knife Company, Camillus Cutlery, Case Knives, and several other knife companies. The knife is inexpensive, easy to replace, and adequate for most tasks. It was also used as a diving knife in World War II, though the model in use at the time disintegrated rapidly in saltwater. The various forms of this knife are still very popular with hunters, fishermen, hikers, outdoorsmen, and the U.S. military.[1]

Very well made, this replica is, the knife used to mold this one was made by Robeson Shuredge and the knife also has the U.S.N mark two blade stamp
The handle is very stout and feels  great in the hand. The blade, while perfect in shape and size, is very thin. No danger if you take a tumble in the field of this unit hurting you. 

One of the main things I hate to see on an airsoft field is someone carrying a real steel sheath knife
(many times in a crappy sheath) Taped point up on there lbe or vest under their chin. Even on the belt, if you are not using a well made leather or synthetic sheath, you are taking a chance of injury if you fall on it.

This companies replicas make sure that does not happen

The last point I will make on the Kabar is the handle
  It is so fantastic looking that I cant wait to find the right color brown to replicate the leather of the original.
I will be haunting Ebay for the next few days for proper sheaths.



If your loadout is from WWII, VN or even modern day US troops, this will accent your look more than anything else I can think of, at a cost of only 28.00 plus 6.00 shipping. 
It wont get you any more range on your rifle, but I think the "cool points" are well worth the price.


The second knife is more of a specialty style if you want to stay accurate in your load.
The 1918 Trench knife Mark 1. Some were carried in WWII and I have not heard of a tale, but I am sure many were still around for VN. As for modern times, an original would be worth way to much to tote on your vest, but replicas have been made over the years so there might even be some over in the sandbox as I write this.

Again I will steal a little history for you.

Perhaps the most easily recognized American trench knife is the Mark I, introduced too late to see World War I service in the trenches, but adopted and carried by U.S. paratroopers in the Second World War. This knife was a full-tang design with a double-edged blade and a brass hilt incorporating a guard shaped as a knuckle duster, though the guard existed much more for the purpose of being a guard than for any perceived benefit as a punching aid. The pommel incorporated a so-called 'skull-crusher' extension ostensibly designed to increase the lethality of the weapon. However, as common sense and knife experts agree, using a stabbing/cutting weapon as a bludgeon is very ineffective, an improper and pointless practice contrary to the best usage of the weapon. [2]
The Mark I was preceded by the U.S. M1917 and M1918 trench knives, which featured more complex designs including a triangular stiletto blade, wooden grip, metal knuckle guard, and a rounded pommel. The two versions differed primarily in the construction and appearance of their knuckle guards.
The brass-hilted U.S. Mark I trench knives were made by three American companies -- Landers, Frary & Clark (L.F.&C.) of New Britain, Connecticut; Henry Disston & Sons (HD&S) of Philadelphia; and Oneida Community Limited (O.C.L.) -- and one French company (Au Lion/Societe General). American models of the Mark I are stamped on the right side of the brass grip "U.S. 1918", with the contractor's initials below that. These three American companies were among the four that also made the earlier U.S. M1917 and M1918 trench knives.
The French version of the Mark I is stamped on the blade ricasso with a recumbent lion, and "Au Lion" below that. The grip of the French version is typically stamped with "U.S. 1918". Several versions of the French model exist - some with grooves on top of the grip, some without. Some have letters and numbers cast into the knucks that are smaller than others.
The American Mark I knives and steel sheaths were issued with a blackened finish to prevent reflection, but some owners believing this to be tarnish attempted to polish them and remove the blackening. The French knives were issued with iron sheaths. American versions of the Mark I appear to be better finished than the French version, and are slightly larger dimensionally as well. American-made sheaths for the Mark I trench knife are marked "L.F.&C. 1918", while the French sheath is unmarked. American-made knives have 8-sided skull-crusher pommels, the French model is 4-sided.
 
So, after reading that, the blacken blade and handle are correct, I have only seen them with the brass polished before.
As well made as the 1st, this knife fits my hand just right.The handle is rigid and the finger holes will fit all but the most humongous hands. 
The trench knife lists at 30.00 + s/h
You would not go wrong if you chose either of these for your kit.
Other designs are available at the website listed above. I plan to order them all as time will allow, I will update this blog as I get them.
I am now selling these also for the price listed ( www.xcalibertactical.com, not on the website yet, email me), or you can contact the site direct, just pass on that you read it here please.
The owner of Fieldwerks went above and beyond to get these to me in time for the trade show I am heading out to in the morning. I will be displaying  these at the NTOA show in Tulsa OK as training knives for Law Enforcement. 
Customer service is getting to be a dying art theses days, 
but you wouldn't know it from Fieldwerks, 
great product and the owner is a great guy.

If I missed anything, please let me know, doing this fast as I want to get a few hours sleep before that 18 hr drive tomorrow.

Click the header in this post for the Fieldwerks site 

Keep your blades sharp, check six and see you soon

I know, I know

I said I would do the KWA Mac-11 next, and it's coming tomorrow. For now a teaser on what is after that.
A review on the G&P Zombie killer baby M-4, in it's stock form, more or less.
She is going with me to the trade show in Tulsa and while there being upgraded to a whole new kind of killer, stay tuned for the revel.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

ARES FNC Shorty Review

So, after all the waiting and teeth gnashing, it's finally here. The one you have been waiting for, the one, the only. the FNC Shorty by ARES.
Let's jump right in. I did not do a picture of the un-boxing because I could not wait to open the box. Besides, it was a boring cardboard colored box.
There will be no pictures of the manual, and that is because, there is no manual with the gun! That's right, no huge pullout telling you not to shoot at living things either, you need to go online, to the Ares website to download your manual.
The gun ships with a cleaning rod, 130rd midcap mag, metal flash hider and the gun itself. Thats what you get
Time for some stats, 8.5lbs, loaded. This is one heavy aeg. This is because the only thing not metal on this beauty is the forend and the grip.
All the rest is black painted metal. Length with the stock deployed is 35", 26" folded. Selector switch has 4 postions, safe, semi, 3 rd burst and full auto.
You will also notice the winter trigger guard, for glove usage. Also notice that there are no trademarks at all, none, which means that there are none that had to be defaced, I guess, might be a good thing.
The folding stock is solid, so solid that you need a dog team to help you pull it down the 1st time you fold it. It has gotten a little easier as I have done it a few times, but I doubt it will ever be a smooth folding stock
One point is when the stock is folded, it folds to the left of the receiver, you can not get to the mag release. Because this is a rifle, you should never shoot it with the stock folded anyway, it just makes it a pain to remove the mag.
The AEG is shipped with a red plastic flash hider, of course it was immediately replaced with the black steel hider that came with it, 14mm ccw threads. any 14mm ccw suppressor should work.It also has the "real steel" flip up grenade front sight, serves no purpose in airsoft, but it looks cool.
The fore end is a fairly light black plastic, under it is where you mini battery lives.
To remove you have to pull back on the delta style ring at the front of the receiver. It is tough, I broke a nail doing it the first time!
It seems to be getting easier with usage. The plastic is very thin, I could see this part breaking along the seam with use. I will keep a watch on it and report back.

The bolt pulls back to expose the hop up, just like most other aeg's now. The FNC uses m-16 mags, a huge plus as they are cheap and easy to find
I did find an issue with the G&P mags I have, for some reason they would not work in the rifle at all. I tried other mags I had, TM, Star and some mag brand and they all worked fine.
Not sure why the G&P did not work, but I can live with it.

Now to shooting. I first put three mags thru it to settle everything in, then cleaned the barrel and shot though the crono, to say I was disappointed is an understatement.
Average FPS on three 6 rd tests came in at a paltry 285 fps. Shooting for range saw the .25g bb's dropping at a measured 80 foot mark.Not very impressive.
What was impressive was a 6 shot group inside of a two inch circle at 50 foot. that I liked.
Another issue that came up was the novel three rd burst feature.Firing in this mode got you between two to three bursts before the gun would lock up and not fire at all.
Although it was easy to reset, you have to use a teeny tinny allen wrench and push it into a small hole under the receiver behind the pistol grip, it was still a pain in the ass.
This prompted a call to ARES USA customer service. Now it was time to be amazed. The phone was answered on the third ring by a person who spoke English, the Kings English it was, but still I could understand every word.
The issue with the low FPS's was dealt with quickly, I had received a gun that was meant for Japan, with their low FPS restrictions. Popping in a 120 should bring it right up to the 380 fps range, just what I am looking for.
The ARES rep explained on the phone how easy it was to change the spring, all you do is remove the stock and turn a bolt, the spring sprogs right out the back, don't even have to touch the gearbox. That I like.
The three rd burst problem is another plate of fish altogether, one that he had to contact the factory about. I will let you know when I hear back on that fix.
As it's now two am and the flying monkeys here at the compound have still not been fed, it's time to sum it up

Looks 10/10

Functionality  5/10--- This should go way up with the new spring and burst fix

Customer service 12/10--- best so far in the airsoft market.

Should you buy it-no, I want the only one out there. Just kidding, yes, its a great gun so far.

It looks great on the wall, until you pull the mag or the bolt you cannot distinguish this from a real FNC.
It uses M-4 mags, so if you have an M-4, you already have mags for it.
It's not an M-4, that's the best part I think.
It was used very prominently in the movie Heat.

I was going to a game with it tomorrow, low power and all, so I could give my intrepid readers a report.
But, alas, the bathroom floor needs replaced this weekend, and the only rapid fire I will hear Saturday is a sawzall. Like the title of the blog says, no airsoft for old men.


www.thewarstore.org  has them listed at 310.00 out of stock

http://www.kastwayairsoft.com/Products/ARES-FNC-%28long%29__AEG-14.aspx has them for 289.00  In stock?

www.xcalibertactical has them for 299.00 1 in stock today

These are the only companies I could find today that list them.



Next up, the KWA new model Mac-11, stay tuned.