Strayer Voigt Infinity GIGANT - Western Arms
I mentioned to John at Elite Airsoft that I would like to review the controversial Gigant and, very quickly, one arrived...
When it was launched, the airsoft forums in the UK and US were full of disbelieving questions about what the Gigant was for and whether WA were having a bit of a laugh (more than one airsoft enthusiast checked their calendar to be sure it wasn't April).
Well, now I was going to find out for myself!
In the Box
The box is colossal, bigger even than Marushin's boxes for the Raging Bull or Automag and it's finished in a most un-WA-like crocodile skin print, which I suppose is appropriate as the Gigant is pretty un-WA-like in many ways.
Inside the box is the massive gun, with a loading tool, manual, two allen bolts (one for the Hop-Up and one for the bolts which secure the mounting block), a small bag of BBs and the spike (seen in the original photos) which screws into the grip and I decided not to bother with for this review, for reasons I'll explain later.
Weighing in at an incredible 1800g and measuring 16.5 inches in length (42 CMs), it's hardly appropriate to think of the Gigant as a hand gun at all!
As you pick it up, you realise that all the weight has gone into the front end, which isn't surprising as it's adorned with heavy rail sections top, bottom and both sides of the lengthy barrel.
The back of the gun (ignoring the strange extension behind the hammer) is typical WA SV based Prokiller. Quality is high, although small areas of bubbling of (or under) the paint are visible on the frame. The gun is matt black (my SV Ltds were/are shinier) and the trigger and chamber cover are both plain black, rather than the metallic finishes seen on single action Infinities. The trigger, unlike on a Semi Auto Infinity, is not interchangeable.
It's not that difficult to hold the gun on target, but the sights are plain black and not that easy to use. Certainly poorer than the white dotted versions I had liked so much on the 3.9 inch Prokiller. I also noticed that my arms were noticing the weight after firing off a few 6 round batches.
Strayer Voigt, I'm sure, never did and never will make anything like the Gigant, but it's upon the WA replica of their Infinity series that the Gigant is based.
As on the Prokiller 3.9 inch, the short slide extends part way down the frame (in this case, the frame is similar to the 6" version of the Infinity) and then a metal block (terminating in a metal silencer thread) is secured to the frame by allen bolts and covers an extended inner barrel. In the case of the Gigant the inner barrel is 10.5 inches long, which is similar to the early Prokillers which hid the length in a non functional silencer.
The aim of the short (and lightweight) slide is to keep kick to a minimum and the designers of the Gigant have succeeded admirably in this aim, producing a gun which exhibits little movement as a result of the blowback action. This should make for highly accurate gun, but the weight (and its distribution) makes it difficult to handle as a handgun and very difficult to control the barrel movement during firing of repeated shots.
Looking at the body of the gun, you can see again that, essentially, this is a 6"/3.9" Prokiller hybrid (Slide off a 3.9", frame off a 6") with a massive front silencer block! The grip safety is replaced with a fixed panel (again, I found I liked this) and what would be the right hand safety on an ambidextrous safety semi-auto SV operates as a selector switch. Push down for Semi Auto, flick your left thumb up (if you are left handed, like me) for Full Auto! The gun also features the extended slide lock lever, which I liked on the Prokiller.
The long barrel block (around 7") is secured to the frame with three allen bolts extended through from the underside and it feels solid as a rock, with no sensation of it being an extension to the frame at all.
The rear sight is a fixed, unmarked Novak and the front 'blade' is a square post cast into the top rail - Not terribly accurate, but you get the feeling that, with all those rails around, someone at WA just added iron sights as a bonus.
Shooting in semi or full auto mode the gun feels solid and extremely powerful. I don't have access to a chrono, but reports of 400fps+ abound, making this gun too powerful for most skirmish sites in the UK, who restrict full auto weapons to just 328fps with a .2g BB (or 1 Joule of power). WA themselves claim .8j or 295 FPS for the unmodified Gigant.
The spike is intended for raising the grip off the ground when using the Gigant with the optional bipod in a prone position (not something I was going to be doing during this test), although more than one person has wondered about its use in CQB! It simply screws into a hole at the rear of the bottom of the grip.
The standard magazine has the blue follower, to indicate the lack of the NLS system, but the 52 round magazine's follower was plain metal, indicating that it retains the system. The removal of the NLS (No Leak System) on the standard magazine is supposed to reduce the effects of 'cool down' during full auto firing, but Elite Airsoft tell me that the 52 round magazines are much less prone to cool down than the 30 round versions, presumably because of their greater gas capacity. I didn't actually try firing with the 52 round mags, as they just made the gun even more unwieldy as a handgun (a fault with all the long magazines, such as the 50 round magazine for KSC Glocks, I find).
First thing that strikes you about shooting the Gigant is the almost complete lack of kick! Having got used to firing two 6" Infinities (and even the low kick Para Ordnance Ultimate Competition), the Gigant barely flinches when you fire.
Combing this with the awesomely long barrel, I was expecting impressive accuracy, but the weight of the front makes it difficult to maintain the gun on target if you hold it as a handgun and supporting the gun under the barrel, it is difficult to use the very limited iron sights.
Click on image for bigger version in separate window.
Carrying out my standard 5m/6 round, off hand test, I decided to fire the gun as both a handgun (with a double handed grip) and supporting the barrel, like a small carbine. I fired the gun in both semi-automatic and full-automatic mode from each stance.
Supporting the barrel, I loosed off 6 rounds in semi automatic mode. All fell a little low of the aim point (the 5 in the centre of the circle), but grouped in a 2.5 inch (6.5 CM) diameter, with 5 of them within a 2" (5 CM) diameter.
I then flicked the selector and fired 11 rounds in full auto mode, still supporting the barrel with my right hand. This time, the rounds were all to the left of the target and spread over a 7 inch by 4 inch area (18 x 11 CMs). 6 rounds fell in a 1.5 inch (6 CM) diameter just to the left and low of the central aim point. This was pretty much what I'd seen with my 3.9 Prokiller.
Reloading, I switched to a more traditional, two handed pistol grip and fired 6 more rounds in semi-automatic mode. This time, 5 of the rounds were just a little low of the aim point (although I had adjusted how I aligned the sights, to compensate) and fell within a 2.25 inch (5.5 CM) diameter (4 were within 4 CMs and clustered around the 5 in the centre of the target). One shot fell very low, but whether that was my shooting or some other factor I can't say - I didn't see shots falling low in other shooting I did.
Finally, I reloaded and fired off 7 rounds in full auto mode, holding the gun in the traditional two handed pistol grip. Aiming at the top of the central circle (mid way between the 4 and the 5 on the target), 4 rounds hit in a 1.5 inch (4 CM) cluster, almost on target. Another was a little higher and to the left. The remainder, however, were lower, scattered fairly random around the target.
Finally, it's worth recording that the power was highly impressive (subjectively) even with just 134a gas in a mere 15 degrees C.
Hammermods clocked their Gigant at 440fps (average) with HFC22. Even with 134a, it's hard to see the power dropping as low as 1J...
The Gigant is a mightily impressive piece of kit.
Boasting huge power, immense weight, prodigious length, more rails than your average special forces Armalite and semi and automatic fire options, mated to the option of 52 round magazines, you begin to wonder if Western Arms aren't looking at a totally new market, for them, with the Gigant.
As a handgun it makes no sense at all, though. It's much too big to carry as a handgun (it makes the 8" revolvers look compact) and it's barrel heavy configuration and poor iron sights make it very difficult to aim effectively. I know of one person who has turned it into a 6" Prokiller, by dispensing with much of the front block and using a silencer to cover the extended inner barrel, but that's not what WA (and presumably their market in Japan) had in mind.
If you start to use the rails, for instance by mounting a red dot sight (as shown below) or adding a handgrip to the lower rail, it begins to turn into something a little different.
Many bemoan the lack of GBB rifles in the market, but that's exactly what WA have here. Add a forward handgrip and you've got a very usable SMG. Once you add the optional stock (which the odd rear extension supports) and a decent sighting device, you have a realistic (albeit, possibly, too powerful for the UK, even on 134a gas.) alternative to the ubiquitous AEG; maybe even to a sniper rifle...!
This, it seems, is exactly what the point of the Gigant is. Whether it has a place in the UK airsoft scene, except as a super powerful novelty is open to debate.
Weight : 1800g (gun only!)
Realism : ***
Quality : ****
Power : *****
Accuracy : ****
Strayer Voigt's website - but you wont' find the Gigant there!
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