Beretta M9 M190 - HFC
Mark at Airsoftmart dropped me a mail recently to ask if I would like an all metal HFC Beretta to review.
Never one to miss the chance to try something new, I, of course, said yes. I was interested to see how these guns stacked up.
I have had HFC springers in the past and, frankly, consider them to be low on the springer food chain, but Redwolf were very effusive in their praise for the HFC M9s, rating them above the other full metal Berettas, the KJWs.
Very quickly the M9 arrived and I was able to see if the HFC is worthy of consideration.
In the Box
The 'box' itself is very professional looking, being an egg-box foam lined plastic gun case.
Inside, the gun is sandwiched between two layers of foam, which keeps it firmly in place. There was also a small bag of BBs and a manual, with English and Chinese text, a big plus for newcomers.
Lying in the box, the HFC M9 M190 looked pretty good.
HFC, alone as far as I know, have chosen to make a railed M9 with the traditionally styled grip. I much prefer the curved backstrap grip and lots of people seem to value rails, so this seems a shrewd move on their behalf.
The gun is painted gunmetal grey with a very even finish and I would say that the slide-rail gap is on a par with those of the WA Berettas (no KJW USP style gaps here). There are some nicely engraved markings on the slide, but more on them later.
It's easier to list what is not metal on this gun. The extent is the grips which feel rubbery to the touch, but have no perceptible give. Everything else, externally, is metal and that is reflected in the weight, which is right up there with WA's latest Heavyweight M92s.
With the M9 M190 in your hand, you notice the weight, but you also notice how good the grips feel. Oddly, they extend below the level of the grip base and, although, they don't give when you press on them, they feel rubbery and soft against the palms of your hand.
Lots of people are obsessed with 'full metal' guns, but I have never found them that much better than HW plastic ones. Often the metal used is of poor quality and weighs less than the ABS versions.
Thankfully, HFC's gun looks to be made of pretty good quality metal, with none of the pitting often seem on cheap metal guns and, as observed already, it weighs as much as WA's heavyweight Beretta M92s, pretty much the benchmark. As a comparison, the KJW M9 Full Metal version is listed as weighing just 855g, almost 20% less and 100g less than a standard WA Beretta.
Certainly the metallic 'ker-chink' sound caused by cycling the action is an impressively solid and metallic sound.
Of the controls, the slide lock, trigger and hammer all seem nicely made and work with a satisfying click. The safeties, however, are a disappointment in two ways.
Redwolf report that the HFC is a copy of the TM Beretta, mechanically, as is the KJW and whilst I can't confirm that, the safety does not function as a decocker. Personally, I miss the feature and feel it is a major flaw in the TM (and HFC design), but others like the 'cocked-and-locked' 1911-style capability.
Added to that, they do not operate as smoothly as a WA's safety and seem slightly loose, even from new. I have read many reports of lost safeties with TM Berettas, so, again, this may be a hangover from a poor original design.
If I am really picky, some of the casting looks a little soft, with some areas of slight indistinction around the slide, particularly, but these are very minor and, at this price, are probably unfair to point out. There is also one small area (towards the rear of the slide on the right side) where the paint seems slightly thinly applied, but, once again, I am looking for faults and most would consider that unduly picky.
The markings on the gun are a disappointment. They are nicely rendered, but the wording seems a bit toy like compared with even those on KSC and TM Berettas, let alone the accuracy of WA's markings.
On the left side, the slide is marked "M190 Special Force"/"Cal.6mm 2003". The right side bears the wording "AIR MODEL FIREARMS"/"READ INSTRUCTIONS BEFORE USE".
The, rather nice, grips are marked with a spiders web logo surrounded by the words "HFC M190 Special Force Cal. 6mm 2003".
The front sight, on the Brigadier style slide looks like it is (as it would be on the real thing) dovetailed in, but in fact it is simply cast in. The sights also lack any white dots (or even indentations for them, for you to paint in), which is a shame and makes acquisition a bit slower, although many expert shooters say lining dots up slows actual combat shooting down.
I found that the gun, like WA Berettas sometimes, would not reliably lock back on empty. I cannot explain why. Certainly racking the slide on an empty magazine or firing it empty lead to an immediate lock back, but repeated shooting did not always (maybe 1 out of 3 times). It is quite cold, so this may simply be a case of not enough power to cycle far enough back after firing a BB to lock, in which case, operation in warmer conditions would, presumably, deliver more reliable locking back.
Overall, though, the feeling is of a very solid, nicely made and finished gun, way ahead of HFC's springers or the KJW USP.
All reports suggest that the M9 is a technical copy of the Tokyo Marui gun and that TM magazines (and KJW ones) should fit, but I cannot personally confirm this, having neither TM or KJW mags to compare. Certainly, WA M92 magazines do not fit.
Carrying out my standard 5m/6 round, off hand test, my first set of 6 shots was all over the place, but I was shooting very badly that day, as the same was true of two other guns I tested at the same time.
Click on image for bigger version in separate window.
With my second set of 6, though, I achieved an impressive best 5 grouping diameter of just 1.25 inches (3.2 CM), although, oddly, I could find no trace of the 6th shot...
Over 10 shots, the M9 M190 averaged 268 fps (using Abbey Ultra gas) indoors (at 12C). Experience suggests this would relate to around 307fps at 20C, pretty much where Airsoftmart claim the gun should shoot with Green and on a par with other quality GBBs of a similar size.
Trigger pull was a quite heavy 1,200g (42 Oz), but it is not awful by any means, most of it being taken up in a long travel.
The HFC M9 strips pretty much like any Beretta.
Remove the magazine. Push down the disassembly lever, whilst pushing the pin through from the other side of the frame.
Slide the slide, barrel and recoil spring/rod forward off of the frame.
The recoil spring and rod can be removed as a unit.
To get the outer barrel out you need to unscrew the blowback unit cover and the barrel can then be slid forward and then down and back to remove it from the slide.
The recoil rod is a bit odd. On WA and KSC Berettas it simply rests against the barrel underlug, but this gun has a dogleg and fits into a hole in the underlugs front face. I only really mention it, as it took me a while to reassemble the gun because of it.
The frame and slide do not seem to have any unnecessary contact points and, as with a real Beretta, the outer frame is separate from the rails on which the slide runs.
Overall, the HFC M9 is excellent value for money.
It is pretty powerful, very accurate and can be had for just £89 from a UK outlet.
If you've been thinking of a KWA Glock or, even more so, a KJW Beretta, seriously consider the HFC, you WILL be surprised at how good it is.
The only downsides I can see are the fake trade marks and the unreliable slide lock. Purists will find the trademarks lend the gun a toy like feel, but for others it will be an irrelevance and, as observed before, warmer conditions might ensure more reliable lock backs, as I have found a few guns, which normally work fine in this respect, playing up in the current cool weather.
Either way, these are a small price to pay if you want a full metal Beretta.
Chances are, then, that you won't buy this if you were looking at a WA Beretta, but that was never the intended market.
Time and use will tell if reliability is good on these guns, but, so far, I cannot see any reason not to get one, if you are in the market for a ready built, affordable, full metal Beretta.
Equally, not everyone in the market for a no-nonsense skirmish sidearm likes Glock 19s and this is a worthy challenger to the KWA's former dominance, even at the slightly higher price.
Weight : 1,030g
Realism : ****
Quality : ****
Power : ****
Accuracy : ****
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