Guarder Stainless Steel SVI Outer Barrels
I picked these up secondhand, but unused (they were still sealed in the packets).
To be honest, they achieve little, except to look good and add some weight (especially to the front of the gun).
Weight is significantly up on the standard WA alloy barrels. The 5" is 45g rather than 15g for the standard item and the 6" is 85g instead of 35g, but on guns weighing around a kilo, it makes no noticeable difference.
Fitting is simplicity itself as the outer barrel simply screws on and off, so you unscrew the original item and screw the new one on.
They cost $29 each, from Den Trinity, to which you would need to add a little for postage.
The Airsoft Press Practical MP7 Upgrade Guide
The Airsoft Press were kind enough to send me a few of their latest guides a couple of months back, but I have only just found the time to review them.
First up is their Practical MP7 Upgrade Guide and I found it extremely interesting.
The MP7 is one of TM's latest Micro-AEG guns, which use a minaturised AEG gearbox and compact battery to deliver decent electric gun performance in a pistol or SMG sized package. The first two MAEGs were a Glock 18C and a Beretta M93R, but the MP7, being larger, promised much better performance and scope for use as CQB primary. You can read my full TM MP7 review, here, but suffice to say it offered scope for upgrading and this guide sets out to describe all you may want to do to your MP7 to improve its performance.
It looks great with nearly 100 pages of information, although around 20 of the first 30 are background information which you will be familiar with if you have another AP guide or are familiar with upgrading AEGs already.
The guide starts out with a quick outline of the MAEG mechbox (as fitted to the MP7) and the hop-up unit, which is useful for anyone as the unit is, although similar to full-size gearboxes, different.
The next 15 page or so detail how to disassemble the MP7 and the mechbox (not forgotting to explain how to reassemble it - Highly useful as it is not always true that 'reassembly is the reverse of disassembly' as Haynes car manuals are fond of stating.
The guide then moves onto practical advice on how to increase the FPS of the MP7. It includes discussions of different springs, battery options, different motors, shimming the gears, pistons and piston heads and even the pros and cons of spring spacers.
The final 2 sections deals, in much the same way, with ROF and Accuracy upgrade options, although the latter is pretty much restricted to tightbore barrels (not that that is Airsoft Press's fault.
If you have bought an MP7 as your first electric gun, I would recommend getting this guide even if you don't intend to upgrade it - You will know a lot more about how AEGs (full sized and micro) work and have detailed information on the MP7 available should problems occur. If you are familiar with AEGs and upgrading them already (or have another AP guide), the case is less clear cut, although the detailed photographs (some of the very best I've yet seen from AP) and step-by-step guides to assembly and disassembly of the MP7 would be extremely useful to anyone with an MP7.
Some might consider the $24.50 (around £14) price a bit dear, but free upgrades are available, the information is mostly applicable to any AEG (although specific in its detail to the MP7) and £14 is a small price to pay if it enables you to repair a faulty MAEG or avoid errors when upgrading one.
Airsoft is never a cheap hobby and good advice is not easily found for free...
You can find full details and buy from The Airsoft Press's website.
The Airsoft Press AEP Mechbox Guide
Another guide that arrived was AP's AEP Mechbox guide.
This is a much more modest document at just 34 pages, but it is just as useful as AP's other guides and possibly more valuable. It also only costs $13.95, a price I would unreservedly say it was worth.
The mechboxes on AEPs are even more minaturised than the MP7's and the detailed photographs and step by step guide on how to disassemble and reassemble one are vital if you are not going to end up with a pile of watch-like components instead of an upgraded AEP.
The following image is from the table of contents and gives you an idea what it covers.
Each step is covered with extremely clear annotated photographs and descriptions and even those familiar with AEG gearboxes will probably learn a lot, as the parts look quite different in the AEP's mechbox.
If you are considering upgrading or repairing an AEP, I would recommend you order up the AEP mechbox guide before you start to take it apart - The modest price will repay itself in avoided frustration, I am positive!
I should also mention that this is just one of a range of mechbox specific guides Airsoft Press produce covering the V2 and V3 AEG mechbox and the SMG box (as used in the MP7). If you already own an upgrade guide for your AEG, you can buy the relevant mechbox specific guide for just $11. They also produce a set of packaged 'tune-up kits' which contain all those tricky to find components to recondition your Electric gun's gearbox, although shipping costs need to be applied to these, of course.
You can find full details of the guides and tune-up kits and buy from The Airsoft Press's website.
Guarder Stainless Steel SVI Hammer and Sear
I picked these up, unopened when I got the Guarder Barrels.
As both my SVIs are Magna R guns, these are for the early guns, SCW guns having a different firing pin built into the hammer.
Fitting, to my 6" SVI Hybrid Comp, proved quite fiddly. The roll pin that secured the old hammer to the strut needed a very small punch to get it out, but the real problem was putting it all back together.
The new hammer (weighing a tiny .97g more than the original cast alloy one - 12.64g vs 11.67g) went in with little trouble, but the new, stainless steel sear was .2mm wider than the old and would not fit in the frame.
This required some sanding down of the sear at which point it became clear that the sear pin was fractionally too wide at 3mm for the hole in the new sear - That needed dremeling out, again without too much trouble.
With this done the new sear fitted alongside the disengager and all seemed fine, with the new hammer, the leaf spring, mainspring housing and grip safety all fitting without problem. The problem, though, was that the thumb safety would not fit.
Some discussion on Arnies forum disclosed that a bit of relief to the L shaped raised section on the safety was required...Thanks to JackieRants for the picture below, which shows the area that needed filing - The safety is lying upside down, so the lower part is filed.
Finally, with this done, the hammer and sear were fitted.
Was it worth it? Certainly the polished hammer looks better than the old painted alloy one and the metal looks better quality and likely to last for longer. Some people reckon the trigger feel is much improved, but I feel it's a slight improvement at best and, if I'd paid the £30 or so it would cost from an HK retailer, I would have considered it a huge extravagance.
Airsoft Innovations V5 Propane Adaptor & Duster Gas Adaptor
Carlton dropped me a package with the latest, V5 Propane adaptor in for review a couple of months ago.
Ever since I got my all metal adaptor in 2005, I've used it regularly and it's proved reliable and robust, for me and the many, many other users.
Interestingly, the latest variant is bright orange and injection moulded from plastic. A lot of people viewed this switch in materials with suspicion, but it has a number of advantages.
Firstly, Carlton reports that the plastic adaptor is actually more robust than the metal one, most notably in the area of the fill nozzle, where the earlier metal ones could suffer permanent kinks if knocked against something hard and attempting to straighten them could result in the metal snapping. The plastic one has a degree of give, which is good.
I found this 'give' also provides a better seal (more accurately reduces the need for such precise alignment) between adaptor and fill valve, resulting in less spillage and less frozen hands, which is a very good thing (and probably the only real issue I had with the older design).
I delayed writing this review as I am a light user of airsoft guns and accessories, but (a few months after the V5 adaptor release) I have yet to read or hear any negative comments on the robustness of the plastic design and I certainly have no issues with the one I have, finding it works just as well as the machined metal one.
Even better news is that injection moulding means supplies are greater (a number of retailers now sell the AI Propane adaptor) and the costs are reduced.
AI have also productionised the Duster Gas Adaptor I reviewed way back in August 2005, also in the orange ABS. For anyone looking for a lower power, but cost effective, alternative to Propane, this is another great product (which also works well as a gas can nozzle extension for any guns or magazines with inaccessible fill valves).
For more information on all of AI's products, visit Airsoft Innovations' website.
Airsoft Innovations Tornado Airsoft Grenade
Airsoft Innovations' Tornado Airsoft Grenade is a reusable gas powered hand grenade that fires BBs in a 360 degree spread.
Tokyo Marui Pistol Mag style speedloader
Loading BBs into magazines, especially AEG mid or hicaps can be a laborious and time-consuming task.
To solve the problem Tokyo Marui produced a speedloader, which combines a BB reservoir and a magazine loading mechanism in the form of a device that looks exactly like a Beretta M9 magazine.
The design is much copied (and there are larger versions, looking like an M4 AEG magazine), but this is the TM original, for sale at Airsoft Armoury for £10 and around $11 from most Hong Kong retailers.
The TM speedloader is made of smoked ABS, allowing you to see how many BBs are inside (it holds around 100) and being the same design as an M9 magazine, will fit in a pouch designed for such.
You open a hatch on the base of the magazine and pour in the BBs and then close the hatch.
The top of the magazine has a feed hole, very like that on an AEG magazine through which BBs are pushed (4 at a time) as you depress the plunger alongside the hatch.
The plunger can be locked down into the magazine (to save damaging it when not in use) and released with a small button on the side of the loader.
The loader works very well with AEG magazines, but needs an adaptor (included) to load pistol magazines.
TM obviously designed this for their guns and it seems to work well with the adaptor on the TM pistols I have available, but I was disappointed to find that there was no way the adaptor would fit the wide jaws on my KSC Mk23, WA Beretta or SIIS Desert Eagle magazines. It worked well with Western Arms SVI, Tanaka Works SIG P226 and KSC Beretta M93R magazines, amongst others, though.
One other point I noticed was that the loader really needs to be almost vertical to ensure BBs feed into the path of the plunger reliably or you find yourself pumping the plunger up and down, but no BBs releasing from the feed hole, altough you can feel this 'dry feeding' through reduced resistance on the plunger.
Airsoft Silencer Comparison
I reviewed a number of Airsoft Silencers/Suppressors for AI magazine some while ago and the article is expanded a little here.
Madbull Noveske KX3 Flash hider/Sound Amplifier
Whilst some airsofters strive for silence (or the silenced look), some really want their airsoft gun to be louder.
There's not a lot on the market to help with this, but the Madbull Noveske KX3 Flash hider claims to be something that can.
As with their silencers, Madbull have licensed the KX3 Flash hider design and markings from the maker, in this case Noveske.
The real Flash hider is intended to deflect gas out straight out of the muzzle, reducing climb, especially on short barrelled AR and AK rifles, but Madbull built in a mechanism for increasing the level of sound produced by an airsoft gun fitted with the flash hider.
Madbull's replica certainly looks realistic, with the trademark firebreathing pig and 'Iron Cross' logos and other markings accurately reproduced.
The real thing is steel, whereas this is aluminium, but it feels solid and well made.
The muzzle opening is huge at 25mm, and hides an inner barrel well, but you don't want to run one into the flash hider.
Removing the circlip around the KX3, you can unscrew the front and inside are two slotted metal cones, pressed together with an o-ring between them.
Madbull say that setting the cones so that the slots are misaligned increases the sound and such that they are aligned with each other decreases it.
They also claim that removing the o-ring will produce a sound like 'punching metal'.
So, does it work?
Well, yes, it does. My first play with it, on a GBB and a TM Mk23 NBB, was disappointing, with little discernable difference in volume following the instructions to close the slots for increased sound.
However, on reversing Madbull's advice (opening instead of closing the slots) I noticed a big difference in the volume of the Tanaka Works SIG P226 GBB I was testing with.
Key to chart below:
Removing the o-ring (and leaving the slots open) also delivered the 'punching metal' sound they claim (listen carefully to the last 10 shots, especially).
The chart below shows 10 shots without the KX3 and then 10 open and closed, with and without 0-ring. It's hard to see much difference, but to the ear the difference is real.
The microphone was positioned about 5 feet ahead of the KX3 in all cases.
Click on chart to hear the sound for yourself.
One reviewer, on the Airsoft Barracks site, reported that the KX3 works much better on short barrelled AEGs than things like full sized M16s and AK47s, which is something to think about if you are planning to fit one, although I can't personally atest to that statement.
The KX3 is really intended for use with AEGs (or maybe GBB rifles - Redwolf say it works great on the recent GBB M4/M16s), but I only have an MP5 SD with a built in silencer, so it's difficult to assess (and in most reviews online with sound, the whine of the gearbox still dominates), but it certainly delivers increased volume from a GBB pistol set when set correctly, so should work just as well with any airsoft gun it will fit (having a 14mm CCW thread, this is most).