Colt 1911A1 (Full Metal) - KWA(KSC)
hkssr20det kindly provided his review of the KWA 1911A1 Full Metal - He has also tested the Metal slide only version, which he compares this version with in his review.
He is based in the United States, hence the blaze orange slide end on the gun, which is not required in other markets.
You can read his other reviews at Airsoft Barracks.
Up for review is the KWA 1911A1, with both full metal construction and an improved magazine over the earlier KSC/KWA model.
KWA has two currently available options, one with an aluminium slide and abs frame, and one (the subject of this review) comes equipped from the factory with an aluminium slide and frame. KSC make an all ABS version which is, to all intents and purposes, the same gun.
While the metal slide and abs frame models are readily available at any KWA dealer, the full metal version is a little rarer.
US MSRP for this model is $150 (roughly $20-30 more than the abs frame version), I find the price to be more than decent (Hong Kong retailer, WGC has the same gun listed as a Taiwanese KSC, albeit with Colt National Match trademarks, at $220) and if you read on you will find that you get a whole lot of gun for the price.
In the Box
The packaging for the 1911 is a nice departure from the rather shiny, toy-like packaging that KWA Glock’s arrive in. With thick cardboard walls, surrounding a dense Styrofoam core, the KWA will arrive at its destination safe and sound.
The box is very similar to that of the S&W 945 or the M93RII from KSC/KWA.
The only obvious indication that this is a full metal version is the little gold tags on the bottom left of the lid. The abs frame version has a single Gold tag with “M1911A1 – 2” emblazoned on it. The new full metal version shares this tag, but also has a second tag proudly noting that the contents are “New Structure – Full”.
The gun is held firmly in place in the Styrofoam bed, which has room for a spare magazine (one can be kept in the gun itself) with a spare slot for the usual bits and pieces that come with a new KWA.
Like all KWA’s the 1911 comes with a small bag of BBs, a small container of light weight lubricant, a hop up adjustment tool, and a bushing wrench. This particular example, on loan from a friend, did not come with an instruction manual. My roommate’s abs frame version did.
At first glance the KWA is a rather menacing looking gun.
Finished in black rather than the ‘parkerized’ grey finish that WA, TM and WE 1911A1s usually come in, the KWA has a certain purposefulness that the lack of trademarks reinforces.
One thing that has probably not translated in the picture very well is the slight difference in color between the slide and the frame. The slide is a more glossy black than the frame, which due to construction or finish is a more matte black. Under certain lights this difference is much more obvious.
In a standard A1 configuration, fixed sights, curved back strap, and standard grip safety, the KWA is a good rendition of the classic 1911 form, and in truth is nothing particularly special.
Where the KWA really stands apart from the rest is when you pick it up. ‘Heavy in the hand’ is an understatement. At 970 grams (2lbs, 2.5oz) the KWA in full metal trim is almost 200 grams heavier than a TM and is right up there with a full house Western Arms heavy weight model, and seems stronger than either.
The all metal magazine comes in at 200 grams, so even with no mag; the KWA has a solid weight to it.
As stated this gun has both an aluminium slide as well as an aluminium frame, which greatly adds to the weight of the piece.
Metal parts abound, so it is easier to tell you what is made out of plastic. The recoil guide plug is plastic; the grips are plastic, and the outer barrel. Everything else, including all the controls and the sights are crafted from metal.
Slide to frame fit is good, with little to no rattling with a magazine inserted. There is a little side to side play, but nothing to be concerned with. The controls are all well fit to the frame and move positively. All in all, this is a very well built gun. Maybe not up to the standards of a full house WA, but then again the price differential is around $100.
As I mentioned previously the KWA 1911 is almost completely devoid of trademarks. The slide is completely blank, with the frame and barrel having the barest hint of proofing marks and other identifying marks. The right side of the frame comes blank without even a KWA trademark.
What the gun does come with are two discreet KSC markings. One is underneath the slide stop, and the other is on the bushing wrench.
KWA has chosen to replicate the classic A1 styled WWII 1911, and the controls fit to the gun match this. The trigger is a short checkered example with a matching checkered mag catch.
The thumb safety is a single side affair, with a standard grip safety and military hammer, no fancy-schmancy ambi-safeties and beavertail grip safeties. The KWA is a no frills model.
Continuing with the theme, KWA has fitted this gun with curved main spring housing with a light checkering. The original 1911 came with a flat MSH, but true to A1 form, the KWA makes do with the military issue curved unit, with integral lanyard loop.
The KWA comes equipped with fixed sights. Both are actually cast into the slide, and are completely devoid of markings. Simple post front sight (which thanks to the orange paint is actually easy to pick up) and a notched rear sight, these are as bare bones as the rest of the gun.
Unlike most KWA guns equipped with metal slides, the 1911 comes with a plastic outer barrel. Fixed to the hop up unit with two screws, it is similar to the Western Arms method of fixing the outer barrel to the inner barrel unit through a pivot point; possibly due to this design the outer barrel doesn’t seem to gather the same wear and tear as a TM outer barrel. It might have to do with a number of other factors, but my roommate’s gun has a few thousand rounds through it on green gas and it has not come close to breaking.
The KWA comes equipped with an adjustable hop up, which unlike all of its competitors, can be adjusted without field stripping the gun. Adjustment is not easy at first, but with practice and the supplied tool, on the fly adjustments can be made with relative ease.
Just lock the slide open, and insert the tool with the toothed edge towards the muzzle of the gun. Located between the outer and inner barrels is a toothed collar that controls the hop up. Turn counter clockwise to increase and clockwise to dial down, the mechanism is easy to use and does stay in place once set.
The gun also has a plastic bushing plug and KWA has chosen to replicate exactly the real steel design, unlike WA and TM who have added a flange to the rear of their guide plugs. While this is closer to the real thing, I would feel a bit more comfortable if KWA had chosen to add a flange which more evenly distributes the force through the front of the gun. I guess it doesn’t matter as much since they all come with metal slides, but I do think the TM and WA design is a bit safer. One plus is that the KWA can be field stripped almost exactly like the real thing, since the plug can be removed through the front of the slide.
The magazine is another no frills design. Produced completely from metal (except for the rubber gas routing), including the feed lips, the KWA magazine is a hefty, solid design which holds 14 rounds.
Like most KWA magazines, the follower can be locked at the bottom for easier loading. Unlike the Marui, BBs must be loaded through the feed lips.
Up until this point, the only real difference between the two versions was more weight in the hand. Externally and internally they have been almost exactly the same gun. They function the same and without touching the gun, you would be hard pressed to tell them apart, but that is all about to change.
The new version seems to come equipped with a little heavier recoil spring (something I would have liked changed on the original version), and the magazine is very obviously pushing out more power. Kick is increased, with a heavier trigger pull. The increased recoil spring has certainly given the gun a good snap when fired. While still not the heaviest recoil on earth, the KWA will makes itself known. Alas I still think that TM has it beat in terms of recoil, the TM still has that heavy push into the hand, where the KWA is more like a hard slap.
The slide locks reliably, and the action is completely smooth, with no jerkiness at all. The heavy frame helps keep the gun on target, and it still rewards long strings of rapid fire, falling back on target naturally. I do think the changes that have been made have increased the feel, accuracy, and over all fun of shooting.
Results are from a full magazine at room temperature (67 degrees). Green gas, .20 Toytec BBs, through a XCortech 3200.
That is an average of 341.05 fps from a bone stock gun, on a decently cool day! 341.05 is an amazing number. It is a full 20 fps higher than I recorded for the abs version I tested at the same time. Now in the past I have recorded the same numbers for the abs version, but that was when it was much warmer and I know this gun’s magazine shoots hotter, because I tested it. Whichever gun you place this redesigned mag into (abs or full metal) it will shoot hotter than the abs versions magazine. There is more going on, but the magazine is a real reason to find this model.
Now I could be wrong, and my buddies gun is slowly dying, but I don’t think so.
Editor: My guess is that KWA put a high flow valve in the all metal guns to ensure reliable performance
Efficiency is good for a single stack, averaging out to two full magazines per fill (roughly 28 shots).
My only complaint would be the silent fill valve. While this does not seem to affect the gas capacity like it does with some inferior clone guns, it does make it very hard to identify when the mag is completely full. I manage to get around this by giving the mag a long initial fill, followed by a few quick spurts to be sure. Their Glock series all make do without these fill valves; I personally do not find them to be a step forward.
Click on image for bigger version in separate window.
Accuracy testing was done indoors, at 5 meters. 6 shots on an 8 ½ x 11” AAPS standard target using KSC .25 bbs and green gas. The green dot represents the point of aim.
Now on first glance a few things are obvious. One is that the gun naturally shoots a bit below the point of aim. I have shot multiple targets with this gun, and it does in fact (at this range) shoot below the point of aim. My previous example shot significantly lower, which leads me to believe that the extra power has increased the effectiveness of the hop up or they have made other less easily seen changes to the design.
Also this test target shows a fairly obvious flier. I really put this down to my poor shooting, rather than a flier thrown by the hop up, but even with the flier the grouping is a decent 1 3/4 “. If we throw the flier out, the 5 shot grouping drops to ¾”! An amazing grouping from any gas gun, but especially nice for a stock pistol with tiny, fixed sights.
Everyone who has shot the gun, including 40 foot tunnel shots at Pinnacle Airsoft, has commented on the inherent accuracy of the gun. This gun’s accuracy will give the TM a run for it’s money out to 40 feet. For longer ranges, I do think the TM has the edge due to the far superior hop up, like most KWAs, the 1911 tends to start wandering at range.
The KWA can be field stripped almost exactly like a real steel 1911. As always, first remove the magazine and be sure no “rounds” are chambered.
Then pull the slide back until the right edge of the slide stop meets up with the second notch to the rear in the slide (half moon shaped).
Once you have that lined up, push the slide stop out gently, by applying pressure to the post through the frame. If everything is lined up, the slide stop will pop out, and you can gently push the entire slide assembly off of the frame.
Moving beyond the simple field strip, the slide can be broken down further without the need for any tools. To remove the recoil guide assembly first gently compress the spring by pushing the guide rod post off of the hop up unit (the guide rod sits on top of a post on the front of the hop up unit, this is one change they made from the first version which was never sold here in the US). Once you have the guide rod off the post the recoil spring and guide can be removed from the slide. Then push the guide rod bushing out of the frame. This example’s fits very tightly so you might want to use some sort of rod to push it out (something plastic or wood, wouldn’t want to scratch it up would you). Turn the barrel bushing about a quarter turn counter clockwise (using the supplied wrench if it is tight) and then pull it out the front of the slide. Once the barrel bushing has been removed, the barrel assembly can be removed by pushing it forward in the slide about halfway, and then pulling it up and out from the inside of the slide.
KWA’s first version just didn’t really make the cut; it just wasn’t good enough to displace the tried and true WA and TM. There was plenty of power and pricing was good, but it just wasn’t that much better at anything to really be more worthwhile than other makes. With the release of the PTP M9, KWA has been actively striving to provide US market items that are better than their competition, and I do think this “New Structure” 1911 is another good step forward for the company.
The power is amazing, more than any other readily available single stack on the market. The fit and finish is up there and with full metal construction out of the box, this thing beats everything else out there in terms of strength and durability. The accuracy has increased, and while still hampered by the dodgy hop up (please KWA, work on that next) the gun shoots better than it’s predecessor and better than many others.
On top of all of that, this gun has full manufacturer support here in the USA. That means, if it does break on you, they will cover your warranty and you will always have access to replacement parts. Try finding a replacement spring for a TM disconnector here in the US, try finding one anyplace outside of Japan. I don’t think we make a big enough deal about the fact that out of all the big airsoft manufacturers, KWA is one of the only ones to be here in the US, supporting sales here in the US.
I do think that in terms of over all fit and finish, it is still a step behind TM and certainly WA. Another sore point for the collectors is the complete lack of trademarks and the rather large, permanent, orange muzzle. But for the skirmisher who wants an accurate, reliable, powerful, 1911 they can bring to the field and run with…I have a new recommendation.
Weight : 970g (200g magazine)
Realism : ***
Quality : ****
Power : *****
Accuracy : ****
Read hkssr20det's other reviews at Airsoft Barracks.
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