Heckler & Koch Mk23 SOCOM - Tokyo Marui
The Tokyo Marui Mk23 SOCOM is widely touted as 'the best spring airsoft pistol available' (in tandem, often, with the KWC Ultra Grade Desert Eagle). Having owned both a TM NBB gas TM SOCOM and a KSC GBB SOCOM, I was keen to compare these two with the springer.
I'd looked at the springer before, prior to buying the NBB version, but found it felt odd in my hand, being large, but very light.
When one came up for sale on the Forums, I bought it, with a specific view to reviewing and seeing if it measured up to its reputation.
In the Box
The typical TM box comprises the gun, a few BBs, some leaflets and a separately fitted magazine. The TM spring SOCOM is no exception.
Being a HGHU (High Grade, Hop-Up) version, the box art is a fairly bland beige/khaki, with a profile shot of the gun. There are also High Grade Non-Hop up (Silver box) and Under 14s (colour photo on a black background) versions, the latter having a weaker spring.
Inside, the gun is held in nice rigid polystyrene, similar to that used on KSC's latest guns.
Lying in its box, the Mk23 is an impressive pistol. It's big and nicely detailed.
Pick it up, however, and you are struck by how light it is....Being a big gun, the lightness is particularly unsettling, although the balance is fairly good. The gun is actually slightly lighter than the, much smaller, PC356, whereas you'd expect a weight more like an HFC USP.
What are impressive, though, are the trademarks, being both numerous and (as expected of TM) finely engraved. The whole gun looks a quality piece and the seam down the gun is more forgivable in this case, as real steel polymer grips often exhibit such marks (can't vouch for the SOCOM, though).
Unfortunately, by the time the spring Mk23 came into my possession, I'd sold my NBB SOCOM, but the finish is similar, being a bit too shiney to look real. As with the NBB, however, this is only really noticeable in contrast to the KSC Mk23, which is a truly excellent gun. The plastic on the slide, interestingly, exhibits a kind of graininess which looks like machined steel - Very effective.
Interestingly they replicate different versions of the gun, so the NBB is not just a springer with a different mechanism inside, as the springer is the production version of the gun, as replicated by KSC in their HW Hardkick GBB version.
The gun cocks nicely, with little effort and no notchiness in the slide, and the hammer DOES cock (working double action when the trigger's pulled).
The trademarks on the gun are well defined. On the left of the slide is the HK logo, followed by the legend "MK23 USSOCOM Cal. .45", a serial number 23-0499 (the same as on the NBB barrel and plate, but not slide) and a small B in a circle. The grip is marked with the HK logo and .45. On the right hand side, the slide is bare, with the HK logo, Cal. .45 and 23-0499 and the B in a circle on the chamber part of the barrel. On the bottom of the right hand side of the grip is US SOCOM Mk. 23 whilst, where the KSC gun bears Heckler and Koch markings at the top, this gun is marked Tokyo Marui Co.,Ltd. Made in Japan. Above the trigger is an ASGK logo. Under the barrel is a small silver plate with the serial number 23-0499.
The sights are unmarked, making them hard to use in low light, but fine in daylight.
The magazine is, like all TM springers, a full size replica, rather than the KWC thin mags, and is reckoned to hold 26 BBs. Again like all TM springers, these must be loaded one at a time. Realistic, but tiresome...
None of the switches and levers work. The metal slide lock works as a safety, but the slide (as on all TM springers) cannot be locked back manually or automatically after the last round, whilst the hammer safety and decocker are simply mouldings. Presumably, the standard slide lock modification would work on this gun as well as an M9.
Initial impressions are much as for any recent TM springer (The PC356 is another example of this generation), with good power and excellent close range accuracy.
Click on image for bigger version in separate window.
Carrying out my standard 5m/6 round, off hand test, the Mk23 springer was able to produce a 2.5 inch (6.5 CM) diameter. This was made unrepresentatively poor by a snatched shot producing a high outlier. The remaining 5 shots were placed within a 1.5 inch (3.5 CM) diameter, making it very comparable to the performance achieved with the TM S&W PC356 and the UHC Beretta M9.
Interestingly, though, the SOCOM I have is not very accurate over greater range. Shooting .2g BBs the length of my garden (around 20m/70ft), my PC356 will hit within 6 inches of the aim point, but the SOCOM's BBs veer dramatically upwards in the latter 3rd of that range, ending up 2-3 feet above the original aim point. I might put this down to a rogue gun, except for the fact that I've heard similar reports from other reviewers. Using .25g BBs, this problem is eliminated (as far as my garden permits), again, as reported by other owners of the gun. This might suggest that at even greater ranges, with the correct weight BBs, the Mk23 is actually more accurate than other springers.
Stripping the gun is very simple and, having done so, it's pleasant to see that TM have replicated the complex recoil rod accurately, making this a more accurate replica than the NBB.
After removing the magazine, slide the slide back until the disassembly notch in the slide (furthest forward on left side) is aligned with the front part of the slide lock and push the slide lock through the frame from the other side (you might need to get a finger nail under the slide lock and pull it through), completely removing it from the frame.
Once this is done, the slide, barrel and recoil rod will slide off the frame.
The recoil rod can be removed by pushing it gently forward and down and then back. The barrel should be slid forward and down, once clear of the nozzle.
Overall, the Mk23 is a good springer, but not quite, in my view, deserving of the reputation it has.
Certainly, its accuracy with .2g BBs over typical skirmish range is questionable and the gun's large size/light weight combination makes it a disconcerting weapon at first encounter (although probably one you'd soon adapt to).
I, personally, would choose the TM PC356 or, quite probably, the UHC M9 over this gun for accuracy with .2g BBs and overall feel and balance. Having said that, if you (like so many others) are sold on the SOCOM before you even see it, you won't be terrible disappointed, unless you've handled the NBB or GBB version of this gun.
Weight : 420g
Realism : ***
Quality : ****
Power : ****
Accuracy : ***
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