Detonics Combat Master - Tokyo Marui
Following the success of Tokyo Marui's Colt 1911, it was no surprise that they jumped on the Western Arm's bandwagon and released some more 1911 designs.
What was interesting was that the first sequel was the Detonics Combat Master, the original mini-1911.
This example was kindly loaned to me for review by UK Retailer Airsoft Direct, who sell it for £84.99.
The question in my mind was whether a mini-1911 could be as good as the full size one?
In the Box
Tokyo Marui wisely, in my view, followed the 1911's excellent packaging with the Detonics.
The lid is a little overly-understated (if you follow) being very dark, but features a Cobra logo and the description "World's Smallest .45ACP", lest you should be expecting something a bit bulkier inside.
Whilst the box is not as ground breaking as it was with the 1911, the cloth covering with (nice and deep now - put right after the first batch of 1911A1s rattled around in their boxes during shipping) cut-outs for the gun and magazine and a fake box of bullets, marked as .45 ACP Hollowpoints which contains some BBs, still lend a sense of occasion to opening the Detonics lid.
As well as the gun, you get the usual collection of paperwork and a cleaning rod, along with the BBs in the bullet box.
What you get with the Detonics is a 1911 style gun about as big as a Glock 19, with a barrel the length of a Glock 26 which weighs around a kilo in real steel form.
You might wonder what the appeal is, but the real gun has a huge following (it was even relaunched in the US recently) and the announcement of an airsoft version (only NBB ones had existed before, most recently an 8mm one from Marushin), provoked excitement and disappointment in equal proportions.
To my eyes, cut down 1911s are not attractive guns.
The Detonics cuts 40mm off the slide/barrel of a 1911 and 30mm off of the grip length (there's also a 7mm section of dustcover missing compared to my WA 1911).
That said, the Detonics has a certain pugnacious quality to its appearance and a number of unique elements that separate it from the mini-1911 herd it created.
The finish is not as impressive at the TM 1911A1, mainly because it is plain ABS black, rather than the faux-parkerised finish of the 1911A1, but the quality of the frame and slide are excellent, with none of the ugly seams associated with TM guns of old.
The markings are few, but clean and sharp and the finish on the metal controls, like the trigger, thumb safety and slide lock is generally good.
The gun fits my hand quite well and feels very solid with no slop between frame and slide.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but the TM Detonics is nicely made and feels good value for the price Airsoft Direct sell them for.
Original Detonics Combat Masters were the first production mini-1911s and very expensive.
Looking over the TM replica you can begin to see why.
Most noticeably the rear sight is moved a good inch forward on the slide, to not far behind the ejection port (The idea being that there was nothing to interfere with quickly cocking the hammer with your thumb). The area behind the slide is flattened and lowered, giving the gun a very distinctive look in this part of the gun.
The ejection port itself is opened up on its lower edge to ensure that .45 ACP shells would eject without stovepiping (something mini-1911s are prone to apparently, partly due to the way people handle them).
The Detonics was the first production 1911 (some 65 years after it was launched) with a cone barrel and no barrel bushing (it was also the first all Stainless Steel 1911, incidentally) and Tokyo Marui's barrel is smart and well finished, replicating the Detonics unique shape all the way along its length, including the slight relief to the upper side of the barrel just behind the muzzle.
Sadly, though, like their 1911A1 but unlike WA's 1911s, the whole barrel/chamber assembly is plastic which will mean additional cost if you decide to convert the gun to metal with the aftermarket kits which are already appearing.
There is a small recoil rod bushing and the rod features an Allen bolt on the front (and a pin like head) with a captive pair of springs, again as on the real thing.
The slide, weighing just 75g, is plainly marked, with just "DETONICS .45" on the left side. There are vertical cocking serrations to the rear of the slide sides.
The slide cross section is quite distinctive with the slide top very flat and a curved section leading to it from the flat slides.
The frame is nicely finished in the same semi-matt black ABS of the slide and with no signs of the seam marks you still find on some of the most recent Tokyo Marui GBB.
The right side of the frame is marked DETONICS .45/TOKYO MARUI/MADE IN JAPAN over three lines above the trigger and there is a small ASGK mark where an ambidextrous thumb safety would live at the right rear of the frame.
The sights are a plain square notched blade at the rear (in the middle, really) and an oversized blade foresight, again devoid of any dots or the like. With the foresight so far forward on an already truncated slide, they are little real use on the real thing, although the gun was always more of a point-and-shoot, close range kind of weapon (The CIA actually bought a special batch of these for their agents).
The metal controls are mainly smart, although once again (as with the Hi-Capa) the bright silver hammer lets down the side, with this example having either a casting mark or paint run running diagonally up it.
The trigger is brightly chromed and bears vertical ridges down its face to provide a more secure grip for the shooter.
The magazine holds an impressive 18 rounds (full size TM 1911A1 mags will fit, but obviously hang below the end of the grip) and is a rather garish chrome finish, although it looks well enough finished. TM have not replicated the 'loaded magazine' feature of the real thing, where a full magazine caused part of the follower to protrude from the base of the cut-down magazine, but the magazine does correctly not fit flush to the bottom of the grip.
There is no grip safety on the Detonics (it was pinned on the real thing and is so here), only a thumb safety for the right hand and the mainspring cover (which, disappointingly, is plastic) is flat with a chequered backstrap.
The grips themselves are fake wood plastic affairs with chequering. They look decent enough for faux-wood grips and feature weights which help with the gun's overall weight. There are already aftermarket wood grips with the Detonics Cobra logo available if you really don't like the plastic ones.
Click on image for bigger version in separate window.
Carrying out my standard 5m/6 round, off hand test, the 3" inner barreled Detonics delivered an impressive best 5 of 6 diameter of just 27mm (The second 6 shots, shown as squares on the target).
Both sets shown on the target were impressively tight and on target (the centre of the circle was the aim point), so neither that very short barrel or the exceptionally short sight radius had a negative effect upon the gun's accuracy and the gentle kick no doubt helped keep the gun on target.
Shooting down my garden, too, the Detonics proved remarkably good. It was easy to hit a house brick end-on at 70ft time and time again and the trajectory was impressively flat.
Over 10 shots, the Tokyo Marui Detonics Combat Master averaged 218 fps (using Propane gas) indoors (at a chilly 10C).
Experience suggests this would equate to around 250 fps at 20C and a few shots with the magazine warmed to room temperature registered FPS around that mark. Other reviews have reported similar figures.
This falls a little short of the full-sized 1911 and most other mid-sized GBBs, but is only around 10fps less than the WA Colt Defender I reviewed, so is pretty much where you would expect a 1911 with a very short barrel (just 3" of inner barrel) and a TM gas system to perform.
Gas consumption was fairly decent, too. Even in cold conditions (6-10C), I managed to fire 37 BBs before the gas ran out and the power only seemed to drop significantly over the last 3-4 shots.
The gun has quite a loud report, but the kick is nothing to get excited about, unsurprisingly with such a light slide.
Trigger pull was 495g (18 Oz), which is a lightish pull for a GBB, with little creep and a smooth action.
Take down of this cone barreled 1911 provides no surprises.
With the magazine out, slide the slide back until the round notch in the slide aligns with the slide lock protrusion and push the slide lock out of the frame from the right side.
The slide can then be slid forward off the frame.
With this done, the recoil rod and spring can be removed by pushing the bushing backwards in the slide to compress the spring and then withdrawing the rod forward, down and back out of the slide.
The barrel and chamber assembly can then be pushed forward out of the front of the slide.
Overall, I was impressed with the build quality and accuracy of the TM Detonics Combat Master, but I didn't grow to love it.
No doubt, people who like cut down 1911s and the Detonics in particular will be pleased with the TM gun as it offers a decent replica of the gun with all the virtues of reliability, cheap aftermarket parts and a consistent hop-up system that we have come to expect of TM's recent products.
It looks a good replica of this gun, but it's a bit plasticky compared with TM's 1911A1 (although better than the SIG P226 or Desert Eagle) and the shooting experience isn't very exciting.
That final point, though, is more due to the gun's diminutive size than any great fault of TM's and I'm sure it will be seen in use by many skirmishers as a backup and will find favour with collectors, too, looking for a replica of this unusual and significant mini-1911.
Weight : 650g (160g magazine)
Realism : ****
Quality : ****
Power : ***
Accuracy : *****
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