Baby Hi-Capa 3.8" - WE
I don't usually like small 1911/2011 airsoft pistols.
In my experience, they're usually inaccurate, bulky and no fun to shoot.
When Elite Airsoft gave me one of these to test, I didn't hold out huge hopes, even though I consider the WE 5.1" a decent gun, but from the off I was impressed.
In the Box
The box, as with the other WEs I have seen, is minimalist.
The outside is a basic brown cardboard box, with a bit of printing (one colour, black) to tell you what is inside.
The Baby Hi-Capa is pretty well protected, sandwiched between two layers of foam, the bottom being the eggrate style, but that is it as far as packaging goes with WE.
Inside is nothing more than the gun...
Still, you don't want to pay big bucks for packaging if the gun's a low cost Taiwanese model and WE have spent their production costs wisely.
The Baby Hi-Capa has a tiny 3.9" barrel and comes with various slide designs of which this is probably the fanciest (I like the cutouts onto the silver cone barrel, personally).
The 3 hole trigger, hammer and grip safety are all painted silver and the metal frame and slide are painted in a dark gun-metal grey.
There's a 'full-length' silver guide rod for the recoil spring and the sights are white-dotted non-adjustable combat style sights. The frame features a rail and, as well as the grip safety, WE have squeezed in an ambidextrous thumb safety set up too.
As with all other WE's everything (except the grip, as you expect of a 2011 style gun) is metal on this gun.
The frame and slide are the familiar gunmetal that WE and HFC guns usually seem to be and look pretty well finished.
The slide features 3 diagonal slots on each side, which allow you to see the silver painted short cone barrel beneath and there are 'fishscaling' style cocking serrations to the rear of the slide, which look good, but don't provide much grip for racking the slide.
The chamber is silver, too, with .45 ACP cast into it.
Along the right side of the slide, under the chamber is etched "CAL .45 ACP"
The left side of the slide bears the words "BABY HI-CAPA 3.8" in a white outline font.
The trigger is plain and silver in colour, with 3 round holes drilled in it for lightness. There is no adjustment for travel, but it feels reasonably consistent and creep free. The front face is smooth, a few grooves here would have been good.
The grip is short (just 19.5CM top of grip surface to bottom), but features a lip at the bottom which allows my little finger to be supported, which is just as you would want. My hands are pretty average in size for an adult male, so only those with very big hands will find this too small. There are shiney gold WE medallions on each side of the grip, which look in keeping with the style of the gun.
The grip surface on this gun is traditional SVI style, with heavy chequering to all faces (including the front and main spring housing). There are other variants with Expert-style smooth grips, if you prefer that. The grip is secured with polished hex bolts.
The integrated rail is rather neat as it makes the frame look more like a conventional 1911 style with a rail, rather than a bolted on one as you see with the TM Hi-Capa 5.1. The way it is cast gives the gun a few extra curves and creases and makes the gun look more interesting to my eye, at least. There is a proper slot in the underside of the rail, too, which should make sure a torch can be securely attached (although I didn't have one to try out at the time).
The sights are non-adjustable and white dotted for rapid target acquisition (I like these, but some prefer plain sights). The face of the rear sight is grooved to reduce reflection (a nice detail), but is basically a flat blade with a square notch between the two white dots. The foresight is a separate (plastic) unit, dovetailed into the slide, so possibly adjustable for windage.
There are extended, ambidextrous thumb safeties (nice for us lefties) and a fully working grip safety (none of the problems with it working that were seen on early WE/Armotech guns on this compact model or the later 5.1 I tested at the same time). The grip safety and ring hammer, which features a correct half-cock position are both painted silver and a commendably evenly finished in terms of paint and casting quality.
The grip safety is completely smooth, but the hammer has serrations just where your thumb needs them to cock it. The slide lock is simple 1911 style with no extension, as befits a compact self-defence gun, rather than a target shooting piece.
The magazine is painted the same colour as the gun and features a plastic bumper on the base. Despite its dimunitive size, I was able to squeeze in 25 rounds and without any feeding problems, which seemed quite good to me. The gun also had no issues with firing off all 25 (and some more) shots on a single fill of Propane.
So, for the money, it looks and feels good, but the downfall of many compact 2011s is their performance and accuracy.
Subjectively, it is fun to shoot, with a loud report and some felt kick when fired.
Click on image for bigger version in separate window.
Carrying out my standard 5m/6 round, off hand test, the accuracy I achieved was (for a small 1911 and me) remarkably good.
The Baby Hi-Capa was able to put its best 5 shots into a 40mm diameter, with all the shots clustered in a group that would have filled the target centre, were they not a little high, something easily resolved with a fiddle with the hop-up or by aiming a little lower.
Over 10 shots, the 3.8 Hi-Capa averaged only 221 fps (using Superpower Green gas) indoors (at only 15C). This was quite a bit lower than the longer barreled (but seemingly identical otherwise) 5.1 model, but would equate to about 246 fps at 20C.
I found this a bit disappointing, but this would never be a target or primary weapon, I suspect and is not too bad for such a compact gun.
Interestingly, just cocking the hammer will not cock the gun. The hammer will fall, but the gun won't fire. Only racking the slide will do this for you.
Trigger pull was 665g (23.5 Oz), which is a fairly lightweight pull for a GBB.
Take down is traditional 2011 style.
With the magazine removed, the slide is pushed back until the slide lock can be pushed through the frame. With that done, the slide, barrel and recoil rod & spring can be slid forward off the frame as unit.
With the recoil spring removed, by withdrawing the bushing from the front of the slide, the barrel unit, with it's fixed chamber, can be pushed forward out of the slide.
Overall, I really did like this gun.
Small 1911/2011 guns are not usually to my taste and I've found few I can hit a barn door with (metaphorically), but this one felt good from the outset and the accuracy was excellent for this style of gun.
This is a gun which handles well, feels impressively solid and looks distinctive with those slide cuts, ring hammer and silver 3 hole trigger.
The power level was a little disappointing, but perhaps my expectation was unrealistic in this respect.
In all other respects, I would recommend this gun to anyone looking for a compact 2011 style pistol
Weight : 945g (275g magazine)
Realism : ***
Quality : ***
Power : ***
Accuracy : ****
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