Hi-Capa 5.1 (Alloy slide) - WE
I've reviewed this gun before - Well, sort of.
When the first WE Hi-Capas were released, I was loaned one for review and, as you can read here, I rather liked it.
However, some people felt the cycle speed was a little slow (certainly it was slower than the lightning quick TM Hi-Capa, even if it did reward the shooter with more felt kick) and WE revisited the 5.1 Hi-Capa design, by producing an aluminum alloy (Rather than Zinc alloy, presumably) slide.
Elite Airsoft kindly loaned me this updated WE 5.1 Hi-Capa to review.
In the Box
As with the earlier gun, the packaging is minimalist in the extreme, with just a plain and rather fragile cardboard box holding two sheets of foam, with the gun between them.
The box bears some black, outline text describing what is inside, but the box itself is the bare minimum required for shipping really. That said, the foam does a good job of protecting the gun inside and it was unblemished.
The WE Hi-Capa is a smart looking gun, but remarkably plain looking, in its gunmetal grey paint.
Aside from the WE Tech logo on the grip, there are no markings on the gun's body.
The gun is weighty, but nicely balanced (something I do not feel can be said of TM's gun), with the vast majority of the weight in the frame and slide, rather than an artificially heavy magazine.
The grip is plastic as you would expect of this style of pistol, has a matt appearance and feels faintly rubberised to the touch - I'm still convinced there is some kind of tie up between WE and HFC, as HFC's Glock 17 frame feels just the same.
The outer barrel and chamber are painted silver, as are the hammer and recoil spring rod.
Aside from the grips, the whole gun is metal.
The grips feature a rim for fitting a magwell, but the inner edges are slightly bevelled to allow magazines to slide in smoothly.
The overall finish of the gun is good, especially considering the price and all metal construction. The paintwork is, on the whole, evenly applied and controls like the skeleton hammer are cleanly cast (if not perfectly so), again something the TM Hi-Capa can be faulted on.
It is true to say that production tolerances are not as tight on this gun as on the TM Hi-Capa, but it is not a particularly sloppy gun in terms of slide/frame and other parts fit.
The rear sight is adjustable for windage and elevation, but does not feature any white dots. The foresight is likewise plain and although it looks dovetailed I think (like the fixed part of the rear sight) it is actually cast into the slide, meaning a new slide will also need new sights and you can't easily fit fibre optic or night sights.
There are ambidextrous thumb safeties and a grip safety (this example had no issues with working as a safety, unlike the earlier gun I tried), but the slide lock is disappointingly 1911 like, with no extension, although TM aftermarket parts should fit with little or no work.
The trigger is cutout, but has no adjustment for travel, as you would find on a KSC or WA 2011 style gun.
There is a rail at the front of the frame, which would facilitate the fitting of a rail fitting scope mount or a torch, although, as before, the lack of a securing groove under the frame means it is not the most secure of rails, if you intend to actually use it.
The frame is standard 1911 length and the slide is cut with a curve to fit to it, which it does quite precisely.
The chamber is engraved with the legend ".45 ACP" and that is the total extent of markings on this gun.
The hop-up is adjusted via a wheel under the barrel. This requires disassembly, but is quite easy and precise to adjust once this is done. Again, this is exactly the same as on the TM gun it copies so closely.
The outer barrel is silver and of the cone design (no 1911 style bushing here), whilst the recoil rod is unfinished metal, silver in colour.
Whether the plainness of the 5.1 Hi-Capa is for you or not, it all counts for little if it's a poor performer when you shoot it.
Click on image for bigger version in separate window.
Carrying out my standard 5m/6 round, off hand test, the WE 5.1 Hi-Capa put its best 5 rounds into a 35mm diameter. All 6 shots were closely grouped and clustered around the target centre.
This is good, consistent accuracy from an airsoft pistol.
Over 10 shots, the WE 5.1 Hi-Capa averaged 265 fps (using Superpower Green gas) indoors (at just 15C). This would probably equate to around 295 fps at 20C, a decent performance for a 2011 style gun.
Trigger pull was a light 580g (20 Oz), very close to the TM Hi-Capa's pull.
The cycle, to my mind is quick enough. It is not as fast as the TM gun, but that always seems to have an unnaturally fast cycle to me and its tepid kick is too high a price to pay, in my view.
As a direct comparison, the Elite Custom Accucomp, based on the TM Hi-Capa takes around .069 seconds (69 milliseconds) from trigger pull to return to battery. This gun takes .101 seconds (101 milliseconds).
As a percentage, the difference is quite high, but it's only around 30 milliseconds, hardly enough to detect, let alone have a major effect, considering it takes around 200-300 milliseconds for a person to blink.
The one thing I cannot quantify is whether this gun is a faster cycler than the older ones, but John Reddington from Elite, assures me these later guns are a big improvement in this respect.
The WE Hi-Capa 5.1 delivers a kick which, whilst not fierce, is at least detectable and the gun sounds reasonable good to, with a fairly loud crack.
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, the WE 5.1 Hi-Capa still seems a decent gun on revisitation.
Some reports suggest that the gun isn't as reliable long term as the much dearer, all-plastic TM (some report no problems at all), but out of the box I still prefer the WE for its superior balance, kick and finish of some of the detailing all delivered at a bargain price.
If you want a top notch metal gun, you would be better to start with a TM Hi-Capa and buy an aftermarket slide and better quality components, but your pocket will be considerably lighter at the end of the exercise (See my review on Elite's Custom Hi-Capas if that's the route you want to take).
If you just want an all metal 2011 style gun, don't discount the WE 5.1 Hi-Capa (or its little brothers).
Weight : 1,030g (345g magazine)
Realism : ***
Quality : ***
Power : ****
Accuracy : ****
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