And so begins my review of the WE AWSS Mk16 Gas Blowback Airsoft Rifle in "Stealth Black."
Grab a blanket and get cozy with me here so that we can talk Airsoft guns.
I ordered this rifle from Pyramyd Air, which was pretty slick. I've ordered a number of items from them at this point and have yet to be disappointed in their service. They have this sweet deal where if you order before 12pm Eastern Standard Time, they'll ship out your order that same day (assuming it's not a special order or out of stock). This is nice because one of my biggest pet peeves about some of the other big time Airsoft online shops is their "Processing Time." This is that magical time between the moment you hit the "Submit Order" button and the time the thing actually ships out to you. I've had too many orders to count from other shops where the processing time took longer than it did to ship via USPS ground. Lame. But not the case with Pyramyd.
The gun retails for $289 and qualifies for free ground shipping. Since they're out in Ohio and I'm in California, ground shipping, which is the slowest of all the options, actually only takes about 4 to 5 business days, INCLUDING processing time. Pretty good, in my book.
We're going to start with some glam shots to get you visually stimulated.
Thanks to my lovely wife, who snapped those shots for me.
I'm actually not going to talk about the rifle here. I only have time to spell out that enormous string of acronyms.
WE = (I don't know what it stands for, but it is the manufacturer of this hot little unit).
AWSS = Advanced Weaponry Simulator System
SCAR = Special Forces Combat Assault Rifle. Technically it should be SFCAR but then it wouldn't have such a macho/hardcore "acronymously" awesome name (Yes, I made that word up just now).
The "L" = Light. Light, as in the real steel version's designation for the model that uses 5.56x45 NATO rounds, whereas the SCAR-"Heavy" version utilizes the larger 7.62x39 & 7.62x51 NATO rounds. Heavy weapons can also refer to those that require more than one operator or can be operated by one person but are too "heavy" to carry (see what I did there), thus must be mounted (e.g. the beloved .50 cal Ma Deuce).
GBB is something you should already know. But if you don't, then I'm not one to alienate others, so I'll let you in on the not-so-secret meaning: gas blowback *gasp.*
In case you were foolish enough to fall for my trickery earlier in this entry, I was actually kidding. I am going to talk about the rifle. I'm actually going to talk a lot about this rifle and I'm going to do it right now.
Quite frankly, I'm a bit smitten with this rifle at present. The honeymoon phase has not yet worn off despite the rifle being in my possession for several weeks now. I've spent some good quality time with it. We've gotten to know each other's likes and dislikes and are now entering the phase where we begin to feel comfortable passing gas in front of each other (ahthanku). I'll freely admit this was my first time with a GBB and it was somewhat awkward, nerve-racking, yet very exciting over all. But now that I've been around the block a few times with her, I feel much more confident in knowing how to handle her ins and outs.
First off, let me get some of the manufacturer-provided specs out of the way, to give you a proper introduction to this beauty. I'll just copy and paste from the WE website and insert attempts at witty remarks, drizzled in mild sarcasm.
- 100% CNC Aluminum Alloy Upper receiver.
Yea. They're not kidding here. This gun is very solid and impressive to shoulder. I've handled my fair share of Airsoft guns at this point, both rifle and pistol, and I can say with a high amount of certainty that the WE SCAR has some of the least wobble to it of anything that I've ever held.
- All steel internals.
This would obviously include everything from the trigger mechanism to the bolt assembly.
- REAL SCALE EXTERNAL MEASUREMENTS.
While I don't have an actual FN SCAR to show you, I DO have a real AR mag for reference to the WE mags. You'll notice something right off the bat: they're VERY close in scale.
- 100% "True to Real Steel" field stripping and assembly.
Not too shabby.
- 3-way Adjustable Stock.
They say 3-ways are not as cool as they sound, but I don't know. This one seems alright.
- WETTI/AFC's patented unique super recoil blowback system.
I can't say that I've got anything else to compare recoil to at this point but I will say that the first shot I took of this rifle was VERY surprising to me. For a toy gun, this thing has some impressive recoil. It's extremely fun to shoot.
- 350 - 450 fps with realistic "felt recoil."
Yeeeaaaa...we're going to have to address the realities of this gun at some point, but not right now. However, I will say this for the time being: Green gas/propane guns have consistency deficiency issues and this rifle is no different.
- 30-rds magazine (Green gas or Co2).
I have three of the green gas mags. They actually get about 32 to 33 rounds in there without having to force the last two. The mags themselves boast an impressive weight of their own. Just having the three mags in my load-bearing vest was a noticeable addition of weight. Those of you "realists" out there should appreciate this because the weight of the mags is much closer to the real thing than a typical AEG hicap mag. So you'll only be able to carry a certain amount of ammo before the weight factor becomes prohibitive in adding to your loadout. So you'll definitely be forced to choose your shots more carefully. This is NOT a spray-and-pray gun, used on full auto. I don't have my scale handy just yet, but when I do, I'll post up some stats on the weight so that you can get a better idea of what we're dealing with here in that department.
- 2nd-Generation adjustable HOP-UP system.
Unfortunately, as is common in this industry, the hop-up design is probably one of the weaker points in the gun, yet arguably the most important for accuracy. My initial impressions of the rifle's accuracy are actually not too bad with the right BB, my biggest issue is the hop-up dial. It's not easy to access and it's quite difficult to adjust because of the way they designed the ridges around the outside of the the dial. They are very fine and don't allow the finger to gain much friction to assist in turning it one way or the other within the confined space WE has given us.
Here's what I'm talking about:
Do you see that black ring with the little ridges that caps off the brass cylinder? That's the hop-up dial and it's harder to get to than it might appear because this picture is not to scale. It's also possible that I am just suffering from a case of "Sausage Fingers" and others might have better luck. I really don't know. I can only report on my own experiences. The easiest way to get to that dial is to actually remove the lower receiver, which you can do by simply popping that grayish body pin out, located directly underneath the series of three hex-screws near the top right of the image. Obviously, that's not real practical if you're trying to adjust the hop-up on the fly though.
- 6.03mm precision inner barrel.
Could be tighter, but that would add additional velocity to an already high-velocity rifle. This will be an issue for those with <400 fps velocity limits at their local fields. If I have my way, I would see about having a custom EdGI 6.01mm barrel made for this gun. You don't put Volkswagen parts on a Ferrari, do you?
I realize that the PDI fan boys are going to huff and puff about my choice, but the reality is that EdGI offers high-precision barrels that are somewhat customizable while still maintaining a reasonable price. Ed's barrels pack in the value in a number of ways, price and precision being highlights. Don't get me wrong, PDI makes an extremely nice barrel, but I personally feel like the price is a bit steep for what you can get from EdGI. But that's an argument for another time.
- Out-of-box compatibility with Green gas/12g Co2 magazines.
- Color available in both Flat Dark Earth or Stealth Black
Stealth black = fancy/tacticool name for just-plain-old-black. I give them an A for effort though.
One area they don't have listed on the WE site (however, it IS listed on the Pyramyd Page) is the ambidextrous controls like the fire selector, rear sight windage knobs, mag release and even the charging handle for the bolt can be switched from right to left, or vice versa. There aren't too many airsoft guns out there that can say they've got this feature.
Overall, my first impressions of this gun are very positive. I will have some pics of the internals later this evening with chrono data and performance analysis coming this week as well.
If there is anything in particular you were interested in finding out about this piece, please feel free to ask. Either post your question in the comments section or email me here and I'll do my best to get you the answers.
Also, any feedback on the blog would be greatly appreciated. I would like this blog to become a valuable resource for the community to benefit from, so I'm always interested in ways to improve. Don't be shy.