So what’s in the box? Surprisingly the 3.8 Compact model comes with two magazines, a short 18 rounder which sits flush with the grip, and a full 26 round model (which is shown as loaded into the pistol). Within the box you also get three different sizes of back strap, and an extended magwell piece to place on the full 26 round model. Straight away this presents an issue, unless you apply a dab of super glue onto this extension piece, it will just slide off the magazine, but if you do this, you lose the ability to load the mag from the bottom of the mag, and lose some of the 26 round capacity (well without having to arse around with an allen key or similar to force the rounds down.
The construction of the pistol is a polymer lower, and metal slide. The controls on the lower are also metal (trigger, slide lock, take down lever, mag release and back strap safety). Whilst there is a physical safety by means of the serial number plate at the front of the lower (just before the railed section) which you can slide backwards to lock the trigger and forwards to allow the pistol to fire, in terms of a practical physical safety, this pistol doesn’t have one, but it does have a system which is a mix between the Glock and 1911 where you must have the back strap lever depressed and having integrated trigger safety depressed as you pull the trigger. Without both of these in place, the pistol will not fire, so the chance of an accidental discharge is pretty low.
The pistol comes with an adjusted hop, however in order to access this, you need to take the slide off, make your adjustment, and re-assemble. On mine, the adjustment cog is incredibly stiff, to the point that you are better off using an allen key to adjust it. The more I’ve used it, the more adjustment I’ve had to make to the pistol as it seems after a while, each setting seems to lose its effect, which might be due to the hop arm not being strong enough – I haven’t investigated a solution yet as I’ve still plenty of adjustment left so I’ll look for a fix once I’ve run out of adjustment.
The sights are a simple two dot rear, one dot up front affair, so nothing special but they work fine as they are filled in white against a black slide, so picking them up isn’t too much of an issue. The gun also has a functioning cocked indicator on the back of the slide. When cocked, the pin (as can be seen on the pictures below) juts out from the back of the slide, so you can easily check if the pistol is ready to fire whilst its holstered. When not cocked, the pin sits flush with the slide.
I bought this pistol at AI500 2013 from Pro Airsoft Supplies, and a quick chrono then on propane, the FPS was around about the 280/290 FPS mark, which for a pistol is plenty given I only use this in close up situations or where my rifle has gone down and I can’t make a sharp exit. For the ranges I have used this pistol at, which is probably no further than 20 metres, I haven’t found an issue with accuracy and it will hit a man sized target at this distance and I’m happy with that. Some might want more range from their pistols, but as an OhSh!t back up, it serves me fine. I have had an issue where the blowback unit has got stuck within the slide and caused the pistol to jam up, but this seems to have been a bigger issue during the winter months after having fired off quite a few rounds in quick succession and doesn’t happen during warmer days so it may be cooldown related. Nothing seems obviously wrong internally, having taken the unit apart everything seems seated correctly and nothing suggests excess wear. Given the slide is quite heavy, the gun does suffer during the winter months on propane but I plan on getting a hold of some WE Nuprol 3.0 as I’ve heard good reports of this gas’s performance during winter (its designed for sub 10 degree temperatures) and that might solve the issues.
Having picked up 2 extra mags for this, I’ve run this pistol since September, and bar the occasional issue with the blowback unit as mentioned above (happened 3/4 times), I haven’t really had much problem with the pistol aside from winter related cooldown, but that only became an issue if you try to do more an a double tap in quick succession. There pistol has got a bit more scratched and battered than I was expecting after 9 months, given that it spends most of its life in a fabric holster (for the time being), but it does add a bit of character to the piece rather than being kept clean.
The full size mag, on a regular to warm day, will easily give you two mags, both locking back, the smaller mags, you’ll get two mags but they will taper off towards the end and may struggle to lock the slide.
Overall I would give this pistol a:
+ Bar winter cooldown in the middle of winter, the gun has never failed to cycle.
+ Decent FPS and range for what I require from it.
+ Full metal construction gives a good weight and heft to the pistol without being excessive for use or carrying on the hip
+ Adjustable back straps allow the user to tailor the pistols feel and fit to your hand (to certain extent) so you can make the pistol comfortable for you.
–Blowback unit occasionally sticking and preventing the gun from firing.
– Hop unit seems to struggle to apply the same level of hop for an extended period of time.
— The extended grip piece on the full mag reduces the capacity of the magazine (assuming you secure the piece to the mag, otherwise you will lose it very quickly)
— Usual cooldown issues in winter with metal slide pistols on propane. Plan to use WE Nuprol 3.0 which should solve this.