When I was still young and just starting out in airsoft there used to be a great website dedicated to all things Minigun called Marty’s Miniguns. Unfortunately it’s now long gone, but it did have all sorts of good information about airsoft Miniguns (as well as real), and a couple of reviews. Since it no longer exists I thought it was about time for another Minigun review.
Let’s start with the different type of airsoft Miniguns. There are 2 basic styles, the Predator style, this is named after the Predator film, and is a handheld Minigun complete with a backpack, let’s have a gratuitous picture:
The other main style is the Blackhawk style, this is a realistic vehicle mounted style with the hand grips etc. Again, seems like a perfect time for a picture.
Lastly, there are several different makes of airsoft Minigun, let’s go through the basic information on them.
Asahi M134 – I don’t know much about this airsoft Minigun, it’s the oldest Minigun and I’ve read it’s very complicated. It runs from HPA and a battery, and I think it’s considered more of a collector’s piece than anything else.
CAW M134 – This is a AEG Minigun, in recent times it’s been rebranded by Echo 1, but can also go by the Toy-Tech name. It’s powered by a battery and uses a large, detectable magazine. I believe it’s only ever been sold in the Predator style, but comes in long and short barrel type. You see more of these for sale than any other style of Minigun, but it doesn’t mean it’s common, they are still fairly rare. They come in a very cool wooden crate.
Piper’s Precision Products, known as the P3 M134 – This one spins the barrels using a battery and shoots the bb’s using HPA. It comes in both Predator and Blackhawk configuration. There are 2 different versions of this gun, the A1 and A2. The A1 does not have hopup, this was added in the A2 version but the molds were reduced in detail for the A2 version. If you want one to admire the A1 is the one to get. P3’s dealer estimated there’s between 30 or 40 miniguns in total were manufactured by Piper’s Precision Products.
Lastly Piper sold the rights to manufacture this Minigun to Classic Army, so far I have only ever seen 1 run from Classic Army so it’s still rare. Classic Army make the A2 version.
Review and introduction to my P3 M134
I own a Blackhawk version of the P3 M134, my gun is the A1 model.
It has to be mounted on something in order to run, we normally mount it to a land rover at my local site, but it can also be mounted onto a tripod. In order to run it needs an external gas source, we tend to use a dive bottle, but it can also be run by a small tank, and it needs a battery. The first problem comes with the battery, there is no dedicate place for the battery. I tend to tape it to the hand grips, but I do intend to make a delicate box for a Lipo to hid this away. It takes away a little bit from the looks.
How it works.
The P3 is quite a simple machine. It loads it’s bb’s from the back of the gun into a central ammo reservoir, the guns then picks up the bb’s from this reservoir as the barrels revolve, and in theory they should shoot every barrel from the same place in its rotation. Air is shot down the barrel so any bb in the way will be fired down the barrel. In practice the system works quite well when the internal reservoir has a number of bb’s inside it. When the internal reservoir is nearly empty it starts to get quite a few cycles when it doesn’t pick up a bb to fire, and only every other barrel will fire.
It’s important to note that rof is also a factor in fps, as the faster the barrels spin the less time the system has to provide air. P3 install a pressure pop off value that limits the input pressure to approx. 100psi, if you try to go above that it will simple stop applying air to the system.
As stock my rof was approx. 50rps. This is in line with the real M134. The way the motor is wired is extremely simple, as it’s basically a switch that turned the motor on or off. The motor in my M134 burnt it’s self out, as you would expect with a brushed motor. The Airsoft Tech’s at my local field took the opportunely to have a look at the system, and upgrade it a little.
After a little trial and error, what we’ve ended up with on my gun is a speed controller wired into the trigger that also acts as a Mosfet. This give some rof control, it also gives some control to the fps and will also protect the motor a little.
The only other mod that my local Airsoft Tech’s have done to mine is to add an external box mag. The box mag will provide bb’s to the internal reservoir, keeping it supplied with bb’s and making sure that feeding is not an issue. It also greatly increases the capacity of the gun which is needed as it can empty its internal reservoir in 30 seconds.
Performance of the P3 M134 is, in one word, awesome but we need to expand on that and add some huge limitations, mainly on your expectations.
You are pretty much static, therefore you have to use the M134 as a defensive gun.
You will become a target for everyone on the enemy team.
Your flanks are pretty vulnerable and you really need team members to support you here.
There is no front shield, and even your front can become vulnerable if there is determined attack on you.
You have limited ammo and it runs out much faster than you think.
You have no hopup, it’s possible enemy players can out range you.
OK, there are some pretty big disadvantages to this gun, so why do I classify the performance as awesome? Main reason is because it’s so much fun, it will put a grin on your face from ear to ear.
Hopup isn’t really an issue in my experience. The M134 will spray a solid wall of white where ever it points. You quickly learn not to hold it in one place, and almost stir the controls to create a cone of fire. I haven’t felt outranged when using it.
It needs people working together to defeat it, one or two people attacking the gun will be quickly dealt with. The first time you open up everyone on the field will duck and cover, it’s certainly an impact weapon.
Summary and Score
Time to look at a Minigun impartially, score it as an airsoft gun and give plus’s and minuses.
As a airsoft gun this has to score:
It’s just not a practical airsoft gun
Very Expensive and hard to find
You will be static
You will become a target for everyone on the other team
You need other players on your team to help defend you
You have no hopup
Your ammo goes too quickly
On the plus side
It’s huge fun
It’s a unusual airsoft gun, and will get people talking
It’s a feakin Minigun
As a collectors piece it deserves much higher, and only you can give it a score for what it’s worth to you.