I had the opportunity to borrow an Echo 1 MP5A4 from a friend for a day, so I took as many pictures of it as I could and shot it for a while to get a good feel of it just so I could inform all of you how it performs. Enjoy.
Echo 1 USA Airsoft is a new comer to the airsoft market. They pride themselves on being based here in the USA, and providing good quality airsoft guns at good prices. They also boast a 30 day warranty period covering manufacturer defects, allowing the purchaser to go to their dealer for service in the first 30 days. This is exceptional as most airsoft products come with 0-15 day return / warranty periods. Their goal… quality airsoft products at a fair price.
The MP5A4 is modeled after the actual MP5A4 produced by H&K. It sells for approximately $125 at Airsoft Atlanta, and most other major retailers.
Construction / Materials
Of all the non-Marui / Classic Army / ICS MP5’s on the market, this one has to have the most metal parts I’ve seen. The front sight, rear sight, cocking handle, flash hider, receiver pins, mag release lever, and motor plate are metal, and feel and look to be good quality. The sling mounts are also full metal and good quality. The lower receiver, upper receiver, cocking tube, foregrip and front end are high quality abs plastic. All the plastic components fit will with no wobble or tolerance issues. The selector switch is also full metal, and appears to be much better quality than any clone selector switch (on an MP5), that I’ve seen.
The gearbox is above average for an AEG at this price point. Having disassembled the gearbox and looked at the internals, I am for the most part, pleased. The selector plate seemed to be made of a tough plastic that should not wear easily, and the metal contact plate on it showed little to no wear (this AEG has had several thousand rounds put through it already). Looking inside you see the gearing is all metal, and appears to be similar to the gears found in most clones although I did not recall seeing a brand name stamped or machined into any of the gears. As expected, the bushings were the typical nylon bushings… disappointing as this AEG is supposed to be shooting 350 fps. The spring guide is plastic and includes a washer to help the spring twist as it is compressing, although I’d prefer seeing a reinforced abs or metal spring guide given the strength of the spring. The tappet plate and air seal nozzle are both plastic, and seem to do their job. The cylinder seems just fine and what you would expect out of an average gearbox. The most pleasant surprise from the gearbox had to be the piston assembly. Unlike some other clones, they chose to mimic the Marui style piston exactly. The spring does not just rest inside the piston, but rather is mounted inside similar to the way Marui pistons are put together. The piston head is also vented with five holes, and the screw for the piston head is readily accessible. Doing a compression test in my hand, the piston head and cylinder head form a very good seal and high compression. Looking at the switch for the gear box brought me to my true reason for having this AEG in my hands. My friend had given this to me, not for a review, but rather for a repair. The switch assembly was sticking and when in full auto, the switch would NOT disengage. Once the trigger was pulled, the gun would shoot continuously until you smacked the side of the AEG, dislodging the stuck trigger switch assembly. The spring which holds the trigger assembly in the disconnected position seemed to not fit quite right. After playing with it for a bit, I reasoned that although not perfect, it was not the cause of the problem. I dismantled the switch assembly and took a closer look at the other side of the assembly. There I found my problem. There was quite a bit of scorching on the switch assembly, and the pitting and deformation had created enough friction to hold the switch together when firing in full auto. To remedy the problem (given that I did not have a replacement switch at the time and the gun is out of warranty), I sanded down the contact a bit, and adjusted the width of the contacts. This seemed to fix the problem although I wonder as to the cause of the scorching. Is it poor quality metals? Were the contacts not making good… contact? The world may never know. Back to the gearing. I noticed that there was only one shim in the gearbox (found on the sector gear). So I questioned the quality of the shimming. I took everything out of the gearbox, and put in just the bushings, gears, and cut off lever. With the gearbox reassembled, I spun the gears. What I found is that the shimming is overly tight on both the sector and spur gear. The other thing I found is common to most clones… more lube than Mobil 1. An excess of lubricant causes drag and attracts particulate matter increasing wear. This is why you change the oil in your car… it becomes gunked up. So I cleaned all the lube out of the gearbox using some dish washing detergent. That done I relubricated the gearbox using some white lithium grease for the gears and cut off lever, and some lube gel (from Radio Shack) on the piston head and piston rails and cylinder. After relubricating the gearbox, I found the gears to spin quicker and easier, although I wish I had some shims to reshim the gearbox. The wiring in the gearbox was also disappointing. The wiring from the battery to the gearbox appears to be good quality 16 gauge wire that is fairly high in strand count. The wiring at the gearbox and from the switch to the motor is very low strand count (inefficient), and only 18 gauge. I expected better as I’ve seen other clones with better wiring. The motor itself seemed good quality with the positive terminal well labeled with both red coloring and a “+” symbol.
The Echo 1 MP5, like its real steel counter part, features an adjustable rear sight with 4 settings. The fit and finish of it is better than most in this price range. There is a bit of wobble, but given the accuracies of airsoft, this is not a problem as the wobble is too slight.
The selector switch features safe, semi-auto, and fully auto modes of fire, all of which are easily and firmly selected.
The battery fits easily in the stock, and is accessed through the butt of the stock. The end easily slides down, yet holds firmly in place during use. The included battery is a NiCad, which I find disappointing given then flexibility of NiMH batteries. While NiCads give you a higher discharge rate above 70% capacity, below that they drop significantly in current output. Now I must say that the capacity of this battery (being a large style 8.4v), is more than adequate for a day of play.
Face it… this is what you came here to read about right? Having shot this AEG, and played against it, I have to say I am impressed. The FPS and ROF (rate of fire) is very good. Unfortunately, I did not have a chance to chrono the Echo 1 MP5 and neither has its owner, but visual I can say that it is shooting faster than my Classic Army M15A4 RIS. The rate of fire also seems to be a touch faster than that of my M15. The hop up is easy to adjust, stays where you set it, and is consistent. If there is one thing to say about this gun, it is that it shoots consistently. The high capacity mag feeds beautifully and never misses a beat. The capacity of the battery makes playing a full day no problem either, making this a great skirmish gun.
I do which that I had the opportunity to put this to a chronograph and get a reading on its ROF as well, but I must say that Echo 1 has created a respectable AEG here. The physical durability of the exterior components, and the quality of the metal hi-cap mag is all excellent.
If you are looking for an affordable AEG with ample power and speed, Echo 1 has created the perfect gun for you. With plenty of FPS, and high ROF, this gun is excellent for skirmishing. The durability of it makes it a no brainer for the new airsofter too.
Quality metal components
Plastic Spring Guide
Low quality wiring inside the gear box
Poor switch contacts (may have been an isolated problem to this particular gun)
When it comes down to it, I would highly recommend this gun to anyone who plays airsoft. The quality of most of the components and the warranty that is included, makes this a it an excellent choice when looking at value per dollar.
Echo 1 USA
tags: airsoft review echo 1 mp5 echo1