Tokyo Marui MP7A1

mp7a1-artsy

In the quest for the best CQB weapon out there, I have been looking for a good deal on a MP7A1.  With the recent surge of clones out there I had settled on buying a clone, and fixing it up.  Then along came a deal I couldn’t refuse.  A member of Arnies Airsoft was selling a Marui MP7A1, but it wasn’t functional.  He was the second owner of this gun, and last knew it worked just fine; but just before shipping it to me, he realized that it was not working so he cut me a good deal on it.  I fixed it up, and am proud to say I’m a new owner of a Marui MP7A1 and glad to bring you this review of it.

Materials and Construction

This being a Marui, I’d expect near perfection in this area.  The gun has a realistic amount of heft, but as to it’s exact weight, I’m uncertain (given I do not have an accurate scale).  The flash hider, RIS rails, front and rear sights, sliding stock, selector switch,trigger, and magazine are all metal.  The quality of the metal appears to be solid.  The body, foregrip, and butt plate are all good quality plastic.  Given that I’m the third owner of this gun, I must say that all of these parts have held up well. The first owner used it moderately and the second did not use it at all.  I plan on using it quite a lot as my primary weapon in CQB, and think that the construction should hold together well.

Inside the gun, the gearbox and inner barrel are metal, with the inner barrel being made of brass.  The hop up chamber is constructed from plastic, but appears to be in good shape and well built.  Removing the gearbox reveals nylon bushings, but metal gears.  Unlike a conventional AEG, this AEP has 4 gears.  The cylinder is also metal.  Look for more information on the internals of the gearbox when I do a series on upgrading the MP7A1.

inner-barrel

Overall the construction of this airsoft gun is top notch and exactly what I’d expect from Tokyo Marui.

Features

Unlike most AEGs out there, this one features a proprietary battery system.  Due to limitations created by the small size of the gun, the battery was sized down to a small 7.2 volt NiCad.  They have done away with the wire connectors for the battery, and instead put contact plates that allow the battery to snap into terminals when installed.  While I can see the need to shrink the battery and go with fewer cells (thus the lower voltage and smaller size), I would like to have seen a standard wire connector or the use of a Lithium Poly battery instead.  Even a NiMh battery would be better.  NiCad’s do a great job for the first 20-25% of the capacity as far as power output goes, but below that it’s a steep decline.  A NiMh battery will give more consistent output till the end of it’s runtime.

The selector switch offers the usual fire modes: safe, semi-auto, and full auto.  Each of these engages cleanly, crisply, and with ease. 

The gun also includes an integrated foregrip system that can be tucked away, or folded out on a moment’s notice.

foregrip-extended

Three RIS rails are provided; one on either side near the front, and one the whole length of the top.  This makes for easy installation of tactical lights, lasers, and sighting systems. 

The top rail also includes metal flip up sights.  Each of these is spring loaded to hold it in position, and offer windage and elevation adjustments.  These sights can be easily removed if you choose to go with a different sight system.

front-sight-flipped-uprear-sight-flipped-up

At the back of the gun is the collapsible stock.  The stock offers two positions – collapsed or extended – and features metal rails.

Performance

Performance is the reason I chose this gun.  For CQB my requirements for a primary weapon included: light weight, fast ROF, easy to use sights / targeting system, easy to use selector, ability to be ambidextrous, and a magazine that can hold at least 50 rounds.  With the average engagement distance at my nearest CQB field being a meager 15 feet, accuracy wasn’t the world to me.  Now I have considered that I might use this as my backup when playing a sniper role in woodland, so I still want to be able to hit targets decently at 50+ feet. 

First we’ll talk about weight and weight distribution.  I personally like a weapon that is front heavy.  This makes it easy to lower as you approach doorways, and controllable when lifting to engage targets (meaning I don’t move it vertically past my target).  The length of the sliding stock is perfect for me, and allows me to make minimal movements / adjustments to engage my targets.

I measured the rate of fire on the stock mp7a1 using freshly charged stock batteries to be 16 rounds per minute.  This measurement was done using Audacity to record the sound of the gun firing with the microphone close to the center of the gun. The waveform was analyzed to come up with the rate of fire.  The first few and last few shots were omitted in the calculations to account for windup of the motor and make for easier calculations.  For a gun with only a 7.2 volt battery and no ball bearings, this is quite impressive.  I have heard of people using lithium poly 7.4v batteries in these, and I can only imagine the ROF they get.

The stock sights are similar to regular white dot pistol sights.  With a single dot on the front sight, and two on the rear sight, anyone who can aim a pistol can use this.  I must say they are simple and very accurate.  The windage adjustment is easy to use as well.  With the sights flipped up I needed to adjust for elevation, but windage was still dead on.  The elevation (or point of impact) adjustment was easily made by turning the front center sight post.  I personally find the need to flip up the sights to be superfluous for airsoft, but I commend Marui for staying true to the real steel design. 

The selector switch was crisp and tactile.  On top of being ambidextrous, it flips to each position with a positive click.  Once engaged in a position the selector stays in place firmly.

selector-switch

My requirement for being ambidextrous comes from the need to use this in a very tight CQB environment.  When running into a room where my off side is going to be stronger towards the target, it’s easier to have the gun positioned to be fired from that side.  I can stick closer to the side of the entryway I’m wrapping around and the man in front of me (if I’m not running point).  The light weight design, and ambidextrous controls make this possible with the MP7A1. 

The stock magazine is a metal 50 round mag.  Like most non-high capacity designs, there is a spring and a follower for the bbs that rides in a groove or rail system inside the mag.  I like the extended height on the Marui mag that ensures the gun is able to fire EVERY round from the mag.  The weight is good,and the mag drops cleanly when pressing the magazine release lever. 

A note on the magazine release.  This might take some getting used to if you’re not a big fan of the H&K pistols.  Instead of a push button (found on Glocks, M92’s, 1911’s), it’s a lever behind the trigger guard.  I personally love the H&K pistols, and so this is not a problem for me.

Now on to accuracy.  I tested the gun at 15 feet, 25 feet, 35 feet, and 50 feet.  The 15-35 foot tests are for CQB purposes, and the 50 foot test was to determine the effectiveness as a backup weapon for my woodland sniper loadout (where I’d be using a bolt action sniper rifle).  Looking at the pictures below you can easily see how accurate and consistent the gun is at 15-35 feet, and at 50 feet I can still easily hit a man size target with no problems.  I must apologize for the lack of clarity of the holes made by the MP7A1.  Using a cardboard backstop (like I do with AEG testing), coupled with the lower fps of the Marui MP7A1 made for tears rather than solid well defined holes.  I have circled the holes to make them clearer.  Overall range is actually quite impressive as I measured it at about 90 feet, 70 of that being effective (measurements taken outdoors). 

mp7@15_25_35ft0001mp7@50ft0001

The hop up proved to be excellent.  I think, when it comes down to it, a good quality hop up makes all the difference in the accuracy and range of an airsoft gun.  The hop up unit appears to be made completely of plastic, which, on an AEG, would leave me feeling unimpressed, should not be a problem in this AEP.  My only complaint is that the cocking lever does not stay back, making adjusting the hop up (through the ejection port) a bit hard, but not unbearable. 

hop-up-adjustment

Swapping out batteries is quick and painless.  Pressing a release button below the flash hider allows the front section to separate give you access to the battery compartment.  Marui even put a pull out lever to help disengage a battery that is already installed.  Note, Marui also installed a safety mechanism that prevents the installation of a battery when the selector is in semi-auto or full auto positions.  If you are having a hard time fitting your battery make sure the selector is set to safe.

front-end-removalfront-disassembled

When it comes down to durability, in its stock form this gun should last quite a long time before needing any service work done to it.  The only upgrade you might want to consider for longevity would be replacing the nylon bushings with metal ones or metal bearings.

Upgrade Paths

Reliability

  • Metal bushings / bearings

Rate Of Fire I

  • Metal bearings
  • External 8.4 volt battery

Rate Of Fire II

  • Metal bearings
  • Lithium Poly 7.4 volt battery
  • Piston
  • Piston Head

FPS

  • Metal bearings
  • External 8.4 volt NiMh battery
  • Piston
  • Piston Head
  • Cylinder / Damper head
  • Spring Guide
  • Upgraded Spring

FPS + ROF (keep in mind this might lay waste to your gears)

  • Everything from FPS +7.4 volt lithium poly battery

Conclusion

Quality construction and consistency make this gun what it is.  When you buy a Marui you buy it because they are the best at what they do.  This gun is no exception.  I’ve had a peak in the gearbox (unfortunately no pictures at this time), but it is well built for an AEP.  The internals are solid (minus maybe needing to upgrade to metal bushings for longevity), and should last a long time in its stock form.  All the parts functioned well and the accuracy is dead on.  I was amazed at being able to consistently hit a man sized target at 70 feet consistently.  Chronograph readings put this at about 255 fps with .20 gram bbs, more than sufficient at a CQB site where the engagement distances can be as little at 10 feet. 

If you’re looking for a gun for CQB use and prefer light weight over power, then this is the gun for you.  I own an m4 that I bought initially for use in CQB and in woodland, but after getting my hands on this little gem, that M4 is going to be a woodland only beast while I quickly dispatch opposition in CQB environments with my Tokyo Marui MP7.

MP7A1-Set


Technorati Tags: , , , ,
Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s




%d bloggers like this: