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.

Ordering Info:

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.  

        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.

Image: Christopher Rohling via Charles Cutshaw

As you can see, there are some definite similarities, which enhances the cool factor of this gun, in my mind.

- 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.


Sunday, March 28, 2010

Airsoft Forum Etiquette & Behavior

Airsoft forums have helped make me the man I am today.  They have provided me with a wealth of knowledge I could never have dreamed of otherwise.  Knowledge like how to spend your entire workday browsing the Arnies gun picture threads and not get caught by the boss or how to take a perfectly working $300 Airsoft gun with stock internals and make it so that it has close to a thousand dollars in aftermarket parts inside of it and subsequently shoot worse than it did when it was stock.  Here are a few little treats to help keep you on the straight and narrow.  Hopefully they will help you avoid some of the lessons that I had to learn the hard way when I first got started with forum participation.

The Do's and Don'ts of participating on Airsoft forums.

DO: Read the "Read Here Before Posting" threads usually posted at the top of each section or in the New Member section.  These threads all have different subject lines, but it'll be pretty obvious when you see it.  Each forum has their own variation of the rules of what you can and cannot do but generally speaking, one rule that is sort of universal is to read first, ask questions later.  Following this rule will save you quite a bit of embarrassment so that you don't fall victim to public ridicule for having your head in dark places and quite possibly getting in trouble with the forum moderators (aka the Mods). Reading and understanding each forum’s rules thread before posting in that particular forum will help you avoid most issues you could run into. However, I’d like to highlight a few areas that may or may not be specifically listed in any of the rules threads.

DON'T: Do NOT claim to be someone you are not.  I have seen a number of instances over the years where new guys get on the forums and create a forum account name that gives the indication that they are somehow involved in the United States Military because they think it's cool or they just don't know any better.  This is bad.  Federally bad.  You make a false claim about simply being in the military when you were never apart of it or if you were, in fact, a part of it but you say that you were involved in certain missions or operations that you were not, and you are flirting with a world of trouble.  And you definitely don't say that you've earned medals that you haven't actually earned in the service.  Check out the Stolen Valor Act (Google it) for more details there.  Other members WILL expose you for the phony you are if you try this and the outcome is never pretty.

DO: Contribute.  If there is a discussion going on regarding a subject that you have first-hand knowledge of, share it with the community.  That is what makes the forums so beneficial is the members' willingness to contribute their knowledge and experience in all the different areas that make up Airsoft.

DON'T: get involved in "flame wars."  Flaming is basically the act of verbally attacking others on the forums, with or without cause.  Pissing contests often fall into this category.  Everybody’s a toughguy on the internet.  A good “rule of thumb” here (Google that phrase for fun and excitement) is that if you wouldn’t say something to another guy’s face (like, face to face/in person), then don’t say it on the forums either.  If you've got beef with someone, take it to the Personal/Private Message (PM) side of things.  Don't hash it out in public.  I am not aware of any major forums that allow flaming to go on before the Mods start breaking out their proverbial "ban hammers."  Ban hammers are the metaphorical instrument used by forum moderators when someone "acts a fool" on the boards, symbolizing the end of a forum user's existence as a member of that forum because the moderator bans their IP address from accessing the boards or at least becoming a member again.

DO: Try to use decent grammar.  I know that asking everyone to use proper English would be impossible because there are very few people that actually know what proper English grammar is (myself included, although I have a better idea than some), but using "ebonics" or "txt msg splng" where you intentionally misspell words like what (wat) or know (no) will not be well received.  Most people on the boards find it annoying and will therefore find YOU annoying if you use it.

In case you’re brand new to Airsoft forums, please take the following advice to heart:

Start on your local forum.  However, “local” is relative.  Some areas of the globe don’t have a forum community in their immediate area or within a 10-mile radius, but if there’s one in a city an hour away or so, that’ll do.  Don’t make your first post ever on a large forum like Arnies.  Get your forum legs developed on a smaller board and work your way up to the larger stuff.  If you’re not sure where or how to find your local forums because your “GoogleFu” fails, call up the nearest Airsoft shop.  They’ll probably be able to point you in the right direction.

If you're just too unsure about whether a post would be appropriate or not, feel free to send it my direction and I'll let you know if it's a bad idea or an absolutely terrible one without hesitation.  Just kidding.  But seriously.  Think before you post.

Also.  Don't spend so much time on the forums that you forget what life is all about:  Airsoft (playing it in person against other human beings).  Don't become a chairsofter (one who chairsofts).

Saturday, March 27, 2010

The Art of the Backup

I suppose there's not much art in it, but I like art and I like backup guns, so I decided that if they were in the same sentence, it would be great.  Phenomenal.

*insert witty transition sentence*

Let me clarify what I mean what I say "backup."  I'm not talking about using your pistol as a backup to your rifle.  Personally, I would call that a primary/secondary relationship (even though that might not be the correct usage), with the rifle obviously being the primary.  When I say backup, for example, a backup to your primary, I mean another rifle in the event your primary goes down in the field and you don't have the time or resources to fix it right then and there.  Do you have a backup primary that you can run back to the parking lot and grab real quick so that you can get back in the game asap?

Ben Franklin needs to add one more item to his list of life's certainties:

Death, Taxes, and Airsoft-guns-breaking-during-a-game.

It WILL happen.  I don't care who you are or how great of a gun tech you are, your gun will break and it's usually during a game.  Stupid Murphy's Law.  Often times, the culprit ends up being a stripped piston or gear, but whatever the reason, unless you want your game day to end early, I'd suggest investing in a second rifle to have on hand WHEN your primary takes a dump.  Now I realize that another rifle means more money out of your pocket.  So if you're on a budget, here are some options that make for excellent backups to get you through the rest of the day and then some, until you can get your primary rifle repaired.
Echo1 M14
I'm not going to lie.  I am mildly attracted to my table there.  It's pretty good looking.  Admit it.  It's cool.  Airsoft doesn't mind you saying so.

Now, I'm not saying that those are the only good options, but I tried to select guns that were of good quality and under $200 with the exception of one or two items to give you an idea of some acceptable alternatives some of the pricier models out there. If you're not so much on a budget, then get whatever you want. I'd recommend an M14, preferably a Marui or a Marui Clone like the Echo1's I linked above or a Cyma given their reputation for accuracy.  After all, a good looking gun won't do you much good on the field if it doesn't shoot straight.

Question of the day:  If Ben Franklin were to play Airsoft, what AEG do you think he'd run?  Sound off in the comments section.


Thursday, March 25, 2010

Thanks but no thanks.

Let's just say that I'm not looking forward to these things showing up on the Airsoft field.  You'll see about halfway through the video that poor Jim gets a taste of this electric shock knife at its full dosage.  He does not appear too pleased.  

I don't know about any of you out there, but I just don't know that having these knives out on the battlefield is going to be a good thing. I see a lot of strong type-A personalities out on the field that I doubt would respond too well if someone not only snuck up on them to get the knife kill, but on top of being already startled, they receive some level of electrical voltage direct to the body. Yea, knifekiller's probably going home with a black eye OR WORSE after that stunt.

Don't get me wrong, I get the concept and I see the value in them for training purposes, but for use in a game where there are strangers vs. strangers playing a game, incorporating these knives into game play could turn very ugly, very fast.

On the other hand, if your situational awareness is so bad that you allow yourself to get knife killed, then maybe you deserve to get a little jolt.  I've played at a number of venues, both indoor and outdoor and have yet to see a field or facility where you can't audibly detect someone getting that close to you without having plenty of time to react.   However, I realize that there are a lot of places I've never played and a lot of situations I've never been in and I do respect that fact that knife kills DO occur.  If you've got a particularly swell story of how you got one or if you were witness to one, would you be willing to share it with our little group here?  Also welcome to discuss, are the victims of knife kills.  How did that affect your ego?  Did your therapy bill go up as a result of getting killed in game by a knife?  Tell me.  I want to hear about it.  I'm hear to listen.  Talking about it can be very therapeutic.  Think of me as your Airsoft therapist.  Let us begin the emotional healing process so that you can get back out to that field amongst your peers and play with confidence again.  I would imagine your self-esteem takes quite a blow.  I'm just messing around here, don't get all offended.  But seriously.  Let's hear some sweet Airsoft knifing stories.  I know there are some out there.  Post 'em up. 

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Is anybody drinking the blowback Kool-Aid?

I am pretty curious to hear some feedback on blowback rifles.  I continue to see more and more companies releasing various blowback rifles, mostly gas powered from companies like WA, WE, & VFC to name just a slight few.  There are a few from Marui, CA and G&G that are electric, but the common denominator remains that they are blowback.  I have heard conflicting views about the general airsoft public's desire for blowback features on a rifle.  Some are down with it, and some feel like there are still many improvements that need to be made on the current Airsoft AEGs in terms of durability and accuracy that should be addressed prior to companies spending their R&D budget on building blowback guns.   Drop me a line with your thoughts.  I'm just curious if all these manufacturers have their finger pretty well dialed in on the pulse of the market or if they are obliviously creating Airsoft weapons for which there is no demand.

My personal opinion is this:  I appreciate the realism aspect that the blowbacks bring to the table.  However, I would rather have a gun that is really accurate than really realistic in terms of its look and feel. That being said, you'll be seeing a review from me coming up on the WE SCAR-L GBB wherein I profess my love for it on an overall basis despite my general disdain for the SCAR's outward appearance.  It's EXTREMELY fun to shoot.  That's all I'll say for now on that for now.

What are your thoughts on the blowback phenomenon?  Post them in the comments section below or if you're shy, drop me a line here


So today I set out to determine which is the better propellant to use in Airsoft Gas BlowBack (GBB) rifles and pistols.  The two candidates are Green Gas and regular ol' C3H8 Propane.  To some of you, the answer is quite simple.  To others, you may not be aware.  So if you DO know the answer, don't be "Murt the Blurt."  Keep it to yourself until I can get through my spiel here.  I understand there are other propellants as well, but here in the United States, the standard is one of the two I just mentioned.  So we'll stick with those for this discussion. 

First off, let's bring everyone up to speed on who the players are in this showdown.

In one corner, we've got Green Gas, weighing in on average at a retail price of $10 per can.

airsoft green gas

In the other corner stands the challenger, weighing in at about $4 per can. 
This is the stuff used in the portable camping stoves like this:

What is the big difference, you say?  Silicone Oil.  Yup.  That's it.  Green Gas IS Propane.  Propane IS Green Gas, with the exception that Green Gas has a bit of silicone oil already mixed in with it to help lubricate moving parts and o-ring seals in your guns. 

Now, you may notice another difference between the two images above if your situational awareness is dialed in.  The green gas has a tiny nozzle that is needed to work with the fill valves that Airsoft GBB magazines use whereas the tanks in the picture do not have any such valve.  You will need a Propane Adapter.
What I like about the one pictured, is that it's got a silicone oil reservoir built in so that you don't have to unscrew the whole thing to add oil to your mix.  Plus it comes with the tube of oil you see.  So you've got a one-time initial investment of 10 bucks for the adapter and then $4-5 for the propane (found at any decent camping or hardware store).  Everytime after that, when you run out of gas, you just pay for the can of propane at $4-5 each instead of $10 each.  While it might not seem a lot at first, but if you are heavy into Airsoft gas guns and are burning through a ton of a gas, that $5-6 of savings per can will add up very quickly.

You'll thank me in the long run.  You're welcome.


Saturday, March 20, 2010

A New Website

You know what? The U.S. division of Kuan Ju Works (KJW) and has finally got their website up and running. And it's nice.

It's got their current line of pistols and rifles, as well as some pretty sweet wallpapers you can download in various screen resolutions. That's not the only thing that's nice, either. The guns they're producing are pretty nice as well. Whether you're interested in their well-known M700 gas sniper rifle or their expanding line of high quality pistols, I would have to say that KJW makes a nice product. Now, granted, with their sniper rifle, it's more of a base platform that you use to upgrade for accuracy, but it's certainly a nice alternative to the more expensive Tanaka series which you would still need to perform most of the same procedures.

As far as their pistols are concerned, I've actually got a few headed my direction that I will be reviewing, so keep an eye out for that. I've used their Beretta as my secondary several years and was very pleased with it's performance and reliability. I also had zero issues with leaky mags, which is always a plus. So I am looking forward to reviewing their newer models.

One item I'd particularly like to highlight is their 1911 MEU that's slated for release soon. 10 points if you can guess when.

Yea.  That right there does it for me.  I am a big fan of the MEU and for them to put a model with a metal body and pretty decent internals is just lovely.  Plan on me owning one. 

Another item that I'd like to check out is their hi-capa race gun, that looks to be like a Western Arms Xcelerator model with a Kimber Desert Warrior-style grip for double stack mags.

I'm a huge fan of race guns and plan to cover them in the future.  This looks to be a nice setup and like their other models, comes standard with a metal slide.

KJW has got a very nice line of Berettas in several variations.

My favorite?


HELLO!?!?!  That's just good lookin'.  Fact.

A close second is going to be this one:

To be fair to the Sig lovers out there, KJW has a very attractive option for you as well.

This is one I'll be reviewing soon in case you were interested in seeing how she performs before dropping the cash.

With all that, you can see that KJW came to play with the big boys.  They're making some nice stuff, and that's not even all of it.


Let's see a show of hands.  How many of you out there have a particular gun that is very near and dear to your heart?  Maybe it's the only one you have.  Maybe you have several, but one in particular that shoots very tight groupings at borderline unbelievable distances?  Now let me ask you this: what do you transport it in, to and from games?  Do you have a case for it?  If so, is it a hard or soft case?  Or better yet, do you roll up to the field with your old Fender Stratocaster guitar bag that you're now using as a "rifle bag?"  If the latter is true, or even if you have an actual rifle bag to transport your gun, maybe it's time to think about protecting your prized possession a little bit better without breaking the bank in the process.

Enter the Plano Gun Guard AW Double-Scoped Rifle/Shotgun Case (Model 108190).

In the event you were wondering what "AW" stands for, I would have you believe that it stands for "Awesome Weapon," which is what you would store in a case of this caliber, but in fact it stands for "All Weather."  Which is almost as cool a name.  

Here's a glam shot or two (notice how the case works the camera).

The exterior dimensions are 54.625" x 15.5" x 6"
The interior dimensions are 52" x 13" x 5.25"

You can see I've got a full-size SRC RPK in there with a WE SCAR GBB, Tokyo Marui Hi-Capa and an assortment of magazines.  I suppose if I wanted to give it a bit more thought, I could rearrange things in there a bit and be able to fit even more goodies in there.  This is, of course, without having to cut out the foam.  However, if I were to cut out the foam, rest assured I would take much more care and thought in how I arrange my stuff.  If you don't want to deal with the hassle of cutting the foam, the case will still close with your stuff lying on top of the foam, just as it is in the image above.   

Let me go on record by saying the more I stare at this case, the more I fiddle around with it, the more I love it.  Some of you may be familiar with Pelican and Hardigg Storm Cases.  The Plano AW Case is a very comparable case in features and quality, however, the advantage goes to Plano when it comes to cost and to me, cost is a big advantage when all else is relatively equal.   

You may be curious as to what some of those features are that I speak of.  For starters, the case uses Plano's trademark Dri-Loc system around the outer diameter of the case to provide a weather-tight seal.

Heavy duty wheels for ease of transport.

Rugged, thick wall construction (ignore the non-tactical sweatpants).  You should NOT ignore the fact that I clock in at 6'6" 245 lbs and that is, in fact, me standing on this case.  It's such a beast!!!  While I have no doubt, I could most likely cause some damage to either the case and/or the case's contents if I were to jump on it, just having me standing on it did relatively nothing to its structural integrity. 

Pad lock tabs for airline travel or security when left in the parking lot with the rest of your stuff during events.  

The spring-assisted, dual-stage latches also have built in locks for added security.  This makes it  more difficult for the ne'er-do-wells to get your stuff, and can discourage potential theft altogether. 

The Dri-Loc feature creates an air tight seal around your gun.  When atmospheric pressures get involved during travel to differing elevations, the space inside the case become pressurized and can make it difficult to open the case in this condition.  Like Pelican and Storm Cases, Plano has added a pressure-release valve on the front of the case to equalize the pressure, allowing the user to open the case.  While unintelligible in my borderline worthless photograph, use of a flat-head screwdriver is required to manipulate the valve open or closed.  

The Plano AW case comes with two sheets of high-density foam in the base and an egg-crate style soft foam in the lid.  The high-density foam can be cut out to fit your gear snug and securely, also as seen done with Pelican & Storm models.  

  • The Cost/Benefit Ratio here is favorable to you, the end-user.  The Plano AW Double Rifle Case is $129 + Free Shipping @  Pyramyd Air.  Compare that to the Pelican or the Storm options and I think you'll find the Plano is a phenomenal value.  
  • Extremely Sturdy (Like a Boss).
  • You can custom fit your guns & gear in the foam.
  • Foam is Replaceable in the event you screw up your custom fitting.
  • Wheels for those that can't man up and carry their own gear.
  • Plenty of space for two guns and a few accessories.

  • One Color (Pelican & Storm offer at least one other color)
  • Handle placement makes right-side latch somewhat difficult to get to.
  • I only have one of these (for now). 

I would absolutely recommend this case to anyone looking for a high-quality protective case that will keep your Airsoft guns & accessories safe from various kinds of damage including water, wind & dirt.