G&P Magpul FRS
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- Last updated: 27/01/2017
When it comes to high-quality airsoft replicas, there is one company that I know I can rely on for top-end components and materials, superb build quality, and excellent performance; that company is G&P from Hong Kong. G&P started making airsoft replicas in 1995, so this makes them one of the most established military-simulation and training airsoft manufacturers in the world. They started out making tactical lights for law enforcement and military agencies around the world, and then branched into airsoft manufacturing with the same core principle, to never sacrifice quality for a lower price. You can see this belief in every G&P product; every G&P replica rifle is hand-assembled and individually fine-tuned by top technicians in the industry to give unparalleled quality.
G&P utilise CNC precision machining and real-steel finish/coating processes on many of their products, so you really get your money’s worth when you buy one of their replicas. Today, the company is one of Hong Kong’s most important airsoft manufacturers.
In addition to its own complete production line in China, the company also possesses an extensive production network for related products and accessories. Taking full advantage of Hong Kong’s special geographic location, the company employs a production system in which products are designed in Hong Kong, produced in China, and assembled and inspected again in Hong Kong. This enables the company to offer high-quality products at lower prices, whilst maintaining superb quality control.
And they’re not content to just keep churning out the same old thing year in and year out. Whilst many airsoft manufacturers are happy to sit on a base model and simply jig about with fancy externals, G&P quite literally go back to the drawing board and start from scratch, ensuring that every part of their replicas are nigh on 100% accurate. Weirdly though, I have never owned one of their full-length M4 models, and I can’t really understand why, as a number of custom carbines in my collection are based on their M4 CQB variant. My custom ‘L119 Diemacos’ are both based on the CQB body and have given years of service, both being serviced every so often by Fire Support, to keep them at their best levels of performance.
What I received from Fire Support for this review though piqued my interest; when Frank asked me if I would like to take a look at the latest full-length M4 offering from G&P, featuring a fully functioning recoil system, of course I was keen to see it. When I lifted the carbine clear of its unassuming brown box, I have to admit doing a bit of a double take, as it was completely bedecked in Magpul Professional Training and Simulation (PTS) goodness!
These days, Magpul Industries are very, very well-known, not just for their excellent firearm accessories and parts, but also due to a range of cuttingedge training videos that they put out back in the days when Chris Costa and Travis Haley were involved with Magpul Dynamics. Almost overnight when ‘The Art of the Tactical Carbine’ DVD was released, Haley and Costa became ‘tactical rock stars’ and brought in what would be a new era of access to first-rate firearms training. The association with Magpul worked very well for all parties, and even though Haley and Costa have moved on to pastures new, there will be people like me out there who will still see both the brand and the individuals as being inextricably linked.
Magpul Industries Corp was founded in 1999 by Richard M. Fitzpatrick, a Sergeant who had served with distinction in the elite United States Marine Corps Force Recon. The company currently has two divisions: Magpul Industries, which manufactures firearms accessories and Magpul Core (formerly Magpul Dynamics), founded in 2008, which delivers firearms training, including instructional videos. Magpul started small, with the intent of developing a simple device to aid in the manipulation of rifle magazines while reloading under stress. The company’s name comes from this original product called the Magpul. Over the last decade Magpul has continued to grow and develop. To understand Magpul, you must first understand the root ideas that formed the foundation of the company culture and design philosophy. As Magpul themselves state: “There is something to be said for great ideas; however, ideas are nothing more than dreams until they are realised in a form that is accessible to the marketplace. Magpul is known for its creative design solutions, and we are proud of our accomplishments in this arena not only because they are novel, but because we have successfully turned many of our dreams into reality.”
Unnecessary complexity and expensive construction are the hallmarks of mediocre design. It is almost always easier to design a product that is complicated, confusing, and expensive rather than simple, intuitive, and affordable. Although it is more difficult, Magpul has chosen to take the latter of these two approaches to product development. From the onset of every project, Magpul uses a list of missiondriven requirements to dictate design, material construction, and manufacturing methods that will be most efficient without sacrificing quality or performance. The goal of the design itself is to be both simple and intuitive. By incorporating ergonomic considerations, a proper user interface, and subtle visual and tactile features, the product itself should actually instruct the user about its operation and function.
Although every Magpul product comes with clear, concise installation and usage instructions, their aim is to design products so self-explanatory that instructions become unnecessary.
Due to strict export laws on real firearm parts and accessories, real Magpul parts were never readily available outside of the US, although a number of UK RFDs do bring the real parts in to this day. The PTS components are marked ‘for professional training use only’ and are made specifically to fit airsoft replicas, and they are not approved for use on real firearms. PTS components are not directly produced by Magpul themselves, but instead manufactured by a close knit group of properly licensed airsoft manufacturers. Due to some mix-ups in supply chains though, and with the ever-increasing prevalence of cloned parts, in 2013 Magpul decided to distance themselves from the airsoft market entirely, so what we see on replicas now could be the dwindling end of the PTS parts which, personally, I find very sad.
So, there’s a lot of history behind both the M4 and indeed Magpul Industries.
It’s the attention to detail, even the tiniest of things, that really makes the G&P stand out from the crowd though. I’ve seen many manufacturers have a crack at a ‘Magpul M4’, only to be let down by silly things like using the wrong pistol grip or stock; although such things will only be noticed by a true ‘stitch counter’ once you see, you just can’t un-see! The G&P follows the entire feature set down to the smallest detail; it truly is a work of art and no little research has gone into getting everything completely right. The replica ‘Magpul M4’ is made entirely of metal, with only the pistol grip, butt, and handguard being made of a very nice matt black plastic. The metal parts, rather than just being a shoddily painted black are a rich, deep black. The MOTS (Multi-Objective Training System) metal body is beautifully formed, although personally I’m none too fussed about the ‘Navy SEAL Team’ trademarks.
From the ‘Magpul’ side of things, the carbine comes pre-fitted with a Professional Training System (PTS) MOE handguard, a PTS MOE pistol grip and a PTS MOE Stock as standard. All three of these components are pretty much identical to what you’d see on the Magpul website, and all of them work extremely well in ergonomic terms. There’s a whole range of accessories, such as different length rails and foregrips that can be purchased as accessories for the MOE handguard, so you can easily set this up exactly as you like it.
Internally, things are no less impressive. The hop-up adjustment is exactly where you would expect it to be, behind the fake bolt, which is accessed by pulling back the charging handle. This is an excellent unit, that once set, stays steadfastly in place. The motor is G&Ps latest M140 high torque model and the gearbox is a new 8mm bearing ‘Free float Recoil System’ design. This gearbox has been specifically designed to take the extra stresses generated by having to move the counterweights for the recoil system back and forth in the buffer tube.
With the G&P, the battery goes in the MOE handguard and neatly disappears when things are closed up. Changing the battery is simplicity itself, as you simply pull back on the delta ring and drop the bottom half of the handguard down and clear. The wiring runs right to the front of the battery compartment and is fitted with a Deans connector for maximum efficiency as standard. G&P recommend that you run nothing more than a 7.4V LiPo in this carbine though, so as not to overstress the system.
This really is an impressive carbine, and even on a 7.4V though it really does crack away; bear in mind that many airsoft games these days will have strict ammo limits and you’re going to want to stick to semi-auto anyway; I mention this as the M4 comes with a single polymer 120-round magazine, which is a nicely replicated ‘P-MAG’ and feeds absolutely flawlessly, and once loaded, snaps into place with no wobble. One feature of the Magpul M4’ that I really, really like is the ambidextrous magazine release which really speeds up changing mags. I did try the M4 with various Hi-Cap magazines and all functioned perfectly.
I loaded the magazine up with a full complement of my usual ‘Hardball’ 2.0g test BBs and got to work. Ten rounds through the chrono gave me a perfectly spot-on mean of 1-Joule/329fps; the trigger is crisp and responsive. Setting targets out to 30-metres I was able to get reasonable groupings on semi-auto using the flip-up rear sight, with things opening out just a little when I switched the selector up; my thought is that with a bit of fettling you could really have a very, very accurate rifle on your hands here, although it’s no slouch straight out of the box.
The thing that really gives the G&P the edge over other M4 replicas in a similar price-range though is the recoil. Squeeze the trigger and you get a thump in the shoulder! Squeeze again, thump. Then switch the selector up to full auto and give it some beans and I defy you not to have a happy grin on your face in short time. I have to admit that I did give it a try using an 11.1V LiPo and all I can say is “Oh my goodness me!” I can completely see why G&P recommend just a 7.4V, as on the higher power the carbine positively jumps in your hands!
In a nutshell this is a first-rate replica in terms of look, feel and finish, and it works perfectly. You get everything that G&P have always been great at with the added bonus of a perfectly functioning recoil system. The G&P ‘Magpul M4’ has a retail price of £379.00, which for what you’re getting is extremely good value for money.
My advice? If you’re in the market for a full-length M4 then definitely check out the G&P ‘Magpul’ version!
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