This is something that I have not done in a while for the blog, but decided to go along with it anyway. I bought a Specna Arms “CQBR” last winter to be used as a loaner gun and also in winter games. Neither of those two options came true and I have mostly been using the gun myself. I had no idea about the brand and decided to look into them a bit more. They are a Hong Kong based company and their aim is to make quality airsoft replicas at a decent price. Sound familiar? It does, doesn’t it. Nevertheless, this company has done something better than the rest who offer the same. In my books, they have combined the best of both worlds and then a little bit more. Read through to see what I mean.
First off, I would like to point out that this is not the average review you find on the internet. My aim is to keep things interesting and if this goes well, these reviews will keep coming. No unboxing reviews or reviews 10 minutes after receiving the gun. I will use the product for a while and test it to see how it performs and where it falls short, and then write an honest review. I’m not an airsoft tech, and probably never will be. I do maintenance to my replicas but if it is something more grandeur than lubricating the gears or changing the piston, I give it to someone else. Usually the tech guy in our airsoft group. I’ve added a few of his ideas in this review as well, when he opened the gun in question here in this review. He knows his gearboxes, and he is rarely wrong.
All external parts are made of “metal”, as far as the real deal weapons go. Plastic/polymer grip and stock, with the rest being what feels like very sturdy aluminum. The pins seem to be metal. The stock can house a crane type part 9.6v battery or a 7.4/11.1v lipo battery, depending on their style (nunchuck style works well naturally). Personally I run a 7.4v LiPo battery on mine and it runs smooth. I did some internal work on the gearbox after I bought it but more on that later on in the review. My AEG came with mini-tamiya connectors, which were promptly replaced with Deans connectors as that is what I use in all my replicas and batteries.
Being a “CQBR” replica, the length is ideal for close quarters battles. I used this gun for a weekend CQB game we did with our team and it performed extremely well. The length is ideal for storming small rooms and covering corners and the RAS system at the front makes placing attachments easy. We all love our tactical accessories, right? I ran a SureFire LED light and a laser on mine, which made it a bit front heavy. Nevertheless, I found that these two were useful in the game area and playstyle we had. Without them, the gun is very well balanced. It is still front heavy as you would expect, but it is not bad.
There is some play between the upper and lower receivers, the stock and just a little bit with the front rails, but nothing earth shattering. It is better than what you would expect from a replica inside this price range. There are some laser engraved trademarks on the gun, including the usual safe, semi and auto markings on the fire selector and “Marine Env M4” text with a USMC style logo and “556mm NATO” marking and serial number below it. The other side of the replica also has the selector switch marking and “Specna Arms Industries” text just next to the magazine release.
Overall the external quality of the replica is average to above average for this price. I see nothing breaking in normal airsoft use. You cannot abuse these replicas as you could real firearms anyway.
Specna Arms have, in some of their models, a quick spring change system that they have branded “Enter & Convert”. My replica has a spring change feature but it is not the same as their enter and convert system. According to the Specna Arms webpage, spring change should take around 30 seconds and can be done by minimal dismantle of the replica. I have to disassemble most of the weapon to change the spring. I like the feature to remove and change the spring, of course, but it is a bit tedious. Apparently the feature for a quicker spring change is not for all of their models. I recommend contacting the shop you are getting yours from and asking before purchasing if it is something that you are looking for as a feature. Nevertheless, the option to remove the spring is very handy when it comes to opening the gearbox. What makes it even better, is that this replica comes with a 90ms spring as well as the stronger spring that is already preinstalled into the weapon. Very cool in my books.
Something that I usually find lacking in most replicas I buy is the hop up rubber. As it was the case, I changed the original from this replica as well to another one. The original was not bad but I knew it could be better with the right one. Since I changed the stronger spring to the weaker one I also wanted to change the hop up rubber to a softer one which would work better with the less powerful spring. This would be my CQB weapon after all. Changing the hop up was no different from the usual replicas that you can find.
The gearbox. This left the tech guy I was talking about a bit puzzled. For the price of the gun, these are his words, the gearbox was not half bad. It had metal bearings (nice addition!) and the air tightness of the nozzle/cylinder/piston was not bad either. I cannot speak for all of their model range as I have only owned one, but it was better than we expected. Shimming was something that the tech in question had to redo, but he is a bit like that. He always, _always_, reshims his replicas. Not necessarily a bad option, but for me, if it works, I won’t open it until it breaks! He also changed the AoE for the piston and sector gear (this was done by adding sorbothane to the cylinder head) and filed the gearbox at the front of the cylinder to prevent cracks. Not that they would be that big of a problem for a low powered replica, but these are something to consider. You also need to consider the fact that if you do the mentioned modifications, you loose your warranty on the replica. Bear this in mind before opening your replica. I recommend asking the shop if they can do these modifications. If not, everything is at your own risk. After the magic was done to the gearbox (very much grease on the gears, had to redo that as well) the running sound changed to the better and it was ready.
Conclusions and field report
As I wrote before, I never write reviews until I am satisfied that I have tested the replica as much as possible in order to write a good review. I have owned this replica for about 7 months now and it has seen quite a few games. I am happy at how it performs. I use regular 90 capacity metal magazines from various brands and every one of them has worked in this replica so far.Some are a bit more loose than the others but every one of them holds and do not fall without releasing them.
I have ran about 10 000 BB’s through the replica without problems. No sign of anything breaking or anything towards that end. I did do some changes to the gearbox but no parts were changed, they are all original. They were just modified (AoE, sorbothane, filing to prevent cracks, shimjob, grease). These are something that are recommended by many airsoft techs for players, if they want their replicas to last. Naturally, if you have no idea what you are doing, get someone else to do it for you. And also keep in mind that you loose your warranty for the replica. Some replicas even have these done to them at the factory, but this is rare and is usually only found on higher end replicas.
Final thoughts? I can recommend this gun. For the price that it carries, it is very well built. It can perform well right out of the box and with some small fine tuning, it can perform even better and will last you a long time. If these guys come out with some interesting “old school” models, I would be more than willing to give them a try as well. If you’re on a budget, take a look at Specna Arms. It could be the one you are looking for!