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That's right, boys, Atilla's got a new gun. The 3PSA AK-47 was so generously donated to me by Shorty USA so I could write this. It arrived in a nice big brown box thanks to my friendly local UPS man (he knows me by name… first last, and the name of my cat).

A few things to address right away:
•Length - 36 inches.
•Width - 1.5 inches at widest point, .5 inch at most narrow point.
•Weight - 3 pounds unloaded, 4 pounds fully loaded.
•Hop Up - a big yes!
•FPS - 250-265 (I explain these numbers later in the review)
•Range - 0-90 feet (based on accuracy tests, and FPS... I only address range here)

In the package there was the AK box...

And fancy that, I took one look at that box, and I saw Mr. Mikhaïl Kalashnikov giving me as much of a smile as he could muster (after all, he was in uniform!). A product endorsed by such a big name in real steel weaponry was bound for greatness. Without further delay, I tore into the box.

There wasn't anything too fancy here, and the cleaning rod (not pictured... Also not fancy), and magazine were under the gray cardboard with the little mini product description on it. I picked up the magazine, and proceeded to load it with the free bag of KSC .20s that Shorty also so generously provided me with... On my own accord I'd like to put in a little plug for them--they did a great job communicating with me, and the gun got here really fast. Next time I might actually buy something, chances are I will use them. If this is the kind of service I get for free, well then their service when you pay them must be stellar, thanks guys!

(I quickly realized I would be needing to read the manual.)

It was in French and in English. Despite taking three years of French when I was in school, I ended up reading the English instructions. To load the magazine, you pull back a little door at the top of the mag, and pour in 350 (according to the manual) BBs. Now, 350 seemed like a large number, and I realized it was also wrong. After pouring and pouring the BBs in, I realized that this thing was holding a lot more than that. I didn't count (would you have? counting individual BBs? no thank you.) but filling the entire mag put a little bit of a dent in the 4,000 count bag of BBs.

My guess is that the magazine easily holds at least 350 BBs, and probably (when %100 full) holds 50-100 more BBs than stated in the manual. It said to only fill it with 350 BBs, but then again, I wasn't into counting them individually. Upon trying to get the BBs from the reservoir into the smaller reservoir that would feed the gun, I found out that it was no easy task. I do believe that my loading the magazine with more BBs that should normally be loaded caused this problem for me.

That's what the magazine looks like fully loaded (yeah, that's all you can get in there!)... You get right around 25-30 shots per fill of this chamber. This was no easy feat, mind you. Loading the magazine is a mildly tricky (but you'll get used to it in time), and noisy task. To load the BBs from the reservoir you first pull down a little follower, and lock it into place at the bottom (more like %75 down the mag) of the magazine. After this, you hold it sideways (parallel to the ground) and you shake some BBs into the chamber. The shaking was only needed because I overloaded the magazine. You (if the mag is loaded properly) should have no problem simply turning the mag and letting the BBs roll right into the chamber. There is no way to completely eliminate the noise... With several hundred BBs rolling around in there, it's going to be noisy. Even if you only load a few BBs, they will be rolling all over in a large chamber and you've got the same problem with noise.

Upon finishing loading the chamber with BBs, I released the follower... Which was followed by a prompt "sh*!" coming out of my mouth. Being used to the design of the UHC MP5SD3's mag, I was expecting to be taking a plastic shower. Fortunately 3PSA didn't take a page from UHC's playbook, and the BBs stay in the chamber thanks to a little extra plastic on top of the mag. Due to the high capacity of the magazine, it is doubtful that you'd need more than one in a game, but if you did, there would be no problems (besides the noise issue I mentioned) carrying them in a magazine pouch during a game. There is yet one more issue I wish to address about the magazine... It doesn't load into the gun properly. Yeah, that's right. Instead of clipping in the front and rocking it back to lock it in place like you normally would with AK mags--you just slide it in similar to how mags on the MP5 and M16 series works. Just a little complaint about that... minus a realism point for that one!

But with all this aside, I was getting impatient, and I wanted to shoot stuff! Jeez!

(safety on)

(detail of trigger and surrounding area)

(safety off... rock and roll!)

This was where I encountered a real problem with the gun. The fire selector switch is easily the most frail, flimsy piece of plastic on the planet. To be blunt about it: in a fight between this switch and Pope John Paul the Second... The pope would win hands-down. I can see this causing many problems in the future. For instance: during a game, if it gets smacked with a branch, it could be broken clean in half. If it gets snagged on a branch, a piece of clothing, or some of your gear--ditto, same result. To only further endanger this frail little switch, it isn't held very securely to the side of the gun. After where it connects to the internals, you can pull it away from the body of the gun with ease. This doesn't help if you're trying to keep things from snagging on it. The good news about this bad situation is that even if it should break--the entire switch is not necessary to engage the safety or to disengage it. So even though this is an obvious design flaw, it will not knock your gun out of working order... It just will be a teeny, tiny bit less aesthetically pleasing.

And oh boy... While we are on the subjects of aesthetics... The entire flash hider is orange, there's one big, huge orange piece of plastic on the end of my barrel! Gah! You can see this thing a mile (maybe two!) away. It's glued on, but with a little bit of gentile coaxing (I.e. grabbing that sucker with the pliers) it should come right off and be ready for a new coat of paint. Now where is my trusty can of Krylon?!

And since I addressed other build issues, I will just take care of the build quality and metal parts list right now. Overall, the gun is actually fairly solid (about as solid as all-plastic Korean Springers get... I'll go into detail about this in a minute). Despite the fact the gun is made entirely of plastic with very few metal parts. Metal parts include:

•Rear sight
•Butt plate
•Mag release lever
•Inner barrel (I didn't open the gun to look at the rest of the internals)

Yeah, that's it... Well besides screws and such. Just by looking at this gun you can tell it is plastic. It is by no means "ugly", but "ugly" and "plastic" are two different things. The "wood" grips are (you guessed it!) plastic. They look decent, and 3PSA did their best to keep the seam lines to a minimum... But they appear on the bottom of the foregrip (but not the top), and on the bottom and the top of the stock. The seams on the body of the gun towards the back... They are absolutely awful. I can run my hand along mine and they are definitely raised, and higher than other seams in other places on the gun, and on other guns. That really made me mad... I am a huge freak when it comes to design, and seams are a big "no-no" in my book. There are also screw holes in the stock that I will eventually fill with wood putty just so I don't have holes in my stock.

Being made entirely of plastic, the gun is rather flexible. I can put the stock on the floor, and the barrel on my desk, push anywhere on the gun, and I can see it bend. If you fall on this gun, it will break. I am not so sure about what would happen if it were to be dropped though... I suppose it all would depend on what it lands on. This gun reminds me a lot of an AK-47 toy I had as a kid, it was 1:1 (just like this gun, but non-firing), and it was entirely plastic (also much lighter)... Long story short, I had three of these guns, and the same thing happened to them all--I'd drop it, and the barrel would crack off where it joined the foregrip. There is no doubt in my mind that the same thing would happen to this gun, leaving a nice exposed inner barrel and leaving you with some serious gluing to do.

Finally, if trademarks are your thing (and the real AK isn't exactly loaded with them anyway)... You're not going to get much here. On the left side of the gun, towards the fore grip, we've got a little arrow pointing up in a triangle, followed by "1977". Towards the stock, there is a marking that says "KSG" and under that, it says "made in Korea". On the right side of the gun, we've got the markings for the fire selector switch, written in Cyrillic (Russian). I'd tell 'ya what they say... But I don't speak Russian. For my purposes, the one on top means "SAFE" and the one below it means "FIRE". (Simple, yes?) There is also a stupid little silver warning sticker (shows up in some of the photos) about how misuse can cause injury and death, blah blah blah, etc etc etc... You know the drill. I am not going to bother typing that one out.

I finally got around to switching the safety off, and raising the gun to eye level, this is what I saw. For all of you guys used to having your iron sights at the front and back of the gun, this is where you might complain... The rear sight is really about %50 of the way up the gun. Smack dab in the middle, right before the area (that if you move down on the body) where the foregrip starts.

Just for looks, I ended up attaching the sling before firing it... The sling is way too small... Were they selling these things to seven-year-old kids or something? I can't even wrap the sling strap around my waist! Of course, this may not be the case for you, I am 6' 2" tall, and I always complain about guns being too small, or slings being too short... But this one is ridiculous.

See that look on my face in the first picture (on the left)? That's my "WTF! This sling is too short!" face. That was the only position I could put the gun in when I put the sling under my arm and over one side of my neck. In the middle I just tossed it over my shoulder, and it worked quite well. For carrying this gun, putting a sling on it and throwing it over your shoulder works quite well. While I am on the subject of slings, I would like to point out that both the sling attachment points are plastic, and will probably snap clean off the body if you abuse them too much--so play nice. Finally, putting the sling over just one side of my neck I got a good position to wear the sling in and still be able to move around enough to fire the gun and shoulder it.

And now for the real juicy stuff... Now I finally get to fire it... I was so excited! I had been told that the gun was choreographed before it left the store, and that it read 350 FPS with .20s. Sadly, that chronograph was obviously using drugs. The velocity for this gun is by no means low, but it is also not that high, either. 3PSA's bit is that they buy these guns from Korea, upgrade them in France, and then sell them to Europe, Asia, and us right here in America. 3PSA did a good job, and this gun shoots rather well indeed. I ran outside and set up a box with two circles on it... The inner circle had a diameter of 2.75 inches, and the outer circle had a diameter of 5.75 inches. After firing off maybe 100 rounds to get all that silly lube off of my hop up... I set up the box 35 feet from where I was standing. I fired five shots to sight the weapon, and to get used to it, 4/5 of those shots landed in the outer circle. After this, I felt comfortable with the weapon, and I fired another 5, and these would be the official results of my accuracy test. 4/5 of these shots landed within one inch of each other, almost dead center in the 2.75" ring. One shot strayed way off target, but that was why I fired five--in case I made mistakes, they wouldn't totally wreck my results. The only way to explain that one shot that went as stray as it did was human error. Since the other shots were so close together, it doesn't seem right to blame the gun for a mistake I obviously made... Silly humans.

The gun is cocked by pulling the cocking lever located on the right side of the weapon. I was very surprised when I first cocked it... I even let out an "ooh, nice". This thing makes a very wonderful noise when I cocked it, rather loud, and definitely intimidating. I could sit here for hours just firing this thing. It reminds me of the metal cocking tube and cocking lever on the ICS MP5, I had loads of fun with that. To fire, raise it and pull the trigger. The sights are adjustable for range, but not windage. Only the rear sight can be adjusted, but it can be adjusted for 10 different settings. I don't know exactly how the system works, but 1 is for close range, and 10 is for long ranges. How long exactly? I am not %100 sure about that--after all I was only given the numbers one to ten to work with here.

One more thing I wish to address about this gun is the velocity--just in a little more detail this time. I had been told 350 FPS, and that is obviously wrong... The box says 230, but I believe that to also be wrong. right now I don't have access to the chronograph I usually use, and I am not about to try to tell you that coke can results are %100 accurate and base my review on them. Having said that, I did shoot up a mountain dew can, and the can was only dented rather nicely, but the three shots I fired at the can from 10 feet did not break through the side. Basing the results of the mountain dew can test, and experience with other guns and having the chronograph results from my UHC MP5SD3 handy I came up with the following conclusion: both the MP5 and the AK never broke the side of the mountain dew cans I fired them at. Both guns also used .20s, and I had choreographed the MP5. Using all that information I concluded that this gun shoots at about the same velocity as the UHC MP5. If you wanted me to give you a specific FPS number, I wouldn't be able to, but I could give you a range. The range that I would say that this gun shoots in is the 250-265 FPS range. It will also shoot faster with .12s, and seeing as if I am out of .12s, and the hop up is calibrated for .20s I figured that these results would be just fine.

So that's it. The 3PSA AK in all its glory and displaying a few minor flaws that should hopefully be addressed, and corrected by 3PSA in future versions of the rifle (which I was informed were possibly forthcoming). Overall, I am very pleased with the gun. Sure it has flaws, but no gun at all is perfect. I would feel perfectly confident taking on any of the other popular springers (HFC, UHC, all of 'em) in a skirmish... And I'd feel that we all were about equal. I think that 3PSA really has something nice with these new guns they have been releasing, and if they ever lower their prices--they may very well become the next UHC.

For everyone who just scrolled down here because they don't want to read all that, this is my pro and con list for the gun.

Nice replica, looks very realistic even if it is mostly plastic
decent velocity
On par with most other spring rifles
Nice looking fake wood
High capacity magazine, over 300 rounds

Mostly plastic
Few metal parts
Short sling
Noisy magazine
Too many visible seam lines for my liking
Magazine doesn't load like real AK
No little free bag of BBs in the box, wtf! :p

Finally, here's some extra eye candy.

and did you think i'd forget VIDEOS?! hell no!

333kb MPEG-4 video. demonstrating firing the weapon.
233kb MPEG-4 video. loading the weapon.

If you can't watch the videos, go pick up the newest version of apple's quicktime player, and you should have no problems at all after installing it.


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