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M635 9mm Colt Custom


Review date: 12/20
Model: M635 9mm Colt XM177 conversion
Type: Custom AEG
Manufacture: Tokyo Marui/Airsoft Extreme
Retailer: Airsoft Extreme
Price with shipping: $570 including an one Uzi hi-cap mag

What is it?

In case you have never heard of one, the M635 is essentially a 9mm version of the M16. If you look on the Colt website under law enforcement you will see a number of different kinds of M16's including the M4 and also a funny looking one called the M635. An M635 looks sorta like an M4 with an UZI mag jammed into it. Its not too far from the truth either. The U.S. Marshall SOG agents use them for CQB and I imagine there are a number of other units that use them too including SWAT teams.

Where did you find it?

As some of you might have seen, DEN Trinity sells a CL Custom M16 9mm SWAT on their website. At $629 plus shipping its really too expensive. I started doing some research on the web to see who else might have one or sell a kit to make one of my own. While doing some searches on Airsoft Zone, I noticed a guy named Thumper talking about the kits. As it ends up Thumper is one of the guys who runs Airsoft Extreme in California. After a couple emails I learn that the kit is from Hong Kong but doesn't come with any instructions and is quite difficult to install. I also learned that Systema also makes a kit for the Tokyo Marui XM177 that gives it the distinctive short submachine gun barrel with a metal outer barrel and a metal front site (the XM177 normally has a plastic barrel and site). Thumper also told me he had both in stock and could install them onto an XM177 for me. Considering that he has had experience in installing these kits I gave him the green light and a $100 down payment.

Here it comes!

About 3 weeks after contacting Thumper, I received my M635 in the mail. There was a small problem in transit because some of the outer packing paper that was wrapped around the box was torn. Nothing at all was damaged and I probably won't have noticed anything if it wasn't for the little note stuck on the package from the post office noting the damage. The only thing that was wrong was that the front site and forward fore grip collar wasn't lined up with the rest of the gun but was easily fixed. The gun looked EXACTLY like the M635's on the Colt website and in the pictures of the U.S. Marshall's SOG that I saw in a book.

Construction.

The Tokyo Marui XM177 that my M635 is based on is quite a bit different from the M4 that most of us are familiar with. First of all of course is that the handle on top is not removeable. Also the site built into the handle is quite a bit different too. The windage adjustment is on the right side instead of just below the site. The site is also made out of plastic. One of the more interesting differences is that the cocking handle is made out of plastic and pulling back on it doesn't open the dust cover over the bolt so that you can adjust the hop-up. This isn't as bad as it seems because on the M4 you have to continue to hold back on the cocking handle to access the hop-up where on the XM the same hand that you use to pull open the dust cover can also make the adjustments. The only problem to the scheme is that you can't open the cover while wearing gloves--a problem I had while using it on the field for the first time. The rest of the gun is basically plastic throughout. In fact it probably easier to list the metal parts than the ones that are plastic: trigger, bolt dust cover, receiver pins, gas tube (which is a complete tube that goes from the receiver, under the fore grip to just before the front site, unlike the M4), the tube to the rear of the receiver that the retractable stock fits over, fire selector, bolt closer, and that's about it! Probably the worst bit of plastic in my mind is the ring just forward of the receiver that holds the front grips together. The M4's metal ring is much better. Anyone who is familiar with the M4 will find an XM lacking lots of metal. The XM also has a plastic outer barrel and front site. For all the plastic though the gun is without most of the 'squeeks' that other mostly plastic guns have.

The M635 conversion that I have makes up for XM's lack of metal by providing a Systema M635 barrel kit that has a metal flash hider, metal front site, and metal outer barrel. The construction of the kit is much better than the equivalent parts Marui puts on the M4. The front site has much cleaner lines that make the M4's look messy. The flash hider looks like it was milled where the M4's looks like it was die-casted. The Uzi kit consist of 2 pieces of die-cast metal and a new feeder tube. The die cast pieces are inserted into the mag well with one piece held to the rear with a pin that extends through either side of the receiver. The other piece is in the forward section of the mag well and appears to magically hang in there! I'm not sure if it attaches to the BB well, the mech box, or maybe its glued to the receiver. Either way it doesn't look like its gonna come out on its own. Because of the position of the mag in a 9mm Colt is about in the middle of the mag well and the Marui's M16 BB well is in front the kit has to divert BB's from the middle of the mag well to the front. I was originally quite dubious as to how well a feeder-well diverter would work but I can say that it works extremely good! Installing the kit though necessitates the removal of the old feeder tube so once you install it there is no going back to the regular M16 mags! I don't see this as being a problem though because I can't imagine someone wanting a 9mm style Colt and paying all the extra money to get the kit and install it (or paying to have someone else do it for them) and then changing their mind after having spend all the time, money, and effort. The Uzi conversion kit also includes the brass deflector seen on real 9mm Colts. It sits on the rear third of the bolt opening and requires a section of the dust cover to be cut off (just like on the real steel). The deflector is sort of moon shaped and adds quite a lot to the unique character of the gun. Also included in the kit is a hi-cap Uzi mag.

The only negative thing I can say about the kit is that the Uzi mags are pressure fitted into the mag well. That is to say that there is no functioning mag catch on it! This didn't seem to be that big a deal at first as the mags once inserted seemed like they were glued in. But after several test shooting the gun I noticed that the mags would vibrate loose enough to stop the BB's from feeding properly. After taking a close look at the mags and the mag well I saw that if I cut a notch into the top of the mags below the the plastic lip and if I trimmed the plastic mag catch (did I mention that its plastic too) in the well I could fashion a workable mag catch and release mechanism found in other AEG's. So I fired up my dremel, measured everything about 50 times, filed everything down, and now I have no worries about loosing a mag in the middle of the game. I emailed Thumper about this and he expressed some concern about the catch having to hold on to the plastic lip on the Uzi mag. I think that the catch combined with the tight fit will keep everything together without any problems.

First Test

I got to try my M635 at a game recently. As soon as I took it out of the car everyone was like, 'Oh, what's that? That thing looks awesome!' At the crono it measured in at 260fps which was just a hair below what the other stock guns were shooting that day.I loaded up both hi-caps, slammed one into the Colt and the other into my vest and off I went. The first game up was to take place in a 'city' filled with little plywood houses. We decided to pick new teams for this game playground style and I got picked right away because the team captain wanted to see my 9mm in action. The game heated up right away as both teams fought for better positions among the houses. The M635's short barrel made the tight confines easier to maneuvers than with my M4. The M4's longer barrel has a tendency to 'flag'--meaning the barrel sticks out in front of you in the direction you are heading giving you away to the enemy before you peek around a corner. As I was rushing through a house to get good angle on some opponents who had taken up residence behind a building and were pinning down my teammates my hand covers on the front of my gun caught something and burst apart! So much for surprise. I had to duck back into the house and reassemble the whole mess. You know what kind of a pain in the ass it can be to get your battery to fit right! I got it all back together and took up the position I was originally heading towards but with out the element of surprise. A few moments later and I was out of the game... I don't think the failure had anything to do with the conversion--I think it had to do with the plastic rear collar on the fore grip getting caught on my vest or something. Either way its something I'll have to keep an eye on in the future. I played a couple more games without anymore problems. The M635 performed great--it was the perfect balance between the compactness of the MP5 with the excellent ergo dynamics of the M4.

Conclusion

The M635 9mm Colt is without a doubt one of the most distinctive AEG's I have ever seen. Here in Florida it seems everyone has an M4. While there is nothing wrong with an M4 (I love mine!) something like the M635 is a refreshing break. It shares some of the features of the M4 but is perfectly suited for CQB as it is the same length as an SD6 and its stock retracts to a useable distance perfect for getting a nice cheek weld while stalking down a hallway and around corners. The construction of both kits (not to mention the installation by Thumper) are great and makes it a very useable and very collectible AEG!


Review by: FA-Lance.

 


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© Copyright 2004 by Lance Eppley & Joey Araniego