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Star GP-30 Grenade Launcher


Review date: October 10, 2004
Model: GP-30 Underbarrel Grenade Launcher
Manufacturer: Star
Reviewed by Mac of Shadow Cell






Introduction

Kalishnikov aficionados are drawn to the rugged, simple character of the AK as a tough, reliable means of throwing high-caliber rounds down-range. The airsoft counterparts bear some similarities, in being among the most solidly built and dependable airsoft rifles. Unlike the MP5 and M16/M4 families, which have an exhaustive list of add-ons and after-market bells and whistles, there are not that many fancy and high-tech accessories for the airsoft AK. Most AK fans are content and actually somewhat proud of that. A silver-studded, hand-tooled custom saddle is simply out of place on a tough old workhorse. Other than a metal body and wood kit, the one other item that never fails to excite an AK fan is a Russian grenade launcher.

The Star GP-30 is one of several Russian grenade launchers built to fire 40mm airsoft grenades. Guarder has released a GP-30 and there is another version available from Trapper Industries in the UK. Price-wise, the Star version seems to be the least expensive of the three, priced at approximately $240. The Guarder version is listed on its website at $380 and the Trapper version is priced at 200 British pounds. The Star and Guarder versions are very detailed and accurate copies of the GP-30, while the Trapper version is closer in appearance to the earlier BG-15, which first appeared during the Soviet conflict with Afghanistan.

Operations

Compatible with the AK-47 and AK-47S, the Star GP-30 is not designed to interface with the Beta Spetsnaz. Besides firing 40mm airsoft grenades, the GP-30 can also be used to accommodate a large battery in an external mounting. The kit is equipped with a round plastic cover, resembling the top of a chambered grenade, to conceal the battery payload when used in this manner. When mounted on the AK-47S, the position of the launcher will prevent the stock from being fully folded.

The Star GP-30 is solidly built and crafted with great attention to detail. It is a muzzle-loading grenade launcher, like its real-world counterpart, distinctly different than the breech-loading systems found in nearly all other airsoft grenade launchers. Both the Star and Guarder launchers are muzzle-loading, although the Trapper launcher is a breech-loading model. I discovered that this feature allows the Star GP-30 to be reloaded much more quickly and easily than a launcher such as the Sun Project M203. After firing, the user angles the weapon downward and pushes a button to lift an internal retaining hook. The expended shell slides out smoothly. You push a fresh shell into the muzzle and press the retaining hook button again to lock the shell into the launcher.

An adjustable sight for indirect fire is on the right side of the launcher, also correct for the GP-30 model. The sight for the earlier model GP-25 launcher was positioned on the left side. For the purposes of airsoft, the adjustable elevation sight is merely for appearances sake. It is solidly constructed, however, with the same care as evidenced on the rest of the launcher.

The barrel of the launcher is very short, barely extending past the tip of the grenade cartridge. The M203 barrel is much longer and does a better job in choking the spread of the airsoft BBs into a tighter pattern. With the GPS-30, the effect is closer to firing a sawn off shotgun. The range of the BBs won't suffer that much, but there is a wider dispersion. But that's not such a bad thing. No one is trying for precision shooting with BB-shower grenades anyway.

Cons

The biggest drawback of the GPS-30 is the weight added to the front of the AK-47. While not much heavier than a Marui or Sun Project M203, the launcher and shell are positioned much closer to the muzzle of the weapon. The M203 places the weight a little closer to the center of the weapon. This does increase the perceived weight of the AK-47 and making it a little slower to bring to bear on a target. This should not cause any real problems during field games, but the change in the weapon's center of gravity will need to be taken into account when the user is in a CQB environment.

Pros

Something I like very much about the launcher's design helps to make up for this limitation, and that is the ease with which the GP-30 can be detached and reattached to the AK-47. The kit comes with two metal mounts, which are secured to the barrel and function like bayonet lugs. The GP-30 slides onto these two lugs and locks firmly in place. Push the release button, slide the GP-30 forward, and you can quickly and cleanly remove the launcher. This feature allows the user to easily remove the extra weight of the launcher whenever he thinks he doesn't need it in an upcoming skirmish.

Another Con

A minor flaw in the design is that with the grenade being secured at its base by the retaining hook, you have a little play at the front of the grenade. This causes it to rattle in the launcher. I will probably address this by wrapping several layers of electrical tape in a narrow band around the upper portion of my grenades. This tape band will keep the grenades from rattling in the launcher without affecting the performance in any way.

Conclusion

In summary, I would have to say that the Star GP-30 is a very solid and well made launcher. Its greatest handicap is placing the weight so near to the muzzle of the AK-47, but it is quick to reload and easy to detach from the weapon whenever the user wishes to fight a skirmish without the launcher. It looks great on the AK-47, giving Kalishnikov fans a functional grenade launcher while maintaining the Spartan, ruggedly functional, East-Bloc look that we all know and love. It's not a cheap accessory, setting you back as much as a new AEG, and that's even before you start buying a few grenades. But for AK-47 fans and Russian-themed airsoft teams ready to add that little something extra to their arsenal, I think the Star GP-30 is worth close consideration.

 

Review by: Mac

 


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© Copyright 2004 by Lance Eppley & Joey Araniego