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KSC M11A1


Review date: 09/05/2001
Model: M11A1
Type: Semi/Full-Auto Gas Blow Back SMG
Manufacturer: KSC
Retailer: Wargamers Club

Summary: Excellent replica in most every detail, including impracticality

Introduction

The M11A1 by KSC is a replica of the M11A1 made by RPB Industries, Inc., chambered for .380acp. The real steel lineage of the gun starts with the MAC-10, and winds up in a reduction of overall size to become the M11 -- much lighter and compact while retaining all of the characteristics of the M10, including the incredible 1200 rounds per minute firing rate. The M11 is barely larger than a standard pistol but is much smaller than most SMG's.

For better or for worse this design makes it something of a compromise. It's not really a replacement for a pistol, and tactically speaking there are any number of SMG's that would be much easier to control. But just as a sports car isn't particularly practical as transportation, the M11 is impressive even if not all that tactically useful as a firearm. Yet somehow they both have an avid audience.

The Airsoft - First Impressions

When you take this replica out of the box, you notice a few things straight off. Whereas any real steel and pictures of MAC-10/11's I've seen have been light grey or at most medium grey, the replica is nearly black. While perhaps that's less than true to real life, the body of the gun is made of plastic, and I was concerned that a light grey plastic body would never carry off the look of metal. But as black, it's indistinguishable until you touch it. The only piece of the gun that's obviously plastic is the back of the grip, which on the real steel is plastic as well.

The second thing you notice once the full metal magazine is inserted - this airsoft is solid. Most of the internals of the gun are metal, with a really nice weight distribution. Unlike many replicas, the KSC M11 does not feel like a plastic gun in the least. Also thanks to the internal metal parts, switching the weapon to fire and racking back the bolt produces wonderful metal on metal contact sounds not heard often in airsoft. I've read comments that the stock is awkward and looks weak, but it accurately represents the real steel. It is made completely of metal, and operates with nice metallic clinking noises as you deploy and retract it. The stock isn't really necessary since recoil is almost non-existent, but it rounds out the gun's look very nicely.

First Fire

The safety on the gun is true to the original and is located on the right side of the trigger. It's not easy to operate with your trigger finger while the gun is gripped either left or right handed, but it is possible (in fact it's easier to operate if you grip left handed). The fire selector is on the right side of the gun and flips from semi to full in a 180-degree movement. With a very confirming click the safety moves forward to the "Fire" position. Finally, rack open the bolt, and take aim.

When semi-automatic is selected the gun makes a click-pop noise with just a little bit of recoil when the trigger is pulled. The firing cycle is so short that you can almost doubt that the gun actually fired anything. In full auto, the report of the gun becomes a rattle as it fires 20 rounds a second, roughly the same as the real steel gun. Not even 30 seconds into my first clip and I was empty, even taking time to admire it! You can get 3 round bursts fairly easily, but well paced bursts are your only hope in the field since you can burn through the entire 48 round high-cap magazine in under 3 seconds.

Bottom line, this GBB is a menace to cardboard targets everywhere. Compared to my KSC G18C, the M11 is easier to control as the only part of the M11 that moves is the internal bolt where on the G18C the slide recoils with each shot. Probably more of an influence in better accuracy is that the barrel is stationary in the M11 while the G18C's barrel has to duck under the slide causing it to be in a constant up-down motion in full auto. With an adjustable hop-up, the M11 seems like it would be reasonable in the field for close range use.

The sights on the M11 are pretty much only decorative. A small round aperture on the back of the gun lines up with a peg on the front. When you shoulder the gun with the stock the sights are way too low to be usable, and when you hold the gun out without the stock the front sight can be tough to find through the rear. This sends the clear message that if you intend to aim this might be the wrong gun for you. In all seriousness though, putting any kind of auxiliary scope or sight on the M11 would be only for looks since full-auto fire becomes a cone of BB's instead of a single-inline stream typical of AEG's.

Details on the Gun

My KSC G18C died a slow and painful death as it slowly blew itself to pieces. The design of the gun required many parts to interface together to make the gun function. After repairing my G18C a few times in a few different places it finally sent itself to the great airsoft collection in the sky when it blew the front of the plastic slide off.

So needless to say I was a bit hesitant to by another KSC full auto until I read about how much metal was involved in the design. The design of the KSC M11 is a massive improvement on the G18C thanks largely to the simplicity of the real steel gun. The number of mechanical interfaces is cut down to just two, both on the bolt. Unfortunately the bolt's body is made of plastic and the pieces that stop the bolt are made of metal, which ultimately means the metal parts will slowly erode away the plastic. Aside from this though, the internals and design of the gun are incredibly simple and well thought-out.

Firing from an open bolt, when you pull the trigger the recoil spring pushes the bolt forward. During the move forward the next BB is extracted from the magazine and is chambered once the bolt is fully closed. At the same time a hook on the bottom rear of the bolt causes the gas port on the magazine to be struck and the BB is fired, with the remaining gas used to blow the bolt back to full open again. In semi-auto the bolt locks back full open until the trigger is cycled. In full-auto mode the recoil spring pushes the bolt forward again and the firing cycle repeats 20 times each second until stopped. When the magazine is empty, a plastic peg comes up that stops the bolt from fully closing stopping the cycle. Also, releasing the trigger will lock the bolt back.

Takedown on the gun is fast and requires removing two retaining pieces. The first retaining clip on the front of the body is exactly the same as on the real steel, the second one (the cocking handle) is removed in a different order but is as on the real steel and releases the bolt from the upper. Breaking apart into 3 major sections, the bottom frame/trigger unit, the bolt/recoil rod/gas valve and the upper body/barrel, maintenance is quick and painless. Fortunately any jams or misfeeds are easily cleared due to the bolt design without a takedown. As of yet this hasn't happened, but I'm sure it's possible.

The inside of the upper body where the bolt slides into is lined in metal which is nice as it reduces any wear and friction between the bolt and the body as they move, and the barrel is surrounded in a metal piece that adds just the right amount of weight to the gun. The bolt's outside body is made of plastic as mentioned above, but the recoil spring, recoil rod, valve assembly, and inside of the bolt are all made of metal.

I'm sure a third party will eventually make a metal bolt body for the M11. With that in place, the gun's internal mechanism would be practically indestructible.

Other Parts

The magazine is almost exactly the same design as the hi-cap for the G18C, with a long spring and carrier which is locked at the bottom of the magazine for loading and released to tension the BB's upward. Loading the magazine with BB's takes awhile and though the gun comes with something of a quick loading spout it turns out loading it up one or two BB's at a time is faster. Where the magazine excels among all other GBB magazines I've seen is that the gas inlet is recessed into the body of the magazine and meets up making for easy and relatively fool-proof connection between the magazine and the bottle's nozzle. This is definitely a design improvement to include on future magazines!

The silencer is largely considered to be a must-have accessory and as such there is a good selection of them from both KSC and third parties in the $75-100 price range. Because the barrel is threaded, silencers and barrel extenders are simple to add to the gun.

As a final little note, the manual for the gun is entirely in Japanese. Fortunately the gun is simple to operate and the diagrams work well to understand all of the necessary cleaning procedures.

Conclusion

The M11 is an impressive little gun that for a price of roughly $150 is almost a steal. However, at $50 a pop for the magazines, and the fact that a magazine lasts literally seconds, I'm not sure it is a viable primary weapon. As a backup weapon it's very tempting since it compares very well against pistols, but would be difficult to holster effectively. No matter though, it makes an excellent and fun addition to my collection, even though I don't really plan to skirmish much with it.


Review by: Glock.

 


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© Copyright 2004 by Lance Eppley & Joey Araniego