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FN Project 90


Review date: 4-29-01
Model: Project 90
Type: AEG
Manufacturer: Tokyo Marui
Retailer: Airsoft Extreme
Price with shipping: $335





















The P90

Well by now everyone has heard about Marui's new P90. Out of the last few years this model seems to have been the most anticipated. A number of people got pretty excited about the Thompson and the SR-16 came out with out a whole lot of warning but neither got the attention that the P90 did. The P90 has been a rumor since at least August 2000 and has been eagerly anticipated and debated ever since. As of the middle of April 2001, the rumors have now turned into a solid, real AEG.

I for one couldn't really believe that my P90 was actually in the mail on its way to me. When I picked it up from the post office the most remarkable thing about the package was how small and dense it was. Of course I wanted to tear the lid of and lay my eyes on it. Unfortunately my next stop was breakfast at a nearby restaurant. I figured I waited long enough that I could wait after I eat!

 

Out of the Box

After breakfast, I knifed open the box and *insert drum roll or dramatic music here* there it was, sitting there in the box! I almost expected a brick or something. I took it out of the box and put it into my hands. I have been trying to think for the last couple of months what the P90 would feel like holding it. I was anticipating a compact gun about the size of a computer keyboard. This thing is definitely different in the flesh. My first reaction was, 'This thing is small!' My second reaction was, 'This thing is REALLY small!' Have no doubts about it, the P90 is a very small AEG. I have held an MP5K and although the K is really short it still feels bigger than the P90. The P90 has nothing sticking out of the top, bottom or sides to give the appearance that it is bigger than it really is.

The overall appearance of the P90 is very good. The plastic that the used for the body is similar in feel and look to the plastic on the stock of an MP5A4. Its non-reflective and solid feeling. Throughout the body are several fake allen bolt heads. Everything is nicely rounded and contoured. The P90's weight is similar to the MP5's but is decidedly butt heavy where the gear box and battery are located.

Up Close

A close inspection of the P90 reveals several interesting features. Starting at the front, the compensator is metal (about the only bit of metal that you will find on this AEG) and screws on and off just like the M4's muzzle, with 14mm counter-clockwise threads. There is a little grub screw on the bottom to keep the compensator secure. On either side just behind the front of the AEG is the charging handle. The handle itself is plastic and it doesn't stick up very far from the sides of the AEG leading one at first to ask what the heck they are for. The handles are attached to a piece of metal which is in turn held by a spring. This allows you to pull back on a charging handle and let it slap back like on other AEGs. This part is also about the only wiggly, squeaky thing on the whole AEG.

Top Side

Moving to the top, you will find the sighting system that helps give the AEG a unique profile. I believe that on the real steel this section is suppose to be metal. On the Marui airsoft version it is plastic. No big deal but it is the weakest feeling part of the AEG. The rail mounted on the right side is made out of metal and feels like it is very well secured. The built in red dot sight is probably the part that most people will NOT like about the P90. It is fashioned out of metal and is very small. The diameter of the lens I would guess to be only about 15mm! With a little practice, the dot sight is useable but since it is the primary sighting device this can be a problem. Adjustment can be made with a supplied 'boss' adjustment tool and a supplied allen wrench. It can be adjusted for elevation and windage. There are also iron sight provided on either side of the red dot that can be used in a pinch but it is something you don't wanna have to use as they are difficult to focus on. But, unless you are target shooting, you wouldn't really need precision sights anyways. In fact, I kinda wonder if anyone really does bother aiming sometimes since its so easy to just 'walk' your shots in to the target while shooting full auto. The batteries for the dot sight are located below the exit lens in the front. Pushing on a little door will open to reveal a battery bay for two AAA batteries. Through out the sighting system are several trademarks including FN, P90, and, on the red dot sight, Ring Sights. Underneath the red dot sight is a three position switch to turn the dot sight either off, dim, or bright marked 0, 1, 2 respectively. The switch is hard to work when you have a mag in and I know people are going to bitch about it but I didn't find it to be too big of a problem.

The trigger area, like everything else on this gun, is very unique. It is plastic and larger than most triggers. Just below the trigger it the selector switch labeled S, 1, and A. I'll let you guess as to what those settings mean. The selector is actually a round disc with large finger groves on either side and is easy to manipulate with either your trigger finger or your off-hand thumb. Each detent makes a nice solid click. When the selector is in the A position, The trigger acts similar to the AUG's trigger in that pulling it half-way back results in a single fire shot. Pulling the trigger all the way back gives you full auto. My only gripe with the trigger area are the grips. The main grip is bent at a angle of around 30 degrees further back than a normal grip would be and makes it more uncomfortable. Those who are used to normal real steel hunting rifles might not find this to be a problem. The forward grip - the one your off hand holds - is even worst. Its curved in such a matter than your hand can never get a comfortable nor stable purchase. Also, the space between where your finger goes and where your off hand thumbs go is kinda tight.

Please Pass the Magazine

The magazine is one of the most unusual aspects of this gun. As everyone has seen from the pictures, it sits on top of the gun above the body but below sighting system. Removing and inserting the magazine seems like it would be difficult but in reality is easy. To insert the magazine, you put the rear of the magazine underneath the sighting system and press down on the front of the mag, making sure you give it an extra pop to make sure it catches and locks in place. There is even a little note that came in the box illustrating the need to pop the mag in. Evidently, the mag doesn't catch all that well. In my experience, it best to double check the mag. Removing the mag is a simple matter of putting your hand on the top of the mag (which faces the rear of the gun) and pinch either side of the gun and slide your hand towards the rear of the gun to activate the mag release. The mag will pop up and all you have to do is tilt it up and pull it out.

The details of the mag itself is fantastic with fake 5.7mm bullets with markings stamped into the back of the shells and a with a fake spring. On the side is written, 'MOD. P90 50-ROUND MAGAZINE-2001- RESTRICTED LAW ENFORCEMENT/GOVERNMENT USE ONLY'. When you flip the mag over you will see the mouth of the of the mag that connects to the AEG's BB feed tube not at the where the bullets would come out of the mag but about a half an inch away towards the bottom of the mag. Loading that mag is similar to other Marui AEGs but the loading tool is different from any other loading tool in that it has an addition 'cup' around the part that interfaces with mag. This cup holds the sides of the mouth firmly. When I first saw the design of mag I though it would be hard to load BB's but it is actually a lot smoother than an AUG mag or a SIG mag! One problem I did see with the mag is that it is easy to dent the mouth of the mag while inserting it into the AEG.

The Other Side

Flipping the AEG over there is a little door that sits above your where your thumb would be while holding it in the firing position. Pushing down and sliding back on the door reveals the hop-up adjustment dial. The dial is very similar to the AUG's dial. To the rear of the rear grip is a funny cavity that servers as the shell ejection port on the real steel. I have never seen a real steel P90 ejection port but the one on the AEG looks like a sci-fi battery recharge connector to recharge a laser gun! There is also a notch to the rear of this port that looks like it would server as a catch for a little door. The AEG manual makes no mention of such a door so I have no idea what purpose it servers.

Moving back about two or three inches from the ejection port is the rear sling attachment point. It seems to be the only practical sling attachment point on the whole AEG. There appears to be one on the sight assembly but attaching a sling through there would render both the red dot sight and the iron sights useless. On the rear of the gun the butt is made with a rubber-like non-slip texture. Removing the butt plate involves pushing a clever little button on the bottom of the plate and sliding it off. Unfortunately, the battery door isn't as tight as something like the AK or the G3. Inside is a roomy battery compartment with a separate compartment for the fuse. The battery compartment is on the top with a clip to hold the wire. The fuse compartment is next and on the bottom is the motor adjustment screw. Also on either side of the wire clip is a couple of screws that will allow you to remove the gear box and the motor. Changing a battery on this AEG is by far the easiest of all the AEGs I have seen.

The Outside

The day after I got my P90 I had plans to check out a possible new field to play airsoft. It wasn't a game or anything but it did give me a chance to see how the P90 would perform on the field. Of course, it also gave me a chance to show it off!

First notable thing was the sound it made. Its not as loud as my AK that I brought with me but it did have a very distinctive noise. There was less noticeable whine and a sharp, MP5 K style crack. Towards the end of the day I put my tracer unit on it and noticed that it cut down on the sharpness of the sound to the point that you could barely hear it from about 60 feet away. If I had not heard it for myself I wouldn't have believed that a tracer or any other mock silencer could effect the noise as much as it did. While shooting the AEG with it pressed up against your cheek the sound isn't that much different than with the tracer unit off.

Since this wasn't our normal field I didn't have a range nor a chrono to put the P90 to the test. But from some informal target shooting I can tell that accuracy and range is similar (if not a little better) than most other AEGs. The eg1000 motor seems to do it's job quite well and the barrel length is sufficient for medium range accuracy. From 50 feet away it left little dimples in a piece of plywood and tore through leaves with no problem. Despite its size, the P90 is well suited for outdoor play.

Conclusion

After waiting so long for this AEG to come out with all the rumors and such floating around its hard to tell what to expect from this radically styled AEG. The good news seems to be that Marui made a well designed AEG. Only time will tell if they made a durable one. It seems like demand is good for it too but you never know how people will feel about it in a year. We may all be scratching our heads wondering why we ever wanted something like the P90. Either way, I think it will find a home in many airsofter's collections and see plenty of action from both newbies and veterans alike. I know I am anxious to get some kills in with it!

Statistics:

  AEG Real Steel
Length: 504mm 504mm
Weight: 2200g 2800g (empty)
Barrel length: 247mm 263mm
Magazine cap.: 68 50
Cycle rate: 700-850/minute 900/minute
Initial bullet speed: 90 meters/second 715 meters/second

Review by: FA-Lance.

 


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© Copyright 2004 by Lance Eppley & Joey Araniego