You know me; I have to have the coolest airsoft at the game. Unfortunately, with the recent well-deserved popularity of the MP7 it seemed everyone else was cramping my style. I needed a new toy and fast. I’m a big fan of Tokyo Marui quality and attention to detail so I started poking around for new releases. When I saw the Type 89 and read about the metal body and burst fire mode, I knew I had to have one. Like most airsoft junkies I consider it a source of pride to have full trademarks on my AEG’s. Since the Marui Type 89 is a Japanese replica of the Japanese Self-Defense Forces rifle built by the HOWA Machinery Company of Kiyosu, Japan, I figured wouldn’t have a problem with customs. I made a call to Airsoft Extreme, one of the few stateside retailers to carry the Type 89 at the time, and talked a sales rep into confirming my suspicion: full trades! I placed my order right away.
A week later my package arrived. I tore open the box and thought, “Wow! Marui went all out on the packaging for this one.” Once I picked it up I realized this was no ordinary AEG. It has a real solid feel plus nice weight and good balance. Overall the Type 89 is a bit smaller than I expected; coming in at just a hair longer than an M-4. But everything about this gun just feels right. The handguards are in the perfect spot and the pistol grip and trigger fit my hand nicely. The iron sights are functional and the stock, while on the small side, nestles right into my shoulder. The gun comes with a bipod that can be attached to the barrel and the legs folded back against the handguards. In the stowed position the bipod is barely noticeable and did not affect the feel of the gun in the least. I really appreciate how the orange plastic flash suppressor screws right off to be easily replaced by the black metal one Marui so thoughtfully included.
First off, the Type 89 has some really cool features that I hope become standard in future Marui products. The bipod and quick-change flash suppressor I mentioned above are nice touches but the real genius of this gun shows up in use. The magazine well is designed to accept M4/M16 magazines and took every variant I threw at it; Star 30rd lo-caps, a Marui 190rd VN style, and ICS 450rd hi-caps. However, the Marui Type 89 magazines will not fit my M16, so the interchange is a one-way street. This is probably due to the new design of the Type 89 magazines. The lo-cap has an extended “follower” to make sure that every BB in the magazine will get pushed up into the gun. I showed this to a teammate and his exact words were, “it’s about time.”
The 3-round burst mode is simply awesome. Unlike the previous burst mode on the SIG 550 & 551, which used an electronic trigger reportedly prone to burnout, the Type 89 burst is all mechanical. While I have yet to gut this thing and view the process firsthand it is my understanding that Marui rolled out the Version 8 Mechbox and the EG1000BT motor just for this AEG. One trigger pull, the Type 89 gives a nice little recoil, and 3 BB’s head downrange. Repeated trigger pulls give you the same area of effect as fully automatic fire, yet with less ammunition expenditure and more control over point of impact. Semi- and full auto rates of fire are still available with a flick of the selector lever.
Like most Marui AEG’s, the hop-up is accessed by pulling back on the charging handle. The Type 89 employs a rotating drum adjustment like that found on the G36C. Once I set the hop-up, the gun chrono’ed at a very playable 282 FPS. The bipod deploys easily with one hand and hasn’t come off my gun since I put it on for it’s first game. An optional rail (purchased separately) can be installed on top of the Type 89 in order to mount a scope or red dot sight. No other rail mounts are currently available although there’s room right behind the flash suppressor to clamp on a small generic barrel rail for either a laser or a tac-light. For you lefties a left-handed fire selector lever is available and does not require removing the original right-hand lever. Although I’m right-handed I installed this anyway and love it as it allows me to change fire modes with my right thumb instead of using my trigger finger. The rear sling support can easily be switched to the other side of the stock and it looks as if an MP5 style forward sling pin could be fitted to the Type 89 in order to further accommodate left-handed players. The butt plate of the stock itself rotates out of the way, providing access to storage for a spare battery. The battery itself, an “AK” stick kind, fits under the handguards on top; or at least it’s supposed to.
You’ve got to be kidding!
I only have one complaint about the Type 89 and, unfortunately, it’s a big one. The battery compartment has problems with functionability and its location seems almost an after-thought. I removed the handguards to check out the battery well and had a bear of a time getting them back on, with no battery yet installed. My teammate had an equally difficult time with this same area, still with no battery in place. In fact I have yet to try to fit a battery in there, that’s how problematic it is. Luckily there are several other options for battery placement and I highly recommend any one of them. Laylax makes a 3-point sling complete with wiring sewn into the webbing and a Velcro pouch for a large battery. I simply routed the Type 89 battery plug out through a vent slit in the handguard and plugged into the internal sling wiring right up by the forward sling mounting point. The battery plug could also be routed through the back of the handguards near the aftermarket top accessory rail and out to a rail mounted AN/PEQ style battery box. Or, industrious airsofters could disassmble the Type 89 and run the wiring back through the body into the stock. Many AEG’s benefit from this battery placement. Although the size and design of the Type 89 stock would limit one to using a stick battery, the easy open compartment would be fully appreciated.
Except for the battery compartment fiasco, the Type 89 is a well designed and well built AEG. Even the battery issue can be readily overcome with the application of ingenuity and/or dollars. The burst fire option is cool enough to try out again and again, yet effective enough to become your regular selection. Plus I’ve found the lack of a stream of BB’s to “walk” into the target makes me more precise in my aiming, less likely to “spray and pray” and, somewhat surprising, more likely to get a “hit” every time I shoot. At just over $400 delivered, this is not a cheap gun. Throw in a battery, hi-cap, and BB’s and the Type 89 is probably not for beginners; especially when they can drop less than $300 for a very re-sellable AK or MP5 while they figure out if airsoft is for them. However, for those of us with a sizable arsenal already, and the desire to go a different direction from the 9.6, 10.8, and 12V rate-of-fire arms race, give this gun a good look. Fellow airsofter T-2 also has a Type 89 and I think it’s safe to say I speak for both of us when I say this is by far my favorite AEG.