Colt 1911A1 - Tokyo Marui
Tokyo Marui's GBBs have always been a big disappointment to me.
Sure they've got decent hop-up systems and aren't that expensive (on a par with KSC, usually), but the finish on some of their guns has been, frankly, rubbish.
Often the frames feature prominent, ugly seams and the finish on metal parts has been embarassingly poor, even on some recent models (The Hi-Capa's hammer springs immediately to mind).
Airsoft International magazine asked me to review the newly released 1911A1, but would it offer anything in a market already crowded with (mainly excellent WA) 1911s?
A more extensive review of the TM Colt 1911A1 can be found in Vol 2 issue 3 of Airsoft International.
In the Box
The box itself is an indication of the effort that TM have made with the 1911A1.
Externally, it's a subdued, but classy affair, with lots of military looking text, relating to the real thing.
Lift the lid and the feeling that this something special leaps out at you. The gun lies on olive drab material base covering a polystyrene bed (early models had shallow cut-outs that let the gun and magazine collide in transit - you might spot some chips on the frame of the gun in these pictures - but this was addressed fairly quickly), which also provides a cut out for a small box containing BBs and a tool for the bushing. This box is nostalgiacally marked to look like it contains .45 ammunition.
There are also a few sheets of paper, comprising the usual manuals and targets.
I defy anyone not to be impressed by the TM Colt 1911A1.
The grey finish (to replicate Parkerisation) looks more realistic than the WA version to my eyes and the gun looks as much like real steel as any other plastic gun I've ever seen (and more than some 'all-metal' guns., too).
For me, the most impressive feature of the Colt 1911A1 is one that's missing. Seams. Every other TM GBB I have seen has a moulding seam running down the middle of the frame, if you turn it over. On some models it's detectable, on others it's downright intrusive. On the TM 1911, it's just not there - Finally, TM have realised that you can mould plastic as well as KSC, at the same price point.
The quality of the finish, evidenced by the better moulding, extends to the metal parts, too, with no nasty finishes to catch your eye and detract from the overall impression of quality.
The gun also feels solid, with a remarkable heaviness to it, even with the magazine removed (A traditional TM trick is to weight the magazines), which upsets the balance of the gun.
Metal parts include the mainspring housing, bushing, trigger, slide lock and safeties.
Handling the 1911A1, the impression of quality grows. This is TM's best made GBB by some margin.
The parkerised effect is good, looking more realistic, to my eyes, than WA's efforts, especially on the MagnaTech model.
The black metal parts are well cast, but possibly contrast too much with the grey slide and frame. Surely, on the real thing, all the parts would have been parkerised? However, they have a quality metal look to them, which is unusual (in my experience) for TM guns.
Markings are one sign of a good airsoft replica and the 1911A1 is even better than Tokyo Marui’s generally good output in this respect.
The slide is marked with the long list of 1911 patents usual on a 1911A1, “PATENTED APR.20.1897.SEPT.9.1902"/ "DEC.19.1905.FEB.14.1911.AUG.19.1913" with a Colt rampant horse logo, followed by "COLT'S PT.F.A.MFG.CO."/"HARTSFORD.CT.U.S.A.". The left of the frame has a P near the magazine release, a proofing mark on the front of the trigger guard and "G.H.D" below the slide lock.
On the right side of the frame, there is “M1911A1 U.S.ARMY” on the dustcover, with the only Tokyo Marui markings being a nicely understated (Shades of Marushin in this respect) ASGK mark and “TOKYO MARUI MADE IN JAPAN” just above the grip. There is also a serial number under the Tokyo Marui markings and a Springfield Armoury QC mark right at the back of the frame and a small ‘76’ on the front of the trigger guard.
The top of the slide has a small P proofing mark midway between the rear sight and ejection port and there is a P and an H inspection mark on the chamber itself.
Judging from internet sources, the markings appear to be extremely accurate in style, placement and completeness.
The grips are OK, but far from convincing as wood replicas. There are heavy metal weights in the grips, which mean swapping to real steel ones will lose you quite a lot of weight in the gun.
Being a 1911A1, this gun features a curved backstrap and a shorter trigger than the earlier 1911 model.
Some bemoan the simple, fixed (front post, rear blade with a U shaped notch) sights, but this is supposed to be a WW2 spec gun, a companion to TM's M1A1 AEG, so white dotted, adjustable sights (although a tad faster to acquire a target and better in low light) would have been out of place. I am sure TM will follow WA's lead in producing other 1911 variants (if the 1911A1 proves successful, as it should) and there are already aftermarket units available.
The magazine holds 24 rounds and some people complain it won't fire a whole magazine with green gas. I certainly had no problem using 134a (getting 30 rounds out), but Green gas may prove more marginal.
Everything about the 1911A1 says 'quality', TM have really moved their GBBs into the forefront of value for money with this gun. It will be interesting to see if their next release (said to be a Glock 17) can maintain this standard.
Whilst TM's have never been this good to look at before, they've always promised to be decent shooters (which is part of the reason skirmishers and collectors are often so diametrically opposed in their view on TM's GBB products - They throw BBs a good distance, accurately, but have often displayed finish levels way below even their affordable prices would justify).
Click on image for bigger version in separate window.
Carrying out my standard 5m/6 round, off hand test, I got impressive accuracy straight away.
The best 5 grouping was 30mm across, with the best 4 being just 20mm across, and all the shots were impressively central to the target, despite the simple, non-adjustable sights.
Over 10 shots, the TM 1911 averaged 235 fps (using 134a gas) indoors (at 26C), which experience suggests equate to around 210 fps at 20C (or around 270 with Propane/Green Gas), about average for a modern GBB and certainly no match for WA's 1911s.
Trigger pull was just 450g (16 Oz), which is a very light weight pull for any airsoft pistol. The downside is that some owners report accidental discharges when deholstering the TM 1911.
Unsurprisingly, TM have not sacrificed the shooting experience when making the 1911 a high quality looking airsoft pistol.
Take down is a faithful replication of the real steel process.
After removing the magazine, move to the front of the slide and depress the chequered button, under the barrel. With this depressed, uopen the bushing with a quarter turn anti-clockwise.
Slide the slide back until it locks. Then remove the slide lock (push it through the frame from the side opposite where it locks the slide) and let the slide and inner barrel slide off the frame. Once off, the barrel/chamber assembly can be removed from the front of the slide.
Overall, the 1911A1 is a landmark model for Tokyo Marui.
At last, they have proved that they can match the quality of KSC and Western Arms, whilst retaining the performance qualities that make them the skirmisher's favourite.
As I said in the AI review, unless you have a specific dislike of the 1911 design, you really must have the TM Colt 1911A1 on your list of GBBs to consider next time you are shopping for one.
Weight : 805g (195g magazine)
Realism : ****
Quality : ****
Power : ****
Accuracy : *****
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