There will be a full review coming on the Mk46, but don’t expect it to be an overnight thing. Getting it right is far more important than getting it quick. I’ve worked out it’ll take a month or so to get it written and photos taken, that’ll give me time to field it more than once and also get a feel for how it compares to other support weapons at these games.
I will share my first impressions now though, as I know there are a handful of people out there who are waiting for that final nudge of whether to buy this or buy something else entirely.
First off… Price. It’s around £1400 or thereabouts… some businesses might sell it for more, some for less. It’s not a cheap expense and one that only you can decide is worth it. People who are looking at this, a PTW, recoil with all the trimmings or a GBLS DAS will have to consider what’s on their list if requirements… this will tick boxes that other replicas won’t, it’ll also fall short where others thrive.
If saving money is key, Importing it from japan is an option that might save you money. However, it might also cost you more in the long run. The trade off when buying outside your own country or trade zone is that you’re not covered by any local law, you get zero warranty and zero comeback should it arrive in Lego form.
I’ll not explain or justify the price as that’s for the individual to decide, but let’s get one thing straight.. This is a radically different design from other support weapons on the market, comparing it to a £400 A&K M249 is like comparing a Ford Fiesta to a Ford Mustang, they might both get you from A to B at the same speed in rush hour traffic, but you’ll certainly know which car it is when you’re sat in it.
The bag it arrives in is fantastic, the biggest issue I saw myself having when the Mk46 was announced was transportation of the replica itself.
This bag is far better made than I’d have assumed, with foam lining, customisable interior supports and genuine Japanese YKK zippers.
It’s based on an old design (I can’t remember who made the original) and it’s a serious step above the cheapie Chinese clones you see out there. I’d seriously value this bag at £200/£300 based upon its quality and design, and it comes with enough pockets of the right size to carry all the additional shit you’ll need.
It also makes a fantastic cat bed.
The Magazine… Yeah, it only holds 1000 rounds. But that’s plenty. I might look at making a big ass drum for mine but in all honesty, you don’t need more than a 5-10 round burst, that gives you 100-200 bursts… Plenty… Unless you’re an emotionally devoid retard that enjoys spraying shots wildly into the side of a building like Animal Mother from Full Metal Jacket.
What I’m expecting from it is quality feeding, that’s something that is certainly a rarity with the majority of support guns on the market. There’s more mods for box mags than I’ve had hot dinners!
Spare magazines are not cheap though, Marui (in a somewhat dick move) have decided to sell the 10 round link and magazine as two separate items at £100 each, not cool and certainly not cheap. I can understand £100 for the magazine, but the belt should really be a part of that cost.
The dovetail bracket that holds the magazine on the bottom isn’t the strongest in the world, so be damn careful about inserting the magazine and any potential knocks. If it breaks, you’ll be left with a £1400 paperweight until it’s replaced as the Marui feeds through the bottom of the receiver, not via the side as with many others.
It’s a shame that this fundamental part of the replica is so weak , it’s been stated by one retailer/distributor that Marui have designed this as a sacrificial link. I’d call bullshit on that though and say that the simple fact that Marui themselves don’t yet offer a spare from day one and are looking into a redesign and replacement for their existing design with a reinforced mount for all current owners makes this look like an unintentional manufacturing flaw.
A massive shame really as it’s left at least one owner (@kilo3_romeo) unable to enjoy his rather expensive toy until this is resolved.
The split design inner barrel, an unusual step and one I’m not 100% sold on. I can see why they’ve done it this way, it makes the hop design simpler and allows access to the battery compartment whilst giving you a cool (but completely useless) barrel change simulation.
The down sides of this design are potential issues with alignment if you’re not careful with the fitting.
Potentially this could lead to a loss of air seal less than a couple of inches from the hop unit, leading to inconsistency and the most likely issue… Damage.
Some of this will come from not treating this replica with absolute respect, and being aware that it’s nothing more than a very expensive toy. But, we’re a long time forward of the plastic bodied replicas of the old days… a degree of ruggedness is essential for the rigours of Airsoft.
That big ol’ stock, probably the most asked question i’m faced with is “can I put a Mod 1 stock on it?
Well, yes… there’s no reason why it’s not possible to make one fit, but I’ll need to get my hands on one first to double check fitment. Every brand is different and whilst I’m sure the G&P or A&K Mod 1 stocks can be modded to fit, they might need a little creative work to get there. The stock is surplus to the functionality of the Mk46 and could be completely removed and replaced if so wished, putting a collapsible stock on mine is probably the first major adjustment I’ll make.
The overall finish and quality? It feels unlike any Marui replica I’ve ever handled, it also feels unlike any Airsoft M249 I’ve ever handled… It’s simply incredible (and damn heavy), although as far as whether it stands up to the abuse and rigours of games home and away? Who knows!
The Mk46 has a lot to prove to a great many people, but despite the couple of points of concern I have so far, it’s certainly heading down the right path. As for the big questions, I’ll get back to you once I have answers.