Pre-release Thoughts: Tokyo Marui AKM GBBR

We’re less than two weeks away from the release of Marui’s new “Gas Machine Gun”, the AKM. So for anyone who’s not looked closely at TM’s new GBBR, here’s the juice:

The Good

Nothing is set in stone with an unreleased product, but judging by Marui’s previous form with gas blowback replicas we can be reasonably sure that this will raise the game in terms of overall performance in the GBBR AK market.

Having shot a GHK AKMS a number of years ago, I can attest to how nice it looks… But that don’t impress me much (ooh ohh awooohoo) it’s performance always made it a novelty, rather than a serious skirmish-able platform.

Internally, the AKM has a 19mm cylinder… This should offer a good amount of potential power for the AKM, certainly if they keep the overall weight of the bolt down. A large aluminium magazine should also proved more than enough gas capacity to squeeze off a full 35 round burst without pausing for thought.

Big ass magazine, probably rather weighty too..

Tokyo Marui also have a history of looking at performance as a primary design consideration, not just a post aesthetics afterthought. I’ll be interested to see how this compares to the stock ZET System M4A1 I have already, hopefully it’ll prove just as good, if not better than the popular MWS/ZET System M4 series.

Yankee trash… nyet made of steeal and wood like reel gun. Smol boolets too…

The Bad

Marui don’t always use the best materials for key parts… There, I’ve said it… Finally a fanboy who acknowledges that Marui use shit materials.

The stock and hand-guard use a printed wooden effect plastic, and the grip itself is apparently a hand painted “fakelite” plastic which Marui is desperate to tell everyone that it “looks great”.

Putting a 1000yd aiming point on an AK? What’s the Russian word for optimist?

The use of zinc alloy castings in a replica that’s crying out for stamped steel is sheer madness, something that many might consider a step too far. It’s something that I genuinely feel disappointed about, but I also understand that Marui have a lot of experience in zinc casting and virtually zero experience in Stamping sheet steel.

The costs for a Japanese made steel receiver would push this replica up to £1000 in my estimation… The token effort of a dust cover is the sum total of stamped steel parts, something I feel aftermarket body manufacturers might be quick to jump on.

Virtually all zinc alloy castings, it’s unlikely that the TM AKM will live up to the durability of a real AKM, or even a VFC/CYMA model.

The Ugly

I only really have one question for Marui: Why not an AKMS? Why build a replica with zero requirements for battery storage and then stick on a bloody great plastic stock? Making an AK with a folding stock would have killed two birds with one stone… Remove the need for a poorly received fake wooden stock and maximise the potential customer base by offering a far more popular model.

My trusty old CYMA AKMS… arguably a far better looking model than Marui’s new GBBR.

Much like their decision to release a Mk46 Mod 0 and not the more popular Mod 1, the decision to release an HK45 and not the HK45CT, and finally a black Sig P320 but not an FDE Mk17, this goes down in Marui history as a real head scratching moment.

A one of a kind replica, with one of a kind internals… Madness!

A lot of people are dreaming about the next releases… “oh, they’ll make a folding stock AK next”, “I’m sure they’ll make a Mk48 one day”… I’m sorry, but no. The decisions that Marui make are random, come with little explanation and zero apology. They’ve still not released a short barrel 417, so what chance does a mere AKM have of an overhaul?

The rest is mere speculation… Parts availability will likely be poor. Upgrades may never become available (ahem, Mk46…) And it’s seriously unlikely that existing parts will be compatible (so let’s not even assume an AEG or VSR barrel will fit) until we know otherwise).

But with all that negativity, is there still reason to be excited?

Yeah… Anything that’s not M4 shaped is a big plus for the GBBR collective. One of the biggest gripes I’ve had with airsoft is not having an AK that I felt would meet my needs for a weekend of OPFOR fun. I’ve come close with the Cyma AKS74U and closer still with my old Tokyo Marui AK102, but this promises to deliver that experience my inner muj has been waiting for.

Have I ordered one? Of course! With a Japanese domestic release date of 15th July and an expected import ETA of early August, there’s still time for a good few months of good GBBR weather before we start looking to see how it performs in the cooler months.

As for where to get one? Mine is on order with Eagle 6, they appear to be one of the only companies interested in getting these into the country at the moment (probably due to Rich Young being one of the UKs biggest TM advocates… Hopefully if the AKM lives up to our expectations, we’ll see more of these about later this year with all the usual suspects!