Replica Review: Tokyo Marui H&K MP5A5 (NGRS)

Some of us have been waiting so long for a Recoil Shock MP5, that when Japan’s ARMS Magazine inadvertently leaked a picture of the NGRS MP5A5, we weren’t quite sure what to believe; That is of course until Marui apologised for the leak, confirming that it was indeed real! But what’s all the fuss about? Let’s have a close look at Marui’s latest NGRS design…

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you, Tokyo Marui’s Next Generation Recoil Shock Heckler & Koch MP5A5.

The Tokyo Marui NGRS MP5A5 comes within an exceptionally attractive box, surpassing even Marui’s usual high standards. A textured black cardboard box with a card covered polystyrene insert keeps everything presentable, and firmly held in place. Other accessories and manuals are held either in the lid or within their own sections in the box itself.

I won’t keep on about the box or it’s contents, but like with any other Tokyo Marui replica, it comes with everything you’d need except batteries.

The following accessories are included with the MP5A5:

  • 1 x Steel Bodied 72 Round Magazine
  • Tri-Lug Suppressor Adaptor
  • A Pair Of Suppressor Stand-Off Rings
  • Barrel Cleaning/Unjamming Rod
  • Red Muzzle Safety Plug/Cap
  • Drum Sight Adjustment Tool/Driver
  • Motor-Height Adjustment Allen-Key
  • Small Bag Of .20g Ammo
  • Manual/Parts List

Externals

The first thing you’ll notice about the MP5A5 is just how reassuringly heavy it is. Weighing an impressive 3.1 kilos (just shy of 7lbs), it feels rugged and robust yet still somehow refined.

Tokyo Marui have obviously put a lot of thought into this replica, and it shows from the moment you take it out the box.

A single-piece muzzle/sight block adds rigidity to the front, putting an end to the creakiness that’s plagued previous Tokyo Marui iterations of the MP5. The distinctive MP5 hooded front sight is cast within the same block as the aforementioned muzzle, a removable sight blade is shielded completely by the aforementioned hood.

The NGRS MP5A5 lacks a threaded muzzle, requiring any suppressor or tracer unit to be attached via the Tri-Lug muzzle device. This might be off putting to some, but it does add a great deal of rigidity to the replica and there’s always the option to have your muzzle properly threaded by someone who knows what they’re doing.

The MP5A5’s Tri-Lug muzzle is designed to work seamlessly with the included Tri-Lug/14mm CCW suppressor adaptor. In my experience this fits with zero wobble, and actually looks pretty good when paired with Marui’s own tracer unit. To fit, simply push the adaptor on, pull the collar back, rotate anti-clockwise about 60° and release. Once in place, it’s rock solid and easy to remove by simple repeating the previous steps in reverse.

The front hand guard replicates a wider, modern “Tropical” design commonly used since the 90s. It’s sturdy, it has a fantastic, dull matt finish and despite being a undoubtedly boring option, it does the job incredibly well. Many owners will look at aftermarket options almost immediately, but it’s good to know that the basic handguard is up to the job.

The body of the MP5A5 is divided into two sections, an upper (metal) and lower (polymer) receiver. These are held together using a set of body pins, with the stock housing also providing an additional clamp to the rear of the weapon.

The stock housing assembly also incorporates a single sling loop on the weapon’s left hand side.

The upper receiver and cocking handle tube assembly are both made from zinc alloy castings, these have been formed and finished rather well, although both lack that cold hard finish that only comes with steel.

A faux weld runs around the rear sight assembly and where the cocking handle tube meets the front of the receiver. These details provide a finishing touch to what is overall, a rather good looking upper receiver.

Note the faux weld line, just to the right of this is the actual join between upper receiver and front barrel/cocking tube assembly

The lower receiver is simply superb, with Marui going the extra mile to keep this replica as accurate in appearance as possible. The overall look and feel of the polymer that Marui have used gives the MP5A5 a really unique feel amongst airsoft replicas.

The width of the pistol grip has been profiled down from previous MP5 AEG designs to make it closer in shape and size to the real thing, the majority of which are based upon Marui’s original design.

It’s an impressive move for Marui to look at pursuing a more realistic design at the expense of ease of manufacture and increased costs, what’s more impressive is that it houses the same size long shaft motor as a full sized AEG.

Moving onto the controls, there’s simply nowhere better to start than the charging/cocking handle. You could be forgiven for being disappointed when you first see it, the charging handle being of plastic construction and sitting within a zinc-alloy assembly.

Whilst the charging handle might not provide a great first impression, it appears to be entirely up to the job it was created for and despite my better judgement, the charging handle has been slapped so hard and often that it’s started calling me step bro. I’ve routinely checked it for wear/damage and found nothing untoward, despite slapping it like it owes me money.

Note the hop adjustment accessed via the open chamber, clearly labelled for morons like me.

One of the biggest surprises of the whole design is the fire selector, it’s fantastic. I’m genuinely blown away by how it feels, with Marui moving away from the external detent and pin selector design, they’ve developed an internal design for the MP5A5 that provides a very positive and incredibly satisfying click, whilst being far stronger and less prone to wear.

The fully ambidextrous selector uses a fixed axle going completely through the gearbox, providing a reassuringly positive feel to both the left and right selector switches. Being a left-handed shooter, I tend to expose the weakness of poorly designed ambidextrous selectors rather quickly. However, this selector doesn’t appear to suffer from a right hand biased design.

The magazine release is the traditional MP5 paddle design, and comes with the button type release that no one in their right mind ever uses. The paddle type release is intuitively easy to use and is absolutely rock solid once the magazine is seated, the button release is realistically painful to use and should be left well alone.

The trigger isn’t like those found on most other MP5s, it’s heavily sprung and provides a rather strong resistance to the pull. A micro switch on the M-System ECU gives you a subtle but consistent firing point, with only a couple of millimetres of travel needed.

Ultimately, the trigger works well and provides a unique, mildly haptic feedback, although I’d have liked to have seen a faux sear release as Marui previously used on their Mk46 Mod 0.

It has been said, iron sights hit peak perfection with the MP5 design. The hooded front sight marries up perfectly with one of four circular apertures within the rotating drum, allowing the shooter’s eye to naturally position the blade itself onto the target.

The drum is not designed for different ranges (as some games might have you believe), it simply provides four sizes of aperture to allow for individual shooter’s eyesight needs. The idea is that you should use the hole that allows the smallest amount of light around the outside of the front ring, to allow your eye to naturally align the sights correctly.

An MP5 sight picture showing perfect alignment, with an even halo of light around the front sight hood and the point of impact at 25m being just on top of the front sight blade.

The drum is also adjustable for windage should you need it to be, although this is not something you’d want to be doing out in the field as it requires tools. Ultimately, it’s only there because the real one has it.

Note the protection wings on the side of the rear drum sight.

One of the biggest surprises about the Marui MP5A5 is it’s sliding stock, specifically how rugged it is! It doesn’t rattle or wobble around when in either position, and slides smoother than farting through silk.

The stock design replicates the older, non-padded telescoping stock design (which I prefer). The stock has only two positions, fully extended or fully closed. Heckler & Koch do make both a two or four position sliding stock, but this design is also my preferred choice due to it’s simplicity.

When fully retracted, the stock bars slide along built-in channels on the side of the MP5A5, these also provide an additional degree of rigidity to the firearm as a whole.

A steel bodied magazine makes an interesting addition, boasting a 72 round capacity and switchable internally to a real world capacity of 30 rounds. The internals of the NGRS MP5 magazine are similar to NGRS M4 magazines, with a cut off lever to stop the replica firing when the magazine is empty. Sadly though, you’ll have to provide your own red tape.

The seesaw latch prevents the follower from moving past a 30 round capacity if so desired.

Internals

As this is a Next Generation Recoil Shock model, you’d be correct in thinking that the internals are rather different to previous generation MP5 models.

The barrel and hop use Marui’s existing AEP design… Yes, you’ve read that right; AEP as in Airsoft Electric Pistol. Rumours are that Marui consider this to be their best overall hop design, with it offering good performance in a compact package. It’s worth noting that the Mk46 Mod.0 also used this hop design and I’ve personally not had any complaints about it’s accuracy or range, I’d also put money on future NGRS builds using the same hop design.

The brass inner barrel is a full 229mm, with an internal bore of 6.08mm. I’m a fan of brass barrels in general, and Marui’s barrels in my experience offer a very consistent and smooth finish that’s hard to beat.

Note the profile of the barrel, profiled to a bare minimum to assist in fitting batteries within the MP5A5’s forward hand guard.

At the heart of the NGRS MP5A5 is the M-System Electronic Control Unit (ECU). The M-System’s name is derived from it’s use of magnetic switches that are used to control the fire selector mode, and for sensing when the cocking handle is in the forward position. There is an element of mechanical ingenuity to the design, which also helps keep the overall feel of the replica suitably rugged.

This system incorporates a micro switch activated MOSFET type trigger, with an ECU (electronic control unit) controlling the entire replica. Put simply, a MOSFET equipped ECU is a gateway that opens and shuts without any mechanical limitations, effectively allowing full electrical current from the moment the switch is pressed. It also contains a micro processor that controls certain actions such as motor spin duration, and provides a number of useful features within the replica’s design such as three round burst and stop on empty.

What does this translate to for the average user? Well… No more corrosion or arcing on the trigger contacts (because they simply don’t exist) and a much better trigger response time due to the MOSFET trigger control providing full current, instantaneously. The M-System also appears to have cycle completion built in, this is rather important due to the gearbox itself not possessing an anti-reversal latch.

A dry fire mode is also available for testing or theatrical work. To use, simply rack the cocking handle back three times and the replica will continue to fire, even with an empty magazine. To deactivate this feature, simply rack the cocking handle another three times or disconnect the battery.

A blue light indicates that the replica is in dry fire mode.

The wiring on the M-System loom terminates onto an MR30 micro connector, it’s an unusual choice thats rarely used outside of RC aircraft but one that works well enough. The supplied MR30 appears to be a genuine AMASS connector, rated up to a constant 30A draw (Mini Tamiya is 15A, Deans is 60A).

An adaptor for the MR30 connector is supplied, although I’d change it from Mini Tamiya to Deans at first opportunity.

Upon inspection, the hop unit appears close in design to that used in the NGRS M4 series. Adjustment is accomplished via a drum accessed through the open ejection port, with the drum providing a secure adjustment that’s both easy to use and not prone to drifting.

The hop will happily lift .28 ammo, with .3 ammo being lifted but falling short a little quicker than I’d like for woodland games. The hop unit is also attached to the front of the gearbox shell, which should assist with a consistent air seal.

With the charging handle held to the rear, it’s easy enough to adjust the MP5A5’s hop unit.

The magazine design is proprietary, but it has echoes of the original NGRS M4 design. It uses the same mechanical stop on empty lever, although it’s easy to see Marui have looked to improve upon their older magazines when you look inside.

No seesaw action on the stop on empty, the cut off is a direct and simple upwards movement.

The gearbox shell has a number of well designed features, making this one of the easier designs to work on. The wiring can be completely removed from the outside of the gearbox, with purpose build channels with built in retention clips providing ample routing for the wiring loom.

The front of the cylinder window has also been “radiused” to prevent stress on this well known weak point of AEG gearbox design.

Will this allow stronger springs to be used? I’m not convinced. But it shows that Marui are taking steps to prolong the life of this new gearbox design. Either way, it costs nothing and adds strength; An overall net win.

Note the radius cut into the corners near the rear of the brass cylinder, helping reduce the wear on a natural weak point.

The most eye opening revelation internally is that the MP5A5 lacks an anti-reversal latch, the component on most AEGs that prevents reverse travel of the gear train. What does this mean for you and me? Well, if you’re looking to build a replica that has instantaneous trigger response, an AR latch is a vital component for pre-cock enabled ECUs.

Without an AR latch, the spring will simply spin the gear-train backwards until the spring reaches it’s fully decompressed position. Does this mean that companies like Gate and Black Talon Concepts are unable to produce a feature loaded ECU?

Well, if Marui were easy to source spares from, I’d actually say there wouldn’t be much point; As stock, this is arguably the most feature packed control system on the market. But given Marui’s track record with spares, I’d like to see a more rugged aftermarket option made available.

Black Talon Concept’s Spectre ECU revolutionised the NGRS M4 platform, and I’d love to see the same support given to the new MP5A5

Aside from this, the gearbox looks rather like most other NGRS models. The cylinder/head, piston assembly, spring and gear-train are all NGRS V2 (M4/416)compatible. Other parts appear to be proprietary, but the spring guide is apparently close enough to a V3 (AK) for it to work.

The recoil weight is positioned above the gearbox, as per their NGRS G36 and AK designs. Weighing around 300 grams and extending towards the front of the replica, it helps give the MP5A5 a noticeable judder to it’s faux recoil. The recoil operation is rather short in stroke, using a rack and pinion design to double the travel of the ejection port cover when in use; Another clever move by Marui.

A standard sized Marui EG1000 V2 long shaft motor is housed within the pistol grip, making upgrades a future possibility. Although I’d advise waiting until a suitable ECU is available as several owners have already fried the stock M-System ECU by swapping out to higher torque/brushless motors.


Compatability

External compatibility is still very much trial and error. I’ve seen a lot of weird and wonderful stuff fitted to NGRS MP5A5s, but bear in mind that one guys idea of how a rail should fit might be different to yours. One guy’s wobbly rail is another guy’s “thats good enough”. Eagle 6 are offering a couple of pre-modified options, but for those looking to do it yourself, you’ll want to keep yourself informed of what the NGRS MP5 community is currently trialling.

I have personally found that VFC clones of the SureFire 628 Lighted Fore-End and the Knight’s Armament Co. MP5 RAS fit exceptionally well. The only modification that I’ve carried out on the Surefire clone, is the removal of two internal ribs to allow a little more battery space. The KAC is cavernous, although most batteries will be visible within the RAS unless rail covers are used.

This is getting out of hand, now there are two of them!

Looking at optic mounts, G&G low profile AEG claw mounts seem to be the best budget option, and are rock solid to boot. Real mounts have been said to fit perfectly, or don’t fit at all depending on who you speak to. Again, please be aware that fitting to personal acceptance isn’t always indicative of something fitting correctly.

Stocks are another area of conflicting information, some say both VFC and real full body stocks fit, others say that they need a little work. As with any second hand information, I generally treat it with a degree of scepticism. Anything can be made to fit, it’s usually a question of time, money and/or competence.


Performance

Performance isn’t an easy metric to quantify, but ultimately it’s the only one that matters when stacking it against the competition. Previous NGRS models have set the bar rather high, but can this revolutionary design live up to it’s senior brethren?

Well, let’s start with the good stuff: both range and accuracy are par for the course for a Marui NGRS replica. I despise putting an actual number on maximum range, but I will confidently say that using the MP5A5 in open woodland didn’t leave me feeling outgunned against your average airsofter.

FPS wise, it sites around 260 with .25 ammo (0.8 joules), putting it comfortably under the UK limit, but not exactly gutless. With a few tweaks, I’m sure it could be pushed close to 1.1 joules without significant trouble.

The feel and sound of the MP5A5 firing is also pretty much exactly what I wanted it to be. The trigger response is very good, although not quite the bleeding edge release that I’ve come to expect from a pre-cocked Gate Titan/BTC Spectre equipped NGRS. The rate of fire is also reassuringly rapid, at a weapon correct cyclic rate of around 800 rounds per minute.

So why did the review take so long? Well, the truth is that I kinda broke my first MP5A5. Not completely, but certainly enough to cause a few issues. Despite the wonders of the internet and Marui even putting a thin red stripe on one of the wires to mark it as positive, I still managed to wire up my Lipo backwards.

It was only connected for a few seconds, but the damage was immediate. My only indication that something was wrong was an acrid smell of ozone, and the uneasy warmth coming from the motor and battery. This caused me to lob the Lipo out my window like an M67 frag grenade. Another £12 down the drain.

I rewired it straight away, but after several months of intermittent issues with the first MP5, I bit the bullet and bought a second one just to make sure it was me and not the replica itself that had caused the issues.

The issues caused by the reverse-polarity mishap were the following:

  • Double feeding
  • Misfeeding
  • Unwinding sound after each shot

Whilst it might seem mental to buy a second replica without knowing if it was the replica or me at fault, I felt at the very least that it wasn’t right to complete a review until I knew without a doubt that the issues I’d suffered from were caused by me, and not a symptom of bad design.

But how exactly could a few seconds of reverse polarity cause such issues? The M-System ECU uses a number of FETs within it’s board, the key ones being used to control the primary action of the motor, but others are used to assist with the cycle completion. The M-System also appears to use preset active breaking, which given the lack of an AR Latch is vital to ensuring that there is no rearward spin on the gear train.

By connecting the Lipo the wrong way, it’s likely that I’ve damaged the FETs responsible for controlling active breaking, causing the over-spin and rearward movement that I’m seeing and hearing on my MP5A5. In fact, I can see that one of the diodes is cracked, likely causing the issues I’ve seen.

Note the crack running through that black block, a sure sign of damage.

How does this translate into double feeds and failures to feed? Probably back pressure and nozzle/tappet timing; When the gear set over spins, it causes the rearward movement of the piston. This rearward spin causes the nozzle to move back out the way after chambering a round, allowing a second to be fed into the hop unit or sometimes pulling the initially chambered round back out.

I have also noticed that my first MP5A5 has somewhat of a stiff magazine well, something that isn’t present in my second purchase. This could also be contributing to some of the issues, although almost everyone else I’ve spoken to doesn’t appear to have an issue with theirs.

To date I’ve put around 9/10k rounds through my first MP5A5, and a further 2k through the new one. The problems have been consistently present with the first one but non-existent with it’s replacement. After extensive use with the second MP5, I’m happy that the issue was caused by me, and that there doesn’t appear to be a systemic issue with the design.

Overview

The NGRS MP5A5 is Marui’s new flagship model, and one that has been welcomed with open arms by the community. No other replica has been so hotly anticipated, eagerly pre-ordered or sold out as quickly as the NGRS MP5A5, with in my estimation around 200 units sold in the U.K. alone on their initial batch. Did Marui expect it to be so popular? probably not, but whether its the global shortage of microchips or some other reason, theres one dark cloud that has overshadowed it’s release.

So far, parts and spares support has been nothing short of shocking. Despite the MP5A5 being arguably Marui’s biggest success from launch, they’ve failed to manufacture enough magazines to keep up with demand. There’s also not been a massive push for aftermarket parts, something that ultimately left the Mk46 Mod 0 in a category of “I’d love to use it, but I’m shit scared to break something I cant replace”. But the NGRS crowd are generally quite happy to spend money on parts or upgrades, with the majority of NGRS owners having at least one or two modifications to their stock replica; something that we can only hope is met with enthusiastic support by parts and spares manufacturers over the coming years.

The Mk46 Mod.0, Marui’s greatest achievement? Or its biggest failure? It all depends on the context.

It’s been more than 6 months since it’s release, and many potential buyers still can’t get hold of one. And those that can, might not be able to find enough magazines to actually field it. I’m aware of the irony of me having used mine from release and having bought a second MP5 to boot, but I just happened to be in the right place at the right time.

I know of 3 other buyers within my circle of friends who have an NGRS MP5A5 but don’t have any spare magazines. Despite using mine since release, I’ve not seen anyone else bring one to a game. So far, this replica is woefully underrepresented in the field, and without magazines and parts support it will never live up to its potential.

Will parts support pick up? I hope to god it does! Because if something proprietary breaks (such as the M-System ECU), you’re going to be left with a 500 paperweight. So far, theres only one upgrade available for the NGRS MP5A5; an inner barrel made by Laylax. Quite frankly, that’s not enough to support the customer base. Unless we see a ruggedized upgrade for the ECU as a bare minimum, It’s going to hamper the abilities of their customer base on how far they can push the performance of this replica.

Final Thoughts

We’ve now come to that inevitable part of the review, the part where the only question that really matters gets answered; Can I recommend the Marui NGRS MP5A5 or not?

Well, I did buy two of them!

Overall, the NGRS MP5 is a pretty cool bit of kit. If like me, you’ve been bitten at an early age by the MP5 bug, it’s simply too desirable to resist. It has a number of features that make it far more immersive in use than it’s competitors, a functional cocking handle, stop on empty and three round burst; Quite simply, it’s the most feature packed MP5 you can buy.

As for price? It’s going to cost you £650 for a gun and four mags (or thereabouts). Haters will say that a Cyma can shoot better for less money; But it won’t touch the Marui from stock, and no amount of money will give you the recoil, stop on empty and control features that the Marui comes with out the box.

It’s nearest rival is arguably the Systema TW5; a replica that costs twice as much, still has no recoil and is increasingly hard to find. This puts the Marui NGRS MP5A5 in a unique position, one that in my opinion is hard to beat. All in all, a great addition to any collection.

If you’ve made it this far, thank you for reading. Both replicas were purchased at full price from Eagle 6 and Airsoft Direct respectively. Thanks to both for their service and in particular, Rich at Eagle 6 for the advice and help regarding the issues I’d been having with the mis-feeding.