Echo 1 E90
Echo 1 E90 (FN P90) review by Booligan
Table of Contents:
Real Steel History
Basic Gun Information
Well, I had put off purchasing a TM P90 for about 5 years for one reason or another, and I was on the brink of buying one when the news that there were going to be several other companies releasing their own models namely Echo 1 and Classic Army. I was quite happy with this news, and decided that it would be wise to wait until these other guns came out in order to see which one would come out on top of the quality and performance pyramid. I'm not going to get into THAT argument, but I'll let the information on all of the various models by all the various manufacturers speak for itself.
Real Steel History:
The P90 is a Belgian designed submachine gun. The weaponâ€™s name is an abbreviation of Project, and the number 90, which specifies a weapon system of the 1990s. The P90 is considered a Personal Defense Weapon (PDW), and was designed as a compact but powerful firearm for vehicle drivers, operators of crew-served weapons, support personnel, special operators and anti-terrorist units.
Developed between 1986â€“1987 by StÃ©phane Ferrard at Fabrique Nationale de Herstal, the P90 features a compact bullpup design, ambidextrous grip and a polymer and alloy-based construction. The weapon contains several innovative features, including the proprietary 5.7x28mm ammunition.
The P90 and variants are in use by over twenty military and police forces worldwide, and sports models are popular among civilian shooters.
Real FN P90 TR, with visible laser module
(Taken from www.wikipedia.org and www.fnhusa.com)
I was contacted by Echo 1 USA right at the launch of the E90 and asked if I wanted to review it here on Airsoft Retreat. Being that I have had a crush on the P90 design for the better part of a decade, I of course said yes. There has been a lot of buildup about this model, and a lot of mystery, debate, even arguments about who the actual manufacturer is. Well, I'm not going to go into that debate here, but I will say that I have been informed by Echo 1 that they had this gun built by themselves in China, and that they own the molds. Given the amount of Echo 1 specific things molded into the body and receiver (not engraved after production; actually molded in), I'm inclined to believe their information.
Regardless, the gun is a quality piece of equipment, which I'll get into later, and is available at most mainstream airsoft retailers priced at about $155, which includes Echo 1's US based 30 day warranty.
Basic Gun Information
The P90 is a submachine gun featuring a bullpup layout, which allows for a relatively long inner barrel in a compact package. In this case, the inner barrel is 247mm (9.7â€) long, while the overall length is only 505mm (19.8â€). This allows for a highly accurate weapon in relation to its overall size. The E90 somewhat follows the lines of the real P90 by featuring an ABS body (the real P90 is a mil-grade polymer, but I digress) and a metal upper receiver, improving on the Tokyo Marui model in this regard. This gives you a very sturdy gun with absolutely zero creaks, bending, flexing, or other observable strength issues.
The gun arrived in a silver and black box, with profile and top views of the gun, as well as several Echo 1 logos. The box has a foam insert with molded in crevices for all of the included accessories, which hold everything securely during shipping. Nothing is too close to the edges of the box, so I don't foresee any broken bodies or muzzles due to shipping brutality.
From here on, click to enlarge pics
Everything tucked away
Echo 1 included some nice add-ins with this gun, including two Standard (68 round) capacity magazines, complete with faux bullets, a black metal flashhider, 9.6v 1100 mAh mini battery w/ trickle charger, the normal cleaning/unjamming rod, a manual, and a warranty card that must be sent in after receipt to ensure warranty coverage.
All of the included accessories
Weight: 4.5 lbs
Width: 2.25" at widest point
Height (Sight to grip): 7.48"
Sight Radius: 5.1"
This is one of those rare models where having the majority of the gun manufactured out of plastic is a good thing, as it stays true to the actual firearm. The metal content on this gun is pretty much right on the money compared to the real gun, with everything that should be metal being made of, well, metal.
This is an interesting gun to review because of many separate external parts, it more or less consists of two main sections, which I'll call the body and the receiver. The body is the plastic portion that you hold onto, which houses the trigger mechanism, battery, magazine release, and the gearbox. The receiver is the metal portion which houses the inner barrel and hop-up, rails for mounting optics and accessories, muzzle, and the mock cocking handles.
The body, which is made of textured plastic, provides the bulk of the weight for this gun, being that it houses the battery and gearbox. It is back heavy on its own, but when you attach the receiver, it tends to balance it out much better, although still remaining somewhat back heavy; a normal trait of bullpup weapons. The gun is comfortable to shoulder, due to the contoured buttpad which is removed to install the battery. You accomplish this by pushing the button at the bottom of the buttpad and sliding it down. This allows access to the rear compartment so you can put the battery in or take the gearbox out.
Push this button...
... and slide the buttpad down
The battery is installed in the opening at the top of the compartment, and fits snugly and securely. The wires are may cause a hangup while putting the buttpad back on, so ensure they are tucked away and put on the little hook on the back piece that holds in the gearbox. The battery wires must be pushed down when installing the buttpad or you'll never get it closed.
The rear end of the body can best be described as a big rectangle with a slot for mounting a sling at the bottom. Not much else to say about it other than it is curved at the top to provide a nice cheek weld for both left and right handed operators.
The grip is at an odd angle, but is still quite comfortable to hold. The grip angle feels similar to a weapon like the M14, but is better suited for those with smaller hands. Those with big hands should have no fear though, as I have huge banana fingers and I can hold it just fine.
The gun has a foregrip molded in, complete with ridge at the front to keep your hand from sliding in front of the muzzle. The foregrip configuration, like the main grip, are better suited for operators with smaller hands and that aren't wearing bulky gloves.
Front body with receiver installed.
The trigger and selector assembly are completely ambidextrous, and are unique to the P90. The trigger is a plastic straight pull-back design, and is a two stage system when the selector is in Auto mode. The selector is an ambidextrous rotary design, and has three settings, safe, semi, and full auto, labeled as a white S, and a red 1 and A. When in safe (S) mode, the trigger cannot be pulled back, obviously. When in semi (1) mode, the trigger pulls back to one position, firing one shot. In auto (A) mode, the trigger can be pulled halfway back, firing one shot on semi, or all the way back, firing continuously in full auto. This mode will feel very familiar to anyone who has ever shot an AUG. The trigger pull is a little long, and not terribly light, but it certainly works.
The hop-up adjuster is hidden underneath a little sliding door in the main grip portion of the body. The adjuster itself is a rotary dial and can be set using a finger. The body near this on my gun had a slight chip, which is merely a cosmetic issue.
Door open, adjuster visible
There is a mock ejection port at the bottom of the body, but it doesn't serve any function.
The receiver is made of cast metal, and looks like a zinc alloy. It looks to be cast fairly well, with no major defects that I can see, aside from some minor casting marks where the magazine sits. It houses the mock cocking handles which pull to the rear and snap back with a satisfying snap. One thing to look out for is the small handles themselves, which are attached by two small screws which can work their way out after some use. Keep them tightened up and you'll be fine.
Cocking handle pulled back
The top and side rails are both 20mm in width, to allow for most normal optics and accessories to be mounted. The top rail is attached by three screws and hasn't shown any sign of weakness on my gun, as another owner reported. To play it safe, don't mount a carry handle on the rail and use it to support the gun. The rail also has rudimentary non-adjustable iron sights, but I find them far too low to be usable.
The muzzle is threaded 14mm-, to allow mounting of the included metal flashhider, or various mock mock mock silencers or muzzle devices. The gun comes with an odd orange tip, which isn't really threaded on at all. It's kind of pushed on, and to be removed, you must pull it while unscrewing it clockwise. There is a knurled ring threaded on to help you clock, or align, whatever muzzle device you put on. Use care when attaching a muzzle device to this gun, because the design of the threaded tip makes it easy to cross-thread and potentially damage the muzzle or flashhider.
Muzzle, no flashhider attached
Black metal flashhider attached
Overall, I was pleased with the externals on the E90. It looked and felt like the real PS90 that I had the privilege of shooting, and that's really all you can ask from an airsoft gun.
This is where the â€œwho made itâ€ argument gets interesting. Normally, Echo 1 trademarks are either machined or painted on, after the actual pouring of the body material into the mold. You see, making molds is expensive, and you usually can't just whip one up with your own trades. In this case, the gun has several fully molded in Echo 1 trades, made during body molding. This leads me to believe that the Echo 1 E90 really was built by a Chinese factory contracted directly by Echo 1, and that it will have some differences from any other ACM P90 that may come out.
The trademarks are as pictured below.
There is a serial number molded in on the front of the receiver, but it is not unique.
EN20081030. The official release date was 10/30/2008, so that's where I'm guessing the number came from. Pretty creative if you ask me.
One of the high points of the E90 is that it includes two 68 round magazines, complete with faux bullets. The magazine clicks into its top feeding position well, and feed flawlessly. The mag release is operated by pulling it back while lifting out the magazine.
Pulling the mag release back
The gun is fully compatible with TM magazines, and Echo 1 is working on a hi-cap, as well as a box mag for the gun.
Now, there are two faux cartridges inside the magazine that can come loose and rattle around, but they can be easily secured by opening up the mag and gluing them into their positions, as I will show in this section.
Outer magazine shell removed, just unscrew it
These two faux cartridges can get loose. Just glue them in
There is actually a magazine clamp available to attach two mags together on the gun, but it is designed for the real P90 and needs mods to fit the airsoft mags. I improvised and used electrical tape to make my own clamp. I plan on building an actual clamp out of aluminum at a later date.
FPS with .20g TSD BBs came in at 376 FPS average after a 500 round break-in period, shot through a Madbull Chrono.
ROF using the stock 9.6v battery was 11.5 RPS, with an Intellect 9.6v 1600 mAh mini battery delivering 13 RPS. A battery upgrade would be a good idea.
Range and accuracy was pretty surprising. With .25g BBs, I could hit a man sized target 90% of the time at 155', which is why I love bullpup layout guns. Lots of barrel in a tiny package.
Overall, it shoots like a Echo 1, plain and simple. You can take this gun to a skirmish and do just fine against most users.
Access to the internals is a simple affair, requiring only a phillips head screwdriver to access everything inside. The disassembly process starts by seperating the receiver and body by removing the magazine and pushing the button at the rear of the receiver, which allows you to slide the components apart.
Push this button...
... and seperate the components
This allows you to remove the hop-up and inner barrel by pushing it in slightly and rotating it 90 degrees either way so the lug can slide out of the gap in the receiver. The hop-up is made of an ugly semi-translucent plastic, but that allows you to see the Madbull blue bucking pre-installed from the factory. One of the benefits of being part of the same company I guess. The inner barrel is 247mm long and is the standard 6.08mm inner bore as far as I can tell.
In the locked position
Rotated and removed
Removed from gun
Gearbox removal is accomplished by first removing the butt pad and battery, then by unscrewing the two phillips head screws on the base plate inside the compartment. The piece will now come right out, as will the gearbox.
The E90 comes equipped with a modified V6 gearbox, equipped to handle standard 7mm bushings instead of normal V6 bushings. This is handy for those that want to modify the stock components, although it comes from the factory with metal bushings, which are nicely machined and should take typical airsofter abuse with ease.
Echo 1 trades
The wiring looks to be very nice quality, but I have some concerns about the overall electrical system. The trigger contacts arc quite easily using the stock battery, and can lead to pitting on the contacts which will lead to firing issues. This can be remedied by installing a MOSFET, like can be found on www.awsairsoft.com. They have offered a 5% discount if you use this coupon code: Q5293D
The entire electrical system can be easily removed by taking out a few screws, allowing you to access the gearbox without fear of wires getting in the way.
Arcing damage after only a few hundred rounds
The motor is secured in a cage which must be removed to open the gearbox. It felt like a medium torque setup, offering some resistance when rotated by hand, but not as much as an SRC Ultra High Torque motor.
Motor installed in the cage, note the grease
This gearbox was greased to the brim. A gearbox cleanout and relube wouldn't be a terrible idea, but it shouldn't give you any problems as there are no electrical components inside the gearbox itself that would be effected by the grease.
Shot into the box... look at all that grease
Well, inside the box itself you'll find XYT stamped gears, a clear plastic tappet plate, a plastic spring guide with metal base and inner support and dual washer â€œbearingâ€ setup, 7mm machined metal bushings, plastic piston with aluminum ported head, plastic cylinder head with clear plastic air nozzle, ported cylinder, and a halfway decent shim job to boot.
Overall, the internals are quite nice, and after a quick clean, relube, and maybe a MOSFET, this will be more or less bulletproof. Without opening the box at all, it is plenty skirmishable and should be quite reliable, but certainly keep an eye on those trigger contacts.
Unfortunately, the P90 is somewhat lacking in the aftermarket support department, but there are some accessories available currently, with Echo 1 supposedly coming out with some more as well. On the horizon there should be an Echo 1 Hi-cap magazine, box mag, RIS kit, and Madbull has developed a PS90 outer barrel and Gemtech mock mock mock silencer for it. In the mean time, any 14mm- muzzle device will fit, and most 20mm mount accessories will fit on the rails.
Lots of firepower in a small package
Low cost ($155 usd)
9.6v battery included
Proper metal flashhider included
Skirmishable out of the box
Madbull hop-up bucking pre-installed from the factory
Shoots a tad high for CQB (380ish FPS)
Somewhat low ROF
Battery wires make buttpad install a pain
Not too much aftermarket support (yet)
Easily cross-threaded muzzle
Arcing/pitting on the trigger contacts
The Echo 1 E90 is certainly a great competitor in the current P90 airsoft arms race. It features great internals, a very good body, skirmishable performance, and the right accessories to make it a great buy. Overall, if you want an airsoft P90, the E90 should certainly be on your list of guns to look at.
Many thanks again to Echo 1, Advanced Wargame Systems and of course, AirsoftRetreat!