Echo 1 ER16 AEG
Echo 1 ER-16 Commando AEG review by Booligan
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After what seemed like a bit of an AEG drought, Echo 1 has shot back into the scene with their new ER16, an M4 based AEG with several features that are totally new for Echo 1. Featuring attractive features like ambidextrous controls, functional bolt catch, and a free float RIS kit, with an extremely affordable price, this gun is a great option for beginners or pros, and I will cover all of the good and bad points of this gun in this review!
I obtained this AEG directly from Echo 1, in order to review it here on Airsoft Retreat. It is currently available at most airsoft retailers that stock Echo 1 guns, such as Evike, ASGI, Stryke Airsoft, and more. The gun is priced between $205 and $225 or so, with the cheapest price I've seen at the time of this review being at Evike. It includes Echo 1's warranty against manufacturer defects, giving you some peace of mind against getting a DOA gun.
The ER16 comes packaged in a cardboard box with foam base, which helped it survive the rigors of shipping quite well. The box is pretty plain, which is a nice contrast to some airsoft gun boxes that are plastered with random pictures and info that may not be applicable to the gun. It just has some really basic info about the gun, as well as the ER16 logo. My first impression of the gun once opening the box is overwhelmingly positive, from the unique receiver design, to the perfect size for CQB use.
From this point, click all photos to enlarge
Echo 1 put together a nice package with the gun, including a 9.6v nunchuck style battery, trickle charger, two rail covers, a QD sling mount, and two hi-cap magazines. It also includes a manual, which helps you get the gun up and running the first time, as well as diagnose basic issues that you may have with the gun.
Weight: 7 lbs
Width: Â 2.25"
Height: About 7" (folded sights)
Sight Radius: 15"
This is a full metal replica, featuring a metal receiver, RIS, outer barrel, sights, and more. The only plastic parts on the gun are the stock, grip, and rail covers. I will cover the specific parts of the gun in this section, including any issues that I've run into during the course of my testing.
In keeping with my review tradition, I will start with the stock, which is a Crane style unit that houses the battery. It is retractable to 5 different positions, and locks securely into each one. The stock has a slight amount of wobble on the buffer tube, but it's not so bad as to cause problems. The rubber butt pad comes off, allowing you to install the included battery. The battery compartment is designed to fit 2/3A sized cells, and it fits the included 9.6v quite well, as well as some nunchuck cell LiPo batteries that I've tested.
Wiring inside the buffer tube
Moving forward, you will encounter the metal receiver, which is not a standard M4 design. It has several unique features that set it apart from the hordes of M4s out there. At the very rear, you will find two QD sling mount attachment points. These are actually screwed directly into the receiver. The next unique point is the ambidextrous selector switch, which allows you to change your fire mode from both sides of the gun, which is very useful for left handed users. The right sided selector switch has a cut out in it to avoid interference with your finger if you are holding it with your right hand. The ambidextrous trend is continued with ambidextrous magazine release buttons, as well as bolt catch levers. The bolt catch is functional, but in my use, it tends to get caught on the hop-up gears occasionally, preventing it from returning forward entirely. On my gun, the upper receiver had a slight wobble, which I corrected by putting two small pieces of velcro on the gearbox to fill the gap.
Receiver, left side
Receiver, right side
Right side magazine and bolt release
Left side magazine and bolt release
Left side selector switch
Right side selector switch
QD sling mount point
The grip is a standard M4 style grip, which is comfortable to hold, even for long durations. The motor base is non-ventilated, and has a flat head motor height adjustment screw. The trigger guard is curved and contoured to allow comfortable use while wearing gloves. Like most other AEGs, the trigger pull is light and predictable.
Moving forwards, you will see the free float RIS system, which gives you plenty of real estate to mount accessories. The rails have laser engraved reference numbers, to allow consistent mounting of the aforementioned accessories. My rail was mounted incredibly solidly, with no wobble whatsoever. The top of the RIS forms an unbroken line of rails with the upper receiver, giving you a monolithic design.
Bottom of RIS
The outer barrel is a one piece metal unit, which, like the RIS, mounts up with zero wobble. The outer barrel length is about 9.75" long, and is terminated in a 14mm- threaded muzzle. The included flashhider is an orange plastic birdcage unit, that is secured with a 1.5mm grub screw.
Outer barrel and flashhider
Aiming the ER16 is accomplished using the included flip up iron sights. The rear is a flip up 200-600m type sight, which folds quite low on top of the rail, only a half inch or so above the rail deck. The front sight is integrated into the gas block, and features a locking lever to keep it folded when not in use. The rear sight is adjustable for windage and elevation without tools, and the front is adjustable for elevation using a standard M4 front sight tool. The top rail allows mounting of optics, which can be set up either to compliment the iron sights, or to replace them.
Rear iron sight
Rear sight, folded
Front sight, folded
Profile of folded front sight
Overall, with a few small exceptions (iffy bolt catch system, slight receiver wobble), the externals are extremely high quality, especially considering the price. This gun is a great starting point for a custom buildup with a unique body and features!
The gun does not feature real steel trademarks, instead having custom Echo 1 designed ones. The serial number is not unique for each gun, which would be a nice touch. The trades are all engraved, but not too deeply, so they could be painted over if you felt so inclined.
Left receiver trades
Right receiver trades
Selector switch trades
The ER16 includes two full metal hi-cap magazines, each of which holding 300 rounds. They are the standard ACM design, with the side hole for rapid winding. They fit well into the magwell with just a little bit of wobble. I tested several brands of magazines in the gun, and aside from some slight wobble issues, they all fed well. I couldn't find a magazine that didn't work in this gun in my testing.
Baseline performance after a 500 round break in period is as follows:
FPS (Recorded using TSD.20g BBs shot through a Madbull V1 chrono):
Average over 10 shots: 410.6
With a velocity that high, and using an ACM 9.6v 1100 mAh mini battery, ROF left a little something to be desired, only capping out in the 13-14 RPS range. I intend to downgrade the spring and use this gun in a CQB role, and I will update this section once I do that.
The hop-up does a pretty effective job at putting backspin on the BBs, and I would recommend using heavier ammo, in the .23-.28g range for the best mix of range and velocity. Using Echo 1 .25g BBs, I was able to put 90% of my ammo on a torso sized target at 140', which is decent considering the 275mm inner barrel length. Changing the hop-up bucking and nub, and adding a tightbore barrel would certainly improve the accuracy, but for now, it is certainly skirmishable out of the box.
This gun utilizes a V2 gearbox, with a few small changes to allow for the functional bolt catch and ambidextrous controls. These changes make disassembly slightly different than a normal M4 variant, but it's not too difficult.
First off, you need to remove the normal parts required to strip an M4, including pushing out both receiver pins (thought they will remain in the gun due to the captive pin design), unscrewing the stock attachment screw, punching out the small pin in front of the selector, removing the pistol grip, and taking out the magazine release. Things get a little different at this point. First, pry the little caps off of the selector switches, exposing the small hex screw underneath. You then need to unscrew both of these, and remove both selector switches. You will then find that the bolt catch may prevent the gearbox from coming out, so just punch out the pin holding it into the receiver, and remove it as well. The gearbox will now come out of the lower receiver easily.
Once removed, you will see that it has a few differences compared to a standard V2, namely the ambidextrous selector gear assembly, a special sector plate, and the bolt catch assembly. The gearbox does have metal bushings, which appear to be at least 7mm in size. The gun also has a metal spring guide, and a brass colored spring, which appears to be in the M110-M120 strength range. As with most stock guns, a reshim and relube would be great ideas.
Gearbox, velcro is installed to reduce upper receiver wobble
Right side selector
Spring guide and spring
The inner barrel is about 275 mm long, and the gun features a one piece metal hop-up. The bucking is a standard design, and is easily replaced with any of the myriad aftermarket options out there. One incredibly odd thing is that the end of my bucking was teflon taped stock. This is the first time that I've seen this on a stock AEG, ever.
Barrel and hop-up
Lastly, the motor seems to be a standard torque long unit, which is covered with a few Echo 1 stickers. At this power level, a high torque motor would be a good idea, but downgrading the spring is also a very viable option. Either way, the gun functions just fine stock, but there's always room for improvement.
I sound like a broken record in these reviews sometimes, but this gun is based on an M4, so the modification and customization options are quite literally limitless. I've thrown a few rail mounted accessories onto mine, to complete the CQB style look. This gun looks like its ready to be in my hands as I kick down some doors.
Very affordable - About $200
Skirmishable performance out of the box
Full metal receiver
Free float RIS
Includes decent accessories, such as flip up sights, rail covers, and two mags
Crane stock for discrete battery storage
Occasionally sticky bolt catch
Shoots too hot for CQB
ROF is just okay, but downgrading the FPS would improve it
Slight upper receiver wobble - easily fixed
Things were looking pretty grim for a few months back, with almost no new ACM guns being released, but Echo 1 surprised me with the release of the ER16, and I think it's a great surprise. The gun combines unique features, ambidextrous controls, and a great layout to deliver a very user friendly gun, ready for you to customize and make your own. I'm very impressed with how the gun turned out, and am very happy to add it to my collection!
Many thanks again to Echo 1 and of course, Airsoft Retreat!