KWA CQR MOD 2 Review by Booligan
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Basic Gun Information
KWA has long been one of the most trusted airsoft manufacturers in the world, with their GBB offerings being some of the finest that you can buy. Their AEG models are also regarded as being top of the line, normally with a price to match. They've decided to shake up the AEG market by offering a new product line, the CQR series, which use KWA's proven 2GX internal components with a mixed metal/polymer body at a sub $200 price, over $100 off of the standard KM4 model. Today we'll be reviewing the KWA CQR MOD 4 Shorty, which is the CQB oriented model in the CQR product line, and comes with a shortened outer and inner barrel, and matching internal components for efficient operation.
I ordered this AEG through Airsoft Atlanta, who has it available HERE, priced at $189.95. KWA also has the full length M4A1 model available in the CQR line for roughly the same price. The gun was sent to me via UPS Ground, which got it to me in about a week from Atlanta. Lots of thanks to Airsoft Atlanta for their continued participation in Airsoft Retreat's review program!
Basic Gun Information:
As mentioned before, the KWA CQR line-up is a new, affordable AEG series available at most major airsoft retailers. Utilizing a metal upper and polymer lower receiver, it offers weight and cost savings over the standard KM4 series, while utilizing largely the same internal components. It has the same 2GX high strength gearbox, ball bearings, and the renowned 2GX hop-up system, which delivers great accuracy, even with this gun's short barrel. The components come together extremely well into a solid, reliable, and high performance package, all at a price point comparable to some JG and Dboys guns.
When the big black KWA box came sliding across my desk, I was eager to open it up and see what was inside. After sliding out the inner foam liner, I was very pleasantly surprised with the gun held within. I wasn't sure what I was expecting from the mixed metal/polymer construction, but when I pulled the gun out of the foam, I initially thought there had been a shipping mistake. The gun feels like it's fully made of metal, and the difference between the two materials seems minor. If you're concerned about the use of plastic in this gun, don't be.
From this point on, click on the thumbnails to view full size photos
Along with the rifle itself, KWA included a single K120 polymer midcap magazine, the required hex wrenches to clean and maintain the gun, a front sight adjustment tool, cleaning/unjamming rod, manual, muzzle cap, sticker, and warranty paperwork. There is no battery or charger included, so you must provide your own before you can use your new gun.
Weight: 6.5 lbs
Length: 26.5" – 29.75"
Height: 10.5 (sight to mag)
Sight Radius: 15"
LOP: 10.25" – 13.5"
The externals of the CQR are probably one of more bland aspects of the gun, as it's really just a plane Jane, bone stoke M4, albeit with a shorter barrel and chopped rear sight. There's just nothing fancy about it, however, the quality and construction are really top notch. Even though it's made up of mixed materials in the construction of the receivers, it comes together without any slop or wobble between the two. The coloring is a perfect match between the two, and it really is hard to tell at first glance and touch that they are in fact two different materials.
Overview, left side
Overview, right side
Well, it wouldn't be a Booligan review if I didn't start by talking about the stock. In this case, the CQR comes with a six position LE stock made of a high strength polymer that seems like it'll take abuse just fine. At the bottom of the stock, you'll find the normal sling mount, but you'll also find an ambidextrous single point sling mount at the front of the buffer tube.
Six position buffer tube
Ambi sling mount
The receivers are, as mentioned numerous times before, made of metal and plastic. The lower is made of a high strength polymer and the upper is made of metal, and both have a great satin black finish applied to them. The lower receiver is strong but flexible, allowing you to slightly pinch in the magwell, but it quickly rebounds back to shape. I think that this flexibility is a good thing, as the polymer used doesn't appear to be brittle or prone to cracking. The upper receiver is made of metal, and fits perfectly with the lower using a two pin "tilt forward" attachment method.
Right side of the receivers
The pistol grip and controls are standard M4 units, with a left sided selector switch allowing safe, semi, and full auto firing options. The magazine release is located on the right side, and allows most magazines to drop freely from the magwell. Pulling back the charging handle pops up the dust cover if closed, and slides back the faux bolt carrier, exposing the hop-up adjuster. The pistol grip is made of the same polymer as the stock, and fits your hand just fine. It has a ventilated, flat head adjustable base plate for easy motor height adjustments.
Motor adjustment plate
Charging handle pulled back
Moving forward from the receiver, you'll hit the standard M4 handguard, which is held in place with a real steel type delta ring. The fuse and extra wiring fit well inside the upper handguard, giving you room in the lower to fit your battery. This does limit your battery options, like all handguard battery compartments, but I was able to fit a few different LiPo options in there, as well as a 9.6v butterfly pack. There is some wobble in the handguard, due to the fact that it doesn't have bumps to lock onto the delta ring.
The outer barrel is made of metal and is a “one piece” design. It is totally free from any wobble or looseness with its connection at the upper receiver. It is terminated in a 14mm- threaded muzzle, and KWA included a metal flashhider with an orange painted section for federal compliance.
The iron sights are adjustable for windage and elevation, the rear being tool-less, and the front using the included adjustment tool. The rear sight is made of the same high strength polymer as the lower receiver, but you really wouldn't be able to tell unless you tried to scratch it. The front sight is metal and unfortunately has some wobble due to the lack of a grub screw in its mounting system. As with all standard M4 front sights, there is a sling mounting point for use with multi-point slings.
There are a few markings on the gun, all of them on the lower receiver. There is a molded in KWA marking on the left side, above painted-on model markings and a serial number. The painted markings were slightly faded on mine, so I'm not sure how long they will last with use. On the right side of the receiver, you'll find a molded in "Made in Taiwan" marking telling you where this thing came from.
Made in Taiwan mark
The included magazine is one of KWA's new K120 polymer mid-cap magazines. It resembles a PMag, but it has a few visual differences. Either way, it looks amazing and fits and feeds extremely well. It holds approximately 120 rounds and feeds them all except for the standard 3-4 rounds that get stuck between the mag and the feeding point.
One of the issues reported with early KWA models was the incompatibility with some magazines, including MAG midcaps. I tested mine with old Gen 1 and 2 MAG midcaps, VFC midcaps (took a solid whack to get it locked in), G&G, Army, JG, and Echo 1 hi-caps, as well as Star PMags. I didn't have any issues in my testing with either fitment or feeding, which really impressed me.
Performance after the KWA recommended 1000 round break-in period, using Matrix .20g BBs, shot through a Madbull Chronograph is as follows:
High FPS: 332 FPS
Low FPS: 324.2 FPS
Average FPS: 325.4 FPS
Rate of fire will obviously depend on the battery that you choose, but I'm happy to report that this thing just hoses BBs out, even with low output batteries. I tested it using a cheap ACM 9.6v 1100 mAh buttefly pack and got 19 RPS, which is pretty damn high for such a crappy battery. With a meatier 11.1v 1500 mAh 15c LiPo battery, I got 24 RPS, which is pretty screaming fast for this specific LiPo. KWA recommends that, while you can use LiPo packs in this gun, you keep it below 11.1v 1600 mAh/15C/20A.
Range and accuracy were the other shining stars of the performance round-up. Being a short barreled, low FPS CQB gun, I wasn't expecting too much range out of this thing, but with .25g Echo 1 ammo, I was putting shots out to 160' and still getting them on my torso sized target. Side to side consistency was fantastic, which I credit to the 2GX bucking/hop-up system. The gun just ran out of range at 160', which I assume is due to the low FPS. The rounds just ran out of backspin and speed and fell if I tried to seriously hit targets past that range. With the great ROF, CQB perfect FPS, and fantastic accuracy, this thing can easily be used in any situation you might come across.
Inside this wee beast you will find the same 2GX internals that you'll find on the $300 KWA models. Disassembly is a piece of cake with the exception of one part. The damn magazine release button uses a tiny little 1mm hex screw that was smaller than any of my wrenches, causing me to have to cut a notch in it with a dremel tool to unscrew it. Other than that, it's pretty much the same as any other front wired M4.
Once you yank the gearbox out, you'll see that it's an extremely solid box itself with plenty of reinforcement in the front. You'll have to work damn hard to crack this gearbox. Installed in the shell are 9mm ball bearings, which help everything run smoothly.
Left side of the gearbox
Big fat ball bearings
Inside the gearbox, you'll find beefy steel gears with a sector chip pre-installed, a polymer piston with an aluminum head, ball bearing metal spring guide, and deeply ported cylinder for optimized CQB airflow. The air nozzle is one of the proprietary parts with the KM4 line, as it is designed to fit perfectly and align into the hop-up. Surprisingly, the air seal wasn't that great, but it seemed to work well, so I didn't throw in a new o-ring yet. The gearbox was well shimmed and nicely lubed, without any extra tension on the gears and no extra lube slopping things up.
Inside the gearbox
The wiring is high quality with good strand count and flexibility, and the motor is marked as being a high torque unit. It doesn't have too strong of magnets, but that doesn't seem to hinder its performance.
The CQR uses a two piece hop-up set, and it works extremely well. A large part of that is the upper hop-up unit, which has a groove to fit perfectly with the air-nozzle, making it one of the few proprietary parts. The bucking has a special four bump design for consistent pressure on the BB in the hop-up chamber. Even the C-clip that locks the hop-up to the barrel has an extra little ridge to lock onto the barrel to keep it from rotating. The 300mm long inner barrel seems to be a pretty standard unit.
Hop-up and barrel
Lots of contact area
Being that this is pretty much a bone stock M4 replica, you can tweak or modify this thing to fit your desired look or performance goal. There are some people that pitch a fit about incompatibility with KWA M4 replicas, but really, the only thing that you might have issue with is the receiver itself, as it's specially designed to work with the 2GX two piece hop-up system.
Otherwise, the gun accepts most other stocks, grips, handguards, rails, etc. In my case, I'm throwing a CASV front end on, keeping the short barrel and fixed front sight, going with a DD fixed rear sight, and swapping out the stock and pistol grip for something different.
EDIT: Since the review, I've swapped out the outer barrel for a CQB length unit and installed a Lancer Tactical S-System front end. The thing is awesome!
Great value for what you're getting – Sub $200
Rock solid construction, even with the polymer lower and metal upper receivers
Great range and accuracy
Very fast rate of fire, depending on the battery you use
Ready to run mid level LiPo batteries out of the box
Proven 2GX gearbox and hop-up components
Includes a very nice midcap magazine
Some wobble in the front sight and handguard
Limited battery space in the handguard
Painted on trademarks are already fading on my gun
No speedloader included to fill up that midcap
Having never tested one of KWA's AEGs before, I wasn't sure what I was getting into. I'd heard that they were amazing performers out of the box, but I didn't know what yardstick these other players were comparing it to. I'm thrilled to say that out of the hundreds of guns that I've tested throughout the years, this really is one of the best performing stock guns that I've had the pleasure of using. It really is all that it's cracked up to be, and with a sub $200 price, it's really going to be hard to beat this one.
Many thanks again to Airsoft Atlanta, and of course, Airsoft Retreat!