Matrix/QP FAL OSW AEG review by Booligan
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Basic Gun Information
The FAL OSW is a shortened, folding stock and rail equipped tactical version of the FAL battle rifle. Before, if you wanted an airsoft version of this unique rifle, you needed to throw down $400-$500 on the CA version. Now there is a new affordable version available under various brand names, Matrix, QP, JG even AGM. Today I'm reviewing the gun that is available at Evike, which is listed as being a Matrix/JG model.
I obtained this rifle through Evike, who has it available HERE, priced at $210.00. A longer carbine version with a full stock and no RIS is available HERE, priced at $189.99, so if you're interested in that model, it is available as well and for $20 cheaper. The price qualifies it for Evike's free shipping promotion through UPS Ground which got me the package in 2 days from the date of shipping.
Basic Gun Information:
The Matrix FAL is a full metal AEG with a metal V3 gearbox. This specific model has a rock solid RIS quad rail at the front to mount various accessories as well as a folding stock that locks in place very well. It features a quick takedown feature for easy access to the internals, and a locking bolt catch for easy hop-up adjustment and increased realism. It's a heavy replica made almost entirely out of metal. The only polymer part of this gun is the pistol grip which is a big fat SAW type grip and is quite comfy.
The box was a pretty basic cardboard unit with foam sections in place to prevent damage to the gun while shipping. The outside of the box was a little bit beat up, but everything inside was safe and sound. Once I opened up the box, I was really pleased with the apparent quality of the gun, as it looked simply amazing. The paint finish looked good and the weight was quite heavy for a relatively small gun.
From this point on, click on the thumbnails to view full size photos
Along with the gun itself, you'll find a cleaning/unjamming rod, PEQ battery box, small bag of BBs, and a manual specific to this model. The BBs are your normal ACM crap, just don't bother with them and get something better. There is no battery included, however the battery box will hold a decent sized mini-type battery. I've got a 9.6v RPK configuration battery tossed in there now and it fits perfectly.
Battery I'm currently using
Weight: 8.6 lbs
Sight Radius: 18.75"
As mentioned before, this is a full metal replica as the only non-metal component is the pistol grip, which is made out of a high strength textured polymer. The gun is front heavy but feels great in your hands. It is heavy, due to its full metal construction, but the short barrel makes it pretty easy to maneuver. The full length top rail gives you plenty of options for mounting optics, and the quad rail on the front makes adding lights, lasers, or foregrips a piece of cake. The folding stock and RIS make placing a battery inside pretty much impossible without mods, so you need to use the included PEQ battery box. In order to place a small LiPo battery inside the gun, you'll need to remove the faux gas tube, giving you a small space to work with.
Overview, left side
Overview, right side
As usual, I'll start my external details by explaining the stock. The stock is made entirely out of metal, including the butt pad, and folds to the right side of the gun. To fold it, you must first push down on the stock to clear the locking ledge, then you can flip it to the right of the receiver. Unfolding it requires the same move, and it locks firmly into place in either position. The stock position is quite comfortable and allows easy use of the iron sights as well as low mounted optics on the rail.
Extremely beefy hinge
The pistol grip is a beefy SAW type unit that is really comfortable and easy to get a good grip onto. It has a mildly textured finish to the plastic as well as ridges molded in to prevent your hand from slipping off. Removing it will give you access to the motor cage for adjustments as needed.
Moving up from the grip, you'll hit the fire controls for the FAL. The controls are pretty basic, consisting of a trigger, selector switch, magazine release, and bolt catch. The trigger pull is pretty typical for a V3 equipped AEG, short and light. The selector switch is extremely satisfying to click into each position as it locks into place very well with a solid click. The bolt catch is functional but is quite stiff to release. The magazine locks into place without any wobble, but there's no click when it's locked in place. Just pull it back all the way and it'll be locked and ready to roll. Manipulating the magazine release is simple, just push it forward to release it.
The receiver itself is a large part of this gun's heavy weight as it is made entirely out of thick metal. It features molded in cosmetic touches and has a screwed in top rail. The top rail screws were a bit loose on my gun and required tightening before use. On the left side of the receiver you'll find the large cocking handle. Manipulating this handle will pull back the faux bolt, locking it into place. At the rear of the receiver, where the stock mounts, you'll find a sling mount.
Receiver, left side
Receiver, right side
Bolt locked back
Moving forward from the receiver, you'll hit the RIS system. The RIS mounts up extremely solidly with no wobble whatsoever. It serves as a place to mount the required PEQ battery box as well as your choice of accessories. It has laser engraved numbers on the rail surfaces for consistent mounting of your accessories.
The outer barrel is a full length metal unit terminated in a 14mm- threaded muzzle. The included flashhider is an orange plastic unit that basically exploded when I attempted to take it off. I replaced it with a Surefire type flashhider that adds an aggressive look to the gun. You'll notice the front sling point that is attached to the outer barrel.
Aiming this replica is made easy by the adjustable full metal iron sights that are integrated into the receiver and gas block. The rear sight is adjustable for windage and has two flip up apertures and the front is adjustable for elevation. In addition to the iron sights, you'll find a full length 20mm top rail for mounting optics.
Due to the somewhat anonymous pedigree of the gun, it should surprise absolutely no one that there are no trademarks to be found anywhere. Some of the guns that I've found on overseas websites have laser engraved serial numbers, but this model is devoid of any markings at all.
The included magazine is a huge hi-cap, holding about 550 rounds. As mentioned before, it locks into the magwell without any wobble, but the locking mechanism itself doesn't give any feedback that it's locked up. The magazine feeds well, and the gun is compatible with CA type FAL spares.
Performance after a 500 round break-in period, using Matrix .20g BBs, shot through a Madbull Chronograph is as follows:
High FPS: 391.4 FPS
Low FPS: 386.2 FPS
Average FPS: 388.7 FPS
Rate of fire will obviously vary depending on your chosen battery, but using the 9.6v battery out of my Echo 1 RPK, I was able to get 16 RPS. With my well used 11.1v 1500 mAh LiPo pack, I got 22 RPS. I'm going to try out some of Tenergy's new LiPo packs in the coming weeks, so we'll see what this does with them.
Range and accuracy were pretty good considering the short barrel that this thing has. I loaded it up with Echo 1 .28g ammo and put my torso sized target out to 150' and was able to easily hit it 90% of the time. Longer than that and I started to get issues with side to side deviation. The hop-up has enough friction to spin the heavyweight ammo out to further distances, but the main problem seems to be that side to side consistency. An H-hop bucking will probably work wonders in this gun!
Inside this gun you'll find a full metal V3 gearbox stuffed full of high quality internal components. Basic disassembly is pretty simple, only requiring you to unscrew two flat head screws on the receiver. This lets you separate the upper and lower receivers. On the RIS model, the front wiring makes this a bit tricky as you need to remove the RIS to give clearance for the wiring to go through the gap in the outer barrel. Once removed, you can unscrew the screw at the bottom of the pistol grip and pull out the gearbox.
Gearbox, other side
Inside the gearbox, you'll find steel gears, a metal spring guide with washer bearings, a high powered spring, steel non-ported cylinder, and polymer piston with steel half teeth. No clue why they threw in a half tooth piston, but it gets the job done. There's a small amount of lube, but the gun is shimmed pretty well. The airseal with the stock components is actually really good.
Inner gearbox components
Ported piston head
The electrical components are good quality, but the wiring is a little thin for my liking. The trigger unit has good quality contacts and should last a while even with a high powered battery. The motor is a high torque unit with plenty of power to pull back the stock spring.
The inner barrel is about 335mm long, and the gun has a one piece metal hop-up. The bucking is a standard design unit, and I'll be throwing an H-hop nub in there.
Inner barrel unit
As far as modifications go, this isn't the most supported model for bolt on aftermarket parts, but it does us a V3 gearbox, so internal mods are pretty simple. In my case, I just threw an AFG on the front along with a T1 type RDS for easy point shooting. The gun looks good now and shoots great too. I may get a cheek rest as the stock isn't the most comfortable thing to get a cheek weld on, but for now, it works pretty well. I have set it up to run an inner LiPo battery, which is a great improvement over the battery box.
Full metal, affordable FAL replica
Sturdy side folding stock
Quad rail RIS for mounting accessories
Functional bolt catch
Great stock positioning for using iron sights
Zero magazine wobble
Magazine catch, while very secure, doesn't give good feedback that the mag is inserted
No internal battery space
Stock isn't too comfortable due to the full metal construction
I wasn't sure what to expect with this replica, as I hadn't seen anything about it on any airsoft websites, but I'm happy to say that it turned out pretty awesome. It's heavy and solid, with no creaks or wobbles to detract from the shooting experience. The side folding stock makes storing it easier, but one handed stock folded shooting is made difficult by the heavy weight. The included rail makes accessorizing easy and lets you trick this thing out to your liking.
Many thanks again to Evike, and of course, Airsoft Retreat!