Bravo Airsoft AKS74U AEG Review by Booligan
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Basic Gun Information
Bravo Airsoft has recently released a set of budget priced, metal gearbox equipped AEGs to the market, and today, we'll be looking at their current AK variant, the AKS74U. This polymer bodied, short barreled AEG is well suited for CQB or mid range field use, and is really designed as an inexpensive way for new players to get into the sport. I'll be discussing all of the various aspects of this gun in this review, so keep reading to see what I liked and what I didn't like about the Bravo 74U!
I was contacted by Jag Precision and asked if I would be interested in testing out the Bravo 74U and M4 RIS, and of course, I said yes. It was sent out immediately, showing up a few days later. It is currently available at a few retailers including Airsoft GI priced at only $120. This low price is the key selling point of this gun, as it makes it incredibly accessible to new players on a budget. It includes Bravo Airsoft's limited warranty against manufacturer defects, as well as US based support in case anything goes wrong.
Basic Gun Information:
As mentioned before, the Bravo AKS74U is a polymer bodied replica, which makes it kind of rare, as there aren't really any other fully polymer bodied AKS74U replicas out there. It is equipped with a metal V3 gearbox fitted with 7mm ball bearings helping the gun fire very smoothly. It is a very small gun, especially with the stock folded, making it a great secondary weapon or as a primary for CQB use. It's performance makes it a viable contender for mid range outdoor use as well, making this a very well rounded AEG!
The Bravo 74U comes packaged in a cardboard box with a white foam inner liner to keep everything secure during shipping. Like on the M4 RIS I previously reviewed, this foam flaked off all over the whole gun, and I found myself blowing it clean with canned air, as there was foam in every little nook and cranny. Once I pulled the gun out of the box, I was really impressed with how it felt in my hands, despite it's nearly 100% polymer construction.
Along with the gun itself, Bravo included a single hi-cap magazine, cleaning/unjamming rod, and a stick battery with trickle charger. Add some high quality BBs and you're ready to head out to the field!
Weight: 3.4 lbs (!)
Length: 28.8" (19.5" stock folded)
Sight Radius: 9.25"
As mentioned before, the Bravo 74U is a polymer bodied gun, so everything from the stock to the muzzle is made of plastic, aside from a few metal pins here and there holding everything together. The matte black finish gives it a nice tactical look. The build quality is great, as the gun feels very solid with almost no creaks or wobbles to be found.
Click on the individual thumbnails to see the full size photos
Overview, left side
Overview, right side
The skeletonized stock is a side folding unit that locks quite solidly in either position, something most of the metal bodied guns I've tested fail to do. It uses a button on the left side of the receiver to release the lock and allow you to fold the stock. Sometimes, if you push the button too hard, it will get stuck, requiring a slight push from other side to release it. When folded, you must release the little catch that holds the stock in the folded position. Thankfully, the sling mount on the side of the stock doesn't rattle around like they normally do on the 74U.
Hinge and release button
The receiver is one of the most surprising parts about the gun, as I wasn't expecting it to turn out as nice as it did. It really looks great, with a nice matte finish and a realistic look and feel. The receiver serves as a steady base where everything on the gun comes together, and without this sturdy backbone, the gun would feel sloppy. Thankfully, it's incredibly solid.
Receiver, right side
Receiver, left side
The controls are standard AK units, consisting of a right sided selector switch and a magazine release located at the front of the trigger guard. The selector switch slides into the different positions well, with pretty solid clicks at each position. The pistol grip is quite comfortable with no major seam lines causing discomfort.
Cocking handle pulled back, showing hop-up adjuster
Moving forward from the receiver, you'll hit the black polymer handguard. There is some slight creaking if you squeeze the handguard, but it's not a huge issue. There are no rails or anything like that, but there are some upgrade options out there either to make it tactical or to change it to real wood.
The outer barrel is made of plastic, but on this short of a gun, it's not really a huge issue in my opinion. My issue is that I like swapping out my flashhiders for aftermarket units, and that's damn near impossible on this gun without whipping out the dremel tool, as the flashhider is glued and double pinned in place to prevent removal. Looks like it'll be staying on!
Update: After chopping off the orange muzzle, I found that there was no threading underneath:
The 74U uses the correct iron sights, which consist of a dual setting rear unit and a simple front post that doesn't appear to be adjustable. You'll also find a standard AK type side rail for mounting optics and optic mounts.
There are actually some small trademarks located on the left side of the receiver, as well as a unique serial number located just above the grip. The design is the same across the Bravo Airsoft line-up, giving it some nice brand solidarity.
The included magazine is a polymer hi-cap holding about 500 rounds. It fits in the magwell really snugly compared to other AKS74Us that I've tested, which is a huge plus in my book. I tested it with Cyma, Dboys, and APS brand magazines without issues.
Performance after a 500 round break-in, using Airsplat .20g ammo is as follows:
High FPS: 378.5 FPS
Low FPS: 370.0 FPS
Average FPS: 374.9 FPS
Rate of fire with the stock 8.4v battery isn't too bad, coming in at 15 RPS, however once I threw a medium output 11.1v LiPo on there, it got up to 18-19 RPS, which is a decent improvement. It's certainly skirmishable with the stock battery, which is quite nice.
Range and accuracy were surprisingly good as well, considering the short inner barrel. For the first 100 rounds or so, my shots were all nose diving at about 50', which is something I saw with my Bravo M4 RIS as well. Once the extra lube that had soaked the bucking was worn and cleaned off, I was able to get the hop-up to grip like it was supposed to, giving me accurate shots out to 140' on a torso sized target using Echo 1 .28g BBs.
Inside this thing you'll find a standard V3 gearbox making upgrades a piece of cake. It is fitted with decent internal components including 7mm ball bearings, a nylon piston and cylinder head, and ball bearing spring guide. The gears are steel units that comes fitted with a sector chip for smooth feeding. Like the other Bravo gearbox I opened up recently, there was an abundance of grease, however it was shimmed well. The airseal components are well made and the gun has a great seal from the piston to the air nozzle.
Gearbox, right side
Gearbox, left side
Gears and sector chip
Nylon piston and ported piston head
Cylinder head and air nozzle
The electrical components are quite well made with decent wiring throughout and an automotive style fuse. The motor is a short unit with pretty strong magnets for a stock motor.
The inner barrel and hop-up are decent quality, however the barrel appears to be an aluminum unit, that is 285mm long. The hop-up is a clear plastic unit with an exceptionally greasy bucking that I'd recommend cleaning off before extensive use. It holds its selected position well even after several hundred rounds.
Inner barrel and hop-up
The AKS74U isn't the most modification friendly AK variant, however, there are some options out there for rails, wood kits, and things like that. Personally, I want to really take advantage of this gun's light weight and make it into a chopped down AK pistol.
Very inexpensive, only $120
Light weight makes it great for young players or as a secondary weapon
Solid construction in spite of it's all polymer construction
Great performance from such a small gun
Very nice matte black finish
Comfortable to hold and well balanced
Only $20 less than the steel and wood Cyma and Dboys models
Flashhider is really securely on there, and pretty much unable to be changed without some serious work
Some users may not like the light weight
Handguard is a little creaky
I wasn't sure what to expect with this gun, as I've tested a few AKS74U models, but never one that was entirely out of plastic. I'm really pleased to report that the gun is actually incredibly solid considering the construction. It's lightweight design makes it really nice to use as a secondary weapon or for young players.
The issue with this gun is that you can buy a full metal and wood AKS74U for only $20-$25 more than this one costs, which makes this a hard recommendation to make in some regards. I think the biggest selling point of this gun is actually the light weight, as it comes in at several pounds lighter than the full metal versions, making it really easy to carry. The other huge benefit of this gun is the factory warranty and US based support, something you generally won't get with the other 74Us in this price range. All in all, it's a great starter gun at a great price and should be considered if you're a new player looking for an AK type gun, or if you're a sniper or DM looking for a lightweight secondary AEG.
Many thanks again to Jag Precision, and of course, Airsoft Retreat!