APS UAR Urban Assualt Rifle AEG Review by Booligan
Discuss this review HERE
Basic Gun Information
APS is an airsoft manufacturer who has made some pretty awesome AEGs over the years, and I've tested a few of them in the past. Their latest is easily their most unique, being that it is a completely original design, not based on any real gun out there. This compact bullpup design gives you a rifle length barrel in a short overall size. This gun is practically designed to be a nearly perfect skirmish gun, and I'll be going over it's various pros and cons in this review, so keep reading for more info!
I ordered this AEG through Airsplat, who has it available HERE, priced at $205.00. That price qualifies it for Airsplat's free shipping promotion for all orders over $89.00. The gun was shipped out via UPS Ground, and it arrived 2 days later, safe and sound. The gun is available in black and tan, both priced at $205.00. This is a pretty awesome price for this all original design, as the gun can be utilized both in CQB and longer range engagements, and I'll discuss why a little later on in this review.
Basic Gun Information:
This bullpup rifle has some interesting features that really set it apart from other bullpup rifles on the market. First and foremost, it is truly ambidextrous, and is easily able to be converted for left or right handed shooters. It actually has three magazine release buttons, two at the front above the trigger, and one at the rear near the magwell. This fixes an issue that I've had with other bullpup rifles where you have to awkwardly reach back to change your magazine, as you can just reach your trigger finger up above the trigger and hit the button from either side. It also has full M4/16 magazine compatibility, making it easy to adopt this weapon platform if you're also an AR pattern rifle user. It's such a good original design that APS is in talks with a few real steel manufacturers to have it made for real!
APS packaged the UAR in a cardboard box with an integrated carry handle for easy transportation if you don't have a gun bag. Inside the box, suspended between a few molded cardboard end pieces, you'll find the gun, secured safe for shipping. The accessories are held within a smaller box to keep them from rattling around the box during shipping. As soon as I pulled the gun out of the box, I was instantly impressed with the way that it felt in my hands, both as a result of its design and layout, as well as the high quality construction and nicely textured polymer used throughout the body.
Along with the rifle itself, APS included two hi-cap magazines, a single point sling mount that can be located in 4 different spots on the gun, a manual, a spare M130 equivalent spring to upgrade the gun, and a small bag of BBs. One thing to note with the manual, it has incorrectly printed directions for disassembly. See the Internals section for my tips on disassembly.
Weight: 6 lbs
Sight Radius: N/A (No sights included)
Length of Pull: 15"
The UAR is constructed almost entirely out of a high strength polymer with metal internal frame components for improved strength and durability. It does a great job as this thing fits together with absolutely zero creaks or wobbles. The textured black finish looks great and feels amazing in your hands.
Click on the individual thumbnails to see the full size photos
Overview, right side
Overview, left side
As this is a bullpup, the stock is actually part of the receiver. The UAR has a rubberized butt pad for comfort, and the cheek rest has a pretty awesome feature to allow for ambidextrous use. You can easily pop the cheek rest off, after removing the charging handle by pushing the large button on it, and remove the small portion that covers the ejection port in order to install it on the other side. This allows you to easily swap the gun for left or right handed use without the need for tools. When shouldered, the gun is quite comfortable with good sight lines onto rail mounted sights and optics. There is a sling mount located on the left side, but there are a total of four mounting points on the gun for this removable sling mount.
Removable cheek rest components, easily able to be switched
Butt pad removed
The charging handle and faux bolt can be pulled back in order to expose the adjustable hop-up. The hop-up adjuster is designed in a way that allows for adjustment from either side, for ambidextrous use. The bolt locks back when you pull it back, and is released using the small button at the rear of the cheek rest.
Bolt locked back
The pistol grip is an ergonomically designed unit which doubles as a storage unit for two CR123A type batteries. I'd recommend placing some soft foam inside the grip if you intend to store batteries in there, as it will prevent them from clicking around. The trigger pull is long, but light and consistent. The ambidextrous selector switch has a few small issues, as it is easy to switch from safe to full auto with your thumb, but to select semi-auto, you have to bring your thumb around to the other side in order to reach. It's a funky design, and you should practice your own method to see what works best for you. In front of the selector switch, you'll find two magazine release buttons, again, for ambidextrous use. This is a departure from most bullpup designed guns which usually require you to reach back to release the magazine. Thankfully, if you're old school, there is a third magazine release button in front of the magwell for admin reloads.
Pistol grip and controls, left side
Right side controls
Rear magazine release button
In front of the controls, you'll find the railed handguard which is a nice addition for mounting accessories. The rails are all made of plastic, however, it's well made and is properly to spec. The side rails are removable, but the bottom rail is molded in to the body of the gun.
The metal outer barrel is equipped with a metal flashhider finished with a plastic muzzle piece for legal compliance. This flashhider caused me nothing but problems with removal, but read how I got it off in the internal section. Underneath this flashhider, you'll find an extended inner barrel as well as 14mm- threads for mounting alternate muzzle devices. Strangely enough, the outer barrel is an M4 type unit, and if you felt so inclined, you can actually swap it out for other AR pattern barrels very easily.
Extended inner barrel
There are no included iron sights, nor is there an easy way to aim down the rail without optics or sights. The 20mm top rail is made to spec so mounting accessories and sights is a piece of cake. In my case, I installed a Cmore type sight which lines up perfectly with my natural cheek weld. There are three holes in the front of the rail for holding the body pins when disassembled, a feature taken from the G36.
Underneath the top rail, you will find the battery compartment. In order to access it, you must remove the faux gas block, which is easily accomplished by squeezing the sides and pulling it out towards the front. Battery space is limited to stick type packs, my trusty Tenergy 11.1v LiPo won't even fit without modifications.
There are no real steel trademarks on the gun, given that it's not a real steel gun. You can find a stylized Hakkotsu skull on the butt pad, APS logo on the bolt release button, and a small Made in China marking behind the magwell.
APS includes two hi-cap magazines that look similar to 20 round Pmags. The magazines hold 150 rounds and feature a bottom mounted winding wheel. Unfortunately, the magazine isn't 100% solid in the magwell, and if you rock it side to side with too much force, the factory magazine can pop out without hitting the magazine release buttons.
The gun is capable of accepting pretty much any AR type hi-cap magazine, and some mid-cap magazines without modification. Basically, some mid-cap magazines have a longer spring housing at the top and it interferes with the limited space in the UAR's magazine well. The gun can be easily modified with a Dremel tool to accept pretty much any magazine, simply by opening up the spot for the top spring housing.
Before modifying magwell
This is the spot that needs to be opened up a little bit
After modifying magwell
After making this modification, I was able to fit and lock in almost every magazine in my collection. The only magazine I had continued problems with is the KWA KM120 mid-cap, as it had too much side to side free play, allowing it to be torqued out of the magwell like the factory mag. I tested MAG, G&P, VFC, and Star Pmag brand mid-caps, as well as hi-caps by JG, CYMA, Echo 1, Dboys, TM, and APS, and after making this quick modification, they all fit in there just fine. I'd recommend making this mod, even if you don't plan on using these other mags, because once it's been done, you can share pretty much any mag with your teammates. After doing this mod, if you are still having feeding issues with mid-caps, you may want to add a little bit of electrical tape inside the locking hole on your desired magazine, in order to bring it higher into the gun, and properly seat against the hop-up unit. I'm working on a mod for the mag catch itself to fix this.
EDIT: "Im going space" from Arnies Airsoft suggested an alternate solution to the feeding issue, after chopping the magwell to fit midcaps, and I can confirm that it does help feeding with most brands of midcaps. His suggestion is to glue a small bit of material, plastic sheeting his case, at the very rear of the top of the magwell, in order to push the back of the magazine down slightly, raising the front against the feed tube due to the pivot point at the magazine catch. I used self adhesive loop side velcro and got similar results.
Photo of magwell mod from "Im going space" from Arnies Airsoft
Inside the magwell, there is a small spring actuated nub that helps push the magazine out once you push the magazine release button. With some mags, they will drop free, but others still require a small tug to get out.
Performance after a 500 round break-in, using Airsplat .20g ammo, using the stock spring is as follows:
High FPS: 344.8 FPS
Low FPS: 338.2 FPS
Average FPS: 340.5 FPS
After swapping out the piston head O-ring for a better sealing unit, the stock velocity increased to 355.4 FPS on average, a 15 FPS upgrade for the cost of a few pennies.
With the included M130 equivalent spring, which can be swapped in only about 40 seconds, FPS averaged at 415.5 FPS with the new O-ring. This wide range of available velocities, from 340 – 400 is pretty much available out of the box with the simple spring change, however, for best performance, you'll want to switch out that piston head O-ring as well.
Rate of fire with a Tenergy 11.1v LiPo battery is around 17-18 RPS. It's not screaming fast, but a simple motor swap will get you a much higher rate of fire for a pretty small investment.
Range and accuracy were quite good, and I credit a lot of that to the stabilized hop-up system. The hop-up unit is hard mounted to the gearbox shell and prevents it from rotating from side to side, giving you good consistency. Using the low powered spring, and feeding it Airsplat .25g BBs, I was able to get shots out to 155' reliably on a torso sized target. With the high powered spring, I fed it some Echo 1 .28g ammo and consistently was hitting out to 165', which is pretty good for a small rifle like this.
Accessing the internals of this gun is a piece of cake, in theory. In practice, at least the first time, you're going to want to pull your hair out. The biggest issue with disassembly is the fact that the flashhider must be removed before splitting the gun into its major components. Unfortunately, the flashhider is glued in place with an incredibly strong glue, and it is positioned in a way that doesn't allow you to get good leverage on it.
My advice and directions for initial disassembly are as follows: First off, unscrew the grub screw at the bottom of the flashhider and try to remove it by rotating it clockwise, or to the right. If it doesn't budge, you'll want to partially disassemble the gun in a different way to get more leverage on it. At the front of the upper receiver, behind the flashhider, you'll find a large knurled knob that acts as a way to center the outer barrel in the receiver. You can rotate this knob to the left, counter clockwise, to release it from its locking lugs, and push it inside the receiver. At this point, you can remove the pins and separate the upper and lower receivers, sliding the outer barrel with flashhider still installed through the now larger hole in the receiver.
Once you have the halves separated, you will be able to get a set of lock jaw pliers on the outer barrel itself, and a properly sized wrench on the flat portion of the flashhider, which should give you enough leverage to break loose the glue without damaging the flashhider. You may get some scuffs on the outer barrel, but it's hidden inside the gun, so it's not noticeable. Once you've broken the flashhider free once, it is easily removed in the future.
The gearbox is easily removed by first pulling back the charging handle and unscrewing the small screw at the rear of the hop-up unit. Then, you can push out the rear pin, remove the butt pad, and pull the gearbox out of the gun. You'll want the gun separated into the major components to allow for easy routing of the wires.
Hop-up is attached to the gearbox shell with this screw
The gearbox is a V3 with some slight modifications to use a blowback system, however, the blowback system is not installed in the UAR. It is fitted with 8mm solid metal bushings which are incredibly strong for any spring upgrade.
Gearbox removed, right side
Gearbox, left side
Chunky 8mm bushings
Before opening the gearbox, I recommend using the quick change spring feature to remove the spring in order to prevent inner parts from flying everywhere once you open it up. Simply push the spring guide in slightly and rotate it with the correct sized hex wrench until the four locking posts line up with the slots in the rear of the gearbox shell, allowing the spring pressure to gently push it out.
Quick change spring guide
Spring guide removed
Inside the gearbox, you'll find steel gears with a sector chip installed, stainless ported type 1 cylinder, nylon piston with aluminum head and partial metal rack, and stainless air nozzle. The shimming is pretty fair, and the grease is pretty liberally applied. The stock piston head O-ring is awful, giving almost no resistance when you plug the air nozzle. A new #14 unit slipped right on and gave a much improved air-seal, as evidenced by the performance results indicated above.
Steel gears with sector chip
Piston with metal teeth and aluminum head
Stainless air nozzle
The hop-up is a custom metal AK type unit that allows for adjustment from both sides. I'd tighten up the retainer screw, as the adjuster is a little loose from the factory. The inner barrel is a stainless 6.04mm IDx430mm long tightbore with a standard AEG cut for easy upgrades. This long barrel is one of the main perks of the bullpup design. I really like the fact that the hop-up locks in to the gearbox with a screw, as it gives you great air-seal consistency as well as reduced side to side rotation for improved accuracy. Strangely enough, the gun doesn't have a hop-up nub installed, instead, the nub is built into the hop-up actuator arm, and is a flat design with a very mild H-profile. If you want to use standard nubs, you just have to dremel a small trough in the arm to fit your choice of nub.
The short type motor is a standard unit, not designed for high torque or high speed. The rate of fire isn't terribly fast, so for higher performance, an upgraded unit is recommended. The wiring is high quality, and a glass fuse is installed in a small holder near the battery compartment. The gun is fitted with a mini Tamiya style plug for connecting your mini type stick battery.
Modifications to this gun, both inside and out, are relatively simple. Externally, you have plenty of rail space on which you can mount your choice of accessories. I'm experimenting with an S&T EGLM 40mm launcher, and thus far have been able to mount it up securely, albeit not as far back as I would like.
With S&T EGLM, this is rock solid on there
It's a bit of a stretch, but you can pull the trigger with your dominant hand
Internally, this thing has a slightly modified V3 gearbox setup, so you can build this up for either high velocity or high rate of fire, or even both if you feel adventurous. The quick change spring makes working on the gearbox a piece of cake, as you can take the spring out before opening up the gearbox, preventing parts from flying out.
EDIT: For mine, I decided to swap in a standard M16 length outer barrel, and am in the process of turning it into a proper DMR.
Very unique design, not something you'll see everyday on the field
Great out of the box performance, even better with some small tweaks
Fully ambidextrous layout
Conveniently placed magazine release buttons
Long inner barrel in an overall small package, thanks to bullpup layout
Easy to modify V3 gearbox
Quick spring change system
Plenty of rails for mounting accessories
Nicely textured surfaces
Sturdy build quality, even though it's nearly entirely made out of polymer
Magwell requires a small modification to fit most mid-cap magazines
Stock magazines can be knocked out of the magwell with a small amount of force
Flashhider is nearly impossible to remove if you follow the directions, and it must be removed to disassemble the gun
Selector switch is difficult to select semi-auto unless you modify your grip
Battery compartment in the grip needs some foam to securely hold batteries
LONG trigger pull
I first saw this gun design a while ago at SHOT 2012, and was eagerly anticipating its arrival in airsoft stores in the US. Airsplat is one of the first retailers in the US to carry the gun, and their price on it is great. I'm a huge fan of bullpup guns, having previously used L85/86, FAMAS, P90, Tavor, and AUG AEGs, and in general, I like the theory of them, but the execution has some issues sometimes. One of the biggest issues that I've had with the bullpup design is the usual requirement for a rear mounted magazine release system, causing you to make an awkward move when reloading. This gun eliminates this issue with its three button mag release system.
Aside from a few small issues, such as the lousy air-seal and the damn near impossible to remove flashhider, this is a really awesome weapon system. I love the layout, fit, and feel of this thing, and apparently, I'm not the only one, as this may be produced soon by a real steel company. I give a lot of kudos to APS and Hakkotsu for designing and producing an awesome original gun design that really works quite well.
Many thanks again to Airsplat, and of course, Airsoft Retreat!