When all those rumours were floating around regarding TMs release of the G36C, I decided pretty quickly that I wanted one. I've been monitoring the 'real steel' websites regarding the G36 and not only does the gun look shit hot, it pretty much represents the current H&K; state of the art 'weapons systems'. Available to law enforcement agencies and yankee redneck serial killers alike, the real gun is available in a wide variety of configurations ranging from the G36K short assault rifle all the way up to a light support weapon (like a light machine gun).
This may suggest that TM are planning on releasing the straight G36 gun in the future, which is taller, accomodating a practical carrying handle, dot sight system and a much longer barrel.
The G36 real steel gun was released to the US law enforcement agencies in 2001, compare this to the MP5 which has been around for decades! Not yet even a toddler in the industry, it's proving to be a bit of a super-baby. A gun essentially developed with information gleaned from a wide variety of H&Ks; pet projects over the years, along with tried and tested design bits and pieces taken from their hugely successful MP5 gun, it has already acquired a reputation for being one of the most reliable guns available, with one of H&Ks; tests showing it not jam after 25,000 rounds, even without the gun being cleaned. This kind of reliability is generally unheard of in the gun market.
Of course, none of this applies to the AEG replica, but those facts, along with all the others, definitely led to my interest in an airsofting equivalent purely because of what it would represent.
Of course, I can't be sure, but I reckon I'm one of the lucky few bunch of airsofters who managed to lay their hands on Tokyo Marui's flagship AEG in the UK after it's release to the eastern market (at least) on the 12th of December. It arrived on my doorstep on Christmas Eve morn, which surprised me a little that UK postage would bother working on that day!
And I have to say, after eagerly opening up the package and giving it a thorough rodgering, umm I mean looking over! I have to say this is a great replica and AEG alike.
Not that I've touched the real steel so I can't be sure about it's visual authenticity, but I know however that most of the real gun is made up of a special lightweight polymer material, which means I won't have to aim for a metal body kit for it in the future!
The airsoft version is of the usual tough ABS plastic, and the build quality is pretty excellent, rigid, no nasty M4 style barrel wobble or any signs of design weaknesses I can spot (except for loose pins, bolts and screws). Metal bits are all over the gun, albeit not quite to the levels of the M4/M16 range, it needn't be because the real gun is only made of metal on the barrel, the bolt assembly, and some internal mounting rails!
To the uninitiated, the G36C, for all intents and purposes, is a rifle, not an SMG like that of the MP5, despite it's 'C for compact' designation. It measures a little shorter barrel length than my M4. I suspect some people may argue this fact, but have you found an SMG that takes 5.56 nato rounds as standard? Besides, check out www.hkpro.com, it's under the rifles section!
The gun has some great features, a huge rail along the top, albeit not the standard M16 rail spacing, it still allows mounting of loads of M16 kit. I even took off the carry handle + Marui pro-scope from my M4 and it fit on the G36 rail with ridiculous room left spare to make a bizarre looking hybrid gun!
There is also a short rail along the bottom for vertical fore-grips, torch or laser mounts etc. It took my M4 RIS kit vertical fore-grip perfectly. On the front of the underside rail mount, is a cool loop of metal that can take a sling, although not properly, like the sling loop on the M4. I'm pretty sure it's actually designed to take a special bipod, not sure if it will come available from Marui but I would be surprised if it doesn't. Not unlike that of the G3-SG1 bipod, but would obviously need to have much shorter legs.
Notice the interlocking tabs either side.
I also bought a hicap mag with it that takes 470 rounds which is more than sufficient for me, this is a hell of a step up for me considering the hicaps of all my other guns (M4, MP5K, pistols etc)! The mags also have an interlocking system where you can string together mags without needing a mag-clip. A nice feature, but don't expect to string together four or five of them, it won't work too well!
Here you can see the button that you press to unlock it for folding, it's that circular shape visible near the stocks hinge.
You get a folding stock in the style of the MP5K-PDW, which locks into unfolded and folded positions solidly, but you can't lock it in the folded position when you've got two mags clipped to each other when the spare mag is protruding. The stock, of course, only folds to the right. I do however realise that I can't have everything!
What's also pretty sweet is the front of the barrel (flash suppressor) is apparently removable, according to the manual, allowing fitting of a silencer. I wouldn't be surprised also if you can also fit chrono units to it for measuring bullet speeds in upgraded guns.
Anyone who has played airsofting must have seen at least one other player proudly brandishing a Heckler and Koch replica AEG, most likely the MP5. So you're bound to have noticed their familiar modular handle and trigger section with shot selection switch, so the one on the G36 will come of no surprise. The alignment of the switch is better, I think is larger, and easier to use, than the one on the MP5.
I have had bad experiences with these bits, because my MP5K shot selector switch (of the same general design) fell off while at the skirmish site in Reading last year and was lost. I'm going to keep my good eye on the switch to see if it wobbles off over time to save me poking the innards with a stick to set it to full auto! I've had so much trouble getting a replacement, I've given up.
Notice in the above picture, the mag release lever in front of the trigger guard, this is plastic, whereas on the MP5s they were metal (well it is on my MP5K at least), this is probably because they're made of the polymer on the real gun, but may present a problem if wrenched too much during an intense skirmish.
The battery is held in the front grip, which nicely slides off to the front when a pin (pictured above the gun) is pulled out, it doesn't catch on anything (on the way out at least) and should be easily and quickly changeable mid skirmish. But I don't actually know this yet, I've only had it two days!
The gun, rather annoyingly, is another one that takes the mini-type battery, this is generally only available at 600mAh, which lasts from starting time at a typical skirmish, 10am, through to about 10:15 if you're lucky! A little bit of an exaggeration, I know, but I don't really consider the battery a viable skirmishing power source.
I had great fun learning about this battery with my M4 gun (NOT), and I don't intend to repeat the experience. That's why I plumped for the new 3000mAh Sanyo battery, and a mil-force battery bag. I've looked at using this with the G36, and suffice it to say, I may need to do a small amount of body alteration on the gun (of which I'm not looking forward to) to get the cables leading out of the battery bay, as there don't seem to be any gaps. This is generally a good thing, but come to think of it, it's a bit of a serious downer for the gun considering the battery size, and the fact that I would think that most people who buy it would have to either do what I am, or plump for three or four batteries each costing about half that of a 3000mAh battery, economically disastrous.
I can, however, see why TM chose the mini-type. They did so solely on the fact that like the M4, the gun just hasn't enough space (in one place at least) to accommodate the bulky 1700-3000mAh large battery types.
In terms of build quality and 'acoustics', it's pretty great. I had horrible thoughts before I got it that it would sound like the hollow plastic P90 that my brother owns! No such hollowness is present. The sound it makes is bizarrely similar (albeit much quieter) to the sound on a small MPEG movie I downloaded of the real thing firing! I'm sure there are similarities because I've heard the M60 or the Minimi at skirmishes sound a little like the real deal (at least how it is portrayed in the movies). But that might just be me!
I'm not sure if it's just because it's new, but I put the gun up against my 328fps upgraded M4 rifle and it fired BBs to about the same distance with similar spread pattern. I might add that I've had absolutely nothing done to my G36 to improve it's performance! I can only see over time if this is going to be a recurring feature of the gun, I'm not complaining though!
I've not had a lot of experience tweaking hop up systems, I've seen it on the M4, MP5K, P90 and G3-SG1 and a variety of unadjustable hop ups on pistols, and they all hop up differently, and is done with different adjusting knobs, sliders and rollers! But I am pleasantly surprised with the hop up on the G36, it's located underneath the usual place on rifles, the shell ejection port, all you need do is hold back the rather groovy ambidextrous cocking handle and roll the rather stiff hop up adjuster, it's got plenty of leeway for hopping up BBs, unlike my M4 which needed to be nearly all the way up all the time, and slips down again after a mag or two. Luckily, this one should need no regular adjustment.
For all you 'popularity freaks' who own guns based on the number of times the likes of Bruce Willis has gone mental with one, the gun has been featured in a number of recent big films, albeit not the G36C varant but just the G36, Travolta's Swordfish being one of them. I strongly suspect the gun will feature in more and more hollywood productions as time goes on, especially seeing as the American law enforcement organisations are taking them on as if they're in fashion, not to mention the German Bundeswehr.
Smack bang in the middle of this picture, the dodgy loose bolt, you can also see the two 'wings' that I reckon can take a bipod.
To mention a problem with it, including precautions to those thinking of buying their own, after emptying a full hi-cap, I happened to (luckily) notice a small hex bolt fall off, otherwise it will have disappeared somewhere. It happened to be the screw that holds the underside rail on! It just wobbled out in the process of firing, so when you get yours, check all the screws, bolts, pins etc. A lot of them seem to be hex bolts / screws. You get a small hex wrench (allen key to us Brits) with the gun, use it! Also, some people put a small drop of superglue on the screw to hold them on better.
I checked the others and they seemed to be screwed in well. Although these things do have a common habbit of falling off mid-skirmish despite being tightly on, I shall definitely be keeping a close eye on them.
It wouldn't surprise me if Marui milk this gun for a long long while, releasing lots of accessories and bits for it like they did their M16 range, especially considering the slightly different rail kit from the M16 standard they decided to put on it, although I'm not sure if this makes any difference. And it's a bit difficult to imagine what companies like Systema (a company that produces high quality components and modifications for AEGs) can do for it as well, perhaps a full polymer body kit costing hundreds!? All in all, I'm going to put in the order to print a hundred T-shirts with 'TM G36C KICKS ASS' on! Not really, but I reckon the gun is bloody great! Buy one today.
Below is a movie file in two different video formats showing the AEG being fired. As is typical, the battery was running dry towards the end!