Review text and images by Mark "Victor" Watkins.

As the Airsmith for Alamo Wargames and Technical Officer for Team KGB I have plenty of opportunity to mess about with kit. Before a recent event I had a rare opportunity to perform work on all three of the leading MP5 variants available today. I decided that it was the perfect opportunity to compare and contrast them.

The Kit

The three items under review were a Tokyo Marui MP5 SD6, a Classic Army MP5 SD2, and an ICS MP5 A2. It should be noted that each of these vary in external appearance and although actual use is similar between the three, ergonomics varied considerably because of these differences.

History

Each of the models has had a number of months constructive use both in CQB an dense woodland. They have all been exposed to a variety of temperatures from near freezing to a warm spring day and rain by the gallon.

The Comparison
External


The Marui is definitely the least appealing of the three. The bodywork is nearly all plastic and whilst the attention to detail is up to Marui's usual standards wear and tear have left their mark. Black paint has visibly come away from the stock and the once matt plastic silencer has become smooth and shiny. The Marui is also extremely light.

The Classic Army sports a metal upper receiver, outer barrel and cocking tube. It is the heaviest of the three. Attention to detail is again very good. No real wear marks could be seen and looking at the construction its good looks and will last longer than the Marui. One small issue with the CA is the forward sling loop. The black coating on this is very thin and the base metal can be seen.

The ICS again comes with a metal upper receiver. This model is very light compared to the CA and is only slightly heavier than the TM version. The finish is again very good. All of the metal work is anodised black giving an even matt finish. The bodywork of the ICS has lasted better over time.

Internal

Now to the interesting bit, regardless of whether you're a bit of a techie or a player who want's a reliable gun this is the important bit.

The Marui is the usual quality that you would expect. The take down is relatively easy. To access the gearbox the upper and lower receiver needs to be separated. The lower receiver comes away from the upper in pull down fashion. The gearbox remains embedded in the upper receiver which either has to be taken apart (it comes in two halves) or at the very least has to be pulled apart at the rear of the gun allowing the gearbox to slide out of the back. The gearbox itself is the usual Marui affair of matte grey metal. The takedown of this is no more complex than any of the Marui gearboxes. The gears are standard, fitted to synthetic bushings with a synthetic piston and brass cylinder. The air nozzle is plastic.

The Classic Army model takes down almost exactly like the Marui version. I would advise a complete separation of the two halves of the metal upper receiver with this one though, as the gearbox is quite tricky to prise out. The only way to describe the gearbox is 'a work of art'. Externally it is a smooth satin black. Internally the gearbox is contoured to allow the gears to sit in position. Each gear is seated between good quality metal bushings. The cylinder and piston appear to also be better quality than the Marui model. The air nozzle is metal.

The ICS is quite a different matter, both a lot better and a lot worse. First the good bit. The takedown is very simple. In this model you remove a few pins and the selector switch and the lower receiver can be smoothly pulled back away from the upper. As an added bonus the gearbox is seated in the lower receiver meaning that once separated you don't have to fiddle with splitting the upper. Now for the bad. The gearbox is not very good. At best it equals the Marui with the cylinder and nozzle. Unfortunately this is as good as it gets. The actual box itself is roughly finished. The gears actually rub against the box wall and the bushings are badly seated. After just approx. 500 rnds I looked inside (because of the appalling noises emanating from within). I found that the piston had already begun fail with the first teeth malformed. The gearbox eventually jammed and now lingers in the very bottom of my last resort bits box.

Motors

Each of the three uses a different motor. The Marui uses an EG700 and gives a fair rate of fire. The CA uses a Marui EG1000. Out of the box the rate of fire is comparable to the Marui as the spring in the CA is stronger than its Marui counterpart. Finally the ICS contained an ICS2000 motor and just had the edge on rate of fire.

Performance

All three are compatible with Marui, CA and ICS magazines. The CA and Marui have no mag issues. I have found that magazines do not sit tightly in the ICS requiring a little bit of modification work to become truly reliable Unmodified. The Marui MP gave @250fps with a 0.2gm bb. This was very consistent and grouping (unmeasured) was good a human sized target was easily achievable at 20 yards.

The Classic Army unmodified gave 365fps. This was fairly consistent and gave good groupings at nearly half again the range of the TM model.

The ICS broke……. To be fair I did test it before this occurred. The power was inconsistent, giving between 300 and 320fps. Accuracy was affected by the variation between rounds.

To fire the ICS sounded poorly, as indeed it was. Both the TM and CA sounded nice. Both had an integral suppressor. I have always liked the sound of the Marui SD. The suppressor actually does quiet down the muzzle noise. The CA takes this much further. The suppressor is metal and contains silencing material. The effect is much more convincing than the TM version.



Mark "Victor" Watkins.

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