recently purchased the A&K PTW MK4, which is a replica of the famous Systema Professional Training Weapon M4 -series. Forsome time I've wanted to upgrade to the PTW platform, but have found theSystema pricing deterring. However in recent years several PTW "clones" have entered the market. First the Celcius CTW, then theG&D DTW and now in almost total silence the A&K PTW MK4, which surprisingly,at the price point of little less than 400 € in Europe (€ 387,35 at Gunfire.pl,where I bought mine), may just be a game changer for those looking to upgradefrom AEGs to the PTW platform.
So let's dive into this preview! Remember the information here is based on initial hands-on and first test shoots featuring couple of hundred BBs. I will post more updates after using the MK4 for a longer period of time. If you want to know the best thing about this gun just skip straight to Performance and magazine compatibility section.
What's in the box?
When you unwrap your package and open up the unbranded cardboard box this is what you will see.
In addition to the MK4 itself you will get a manual, a BB-loader suitable for PTW magazines, one A&K M4 magazine, a front-sight adjustment tool and a handy nicely fitting hop-up adjustment tool, which is required to adjust the hop through the magazine well as is usual for the PTW platform.
External parts and quality
The MK4 has probably the best external quality I have ever had with a stock gun. All the parts feel solid, the upper and lower mesh perfectly and there is just a hint of play on the stock but that's normal if you ask me. The most of the parts are aluminium but the barrel is magnetic which hints towards some kind of iron. Color of the gun is nice grey shade with some black areas. Below a few pictures, I'm sure you'll like what you see.
The body doesn't feature other markings than a serial number and engraved SAFE-SEMI-AUTO around the fire selector. For some this can be a downer, however I prefer it as the gun will get painted anyhow.Also remember that on PTWs the bolt catch ("ping-pong paddle") is functional and you will need it once you've changed mags. This is a feature I've long wanted to have.
Nothing special on the other side, no ambi-selector.
The stock has the Systema style pads for a nice soft cheek weld, seems a little unnecessary to me, but I am not going to complain either. The nut for the stocks adjuster seemed a little loose to me soI tightened it a little. The stock's butt plate opens up easily and the stock has a lot of room for 11.1V LiPos as seen below. The Large Tamiya plug is one of the few bad things on this gun so make sure you have adapters if you have batteries wired to mini or deans.
Opening it up
One of the great things about the PTW platform is the quick change cylinders, that you can switch by opening up the upper as on the real steel M4. To get to it just push out the rear take-down pin and with a little tap disengage the upper from the lower. The rear take-down pin can be pushed and pulled out with fingers although it will be hard on your fingers, I would recommend using a tool. The take-down pin will retain itself on the lower body.
My MK4 surprisingly came with a blue M110 cylinder but it was advertised to come with a golden M130. However, this is actually a good thing taking in to account the FPS limits in our area. The cylinder seems well put together and was proved to be nicely air tight during chroning.
Further in the lower receiver you have the planetary gearbox, which cycles smoothly always returning the main gear to its original position. During test firing I haven't yet witnessed any problems with the gearbox. There doesn't seem to be any excess grease on the gearbox and the wiring looks nicely done.
Performance and magazine compatibility
I know what you are thinking... how does it shoot? Well damn fine if you ask me. During first test fire and after dialing the hop to a decent setting I was getting a nice range, which I measured to be around 60 meters, with 0.25g bbs. Accuracy wasn't phenomenal at max range about the size of a human figure I'd say, but more than good to use in a skirmish!Semi-fire cycles smoothly, faster than I can use my finger but for some reason auto-fire is a bit slow, realistic but slower compared to my AEG and to some Systema's I've seen I think.
But the best thing was definitely when I put the gun to a chronograph. The stock M110 cylinder shot consistent 125 m/s (410 fps)at a 0.5 m/s (1.6 fps) variation! And the same cylinder with a Vanaras M90 spring consistent 105 m/s (344 fps) with the same variation!! That puts the gun straight on the podium of the best performing gun I've ever owned straight from the box. Honestly can't wait to try it out at an upcoming event in a few weeks.
Before I finish a few words about the magazine compatibility. I tried four magazine types the A&K M4 magazine, MAG M4aluminium mag, Rampo PMAG and Vanaras polymer mags. All of them fed perfectly on the A&K MK4 but beware that both of the polymer mags are a really tight fit and require a smack on the bottom to lock in. Thus I would not recommend them without reservations.
Since I opened the box for this gun I haven't had a moment of regret, which is pretty unusual with buying an airsoft gun.Honestly I've been surprised at the quality that A&K has been able to produce for this price. Of course we will know the whole truth only after thousands of BBs fired but at this stage I feel like I've made the best purchase decision in a while. Right now I would totally recommend buying theA&K PTW MK4, and even if you would run into a few problems down the line,the replacement parts will not be a problem as the gun is Systema and Etiny-compatible, which is a huge plus.
I was prepared to be let down by this gun but now it seems the A&K PTW MK4 is the best deal ever for me in Airsoft and thus I've finally arrived in the world of PTWs!
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