quarta-feira, 9 de maio de 2012

SOCOM Gear Timberwolf Airsoft Pistol by Echo1 Review

SOCOM Gear Timberwolf Airsoft Pistol by Echo1 Review:

The SOCOM Gear Timberwolf is a fully licensed replica of the Lone Wolf Distributors Timberwolf handgun. The Timberwolf is a custom handgun model based on the Glock, and designed by the custom gun makers at Lone Wolf Distributors. What they sell as upgrade parts or as a kit is available in a complete replica handgun from Echo1 and SOCOM Gear. All of the features that make the real Timberwolf a top tier custom handgun are found in the SOCOM Gear replica, and make the Echo1 gas blowback airsoft Timberwolf an ideal training pistol. Find more photos and details of the Timberwolf training pistol after the jump.

One of the first things most people notice when they look at this handgun is the shape of the frame, even though it looks like a Glock. Because it is based on the Glock platform, it shares the same lines and overall size, but has some noticeable differences. One of the most prominent is the extended beavertail. This allows for a high shooting grip to control recoil without the worry of slide bite. In addition, the accessory rail has been lengthened slightly. This results in a somewhat squared off front of the frame, but it provides more space for mounting lights or other accessories, and includes 3 picatinny slots as opposed to the single notch on the original Glock frame.

Another set of improvements the Timberwolf boasts over a Gen 3 Glock are the finger grooves, textured side panels, and interchangeable backstrap. The finger grooves as well as the side panels are fully textured to enhance grip. The backstrap is easily interchangeable between the slim panel or the palm swell panel. Unlike other handgun models, the backstrap here is held on with a tensioned detent. It can be slid out of place with a moderate amount of force, and the desired replacement snapped into place. This prevents the need for use of tools such as punch pins to change out the grip size. The slim grip is shown above, with the palm-swell grip shown below.

The slide has also seen some slight modifications, including a tapered front, lowered ejection port, and front slide serrations. There is also a -14mm threaded barrel. This allows for the attachment of mock suppressors if needed as a training tool. While the lowered ejection port and the tapered front of the slide make less difference on an airsoft gas pistol than on the real Timberwolf, they are recreated faithfully.

The real Timberwolf is available in 9mm, .40 S&W, and .357 SIG, and is build on the Glock 17 or 20 frame. I tested the Echo1 Timberwolf replica in a Blackhawk SERPA holster and found that it was slightly too wide to fit my Glock 17 Serpa. It would likely fit the Glock 21 holster, which is a larger size for the .45 ACP version of the Glock.
Functionally, the Echo1 Timberwolf is a decent performer. Echo1 and SOCOM Gear have used the Tokyo Marui model as a base for their design, which means that spare parts and upgrades will be somewhat easily available. The magazine holds 25 rounds and should be available wherever the pistol itself is sold.

I was able to test the Timberwolf airsoft pistol at a CQC training session at a nearby indoor arena. Our chronograph results showed that the pistol shoots between 300-320FPS. This is about par with many other pistols in the same price range, but not as hard as some of the higher end airsoft pistols on the market. Reliability as far as I was able to test it was quite good. I did not have any misfires or failure to fire; the gun cycled cleanly and returned fully to battery each time. As with many other gas blowback pistols, there is some cool down in rapid fire. This resulted in a failure to lock back when the last shot was fired if the magazine was emptied in a rapid string. However, during slow fire, the slide locks back crisply, and the gun can fire a full magazine of BBs on a single load of gas. If sufficient time is given for the magazine to warm up, the Timberwolf is capable of firing two full mags on a single charge of gas.
Accuracy and range were both acceptable, though neither were groundbreaking. I would like to see the performance of this pistol with an upgraded hop-up bucking and a tightbore barrel. For most pistol range engagements it’s certainly more than adequate, but I would like to try and push the range farther. When firing during that training session, I found that the grouping started to open up a bit past 50 feet. With the hop-up adjusted the range was easily 100ft, but not with pinpoint accuracy.

I used the pistol with the palm swell grip installed and a light / laser unit mounted to the accessory rail. The feel of the gun is solid, without any rattle or play in the slide and barrel. The accessory rail, while nearly ubiquitous on modern pistols, is still something I appreciate.  When operating a pistol, I prefer to have both a mounted light and a handheld light in the off hand.
The only feature I did not take advantage of was the threaded barrel. The pistol does cycle well without excessive binding, even with a larger mock suppressor installed. Because of the design of all airsoft pistols (and real handguns), smoother operation is obtained with a lighter suppressor. In this case, the Timberwolf operated perfectly with the mock suppressor installed.
Overall, the SOCOM Gear Timberwolf by Echo1 has all of the features desired in a pistol, whether for training or airsoft. Interchangeable backstraps for differing shooters, a picatinny rail for accessories, and a threaded barrel for a mock suppressor make it a versatile, as well as useful pistol. Spare magazines and spare parts availability make it an excellent choice for a long-term pistol, in addition to its proven reliability. If you do pick one up, make sure to pick up the matching Blackhawk! Glock 21 Serpa for best fit, or use a holster like the Condor Ambidextrous MOLLE Glock holster or a Condor Tornado holster.
If you’re a Glock fan and are looking for a pistol for training, or are just wanting a reliable airsoft pistol for skirmishing or shooting, give the Echo1 Timberwolf a close look. You’ll likely find it’s more than ‘just’ a Glock replica.

Follow the photo below to more pictures of the Echo1 / SOCOM Gear Timberwolf in use.

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