ICS MP5-A4 review – by R22Master

The ICS MP5-A4 with accessories
ICS
MP5-A4 Review
by
Will
(aka
R22Master)
Stock
Specifications
FPS 312fps
/ 0.2g
(stock fps may vary)
Length: 680mm
Barrel
Length:
230mm
Weight: 2.0
Kg

Ammo
capacity:

230*
/ 50 / 200 / 240 – (6mm BB)
 *
= Included free with gun


ICS
Heckler & Koch MP5-A4 AEG

IMPORTANT
NOTE

This
review is a review of the “Version 3
ICS MP5-A4.
I have heard people complaining about
the quality and reliability of these replicas, however after much
research it seems that most of these problems can be
traced to earlier versions of the model (versions 1
and 2).  I have not heard any bad press so far
about Version 3.

Additional 
:  All photographs on this review show the 14mm
threaded muzzle.  This was not included with the
gun, but as I am unable to locate the original muzzle,
all photographs show this upgrade.


have been after what I would term “The Ultimate
MP5” for a long time now (more than 10 years) but
have never found a model worthy of my hard earned
cash.  I indulged by purchasing a Tokyo Marui MP5
once, but after breaking 8 of them within 2 months, I
gave up and settled for the Tokyo Marui G36c (a
fabulous softy).  However, as the months passed,
pleased as I was with my G36c, those longing feelings
for my dream replica were causing my itchy trigger
finger to get restless.  Only the “Ultimate
MP5” would satisfy my cravings for full-auto joy.

I
recently noticed that there was a new player in the
MP5 market (well, new in the UK anyway).  It was
ICS.  I have long been an admirer of their parts
and upgrades, so I did some digging for information
around the forums at Arnie’s
Airsoft
and other airsoft resources.  This turned up a few new facts for
me on this illusive beauty, and after much
soul-searching (and arguments with my bank manager), I
splashed out and ordered the gun and parts to make my dream
machine from Zero
One Airsoft
(UK).

Out of the boxThe
package arrives
I
was on the way back from picking up my
girlfriend at the station, when I noticed
the unmistakable off-blue colour of the
Securicor Omega van parked outside my
dear little house.  My heart-rate
went up as I realised my new baby was
here!  As always, I didn’t pay for
next day delivery and as always, it arrived
next day anyway.  I jumped out of
the car with a stupid grin on my face,
took the package from the
Securicor chappie and rushed inside the
house.  After the torrent of abuse
from my girlfriend that followed due
to me leaving her in my dust trail outside,
I opened the package.  Apart from
the accessories purchased, there it was  –  the
ICS MP5-A4 in it’s box.

First
impressions of the box – Well, it was a bland
featureless box with “A4” printed
in one corner.  Not too convinced by
this, especially after seeing the lavish
work done on the Marui boxes of late.  But
unperturbed, I opened the box to be greeted
by a Full-Metal H&K MP5-A4, just waiting
for me to play.

First
impressions of the replica
Wow.  What
can I say, but Wow.  The replica
was flawless.  I was staring at
what had taken me years to find.  It
was here.  The gun was tied to the
box with sturdy nylon cable ties and
there was no polystyrene in sight.  Bubble
wrap had been wrapped around the gun
in layers making sure it got to me in
pristine condition.  After clipping
the nylon cable ties, I could take a
closer look.

MP5 Foregrip (closeup)The
body is indeed full-metal in construction
and the finish is superb.  In my opinion,
far better than the finish on the Classic
Army full-metal MP5.  Even the ejection
port (which I find looks particularly poor
on the CA MP5s) looked excellent.  I
picked up the gun to find that the weight
was nicely balanced and respectable, although
not quite as heavy as the real-steel MP5.  The
plastic used on the stock (the A4 is the
solid stock version) was the best bit of
plastic forming and joining I have ever seen
in the world of airsoft, and the rest of
the plastic parts were also of outstanding
quality.  The foregrip for example (shown
left)
, really lives up to its name.  I
gripped the foregrip tightly and found that
it simply wouldn’t slip through my hands,
even when pulling at the other end.Heat sync located on the base of the pistol-grip  Very
impressive.

I
also noticed that the base of the pistol-grip
has a heat-sync (shown right) already
installed.  This is obviously due to
the increased heat generated by a more powerful
motor than is found in most AEGs.  This
sync is barely visible during use and very
soon, you completely forget it’s there.

Here’s
a list of metal and plastic parts on the
gun…

Component

Plastic Metal
Foregrip t  
Pistol-Grip t  
Solid
Stock
t  
Cocking
tube
  t
Cocking
handle
  t
Cocking
ram (tube inside the cocking tube, connected to
the cocking handle)
  t
Trigger   t
Front
sight
  t
Rear
sight
  t
Main
receiver
  t
Muzzle   t
Magazine
release lever
  t
Magazine
release button
  t
Magazine
latch / catch
  t
Motor
heat sync (located at the base of the pistol
grip)
  t
Front
sling loop
  t
Rear
sling loop
  t
Magazine
body
  t
Magazine
base
  t
Magazine
top
t  
Fire
selection lever
  t
Take-down
body pins
  t
HOP-UP
control lever
  t
Butt
plate (on base of solid stock)
Rubber


As you can see from the table above, the build of the
gun is about as close to it’s real-steel counterpart
as they could possibly make it.  The metal used
for the body is not steel, but an aluminium alloy that
provides great strength while keeping the weight
down.  The reason for this becomes clear later.

The
vital statistics for this replica are:

ICS
Revision: Version 3
Length: 680mm
Weight (no battery or ammunition): 2,000g
Magazine Capacity (for included magazine): 230
Magazine Capacity
(for other available magazines): 50 / 200 / 240
Rate of Fire (shots per minute): 950
Barrel
length: 230mm
Ammunition: 6mm BB
Motor: ICS Turbo 2000
Gearbox: Reinforced (ICS version 2)
Max effective range (quoted by ICS): 30 Metres

Getting
Closer
The
model follows all of the traditions set out by the
real-steel and copied by practically all other
replicas.

Fixtures
and fittings
First
off, the downsides.  There are no RAS/RIS rails
on the gun (although loads of accessories are
available to provide this functionality) and the
muzzle does not have a 14mm thread for silencers and Scope lugs the
like (it has the three-pronged lug system found on
all standard sized MP5s).  Again, replacement
muzzles are easily and cheaply available to provide
you with this thread if required.  All photos
on this page show the upgraded 14mm compatible muzzle.

As
for the upsides, it has the usual clamp grips on the
top side of the main receiver that allow you to attach
a scope mount (shown left).  As these grips are metal like the
rest of the body, attaching a scope rail is easy and
amazingly secure.  Foregrips are interchangable,
so that RIS/RAS, tac-lite and standard grips can be
used whenever you want.

Sights MP5 Rear sight showing the "V" shaped opticThe
foresight is the famous MP5 foregrip that we all know
and love, but the rear sight (shown right) may
be different to what many of you expect.  Instead
of having 4 different sized holes placed around the
rear sight’s drum, the drum has 3 equal sized holes
set at different heights and a “V” where
the fourth should be.  This provides a quick sight
height adjustment option for different ranges and an
open sight option for fast target aquisition or low
light conditions.  The arrangement is shown here
in the photo on the right.

Metal
body work
Excellent
quality, excellent finish.  Take a look at the
photos and decide for yourself.  Having seen this Up close and personal with the body-work
and all of the competitors up close and personal, I
have to say that this is better quality than either
the Tokyo Marui or Classic Army MP5 bodies.

Plastic
body work
Again,
ICS have excelled themselves with the plastic body
work on this replica.  The plastic used is of
a very high standard, does not scratch easily, stays
fairly warm despite cold ambient temperatures and you
can barely see where the joins are, unlike most other
models.  It is all also very solid and has
absolutely no plastic-creak that has plagued airsoft
guns since the dawn of time (well, since airsoft came
along anyway).

The
Magazine
The
magazine that comes with the ICS MP5 is a very well
made High-Capacity clip that holds up to 230 6mm BBs. 
It’s body and base is full-metal as usual with the
top plate made of plastic.  The BBs are loaded
through a small hatch on the top and the winding is
done at the base, as usual.  You really have to
look closely to see the differences between this and
the Tokyo Marui hi-capacity magazines.  See “Field
Testing
” later
in this review to see how this magazine compares to
the Marui ones – you might be surprised.

ICS and Marui magazines

The
photograph above shows two magazines.  The
magazine on the left is a Marui MP5 magazine, while
the other is the ICS magazine included with the
gun.  You will notice that despite the fact that
the ICS magazine has been used far more than the Marui
one, the paint is still in place.  The paint on
the Marui magazine came off along the top within the
first 2 or 3 uses.

General
operation
Well,
I’ve unpacked it and had a good look around.  Now
that I’ve found a charged battery, I’m ready to give
it a go.

The
battery used is any 8.4v large type battery.  You
can use a 9.6v battery if you must, but this is not
necessary in most cases and you will have to modify
the inside of the stock to make it fit.  The ICS
MP5 also comes with a High Torque motor, lessening the
need for higher voltage batteries.  In all but
the most extreme of cases, an 8.4v battery will do
nicely.

Battery and fuse assemblyThe
battery fits tightly in to the stock of the model (shown
left)
,
similar to the models produced by TM and CA. 
There is not much spare space in there, but this
translates to a very secure fit that will not rattle,
bump or slide around inside.  The fuse is also
easily accessible during any battery change (it is
held in a loose, in-line, opaque white plastic fuse
holder). This is the bit when you appreciate the fact
that an aluminium alloy has been used on the body
instead of steel.  With the battery inserted, the
gun feels much more like it’s real-steel cousin and
it’s new weight will bring a smile to your face. 
A full steel body would simply make this replica too
heavy.  With the gun, magazine, ammunition,
battery and a scope, the whole thing weighs about 3.5
-> 4 Kilos.  That should be enough for anyone.

The
cocking handle on the left hand side of the forward
receiver is purely cosmetic, but has a full range of
motion.  Pulling it back and forth all day will
yield nothing but a sore finger.  Slapping the
cocking handle down and letting it fly forward could
result in a broken handle (just like the other MP5
replica AEGs), but this has not happened to me (I am
being careful).

Fire selector switch and Icon pistol gripThe
fire selector switch (shown right) is ambidextrous as with the
real-steel “icon” grips and is made of
metal.  You have the choice of “Safe”,
“Semi-Automatic” or “Fully
Automatic”, each denoted by a red or white icon
(hence “Icon” grip).  Moving the
selector switch from safe to semi-automatic is
disappointing to say the least and feels like trying
to push a spoon through custard with your thumb. 
However, it is no worse than the switches found on
most TM Heckler & Koch replicas, so this I can
live with (until I decide to modify it).  Once in
position, it stays and doesn’t budge during a firing
cycle.  All other movements on this switch are
crisp and positive.

A
standard sling or 3-point sling can easily be attached
using the front sling loop and the sling brace on the
left hand side of the solid stock.  Both fixtures
are metal and seem very strong.  There is no
wobble or flex in either point of contact.

HOP-UP control leverHOP-UP
is fitted to this model and is fully adjustable. 
The HOP-UP control lever (shown left) is located just above the
back of the foregrip on the left hand side of the
gun.  Pushing this lever forward decreases the
spin put on the pellets.  Pulling the lever back
will increase your HOP-UP and cause the BBs to stay in
the air longer.  Get this adjusted correctly and
the BBs just don’t seem to drop until they are a very
long way away (tested with 0.2g 6mm BBs).

 

 

Performance

Out
of the box, this MP5A4 gave 312fps -> 315fps
consistently. The range is outstanding (with correct
HOP-UP setting) and the accuracy surprisingly good
given the length of the barrel.

Rate
of fire is also excellent and will beat many other
replicas out of the box.  950 shots per minute is
achievable with no upgrades or tweaking at all.

 

Upgrades,
Accessories and Bolt-ons

The
MP5 is famous for two things when you talk about
accessorising.
    1. If there’s a tactical need for
it, there is an accessory to fit the MP5 that will
fulfill that need.
    2. The more you stick on it, the
better it looks.

With
this in mind, there are loads of accessories and bolt-ons
that will improve the look, feel and tactical
effectiveness of your gun.  These range from
foregrips with lights/lasers built in to scope rails,
alternate stocks, main grips and RIS/RAS rail
systems.  Best of all, most bolt-ons are easily
available from most good airsoft retailers.

The
internals too are compatible with other MP5 AEGs. 
You can use standard AEG pistons, gears, batteries,
cylinders, etc… to full effect, without the need for
modification.

 

Field
Testing

Now
here comes the fun bit.  How does this AEG stand
up when faced with a real challenge like a day of
hard-core skirmishing in my hands?  Some of you
may know that I have a nasty reputation for being able
to break any AEG simply by looking at it.  Well
as many have said, if it can survive me, it can
survive anything.

I
took my impressive ICS MP5-A4 to my local woodland
site to put it through its paces and give it some
abuse.  During the course of the day it has fired
approximately 10,000 and was stunningly accurate on
every one.  The gun is a delight to use – very
light, yet utterly solid.  Everything I aimed at,
I hit (without additional sights, scopes or
upgrades).  It was light, manoevrable, tough,
reliable, accurate, fun and surprisingly
powerful.  The high rate of fire made “Spray
and Pray” missions a breeze, although it can lead
to a swift lack of ammunition, even with High-Capacity
Magazines (of which I had 3).  Some sticky
situations ensued, but never mind, that’s what my
trusty Glock 19 is for.

The ICS MP5 makes an excellent primary gun for skirmishing

The
gun was a triumph, plain and simple.  The ICS
magazine that came free with the gun was totally
reliable and never missed a single shot (out of about
4,000 shots).  There was however, one small
problem.  The Marui magazines I purchased along
with the gun were hopeless.  They stopped feeding
for no reason, totally un-wound whenever I inserted
them in to the gun and generally only served to annoy
and upset me.  I spent most of the time slapping
the magazines in an attempt to get them to start
feeding again and using a torrent of harsh language at
a disrespectfully loud volume.  The ICS magazine by contrast was a
jewel.  I only purchased Marui magazines as my
extras because so many people on public internet
forums slated the ICS equipment saying that the Marui
magazines were much better.  I wish I hadn’t
listened as the ICS magazines were about 2/3 of the
price of the Marui ones and yet perform so much better
in the field.

Skirmishing with the ICS MP5-A4

Summary

I
am by nature extremely fussy and will never settle for
second best – ask anyone who knows me.  This gun is probably the best
replica airsoft gun I have EVER used (and I have used
a lot).  I thought that my trusty G36c couldn’t
be beaten, but hey, I was wrong.  The ICS MP5-A4
has everything for everyone and everyone who likes
MP5s should have one (in my humble opinion).  It
is a very modular skirmishing platform and can be
adapted easily to a variety of different roles. 
Shown below are just a few of these.

Standard (out of the box) configuration 
Standard Configuration

CQB configuration (with tac-lite foregrip and double-magazine) 
CQB Configuration

Sniper configuration (with silencer and high-powered scope)
Sniper configuration

I
wish I could be more neutral and tell you about all of
the down-sides to this model, but I just can’t seem to
find any.  If I had to pick things that I would
change, I would say that a 14mm thread on the muzzle
would be nice, but that is so easy and cheap to
replace, so it really isn’t a problem.  The motor
is also a little noisier than the Tokyo Marui MP5s,
but with the rate of fire the ICS model puts out, it’s
totally forgivable.  I would also get rid of that
hole on the forward receiver, but then how would you
remove the cocking handle if the need arose?

This
gun works wonderfully for both woodland and close
quarters skirmishing and I will be taking it to EVERY
future event.  I will still have my heavily
upgraded TM G36c of course, but it now has to fight
really hard for my affections.  There’s a new kid
in town and he’s getting the job done!  It even
looks good mounted on the wall!

Is
it worth it?
YES!  yes yes yes yes yes (if you
like MP5s).

Would
I recommend it to a friend?
  (see above comment)

Upgrade
Potential

+
Too many bolt-ons and accessories to list.
+ Fully compatible internals.
+ Large battery already catered for.
+ Reinforced gearbox as standard.
+ Hi Torque motor already installed.

10
/ 10

Build
Quality

+
It feels totally solid.
+ It looks totally solid.
+ It IS totally solid.
+ No plastic creak.
+ Full-Metal construction.
+ Quality HOP-UP unit.
+ Best plastic work I’ve seen yet.
+ Very consistent performance.
+ Very reliable – ZERO jams in 12,000+ shots.

 – Muzzle has no 14mm thread.
 – Fire selector switch not quite to my
liking.
 – Slightly more motor noise.

9
/ 10

Value
for Money

A
full metal MP5, reliable, powerful, accurate,
solid, sturdy, fully upgradable, fun, high
rate of fire…
… and all for about £200?  Impossible?

10
/ 10

Overall
Potential

I
haven’t been able to put it down for more than
5 minutes since I bought it.  What
more can I say that hasn’t been said already?  Ignore those that say ICS guns
are bad even though they’ve never tried
one.  Try a Version 3 MP5 yourself and decide.

10
/ 10

by
Will (aka R22Master)

Comment
on this article in the forums.

Looking for somewhere?
Podcasts
airsoftology
The Airsoft Discussion
Gorilla Airsoft Radio
Airsoft Medicine
SSMG.se Specialist Swedish Military Experience Group
Subscribe to our news

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

News Feeds
Archives