Western Arms Strayer-Voigt Infinity review

Western
Arms Strayer-Voigt Infinity Review

by Sykobika

Introduction

Not an individual weapon,
more a family (think H&K MP5, and it’s derivatives), Strayer-Voigts are
much prized possessions, and considered one of the best pistols in the world. 
Therefore, it would not be fair to talk about just one, so I will cover the
differences between the models, before reviewing my own weapon, the 5” Hybrid-Comp. 
It was bought to replace my previous blowback, a Tanaka Sig Sauer P229, which
had become intolerably and uncurably leaky.  3 mag services in two weeks and
still it wouldn’t stop leaking; I became sick of it.  Never again…

Welcome to
the Infinity family

The
SV’s basis is the well-proven Colt 1911, chambered for a 45ACP round.  SV have
brought it well into the 21st century, widening the grip to accommodate
double-stack hi-capacity mags (now illegal to the public in the USA, shame!),
and generally improving both the action and finish.  Thus the basic weapon looks
much the same as the 1911.  It is available in 5 & 6 inch sizes, along with
a shorter “Compact Carry” version, with a 4.3” barrel.  Obviously available in
both black and nickel plate version, the longer weapons have 30-round mags, whilst
the Compact is smaller, at 25 rounds.

Then come the specials. 
The only one made as an airsoft is the Hybrid-Comp.  This is based on the longer
Infinities, coming in both 5 & 6 inch.  It differs from the standard models
in terms of finish; the hammer, trigger safety (situated on the backstrap, locks
out the trigger unless your hand squeezes it in), mag release and slide safety
are all polished zinc alloy, and there is a compensator fitted just behind the
foresight into the top of the slide.  This black and silver finish is very smart,
far less “in your face” than full nickel plate.  The real weapon, however, can
be virtually custom built to the purchasers spec (see the SV website at www.sviguns.com),
with so many options the mind cannot cope.  Titanium frames, carbon fibre ejection
ports, the list goes on.  This doesn’t come cheap, though; SV’s frequently cost
over $3000 (compare that to a standard Glock 17, which can be picked up for
around $3-400).  Similarly, Western Arms’s Infinities are the most expensive
on the market.  Is it really worth it?

First Impressions

In a word…YES! 
The SV is like nothing else I’ve had before.  It’s built like a rock, and the
metal frame makes it perfect for customising.  Weighing in at 1kg for a 5”,
with 100g either way for the other sizes, you know it’s going to last.  The
only plastic parts apparent on the exterior are the slide, grips and trigger
shoe, which can be changed for one of three supplied styles, depending on personal
preference. 

You get two curved trigger
blades, one large, one small, and a flat blade, perfect for target shooting. 
The slide cycle is crisp, and the gun oozes style and quality.  One thing is
immediately apparent, the lack of a hammer release.  I found it disconcerting
at first, as the Sig Sauer had one, and after cycling the slide for the first
time, straight from the box, I couldn’t figure out how I was supposed to return
the hammer without removing the mag.  I still haven’t resolved this problem
fully, so I offer two methods:

  1. Either drop the mag and
    pull the trigger, or
  2. Keep your thumb on the
    hammer, pull the trigger to release, and slowly lower the hammer.  This second
    method is risky; more than one I’ve had the slide slam back into my thumb,
    and that really hurts!

Apart from that minor gripe,
it’s the best pistol I’ve owned.

Looking closer

The usual WA features are
to be found on the inside.  Easily accessible is the adjustable Hop system,
and the quality is just as good here as outside.  WA’s patented “Magna” valve
unit makes it’s presence felt, with good cycling action, top-notch reliability
even in harsh conditions, and no leaking, even with a freezing cold mag (and
I mean cold – after putting over 100 rounds through it in quick succession,
I could barely hold onto the mag).  The ability to fire whilst tipped on its
side, and even upside-down is a testament to the brilliant design of the WA
system.

 

Returning to the outside,
the weapon is has a fully adjustable Bomar rearsight, allowing for pinpoint
accuracy.  There is some neat machining on the exterior, including the “Infinity”
cut into the slide flanks.

Sizewise, the Mk23 SOCOM,
a Dolphin favourite, falls between the 5” and Longslide 6”, and comes in at
bang-on the same weight.  If you find the SOCOM a bit too big, then you can
always opt for a Compact Carry, nearly 1” smaller.  Still, the Infinity is a
very comfortable and wieldy weapon for its bulk.  And then you fire it….

Firepower

…and when you do, hold on
tight.  Even using HFC134a, the recoil is pretty strong (on par with a SOCOM
using Greengas).  But that’s only the start.  Pump Greengas into the mag, and
watch it fly.  You need a strong arm to keep this one under control, especially
on double-taps and sustained firing.  Greengas chronos’ at around 305fps, but
you can go further.  The SV is rated to take Top Gas, and this will see 0.2g
rounds punching out at over 330fps. 

And, with a bit of work,
and quite a lot of money, you can turn the Infinity into a portable cannon. 
There is a Red Gas conversion available, which changes the valve system, and
most plastic parts with metal, including the slide.  This will see muzzle velocity
approaching 500fps, which is a mind-bending amount of power, possibly too much
for real practicality (Can you have too much power?).  It is very expensive
though.  Regardless, the SV is one of the hardest hitting pistols straight from
the box.

Overall

What can I say?  If you
are looking for a tough, powerful weapon that punches hard, yet requires little
maintenance, then this is for you.  Just make sure you can afford it before
you commit.  Even in Hong Kong, the Infinity range starts at US$210, the Hybrid
Comps are closer to US$300.  I was lucky enough to find one in this country
going very cheap, £205 from Wolf
Armouries
in High Wycombe.  It was a miracle they had them in stock (nobody
else at all did), especially seeing as they were going cheaper than in Hong
Kong (work it out for yourself).  Get yours while you can…

Conclusions

Appearance:  5/5

Build Quality: 
5/5 (it’s a WA)

Performance:  5/5
(think portable AEG)

Value for Money: 
3/5 (it’s very expensive, but worth it)

Game Potential: 
5/5

Comments

Good:

  • Very realistic
  • Sledgehammer power
  • Very accurate
  • High RoF
  • Reliability, especially
    under sustained firing and poor conditions
  • Western Arms build
    quality and “Magna” valve technology
  • Low maintenance
  • Metal frame – easy
    customising

Bad:

  • Cost – sell your
    grandmother and various body parts to afford it
  • Hybrid styling
    is a little “Miami Vice” (I’m sure Sonny Crockett carried something
    like this, It’s bad enough I admit to watching the show…)
  • Gas choice – you
    must use Greengas or higher to get good results

Comment
about this review in the forums


This page
last edited: Wednesday, February 21, 2001 7:49 PM

copyright 2001
ArniesAirsoft.




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