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Cyma AKS-74U (CM.035) review

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Cyma goes for hearts and minds with their "suchka"

by ardrummer292




Rewind to the year 2004, right about the time I started playing airsoft seriously. If you would have told me that I would buy a Cyma product some time in my career, I would have politely questioned your sanity. Cyma has, until recently, been the penultimate pariah. Their kit was the stuff of flea markets, purchased only by the uninformed or woefully underfunded. As we all know, times have changed.


With the ever-increasing popularity of Chinese clone replicas, airsoft is quickly becoming accessible to many more new players. I won't get into the various schools of thought on this phenomenon, as they are irrelevant to this review. One thing is undeniable, though: these new, cheap All China Made (ACM) weapons are affording tinkerers, collectors, and skirmishers alike the opportunity to expand their armories without breaking the bank.





image and text from Wikipedia



In 1979 a shortened variant of the AKS-74 was adopted into service – the AKS-74U (U – Ukorochenniy) carbine, which in terms of tactical deployment, bridges the gap between a submachine gun and assault rifle. It is intended for use mainly with special forces, airborne infantry, rear-echelon support units and armored vehicle crews. The weapon’s compact dimensions, compared to the AKS-74, were achieved by using a short, 200 mm (7.9 in) barrel (this forced designers to simultaneously reduce the gas piston operating rod to an appropriate length). In order to effectively stabilize projectiles, the barrel’s twist rate was reduced from 200 mm (7.9 in) to 160 mm (6.3 in). A new gas block was installed at the muzzle end of the barrel and a new conical flash hider was used, which features an internal expansion chamber that alleviates gas pressure generated during firing. The flash suppressor locks into the gas block with a latch placed on the right side. The forward sling loop was relocated to the left side. The weapon’s front sight is integrated into the gas block base.


The AKS-74U also has a different sight system setup with a U-shaped flip sight instead of the standard sliding notch sight. The rear sight has two settings: “P” (fixed for firing at 350 m) and “4-5” (used for firing at distances up to 400-500 m). The rear sight is housed in a semi-hooded shroud that is riveted to the receiver top cover. This top cover is connected with the gas tube cover and is hinged, pivoting forward when opened. Both the gas tube and handguard are also of a new type and are shorter than analogous parts in the AKS-74.


The AKS-74U is significantly more maneuverable in tight quarters than the AKS-74, however the steep decline in muzzle velocity from 900 m/s (2,953 ft/s) to 735 m/s (2,411 ft/s) resulted in a decrease in effective aimed range (the effective hitting distance for a “running”-type silhouette was reduced from 625 to 350 m).[1] The carbine cannot mount a bayonet or standard under-barrel grenade launcher. However, a suppressed 30 mm BS-1 grenade launcher was developed for this weapon that fires high-explosive dual purpose (HEDP) grenades. The grenades from the BS-1 are launched by blank cartridges and the weapon is cycled manually in this mode of operation. The majority of AKS-74U's were manufactured at the Tula Arms Factory rather than Izhmash.








The CM.035 is purportedly based on a hybrid of VFC and TM designs (according to filAKairsoft), such that it retains the look of the VFC AKS-74U while remaining compatible with TM-style AK magazines. The Cyma version can also take up to a 12V stick battery due to the hollow top handguard, just like the VFC. I'm sure there is other contributing evidence, like distance of bolt travel or barrel to receiver attachment, but I find that these details are inconsequential at most. If it shoots and does what I need it to do, no complaints. That IS the general idea behind any Kalashnikov weapon system, right?


So, why did I choose the CM.035? I have a few reasons, one of which is certainly the cost. At $120 for the full metal and wood version, whilst cranking out 370 fps stock, this little beast is a great feeling, hot shooting, inexpensive replica. Another major selling point was its compatibility with TM mags and alleged superb stock performance. That's good and all, but it leaves a big question unanswered: what really made me want this gun?


I hate AKs. It's quite simple, really. I find them primitive, with poor ergonomics and counterintuitive controls. Reloads take too long, the pistol grip isn't as comfortable as the M4's, they aren't pointable, the iron sights are terrible… the list goes on and on. I knew I was past due to master the one weapon with which I lacked experience.


My sole reason for purchase wasn't due to unfamiliarity with the weapon, however. I recently joined the Navy, and chose to go SpecWar. In my military career, there may be a mission where I'm tasked with leaving a minimal "footprint" while in-country. I could, therefore, be assigned an AK to retain compatibility with locally-available weapons and to blend with the population more effectively. If my *albartroth* is on the line and I'm not proficient with a Kalashnikov, I have only myself to blame.


I ordered my .035 from AirsoftGI, along with a 5-pack of black MAG AK74 midcaps and a spare 8.4V stick battery. I also picked up some KSC Perfect 0.25g bbs, as a rifle shooting this hot shouldn't be using 0.2g for anything beyond the chrono station.








Man, this thing is heavy! My package weighed in at 20 lbs, with the AK itself responsible for about 7 lbs. I got the standard 8.4V NiMH stick battery, charger, bag of poor-quality 0.2g bbs, 500rd orange Bakelite-style hicap, and an instruction manual in the box as well.


The first thing I noticed about the gun was the finish on the metal; it seemed to be almost textured, very flat matte black. Comparing this with my uncle's Norinco AK, you can see the difference. Real AKs have an almost semi-gloss smooth black finish without any texture, so I knew that finish would have to go straight away. The wood foregrip wasn't finished well either, in an unattractive red-brown stain. I decided I would sort that as well.


The fire selector, straight out of the box, is very positive and makes a defined "click" when changing modes. Unfortunately, it appears I fondled this feature a bit much, as it became very loose. It's an easy fix, though: just pop the cap covering the selector screw, tighten, replace the cap, carry on.


The stock locks into place quite sturdily, and only has a millimeter or so of play in it. When folded to the receiver (note: the AKS-74U folds to the operator's left, not the right), it's rock solid and won't budge until released. Do note that some folks have had issues with the stock locking mechanism breaking, so be nice to it if you're concerned.


The pistol grip is the only part of the construction that let me down, and it's not all that bad. It's made of some kind of thin plastic, not awful quality material or anything, just too thin for my liking. It does wobble a bit, but not enough to bother me. I can't even quantify the movement by sight, it's more of a feel thing.


Inserting and removing mags was an extraordinarily stiff deal at first, at least until I realized that the mag release pin was out of its socket on the operator's right. Once realigned, mag changes were a breeze.


The rifle is somewhat front heavy, with its center of balance near the magazine release. This forward weight bias is undoubtedly due to the steel outer barrel and battery placement.





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Time to cover the materials used on this gun, from stem to stern:



Folding stock, hinge, release button, side-locking catch

Fire selector

Trigger guard

Top cover/upper receiver

Bolts near scope mount (unsure of name)

Rear sling mount

Outer barrel


Pot metal:

Lower receiver

Trigger, mag release

Scope mount

Front/gas and rear sight blocks

Handguard rings



Top cover release button



Pistol grip (plastic)

Foregrip (wood)


Metals were tested with a magnet to determine composition.






I'm not an airsmith, therefore I won't open this gun until something breaks. If you'd like to read up on the internals, allow me to refer you to a fine review by zentaurus and filAKairsoft:


Shakedown: Cyma .035 Full Field Tests

Summary: The Mechbox


Komrad Stan, 1AD tech guru, and Komrad Hans, Cougar weapons specialist, were essentially of the same mind about the mechbox. Komrad Rampage corroborated their findings. All three agreed that the Cyma 035 mechbox had


- the usual CM02 AK shell

- a mixed bag of gears

- the usual overgreasing

- plastic spring guides

- steel bushings in some, plastic bushing in others

- plastic pistons with ported piston heads

- Type 2 brass cylinders

- a short but relatively powerful spring

- an unlabeled motor

- good, not excellent, compression








ASGI chronoed this rifle at 370 fps prior to shipping. The Poor Man's Chrono puts this rifle somewhere in the 370-420 fps range: the bbs penetrated both sides of each can every time, but only punctured the bottom central region on two of the four cans. Every can was identical.


Rate of fire (ROF) is about 750 rounds per minute (RPM) with the stock battery and the 8.4V PHX NiMH stick battery I purchased separately. An AirsoftSmith 9.6V NiMH stick pack produces about 900-1000 RPM. Semiautomatic is fairly crisp with all three packs.


Range tests were conducted on a fairly chilly day, with a slight headwind of maybe 5 mph. Targets were 14'' wide by 16'' tall cardboard, topped with a 6'' by 6'' "head," mounted approximately 3 feet off the ground by a pole. Ammunition was KSC Perfect 0.25g bbs, hopup was not perfectly zeroed due to imperfect lighting conditions. 10 shots were taken at semiautomatic at each range to determine hit percentage.

45 feet - 10/10 shots hit, 100% hit percentage

90 feet - 9/10 shots hit, 90% hit percentage

135 feet - 4/10 shots hit, 40% hit percentage (likely operator error and increase in wind)

Maximum point target range (minimum 70% hit percentage) - 120 feet

Maximum area target range (maximum range of bbs) - 150 feet






As anyone who knows me will tell you, I deplore cherry-looking kit. Therefore, loosely following Guinness' guide (on ArniesAirsoft) to weathering, I gave my AK that battle-hardened look.


Using steel wool on the metal body achieved two effects: it exposed underlying metal in high-wear areas, and it eliminated the unrealistic matte-black finish.




The wood was quite simple to wear: simply sand it down, beat it up, and re-stain it.




The hicap magazine was, aesthetically, one of the worst parts of the rifle. The orange was too bright, and seam lines were quite prominent on the front and rear. So, I took some rough-grit sandpaper and smoothed the whole thing out. After that, I diluted some wood stain and gave it a quick-once over. After that, I applied the finishing touch, a thin layer of dirt. Voila! Perfect.










40 degrees Fahrenheit, occasional rain, overcast, flooded ground… a perfect day for airsoft!


My AK performed quite well overall, even earning a few appreciative "oohs" and "aahs" from TM fanboys. While this rifle wasn't the most amazing gun there, it easily held its own in firefights with more expensive rifles. I found that it was at home in a woodland environment: its small size was great for aggressive assaulting, while its sheer power let it cut through brush with relative ease. Everyone could tell when I was firing, due to the distinctive muzzle report. I got one kill at nearly 200 feet (a combination of luck and lobbing), but the majority of my kills were around 100 feet.


I only had a few issues with the gun, one of which was the occasional misfeed with the hicap. I also noticed that the front sight is slightly rotated to the right, which is a common problem and is easy to fix.


A couple other problems became readily apparent when my battery started to run out of juice. One, the ROF would drop about 50-100 RPM during bursts of 10 rounds or more. Semiautomatic would also frequently lock up, requiring a burst in fullauto to start functioning again. With a fully-charged battery, these issues are not present.






Hicap is nice, battery isn't great, charger is unneeded (I already have one), bbs are trash.



With an improved pistol grip, tighter selector switch, properly aligned sights, and better finish, this thing would be golden. Sans durability issues that I've only read about (top foregrip pin retainer tab snapping, stock locking mechanism breaking), all are fixable by the end user.



I don't care, as long as it shoots. Over 3000 rounds through it thus far without a serious problem, no complaints.



This thing is no DMR, but it definitely gets plastic on target. Range and accuracy are very impressive for such a small rifle.



Gets the job done, assuming you've got the guts to get a little too close for comfort. Not an ideal long-range standoff weapon.



Whether you're going for Spetznas, SF "en mufti," PMC, or Osama bin Dirtbag, this rifle is the economical way to get your hadji on.


VALUE: 9/10

The only way you'll get more for your dollar/pound/Euro/goatmilk is theft.








I really like this gun. It's not perfect, but it's a great value and a really good shooter. Externals are quite nice, internals are holding up, handling and performance are pleasantly surprising, and I imagine it'll be a nice platform to build on for any future tuning you wish to do. This little AK has changed the way I think about Cyma.



I'm going for some "hearts and minds" of my own: Mozambique drills at my range. Note that I hadn't tightened the selector screw at this point.



All my skirmish kit, ready to go.


- ardrummer292

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Actually one of the better reviews on this site.


Very well written.


I personally like reviews with details of the internals but again, for the style of review that you were writing, its fantastic.


Very nicely done man.

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Excellent review, the writing itself is noticeably better than a lot of text on the internet. I've been tempted to get one of these myself once i finish my AK-47.


So all that wear and modification to the finish was done with steel wool alone?

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Great review,but it still brings a tear to my eye,these clones are making the good guys move from the "real"gear,im seeing more of them every time im on site.I LOVE MY VFC and they cant touch it.But you carryed the review very well.

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Thanks for the compliments, guys. Take note, kiddies: proper grammar will get you far in life. :P


Hehe, I edited that Wiki article and added a large chunk of that text a while back.


Thanks for saving me the trouble of having to do extensive research. I'm not AK-savvy at all.


So all that wear and modification to the finish was done with steel wool alone?


Yep, steel wool and about 6-10 hours of work.


... what? I like my guns to look perfect. :D

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I finally had a chance to use the AK at my home field, a MOUT site at a construction company's base of operations. The terrain is very open, defined by a couple (closed-off) warehouses and towering dirt mounds with interspersed construction vehicles and supplies. There is also a 100 foot long by 4 foot deep trench, two close-packed rows of semi trailers, and several smaller dirt mounds on the approximately 500 by 500 foot field.


The most notable departure my home site makes from your average woodland field is the lacking concealment, making stealthy movement quite difficult if you have contacts at range. This also means that engagements tend to happen at extremely close or extremely long range, with little in between.


For the game, the weather decided to cooperate. Sunday yielded mostly sunny skies, a temperature of around 60 degrees Fahrenheit, and light winds of 5 to 10 miles per hour.


I was unsure how the AK would fare in this terrain. My field is about as forgiving as a wife who walks in on you scrumping her sister; this was made clear when one of the opposing team suffered a leg injury coming down a dirt mount. I've used this field as a benchmark for gear durability, as surviving a skirmish there (especially with my sometimes "fast and furious" style of gameplay) is no small feat.


I'm a pretty awful woodland shooter, which is why I thought my initial appraisal of the .035's skirmishability was a bit unfair. While I have great confidence in my knowledge of this MOUT site, I wasn't sure if the rifle could hold its own in the long-range "standoffs" that frequently take place.


Only one way to find out, right?


It turns out that the -74U is right at home in an urban environment. It's compact enough to maneuver around obstacles with ease. I found that snap shooting over and around cover was a simple affair, undoubtedly attributed to its ergonomic foregrip and short barrel (as well as my increasing fondness for Kalashnikov-style iron sights). Fast assaulting to objectives was much easier with this rifle than the M4/M16 variants I'm used to, likely because of the home-brewed one point sling setup I'm using and the balance of the rifle itself. Transitions are smooth with my current sling rig as well, as I discovered when I forgot to reload before charging an enemy position.


I was getting about 135 foot point and 150 foot area target range, but again that didn't stop me from getting kills further out. Lobbing shots and walking them on target got me a couple kills at about 150 feet, uphill, on a fortified enemy position.


I love the consistency of the hopup and the "beaten zone" the short barrel produces; this denied enemy personnel the opportunity to leave their cover. This didn't affect the lethality of the rifle, however, as a quick burst slotted any wayward tango with bad intentions.


What surprised me most about the rifle was its size. I loaned it to a teammate for a round, who naturally took a couple test shots. All I thought was, "Looks like an AK and an MP5 had an affair." There isn't much gun extending past your leading hand. If you're trying to compensate for something lacking in your knickers, this ain't your rifle.


Another thing that struck me was the sound. When you're firing the rifle, you hear the whine of the gearbox just before the loud "POW!" of the muzzle report, which sounds quite similar whether you're firing bbs or not. From 5 feet, the gearbox noise is totally consumed by the muzzle report, which (unfortunately) sounds completely different if you're shooting blanks.


My little AK made some more fans and confirmed others' pre-existing intentions to buy one. I was considering trading it for Cyma's latest-and-greatest AKM (CM.036), but I think my Shiny Kit Syndrome has been cured for the time being. With the way this gun shoots, looks, and feels, I think I’m going to hold on to it for quite a while.


- ardrummer292

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sorry about the off topic-ness, but...

interesting clippy sling thing you've got going on there. is that just a bit of webbing strap attached directly to your chest rig or is it a full sling? if it's the former, cool idea! might have to try that at some point as slings get on my nerves... then again so does never having more than one hand free when i need to do something (unless i put the gun down). seems like a good solution :)

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Yeah, it's something like a 1-pointer attached to my chestrig. Didn't work out too well, though, so I fabricated an independent 1-pointer with a QD buckle for right to left transitions. :D

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ahh.. something similar to the one as reviewed on MM? ermm. MM= Military Morons.

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I would totally agree with everything in this review. This thing outperforms most AEGs costing 3-4x as much. I never thought I'd own a CYMA either, but this has completely changed my view about clones. I may even pick up some more. Everyone that's held and shot mine has been extremely impressed to the point where they wished they would have bought this instead of their CA or VFC models.

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Got mine today...and im impressed. Going to use it at a woodland site this wkend..As it a new place by me...wanna go check it out.


I think i have the plastic wood version...as it looks very shiney and smooth, is that a give away? (bought it from the sales/Trades on here)


Its had a few internal upgrades such as new hop-up etc. I need to age it...as it looks to new and black.


something to add...just found out the front grips are plastic...would love the wood ones...anyone know where i can get hold of some after market grips?

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Sorry for the necro-post, but I just recieved mine today as well, and I must say it is pretty good for a MPEG.


One question, how do I take off the horrific orange tip?


Is yours painted on, or plastic?


Here's mine recently, I threw an RDS on and it's worlds ahead of the cruddy iron sights, despite being fairly ugly.




Range is stunning for such a small weapon, a local gun doc is kindly tossing in a bunch of upgrades tonight.

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Hey, could someone tell how well these are holding up after a few games worth of use? I'm torn between the cyma or the dboys one, and have heard some things about the reliability of the cyma.



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i would recommend you buy the NEWER full steel version of Dboys' AKSU. its worth it for the externals alone. plus apparently the new versions internals have been improved (they werent bad in the first place)

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