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From Asia with Love

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"From Asia (actually, just China, the one and only China... the People's Republic of China) with Love" - a RealSword Type 97 review by a Comrade(me)




After carefully considering compatibility with my lookouts(Modern Chinese PLA Ground Forces or Marines), I have decided on buying the RealSword Type 97 instead of the Type 97B or Type 56 series(as they are only used by reserved units now).


The order arrived relatively quickly within 3 weeks of ordering from PrecisionAirsoft.com.


I have encountered problems with the upper hand guard, which I will attempt to explain here before anyone gets any wrong ideas about it.


Hand guard problem-

When I received my beautiful Type 97 assault rifle, the upper hand guard was crooked (somehow curved upwards so it squeaks loudly every time I push it down). After some exchange of e-mail with PrecisionAirsoft, they contacted RealSword's NorthAmerica branch representative (name omitted here to prevent flooding of email), I was informed that I need to send my gun to their office (again, address omitted here) to confirm the serial number (RS001505).

It took almost a month, due to USPS, for the rifle to arrive at RealSword NorthAmerica's office, and I was e-mailed a PDF document answering the questions I had.


I asked them:

Q. Why no extra flash suppressor?

A. Because the earlier versions were shipped with a plastic orange flash suppressor attached and included a metal one, but the current version is shipped with a metal flash suppressor painted orange (later, I removed the orange paint by dipping the front of the barrel into paint remover... there were no paint on this rifle other than the orange, so everything is good).


Q. Why were there scratch marks on the steel carryhandle reinforcements?

A. They were machining marks from the factory; the workers need to learn to make the guns with more care.


*I was satisfied with the answer because I would imagine that not all real rifles are perfectly made, and the marks gave this rifle its "character", as the rep put it*


Q. Why was there a tiny bit of glue on the stock?

A. Again, Careless workers at factory. The glue was easy to remove though. *Glue removed by the rep with gun oil*


Then comes the problem with the upper hand guard, the representative opened THREE NEW Type 97 boxes and told me that they all had miniscule movement when a large amount of force is applied.


Despite the explanation, the representative was glad to exchange the hand guard and every other part for me (internal was perfect, so I did not ask for internal replacement).


So, the part was exchanged and I was given a free Realsword 100rd (?) midcap for all the trouble.


Everything shipped to my house within 4 days, the squeakiness in the hand guard was gone when I got the rifle back.


Along with a 2010 RealSword Catalogue, I also received a bunch of Type 97 and Type 56 posters, which I shared among my comrades.



Now onto the review:



No extra-fancy artwork like what G&G...etc. give you, but the box protects the rifle extremely well with foam specifically designed for the Type 97.


A sticker on the box tells me that this rifle had a M120 spring in it, and the chrono sheet from factory showed that the muzzle velocity with .20g bb clocked in at ~124 meters per second.


Along with the rifle, there was an accessory box containing tools to adjust the sights and act as un-jamming rod and cleaning rod.


Also included in the box, like other RealSword rifles, is a plastic oil can. I held around 200-300 bbs in it in a skirmish.


The magazine was wrapped in oil-paper, which is a nice touch, since that should be how Norinco ships their mags with their gun.


*After sending the rifle to RealSword for part exchange, I was given a RealSword 2010 catalogue showing their completed Type 97 line, with the Type 97 LMG and 98 Sniper rifle).




Only two places for attachment of accessories: Top dove-tail type rail and the bayonet lug.


There are tiny seam lines that are visible on this rifle, but as far as I know, they are visible on every other polymer-made rifle.


Other than the minor squeak when I squeeze really hard on the top of the hand guard, the rifle is solid. Polymer quality is better than Classic Army. And the steel barrel (plus many other steel parts) made the rifle feel extremely sturdy.


Even if the outside bends (not happening for me), the internal steel frame + CNCed Duralumin receiver stays solid.


I did, however, had a little movement on the lower receiver, they were solved with a piece of tape (literally) on each side of the front attachment point for the lower hand guard and pin hole.


After fixing the very little problem it had, the rifle feels perfect.


One more thing to note: there are no paint on the rifle except for the orange tip, everything had been blued over or anodized for a consistent black or grey-ish black(on the barrel and bayonet lug) finish.


The charging handle cannot be pulled all the way back to realistic length because the gearbox is in the way, but it makes a sound louder than Ar-15 variants and some AK (without the realistic bolt under the top cover).

I believe that the loud sound was from the heavy use of machined/stamped steel parts and a heavy spring.


The Iron sights are amazing, the rear sight is practically invisible when it is on the "5"(there are 3 hole sizes: 1, 3, and 5, with 5 being the largest), yet you know that it is there. I have used many sights from AK, Ar-15 stuff, G36, G3 ...etc, and so far, the Type 97 feels the most useable.


The magazine catch seemed to be where people whine about the most. I have only one thing to say: Train to use a bull pup rifle or do not talk. I can just press the mag catch and drop the mag into an empty pouch with the magazinefs position, and slap in a fresh mag just as quickly.


Beware: I have heard from other owners of Type 97 rifles that MAG metal mags do not fit, and my JG M4 midcap (old version from 2006-7) does not fit... Surprisingly, the Echo1 M4 hicap (same as JG 2008-09) works.


The selector switch clicks into place with a sharp sound, it is made of polymer but is solid (will not be accidentally turned).


Barrel and flash suppressor, along with every other steel parts(Barrel, sights, all parts of the inner frame...etc.) on the rifle, are blued over and was applied another type of finish to have a slightly grey-ish color (non-reflective).


Note: the flash suppressor is glued onto the barrel; I have not been able get a chance to try to remove it as putting a suppressor on this rifle would be a crime against motherland.


It is obvious that I have received a lemon, and the 3 polymer external pieces did not look to be from the same set, so my rifle had a little problem with 0.5-1mm of movement on the lower handguard. I have e-mailed the representative again and I hope for a good solution to this problem.


As far as I know, after asking other owners of RealSword Type 97, there is no problem like mine on the other ones.


Takedown (no tools needed, but prepare a small Philip head screwdriver just to be safe):

1. Pop out the receiver pin located behind the selector switch, it will stay on the receiver so you cannot lose it.

2. Slide off the top receiver cover while holding back the charging handle.

3. Slide back top hand guard/carry handle piece, and pull up when the inner steel reinforcement is fully visible.

4. Pop out the lower hand guard/pistol grip pin; remember that it goes back into the rifle from the left side.

5. Option 1: Pull the trigger (selector setting: semi-auto) and pull down the lower hand guard piece at the same time until the trigger bar disconnects.

Option 2: use screwdriver to unscrew the screw that connects the trigger contact with the trigger bar, then pull the lower receiver forward and down while pulling on the trigger and disconnect the trigger bar.




I had no qualms with the internals; everything looked like they were fitted with care.


One little thing that I did not like: they covered the motor height adjustment hole with lock-tite... I would have liked to adjust the motor height myself, but it seemed that the factory adjustment was perfect.


Hop-up is here: receiver.jpg

However, it is nearly impossible to pull out by hand. When I had to remove it to work on the hop-up, I used a MPEG's inner barrel to hammer it out from the front.



Everything inside the gearbox is assembled/laid out well.



Sector gear comes with a chip already installed to prevent misfeeding on high ROF. They are just asking you to get a nice Lipo battery for this rifle.


The wiring is a hard type that is thicker than Classic Army stock wiring but just as hard, so it should be 16awg with thin insulations.


This AEG comes with standard small Tamiya connectors, but I am going to replace them with deans for less resistance.


The motor is a high-torque type, which is different from the one in the Type 97B (high-speed); as the name suggests, it has more torque, less speed...


The rate of fire is average (Clocked in at 16-17rps with a fully-charged Elite 9.6v 1500mah custom battery while it is still warm), but the trigger response is positive, and the rate of fire is realistic.


I would not mess with the internals too much because the only thing I see that is compatible with standard gearbox is the motor and the bearings.


Note on working the internals:



(Pictured above) This spring need to be watched out for because it may pop off the gearbox shell and cause really weird reassembly problems(cannot turn selector switch...etc).





I was able to hit half human-sized targets(lower-half body in a 8 ft. tower) from approximately 150ft away, with KSC .25g bb, 5 out of 10 times(human error at aiming) in a skirmish.


The bb can go much further but I had not been able to get a precise measurement at a gun range(I took it to a skirmish in borrowed paintball field...paintball shooting range only goes out to 100ft...lol).


I believe that RealSword's claim that this rifle can hit a matchbox at --- feet was correct, because this rifle is very accurate, and I would not doubt that this rifle has a high-quality inner barrel(if not a tightbore barrel).


Because I have only used this rifle in skirmishes, I was not able to tell the exact performance of this rifle, but I can tell that it performs well for a stock high-quality AEG.


Hearing the motor right next to my face was not as painful as I thought it would be, because this rifle cycles smoothly with a good sound(does not feel like the motor was strained when pulling the spring).


*note* This rifle always "precock" the spring a tiny bit even after firing on semi-auto mode, so you MUST press the Anti-Reversal Latch (revealed on the topside of the gearbox after removal of stock/cheek rest piece) before putting this rifle into storage/mainainence.


On the issue of battery:


One CAN fit up to a 12v Nimh (NiCad too, but I would not bother with those) battery into this rifle, I would pick Elite 1500mah because I KNOW that they have the right dimension to fit perfectly.


The problem comes with the placement of wires on the battery.


I had success by moving the gearbox wires, along with the fuse, to the right side of the barrel (go through the space between barrel and charging handle), and then down into the pistol grip.


^Wire should be like this in order to fit.


The battery NEEDS to have the wires moved to the top or bottom of the flat-shape, not on the side. The Elite 1500mah battery fits in perfectly when the wires had been moved to the top of the flat-shape (consisting of 3-cells, look to picture of battery for RealSword Type 97 for reference).


For those who wanted to make custom batteries, the wires between the long 3-cell that goes into the pistol grip and flat 3-cell shape MUST be shorter than 2cm, because longer wires can increase resistance on the trigger pull(which is already very heavy for a AEG).


If one is too lazy to follow this guide, he/she can just buy a small enough Lithium Polymer or Limn battery that is the same size as the accessory box for this rifle.


Accessory and Modification:


Due to New Year's promotion from RealSword, I was given a free CNCed rail adapter for 20mm western optics.


The rail adapter, as far as I know, will be compatible with most 20mm accessories, so one may even fit a vertical grip onto the top of the rifle if he/she is mentally challenged.


I had not been successful in acquiring a original magnified optic for the Type 95 because the new generation PLA-issued items are banned from being sold to surplus stores(including the Type 07 uniforms and the same generation's gears, luckily I was able to acquire the NAVY and Plateau uniform due to connections).

However,the optics designed for the Type 95(Norinco QBZ-95) should work on the Type 97 aswell because the rail on both rifles are the same).


Other than the rail adapter + 20mm rail mounted optics (mostly un-progressive with some exceptions) and dove-tail rail mounted optics, there are no other accesories that are useful on this rifle.


The bayonet also seemed impossible to find, and the underbarrel Grenade launcher is out of the question until RealSword decides to make one.


Drilling holes into the rifle to install 20mm rails is NOT an option, because there is no way that the rail will line up with the barrel (due to the design for ergonomics for this rifle).


There is enough space for a MOSFET inside the rifle, and I do plan to install one.


The sling is nice and sturdy, but I am not going to use it because it is extremely difficult to take off due to the hook being one piece of steel(could be a good thing, because it will DEFINITELY NOT fall off the rifle).


This rifle is not for the light-hearted.


If you look for something with absolutely ZERO movement on the externals out of the box, you should look at RealSword's Type 56 lines.


However, the Type 97 is extremely unique, and it has great sentimental values for the Chinese people...


Pro and Con:


+Solid internals with a nice high-torque motor and perfect shimming

+Steel barrel made from one solid piece with holes drilled, not cast

+Steel inner frame stays solid no matter what happens to the polymer outer shell

+CNCed receiver and most other parts

+Nice sight picture for the Iron Sights

+Nice ergonomics, for me...

+High Price, you get what you paid for.

-HIGH-TORQUE motor...for a standard field-use rifle, this may be an overkill since the stock fps(~124 meters per second with .20g bb) is already perfect for field limit of most large airsoft events(not including CQB-only environments).

-Tiny problem with how the workers handle these products...this means that acquiring a lemon is possible. The RealSword rep did say that he is happy to exchange the rifle for a new one or replace any parts on it until I am satisfied with the rifle, so that is not a big problem.

-Less upgradeable than a rifle with V2/V3 gearbox, but still better than FA-MAS (V1 gearbox).

-High Price...Keeps away a lot of Chinese players (In China, MPEGs are even CHEAPER than they are in U.S., and RealSword products are still this expensive).

+/-not many accessories for this rifle. That means than it will not become a Christmas tree, but there are less available options for night games when a flashlight may be needed (though on the real steel rifle, there is a night vision optic available).



This is a very realistic rifle. Performance is on par, if not better, than most rifles out of the box.

RealSword rifles are perfectly skirmishable, and they have externals tough enough to stand every torture test/ unfortunate incident involving the front wheel of duty car and the rifle.

I will admit that this rifle's externals had a tiny bit of problems; but right now, for me at least, it is solid and very good. At least this rifle has no barrel-wobble (*staring at AR-15 stuff*) that affects accuracy.

Do I love this rifle to death(of my enemy)? Yes. Will I ever sell it? No. Will I buy this rifle again? No, I will be getting every other RealSword rifles (Starting with Type 56 or Type 97 LMG).

Should YOU buy one? Definitely, if you like realism and something more unique.


Magazine compatibility


Echo1 300rd hi-cap/JG 2008-09 hi-cap: yes

G&G 450rd hi-cap: no

MAG Metal midcap: Did not fit another Type 97, probably will not fit mine either.

Magpul PTS P-mag (NOT STAR): wobbles like hell, but feeds.

MAG plastic midcap: if no variation in size due to over-use of mold for injection-molding, then yes.

Old JG hi-cap: no

RealSword midcap and hicap: definite yes


P.S.-I have asked RealSword's representative about a possible conversion kit to Type 95, but I have received no reply as of now.

Edited by adadqgg
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