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It seems the only pistols I've been buying are WE Hi-Capas and KSC Glocks. Well, the time has come for my 3rd WE Hi-Capa, the new 4.3.


History: (if you can call it that)


I've always been a fan of the 1911. There's nothing sexier, IMO, when it comes to pistols. The 2011 is STI's rendition of a modernized 1911. The 2011 has become very popular for competition shooting, but is also used by various law enforcement agencies. More info is available by googling sti 2011.


The WE Hi-Capa 4.3 (or just 4.3 shorthand, for purposes of this review) is a replica of a 2011 pistol. To be more specific, the WE Hi-Capa 4.3 is a clone of the TM Hi-Capa 4.3. WE basically copies TM's Hi-Capas, but features a few upgrades: a metal slide/outer barrel, stiffer recoil springs, and a few other goodies that escape me at the moment. More importantly, with these upgrades, the WE pistol is actually cheaper than the TM.


Ordering, delivery, first impressions:


I ordered the WE Hi-Capa 4.3 from UNCompany. Retail is $90 + $30 shipping. It took 3 business days for the package to arrive. Fast shipping, thanks UNCo! I can't say I was too excited since I wasn't really expecting much. Another WE Hicapa to add to my previous 5.1 and Dragon experience, wooptie doo.


The package arrived in a bland brown box with the markings:









Inside the box is the manual, gun itself, and protective foam:




Unlike when I purchased the 5.1 and Dragon, there was no pack of bb's included.


Closer examination/ externals:


I examined the pistol carefully and noticed there was a small spot of paint worn on the frame above the grip, and some small scuff marks towards the front of the frame. My package was inspected by Customs, so maybe they left me this present. Or maybe the people at UNCo fired off a couple happy rounds before shipping it off to me. Oh well, as long it fires fine, I can live with it.


The gun came with orange paint on the tip of the outer barrel. Not worth taking pictures of. ;)


The color scheme of the gun is very nice, IMO. Most of the slide and frame are dark grey. The grip is black. The grip safety, hammer, and trigger are silver. There will be a silver version released later on. Also, I was lucky enough to see a prototype of a modified 4.3 slide on a 3.8 frame. Looked absolutely gorgeous. I, of course, had no patience to wait. :)


Most of the parts on the 4.3 are metal. The most noticeable plastic part is the grip. Note, the grip panels are not removeable, it's all one peice! There are a few plastic parts on the internals, such as the hop up wheel and stop for disassembling the inner and outer barrels. So be careful not to strip these parts when disassembling the gun! But other than that, everything else is metal. A new feature of the 4.3 compared to previous WE Hi-Capa models is a lightweight aluminum slide, instead of the heavier pot metal (zinc alloy?) slide used in the other models. This supposedly reduces the gas consumption. We shall see...


Thankfully, there are no "Baby Hi-Capa" markings on the 4.3. The only permanent marking on the gun is the ".45 ACP" engraving on top of the outer barrel next to the chamber, common to the other WE Hi-Capas (my digital camera is blurtastic at close up range, time to replace it ASAP!):




Temporary markings are the "WE" stickers on both sides of the grip, and a "Made in Taiwan" sticker below the frame. I got rid of the Taiwan sticker ASAP. :)


The 4.3 comes with a railed frame for attaching taclights, lasers, and other accessories. I don't have a taclight to test it at the moment so I can't tell you how the fit is. I'll probably end up getting an M3 taclight replica just for the hell of it. Unlike the 5.1 and Dragon Hi-Capas, the 3.8 and 4.3 come with grooves cut into the rail for securely attaching those accessories. One really weird thing to note is that the rail isn't cut into the frame flush with the rest of the frame. There's about a 1mm protrusion, unlike the TM Hi-Capas. The protrusion is flush with the width of the slide:






The sights are non-adjustable but are removeable (unlike the 3.8 sights which are fixed, IIRC). Both sights are held by friction, but the rear sight also has a set screw for extra security. The sights are not painted. Adjustable Bomar sights should fit nicely on the 4.3 since the grooves are already cut into the slide.




Picking up the gun and shaking it reveals a slight rattle, mostly due to the magazine. I suspect a strip or two of electrical tape would fix that. The fit of the slide with the frame is very good. No noticeable rattle there. The outer barrel and slide fit is adequate, but it could be better. There is about a 0.5mm gap between the two. I'm not sure how this compares to the other WE Hi-Capa models, but accuracy shouldn't be too affected by this at close range.




There is an adjustable hopup which is accessible via field stripping the slide and adjusting the hopup wheel (see manual):




There are also three sets of safeties on the 4.3, similiar to the other WE Hi-Capa models. There is the grip safety, two ambidextrous thumb safeties, and a half-cock hammer safety. From previous Hi-Capa models, the grip safety has been known to be iffy and the right thumb safety has been known to be a little loose. My 4.3 shares this loose thumb safety issue, but it works nonetheless. Fixes for these little minor annoyances are available through field stripping the frame. More on this later.


Here is a size comparison with my S&W 645 springer:




Enough of the externals, how does it perform?


The included magazine is capable of loading 29 rounds. The magazine is compatible with the TM Hi-capas and all the other WE Hi-Capa models. The 3.8 magazines are another story and will not fit. There is also a CO2 mag available. Recommended gas for the WE Hi-Capas are either green gas/propane or CO2. HFC 134a is weaker and might not cycle the slide properly, especially in colder weather.


I filled the magazine with Coleman brand propane using my AI propane adaptor. The filling process is so quiet. It's really difficult to tell when it's full since it doesn't hiss like KSC Glock mags. I filled it for about 6 seconds, but in the process of removing the gas needle from the fill valve, I accidentally let much of the gas escape. I filled the magazine up to capacity with generic no-name brand precision 0.2g BB's. Sadly, the magazines to not have a follower lock down option like the KSC Glock mags.


Outside temperature was ~70F (20C). I fired indoors. I aimed at a make-shift paper target from about 16ft (5m) away. Hopup setting was in the middle. I cocked the slide. The 4.3 doesn't have a satisfying ker-chink sound to it when cocking the slide, more of a klack. My metal glocks sounded nicer. With the 4.3, it's just the sound of the hammer cocking back really. Anyways, firing pace was about one round every 5 seconds. After 10 rounds the groupings were about 2in (5cm). Not terrific, but I suspect my own human error played a factor, since the initial shots were all over the place while my last few shots were around 1in of each other. I'll do some better accuracy tests later.


Then, I fired away at a Diet Coke can. The first shot didn't pierce the can, but it left a nice 2in dent in it. I don't have a chrono, but I'll do some other Coke can tests later. I was however able to consistently hit the Coke can without a problem.


As I got closer to emptying the magazine, I noticed a slight reduction in power. The mag ran out of gas and the last shot did not lock back. Damn. But keeping in mind how much gas I let escape after filling it, I thought I'd give it another go. So, I filled it up, about 10 seconds this time, and I let some gas escape again. Oh well. I'll fix that later. This time however I was able to fire all 29 rounds, have the slide lock back, and fire 14 more rounds on that fill. I then fired off a couple more rounds with different filling times and the slide had no problem locking back after each empty magazine.


After emptying the magazine, I did notice a bit of a cooldown. My magazine felt ice cold. So be aware of that and be careful not to freeze anything.


I noticed the slide cycle speed was good, not Glock-like, but good. Thanks in part to its stiff recoil spring, no doubt.


The kick associated with the 4.3 is also good. Not 5.1 or Dragon-like, but slightly better than a KSC Glock with metal slide/barrel and recoil spring upgrade.


The aluminum slide has a few benefits and drawbacks. Because of it's light weight, the cycle speed is improved over previous models but the kick is a bit less. I don't have a proper scale to weigh the slide (after stripping the inner bits), but it does feel alot lighter than the 5.1 and Dragon. In fact, the whole gun feels alot lighter.


The guts:


The 4.3 field strips down just like the 5.1. Remove the mag, slide catch, slide, recoil rod and stop, outer barrel, etc. Read the manual folks. ;)




But if you are lazy, here's a few good links (I hope these people don't mind, and if they do, just PM me):


Video guide to disassembling the slide and barrels. (Note that the removal of the small black plastic part on the opposite side of the hopup wheel is not necessary to remove the barrel assembly from the slide, you can just do it via removing the recoil rod stop which is located towards the front of the slide. However, it is necessary to remove the inner barrel from the outer barrel.)


Wege's guide to stripping down the frame/receiver. (This is useful for when changing grips, having problems with the grip safety, full auto Hi-Capa problems, hammer not locking back, thumb safeties not aligned, you name it.)


After field stripping my 4.3, I noticed the majority of the parts were well lubed. I don't recall if this was the case with the 5.1 and Dragon.




So how can I upgrade this baby? Well, if I had the silver version I would no doubt put the red grips on there. But I don't. So what else?


Guarder, King Arms, and a few other manufacturers make stiffer hammer and recoil springs for the Hi-Capa series. Also, there are Guarder Hi-flow valves for the magazines available. An enhanced loading nozzle is also available by Guarder. Then, there are external upgrades such as Tritium Glow Sights by Freedom Art, threaded outer barrels by Tanio Koba (IIRC), colored grips by WE, a load of custom metal slides by different manufacturers (designed for the TM 4.3, but since the WE is a copy of the TM, I'd presume they'd fit since Snowman states in his WE 5.1 review that the TM and WE slides were interchangeable), and probably alot more.


Conclusion/ratings/closing thoughts: (barring a few more accuracy, power, and gas consumption tests)


I like this little gun. Can't replace a full auto glock (yum) but definitely a nice looking, decent performing, and different alternative to all the compact Glocks and USPc's out there. It's full metal and won't cost you an arm and a leg. Also, unlike those other compacts, the 4.3 has a hi-capacity magazine. (Hi-Capa = Hi-capacity? hmm...) ;)


On to the subjective ratings:


Appearance: 9, compact 2011 = beautiful, color scheme is nice, but that protrustion on the rail, why???

Build: 7, slight rattle and fitting of some parts could be better (probably easily fixed with some electrical tape), but overall seems very durable.

Power: 8, nothing to cry home about, but not too shabby, CO2 capability in stock form is a plus.

Accuracy: 8, barrel fitting could be better, but would probably require CNC so I can live with it.

Upgrades: 9, anything you can do I (WE) can do better (er, cheaper)...

Value: 8, metal goodness for around $120, not too shabby.

Overall: 8, best WE Hi-Capa to date IMO, with room for improvement (like that annoying rattle) and still seems to use a fair bit of gas. Eh, not really a problem if you use propane. :)

Edited by davedawg123
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So there you have it, not really a fly-by review like my Dragon review, but if you are still awake, I hope you found it to be somewhat informative. I tried to cover most questions frequently asked, and while I don't have precision equipment for measuring certain data, I tried to cover most of the tracks.


And if you read up to this long, then surely you deserve the following:

















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Very nice review!


One thing, how would you comment the balance of this 4.3 version? I mean, most HiCapa derivatives (even full length versions) have awful balance, thanks to their fat & heavy magazine. You can even place some guns on a table top and they stand nicely still just on their magazine floorplate... Plus carrying such an imbalanced gun in regular hip holster can be a menace. I was wondering how this shorter version feels?

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Hmm. I've never noticed that with the other models I've handled. But for the 4.3, placing the gun on the magazine floorplate does not remain still, it falls forward. With the mag inserted, the CG (separating the front and the rear) appears to be at about 1cm in front of the magazine catch.

Edited by davedawg123
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Dave.. you are awesome man! +1


I just called the local distributor and they still don't have it inbound to US. Estimate in July. So how is it compare to TM 4.3?


If it can't shoot through one side of the coke can than it's not even at 300 fps. I know the 3.8 can't shoot through it. I don't think WE have done anything to improve the seal in the chamber than. just a lighter slide.

Edited by allizard
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Yes sir. The slide is now constructed from aluminum. Weight certainly feels much lighter than the 5.1. I don't have a proper scale to compare to though. But, the 4.3 does feel signicantly lighter than the 5.1. Gas efficiency isn't all that much better from the few tests I've conducted, but I'll do some more tests later.

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I didn't mention this earlier, but 101airsoft also sells the WE Hi-Capa 4.3 for roughly $101 shipped. So if you want to experiment Sledge, that price might be better to your liking. I opted not to purchase from 101airsoft because I don't like that particular grip style, they don't accept Paypal (at least when I tried to order from them), and they don't guarantee against Customs seizures unllike UNCo which does make that guarantee (seizures for packages to the US have been on the rise lately, as a few of my most recent HK orders were inspected by Customs when I didn't have any problems before) and I found this to be important since 101airsoft uses the plastic orange plug (easily removeable) instead of the painted outer barrel (not really a problem for you Sledge).


If it can't shoot through one side of the coke can than it's not even at 300 fps.  I know the 3.8 can't shoot through it.  I don't think WE have done anything to improve the seal in the chamber than.  just a lighter slide.


The coke can test I conducted was from 5m away. If my previous WE Hi-Capas were any indication, I'm sure the 4.3 would have no problem penetrating one side of the coke can from a couple inches away.

Edited by davedawg123
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I did a bit of firing today, so here are a few updates:


Firing conditions:


- Fired indoors

- Propane again

- Same 0.2g bb's as before (I noticed these were pretty crappy, had some sizing discrepancies, and some molding flaws, I tried to filter out the bad ones as best I could)

- Same distance as before (~5m)

- Hopup set to 3/4

- Temp was ~80F (26C) outside, inside slightly cooler since I had fans running prior to shooting




At a firing pace (FP) of about 1 round every 5 seconds (1r/5s), I fired off 10 rounds at a target and the groupings were about 1in. I do believe I hit the same holes a couple of times. B)








It was able to penetrate one side of a Diet Coke can. Didn't do much to the other side.


Gas consumption:


I conducted a few trials at different times of filling. I also noticed my internal chronometer is a little faster than an actual clock. :) So the times in my Dragon review were probably a little off too.


FP = 1r/5s, Gas fill = 3 seconds => 1 mag

FP = 1r/5s, Gas fill = 5 seconds => 2 mags

FP = 1r/3s, Gas fill = 5 seconds => 1.5 mags




FP = 1r/0.5s, Gas fill = 5 seconds => 1 mag, very cold, lot of power loss towards the end.




The sound of racking the slide has grown on me. I like it. :) Sounds a lot better when doing it quickly.


The screw in the rear sight is not a set screw, but actually screws into the slide. Be careful not to strip it!


Kick is very good. Shakes in my hands nicely. A little less subtle when firing at faster paces though. I'd say it's a fair bit heavier feeling than a KSC G23F w/ metal slide/barrel and enhanced recoil spring upgrades.


Considering the lack of adjustable sights, I was surprised how close the stock sights were to the bullseye. My first shot during the accuracy test was the closest, at about 1cm off the bullseye. I got about 3-4 shots in that vicinity.

Edited by davedawg123
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Too bad the WEs have so much cooldown. My next Capa will certainly be a TM - though, now that it has a properly lightweight slide, the WE would be a friggin excellent source of metal parts for the TM, since the WE costs no more than an aftermarket metal slide.

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Most amusing to see that stripdown is getting such readership. ;p


I think I would still get the TM 4.3 thus far... mostly for the coloration.. but also for the gas efficiency.

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Yeah. the TM gas efficiency is that much better.


When was the last time you were able to get nearly 90shots out of the WE mags?

Edited by Wege
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How's the cooldown on the TM with a metal slide and running propane? I've read in a review that the guy was able to unload all 31 bb's in his TM 5.1 in like 6 seconds, and it suffered no power loss (I believe it was with HFC 134a in stock form). It would be mighty impressive if this was also possible with an upgraded metal TM 4.3/5.1 using propane/green gas.

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The TM does not suffer from cooldown, except in cold weather. You can unload a TM, upgraded or stock, in a lot less than 6 seconds, without power loss. In fact it puzzles me a bit that the WEs have so much cooldown, when the TMs have none? WE must've missed some details somewhere when copying the TM.


I had two TM 5.1s, both with SD metal slides which are pretty light. No cooldown, ever.


I think what happens in the WE is the hammer spring is too strong (designed for the CO2 mag I guess?), letting out too much gas per shot, causing massive cooldown. Combined with a poor air seal in the blowbach mechanism.


I tried messing around with a WE once - simply using a TM mag improved things a lot. I also installed a different hammer spring, improving things further. Finally, a TM piston head was added, the WE stock unit was inferior. Of course, the result wasn't nearly as good as my TMs, as the WE had that absurdly heavy slide. Also, the WE mag worked just fine in the TM Capa.


I would suggest getting some TM mags (stock, don't bother with hi-flow valves, stock TM valves are really good and stable), a hammer spring (nineball worked well for me), and a different piston head (pdi is good).

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