Opening the box
First looks When parcels arrive from couriers they are normally quite cold, which provides the perfect opportunity to quickly discover which parts are metal as they feel much colder to the touch than the plastic equivalent. With the better quality plastics coming out these days it’s getting harder and harder to spot metal parts without physically scratching them.
When I first grabbed the CA36C the first thing that came to my mind was the quality of the plastic. It’s difficult to describe, but the plastic almost feels dull/matt to the touch, which is certainly not a bad thing. CA have obviously been learning and haven’t lapsed back into using standard non-fiber reinforced ABS which has been seen from them in the past. The real HK G36c itself is made from a fibreglass style polymer, but for Airsoft use, glass fiber mixed ABS is a good substitute.
I was curious, as picking the 36 up for the first time I thought it was heavier than the TM copy, but weighing the CA model on the scales here it comes in at 2590g without magazine/battery and the mag itself weighing 160g. The TM G36C model weighs 2650g, so there’s really nothing between the two. The real thing weighs 2.8Kg, so with a full mag and mini battery installed you’re going to be bang on the real weight.
CA are known for making AEGs that whilst based on technology compatible and similar to TM’s offer better value for money with more reinforced internal parts, better performance and a greater quantity of metal (normally a full metal body). The choice to make a G36C copy is unusual, as from first looks I can’t see any parts that are metal that aren’t on the TM model, although to be honest the only real change I was expecting visually between the two was a metal scope rail on the CA.
The real thing doesn’t have a metal scope rail, instead it’s another very high density tough fiber polymer from H&K. In the Airsoft model the rail is made of the same fiber reinforced plastic as the main body. Upon further inspection this rail is not just fiber reinforced plastic as there is a metal rail bolted into the underside of the rail which adds to the rigidity.
With no easily discernable difference in external design between the TM and CA (apart from markings), in order to sell itself and set it apart from the competition it will have to offer better value for money and better performance.
Build quality is good, there’s no obvious rattles or loose parts and the moulding is up to scratch although not quite perfect yet, but more on that in a later part of the review.
The G36C is a shortened G36 and the newest release from HK in the G36 line. It features a short handgrip with handstop underneath which doubles as a front sling point. The buttstock is shorter than previous G36 variants and it comes fitted with open sights and no carry handle. The foregrip has hard points for fitting rails for aiming devices to both the left and the right sides and comes with a lower rail prefitted. In the real world the unit is intended for use in confined spaces.
Markings: Sadly because of the limitations of moulding, the serial umbers for the CA36C series are all the same. Unlike the M15s you don’t get a unique serial number as the markings haven’t changed since the first prototype mould. There’s also no logos for the reasons mentioned previously.
Sling points: There are four sling points. One rear sling point is next to the stock hinge on the left hand side, and there’s another at the rear of the stock. Things are slightly different at the front, where there are two fixture points either side of the forward hand stop.
Metal parts: Like the TM G36C the CA36C sports a metal subframe that adds to the rigidity. Metal parts include the front rail, front sling point, muzzle, front barrel, ejection point, sights, fire select switch and internals. The gearbox is the same as that found on the AK47 replica, with the motor mounted in a reinforced metal chassis bolted to the gearbox itself. For a plastic rifle it’s a pretty strong piece of kit.
Sights: The CA36C comes with open sights fitted to it. Both the front and rear sights are metal. The front sight is a pretty standard HK style foresight, and the rear sight is an adjustable unit with two differing diameter flip up aiming apertures, giving you a rear sight that’s usable in most reasonable lighting conditions.
Rails: The CA36C comes with a single lower rail fitted right out of the box. You could fit all kinds of aiming devices and accessories to the lower rail, although it’s most likely best suited to a vertical grip. there are two further sets of rail mounting hard points, but you’ll have to pick up some spare rails separately. First Factory, and various other manufacturers make suitable rails and just about anything made for the TM G36C will fit the CA36C, so when the rifle is launched there will be loads available to choose from.
Folding buttstock: The side-folding skeleton buttstock is standard on all G36 rifles although it’s shorter on the C variant. The stock folds to the right side and secures against the shell deflector (which doubles as a locking latch) and does not interfere with rifle operation when folded.
One point of note is that you can’t fold the stock if you have a mag clipped on to the left as it will obscure things.
On the underside of the stock you’ll find a series of holes. Somewhat of a puzzle, the holes there as on the real thing they give you somewhere to secure your receiver and foregrip pins when you are servicing the rifle.
Button inside trigger guard? The real G36 series are equipped with a bolt catch (a feature that automatically retains the bolt in the rearward position when the last round is spent or when the weapon is cocked with an empty magazine inserted). The bolt catch can also be manually engaged by depressing a button located at the front inside the trigger guard the retracting the cocking handle. The bolt can be released by either removing the empty magazine or loading a magazine with rounds in it, then pulling the cocking handle further back and letting go. On the Airsoft replica the bolt release button doesn’t do anything, and is merely for show.