FAMAS? Ok let’s face it we buy our rifles because
we like them. Either because we’ve seen them in a movie, had a hankering
for them since we were kids or because they have that indescribable something
that just turns you on ;)
Well, I had bought an SD-2 and due
to my just awful luck at the time it managed to shred it’s gearbox before
I had fired 200 rounds. This left me in a bit of a hole. I could insist that
I was hard and continue to assault snipers in dug in foxholes with my rapidly
malfunctioning Glock 18C. Something I would do with great enjoyment but with
rather painful consequences.
So with no main rifle, having little
cash and 2 large 8.4v batteries I needed a rifle and fast. I agonized over this
(and several other things, girlfriend, exam results, university applications
etc) for a week.
I needed a rifle that was
cheap and took large batteries. I rang Airsoft
Dynamics and spoke to James. He told me that the two cheapest AEG’s
they had were the MP5 A4 and the FAMAS F1 for £195. Having had a recent
run in with the MP5 family I wasn’t in the mood to risk it again.
So I purchased a FAMAS F1 and one
300 round hi-cap. I collected my purchase from the small shop on the site where
I play. I have to admit that it was with a fair amount of trepidation that I
opened the box. With my SD I had spent three months researching what I wanted.
Now I was buying a rifle in the dark and I had heard several nasty things about
the FAMAS but were they
I lifted off the green and black box lid and my eyes were greeted
by a slinky “futuristic” black shape. The rifle is of bulpup design.
For all those scratching your noggins that means that the trigger mechanism
is situated in front of the magazine housing. This has several practical applications.
One is the ability to house a long barrel in a relatively short frame. The barrel
is 488 mm in a frame of 757mm. A longer barrel translates into better accuracy
and the small frame allows you to take that accuracy into places an Armalite
can only dream of, but more on that later. It weighs 3000 grams with a weight
split I’d say of 70/30 to the rear. This precludes any “Gangsta
style” one handed moves. Unless either you are built like the Terminator
or you really want to. If the latter is true just don’t expect any decent
Starting from the front.
The outer barrel and flashider are metal. The barrel has a sliding lug same
as the real steel for fitting a rifle grenade. The real steel fires 22mm tubed
rifle grenades either for anti personal or anti armor purposes! The large battery
is stored inside the foregrip. The pistol grip is contoured and provides a solid
grasp even when wearing gloves. The trigger guard is steel and can fold forward
if you are wearing gloves. In front of the trigger is a small twist lever. This,
when in line with the gun locks the trigger, turn it 90 degrees to the left
and the gun is on……right????? Wrong!!!!! There is something else
you will have to do before you can dispense grisly plastic death on your friends.
Before we leave the trigger guard one more thing. To access the battery storage
you have to twist the lever further to the left. This pops two catches and the
contoured foregrip slides off, simple really.
on to the bipod. Some people question what you need a bipod for. I have found
that it isn’t a problem when its folded and when it’s down it is
very stable and anyway people spend a fortune adding a bipod to their M-16 so
if it comes for free why complain.
The handle on the top of
the gun incorporates the sights. The front sight adjusts for windage. In the
middle is a flip up sight that sits higher than the others sights and it does
help when you need a sight and are aiming with a mask on. At the rear is a battery
of flip up pinholes. Whilst trying the rifle out in my garden (firing in to
a long suffering pampas grass) and wearing only sunglasses I was able to use
the smallest pinhole to hit pampas grass fronds (about one cm across) repeatedly.
So they are useful for accurate shooting I suppose. Not that I do much of that
Under the carry handle is
the grenade sight that is plastic and a solid steel cocking handle (No MP5 style
broken cocking handle worries here). It makes a lovely solid clack that really
demonstrates your intent if nothing else. Moving to the buttstock. This is where
the hop adjuster is located, under a plastic lift off cheekplate. Now this deserves
some attention. It takes a fair bit of effort to take off and I thought that
it was fine. However I got back from one skirmish and found that it had popped
off and got lost. GRRRRRRRRRR. It doesn’t affect the rifle in anyway but
it annoyed me. I spoke to Paul at Airsoft
Dynamics and he kindly brought me a replacement. This one has been
blu-tacked to the stock so I doubt (fingers crossed) that it is going to go
walk about again. The
Hop dial is tactile and doesn’t
unwind like those on the Armalite family which all you M4 owners know so much
Under the hop dial is the magazine
housing. The mags in the real steel hold 25 rounds of .233/5.56 NATO ammunition.
The rifle can take any form of 5.56 but it works best with the French ammo.
(Talk about nationalistic preference ;) Here in the airsoft world the mags take
60in the standard and 300 in the hicap. Neither last long on full auto ;)
The mag slots in best from about
30 degrees towards the barrel with the front of the mag pushed in first and
the rear pushed in afterwards till it clicks. The magazine catch is in front
of the mag well. Another of the lies that go around about the FAMAS is that
this catch is easily pressed when you hold the pistol grip. This, like most
of the horror stories, is not true. I have used my FAMAS in dozens of combat
situations and I’ve never had it fall out yet.
On the right side of the
magazine well is where the Trademarks are situated. It reads FA-MAS 5.56-F1
SP 873 Underneath the buttstock behind the magwell is the final piece of switchgear.
There is a fire selector that switches from safe, semi, and full auto. Behind
the selector is a small gray catch. This releases the spring if it is still
compressed. This was a feature that only the Version 1 mechbox had. Finally
the rear of the gun has a rubber pebbled buttplate that provides a fine grip
on your shoulder.
Stats The rifle was one of the first to be launched by
Tokyo Marui and has the Version 1 gearbox. The version 1 gearbox has been said
by some to be the strongest that TM ever made. I can’t vouch for that.
The rifle also sports the
eg560 Hi torque motor. This is said by many to be the motor capable of providing
the fastest rate of fire. This makes sense and I can vouch for this (and so
can a lot of poor sods who have wandered into my sights heh heh heh heh).
The eg560 High Torque motor
is built and geared to acceleration rather than maximum RPM. To put it in car
terms the eg560 Hi torque is the equivalent of putting a car in first gear and
flooring it whilst the eg1000 motor is the equivalent of putting a car in say
third gear and flooring it. The eg1000 will provide a higher top speed but doesn’t
have the instant acceleration response of the car in first gear. This explains
why the eg1000 motor can drive higher springs and the eg560 Hi torque can’t.
Now this is where I’ll
stick my neck out, but before I do I have to make on thing clear first. I have
no engineering experience and this is all speculation. To return to the cars
for a second. Logic tells me that if you put 1000bhp through a car in first
gear it will overheat and suffer some form of stress related problem before
the car in third gear does.
In rifle terms does this mean that
if you put a 9.6v battery through an eg560 Hi Torque motor it will burnout sooner
than an eg1000 motor? I don’t know but maybe someone out there can enlighten
us all. Anyway. I wouldn’t bother risking it. The rate of fire is insane
Feel and Handling This is where the bulpup configuration
comes into its own. Because all of the weight of the rifle is concentrated in
the butt stock the front end is very light and therefore is extremely “pointable”.
I have found that to carry it in a “SWAT” style with the barrel
facing forward is very comfortable. The added benefit of this is that your cheek
is next to the mechbox so you feel every single shot of the piston :D The rifles
weight distribution makes it a great battle rifle when you are in control of
the situation. It feels smaller than it really is. This can get you in to trouble
if you get in a tight spot and need to throw it around. The weight biased to
the rear means that when you need to fire off hand to save your life things
can get a little interesting. Once you get used to it though it isn’t
really a problem. It just feels weird when you are used to an MP5.
Anyway what this rifle excels
at is laying down stupefying amounts of ammo in a very short time. I bought
1 300rnd hicap and very soon bought another one. Simply because you go through
ammo like water. The rifle has a ROF near enough 1000 rounds per minute. That
is up near GBB auto levels. As soon as you realize that you have the ROF from
god you start using it!!!!! Our team has an M60 and no joke the FAMAS can keep
pace with it. Bipod down you have a stable firing platform. Yes you have to
keep changing mags but who cares for what you get in return. There is supposedly
a Box mag for it but I think that would look kinda stupid. I prefer the hicaps
to a misfeeding reservoir and will probably get another just so that I can be
sure of having enough ammo as a Light Machine Gunner.
The problem you will face
as a light machine gunner is that once you have the bipod down it does become
a tiny bit awkward to fling the rifle around with the two legs down. The legs
will get a bit loose over time if you keep using them, but this can be rectified
by tightening their bolts inside the foregrip.
I would recommend that
if you want to be an LMG get a back up weapon and not just a pistol. For some
reason when people hear a lot of firing they seem to have an urge to come and
dig you out of your comfy foxhole. An UZI or something of that sort would provide
a very nasty distraction if they were to come a calling.
I have no real interest in upgrading the rifle beyond a Tn 6.04 barrel when
I can be bothered. I have never cared about this rifles accuracy. But like I
mentioned earlier the sights are good if you need to pick your shots. All I
do know is that on Semi auto in one match I have got 5 people with 5 shots at
about 30 yards. Where I play we don’t really engage much further than
that due to the dense cover. I would guess that I have a max range of 50 yards
but I have never bothered to measure it. If you want info regarding upgrades
go and read Solid
Fox’s review at AirsoftPlayers
it has plenty of useful tidbits about upgrading and a good series of pictures.
Impressions Well you have read my review and has it swayed
you? I don’t know. There are so many prejudiced reviews out there that
say that the FAMAS is ugly, it creaks, has a crap motor, can’t be upgraded
etc I somehow doubt that my one review will change your mind.
I personally have NO problems
with this gun. The only issue was the lost cheekplate, but I got a new one and
with blu-tack the problem is solved.
OK now what does this rifle
have to recommend itself to you. Firstly it is cheap. It is old so nobody charges
you OTT prices. If you trust them Tokyo
Hobby will charge you less than £100 for an FAMAS F1. I personally
like the way the FAMAS looks, it doesn’t really creak as much as people
say, the motor churns out rounds like there’s no tomorrow, and I suppose
if you want you can fit some uprated parts. How you’ll power the spring
I haven’t a clue but that is your problem not mine.
If the idea of a compact
LMG appeals and you don’t want to spend over a grand on a fast disintegrating
M60 or M249 the FAMAS F1 may
just be the weapon for you. If you want a cheap battle rifle the FAMAS will
be just as good as any M16 variant. I promise you. So go on be different. I
Gator The Mercenary
I took some photos of my FAMAS for this review as I’m sure you no doubt
have noticed ;) Mom dropped the film off at Safeway to be developed and, well
you can probably guess the rest. Debs and I were settling down to a video and
there was a knock on the door from 2 CID officers:
“We have a warrant for the seizure of an illegally held NATO firearm
and the arrest of the owner.“
They wanted to know what I knew about submachine guns. I resisted
the urge to say “What do you wanna know” with a grin.
3 hours later after the armed response unit had been, emptied
my entire airsoft collection, checked it out and agreed that they were just
toys. I was able to explain to Debs what had happened. The armed response officer
who came was very keen on my full metal Glock 18C. He would have kept it if
he could have. I offered to swap it for his “Real Steel” SIG226
but strangely he wouldn’t do the trade. Anyway I wasn’t really interested
in it. I would rather have had his partners MP5K :D They also saw my Napoleonic
Baker Rifle and wanted to have a play with it. The lessons I have learned from
this is DO NOT take pictures and turn the film in to supermarkets. I think what
made it worse was the fact that my brother had been in to London recently and
taken pictures of the High Court, 10 Downing Street, and the Bank of England
:D I am now on file on Surrey Police as “Loony who collects replica
firearms. Leave him alone”
It is a good thing that
Debs plays airsoft otherwise I think that could have caused problems. The day
after the SRT turned up I was supposed to be going round for dinner to meet
her father. As I walked out the door dad asked me “What are you going
round there to do?” I turned to him and brightly replied “To make
a good impression” LOL. I shouldn’t have worried. Debs had informed
her father of my shall we say “grey past” and he broke the ice with
“So you’re the arms dealer who’s dating my daughter”