I’ve been after the most realistic Airsoft gun I could find for quite a while now. At first it led me away from AEGs and into the realm of what is known today as Classic Airsoft. While these older gas powered guns offered superior feel, quality, and sound compared to their AEG counterparts, they still lacked what all Airsoft guns (except for GBB’s) lack, recoil! After reading up on ClassicAirsoft forums for a while, I came across an older company called Youth Engineering, and the only gun they ever produced, the Mp5a5. The gun ran off what has come to be known as the ESCORT system. I found one for sale on the ClassicAirsoft forums for $515 shipped with 2 magazines, so I had to jump on it.
First Impressions Wow, just by looking at it I could tell this was nothing like my older gas guns or even my current TM Mp5a4 AEG. The finish on the body is extremely nice, and the same can be said about all the plastic parts. Upon first retrieving the gun from its cardboard prison, the first thing I noticed was the sheer weight of the gun. Coming in at near 6 pounds, this Mp5 certainly has a good hefty feel to it, but not only is it realistic in weight, it’s very balanced. Upon further inspection of the gun, I noticed that the body was not a weak zinc based alloy like 99% of the aftermarket AEG bodies out there, but it was stamped steel, cold hard steel. Adding to that, parts such as the rear site and cocking tube have been WELDED on, exactly as it would have been on its Heckler and Koch counterpart. Turn the gun to the top and what do I find? Full HK Mp5 markings and a UNIQUE serial number, mine is #000138 out of an unknown amount, but it is believed YE only produced a couple thousand. Furthermore, this is an exact 1:1 replica of the real Mp5, not slightly wider as is the case with the TM version, so it accepts all real steel accessories without modification. Enough of how it looks and feels, now it was time to see what it takes to feed this beast.
Setup First and foremost, I had to decide how to power the darn thing. As with nearly all classics, internal power is out of the question, and with the YE, it’s impossible – the gun has no internal reservoir. What does that leave us with? If you guessed external, you’re right! From here we have 2 choices, old fashioned Co2, or High Pressure Air, better known as HPA. The rig I have set up is comprised of a Palmers Stabilizer Female regulator, AS4L hoses and QD fittings, and a 20oz Co2 tank. Hooking the gun up was as easy as putting the male end of the QD fitting on the existing 6mm hose, connecting it to the other end, setting the pressure to its maximum safe operating pressure (I’ll get into this later) of 110psi, and choosing an unlucky target.
General Operation Ah, finally, my favorite part! Now that the gun was ready to rock, all I had to do was pull back the cocking handle, insert my magazine, perform the HK slap (yes, you need to do this to load the first round!), line up my sites, switch the fire selector straight to full auto, and destroy everything in my path. RAT TAT TAT TAT TAT TAT TAT TAT TAT……aww, I’m empty already? Without a doubt, this gun had the most pronounced recoil I’d ever experienced in an Airsoft gun. With a full metal bolt flying back 900 times each minute, I could not keep the sights on my target. This was running at the stated maximum of 110psi, so I decided to turn it up to 150psi for my next magazine. Upon emptying the magazine, It was clearly noticeable that both velocity and ROF had gone up quite a bit, and recoil had near doubled! But, I could not continually run the gun at this high of a pressure in stock form, for the internals are made of brass, and there is one screw in particular that keeps the chamber from moving too far or rotating. With too much pressure, the screw will sheer off, and will need to be replaced. If you replace it with a steel screw, it will eat into the internals themselves, which are much more costly to replace.
Simple as that! From there you can thoroughly clean the gun and oil the internals to ensure smooth operation.
Testing Now for some cold hard facts. I did my testing in the good old California sun at about 95F. I set up my target at 55 feet, and although the gun has its hop up fixed for .2, I loaded up .25s, because I have about 30 bags of AE .25, so that’s what I use. In semi auto, I was able to hit my target (an unlucky dr. pepper can) every single time. For full auto testing, I used a ball about the size of a man’s torso. I set that up at 90 feet, and hit it every time. I could not determine the maximum range of the gun seeing as my backyard is only 90 feet at its furthest points, but I would guess it’s around 150 feet. Since I do not own a proper chrono, I had to use the old coke can method. With .25’s at 110psi, I estimated the gun to be shooting 320fps, at a ROF of 900-950RPM.
Upgrades, Accessories, and Add-ons Here’s where the YE Mp5 really shines, yet at the same time, does not. Being a perfect 1:1 copy, it will take any accessory made for the real Mp5 or HK94. What does this mean to you? The cheaper, more common AEG accessories won’t always fit. The 3 lug flash hider can be unscrewed to reveal common 14mm threads, allowing for any flash hider or silencer/suppressor to be attached. As for internal upgrades, you’re limited to custom work, Paul at AS4L can remake the internals out of steel and aluminum for a cost, and possibly convert the gun to use common AEG magazines.
Conclusion Without a doubt in my mind, this is the perfect Airsoft gun. It features insane recoil, a great sound while firing, and is built true to its real steel counterpart. As I said before, the gun uses the ESCORT gas system, which is exactly what is used in the Shoei Mp44, and Mg42. The only other gun that currently uses this gas system is the Sun Project M16, which has recently gone into a short reproduction run. I have purchased one, and hope to review it shortly. I would not fail to recommend this gun to anyone looking for a memorable experience in Airsoft, whether it is used as a skirmish piece, or a show gun. It offers everything anyone could ask for.
Value Quality full metal Mp5 that operates like the real steel for the cost of an upgraded AEG? Too good to be true!
Overall 10/10, this is the ultimate evolution of the Airsoft gun.
External links: Links to external sites of interest: