Gas blowbacks are fun, you get realistic operation, the sound, and of course the recoil impulse. With these benefits to the platform, there is no wonder why manufacturers so often make their "cool" guns gas blowback. For this Top 5 we are going to look at the classics, the guns that defined their decade, the ones that are iconic to the point of being more than a gun but symbols. Here's my Top 5 GBBRs, we will start with an honorable mention.
Honorable Mention: GHK 553
The 553 is a member of the 550 family used by the Swiss as their primary military service weapon. This rifle closely resembles their 552 which was brought into service in 1998. The real steel count parts are nothing less than prime examples of Swiss design and engineering and is used by several other militaries around the world. The airsoft variant was our choice as the top gun of 2018 as no matter it be shooting experience, fit and finish, or looks, this gun scored top marks. One of the most outstanding features of this gun is its three round burst. The burst was extremely realistic ensuring you have the best sense of immersion.
Along with the above mentioned features, the airsoft variant's upper and lower receivers came cerakoted and boasted great gas efficiency. Following its success, the gun was then spun off into two other versions, the 551 QPQ and the 553 QPQ.
Number 5: Cybergun Thompson M1A1 GBBR
The Thompson or the Tommy Gun is probably the MOST iconic gun of its era. Allow me to explain my rationale for it: The reason why I chose the Thompson over something like the Garand was due to the cultural impact and significance it had within the United States during that period of time. The Thompson or Tommy gun has been immortalized as the weapon of choice for the old Chicago gangsters such as Al Capone and got the nickname "Chicago typewriter" amongst the many that it has. It was an icon for the rebel, outlaw spirit of its time thus it was subsequently featured prominently in many movies there after. You would be hard pressed to watch an old classic film that did not feature one of these.
First coming into production in 1938 the Thompson was loved by many, form police officers, soldiers, criminals, and civilians a like. The gun was chambered in .45 ACP and was deadly accurate while also being able shoot at high rates of fire. The U.S. Army did adopt the gun in 1938 and during the course of WWII 1.5 million military units were produced. The M1 and M1A1 versions of the gun featured a barrel without cooling fins, only provided for box magazines, had a simplified rear sight, employed a straight blowback action, and the charging handle was moved to the side.
The Cybergun M1A1 was a fantastic GBBR to shoot as it paid homage to this classic. Its controls were spot on and all the markings were exactly where they were meant to be. The gun had a satisfying recoil impulse to it even though being an open bolt system made the whole mass of the gun shift forward when the heavy bolt would travel and push the next round into the chamber, it was fun to shoot non the less. This was definitely a GBBR that was best meant to be shot full auto and it also featured a last round bolt hold open.
If you haven't watch the video review of it you can check it out HERE. You can also purchase this gun HERE from our online store if its the one you been looking for.
Number 4: Umarex H&K G3 GBBR
The G3 is one of the most prolific guns ever to be created and fielded by numerous militaries around the world. While the FN FAL got the moniker "The right arm of the free world" during that same time, the G3 was making waves of its own. The G3 started its development back in the 1950s and is STILL being made today meaning that there are roughly over 7 million built . Using the tried and proven roller-delayed blowback system the gun proved to be extremely reliable, combining it with the .308 or 7.62x51 round it gave you more than enough knock down power.
Being a weapon system that's enjoyed over 50 years of continued service the number of variants that were produced by the various manufacturers over the years are more than I am willing to list, but some of the classic or iconic versions are the A3 and A4. The A3 variant came with the black polymer furniture and fixed stock and the A4 variant came with the collapsable stock making both look like over sized MP5s.
The airsoft version we have here is an incredible tip-of-the-hat to the original as Umarex and VFC went all out to replicate the most realistic representation of said gun. Starting with the receivers, VFC and Umarex paid so much attention to detail they even managed to make the gun look like it was actually stamped and welded together as you can clearly see all the rough lines where the receivers are supposed to come together. In addition to this, they managed to move the fill valve on the magazine further up so when you insert the mag into the gun you won't see it. The recoil of the rifle is quite intense as its supposed to replicate a gun chambered in .308. You would imagine that by itself the gun was enough of a draw but there was one last thing that needed to be done to make this rifle worth every penny. The gun's measurements are same as the real steel version so all the of real steel furniture such as hand guards, butt stocks, and pistol grips will fit directly on the gun. Its really a collectors dream!
If you haven't checked out the video review, you can click HERE for it or if you want to purchase one for yourself you can click HERE.
Number 3: Umarex Legends MP40
The MP40 or Maschinenpistole 40 is a German submachine gun used during WWII and started its life in 1938. Unlike the previously mentioned Thompson M1A1 the MP40 was chambered in 9x19 parabellum and was used not only by the Germans but by the Axis powers extensively. The gun was used by infantrymen but its compact size made it especially favored by paratroopers on both the Eastern and Western fronts. During the years of 1940 - 1945 roughly 1 million of these guns were produced.
Operationally the gun used an open-bolt, blowback system and the only mode of fire that gun had was full auto. However, with its relatively low rate of fire, you can shoot it in semi-auto by using good trigger control. The receivers were stamped and used electro-spot welding as much as possible to facilitate the high volume of production during its run, thus the guns usually looked a bit rough and quickly made. A bit of trivia to this gun: its been used outside of WWII in other conflicts, most notably the Korean War, Vietnam War, and the Yugoslav Wars.
The airsoft version is very similar to the real steel counter part. Its also designed to look battle worn and stamped. Unlike the previous entries here, this gun is Co2 powered and uses two capsules to run. However, unlike the real steel version, the airsoft one here can be fired in both semi-auto and full auto. The rate of fire of the full auto is not very high, replicating that of the real steel gun.
For the video review, if you are interested, click HERE or check out the product page HERE.
Number 2: M16 (M4) GBBR
The M16 is undoubtedly the symbol of the United States and reached its height as an icon during the Cold War era. The M16 came on the world stage during the Vietnam War and became the work horse of the United States military ever since and its subsequent variants are used in all branches of the military.
The M16 is build upon the AR15 (Armalite Rifle) platform. In terms of ergonomics and functionality the AR platform is a much easier platform to get familiarized with compared to others on the market or its competitors. Simply taking a look at the controls and switches of the gun, you can see that if you drop it in the hands of any solider anywhere, they will be able to figure it out and use it effectively and quickly. The M16 turned away from the larger caliber rounds used by many other weapon systems of its time
such as the M14, FAL, and G3 which were all chambered in 7.62 x 51 and opted for something smaller and more controllable. The 5.56 x45 round was a smaller round indeed but had much less felt recoil and high velocity, making the gun deadly accurate and easier to control when even firing in full auto or burst mode.
The M16 and its many variants have seen action in every conflict since Vietnam and is still projected to be in service for some time as America's primary weapon of choice for its troops. For the airsoft version, its a little tricky. There are currently no standard M16 GBBRs right out of the box and will require you to put a few parts together to make this happen. The guns you can opt for are VFC or G&P GBBRs as they have respective parts that can turn your generic M4 GBBR into an M16. G&P has a few more options for you as you can turn your gun's look from an A1 to an A4 with ease.
The base models are all good performers, solid GBBRs with good gas efficiency. I would highlight some of the latest generation VFC M4s as the standout offerings. Some cool features are adjustable FPS from the bolt and improved gas efficiency.
While there is no specific review for a generic VFC M4s, you can check out this video HERE about their forging series or this video HERE where I stack a fixed stock MK12 against the G28.
Number 1: GHK AK-47
Was there any doubt that the TOP classic icon was going to be anything other than this bad boy? Though the AR fan boy in my heart cries seeing this at number one, the truth is that the Russian AK-47 has enjoyed a much farther reach than the M16. This Russian heavy weight was the counter part to the American M16 and they both became respective symbols of each other during the height of the Cold War.
The AK-47 is a gas operated assault rifle chambered in a fairly large round, the 7.63X39 and was developed in the Soviet Union. The gun began its development in 1945 and in 1948 the fixed stock version was adopted into active service by the Soviet army. The AK-47 then went through some further development phases and eventually different variants started to be produced such as the AKM and AK-103.
Being a gun that fired a larger caliber round, the gun was naturally built to last forever and often times you would see many AK-47s beat up and on the verge of breaking yet could still function. The down side to this was the 7.62x39 round was not as accurate as the 5.56x45 at distances starting at 300yrds and the further you go the drop off is more severe. However, at closer ranges the cartridge was devastating and had enough kinetic energy to punch through thick brush and some cover.
The GHK AK is also something of a legend in the airsoft world as they were the ones to set the standard in terms of realism when it came to the AK platform. The shooting impulse is industry standard and the fit and finish can rival that of the real steel guns. The one thing that most all will agree when it comes to GHK is their renown gas efficiency and quality of parts. The failure rate is very low and you can seemingly shoot the gun forever on one single charge of gas. Alternatively you can also purchase Co2 magazines for the gun for that extra hard kick or if you live in countries with "adverse weather conditions" which is just a fancy way of saying its cold.
The GHK AK lives up to the real steel version's hype and i might even dare say its probably even manufactured better than it too. If you want to check out a review, check this one out right HERE. If you'd like to check out the product page, you can also find out more HERE.
These classic guns are all icons in their own way and having them be GBBRs just add that little extra realism to them for those who don't get a chance to ever own one or shoot one. What do you guys think? Let me know your Top 5 in the comments, lets get this conversation going!