The MK18, what can be said about this weapon’s platform that has not already been said before. No matter in real steel or airsoft, its one of the MUST HAVES and whether you are a new or a veteran player, everyone seem to want one.
For the people who don’t know, the MK18 was a project headed by the U.S. Navy and later taken on by Naval Special Warfare with the express purpose of taking advantage of the AR/M4 platform modularity. Since the M4 was not necessarily the best suited platform for all situations, the MK18 was born using the CQB receiver or (Close Quarter Battle Receiver). What we have today is a special MK18 and while i have talked about MK18s before, not all are created equal. Before you write this off as just another M4 reivew, this one is from the Gods themselves, from the makers of magic and all things holy in the airsoft community, this is the Tokyo Marui Next Gen Recoil Shock MK18.
Its always a rare treat to get to review a TM gun officially on the blog. We always clammer for them but we don’t always have a chance to do so for whatever reasons -- we know why, its licensing.
Before I get too far ahead of myself, if you are new to airsoft and don’t know who Tokyo Marui is, they are the ones who invented the AEG, and after 3 decades they are still considered one of if not the leading manufacturer in the the industry. The main reason is because they continue to innovate instead of just copy, and their products have been category leaders such as the Hi-Capa gas blowback pistol line, their VSR-10 sniper rifle system, and of course their Next Gen electric recoil system.
Unlike older Marui AR rifles, this one comes with a full metal upper and lower receiver, making it extremely rigid and solid with no creaks or wobbles whatsoever. It is also surprisingly hefty with most of the mass in the center of the gun, making it highly maneuverable with the CNCed hand guard is made from very high grade aluminum. The fire selector feels very good and locks into each mode with a definitive click, and it’s stiff enough to exude the feeling of quality – unlike some of the flappy selectors on cheaper ARs. The charging handle is crisp and smooth, and opens the ejection port cover with a satisfying sound. The metal flip up sights are also smooth and solid with no play, and the rear sight has an operational windage adjustment dial. The trigger is nicely weighted, although as with most AEGs, there is really no feeling here. As with all Marui AEGs, the four prong flash hider can be removed to expose a 14mm counter clockwise thread and you can replace that with a silencer if you wish.
The MK18 we have here is built using their Next Gen system and offers a bit of “recoil”, more on that later. With its fully licensed Daniel Defense rail that sports full markings, the gun is one of the more handsome MK18s available today. You might think “aren’t all MK18s the same anyways? No, not all manufacturers make them the same way but the differences are minor, like this one features a 4 prong flash hider and its right at the front edge of the rail, gives it the flush look with no extra outer barrel sticking out. Also this comes with flip up front and rear sights. As added little bonus, the gun also comes wth a sling mount on the rail. Now looking at the gun, this is the military style MK18, not to be mistaken for the one G&P came out with a little while ago featuring the Daniel Defense markings, that one is the “civilian” version.
Lets talk about the TM Next Gen now. Essentially the Next Gen is an AEG system designed to have a small amount of recoil upon trigger pull. Now don’t expect anything crazy or even remotely even close to GBB recoil impulse. But amongst its competition its actually the one that gives you the most reasonable recoil while at the same time not having your gun feel too sluggish or unresponsive like some other EBBs have in times past. Its a balancing act between the right amount of recoil to the corresponding trigger pull. You can have an extremely sensitive trigger like the Systema Recoil Shock, but that recoil was laughably light, or you can have a strong recoil like the KWA ERG but the trigger response for that gun was very sluggish. Marui seems to have found the perfect balance between the two.
Adding to the realism, Marui added an empty magazine detection function where the gun stops shooting when you run out of BBs. Upon reloading a fresh magazine, you need to hit the bolt release to continue shooting, just like on a real AR. This feature was innovated by Systema many years ago, and is now finding its way into more affordable AEGs like this one. Keep in mind though that if you want to enjoy this feature, you’ll need to use Marui’s proprietary magazines or magazines designed to work specifically with TM Next Gen. Otherwise, regular AEG magazines will disable this feature and the gun will just keep shooting when you run out of BBs.
The internal parts of the gun are TM original which means that the vast market of upgrade parts is at your disposal for tinkering and modifications. The goods news for those of you with fast fingers is that the GATE electronics units will fit this gun for fine tuning trigger behavior!
Last year GATE launched the TITAN model for the Next Gen recoil shock and we put it as one of the top innovations of 2018. What this does is it will super charge your gun, taking all the potential lag out of it making it shoot much faster and way more responsive, we put that system in a different gun and, well, see for yourself: For German players who are restricted to semi-auto, this is literally a God-send.
There is ONE last thing though. [Mark, open the battery compartment to show how to access it from the stock] Each gun comes with a handy little battery adaptor used for charging if you are going to use the battery designed for the Next Gen. Alternatively, you can use this one right here. Its a converter from Prometheus made by Laylax which allows you to then use standard batteries with a small Tamyia connector. Always thinking ahead, no wonder they keep winning best airsoft parts manufacturer.
The Tokyo Marui Next Gen is the only platform that has succeeded where many have otherwise failed, that is to deliver a stable, affordable, and reliable electric blowback system to the airsoft market. Its the only company that has been able to combine the positive attributes of a somewhat realistic manual of arms on an electric platform.
While you are not going to be getting some mind blowing recoil or ultra high speed trigger response out of the box, you are still going to get the quality assurance of a TM gun and the benefits of that platform’s ubiquity in being the industry leader in this field. Are there others out there that are trying to replicate this level of success? Of course, but they have a LONG way to go yet before they can challenge the King of the hill, making the TM Next Gen the BEST electric recoil on the market, RIGHT NOW.
But what do you guys think? Let's make this a conversation, show us your thoughts in the comment section! If you want to pick one of these up you can find it HERE!