Army of One: SIG ProForce M17 GBB Pistol Review
The life cycle of an airsoft gun's creation is usually quite slow after the release of an accompanying firearm. Often it can be months, years, sometimes even longer before we see licensed recreations of brand new guns on the market. SIG wasn't wasting any time with their new m17!
So what is the M17? It's the modified version of SIG's popular P320 pistol, made to the US Army's specifications for the XM17 Modular Handgun System competition. The key difference is the addition of the thumb safety on the frame, something the original P320 lacks (and civilian variants of the M17 have the option to delete) and the coyote tan color, as well as the option for the reflex sight built into the slide.
Does the airsoft gun hold up to the real deal? Did SIG finally taking over their own airsoft gun distribution mean anything to the increased quality of the product? Let's crack one open and find out.
The airsoft M17 opens up just like the real deal. Simply manipulate the take down lever and run the slide forward. A field strip is the same standard process you'll find on most semi auto polymer pistols, starting with removing the spring guide, and then the outer/inner barrel and hop up assembly. Unlike it's cousin, the Elite Force Glock 17 (also OEM'd by VFC) this gun didn't fight me to get the slide off, and came free with ease.
Speaking of OEMs, VFC has a mixed record with gas blow back pistols. While their latest releases have been pretty solid, we can't help but remember some of the misses, like the gen 1 gbb MP7, and the FNX45. Both of those guns had tremendous reliability and functionality issues inherent to the design, but thankfully the M17 seems to be free of these nasty design flaws.
Lubrication was adequate, and the hop up design seemed fairly standard, without much in the way of innovation. However, since this is a brand new pistol design, we can forgive it for playing a little safe. Reinforced blowback housings are always welcome, and it likely led to some of this gun's very snappy recoil and CO2 compatibility.
The trigger mechanism was nothing fancy, and looked almost identical to every other trigger unit VFC has ever designed in basic principle. Thankfully, I've always appreciated VFC's triggers for their realistic feel even if they are light in weight. There is a certain crispness to the M17 that reminds me of a refind trigger from the Glock 17 model. It is crisp and deliberate to press, though I do wish airsoft companies could find a way to make the triggers more in line with the weight of a real firearm trigger.
Overall, internal construction was commendable, and VFC's AEG quality is starting to rub off on their pistols. SIG clearly reigned in the design of their new flagship handgun's replica and it shows. Maybe there are some perks to firearms companies being this directly involved after all.
I'll have to get something out of the way early on. The grip on the M17 isn't for everyone. I happen to be one of those people. I will and always have been preferrable to the grip angle on the Glock pistols, and it certainly made my preferences apparent to shoot the M17. I simply could not find a way to get this pistol to sit comfortably in my hand as I shot.
However, reaction to this gun online seems to show that I am in the minority of shooters. This doesn't mean the gun is bad per say, but it does mean it may also not be for you, and if you have the opportunity to get your hands on one before you purchase you should take it. Contrary to my opinion on the grip angle though, there was a lot to like about the m17.
Our pistol fired a comfortable 310 FPS out of the box on standard green gas. We've heard reports that the CO2 variants will clock in at nearly 380 FPS, making them a little more concerning to see in close quarters as that's well above field limits. Gas efficiency was acceptable at around a magazine and a half before gassing out.
Accuracy exceeded our pistol standard, hitting well beyond the 50 foot mark most shooters will be utilizing this gun. With some deliberate tuning and ingenuity, you could squeeze some serious distance out of this gun.
The trigger was our favorite part of the process. It is very crisp and responsive, with a defined wall and a very perceivable "click" when it finally breaks. While it is still lighter than the real deal, it felt very nice as far as airsoft triggers go.
Felt recoil was pretty solid. While it's no match for the Baba Yaga we previewed a few months ago, it blows the Glock out of the water. The slide comes back with serious force, and allows for some very fast shooting. We ran the gun through some basic Mozambique drills to try and run this through it's paces, and at no point did the pistol slow us down or fail.
Overall, external quality was superb, with a firm polymer frame and metal slide giving the pistol a nice weight with the magazine inserted. It suffers the same off putting lack of heft without the magazine, but you won't really be utilizing the pistol in that manner very often. Trademarks were very well defined and made it very clear to anyone looking what you are holding. We have some personal preference issues with the pistol, but objectively it was a very solid piece.
We have one key question we always seek to answer here at Airsoft Rifle HQ. Is this airsoft gun worth your hard earned money?
This gun retails for $150 on Airsoft GI. It has a 21 round magazine and a 60 day warranty. Does that, plus our findings on the quality justify such a lofty price tag when you can get something like the Elite Force 1911 for nearly $30 less?
Just make sure you like the feel of the grip first.
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