Every so often, I get an itch I have to scratch in my airsoft hobby, where I need to pack just a little more heat than the average airsofter. I've drifted between a few different brands of LMG in the past, but nothing that really comes close to being similar to the G&G CM16 LMG. While it has many similarities to other airsoft replicas on the market, calling it the same as the Krytac LMG, the Classic Army Stoner, or even an M249 isn't really being fair to what makes the CM16 unique.
Unique isn't always a good thing, however, and where this gun succeeds in many places, it has a couple of key failures that we found made it a less than ideal purchase for some airsofters. Let's dive in to the box and see what makes this thing tick!
The gearbox on the Cm16 LMG is a unique conundrum as an airsoft gun reviewer. It is most definitely unique to see an LMG run off of a Version 2 gearbox, only the Krytac LMG also runs off of a part-and-parcel M4 gearbox (even the featherweights and G&P SAW's of the world have different components, and aren't true 100% v2!) However, the components of this gearbox don't really align with the price tag of the rifle.
Let's not mince words here, this gun isn't cheap. That isn't to say that it's 100% not worth it (for that answer, wait for the end of the article) but it's certainly less than ideal to look inside and see bog-standard Combat Machine internals. The combat machine is considered an "entry-level" gun by the airsoft community. If I am spending a few hundred dollars on a high end, specialist Light Machine Gun for my airsoft hobby, I don't want entry-level internals.
Luckily for the CM16 LMG, combat machine internals are extremely robust. While not the highest performance guns on the market, they are legendary for their reliability. This comes in clutch for a style of gun that is designed to put out much higher round counts than others, especially with the V2 gearbox, not known for it's immense reliability under high stress.
While we only get these guns for a brief period to review, and can't accurately test the long term viability of things, from speaking with members of our local community who have owned this gun from release, it seems to hold up well to normal use. Points to G&G for building a reliable gun, if nothing else.
On the performance side, it shot like a slightly better combat machine. We had a struggle reaching past 150 feet accurately, but the gun fed flawlessly. Ours chrono'ed low at 370 FPS average with a .20g as well. Perhaps we had a lemon, but we have to call it as we see it.
The externals of this gun, however, leave a totally different mark on the Airsoft LMG landscape. Light Machine Guns, are rather ironically, pretty heavy platforms to run. I've owned a few different ones, and body weight is one of the first statistics I check out when I'm buying a new gun for my personal collection. Fatigue is a very real concern, and where G&G leveraged the benefits of their CM16 line was in the externals. The body of the rifle is made entirely of Polymer, which provides a very light weight chassis for your internal components. Not only is it plastic, but it's G&G's very high quality polymer they essentially perfected with the Combat Machine line. The LMG is easy to hold, whip around, and run like a carbine. Most of the weight is located in the box magazine, and it is so centrally located that it doesn't effect balance at all. G&G even though to include a grip-pod in the box, just to make this gun easier to tote around on the field.
The design is very evocative of the Krytac LMG. It shares a lot of design DNA with the Shrike-style platforms that the Krytac also replicated. This means you get M4 controls, and the magazine even feeds from the M4 magwell, taking advantage of it's status as an airsoft gun, instead of committing to the design of the real weapon to the detriment of it's performance like an M249 often does.
The box magazine was our favorite part of this whole package. instead of using ragged sound detection tech, or forcing you to babysit a push button to wind the magazine, it has located the feed button inside of the detent for the magazine catch to ride on the magazine body. This means the magazine is totally neutral and not functioning until it is inserted. We didn't experience any problems with overwinding, and the gun fed flawlessly, even with some beefy 11.1 batteries. It runs off of CR123A batteries, which is strange, but they are pretty easy to locate, and the stock even has a tube to stash a spare pair if you need them. We'll take this over 9V any day of the week. This was easily the most innovative and impressive part of this package.
Here's where it gets weird.
This gun feels and shoots like an entry level gun with a big freakin' magazine on the bottom. It's objectively not anything special when you break down the individual parts.
However, something kind of magic comes together when you combine those features. Is it worth $396? That's ultimately a decision you have to make. We'd pass, but only because ultimately, the gearbox didn't justify future expense at higher performance internals, when you factor in the high price.
If you don't mind a bit of a high price tag, the gun was a joy to mess around with, and definitely has potential, it just didn't strike us as a very frugal investment.