This was the question presented to Lancer Tactical, and now to us as we review the fruit of their labor. Can you get a quality gun at an entry level price point? What do you have to sacrifice to make a gun affordable for a new player or a player on a budget?
We received two Lancer Tactical rifles, An LT15BL low power rifle, and the LT19 high power model. This would give us a good idea of the types of players that Lancer is trying to target with this gen 2 line. It's worth noting that the line of rifles Lancer now has available is immense, with a visual flair for every style. We tried to pick two that while being visually distinct, were similar in length to compare performance. Without further ado, let's see just how much performance these guns are packing.
Both of these rifles are made of a polymer material on the external components. While it feels structurally sound, it does have a certain grit to the finish that makes it feel cheap. This honestly led to a bit of concern ahead of shooting the rifles as I couldn't shake the feeling that it felt very unfinished every time my fingers graced a new portion of the rifle. They are both AR15 models, and we'll get into the differences of each one specifically below. Other common features include the standard metal hi-capacity magazine, which works as advertised, an included battery and charger, and standard crane-style stock.
The LT15BL was the most visually striking. It uses a free-floating quad rail to integrate a mock suppressor onto the end of the barrel. It gives it the most military style appearance of the two, which was to my preference. Quad rails are also the most easily accesible mounting system for accessories, which means customization is easy. The rail felt chunky, but in a good way, giving you good room to grab the rifle and drive it on target. Weight felt balanced and sat just above the shooting hand making it a breeze to manuever with either one or two hands.
The LT19 was a more civillian mall-ninja style rifle with a keymod handguard. It has dimensions very similar to that of popular models from VFC and Krytac and may be to most players tastes. While airsoft guns and keymod have a tenuous relationship with compatibility most of the time, this gun actually was able to mount all of the BCM accessories we tried to attach. Balance sat behind the firing hand which made it controllable, but less comfortable than the LT15BL.
Both rifles, outside of the gritty finish felt very solid in the hand. There was no unnecessary flex or wobble to any of the parts. Screws were tight, and everything felt assembled well. We do wish Lancer would do something about the finish on the plastic, but that may have been the sacrifice for these guns stellar performance.
The internal parts are where these guns begin to show the true secrets of these rifles. The performance we were able to eek out of each gun was unexpected from guns of these price points. Both are sub $200 guns, and encompass the first true budget rifles we've reviewed here.
We were able to chronograph the the Lt15BL at around 330 FPS, while the LT19 clocked a much heartier 385 as expected on average. The Low power line (of which Lancer Tactical offers many of the high power models in) is designed for indoor play. This meets that mark in spades. The high power guns are clearly geared towards outdoor and MILSIM use, and we think they met the mark as well.
The barrel and hop up included are very similar to what was in our ProLine Blackbird model we reviewed recently. That means accuracy is standout. Both guns reached the 200 ft mark with a bit of coaxing and heavier BBs, though the low power model struggled to do so more than the high power gun, as expected. We were able to get more consistent shots with a medium weight bb, like a .25 with the LT15BL, as the lower FPS readings helped prevent undo drag and slow down. The LT15BL can definitely work for outdoor, but if thats your primary AO, pick up the high power LT15B instead, or consider using the quick change spring!
What makes these guns go so well is the well crafted gearbox Lancer Tactical has included. While we would have used a nicer grease, everything WAS greased and shimmed about as well as you could hope for in a gun this low price. The gearbox features several cutouts to reach your anti-reversal latch and gear engagement which is a thoughtful touch for the amateur techs who will buy this rifle for practice. The quick change spring is even accessible without removing the gearbox, you simply pull off the buffer tube! This set up is brilliant and something we wished more guns did. So far, Classic Army is the only other manufacturer regularly making M4 models like this, and more companies need to take note of the kind of innovation Lancer is including in their rifles.
Parts were all well manufactured, and inspecting them, they seemed pretty high quality for what you are paying for the rifle. The stark contrast of the VERY red cylinder definitely leaned into some purposeful design on the inside of these guns. It shows in the quality of the gear box, we just wished the outside plastics had this much love put into them.
The LT15BL is $129 while the LT19 is $145 on Airsoft GI. Does that make the quality of these guns worth while?
We'd say yes, conditionally.
These are still entry level, polymer bodied guns. These aren't going to be a must buy for experienced players or those with a taste for the finer things. However, these are a must buy for their intended audience, which is new players and players on a budget.
Superb accuracy, reliable performance, and solid construction coalesce into a unified package that definitely feels like one of the best entry level guns you can buy. G&G needs to rethink the combat machine ASAP before this becomes the new player must-buy gun for future airsofter generations.