Sorry to worry you, dear readers, AirsoftRifle’s been on a bit of a forced hiatus, with the shipping and logistics industry in complete shambles in our post COVID world, it’s been hard to get exciting and new products delivered to AirsoftRifle HQ for the last few weeks (and I may have gone on a weekend vision quest to beseech the airsoft gods for guidance on what to review next).
This week though, we’ve got something we’ve been waiting to get our hands on for a long time, and it won’t be the first time you’ve seen it here on the blog either, though it’s definitely had something of a glow-up: The Lancer Tactical Knightsahde.
The Lancer Tactical Knightshade first appeared to the world as a prototype, It was a generic black hi-capa with a bold choice for a bronze barrel, reminiscent of the TTI Combat Master. Our friends from Airsoft GI let us check out this prototype over a year ago, when Lancer was gearing up to release the Chiappa Rhino revolver, which after several decades* in quarantine warranted some changes.
Lancer Tactical clearly utilized the time to adjust some parameters, and completely retool the visual language of this handgun to make it more modern and appealing for 2021’s airsoft scene. Gone is the obtrusive and vain “KNIGHTSHADE” engraving on the side, and the bronze barrel has been replaced too. We finally also know what the internals will be like for every one of you who decides to add one to your collection, so let’s dive in and find out of this Knightshade is a perfect poison, or if it’ll just make you sick.
Gunning for Gold
Let’s get the shimmering Elephant out of the way. This pistol is SMOTHERED in gold. The original iteration only featured a bronze barrel, but Lancer Tactical clearly decided that bronze was out, gold was back in, and modified the design. The Magazine well, Beaver tail, trigger, slide stop, and outer barrel are now a shiny gold that is so bright we briefly questioned the necessity of a flashlight on this pistol. Whether this is a positive or negative is going to depend on your taste, but at least the gold stays on the gun and did not easily scratch or nick or rub off during shooting.
Our favorite part of the external designs remained. The tree bark grip texture is a personal favorite, as it’s not too sharp, but still gives great purchase. The aggressive slide serrations also make this hand gun easier to man handle and chamber from any position. The frame also still features a double undercut, which should be a requirement on any airsoft hand gun, if we’re being honest.
The pistol is rounded out by ambidextrous safety, an enlarged magazine release that was just the right amount of THICC (two c’s, no more, no less, as it should be ) a picatinny rail on the forward portion of the frame for lights and lasers, and fiber front sights for easy target acquisition.
Overall, we’re quite pleased with the external design of the pistol so far. The gold is a bit ostentatious, but if that’s your thing, you’re going to love it. I’d love to see one of these in Flat Dark Earth, with all the gold bits done up in an extra matte black finish (hint hint: Lancer, that tip is free.)
Praise Be, they did the internals correctly!
Our last Hi-capa we reviewed was over a month ago, but don’t think we’ve forgotten about G&G’s cardinal sin (in the eyes of most hi-capa shooters) in designing the CPM1911. Lancer Tactical thankfully did not travel down such a dark and dangerous path, and has made this pistol fully TM compatible. Now, we don’t really get to fuss with upgrading the guns we review (as it’s not really what we do here) but Cisco over at Airsoft GI did go out of his way to test fit some parts from a Marui, and we were very surprised to see how well parts fit together.
Everything is definitely a cut above your typical non-Marui hi-capa. While it lacks the whirling valve present in G&G’s, what we have here is a standard, though exceptionally well constructed pistol. Lancer Tactical has been doing a great job at fighting their reputation for being a “budget” brand as of late, and it’s got us hyped to check out those Gen 3 rifles they just released as well (and yes, we have one on the way to check out) when the time comes.
Performance was a bit surprising as well. FPS on the model we tested sat closer to 330, than the 300 side of the 300-330 FPS spectrum Lancer advertises for this product, which we weren’t complaining about. I frequently play outdoors at D14 Airsoft, my home field, and having a bit of extra oomph out of your side arm is an occasional necessity, especially as you work through their central town area of the field.
The inner barrel is the one suspect part of the whole build. It’s not low-quality by any stretch, but it is a bit on the short side for the overall construction. It is a 5.3 length handgun, like the TTI Combat master, but the stock inner barrel is a 5.1 length barrel. I don’t know why Lancer chose to shorten it, but if you’re looking at upgrades, consider taking advantage of the extra space in the outer barrel to squeeze even more juice out of this metaphorical fruit.
But It’s Lancer, it can’t actually be good can it?
We know, we know. Lancer has a certain reputation.
Anyone who still believes that reputation lives under a rock, because LT has been knocking it out of the park with most of their recent releases, but it’s still a hill this gun has to climb.
While it’s not a mind blowing, innovative game changer, it proves that when Lancer sticks to the basics, and focuses on making a quality product, they can produce an item that is worthy of a spot in any player’s collection.
The overall feel of this pistol as I shot it was sublimely familiar. Even if it looks flashier than I would prefer, it feels exactly how I want a Hi-capa to feel. I’m far from the biggest fan of 2011-style hand guns, but even I found myself enjoying every pull of the trigger. The longer sight radius made clocking targets at 100 feet much easier than with some of the smaller handguns we’ve reviewed here at ARHQ. We loaded the Knightshade up with .28's, and after careful tuning of the hop up, were able to max the sidearm out at 200 feet! The grip was the perfect size for my hands, even with gloves on, and I never got any of the weird hang ups, or spring related failures present in other larger 5.3 style pistols. Time and use will tell if all of the holes in the slide leave too much room for debris to settle in the internals, but it certainly sped the cylic rate up, and the pistol had no issues keeping up with my itchy trigger finger.
So, should you buy this gun?
If you’re looking at the Knightshade as a high performance pistol to base your next build on. Unequivocally yes. 200 feet stock, and it has potential for so much more, how could you pass this up?
The gun only has two real downsides that could be deal breakers for some players, the price tag, and the color scheme.
Both of these are personal decisions you have to make. You definitely get your money’s worth out of the $169.99 asking price for the Knightshade, and honestly, with market prices going up in 2021 across the board, this isn’t going to be considered “high price” much longer. Price is merely a barrier to entry, and as long as the product provides adequate value, it’s worthwhile. We think this pistol does.
We can’t help you too much on the color scheme, either you like flashy two tone gold guns or you don’t, but if every thing else about this pistol screams “yes” then you CAN change those gold parts out later.
Our friends at Airsoft GI offer several packages for this gun, which you can find HERE. The base pistol starts at $169.99, and we think it’s worth the money, if you decide to add one to your collection.
*It was actually only a year. but it felt like a decade or two.