We recently had the chance to check out some brand new airsoft guns from Lancer Tactical for their Lancer Tactical Day sale at Airsoft GI's Texas location. The Knightshade Hi-Capa and Chiappa Rhino revolver both ended up in clutches to check out early (along with a special HPA rifle, but more on that next week).
While we normally focus on reviews on this blog, sometimes it can be an exciting change of pace to see what's new, and what we can expect from companies as the year goes on. In this case, we got something wild and brand new, something super familiar, and a third rifle option. While one of the pistols is technically an Airgun, it bares many similarities to the final airsoft capable version we'll see on store shelves soon.
Before we begin, please remember that these are prototype samples, and you may see changes between the guns we saw today and the release model.
The Lancer Tactical Knightshade is a hell of a hi-capa. It bares a lot of structural similarity to the KLI Baba Yaga and the other similar models on the market with aggressive stippling on the grip, lightening cuts on the slide and a rosegold barrel.
In fact, if you got this confused with a Combat Master we wouldn't be surprised, what separates it from it's cousins is all in subtle details. internally, it is the same as the other Army Armament hi-capa pistols on the market, but externally it takes it's own path.
You'll find some very aggressive texture on the grip of this pistol. It wants to bite into your palm and never let go. They should have named it the Vampire. A very bulky but not uncomfortable magazine release retains the standard Hi-capa magazine. Moving to the slide, you'll see a lot of familiar concepts tackled in new aesthetic ways, usuing different patterning that seems less prone to slide cracks on other hi-capas with this style of cut-aways on the slide.
What surprised us was the recoil. It is violently snappy when you pull the trigger. It is comparable in recoil to some .22lr pistols on the market already and may offer a suitable training option to the real steel shooters of the world if the reliability of the final model pans out.
Let's get the elephant in the room out of the way with the Rhino Revolver.
The model we received as a preview is the "airgun" meaning it shoots .177cal metal pellets, and not airsoft BB's.
That's ok though, because this gun is made by the same company who will make the airsoft version, and it's almost feature identical, it'll just be different in performance. This means some of the things we'll talk about here may fluctuate harder with the final release.
Externally, this Airgun will be the same as the Airsoft revolver. It features a break-away pistol grip like the kind you'd find on an Elite Force smokewagon (because they utilize the same OEM factory) meaning dropping CO2 cartridges in is a breeze. The allen key to tighten them down is built into the grip as well. BB's are fed into mock shells, and the airgun model we received to preview utilizes a moon clip to hold the shells in a six shot round for easy reloads, which we loved. If the airsoft gun features this option as well, it may make this a much more field viable option.
Ergonomically, the grip is astoundingly comfortable. I knew what to expect here, as I have a fair bit of trigger time behind the real Chiappa Rhino, and it felt near identical. You can definitely feel the material difference in the grips, but the shape is spot on. Releasing the cylinder is done by a thumb lever near the hammer, and it opens easily. There is a red cocking indicator near the hammer as well, since the hammer itself does not lock back. This will let you know if you are in single action or double action mode when you go to shoot.
The heft of this pistol was the biggest standout to us. It's very heavy in the best kind of way. It does not feel like a toy or a cheap reproduction. A lot of care was put into the construction of this pistol and it shows. If the airsoft version feels this good (and we are assured it does) then it's going to be a must-buy for us on the collector value alone before we even talk about performance. We are very excited to get the final airsoft version here at Airsoft Rifle HQ.
We wanted to spotlight the pistols today, but stay tuned, we also got ahold of one more legendary rifle.
The Lancer Tactical LEGION HPA rifle will get it's own preview next week after we've had some time to put it through it's paces. 2020 is going to be a hell of a year for Lancer Tactical, and we can't wait to see what's new.