The airsoft gun industry tends to follow very similar trends to the firearms industry. This may be due to our penchant as airsofters to imitate reality, simulate the military, and engage in a tactical sport that benefits from the same innovations. However, the pistol caliber carbine trend, or PCC's as they are more well known is a unique one. This trend doesn't carry over any functional benefit to it's airsoft gun counterpart. In fact, the PCC brings over a deluge of negative effects when converted to our 6mm plastic blasters from real firearms.
The magazines are harder to hold on your tactical gear. They often don't leave much real estate to grab onto and require a more precise hand for reloads. The guns trend towards the surprisingly small stature of this KWA QRF Mod2 we're reviewing today, giving less real estate than a traditional rifle for more assistive accessories to be mounted. The gearboxes don't suffer, but certainly do not benefit as they remain largely the same. The key advantage of a PCC in real firearms is the caliber change, which isn't something that makes the cut to an airsoft replica. Why is this trend so entrenched in the hive-mind of the airsoft community?
The QRF Mod2 may provide us some answers to that question.
Just like the KWA Ronin we reviewed earlier in 2019, the KWA QRF Mod 2 is an exquisite piece externally. It is not without it's flaws in the design choice arena, but none of them are a game breaker. KWA clearly knew what they intended to build and did an excellent job executing their craft as their reputation has us expecting them to.
The QRF Mod2 features a full metal receiver, PDW Style stock, Mlok handguard and in it's most unique feature, the PCC-style magazine well, which accepts the same magazines as the TK45 series KWA released in 2019 as well. While it's sister in the QRF Mod1 features a proprietary magazine, this gun wins points for using a more commonly available magazine style, as the TK45 has already invaded the market and staked a claim as a quality blaster.
The addition of PTS furniture is a nice touch, and while the PDW stock means we don't get to see the EPS stock we had on the Ronin, the EPG-C pistol grip and the PTS Back Up sights will always be a positive inclusion on an airsoft gun in our opinion. It made handling the gun as we worked through some basic drills and our accuracy and FPS testing comfortable and familiar. We never struggled to find controls, and the grip angle of the EPG-C grip paired up better with the length of pull of the PDW stock than it does on larger builds.
The gun is not without it's flaws. The use of TK45 magazine is generally a great addition, but it adds a steep angle for reloads that took more time to get comfortable with than we liked. A flared magwell would have definitely assisted and maybe even eliminated this complaint. Our second key external issue was with the PDW stock itself. While it is not the most restrictive stock we've ever utilized by any means, getting a LiPO battery to fit was still a struggle, and required the wires to be laid in one of only a couple of specific patterns unless you didn't want your cover to seat properly. It thankfully has the space to house a proper 11.1v battery, but don't expect it to make fitting your power source easy.
Lastly, KWA gets some credits for thoughtful design on the orange tip and the handguard. The metallic orange, as opposed to the cheap blaze plastic you commonly see made leaving this attached way less annoying. The handguard also features a small segment of picatinny rail just underneath the flash hider as well, which is perfect if all you ever wanted to mount was a small light or hand stop. Some may disagree, but it gave the rifle a uniquely alien appearance we loved, and brought some simple functionality without the need for a clunky adapter or MLOK rail piece so close to the muzzle.
The gearbox in this particular rifle is the KWA 2.5 gearbox. This echoes the design of a standard version 2, but features KWA's adustable FPS system. This is done via a screw in the rear of the rifle, which tightens and loosens the spring guide to compress or decompress the spring accordingly. This compression effect allows you to fine tune the FPS you want in your rifle, instead of providing recoil like the 3.0 in the Ronin we reviewed previously. It's a brilliant system, designed and executed tremendously well, and robust enough to withstand a hearty beating on the field.
During our testing, this model easily adjusted between 320 and 350 FPS, but most importantly, remained consistent the entire time. Other companies have tried this technique in the past but it has lead to wild FPS deviation and poor performance. KWA nailed it with their 2.5 design. Range was adequate for a rifle this small, ours started to lose reasonable accuracy around the 200 foot mark, but shots out to 175 were dead on like a laser. The hop up is not to be taken lightly in this gun, it can certainly do the job.
The insides of this rifle feature a few other nice touches from KWA as well. It is ready for the install of a GATE Titan out of the box, making a trigger swap a breeze if you need that extra level of personalization. It also features KWA's switch life extender, to protect your more fragile electronic components from damage by high voltage batteries. We aren't convinced this is a necessary addition, but it doesn't hurt the gun so we can't knock KWA for including this bit of over engineering.
Why has the PCC captivated the airsoft market? It may just be our desire for unique expression. This gun manages to bring many of the benefits of having "just another M4" without having to actually have "just another m4".
Is the KWA QRF Mod2 the perfect PCC? No, but it's damn close.
At $319.99 on Airsoft GI, this rifle is also reasonably affordable for such a high end gun.
We'd add one to our collection, and you should heavily consider adding one yourself.