Rock and Recoil: KWA Ronin 3 RM4 Review
What would you get if took all the best parts of gas blowback rifles, electric airsoft guns, and modern day firearms accessories? I imagine it would look very similar, if not identical, to the KWA Ronin 3 RM4.
This gun combines three things KWA is known for. Recoil, Reliability, and Reputation.
This gun features recoil, much like KWA's renowned gas blowback rifles. It is as reliable as any electric gun they've ever produced. As one of the older companies in the business, it also has a reputation of quality and performance behind it you can trust as a consumer.
KWA has had their RM4 line of rifles on the market for a little while, and even the Ronin 3 is not the newest design. That honor goes to the TK45. However, this gun is no less impressive and worthy of deeper investigation to answer our eternal question here at Airsoft Rifle HQ: Is it worth your investment?
To say that I enjoyed my time shooting and testing the Ronin 3 would be an understatement. This gun might be the most fun I've had shooting an airsoft gun in quite some time. Matched only by the delight that was firing a double-barrel, this recoiling AEG was a dream to test fire.
Performance was admirable, if not the highest end, swinging between 390 and 405 FPS on our standard .20g BBs. Accuracy was reasonable to about 200 feet, where we saw the grouping bloom to the point of only being useful for suppressive fire and not actually hitting targets. BB's carried another 25-30 feet depending on on the shot after that, but it was practical accuracy anymore.
This gun isn't about being the top-of-the-line performer though. While it's performance is better than the vast majority of guns, it does something only one other manufacturer has done with any degree of quality before now, and that's put a satisfying recoil system in an electric rifle. This gun is named after the samurai with no master, but it truly has no peers in the market. Where other companies have made recoiling AEGs, none of them have made one that performs in line with American standards of play in range and power.
The system inside of this rifle certainly takes many of it's cues from the predecessor designed by Tokyo Marui. The gearbox is strikingly similar to a V2, but with obvious changes made to accommodate recoil. It works by essentially chopping off the back of the shell where the spring guide resides, and turning your spring guide into a piston that recoils against a secondary spring. It is an elegant solution to complex problem. As your piston travels, it compresses the spring, which kicks the recoil piston to the rear, and it recoils against the spring in the buffer tube. This send back plus the return forward delivers your felt recoil.
Internal parts are a standard quality for a KWA AEG, which is to say not the highest end parts you could include in a gun, but a cut above most manufacturers quality levels. I would have no concerns about the extra stress of a recoil system causing early failures. Everything seemed to be shimmed and lined up well from the factory, with no obvious glaring issues. I didn't feel a compulsive need to reshim the gearbox or get rid of the factory grease either.
The complex nature of how this gun works did lead to some notable struggles during disassembly though. The recoil system takes up the space in the buffer tube you would normally use for batteries and wires. This means the rear-wired gun hides its spare wire in the track for the PTS EPS stock (more on that later). The buffer tube also threads on as a real one does, instead of using a screw for retention. The castle nut cannot be removed in totality and it forces these wires to bind as you remove them. A system like the Marui rifles where a removable cap and less shrink is used would be preferable, but it was still workable to take down the rifle.
This rifle also includes a few extra internal features worth mentioning. Like the other M4 models of the RM4, this gun features a mechanical cut off when you are out of ammo and using the RM4 specific magazines. Additionally, it contains what KWA calls a trigger contact save system. I don't know how valuable this really is, as a player who has never had much struggle with burnt out contacts, and with the advent of microswitch triggers in many other guns, it seems like a bit of unnecessary over-engineering, but still a thoughtful touch.
The external components of this gun are also top notch. KWA has struck a winning partnership with PTS to outfit these new rifles. The Ronin 3 includes the EPS stock, EPG pistol grip, and back up sights all from PTS. The front of the rifle is wrapped in a chunky and quality MLOK comptaible rail. The Ronin 3 is the longest of the factory models and makes it a great option for scopes, bipods or larger vertical grips.
Manipulating the rifle was easy, with smooth controls that didn't fight you as you worked them. The trigger didn't feel quite as snappy as something like an Avalon or a Nemesis, but it got the job done. The rifle didn't flex or rattle where it shouldn't and the handguard stayed firmly entrenched to the upper receiver as I shot.
That is where this gun gets interesting. Every trigger pull engages the recoil system on this Ronin rifle. The kinetic feedback you get as you break each shot is something airsoft guns have been sorely missing and going back to a standard AEG is going to be very difficult. When the magazine ran dry, the gearbox stopped turning over, letting you know it was time to reload. Inserting a fresh magazine, and having to hit the bolt release added that extra layer of immersion I didn't know I wanted from an airsoft gun. It's the extra step I wish VFC had taken with their MP7. More guns need to integrate this level of training as the popularity of the sport grows. This will draw in more people from the firearms community who can use it is a viable training tool, something it seems KWA is keenly aware of.
The included magazine also has a neat trick. It features a cut off switch underneath that allows you to go from 120 round capacity to 30 rounds for training or realism. If you really want to test your mettle or sharpen your skills, you now have the tools to do so in electric form.
This is the ultimate test for us at AirsoftRifle.com. Is this Ronin 3 RM4 AEG by KWA worth your hard earned cash? Does it have a purpose and reason for you to own it? Is there a reason you should pass? Who is it really built for?
The short version is: Buy this gun.
What about the long version?
This gun may be more iterative than innovative, but it does what its precursor could not. It performs at American standards for airsoft play. It hits hard, reaches out, and doesn't scream "someone help me" as you shoot. The added layer of realism to the manipulation heightens your game play in a way simply shooting better could not. If you crave realism, this is the gun for you. It runs off of normal AEG magazines as well in a pinch, so it's certainly not as proprietary as other guns of this type.
About the only reason not to buy this gun, is because you are more into AK's, and KWA has you covered there too.
While it has it's frustrations, they are all in service of providing the experience that only this gun and it's sister models really offer. At $399.99 on Airsoft GI, we can firmly say the Ronin 3 RM4 is worth every penny.
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