Shootout: AK-12 Edition
When you review two guns that are so similar, you can't help but compare them. While we alluded to our preferences in our initial review of the Arcturus AK12, how does it really stack up against the LCT LCK12/15 rifles? Which of these wins out in the categories of externals, internals, performance, and value? Is there a clear choice of which gun is better, or does it all come down to a matter of preference? We're introducing a new kind of content here on AirsoftRifle.Com this week, in "The Shootout" we're going to put two similar guns we've reviewed, head to head, and see which comes out on top.
The first part of the battle is always won on looks, when you compare two different airsoft guns. Which ones look best is often a common point of interest for high end gun buyers who will just gut the internal components anyway.
Both Arcturus and LCT make their guns out of full metal bodies, and since they both fairly faithfully replicate the same gun, you can't even give one an edge on accuracy of replication. While the orange tip included on the Arcturus is not the correct muzzle device, they at least included a black tip in the box that is right, while LCT nails it out of the box.
To find a winner, we had to get nitpicky. LCT had the easiest battery compartment to access, with the pin mechanism on the Arcturus fighting us. While it's a minor victory, LCT still claims the day here.
Here's where we see a bit more variety between our two contestants.
LCT's gearbox is a robust mechbox filled to the brim with quality installation and raw power. It is a simple analog traditional box, with no weird mosfets or circuitry. It's built well, but it's not bringing anything new to the table.
Arcturus on the other hand, is another story. The AK12 gearbox from Arcturus comes with a microswitch trigger included. This, coupled with quality SHS construction means that you are getting the same build quality and power levels as the LCT, but with the added benefit of a crisp, tactile trigger that feels satisfying and sturdy.
After sitting with the LCK12 for a while, you're thankful it is able to put out some hefty range and accuracy, because it's a heavy beast. Our test model clocked easy shots at 200+ foot ranges, but accuracy struggled in anything less than perfect conditions. The factory bucking just isn't designed for performance, but for reliability at higher operating velocity. While a change to a softer bucking and a lower spring is an easy change, it's still a change you have to consider to maximize your performance.
Arcturus on the other hand, once again knocks it out of the park here. An included tight bore barrel, and high quality factory hop up bucking kept this gun on target and accurate to the same distance as the LCT, but with a greater degree of accuracy aiming for man-sized torso shots. We found it tremendously easy to find our mark with the Arcturus rifle, with no need to alter the components from the factory state.
Two Points: Arcturus
Now we have to talk about value propositions.
The Arcturus rifle is cheaper, at $345 to the LCT's $360.
Arcturus also has better performance, is nearly as realistic as the LCK12, and is a hair lighter to boot. The only real win LCK scores here, however slightly, is ease of battery installation. While I did end up purchasing an LCK12 for myself after the review, I honestly wish I'd waited for the Arcturus, because I honestly like it better, the more time I get to spend with it.
Arcturus takes the cake on bang-for-buck, scoring it a whopping three points to the LCK12's 1.
This makes the Arcturus AK-12 the must buy AK-12 if you are a RUSFOR kit fanatic and need to upgrade to a modern AK.
The LCK is not without it's merits however. LCT now offers it in an Electric Blowback Model (something we look forward to testing in the future) and it is more authentic in weight and build quality. If those features are important to you, it is not so far behind the Arcturus not to consider it. However, these are specific scenarios that don't apply to most airsofters.
Overall, if you just want the best bang for buck out of your AK-12 replica, the clear winner, however slight, is the Arcturus. If it were any closer, we might have had to do a photo finish!