We tend to focus on the rifles of the airsoft world here at AirsoftRifle.com, but every now and again, we like to dip our toes into the pistol pool. The ASG B&T USW A1 is a unique beast because it tries to straddle both categories. Does it do so successfully? That’s what we aim to find out today (pun totally intended).
A Brief Primer On The USWA1
The USW-A1 was originally designed by B&T to provide the accuracy of a police pistol caliber carbine (read: sub-machine gun) within the compact form factor of the traditional handgun, while allowing for all of the accoutrements that come along with a larger platform such as lights and optics.
Many of these design implications are huge for the airsoft industry as well, where indoor play favors pistol forward kits, and sniper players need more capable sidearms when they have to engage the enemy within MED. The addition of the spring loaded stock and optics mount make this a powerful option for players who need more out of their secondary platform.
How Does The Airsoft Version Stack Up?
The Airsoft replica of the USWA1 stacks up nicely from the outside. It is fully licensed by ASG, who has worked with B&T in the past on other products, like their launchers and suppressors. The dimensions of the pistol are authentic, and the whole package feels weighty and solid when you first put hands on it.
With your trigger finger in the “off the trigger” position along the receiver, you’ll find your index finger sits perfectly against the spring release for the stock. While this is a nice touch, unfortunately, the spring isn’t strong enough to whip the stock around and into position one handed. It’s not a deal breaker, but it was a touch of the disappointing to still require two hands to operate this pistol, and felt like an oversight.
As your off-hand pulls the stock into position, you’ll go to rack the slide and chamber your first round. This is where it gets weird. Since the bracket for the optic mount covers the traditional grooves to rack the slide, you’ll find a pair of extended wings molded into the slide ahead of the ejection port. This becomes second nature (and honestly feels kind of exotic and fun to do) after a bit of practice, but be ready to screw that up a few times.
The grip is very reminiscent of a Beretta or a Sig, with a sweeping ergonomic grip, and a wonderfully oversized trigger guard. The fat curved trigger is double action / single action, which is a bit stiff on double action function, but it’s not the worst double action trigger we’ve ever shot. Sighting the pistol with irons isn’t the best experience, as the rear sight is nestled amongst the picatinny rail meant for optics. It certainly is cluttered, and created a lot of visual noise while trying the analog approach to aiming. Optics are a must use with this pistol. Though, that’s why you bought it anyway right?
How does it work?
Internally, the gun is a pretty standard CO2 blowback pistol. The architecture is very similar to the ASG CZ pistols internally, which explains why the trigger feels so similar.
The CO2 power of this particular pistol is definitely on the high side. We chronographed the USW around 330 FPS; though it has been extremely hot here at AirsoftRifle HQ in Texas. This is on the high side for most gas blowback pistols that tend to hover around the 300 FPS mark, though likely due to the combination of heat and CO2. Its worth mentioning that green gas options are also available after market.
Shooting the gun itself was pleasant. When I could stop from craving a full auto function on an obvious pocket primary, I had no problems nailing double taps. We tested out to 100 feet, typical sniper engagement distance, and I was able to make consistent hits, but the patterning was all over the place. It’ll keep heads down, but it’s not replacing your AEG any time soon. Where I ran into issues was trying to find kit that played nice with this gun.
Holsters simply aren’t readily available for this side arm. The stock adds an extra layer of bulk you need to account for. I was able to kind of make one of those Condor Tornado holsters work, but it certainly wasn’t fast or particularly secure because of the shape of the gun with the stock folded in. On a whim, I tried using a tri-fold dump pouch, and that seemed to do the trick, but it certainly felt “wrong” to holster a pistol in such a ramshackle way.
So Should You Buy It?
This gun is a high priced pistol, at $199.95 on Airsoft GI. Performance was a solid meh out of ten, and even if it’s super comfortable to shoot, and the red dot made things very modern and easy to sight in.
I’d like one in my collection, but it’s hard to recommend such an expensive pistol for just anyone. So who is this for, exactly?
If you’re the kind of player who has the specific niche needs of this gun, or you play a ton of indoor, where you won’t have to deal with holstering very often, this is a great pic. In fact, at indoor fields, this pistol would shine like the sun, with such an easy shooting experience and pleasant trigger. The red dot options make it easy for you to aim, and you can even affix lights and tracers easily. Those same benefits transition to players with longer MED’s at outdoor games, who need something to fill those longer gaps you may not want to try and shoot with a normal pistol.