The Elite Force MP7 AEG - Big Bang or Just Gun Smoke?
This has been the question on the minds of the airsoft collective since Elite Force first announced they would be bringing a new airsoft MP7 to market. It has been touted by Elite Force as the next must-have airsoft sub-machine gun while simultaneously being lampooned by the collective hater base as a worthless pile of trash because it's proprietary inside or not able to be upgraded day one. Here at AirsoftRifle.com we prefer to be a bit more objective in our findings. We picked one of these up from AirsoftGI's Texas location in Plano, Texas and did what any self respecting Airsoft reviewer would do: Void the warranty and open it up!
Is it worth the $400 asking price? Is it going to strip out, break, and become a giant paperweight? Should I sell every gun I own and buy a case of these instead? Stick with us and read on below to see what we thought!
Yes. Yes we should.
We had to resist the urge to dive right into the gearbox of this micro-AEG and get some baseline stats for you guys. Naturally, We don't want to risk breaking it, and then what is there to review? The model we purchased chronographed at a toasty 370 FPS average, with a deviation of +/- 5 fps in either direction over the spread of 20 shots that we fired for initial testing. All testing was conducted with the recommended Elite Force 900mAH 15c 11.1v LiPo battery for Chrono tests and .20g Elite Force biodegradeable BB's. We noticed some early struggles getting into the battery compartment and getting the battery to fit, however, after watching a handy video Elite Force put out on facebook, we realized this gun is just picky, and following the instructions laid out, we were able to get the battery to fit with no issue.
We also noticed the trigger, while a bit gritty and gross to pull (more on why that is later) once you learned where the contacts released, the reset if you will, the gun was able to be run incredibly fast. Even with the admittedly low powered battery we tested with initially, it more than passed the "time crisis" test, where you jam your finger in the trigger guard and try to pull as fast as possible, like we all used to do when we played Arcade light gun shooters as kids. Rate of fire was in the low twenties per second. When tested with the Tenergy 20c 1000mAh 11.1v LiPo we also managed to fit in the compartment, It ripped at a more-than-adequate 25 rounds-per-second.
Range was where this thing actually hit above our expectations. We didn't expect much out of the range and accuracy department, as it's such a small gun, but we were able to test the gun initially out past 200 feet with accurate fire. Now, this was with just a bit of barreling up and proper adjustment of the hop up, but to us, this is within normal player activity during a game. We didn't try anything we wouldn't have done in the normal course of play to achieve these distances.
Under the hood is where we couldn't wait to start looking. This gun had to have some pretty unique internal components to fit a fully functional gearbox inside of the rifle, and we weren't wrong.
The first thing you notice is the four-gear system used to pull the very small piston back. This is the source of the guns snappy response and higher rate of fire, as the ratios at play here make this gun incredibly efficient. The spring seemed like a shorter version of a VSR10 spring in a way, but was very stiff, likely leading to higher FPS. What we were surprised by upon our inspection however, was just how weak the compression parts seemed to be out of the gearbox. To get FPS as high as we saw in initial testing with parts that seemed to leak as much air as these did was astonishing. Shimming felt a little tight from the factory, but didn't seem to be a problem when the gun was running, as parts were lubed effectively as you'd expect.
The barrel and hop up bucking are standard AEG components, so you can do some upgrading out of the box. We even went the extra mile and removed the factory orange tip to see how easy it was. Spoilers: It's not. However, it was worth the effort for how cool this thing looks with a suppressor on the end. While the motor and gears don't have any on-the-market-now options, you can definitely do some work with the hop up and inner barrel, if you're willing to brave the rats nest of wires to get to them.
The most concerning parts about the internal components of this gun were the micro-switches for all the extra functions this gun packs. This is do to the extra length of wire that connects all of these components and how easy they were to snag during tear down and reassembly. If any of you are planning on doing some work to this gun, be very mindful of these wires, as we definitely nearly tore the white wire that connects the magazine cutoff a few times. The trigger functions like a bull pup trigger as well (the source of the stiff trigger pull we experienced) so Don't be surprised when it doesn't come out with the rest of the gearbox.
Speaking of disassembly, this gun was surprisingly straight forward to take down, but had a few things to be mindful of. Parts do not just slide out of the rifle the way a P90 gearbox does. The outer barrel and hop-up assembly are all attached to the gearbox as well, so you will need to be mindful of these components as you remove them via the rear of the receiver. We actually damaged the mock bolt as well, as it snagged during gearbox removal, and bent one of the tabs that holds it in place. This snapped during our attempt to replace it. Keep that in mind while you work on it for yourself.
This was by and large our least favorite gun to disassemble in the AEG world. We didn't think anything could be worse to open up than an M14 but boy oh boy were we wrong. It's all in service of some pretty great performance, but we've got to be honest with you dear readers, we wouldn't jump at the chance to open one again for a little while.
The external components to this gun are polymer primarily, with metal ones everywhere you expect to find them on the real McCoy. Having had the opportunity to handle a real MP7 on a couple of occasions, This didn't quite compare in perceived weight, until we added the mock suppressor you can see in the photos.
Overall though, the gun feels great. It is very pointable and compact in it's default form, and balances a bit towards the rear, so that adding things like a suppressor or tracer won't adversely affect the balance too badly. Ergonomically, the controls are not to my liking, but this isn't because they are bad. If you like the way an HK pistol handles, you're going to like the way this gun runs. The magazine release being on the trigger guard is always going to be a point of contention for me. Sights are functional, and the addition of a few extra cuts for stock adjustment over similar models from other manufacturers in the Gas Blow Back world were welcomed.
Feature wise, this gun is packed to the gills. It features a couple of extra things that others have called PTW killer features. While we don't agree with that assessment, the addition of a last round cutoff, and magazine cutoff were welcome additions that added to playability and safety respectively. The hop up on this gun is more than functional, but we were a bit upset that it is hidden behind what may be the least satisfying charging handle we've ever experienced on an airsoft gun. Instead of the resounding clink you get from a typical AR, the sound this charging handle makes is the so underwhelming you almost feel bad for the gun. It definitely undersells the performance hidden inside this blaster.
The 110 round Mid Capacity magazines fed just fine with everything from .20g to .28g bb's. The last round cutoff worked every time without issue as well. While the magazines do not drop free on the push of the release, that's actually okay with us, given the one flaw these magazines have. The extended follower used to engage that last round cutoff is pretty fragile. If you do not re-insert it into the magazine before you reload, you run the risk of snapping it, rendering the magazine useless. Elite Force has publicly acknowledged this, however, so kudos to them for being transparent with their customers.
Overall, the end product is what makes this gun feel special. The inside is a hideous rats nest of wire and unique design. It may be out of necessity but it's still there. What all of that chaos inside gets you on the outside though, is nothing short of spectacular when given the design challenges cramming a gearbox in an MP7 creates. VFC did a great job, theres no doubt, but now we have to address the last elephant in the room: the price tag.
That's the question we all want answered. Is this gun worth the nearly $400 asking price?
Ultimately, We don't think so. It's definitely what we would consider a bit overpriced, but not by very much. With magazines clocking in at $30 a piece, even with the components that make the last round cutoff function, it gets harder and harder to justify picking one of these up if you are a casual airsofter. Sure, it shoots like a dream, and is definitely purpose built for CQB, but you can definitely buy a way better gun for your money, even from VFC and Elite Force.
So that begs the question: Who is this gun for?
This gun is for the person that wants something more unique, or wants to get away from the even more expensive habit that is buying GBBR products. The HK MP7 is a very unique weapons platform in the real world, and since you can't readily buy one as a civilian, an airsoft equivalent may be the only option you have.
We're glad the VFC MP7 AEG holds up in the performance department, and it's definitely got the ability to be upgraded. We were able to swap out the barrel and bucking for standard parts, and it's just going to take VFC or another manufacturer hitting the market with parts to turn this thing into an absolute monster. However, this potential for ultimate sub-gun performance pales in comparison when you look at guns like the new VFC Avalon MP5's that are more standardized and capable. Ultimately, this is a gun built for MP7 fans, but it definitely doesn't have what it takes to win over the haters.
Is that such a bad thing though? This gun was small and easy to run with on the field. It makes a stand-out lightweight battery powered back up for snipers. It cuts corners like a dream, and the last round cut off feature is something we wish more guns made use of. If this thing hit the $300-$350 mark, it'd be a must buy.
Do you have one of these? Do you agree with our findings? Do you disagree? Hit us up on the AirsoftRifle.com Facebook page and let us know, and as always, stay tuned to our Instagram page as well for previews and pictures of killer airsoft guns from our fans! Want to snag one of these for yourself? Our friends at Airsoft GI can help you out. Click Here