Two Barrels, One of a Kind: The Classic Army DT-4 Airsoft Gun
There is your hot take for the day. Something many people will write off as just another M4 with an extra barrel, is the most unique AEG to have been released to market in recent memory. The Classic Army DT-4; short for double trouble four, is a not-so-subtle evolution of the standard V2 gearbox design, to engage, excite and enhance your airsoft game experience, but what is it exactly? Let's dive into the mechanics of this revolutionary BB blaster and find out what makes it tick.
The Classic Army DT-4 is exactly what it says on the tin. It's a double barreled AR15 pattern rifle powered by an AEG gearbox. . It's a full metal receiver, done in the same style as Classic Army's Nemesis offerings; appropriate given it is a part of the Nemesis line itself. The standout feature is it's second barrel, allowing it to fire down each simultaneously with each trigger pull. Our model fired a fairly consistent average of 385 feet per second out of each barrel, with a fluctuation of +/- 4 FPS up or down over a twenty shot range, 10 shots per individual barrel. Tested with the Elite Force biodegradable .20g BB's we used for chronographing, range was fairly standard, reaching out to just past the 150 foot marker at D14 Airsoft's measured distance range. Where this gun really kicked into high gear was when we switched over to a .28g BB. Using both High Power Airsoft brand and Elite Force brand, we saw similar results, with the hop up adjusted. This gun once tuned was more than able to reach out and hit past the 250 foot sign in fairly windy conditions, falling just shy of the mythical 300 foot mark. To say we were impressed would be a monumental understatement.
What makes the Classic Army DT-4 so special is the way it accomplishes it's unique double barrel design, without sacrificing reliability and most of it's parts compatibility. It operates on the notion that Classic Army nailed a winner with their Nemesis gearbox, so it carries over all of those features, with a change to the compression section of the gearbox to make the magic happen.
The gearbox shell, the piston, cylinder, cylinder head, and tappet plate have all been modified to make the DT4 work. As you'll see in the pictures, the piston doesn't function the way a traditional one does. Instead, the rack of teeth is placed in between two plungers allowing the gears to work as normal. This allows for a key difference between this gun and other multi-shot airsoft guns, like the tri-shot shotguns of the world or other double barrel airsoft replicas on the market from other manufactures: It can fire with only one barrel loaded. That's right: Take out one magazine, and you'll still get full compression and FPS. Since this gun does not utilize a single piston with a fancy nozzle, but instead expands the compression area to accommodate essentially two pistons that fire at the same time, each barrel is individually filled with air. If one magazine jams, or runs out of ammo a little early, the other will keep shooting as if nothing is wrong.
It doesn't stop there. This gun features Classic Army's Electronic Control System trigger as well. This allows for the user to program the trigger, setting your controls to a burst fire or semi-only option if you wish. We found it easy to learn and use, and the included instructions in the box are pretty straight forward to follow. You hold the trigger down in semi-auto (the gun will fire, so practice good gun safety here folks!) and wait for the beeps. Once the gun is beeping, it's in programming mode. The ECS unit is set up with a couple of different preset functions that you can cycle through by clicking the trigger. Once you have the setting you want, simply flip the gun to full auto to save it! We found that you occasionally needed to click the gun back over to safe first if you were converting from burst and full auto modes to the semi-only mode as well.
The ECS trigger provides a few other benefits beyond select fire programming though. It utilizes a microswitch to actually fire, instead of a traditional trigger design, which means the delay between trigger pull to electronics firing is next to nothing. It also uses a magnet embedded in the sector gear, and a sensor on the ECS to track gear revolutions and make sure that your gun is always completing a cycle. This cuts down on locked gearboxes and ruined game days because you let off the trigger a bit early, a common problem with lesser AEGs. These gears are the same style used in the Nemesis line over all, and no weird compromises had to be made due to the double barrel nature. These are standard parts, capable of being upgraded the same as a normal airsoft gun.
Game play takes on a new twist with the DT-4. While we wouldn't consider it in the same league as an M249, it definitely fulfills more of a support role. The full metal external parts don't help the weight any, but it does make it feel sturdy and durable. The way the M-LOK hand guard is designed is in such a way that you don't worry about the barrels wobbling and drifting around, giving great accuracy. Thankfully, this gun allows you to attach a vertical grip, as the hand guard is wide and small hands may struggle.
There are gear considerations you need to make when playing too. Expect to double the number of magazines you are carrying. When you fire twice as much ammo, you burn through it very quickly, and the usual five to seven magazines most players carry aren't going to cut it. We did wish a dual feed drum magazine existed for this gun, possibly based off of the way the X9 drum magazine works, but as of publishing time such an option did not exist for the DT-4. Make sure you have enough ammo, and easy ways to carry them.
What set the DT-4 apart during scenarios was it's astronomical range. Being able to deliver double the ammo at extreme distance made this gun exceptionally effective at keeping heads down. This is due to the pair of individually hopped barrels inside. These are standards parts that do not differ from what you would find in a normal M4. Set one for close range and one for long, or maybe a precision barrel and a spread, or do what we did and set them both up for maximum performance. I did find it difficult to aim, as the sight rail does not line up with either of the barrels, but sits in between them. Once you adjust to this though, it becomes very effective. It did lead to some heated tempers, as getting shot twice is more painful, so you'll need to be mindful of overshooting as well.
At no point did the externals give us any cause for concern, and the BAS stock meant we could stuff a couple extra batteries in for extended play sessions. While it definitely is not designed for MILSIM games, it definitely has the capacity to stay running for the weekend without issues. A Magpul MS3 sling dangled this gun perfectly, and with a front sling point mounted to the full metal rail, it was very easy to adjust between maneuverability and stability. The gun functioned fine with either single point or two point mode of the MS3 sling, and stayed out of the way when I needed to switch to my Elite Force Glock 19 pistol to take on targets up close, the one area this gun couldn't really be used due to field regulations for CQB play.
This gun is a hard one to pin down on value. It is clearly not for everyone. It spits ammo out at a rate many players won't like, and it's not an easy thing to hold for smaller players. While we loved the Elite Force MP7 AEG, which is in a similar price bracket, we said it wasn't worth the money for most players because of performance. That singular point is where the value equation differs for the DT-4. While the twin-tailed terror may not be for everyone, both of it's barrels pack the requisite punch to justify the lofty price tag. Where the MP7 we reviewed last week was a gun destined for collectors and fans of that specific model, the DT-4 definitely tries to punch above it's weight instead of resting on it's laurels.
With a price of $389.99, we have to say this one is worth the money. It is well built, feature rich, and built for performance not for the gimmick. Classic Army treated the second barrel like a benefit and a feature, instead of a goofy bolted-on extra piece for meme fuel and gag videos on the internet. It is not an airsoft light machine gun in looks, but it absolutely performs the job of one when you need it to, in a much more ergonomic package than something like an M249 or M60. This gun absolutely earns each and every penny of it's price, and is worthy of a place in the collection of any airsofter who desires it. Unlike the other double barreled guns that have graced retailers for the last decade, this gun is the first, and as of right now, only double barreled airsoft gun worth spending your money on.
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