Reviews Views Date of last review
1 590187 22/6/08
Recommended By Average Price Average Rating
100% of reviewers None indicated 9.0

Description: A compact GBB produced by Western Arms. It is no longer made.
Keywords: Western Arms WA S&W Smith Wesson Shorty Forty .40 4076
The screams, they sound like music.
Posts: 2
Registered: October 2006
Location: The outskirts of Reality.


The screams, they sound like music.

Registered: October 2006
Location: The outskirts of Reality.
Posts: 2,017
Review Date: 22/6/08 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Price you paid?: None indicated | Rating: 9 

Positive aspects of the product (pros): Strong Blowback, good looking, compact
Cons: Not outstanding power, finicky hopup, mag price

A Brief Introduction

I was a bit interested when I saw the WA .40 for sale in the forums. I didn't have any cash to spare at the time, but a couple of months later when I did, and decided to check out if it was still for sale, I decided to buy it. It was one of my few "for the hell of it" impulse buys. Besides, with the varied opinion on the Western Arms brand and their products, the only real way to know whether or not they were really as good or as bad for sure would be to buy one and try it for myself.

This particular gun is no longer produced in this form. You stand a much higher chance of getting the newer version of the WA Shorty-Forty, which is, as far as I can tell, a bit different from the older model that I'm reviewing here. According to this list, the .40 made its first debut in 2000, but I don't know how many or how long the replicas were produced. Given the way WA generally produce their replicas (a few of one type, then moving on to manufacturing a different pistol), I'd say that these are fairly rare.

I'm not quite sure what the Shorty-Forty is a replica of, exactly. According to Modern Firearms' entry, it's technically an S&W 4076, but the newer WAs are marketed as S&W 4013s. I haven't been able to find much real-steel info on it either, which hasn't helped with the confusion. The manual simply makes one reference to the gun, as "Shorty Forty."

What's Included

As mentioned, I bought my gun second hand, but it looks like everything it would have came with it new was included. Along with the gun itself, this includes: a small bag of BBs, one 1.5mm and one 2.5mm hex wrench, and a small bag filled with the manual, a target, a warning sheet, and what looks like a warranty card.

The BBs are typical of quality for free-with-the-gun BBs (Why do they include them anyway? If you don't have any BBs, you probably don't have a can of gas or a charged battery...), so you can use them if need be. I don't know how much they weigh, or how many are supposed to be included.

The small 1.5mm hex wrench can be used for adjusting the hop-up via the small screw under the barrel. The only thing the larger hex key fits is the screw that holds the sliding plate down on the back of the magazine, but I don't know why you would need to take that off frequently enough to warrant them including the key. Oddly enough, neither of the keys fit the 2mm hex screw that secures the rear sight an blowback unit, which could need to be taken apart for maintenance.

All of the manuals are in Japanese, with only a bit of "for show" English here and there. The manual has a lot of pictures, which allows at least a basic comprehension of what they're explaining. What looks like the warranty card is also in pure Japanese, but I think the warranty is only available in Japan anyway.

Build Quality

The WA .40 is a compact style pistol, and is only slightly smaller than a Glock 19. It measures 7 inches from the muzzle to the rear of the grip, and 5 3/8 inches from the bottmo of the mag's finger lip to the top of the rear sight. At its widest point, the gun is 1 1/4 inches wide. COMPARISON PHOTO WITH GLOCK17

One of the first things I noticed was that the S&W was so incredibly heavy heavy for its size. I do not have a precise enough scale to see how much each bit of the pistol weighs, sadly, but I can say with certainty that a majority of the weight of the gun is not in the the magazine, as one might expect. The mag does have a fair amount of weight to it, and does add a lot of heft to the pistol once inserted, however. The frame is some what lighter than I would expect, but it seems that it is made of the same heavyweight material as the slide. The slide feels considerably heavier than I thought it would. Even with the working components removed, it is still very heavy for its size.

The .40 is made from Western Arm's "heavyweight" material, which apparently is supposed to make the gun feel more like metal. The material replicates the cool mettallic feel, but still doens't feel quite like steel. As mentioned, it is a bit heavier than standard ABS plastic, but I'm not sure how close it is to steel.

In addition to the heavyweight material, actual metal parts are abundant. The front and rear sight, the safety levers, the mag catch, the trigger, the hammer, the slide catch. and the magazine are the most notable external metal parts.

As with most GBBs, almost all of the internals are metal, with the exception of the outer barrel, float valve, and blowback cylinder, as well as the parts that are required to be made out of rubber, such as O-rings. Worth a mention is the metal rails on the frame, and a lot of metal is underneith the external plastic of the slide. Though most Marui pistols have metal reinforced plastic slides, this pistol also has metal rails. Also unlike most GBBs, the WA also has a few steel parts. In addition to pins, screws, and springs (which would have to be steel on anything), the .40 also has steel trigger bars and a steel recoil guide rod.

The inner barrel is made of a silver-colored, non-magnetic material, but is not aluminium. It is possible that it is just a brass barrel coated with some sort of metal so that it is harder and doesn't tarnish, but I'm not sure.

The plastic frame and slide of the pistol are are evenly finished in a matte black color, however there was one paint bubble right above the red dot on the safety. Metal parts can be easily distinguished from the plastic parts since the color is a bit browner in appearance and looks a bit rougher. They're not the best looking, but they're also not the worst. I was expecting it to be a bit better, though.

The plastic barrel is a good-looking semi-gloss metallic sliver color. The barrel has a very small seam where it looks like two pieces joined together. It's a lot harder to notice than on most other guns with plastic barrels, but it is there. The chamber is marked with "40 S&W" in small text. I'd rather the barrel be made out of metal, but it looks very good overall.

The grips are a hard, shiny black plastic with a bit of checkering and a smooth, but noticable texture elsewhere. They are on piece, and wrap around the back of the grip. Both sides of the grip are marked with a curved "Smith&Wesson" and an S&W trademark insignia, which is very shallow and very difficult to see due to the shine and texture of the plastic. I'm not sure if real grips will fit, but I'm pretty happy with the stock set's look and ergonomics, so I don't think I'm going to try.

The sights are metal (as mentioned), and are dovetailed into the slide so they are removable. The rear sight has two white dots that are smaller than the front sight's white dot. They're not adjutable and a bit hard to see in low-light, but work well enough, especially for a pistol intended for combat.

With the exception of the grips, the .40 is not overly covered with trademarks, but the Smith and Wesson name is present on the pistol. On the left of the slide above the slide lock is "SMITH & WESSON" and directly below that is "SPRINGFIELD, MA U.S.A." Under the slide catch on the left side of the frame is "WA," and to the far right of that is the ASGK logo. Under the "WA" is "40S&W." On the right side of the frame below the other side of the slide catch is the Smith and Wesson trademark insignia, but like on the grips it is very difficult to make out due to its size. The text on the slide is a bit fine, but fairly deep and easy to see, while the trades on the frame are a bit bolder but just as deep looking. Interestingly, the trades on the slide looks like they were engraved, but the marks on the frame appear to be cast in, and painted over.

The mag is completely metal, except for the plastic follower and rubber seal for the blowback unit. The feed lips are not removable, which means that any damage to them will require you to purchase a new, extremely expensive mag, and the mag has the usual WA valve slider, which must be pulled down if you're refilling an empty mag with gas or else it will vent. The mag hols a pretty standard for its size 20 BBs in a double stack configuration, and uses a standard non-silent fill valve. Annoyingly, pulling the mag out of the gun when it's loaded with BBs often causes one BB to fall out, which seems to be a fault of the mag rather than the gun. Also extremely annoying, if you bump the top BB of a loaded mag in just the right way, all of the BBs in the mag will fly out.


As far as I can tell, the Forty should be able to handle propane use for a fairly long amount of time before something gives in, but as with any GBB, 134a will wear the gun much slower. The pistol light strikes when using propane when the ambient temp is above 80 or so degrees (Fahrenheit). I've been using a mix of propane and 134a for casual firing, but during tests I used pure 134a or pure propane.

At 65[sup]o[/sup]F, shooting at a coke can from a distance of 4 inches with .20g BBs and 134a, the WA .40 only manages to make a large dent in the side of the can. Repeating the test with propane, the WA puts a hole through one side of the can, but barely dents the other. For a pistol of this size, the muzzle velocity isn't bad.

This version of the Shorty-Forty does have hop-up which can be adjusted via the small screw under the barrel, but I haven't had much luck with getting it dialed in perfectly. It seems to have a certain sweet spot, and anything over or under that will cause the BBs to fall at around 95 feet. I have been able to get BBs to fly out to 120 feet, but not with any consistency. The flight path is fairly straight until that point, but I do get a few flyers, mostly just curving to the left or right a bit.

I decided to try to do a short range accuracy test, but I'm not the best shot (even with the gun rested), so these results may be a little flawed.
Circled shots were slowly fire, crossed shots were rapid fire. The target was downloaded from Modern Firearms.

Blowback on 134a is fairly strong for a compact pistol, but blowback on propane is exceptionally strong, and is enough to affect aim. Click here to see a video of the Shorty .40 firing. Notice the light stikes as a result of the propane-filled mag being warmed in my pocket for 30 minutes after filling.

Thanks to the mag valve slider system thing, with a few exceptions, the slide will always cycle fully (though not neccesarily with the same amount of speed and force). However, due to the way the blowback unit regulates the amount of gas that propels the BB, the FPS can vary greatly between shots. As such, the gun has no problem rapid-firing through a full mag (20 BBs) and having the slide lock back, but hop will be inconsistent. Cooldown is actually pretty decent when using propane, and when firing noramlly using propane, I can get 40-50 shots off before running out of gas.

The Shorty-Forty is a double-action gun, meaning the hammer doesn't need to be cocked to fire the gun. After the first shot though, the cycling of the slide will cock the hammer, so shots will be in single action. The double action begins with 3mm of travel, then the pull starts out fairly light and there is about about a centimeter of travel before the pull begins to get significantly more difficult for 4mm, then finally breaks and the hammer falls. There is about 2mm of over travel. With single action, there is about 4mm of travel to the fairly light break.

The ambidextrous safety levers also function as decockers. When in the down position, the hammer cannot be cocked, and the trigger cannot be pulled. The hammer is difficult to cock without cycling the slide or pulling the trigger, as there isn't an external hammer spur. You can cock it with the edge of your thumb, or by pulling the trigger to get the end of the hammer to show, but it's fastest to have the gun loaded, off safe, and uncocked and pull the trigger. It's safer to have the gun loaded and on safe, and to take safe off then pull the trigger, but also slower. It's safest to have the gun uncocked and unloaded, and to just rack the slide and fire, but obviously this would be the slowest way to fire the gun.

The firing system is a bit different than anything I've seen. Instead of a valve knocker attached to the hammer bits, the .40 uses an actual firing pin that presses the valve in when the hammer falls and strikes it. Because of this, I would recommend dry firing without the mag in as little as possible.

The recoil rod and spring assembly is also a bit different, being made of two springs separated by a rubber ring sandwiched between two metal washers. The spring closer to the hammer end of the recoil rod is wider in diameter and much shorter, and also a lot harder than the longer, thinner front recoil spring. If nothing else, this should help the WA .40 handle propane better than a single spring setup.

My Conclusion

The Western Arms S&W Shorty-Forty overall is a pretty good value for the price I payed in my opinion (compared to most airsoft guns, anyhow...). If you see one for sale and are looking to buy a compact GBB, I haven't found a reason not to recommend the WA .40. It does have its shortcomings, but for the price, and compared to other similar Japanese GBBs, the difference in price is definitely worth it.

As for my opinion on Western Arms, I still haven't formed one that I think would be worth sharing, and definitely not an opinion I would be sharing in a review of one gun. I will say that I am going to look at picking another Western Arms pistol up soon, most likely something a little more recent.

As always, questions, comments, or critique are all welcome. Send a PM to "Chris North," as I am no longer known as "ChrisNorthInGer" in the forums section.

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