review by Dr Strangelove
Stock Specifications
FPS ???m/s (stock fps may vary)
Length: ???mm
Barrel Length:  ?
Weight: ???g

Ammo capacity:

??? rounds

Manual Cover

How did I get hold of it? After getting my SG-1, I decided I would get some sort of smaller GBB, as the SG-1 is a pretty hefty rifle. I was enticed by an offer from Airsoft Supplies for a KSC M11A1 at £85. Sadly, as I was confirming the order, I was informed that the firm had gone into liquidation. I was furious with myself for letting such a good deal go by without getting one. Within a few months I bought one from Airsoft Armouries for £95. Not too bad. Unfortunately, the service was. Over a month later, the M11A1 along with a spare mag and the Tanio Koba Silencer arrived along with a FAMAS that I ordered for a friend. As I opened the large cardboard box, I was robbed of the thrill of sliding open the M11A1 box, and admiring the beauty of it, as the gun, along with everything else I ordered was strewn across the bottom of the large cardboard box. After tiding the box and equipment up, I found that a bag of BB's I had also ordered was missing, but that's another story (I never did get them, or the £10 they cost).

Box Cover

Box interior: Notice the condition of the box, as this is how it arrived with me.

First impressions Upon freeing the M11 from the jumble in the box, I was startled at its weight. This is one heavy piece of kit, even more so with the mag in. It is very small (for a submachine gun), being about the same length as a M9, perhaps a bit longer. As I examined it for damage, I found that the gun was very realistic, as the plastic receiver look metal from arm's length, and was only confirmed as plastic when I touched it. I would list the metal on the gun, but it's easier to list the plastic. The plastic content consists of the upper and lower receiver, hand-grip, mag well, bolt, sights, and the receiver locking pin at the front of the gun.

The gun comes with, of course, a mag, a manual (which is entirely in Japanese - pity, as there seems to be a comprehensive data sheet on the real steel M11 and M10 family - but you do get the drift of what the manual says through the pictures), along with an orange replacement outer barrel. This can easily be exchanged for the metal one, for countries when the law enforces barrel painting. There is also a hop-up adjuster tool, a cardboard target sheet and a mag-loading tool. I found this tool virtually useless, as it continually clogs up after about 1-2 round go into the mag (I now use an electronic mag loader, which is very useful).

When holding the gun, I found that the grip and mag well was too short to accommodate all of my hand, and my little finger was left to grip onto the magazine. This is of course a personal thing, and it may fit you perfectly. By the way, I did find that the Desert Eagle was the perfect size for my hand, so…

Left Hand Side
Closer Inspection Working from front to back, the first part we come to is the outer barrel. The outer barrel is metal, but I am still unable to tell what type of metal it is. My first thought was that it was the old Japanese Monkey Metal, but it seems to be much better quality than some of the metal that is visible elsewhere on the gun (see later). The inner barrel of the gun is recessed into the outer barrel by about 1 cm, therefore making it less visible. There is mock rifling on the inside of the barrel, adding to the realism. The thread on the barrel is the same as other makes of M11 (namely, Maruzen), hence allowing use of silencers made for the Maruzen M11. Secured between the barrel and the receiver is a sling loop, for a fore-strap (which is visible in the manual). This loop is secure, but loose, so it can move freely, although it does get in the way when you try to put the gun down on it's side, as it rotates down, and prevents you from laying it flat. This is not a problem with the gun or anything, it's just is can get annoying. It can be removed quite easily by dismantling the gun, if needed.

Right Hand Side
The receiver is ABS plastic with a black matt finish. The receiver is in two parts. An upper part, which holds the bolt in place and slots into the bottom part, which houses the trigger mechanics. There is an abundance of markings on the receiver. At the rear of the right hand side of the gun is (what I believe to be) the Cobray logo. Forward of that, beneath the ejector port, is written:

M11-A1 CAL .380

About the primary safety is written 'SAFE' and 'FIRE' in the appropriate places. Yet further forward of this is where a serial number maybe written. There is no serial number on mine, yet the one on the manual does, as does other M11A1's I have laid my eyes on. I don't know why this is exactly, but It may e due to the following:

When the M11A1's where first made, they were produced in Japan, and were given unique serial numbers. After a while, production was transferred to Taiwan, and the serial numbers were no longer printed on the guns.

I don't know if it's true, so don't quote me

The left hand side of the receiver is devoid of marking except for the 'S' and 'F' of the fire selector (See later). On the lower receiver, there is a thin mould line running the length of the gun. This isn't very bad, and could be sanded down with a fine grade sandpaper. What I did find annoying was that under the trigger guard is a small mould 'notch', caused by the moulding process, which is about 1 mm high. When I held the gun, I found that this notch would rub against my middle finger, and cause some discomfort in handling it. This was simply remedied by lightly sanding the notch down so that it would be flush with the rest of the trigger guard.

There is a KSC logo on the gun, and it can be found by rotating the sling swivel upside down, and it can be seen, although very small, under the barrel, on the upper receiver. There is also a very small JASG logo at the base of the magwell, beneath the trigger guard.

Holding the two halves of the receiver together at the front is a pin. The pin is in the form of an outer metal sheath, and an inner plastic 'lock'. The plastic sheath can be easily removed with the finger nail, while the metal sheath on the other hand is a bit harder. When I first tried to dismantle the gun, the metal sheath would not move AT ALL. While trying to push the pin out, I felt that the gun would break, and that there was something holding the pin in place. After biting my lip, I pressed harder, using the tip of a Biro to push on it, and the pin came out. After removing and replacing the pin about 3-4 times, it gets easier to remove, but it will not fall out during a skirmish. That I can be certain of.

The Cocking Handle

The Movement of the Cocking Handle

*Images taken from the M11A1 Manual, supplied with gun.

The cocking handle is about 12mm high, made of metal (Monkey Metal [MM] unfortunately) and forms a cylinder with two semi-circular grooves cut out of the sides, so that a line of sight is visible along the top of the gun for aiming. This handle is located on the top of the gun, and is attached directly to the bolt. The handle fits through the top of the receiver via a 1cm wide gap that runs about a third of the length of the gun. When the gun is not cocked, the handle is right at the front of the gap. When in this position, it acts as a secondary safety (I will talk about the primary safety later), as the handle can be rotated through 90 degrees, and will prevent itself, and therefore the bolt, from being pulled back, and cocked. When acting as a safety, the line of sight for aiming is blocked, showing that the bolt safety is applied.

When the handle is in the cocked position, the handle is only half way along the gap. This is normal, as the other half of the gap is used during dismantling of the gun. Apart from the cocked, and non-cocked positions, there are two other positions that the handle can be in (except for dismantling). These are about halfway and three-quarters of the way between cocked and un-cocked. When the gun is low on gas, the bolt will usually catch on either on these positions. I haven't yet figured out why they are there, apart from holding the bolt partially open when the gun is low on gas.

The fire selector switch is on the left hand side of the gun when holding it straight ahead, and is made of MM. The switch can either point at S - single shot, or F - full auto. It is rather sturdy, and, although it can rotate 360 degrees, it clips into place firmly.

Fire Selector Switch

*Images taken from the M11A1 Manual, supplied with gun.

Primary Safety Switch

*Images taken from the M11A1 Manual, supplied with gun.

On the right hand side of the gun, is the Primary Safety. This is also made out of MM, and is in the form of a triangle (or for the picky [me], trapezium) slide switch. Sliding the switch rearward engages the safety, and sliding forward disengages it. For the right handed, the switch can be easily moved, the lefties, the switch is a little harder, but after a minute of practicing, it can be done quite easily.

The safety acts as a trigger safety, allowing it to be enabled when the gun is cocked, as well as un-cocked (unlike the cocking handle). The trigger is a simple pivot type made from, you guessed it, MM.

Hop-up Adjustment

*Images taken from the M11A1 Manual, supplied with gun.

The bolt is made of plastic, and must be in the cocked position before the gun will fire (open-bolt). When the bolt is cocked, it reveals the hop-up adjuster. The adjuster is simply a plastic ring, with two notches on it. When the hop-up adjustment tool is used, two teeth of the tool mesh with the notches, and the ring is turned anti-clockwise/clockwise depending on whether the hop-up is to be increased/decreased. I haven't noticed the hop-up adjuster moving when in use, even though it does seem to move rather freely during adjustment.

The mag release is a small, simple pull down lever at the base of the back of the handgrip. When taking the mag out, my instinct made me grab the mag with my left hand, and pull the lever with my thumb, and then remove the mag, in one easy movement. There is no temptation to pull the lever and let the mag drop to the floor, as it can't be done with the hand holding the gun. Good news for the cost and damage conscious, but bad news for the John Woo fans.

A rather annoying point is when the mags are in the gun, because they extend out of the bottom of the mag well, the BB's can be seen from the front. It's nothing major, and i'm being rather picky, but it does detract from the realism of the gun

The magazine is all metal, good quality metal at that, and is matte black, like the receiver. The magazine makes up about a third of the overall weight of the gun. There is a hold down pin in the mag, keeping the spring compressed without external pressure, allowing you to use boths hand to fill the mag, without having to hold the spring down. This also allows the blockback function to operate normally, without throwing BB's out the barrel. Perfect for maintainance. It can also be a pain, as once or twice I have left the spring compressed, and then put the gun away, unawares that the spring was in a compressed state. Having said that, the mag springs haven't sufferd because of this. The mags are said to jam when loaded with the 68 rounds. I found this was true, so I only fill my mags to about 66 rounds. Better safe than sorry.

Stock Operation

*Images taken from the M11A1 Manual, supplied with gun.

Stock Extended

The stock. As yes, the stock. This hand me baffled for a while, as I could not open it. The stock is made of metal, but seems to be of the same quality as the outer barrel (i.e., not MM). On the left hand side of the stock is a smaller Cobray logo, similar to the one on the receiver.

To open the stock, firstly there is a loop of metal, which acts as the end of the stock. This needs to be rotated through 90 degrees, before the stock can be extended. This is what had me stumped. To rotate it, you have to press the two ends of the metal loop together, as if like a large set of tweezers. This allows a notch on the loop to move free from a small pin, holding the loop in the stored position. Once folded down, it again locks in place, and requires pressing again to release it. Once in the unfolded position, there is a button under the lower receiver at the rear of the gun. While pressing this button, the stock can be slid out, and once the stock is moving, release the button, and it will lock into place. If the button is kept depressed, the entire stock can be removed. It can be replaced later, by depressing the button again, and sliding the stock back in.

Being me, I didn't look at the manual straight away, and felt a bit of an idiot when I saw the explanation in two picture, seen right.

When in the open position, the stock doubles the length of the gun (with the silencer the gun is three times longer!). The stock isn't very sturdy, and there is quite a bit of wobble with it. Also, when trying to aim with the stock out, it is very uncomfortable for the neck (this might be because I'm 6'3")

How does it perform? Being a collector, I haven't used it in the field, so I am unable to say how it functions in combat. I can however say how it functions in my back garden. I use American Eagle gas, which is a mixture of HFC22 and HFC134a. I found, to my astonishment, that a full mag of gas lasted a full 8 mags worth of BB's, and showed no signs of cool down. On the subject of cool down, you only really notice it on the last 10 shots, and it only really affects the last five rounds. When this happens, the bolts seems to move only halfway to the cocked position, and with the last shot (from the gas - this does not happen with the last shot from every mag, only with the last shot from a given fill of gas), it bounces back and forth until it stops about 1-2 seconds later. From what I can tell, this does no damage to the gun. The range of the gun is at least 20-30 metres (the length of my garden) with AE gas, at just below room temperature. With HFC134a, I found the range to be only slightly lower, although it affected by temperature a lot more than AE gas is.

I found that the gun was able to empty the mag (66 rounds) in little over 2 seconds; roughly 30 rounds a second.

I find the gun a very well build piece, and I would recommend it to anyone who wants a bit of fun. As a practical skirmishing weapon, I think you should give it a miss, unless you have lots of mags, and don't mind the weight. I have heard rumours of the bolt shattering, but I have yet to see/hear anything to prove it. Apart from that, it is a fantastic weapon. There is a huge array of silencers available, as well as metal bodies, bolts, upgrade valves etc. As a collector, I cannot see me getting rid off it for the foreseeable future; in fact, all I have to do now, I save up for a second!

review by Dr Strangelove

Appearance 4/5 - Great, apart from a few small mould lines


5/5 - Good range with little cool down

Build Quality

4/5 - Very good. Not WA, but very solid

Value for Money

4/5 - I did have a chance to get it cheaper

Overall Potential

3/5 - Metal upper receiver and bolt, valves and springs is about it for modifications, but there are a few add on silencers around.

External Links: TBA

Site links: KSC M11A1 Tanio Koba Silencer review

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Last modified: Monday, January 20, 2003 9:19 PM Copyright 2003 ArniesAirsoft