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Review

Tokyo Marui HOWA Type 89 Rifle
  • Manufacturer 
     Tokyo Marui
  • Model 
     Type 89 Rifle
  • Capacity 
     69
  • Weight 
     3700
  • Power 
     295 fps
  • Motor 
     
  • Hop-up 
     Adjustable
  • Battery 
     8.4V Stick type
  • Shooting Mode 
     Semi, 3 rds burst, Full
  • Construction 
     Metal + ABS

Pros

-Very good finish
-Reliability
-Metal receiver included
-3 rds mechanical burst
-Efficient and reliable hop-up
-Compatible with M4/M16 magazines
-Standard Type 89 mags feed all the BBs
 

Cons

-Inconvenient battery compartment
-Right side selector requires practice or an extra part
-Higher price range than other TM AEG models
-New gearbox type (limited parts availability)
 

Verdict

With its look and new features coupled with a good performance, it's hard not to be tempted by this new Type-89. The main drawback being the limited use "ingame" due to the limited availability of JSDF Items, it may not be seen a lot on the field for some time, except in the hands of lucky collectors, curious shooters and Type-89 thin look addicts.

In any case, with the incoming parts being available soon on the market and its stock performance, any user will most likely be very pleased with this new AEG, showing the best available in Tokyo Marui's manufacturing and design quality, that remain a beacon in the Airsoft market today.

 

THE REAL STEEL COUNTERPART

The Type 89 Rifle has been developed by HOWA Machinery Co.(Japan) for Japanese self defense forces. Type 89 is a select-fire, gas operated, rotating bolt assault rifle, close in design to the AR-18 rifle (USA) previously manufactured under license by Howa Machinery under Armalite Licence.

The rifle features a stamped steel receiver, and the handguard, pistol grip and solid stock are built in composite plastic. It also features a peep-hole flip-up rear sight and a quick detach bipod. The Type 89 is able to fire STANAG standard 22mm fin-stabilized rifle grenades.

  • Caliber: .223 (5.56*45mm NATO)
  • Magazine capacity: 30 rounds in mag clip
  • Fire modes: Semi automatic, Controlled burst (3rds) and Cyclic fire (650-850rpm)
  • Barrel lenght : 420 mm
  • Weight (empty) : 3.5kg
  • Overall lenght: 864 mm

    More information and data about the real thing here.

    The packaging is neat, and in addition to the usual accessories, it comes with a quick-mounting metal bipod!
    Japanese markings and realistic fake cartridges combined with a metal receiver make this a very realistic AEG.
    The attachment point for the bipod, as well as a bayonet mount and a muzzle brake are standard.

    THE AIRSOFT VERSION

    One Marui replica that sounds different, metal body, mechanical burst-fire, new Version gearbox (although V7 has just been developed before), and some other details.

    All these things made this AEG very expected, emphasized by the fact it has been developed, announced and distributed in a very short amount of time (compared to the M-14). It is also a Japanese design based replica, which has nothing to do with any other kind of their own products and even other brands.

  • Caliber: 6mm BB
  • Mag capacity: 69
  • Feeding: AEG, internal Stick batteries (8.4V)
  • Fire modes: Semi auto, Full auto, 3rds Burst
  • Weight: 3.7kg announced ready for use
  • Overall length: 916mm

    Tokyo Marui seems to have found an easy and efficient answer to the transportation & delivery issue until the well-know M-14 Rifle: to avoid any flying polystryrene, Marui uses a poly box covered with a camouflage fabric, inside the two-cardboard boxes design, that's a good point for the look and the shipping safety.

    Additional magazines share the realistic peep holes to allow the user to check the ammo situation without removing the magazine.
    The author and proud owner shouldering the rifle.
    The selector indicator on the left side is functional, and can be replaced with an ambi-lever.

    Now, what can we say about handling this Marui T89, the pistol-grip's shape is close to the LR-300 pistol-grip lines, not designed for ambidextrous use but easier to handle than SEF Trigger-Group grips. The handguard is slightly enlarged from the body to it's middle for an easier use, and has horizontal grooves; in the end you can easily hold this replica tight with mid-sized hands without blocking your line of sight. Both handguard bodies (left and right) are designed with internal slides for an easier reassembly and a stronger design.

    Shouldering this AEG gives a comfortable feel and an instinctive rise of the sights, with a good handling length available for the weaker arm, close enough to the gravity center. No pyramidal grooves grid on the parts in contact with the hands, be a little careful when shooting in dirty environment.

    The big innovation in Tokyo Marui's replicas: this Type-89 AEG comes with a metal Receiver. A better weight, an improved feel and a cold contact on the Die Cast metal body, all this denotes with the grey-matte surface finish close to the Marui Sig-552 body. But no parasite plastic noise, and with the metal edges that will reveal after a sustained use, the user will not forget what he is carrying in its hands.

    The pistol grip is made of good black-matte plastic, like the buttstock and the back of the handguard. The rear sight, side receiver buttons, selector switch, charging handle and all the front sight and the barrel parts receive the same color, but are made of metal. Tokyo Marui used a rubberized material for the buttstock pad for a better adherence. Esthetically, this overall grey metal construction with black plastic parts is giving a nice serious feel.

    The fully adjustable M14-type rear sight offers precision even to extended ranges.
    The front sight has protective "ears" and a slim base profile.
    The right side selector is comfortable for southpaws straight away.

    Howa designed the Type-89 rifle with M-14 type iron sights, with a rear peep sight, foldable adjustable for windage and elevation, and a front blade under tunnel with an elevation adjustment key. That's a specificity of the rear peep sight to fold and lock inside the sight's base, while changing the elevation setting it will progressively rise up with 8 elevation increments. Once raised, the windage setting can be modified with 3 increments in each direction. The light of sight available is 440mm long.

    Tokyo Marui's Type-89 features a trigger and electrical safety on the selector switch. Unlocking the magazine is done using the lateral Mag-catch (AR15 type but smaller) above the trigger, right receiver side. The magazine locks inside using a lateral cut like the Colt M4/M16 Series mags (compatible).

    Type 89 Standard magazines has a particularity to be fitted with a oversized Pellets pushing rod that allows all the pellets to be fired without loosing 4 BB's unlike other standard magazines (except PSG1 genuine ones) All Type 89 magazines features side-drilled shells with fake cartridges visible for a more realistic look. Very close in size to the usual M4/M16 ones but slightly longer, the Standard and Highcap magazines carries respectively 60 and 420 rounds. M4/M16 Mags are compatibles to use with the Type-89, but the opposite isn't true.

    The extended followers are a very welcomed feature for regular magazine fans.
    The weld marks are convincing.
    Fighting in confined spaces is entirely possible. You just need to remember that the rifle is larger than an MP5.

    Turning the selector switch fitted on the right side of the receiver sets your firing mode. This configuration is unusual but can be mastered fairly fast and has some good aspects:

  • It's no more possible to change your fire mode by mistake like on MP5 with Navy trigger groups with the index finger, or changing the Safety to Fire by taking on and off the strong hand on M16 Series.
  • The user can see the selected mode by looking on the left side (Whereas the AR-15 Series don't have a functional indicator and the opposite side is just a glued plastic cap, the Type-89 has a functional opposite-side indicator.)
  • This allows the use of an ambidextrous Selector switch; Tokyo Marui has already distributed this spare part

    The selector markings can be understood this way, for quoting my Web-board colleague BooYah:
    1- "A" - ANZEN - Safety
    2- "RE" - RENTPATSU - Full Auto
    3- "3" - SAN - 3-Burst
    4- "TA" - TANPATSU - Semi Auto
    (Katakana Japanese alphabet)

    Each user can adjust his Hop-up setting by maintaining the bolt opened and turning the good-sized tangent dial around the barrel. Similar to the G36/G3/Thompson system, it provides an easier use than other constructions and keeps the setting a lot better than the M4/M16 design. Tokyo Marui made the possibility to loose the setting even less prone to happen by building a very tight adjusting dial; you almost need a tool to change the setting.

    The handguard carries the 8.4v Stick-type battery in the upper area above the barrel. You can access the battery compartment by pushing the front handguard pin under the front Sight (you don't have to take it off completely). It allows removing the left half of the handguard by sliding it upward. The right half can be removed by the same manner, but it doesn't have to be done for the battery change to maintain a battery support while plugging it.

    Once opened, you have to place the battery with the wirings on the bottom like shown in the Manual, plug and place the Tamiya connector in the indicated area. An interesting detail, the buttstock can carry a spare Stick Battery (8.4v too) by pulling the spring-loaded Stockpad and rotating it around his center to access the compartment.

    The charging handle is pulled back to reveal the hop-up adjustment dial.
    It is only necessary to pull the pin out a little to slide the left handguard to the front.
    And as a result, you can separate the halves and install the battery.

    Another interesting detail, the appropriate Type-89 Quick Detach bipod is sold with the AEG. It can be installed very simply and easily, deploy the legs, rotate the locking lug on the top of the bipod to open the Bipod-clamp, lock it on the barrel, and lock it. Once folded under the handguard, the bipod legs are locked into the bottom handguard venting holes.

    You can attach a sling by using the sling points on the buttstock and on the Front-set located on the Gas block left side. The buttstock sling swivel is similar to the AK74/AK100 Series but larger and can fit all types of sling and hooks. The Front-set sling point is smaller and close to the Sig-550 Series one.

    The Outer Barrel is threaded in 14mm(-) CCW under the flash-hider. Delivered with an orange plastic flash-hider, the original Type-89 Flash-Hider is included in the pellet box.

    SHOOTING RANGE

    For once, shooting with a Tokyo Marui stock AEG gives the shooter a slightly different feel. About the performance, you can fully appreciate the quality and manufacturing accuracy from Tokyo Marui, with a 290fps average speed, good range, a efficient Hop-up system and a very good consistency.

    The trigger pull gives the user the feel to have a 2 step pull. Fire is reactive and reliable, on the top of that you have now the 3 Rounds Burst available, which performs like it should, reliable and efficient. The 3 Rds Burst is provided by a new Gearbox VERSION 8 with a mechanical burst system.

    About the shooting noise, there is a light difference with previous AEG's, the Type-89 is slightly noisier (it's pretty hard to notice) although it's not a disturbing noise like a bad motor tension setting and so it's nothing to worry about. AEG's with metal receivers tend to have a distinct sound to them.

    The user actually has a limited amount of current available due to the Stick battery that doesn't allow at this time high power modifications over 1.5J or high ROF tune-up. The Stick battery allows a decent volume of BB's to fire with the development of enlarged capacity Mini-cells (600, 800, 1100, 1400) and can be changed pretty fast with a little practice.

    The Type 89 worked flawlessly throughout the test period. No malfunctions occurred at all.


    - By Gabriel (France)

    Another shot of the author with the rifle.