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Review

Tokyo Marui AK102
  • Manufacturer 
     Tokyo Marui
  • Model 
     AK102
  • Capacity 
     480rds
  • Weight 
     2900g
  • Power 
     300fps
  • Motor 
     EG1000
  • Hop-up 
     adjustable
  • Battery 
     mini 8.4v (not included)
  • Shooting Mode 
     semi | full auto
  • Construction 
     aluminium, polymer

Pros

  • Extremely sturdy gearbox build
  • Ideal for winter milsim games
  • Clever design with the gas block to accommodate a mini battery or a small lipo
  • Thicker and longer gear teeth
  • EG1000 motor as standard
  • Aluminum die cast receiver
  • Zinc alloy parts
  • Easy to access and precise hop mechanism for high effective range Enough recoil to let you know it's there but not enough to affect
  • your groupings
  • Noise, the noise this generates definitely will be attracting many pairs of eyes on the field if you used it in a skirmish
  •  

    Cons

  • Wire placement may be tricky inside the battery compartment
  • Bolt does not move full length
  • Battery shows through from foregrip's port holes
  • Rails are plastic on the front end
  • Magazines are not reverse compatible with previous AK's
  • No aftermarket gearbox cases available yet.
  • Recoil not as strong as GBB rifles
  • Flash hider not 100% authentic
  • Limited to use only small batteries
  •  

    Verdict

    If you're looking for a head turner and want to stand out in the skirmish field, this is it. With a distinctive firing noise, differentiating from the usual sewing machine/power tool noise AEGs typically produce along with a satisfying sensation of blowback in full auto without the cool-down drawbacks whilst being able to fine tune your FPS with conventional upgrade parts. This may be the win-win situation for the mil-simmers that still like to have a practical skirmish rifle.

     

    Introduction:

    With the recent introduction to the new EBB series from Tokyo Marui, the 'Next Generation A.E.G.' with their revolutionary 'recoil shock' system seen on the AK74mn, TM have also released recently the AKS74N and the AK102 to follow up their new line of next gen. AEGs. The predecessor of the AK 102 was the AKS74U, but it came with a 80-round low capacity magazine, and some sample BBs. Also runs on a 8.4V mini battery, can be a tight fit in the handguard area, and not the stick battery that are commonly seen on AK's due to the redesign of the gearbox to house the blowback and recoil mechanism there. The installation of a stick battery was out of the question, as it won't fit under the receiver cover. So what's so different and is the 102 better seeing they've had feedbacks from the previous models?

    Only takes mini batteries, possible chance of a modification for a small lipo?
    Possibly to eliminate the chances of being cloned?

    Initial impressions.

    The TM AK102 came in a basic box and the basic stuff you'll need to use in the field apart from a battery and a charger. The box has been clearly marked to give the impression for those that are not aware of the new systems that it's a revolutionary design with the 'Next Generation A.E.G.' and 'Recoil Shock AEG system' markings on it. The contents include the AEG itself, a 480rds magazine and some sample BBs. Running on an 8.4V mini battery, which has to be said is quite a tight fit inside the foregrip. This can be accessed via using the gas block lever that allows you to open up the cavity inside the gas block, you can see there is also a cradle to accommodate the battery to reduce any rattling that may occur if it was used in a skirmish, quite a nice touch. The receiver is also made from aluminum which it already differentiates it from the regular Marui's line of AEGs where it typically use a plastic polymer for its receiver. Although using metal may add unnecessary additional weight on to the gun or affect its weight balancing, this is not the case with the AK102 where the balance is just right and not too heavy for those that peruses a long weekend game of milsim yet would rather save the energy for the event itself.

    Even the box has a dedicated, foam lined cavity for the cocking handle to protect it

    On to the gun itself.

    Using EBB to simulate recoil, there're both good and bad points about it already since we're comparing the blowback between an electric system to the gas system. Pointing out the obvious first, the feel of the recoil simulation will never be as satisfying to the GBB rifles like the WA M4 or the GHK AK considering you really are hurling back a block of metal backwards every shot but what if you're in an area where gas is limited or even restricted due to local laws? That has to be said it's quite an extreme case but with winter kicking in any time now, GBBs may have to hibernate for a few months unless you can guarantee the gas system remains warm enough to function. Which is tricky.

    The flash hider may look funny or weird for some people and to others it reminds them of the Noveske flash hider, which in the real steel version on the AK it's their own design that provides projectile stability and the internal expansion chamber inside the flash hider relieves the gas pressure generated to help the stability of the real steel mechanism. What does this do on the Airsoft version then? Apart from replicating the real deal, this acts as a directional loudener so not only will the enemies hear your EBB recoil coming closer, but also know your AEG is pointed towards them as they hear that distinctive muzzle report this gives.

    The fire selector, mag release, foregrip (if you do not count the RIS rails) are realistic to the real thing, sure some critics may say the 'ice cream cone' is not realistic considering the 102/103/104 series uses the 74U type flash hiders. It is however, supposed to be a 'modern' version hence the more bold flash hider and the RIS rails. On the topic of the RIS rails, the top rails have a central groove running down the length of the rail to allow the use of the iron sights without any obstruction. Those of you that compares Airsoft designs to the real deal would know that placing that RIS rail there above your gas block will reduce the mirage effect when the weapon is under strenuous use. With the RIS rail placed there, the platform where you will be mounting any optics will also be on the same plane as your iron sights, so this will not affect your shooting stance/grip of the gun therefore your performance will not be hindered.

    hop adjustment can be found behind the bolt.
    battery compartment can be found inside the gas block
    So is this gun really the Next Gen. AEG?

    Performance:

    The Tokyo Marui AK102, chronos out of the box at 300fps, with the recoil giving a satisfying jolt on the shoulder when firing, specially on full auto. Obviously as mentioned earlier, the recoil will not be comparative at all to the GBB series but this experience is better than the other alternatives on the market today. There were critics claiming that the EBB will reduce the rate of fire on this gun compared to the regular AEGs due to the extra work the gearbox will have to cope with for the recoil engine, well this may be the case but due to the new gearbox design, with what seems to have a more efficient and sturdier gearbox, this AK102 has a VERY similar rate of fire to the TM AK47 using the same battery.

    So what about the range? There has been a reputation on Tokyo Marui's AEG systems for having ridiculous range even with a lower fps due to their local Japanese laws restricting the muzzle velocity on replicas. For example the TM M14 had made a new benchmark on range even with a humble muzzle velocity of 290fps, so it is expected that the range on this AK102 will not be sub par compared to other AEGs on the market today with a similar barrel length. Tuning the hop to what seems to give the flattest trajectory without the BB taking off towards the end of the flight to give the typical parabola path, it was still able to engage a chest sized target at 40metres when there was no or minimal wind with only a small percentage of the shots missing. This may be the shooter's error or environmental factors or even the recoil taking its effect on the shot calling. However, if this was done in a skirmish with the stock velocity, the target feeling or taking those hits will be another matter. None the less this is an impressive range for a stock TM AEG.

    A grouping test has also been done on this rifle using KSC perfect .20g ammo at 20metres, prone and using a gun rest. The groupings were taken twice with 10shots each session, one in semi-automatic and the second with it firing in full auto just to see the difference in muzzle control, especially with the EBB recoil engine. This was done to compare the effect on the accuracy of the recoil to a TM AK47.

    The AK102 produced just under 3inch groupings on semi auto mode
    Where on full auto, the grouping is almost at 7inches. This may also be the shooter's ability on the weapon handling.
    TM AK47 produced a 3inch grouping firing in full auto, prone.

    Conclusion:

    The Tokyo Marui AK102, a new model on the line of EBB rifles on the market. Can be seen as an improvement using the new system designed by TM where they have used a completely new design on the gearbox which gives strength, durability as well as performance whilst being compatible with previous gearbox parts. Even though this new metal gearbox design is thicker, stronger and more durable, the design is new and revolutionary and may need some getting used to when accessing or modifying the internals.

    With its EBB recoil system that delivers somewhat a stronger recoil experience compared to the alternative EBBs these next gen AEGs are actually leading in terms of recoil experience, obviously comparing the recoil felt to a GBB, needless to say the GBB will win hands down. However, when ambient temperature comes in, GBB will have to eventually hibernate and wait for the weather to warm up again to be able to use it at all or even when it's warm, firing a GBB rifle will eventually have cool-down effects that will affect your FPS (that is not as stable as an AEG anyway), rate of fire and effective range on the shots you've made. So if you're wanting to keep your realism in your loadout or to experience it this winter, get one of these babies. You HAVE to feel this fire on full auto (maybe even use a high discharge lipo battery) to truly understand what these words are trying to let you feel. It will be hard to feel recoil at such a high rate of fire from a GBB rifle, it is something definitely new to most people yet it does not make a noise that reminds you of a sewing machine nor a power tool.

    Is this the answer to the future of milsim equipment? Or just the beginning of it? This definitely sparks up some discussion on the topic of gas vs electric on various discussion boards across the net with comments referring back to 'remember when the china clone companies made nothing but rubbish and now look around the skirmish sites now'. Sure this can be said to both EBB rifles and GBB rifles too since it's still in its infant stages with both having pros and cons between them. With both systems improving month by month with new upgrades and modifications available out there, this will definitely be something worth keeping a close eye on to see if the AEGs will be eventually be taken over by GBB rifles.

    Food for thought, definitely.