Viva Arms M1919
+Large Ammo Capacity
+Large Battery Space
+Big & Heavy
-Big & Heavy
-Recommend 2 operators for maximum effectiveness
-Auto winding requires off-hand
An irreplaceable American squad support weapon for WWII re-enactment.
The VIVA Arms M1919, as with many such weapons of its type, was a somewhat tricky weapon to review for the simple fact of its uniqueness. Even if somehow we could compare its performance with the next nearest weapon, ultimately the M1919 proves to be 80% about the menace of its presence, the cool factor of its design. The almost all metal construction is very faithful to the original design and although it forgoes rivets for hex screws, we think its alright to forgive that oversight for the sake of simplifying construction, take down and maintenance. We even point out that some of the oldest examples of these weapons, stored in humidity, betray is true steel composition by starting to show light rusting. If you want to keep you weapons spick and span then take care of it but then again you could just let it wear like the real thing and make it look that much more used with the intention of pulling of that ?veteran? feel. After all, shiny clean machine guns just aren?t right.
World War Two was a vicious period of multiple fronts of all-out warfare between technological contemporary nations with full-stock militaries; WWII is a popular period choice for milsimmers looking to go era specific. There are already a number of WWII weapons available but the balance between Allied and Axis has been somewhat spotty to date as the both sides suffer from a lack of balance in terms of quality and availability of their respective weapons. Though uncommon, there are airsoft MG42s and of course the prevalence of MP40s supplies the Axis side with a lot of full auto fire but in keeping with the period, the Allied sides lack of Thompsons en masse stop short of the full auto and until recently the only option for a support weapon was the lightweight BAR. With the introduction of VIVA Arm?s brand spanking new MG, with the boldness of a heavy metal monster and a price that a lot of us can manage quite reasonably, the balance of warfare has shifted.
Weighing in at 11kgs (24lbs), this is hardly a palm pistol; its overall mass and weight distribution really does make this piece a static defense weapon. Just like its real steal historical legacy played out, the best way to deploy this beast of course is in a two-man team with weapon and tripod separated for re-positioning. The weapon connects to the tripod by a simple pintle mount which is itself little more then an industrial sized vertical bar (pintle) that inserts into a column (gudgeon) on the tripod and locks in place by a single spring-tension latch. It mounts dead solid and stable, traversing is smooth and easy and yet the whole weapon it lifted up and clear by the simple lifting of the catch. Of course the magazine must be separated before moving as well, a fiddly task but not impossible and it has the added bonus of forcing the machine gunner team unable to fire the weapon unless it is deployed and setup.
Besides the simple pintle, the rear of the M1919 also features a vertical bar strait down which engages with a small locking bracket sitting on the horizontal bar on the tripod between the rear two legs. The rod is threaded such that turns on the screw on the bracket can incrementally adjust the elevation; if the rod is used, thusly, the weapon can be dialed onto target and then ?locked? into place making it easier to rain down suppressive fire at long range without having to hold the awkward angle of the beastly weight by hand the whole time. Just as easily of course, the bracket can be loosened or bypassed making the weapon free to swing.
In terms of existing performance, the rate of fire is exactly as you might expect for such a gearbox (about XX rps). At range its groupings are not incredible but nothing to scoff at either, pretty much a standard fare of AEG performance making this weapons accuracy a matter of correcting your fire based on spotting shots as such dialing in your accuracy throughout your firing solution; reeling in the line, so to speak. With its out-of-the-box firing cone, its hard to compare ultimate terms as that would depend on what scenarios you?re employing but we?d say its effective range is en-par with the middle-band AEGs so it will out range pistols and some SMGs, give a lot of rifles a run for their money but will be out ranged by the longer ranged bolt actions and such; about right for a crew-served MG.
As a support weapon, the only flaw we can really find is the electric winding button on the magazine that needs to be pressed thus requiring a hand on the magazine during firing but again this serves to force the gunner to use both hands (or the spotter to do the job) thus servicing the weapon requires the occupation of at least two hands. This weapon utilizes an M14 type gearbox and this version 2 model clocks in at 400 FPS; feeding from an electric winding box magazine which holds in excess of 2500 rounds, its combining factors make this a very decent support weapon out of the box with a great opportunity for those who may want to modify but good enough for those who want out-of-the-box skirmishability as is.
For those of us who dare to try, modding possibilities are pretty open ended with this rig as unlike many MGs which suffer from proprietary systems, this model uses standard internals and its enormous interior housing has more then enough space for large batteries, multiple batteries and for the nuttier crowd still space left over for mad-science-esque timer mosfet circuitry, assemblies of capacitor banks or whatever home made monstrosities you care to experiment with.
All in all, we can be honest and say that the firepower of this weapon is not revolutionary but in the mundane of its internals it is that much more stable and easier to maintain and that disgustingly large ammunition crate it call a box magazine you won? be running out of ammo anytime soon.
So for all you Axis WWII wargamers out there, watch out! Allied forces have a new toy and its not subtle; that said, this production run is limited to 300 pieces so if want to get your hands on one you best act now!