Welcome Comrades! Take a seat, grab a bottle of vodka and turn up your favourite USSR songs because we are going to take a closer look at a true russian hero: the King Arms VSS AEG.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
- SHORT INTRODUCTION
- OVERVIEW AND SPECS
- INTERNALS AND DISASSEMBLY
- FINAL WORDS AND CONCLUSION
- INTERESTING LINKS
SHORT INTRODUCTION ON THE REAL VSS
The VSS (or “Vintovka Snayperskaya Spetsialnaya“) is also called Vintorez (“thread cutter“) and is an integrally suppressed, gas-operated select-fire rifle that uses the heavy subsonic SP5 and SP6 9x39mm cartridge. The SP-6 cartridge can penetrate up to 6mm steel, 2.8mm titan or 30 layers of kevlar at a distance of 200m. It was developed by the “Central Research Institute for Precision Machine Building” in the late 1980 and manufactured by Tula Arsenal.
OVERVIEW AND SPECS OF THE KING ARMS VSS AEG
King Arms released the VSS AEG in February 2014 and it features a metal body with a side rail , a CNC machined on-piece Aluminium 6061 outer barrel, a real wood stock with a rubber stock pad, a version 3 7mm Geabox and a 380rds highcap magazine. The top cover and the rear sling mount are made of steel.
The VSS weighs just about 2.7kg and is 91cm long with an inner barrel length of 42cm (same inner barrel length as a M4 has). When it comes to FPS readings, the VSS delivers arround 390FPS and has very consistent readings. This is a good thing and means that the gearbox and the inner barrel assembly are quite air sealed and this furthermore translates into a more accurate rifle
When you open the box and take out this AEG for the first time, you’re about to feel special — almost as special as those special russian troops that use the VSS while operating on operations. It is a thing of beauty, it has everything necessary for a gun to function and nothing dispensable that would only be cosmetic. It is a true piece of Russia’s art of engineering.
It feels surprisingly light, the finish of the VSS is excellent, the gun feels solid and quite sturdy. There are no major wobbles on the gun itself or parts that move arround.
The hand guard is small but feels quite comfortable to me, the texture is smooth and the plastic feels sturdy. This is probably the smallest hand guard I’ve ever touched.
The outer barrel/silencer has minimal movement but since it is meant to be quickly removed by pushing the knob on the bottom of the hand guard, it doesn’t bother at all. The outer barrel has s nice texture on the front end, it feels almost like a Maglite.
The only thing that wobbles quite a lot is the included high-cap magazine. It has a lot of clearance inside the magazine shaft. I hope that King Arms will soon release the midcap magazines for the VSS since I am no friend of highcaps and here in Austria, most fields and clubs won’t allow the use of such magazines. If you are reading this King Arms, please don’t let the midcap magazines wobble as much as the highcaps. If you players are going to use the highcap magazines, you could easily fix the wobble by sticking some spacer (e.g. tape, foam, plastic) into the sides of the mag shaft, respectively the onto the lower part of the mag shaft or add some tape (black for the looks, blue electrical tape if you want that special russian touch) to the magazines.
Be sure to tighten down the screw located on the bottom of the grip. it will get loose from time to time and the stock starts to jiggle a little bit. Speaking of the grip, due to the fact that the motor and motor housing are fitted inside the grip, it feels quite big and bulky with rather sharp edges that can hurt small hands like mine when holding firmly and especially when holding over a longer time period. If you have bigger hands, this won’t be such a big problem.
The rear sight sits firmly on the back of the outer barrel and can be adjusted. It feels solid and the spring underneath the sight has quite some power. The King Arms VSS uses a scale reaching from 100m to 420m with rather unusual increments. I could find an actual photo of a real VSS that confirms, that these increments are indeed legit.
The hop-up is a standard AK version and its made out of plastic. The hop-up lever does move smoothly and makes fine adjustments easy to apply. If you look closely to the rear end of the hop-up (the side, wich faces the gearbox), you can see that there is a little gap between the hop-up and the gearbox shell. This is due to a design flaw, the hex screw, wich holds the hop-up/barrel in place has no clearance for adjustments and can only be screwed into one single position. There have been reports by other users that had the same problem. This gap can lead to major feeding problems. There is a “Version 2” barrel assembly available from King Arms, wich fixes this problem. The only downside: you have to buy it. If you want to fix it on your own, check out the link above for examples.
On an AK, you would use the fireselector to choose between safe, semi and full auto by sliding the lever down or up. The VSS has a separate fireselector sitting right behind the trigger. The lever is only used for the safety function of the gun. This makes ist easier to switch between fire modes as you look down your sights (although the fireselector is quite hard to push).
The side rail of the VSS lets you mount different kind of optics like the PSO-1 scope, a variety of mount bases or a bunch of other russian optics.
The silencer/outer barrel does house the battery. Battery space is scarce and you should use either a triple cell LiPo pack or a two cell AR stock tube type (rumor, not confirmed atm.). The VSS ships with a little triangle-like battery holder that can be inserted into the silencer to securely hold each of the 3 LiPo packs.
Yes, the inner barrel is in the right place! The end cap of the barrel can be unscrewed by removing the screw right in front of the front sight. This is useful for inserting and removing the battery.
DISASSEMBLY AND INTERNALS
Now we are going to take the VSS apart and take a closer look at its internals. We provide easy step-by-step instructions in case you want to disassemble your own VSS.
Locate this screw at the bottom of the stock/grip.
Remove the screw with a Phillips screwdriver.
Press down the button on the top of the stock.
Slide the stock and the rest of the gun apart.
This is how the stock looks on the inside. Note that on the edges of the grip there is some thicker wood, you could sand down the corners a little bit or sand them a little rounder in case the grip is too bulky and the edges are too sharp for your hands.
The complete stock. The stock has a very nice finish and the wood stain is quite durable – it doesn’t come off very easily.
Remove the outer barrel/silencer by pushing in the knob at the bottom of the hand guard and sliding it to the right side (or to the left side depending on wich side the barrel is facing).
You can remove the barrel end by unscrewing the front side and then unscrewing the barrel end cap.
Now lets remove the hand guard and take out the gearbox.
Take a small screwdriver or a similar tool and push out the pin on the front end of the outer barrel mount.
Be sure not to loose the small pin and the spring, put them in a bucket or similar container.
With your thumbnail, push down the little knob that holds the hand guard in place and slide the hand guard off.
To separate the barrel assembly from the receiver push out the two pins on the front of the receiver.
Lift the barrel up slightly, be sure to be gentle and remove the rod out of its mounting hole, try not to bend the rod.
Now we have separated the barrel assembly from the lower receiver.
Unscrew the grub screw that holds the inner barrel in place.
This is what it should look like.
You can see clearly, that the grub screw should be mounted slightly to the right so that it not causes the gap between the gearbox and the hop-up.
The plastic wich the hop-up has some small wrinkles on it.
Small wrinkles of plastic also on the lower part of the hop-up.
Now we are going to remove the gearbox. Push the pin on the lower part next to the fire selector of the receiver out.
Remove the motor by unscrewing the two Phillips screws.
While pulling the gearbox out of the receiver, flip the safety lever up. You can now completely remove the gearbox. Now let’s take a look inside the gearbox.
The gearbox has 7mm bearings installed.
Hex screws are used to hold the gearbox together. I prefer these kind of screws over Philipps screws.
This screw is looks like it could scratch the piston but no worries, it has enough clearance.
The version 3 gearbox taken apart. The gearbox features an SP120-ish spring, a polycarbonate 15 teeth piston, a brass 0-type cylinder, a polycarbonate tappet plate, a polycarbonate nozzle (without an o-ring), a polycarbonate cylinder head with one o-ring and a standard polycarbonate spring guide wich is not shown on the picture because it already broke down and I had to replace it. There should be a metal spring guide built-in right out of the box considering the strong SP120-is spring.
The gear set looks quite durable but the shimming of the gears was not so great. I don’t expect an AEG gearbox to be shimmed perfectly right out of box. This is personal preference. I always disassemble a new AEG, strip the gearbox down, clean everything, shim the gears, check on the AoE and if needed, correct the AoE.
The AoE (Angle of Engagement) is slightly off, this is something you should fix as soon as possible otherwise the sector gear will grind down the teeth of the piston any time soon. Check out this video by ASTKilo23 for more info on the AoE.
The piston head is ventilated and creates a very good air seal. The cylinder assembly is very air tight and the compression is pretty good.
FINAL WORDS AND CONCLUSION
The King Arms VSS convinces with its build quality and value for money. For just 330USD you get a solidly crafted AEG with a lot of power and precision right out of the box. The quality of the internals could be a tad better — I might be a little bit picky here, but for that amount of money I’ve seen better quality these days. The small design flaw on the mount of the inner barrel is something I am not endorsing at all. It’s ok to fix it myself, but honestly it’s not ok for me having to buy a “Version-2” barrel mount from King Arms. If King Arms ships newer batches of VSS AEGs with those V2 parts already installed, good — but for current VSS owners, this should be a free upgrade part and this should also be part of King Arms customer service.
Nevertheless, the King Arms VSS is a welcome addition to the airsoft market and especially to the com-block segment of airsoft guns. I hope that King Arms will soon release midcap magazines and I’m also quite curious of the AS-VAL and the SR-3M that we saw at IWA 2014.
I would like to thank King Arms for letting us test and review the VSS.
- Read more about the real VSS on the manufacturer’s website
- The VSS Vintorez on Wikipedia
- An Article about the VSS on Specialoperations.com
- Great photo gallery on Englishrussia about special forces training including the VSS
CONNECT WITH KING ARMS