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Another M4? Walking through the large halls of the IWA in Nürnberg, I was asking myself this question over and over again. The M4 or AR15 is the Airsoft industries’ premier cash cow and no other platforms sells as well. Unfortunately, sales figures and innovations aren’t directly proportional. THe V2 gearbox is the second oldest gearbox variant on the market today and it’s time for companies to start developing this system further.

Krytac created quite some buzz with their Trident series of AEGs as they include a whole range of technical innovations that you won’t easily find on other models on the market, at least not straight out of the box.

The model we are testing is the so called “Trident SPR”. “SPR” stands for “Special Purpose Rifle” and is usually some sort of AR-15 DMR / marksman version, similar to the MK12 platform of the US SOCOM. The Trident SPR isn’t really a typical SPR, it’s more of a modern full-length M4, as it shares the same barrel length.

So, let’s take a closer look at the Trident SPR and determine whether it is “just another M4” or if the hype is justified.


Section 1: Unboxing

Usually I don’t do unboxings. I normally don’t care about the packaging as its content is more important. I’m constantly laughing at the people doing unboxing videos on Youtube and think, they should stop wasting their time and review the content that is inside the box.

This time I caught myself appreciating the box and its design so much that I thought it would be worth sharing with you. The box looks very well made and the graphics are nice.

The inside of the box is simple yet effective. The manual and the warranty cards plus a sticker are kept safe inside a plastic bag glued to the inside of the box’s lid. The SPR and the rest of the accessories are padded inside a tight foam insert. Nothing moves, everything stays in place safely.

The SPR comes with a metal highcap mag, which is quite heavy, a set of iron sight, a cleaning rod and an allen key for winding up the highcap.

Let’s stop for a moment and take a closer look at the manual. I enjoy graphic design and I love it when companies care about little things like the manual’s look and feel.

The Krytac manual reminds me a lot of those uber-hip Field Notes notebooks. The material and surface structure look exactly like the classic Field Notes cover. The color accents and line graphics are very well made and the manual itself is very comprehensive.

Ok, this might not be relevant for the unboxing but there are several safety stickers attached to the SPR.

There’s your typical “wear eye-pro” and “read the manual” advice and then there are advices like “use 7.4V LiPo batteries for optimal performance”. Another note on the sticker says that the gun has a max. energy of 1.1 Joules to “meet goverment regulations”. The AEG we got is an export version and doesn’t come with 400FPS out of the box as the US models do.

Ok, stickers are nice but I wanted to remove them before the first game.

Removing a sticker shouldn’t be much of a problem, right? Yes, that’s exactly what I was thinking. The little sticker on the upper receiver went off without any problems, the bigger one on the stock although decided to separate itself apart and left the adhesive part of the sticker right on the stock.

You can call me picky but if there’s something that makes me rage like a kid that got knife-killed in COD, then it’s sticky residue on expensive stuff. Yes, this is an expensive Airsoft gun (at least here in Europe) and the last thing I want to do is trying to scrub the sticker off with my fingernails for at least 15 minutes. Imagine scrubbing off the protective foil of your brand new iPhone 6 … that’s how it felt. You don’t want that feeling, trust me.

Ok … You better change the stickers, Krytac!


Section 2: The Test Setup

krytac_spr_review_full-1

I tried to brace myself and not to fully customize the gun right before the first test game. I removed the cheap looking plastic flash hider (Really, Krytac? A bloody plastic flash hider on a 470€ premium AEG? You gotta be kidding me!) and added a SCAR type one, added an AIM 4x ACOG scope, a set of APS flip-up sights, changed the battery connector to my beloved XT60 type and installed a 11.1V LiPo battery.

The pistol grip doesn’t come like this, I tried out some stippling methods as I’m going to change the grip soon to a more ergonomic one.


Section 3: External Parts & Quality

When it comes to the quality of the externals, Krytac’s really in the fourth division here. It’s been a while since I had an AEG with such a perfect coating on the receiver. The only other AEG I touched with a finish like this was a custom cerakoated Systema replica of Warsport’s LOVA rifle on IWA this year.

The parts fit together perfectly although there’s a tiny little gap between the upper and lower receiver. The AEG feels solid as a tank, nothing wobbles at all. The stock has a tiny amount of play but that’s really ok. I’ve seen real steel guns that had more stock wobble.

The highcap mag is wobbling way more, which is is not so pleasant. I’m using plastic lowcaps made by ARES (reducing weight by using light magazines, yeah!) and thanks to their little weight, they don’t really wobble at all.

The Trident SPR features an ambidextrous fire selector which is connected to the other side with some sort of pin, that goes straight trough the gearbox. A clever way of making a V2 ambidextrous. The SPR also features a functional bolt catch and bolt release. This makes adjusting the hopup easy and it’s a nice feature nevertheless.

One of the Krytac Trident SPR’s highlights is certainly the 13″ DEFIANCE licensed KeyMod rail. It not only looks elegant and slick, the built quality and the coating are also high quality like the receiver. The transition into the receiver is seamless.

Typical RIS/RAS handguards are mostly unergonomic and have a square shape. The DEFIANCE KeyMod rails is shaped ovally has no protruding elements like rails or mounting screws. For better gripping of the rail I’ll add a hand stop and rail panels soon.

The rail also features three metal prongs on the front end pointing towards the tip of the barrel which can be used to brace the gun against a variety of surfaces and objects like doorframes, barricades etc. At first I kind of laughed about this feature. “Who’s gonna use that?”, I thought. There was that one moment when I was playing at “The Game” in Ginzling when I was standing inside a wooden bunker and thought “hm, let’s try out that feature” when I started using the prongs more and more. It’s actually not a bad one.

The 14.5″ outer barrel is made the same way as all the other external parts. Again, the coating and finish is nice. It features a fake gas block and a fake gas tube which add up to the realistic look and feel of the AEG. The barrel nut is massive and can be tightened/loosened via an open-jaw wrench.

The outer barrel also features a 14ccw thread so you can mount whatever flash hider, silencer etc. you want. To get the standard plastic flash hider off, simply use a hair drier to heat up the flash hider and then screw it off once the glue starts to melt. Caution! The flash hider can get very hot.

The butt stock is designed nicely and also very functional. It reminds me somewhat of  a Magpul ACS-L stock. The Krytac battery stock has been designed for one thing primarily: accommodating a lot of different battery types. You can fit in stock tube type batteries, split type batteries, stick type batteries and even your standard block type battery.

It also featured a QD sling mount on each side, a rubberized stock pad, a mounting slot for your standard rifle sling and a mounting option for a monopod at the bottom.


Section 4: Internals

The inner barrel is 383mm long and has a diameter of 6.05mm. It’s not your typical M4 length and buying an aftermarket barrel can be problematic as you either have to get a 363mm M4 barrel or a 380mm HK416 type barrel. Unfortunately, there aren’t many HK416 barrels arround.

The hop-up is a further development of the classic M4 hop-up we are used to. It features a rotating adjustment wheel which makes a click sound when turning. It also features numbers so that you can remember your settings more easily.

The hop-up bucking is made out of a silicone material, which only absorbs a very low amount of liquids such as silicone oil, cleaning agents etc. and prevents the bucking from swelling. Here you can see the experience Allen Lau aka. Allizzward, former product manager of KWA Performance Industries, is bringing to the table. The swelling of the bucking has been a big problem on KWA GBBs.

The bucking has a v-shaped contact patch, which isn’t really up to todays standards and trends. I would have loved to see some sort of modern flat hop design as the v-shaped patch has very little contact with the BB and is only good for centering the BB in the barrel. This would have been a really innovative feature.

The wires that connect your battery with the gearbox are protected through a mesh hose and shrink tube on the parts where the cables could get scratched. The fuse sits right next to the battery connector.

The motor is a mixture of high-torque and high-speed and delivers 30.000 turns non-loaded. The color of the motor reminds me of the standard Jing Gong or CYMA motors.

The fire selector mechanism reminds me somehow of the V3 AK type and has tiny markings on them so you know how to put them together after opening the gearbox.

Here you can also see the built-in mosfet. Getting a mosfet out of the box is a very cool feature and more and more companies start integrating mosfets into their gearboxes.

The gearbox also features a quick spring change system … wich isn’t that quick at all. You have to completely seperate the gearbox from the lower receiver in order to be able to use the system. That means you have to remove the motor and all the pins ans stuff which takes a while. A system like Specna Arms uses would have been better.

What it is useful for is to completely remove the spring before opening the gearbox.

The gearbox looks a little different than your standard V2. It’s probably one of the nicest V2 gearboxes I’ve seen in a while. The screws are secured by Loctite and need a bit of force to unscrew. It also features a plastic spacer that keeps the cables in place and prevents your pinion gear from getting caught up. This happend once to me and I had to cut off the grip with a Dremel on order to get the motor out.

The trigger is mounted securely and doesn’t fall out when opening the gearbox. This is a common problem and many of you will have experienced it. The same goes for the pinion gear.

Let’s get to the guts. Many of you might have heard the word “Sorbo pad” when reading about the Krytac AEGs, right? I’ll have to disappoint you, there’s no Sorbo pad on the cylinder head. There’s a thick rubber bumper on the cylinder head instead which is better, because Sorbo tends to stay compressed after a while and a rubber will always go back to its initial shape. The bumper absorbs a fair amount of impact energy and helps correcting the AOE (angle of engagement).

The nozzle is a litte downer here. Sadly, the nozzle has no o-ring and lacks a bit of sealing here. Don’t get me wrong, the tolerances are, again, very tight and the sealing is good even without the o-ring but there’s always a leak to seal and an airseal nozzle would have added up to the whole “innovative” feel of the gearbox.

The piston head is a standard polycarbonate one with ventilation holes. The compression inside the cylinder is almost perfect and the piston head seals pretty well.

The first time I saw the cylinder, I was quite surprised. “Why did Krytac install a MP5K cylinder?” I couldn’t find a logic explanation, although I had an idea, and sent an email to Krytac to get my question answered. The only reason why someone would install a smaller volume cylinder would be to control the kinetic energy as the BB would get accelerated less. That’s exactly the case why Krytac did install this cylinder type in their 1.1 Joule versions. But read for yourself what Krytac did say about the cylinder:

“By controlling the velocity through the cylinder volume instead of the spring it allows us to keep the same drive train and motor.  The amount of spring tension has a big impact on the timing of the gear box cycle.  Since our gears, motor, and spring are finely tuned, the easiest way for us to change the velocity without re-engineering the gear box is to adjust the air output.”

The piston is made out of polymer too and has 14 teeth, the first four made of steel. The AOE is pretty good, maybe not 100% right but close.

The gears have a ratio of 18.73:1 which is quite speedy. They’re made of steel and alloy and are made very well The shimming is ok, there’s room for improvement and needs some fine tuning.


Section 5: Performance

That’s the point where I got a bit disappointed. The SPR is shooting only 1.2 joules in our version and lacks in accuracy. The range is good, I was able to hit targets at 60m but the groupings where off by a few meters at that distance. I was testing three other AEGs that day that had a similar energy and barrel length and even the one with the shortest barrel and lowest energy did shoot tighter groupings than the SPR.

I’m not sure why this is the case. The other test rifles I used had tighter barrels (6,03mm) so maybe it’s the 6,05mm barrel. It could also be the small cylinder or the v-shaped hop-up bucking that is causing the big groupings.


Section 6: Final Words

Krytac did certainly shake up the AR-15 market and created a whole lot of buzz around their Trident AEG models. The build quality is top notch and the tolerances are tighter than what I’ve seen in the past. The little innovations and improvements are what make the Trindet AEG series so desirable.

There is still room for improvements especially with things like the pistol grip, the flash hider, the hop-up bucking, the inner barrel or the quick spring change system. Some might be more cosmetic than others but the look and feel is also important and should match the innovative image of the Krytac Trident series.

The biggest downer is the performance and I would have expected the SPR to perform way better than it did. I mean, a “Special Purpose Rifle” should be able to outperform more compact and shorter variants like the CRB or even a G36C. But let’s not forget that we got the “export version” and I can’t speak for the US version.

Nevertheless, the Krytac Trident SPR (or the Trident series in general) is one of the most beautiful and desirable AR-15 models in the airsoft market right now. Yes, the price in Europe is high and you have to decide for yourself whether to spend 470€ on a complete AEG or not.

logo_comYou can get your Krytac Trident SPR and other Trident models at Airsoftzone.com, who’s also the main distributor here in Europe. We would like to thank Airsoftzone for letting us test the Trident SPR and for the great cooperation in general.