G&P Mk46 Sopmod Full Metal Airsoft AEG Review by Eightball.NOTE: At the time of writing it is still illegal to import or own a full automatic airsoft gun of any kind. I'm reviewing an airsoft gun that has been modified to shoot 'semi-automatic only' prior to importing, in compliance with New Zealand law.REAL STEEL HISTORY
MK46 5.56mm Lightweight Machine Gun
The MK46 MOD 0 is a version of the M249 specifically developed to meet the requirements of U.S. Special Operations Forces for a lightweight variant that retains the full functionality and reliability of the standard 5.56x45 mm SAW model. Significant reductions in weight and overall length are achieved by utilization of a lightweight barrel and removal of the carrying handle, magazine well and vehicle mounting lugs. Unique to the MK46 MOD 0 is rail system that accommodates optics, laser designators and tactical lights. It also has a detachable bipod.
The MK46 Mod 0 is a compact, belt-fed machine gun manufactured by FN Herstal of Belgium. Since 1988 FN Manufacturing LLC has been the U.S. manufacturer selected to build the M16A2 Assault Rifle presently in service with the U.S. Military. The MK46 Mod0 significantly increases the organic firepower of Naval Special Warfare/U.S. Special Forces SEAL platoons without impacting tactical load bearing constraints. Substantially lighter than the 7.62mm MK43 machine gun and M249 squad automatic weapons in inventory, the MK46 is highly reliable and remarkably flexible, with improved rails for scope, laser, and light attachments.
The G&P Mk46 Sopmod is a close replica of the Mk46 Mod0, but without the removable titanium bipod. This G&P Variant also uses the Sopmod Stock, rather than the fixed or para stock.BASIC INFORMATION
- Full Metal Construction
- Steel Receiver / Flash Hider / Rear Sight
- Aluminum Rails
- 7mm Bearing Ver.2 Gearbox with Steel Gears
- Electric Winding Box Magazine ( Activated by pressure switch )
- Realistic looking 5.56mm Dummy RoundsSpecification
Gear Box: Ver.2
Motor: G&P M120 High Speed Motor
Magazine: 3000 (6mm)
Barrel Length: /
Weight: 6550g ( AEG without Box Mag and Battery )
Battery: Large Type ( Not Included )
Muzzle Velocity: 370-390FPS with 0.2g BBs
Package Includes: AEG, Box Magazine, 5.56mm Dummy Rounds ( 10 pcs ), Vertical Grip w/ Bipod
The gun I am reviewing today is part of the G&P line of Automatic Electric Guns. This review features the Mk46 Sopmod variant of their M249 series, available from any G&P Stockist for approximately $530 USD. For import into New Zealand, the gun needed to fire semi-only. The G&P M249 Series of airsoft guns are the only airsoft M249s that can be semi'd permanently due to having a V2 mechbox. Unlike a normal airsoft M4/M16 there is no selector on the Mk46/M249 so usually the V2 mechbox in the G&P comes without any parts to make the gun semi-only.
WGCSHOP staff were very helpful. They were able to advise exactly which additional mechbox parts were needed and perform the work necessary to make the gun semi-only. You might wonder why on earth I would want a support weapon if it could only shoot semi-only. Well, I wanted something a little special, and from a reenactment perspective, it looks damn cool. There also aren't a lot of them in New Zealand (at least not that I've seen). I've certainly not heard of anyone recently importing one legally PRODUCT INFORMATION/FIRST IMPRESSIONS
As I've mentioned in previous reviews, I don't really care about packaging beyond it being functional in protecting what I purchased. The box that the Mk46 Sopmod came in was larger than any previous G&P box I've seen, but still plain brown with G&P's logo on it. The gun and accessories were very well packed inside layers of fitted dense black foam. Everything sat tightly inside the box, with no edges etc exposed to possible damage. Some components were also bubble-wrapped to avoid scratching etc.
Included with the gun, was a Grip Pod style vertical foregrip containing two legs that can pop out providing a ghetto bipod. Also included was a box magzine that can hold approximately 3000 BBs. The box magazine includes a push button to wind the BBs into the gun, but I found that once in use, the box wound automatically when the gun was fired.
The first thing I noticed before I even removed the gun from the box, was just how heavy it was. I looked at the packing slip and saw the weight listed as 9.5Kg. Whoa. When I finally got the gun out, I could definitely feel all 9+ Kgs. Although a real solid weight, It certainly wasn't front heavy like some that I've seen, like maybe an M4 S-System, or an RPK (both front-heavy guns). the balance of the gun was centred over the trigger/box mag area, maybe slightly to the rear, making the whole package quite maneuverable. You would definitely want a sling on this gun, as trying to lug it around for long periods will seriously mess with your arms.Out of the Box, Sling and Rail Covers not includedEXTERNALS
Once again G&P externals are top notch. The trades and markings are clear, but not overstated. There was no movement between any of the joined parts. The finish quality on the gun was excellent, with consistant coloring across the various metal components. As usual the external look and feel is impressive. The whole gun feels as solid as it looks. My only concern is that the lower receiver has what looks like a substance across it. It's hard to explain but it looks a little blemished? I'll give it a good clean and see if that makes a difference. Honestly though it doesn't detract at all from the overall mean, aggressive, and business-like profile of this weapon.
The stock on this Mk46 is a "Sopmod" stock, it's a chunkier, heavier, variation on the sliding stocks seen on M4s. The front sight is fixed, with the rear sight adjustible for windage and elevation.
The lower receiver on the Mk46 is different from the standard M249 lower, due to the removal of mounting lugs, and the magazine well. The markings on the receiver also show the difference. On the left hand side above the grip are the following markings:
US MACHINE GUN
5.56MM MK46 MOD 0
MFR 3S679Mk46 Trades
I don't know if these markings are accurate, but they look legitimate enough.All of the Rails include appropriate numbering too.
This brings me to the Box Magazine.Included with it are some dummy 5.56 rounds. They realistic looking metal bullets which certainly add to the look of the gun. They also effectively hide the connectors between the battery (hidden inside the Box Mag) and the gun. On the rear side of the Box Mag, are the following markings:
5.56 MM M27
4- M855-1- M856
FOR MG M249
FNB83j001L004 A064Box Mag Trades
The side of the Box Mag is removable, with some foam padding to provide a solid seal when closed. This is how you access the battery and switching mechanisms to wind the magazine, and provide a link through to the gun. The connector between the Box Mag and the gun is DEANS, but the battery connector is a large Tamiya. In the interim I had a small converter made to connect a DEANSed battery to it (All my Lipos are DEANSed). While the Box Mag seems solid enough. The area where the electronics are contained within it, seem a little fragile. Once a battery is inserted, and the unit is closed up, I don't think there's anything to worry about, but when open, it just seems a little exposed. I imagine if you were not careful when the Box Mag was open, you could knock connectors off it. There is a loading port that you can use which doesn't require you to open the Box Mag when you need to top up your rounds.Box Mag Internals
The Flash-hider is a notched birdcage style flash hider, perfect for attaching a QD Knight's Armament Silencer, which I have
. I doubt I'll ever use a silencer on it during skirmishing, but good to know you can throw any Sopmod Accessories at the gun.Notched Birdcage FlashhiderPERFORMANCE
Trigger response was very crisp using a 7.4v 20c 1800mAH stock tube battery. Before chronoing the gun, I thought it sounded snappy because the spring was low powered. After actually chronoing the gun, and seeing it throw 0.2BBs at between 390 and 400 FPSI, I was suitably impressed with how quick trigger response was. We chrono'd the gun on 0.2g BBs with the following results:FPS
The gun seems reasonably consistant, with +/- 10FPS being about right. Fortunately for me, support weapon FPS can be high at our fields, and based on the chonoing, I don't think I'll need to change much , power wise. I've yet to really test accuracy. Hopefully I'll have some solid results from our next skirmish. The Hopup unit in the gun, is very similar to an AUG Hop, so I have reasonable expectations that it will be ok. As far as internal upgrades, I think I'd only really consider consistancy and accuracy mods. Perhaps a Tightbore barrel, and some hopup mods.Performance Update
I took the Mk46 Sopmod out for a Skirmish today. We were playing on our 'Porkchop's Hill' Field, which includes some pretty significant hilly parts (obviously). While the gun is heavy, I was able to maneuver well with it, the shorter length, and the weight being towards the back, gave me no cause for concern. It did Highlight my lack of fitness treking up hill a long distance... I was definitely glad when I had some defensive position to sit in.
One of the initial things I did was check out the accuracy. After spending a bit of time playing with the hop, which incidently was surprisingly precise, I was able to nail pinecones at over 40 meters. That's HUGE for me. My M4 would struggle with that under 40 meters I think. I was using 0.25BBS, and I suspect a following wind was helping out. I was so shocked at the accuracy, especially with my sights set, that I had to let someone else try it out. R3CON's first comment was 'I'm hitting everything I aim at, first shot'. Someone else mentioned, after shooting it, 'It's like I could snipe with this'.
Given that this is completely stock from the retailer, with zero aftermarket parts (besides cutoff lever/selector plate), I'm amazed at how well it performed. There were zero issues all day. I love it.INTERNALS
Since I obviously won't need to change the spring, the only reason I'll be opening up the V2 Mechbox, is if something breaks, or it turns out to not be as accurate as I'd like. If/When I do that, I'll update the review.Top Cover RemovedHopup Adjustment DialWHAT NEXT?
Well, I'll probably leave the gun primarily stock, but I may purchase an M145 Replica Scope, and Maybe a replacement stock, barrel shroud, to make it more '249ish'. I've been very tempted to purchase a Titanium Improved Bipod. Unfortunately there are no replicas of this bipod, and the cheapest I've seen one is $200USD on Ebay. The problem is they won't ship to NZ. I did see one on a forum I frequent, but that was considerably more expensive, and shipping would be a bitch. I may consider painting it, but I would hate to get it wrong and devalue a very cool gun.
Internally, depending on actuall skirmishing accuracy/consistancy, I may replace the inner barrel with a tightbore, and maybe some firefly hopup upgrades. Fortunately I don't need to downgrade its power, since according to our FPS limits, it's classed as a support weapon. Incidently, the maximum FPS for assault weapons on our open fields is 420FPS/0.2g/10m minimum engagement distance. Support weapons it's 500FPS/0.2g./15m minimum engagement distance.Update
I won't be upgrading anything internally at this point. I'm exceedingly happy with the performance I'm getting from the gun. Power and Accuracy are exactly where I want them to be.FINAL THOUGHTS
I can unreservedly recommend this gun. It's superbly built, solid, and looks awesome. If the performance lives up to what I have now come to expect from G&P out of the box, then I'm happy. I'd also like to say, don't believe everything you read on forums, about what you can and cannot do. Do the research yourself, and talk to the people who know for sure. E-reputation adds zero credibility to most forum statements you read.CREDITS
Thanks to CHAOS from ASNZ, for providing me with some importing advice when I was considering purchasing the gun. Thanks to PORKY, our Airsoft Hawkes Bay Armourer, who handled the ordering, communications with WGCSHOP, and me bugging him all the time. He also got me a discount on the whole purchase. I'd also like to thank WGCSHOP
too, who were willing and able to make the import of this gun possible. Other people I know have had a really tough time trying to get the same kind of assistance from other retailers. I also have to thank R3CON our club president, who was magnanimous about me getting an M249 before him. Hopefully he'll get his soon enough. I also obviously need to thank my club - Airsoft Hawkes Bay
. We've come a long way, and I'm really proud of what the club has become in the last 12 months. Hope you don't mind me pelting you with BBs from this beast.Gratuitous Gunporn