Marui SOCOM No3 – 12.5″

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I currently own three of these recoil/blowback AR replicas from Tokyo Marui, this example being the third one I purchased.  The first was kept in the 14.5″ barrel configuration, the second taken down to the 10.5″, then just to mix it up I’ve stuck with just over 12″ on this one.

Right now this rifle (well, smoothbore technically) is in its’ 3rd incarnation as far as accessories go.  It’s always had the 12.5″ barrel with fake mid-length gas system, but it started out with a King Arms 10″ Troy MRF replica quad rail accompanied by an OD MOE stock and MIAD grip.  Then I went to a Black mid-length MOE handguard (pre M-LOK) with matching MOE stock and pistol grip, as well as a King Arms replica of the VLTOR gas block that incorporates a flip-up iron sight.  There’s been a few other small detail changes over the years in terms of muzzle device/sling attachments etc but that’s the big stuff.  Being a front wired gun, the MRF and MOE plastic handguards were both great for storing a Li-Po battery without any fake light/laser units, plus they were two piece designs which meant easy access to the storage area of the battery.

Now I originally switched from the KA Troy replica because it was a fat quad rail and airsoft pot metal is heavy as hell, but the plastic handguards weren’t really the look I was after either, so I went over to the pictured mid-length Midwest Industries drop-in KeyMod forend.  It’s light, a lot thinner than a quad rail, splits in to 2 and very cost effective all things considered.  Unfortunately however, much as I like the look and light weight, it’s still too narrow internally to allow fitment of even the smallest nun-chuck type 7.4v battery and that’s after I went away and had the Dytac 12.5″ barrel put on a mill (by someone who’s actually good with one) in order to scallop out the cut in to the bottom of the outer barrel as per the original TM spec.  So the search for yet another suitable handguard continues.  I could of course just go with a fake PEQ or a PTS polymer foregrip, but my main aim is to avoid that sort of thing if at all possible.

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Annoyingly I also ran in to an issue with the QD sling point I dremel’d out to fit on to the buffer tube.  I can only assume the castle nut on the Marui gun is larger than a real one, possibly a similar story with the buffer tube itself too; because there’s simply not enough clearance between the castle nut and the QD point for a QD swivel to lock in to place.  Now, I could go with one of the Magpul ASAP QD plates which change the angle of the hole for the sling attachment slightly (facing down and away from the castle nut), but I’m yet to test whether firearm sling plates will go anywhere near fitting the Marui lowers; so far I’ve only used GBBr airsoft plates.  Another alternative is to try one of the Magpul ‘QDM’ swivels which are a slightly different shape to the standard swivels, but I’ve no idea if they’re slim enough to negate the issue.  Third option is to go with a Marui SOPMOD specific end plate that’s setup for HK Snaps/MASH hooks/Paraclips, but with the decline in interest in this particular platform in the airsoft market those are all long out of stock at every store I’ve searched so far.

I do like a challenge though and making these things work on airsoft platforms is always interesting to figure out.  I shall of course post again further down the line to let you know how I end up rectifying the issue.

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