H&K (KWA) MP7A1 Airsoft – Review

Looking to try out a real MP7? Sadly you can’t, as it is a restricted military weapon. Fortunately you can try out dozens of other military firearms, including automatic weapons, at my favorite New Hampshire shooting range.

Table of Contents:

Introduction
Real Steel History
Ordering
Basic Gun Information
First impressions
Included
Gun Specifications
Externals
Trademarks
Magazine
Performance
Internals
Pros/Cons
Overall

http://img834.imageshack.us/img834/1726/mp7review24.jpg

Introduction:
The H&K MP7 has been my favorite firearm since I first saw it on Future Weapons a number of years ago. In my mind it is the epitome of modern gun design. It looks like something out of science fiction, with clear design influence from much of H&K’s awesome line of past and present guns. Since the H&K-Licensed KWA MP7 was announced in early 2009, I’ve wanted desperately to get my hands on one. I missed the first production run, after which the gun was out of stock for ages. Finally it resurfaced on ASGI and I jumped on it.

http://img834.imageshack.us/img834/3787/mp7review28.jpg

Real Steel History:
The HK MP7 submachine gun / personal defense weapon has layout of a typical compact submachine gun (or a large pistol), with magazine being inserted into pistol grip, with folding forward grip and telescoped buttstock. The action of the MP7A1 is somewhat unusual for weapon of such small size, since it is gas operated, rotating bolt design, which strongly resembles the action of the HK G36 assault rifle, suitably scaled down. The ambidextrous fire mode selector/safety switch allows for semi-auto and full-auto modes. MP7A1 is designed to fire special, high velocity ammunition, 4.6x30mm, that looks like scaled down rifle round. That ammunition is unique to the MP7 .
 The receiver of MP7A1, along with integral pistol grip, is made from the polymer with steel reinforcements.Top side of the receiver hosts a Picatinny-type accessory rail for sight mountings.Standard sighting equipment is usually a set of low-profile open sights on quick-detachable mounts, plus a collimating (red-dot) sight Additional rails can be installed on either side of receiver, next to its frontend. The MP7A1 could be fired single-handedly, or using both hands, either like the pistol or using a front grip. Telescopic buttstock can be extended to give additional stability. With buttstock and front grip are collapsed, the MP7 can be carried like any big pistol in the special holster, and can be effectively used in close combat.
(Taken from World Guns RU.)

Ordering:
When I saw the MP7 back in stock on ASGI I could scarcely believe it. I wasn’t sure that its lengthy hiatus would ever end. When it did, I was in a particularly sticky financial spot, but I couldn’t risk missing the current limited-production run. I ordered the KWA MP7 immediately for $255. A week later, UPS tracking indicated that the gun would arrive the next day and I opted to take a last-minute vacation day from work, just to be sure I didn’t miss it.

Basic Gun Information:
The KWA MP7 is a gas blowback (GBB) submachine gun, with Heckler and Koch trademarks licensed by Umarex. The MP7 is completely realistic to the real steel, in dimension and function.

First Impressions:
The box the MP7 comes in is not a KWA box, but an H&K trademarked box, which reads, “No Compromise” across its face. It is a clean flat-black and looks great. In the fine print on the face of the box, there is only a small label which reads, “Manufactured by KWA.” In the upper right hand corner of the box face, there is a manufacturer-applied sticker which reads, “Designed for 0.25gram or heavier BBs,” demonstrating before you even open the box that this gun means business.

Upon first picking up the MP7, I was surprised by its weight. I had for some reason imagined that it would be lighter, but it feels dense and solid. Everything is well fitted, with no wobbles or creaks. The extendable stock feels rock solid in both the collapsed and extended positions, and the flip-down foregrip doesn’t feel at all flimsy. Preliminarily, the gun looked and felt like everything I had hoped it would.

Included:
Included in the box is the gun and magazine obviously. There is also a small dropper bottle of silicon oil, a small bag of 50 KWA/KSC Perfect bbs, hop-up adjustment key, and an instruction manual that is written in proper English. The first caution inside the manual reads, among other things, “Carefully read and understand these instructions before using this airsoft gun.” I thought the “understand” bit was a nice touch.

Gun Specifications:
Weight: 4.7lbs, according to KWA (KWA doesn’t specify if this is with or without the mag, but I’m guessing it’s without. This would put the loaded weight at a bit over 5lbs).
Length: 15″ (collapsed), 23″ (extended)
Height: 6.9″ from top of folded sights to bottom of mag well
Width: 2″ at the front rails (widest point)

http://img64.imageshack.us/img64/7612/mp7review26.jpg
Bolt in locked position.

http://img820.imageshack.us/img820/7440/mp7review25.jpg

Externals:
The MP7 is of a unibody design, as opposed to a traditional upper and lower receiver design. The body of the gun is made of a perfectly textured fiber reinforced polymer, which is rock solid and extremely realistic. The only seam on the gun is a barely visible line that runs along the underside of the body.

There is a rail on each side of the gun body, forward of the trigger guard. There is also, of course, a 10″ top rail. Affixed to the top rail are two flip-up sights, with pistol-style low sights and rifle-style high sights.
http://img602.imageshack.us/img602/6939/mp7review23.jpg
http://img840.imageshack.us/img840/5249/mp7review22.jpg

The collapsable stock is released for both extending and collapsing by a small lever on the upper-rear-right corner of the MP7′s body. The stock extends 8″ and feels great. I’m 6’2″, so I have long-ish arms, and the stock extends to a length where my trigger-arm elbow sits at a 90 degree angle.
http://img231.imageshack.us/img231/386/mp7review6.jpg

The foregrip flips up or down by pulling back on the release slides on either side of the foregrip. The real steel MP7 is not available to the civilian market, so I obviously haven’t used one, but I think that the slight front-to-back wiggle of the foregrip is probably realistic and does not feel cheaply built.

The trigger contains a fully-functioning trigger safety, which stops the trigger being depressed unless your finger is fully on it.
http://img602.imageshack.us/img602/2114/mp7review5.jpg

All metal parts are anodized black, including the stock rails, magazine, rails, sights, trigger, and flash hider. The flash hider unfortunately has a, KWA-typical, blindingly obvious, obnoxious, and non-removable orange tip. To keep myself going insane looking at the flash hider, I removed it in favor of a 3″ mock-suppressor, seen in all the above and below pictures. Later I sanded off all the paint on the flash hider and applied primer and a few coats of flat-black Rustoleum which came out great. It looks better with a black flash hider than the mock-suppressor.

Flash Hider Removal:
[Disclaimer: Contact your state and local officials for applicable laws regarding orange tip removal. This may not be legal in all locations.]

Because KWA now applies Loctite to all their flash hider threads, it takes more than just your fingers or a set of pliers to remove them.

In order to remove the flash hider you must start by removing the outer barrel end-cover. First remove the sights from the top rail, then using a hex-wrench remove the top rail. At that point you can release the top and bottom clips holding the outer barrel end-cover in place.
http://img141.imageshack.us/img141/5638/mp7review10.jpg

With that off you can heat the black part of the flash hider with a blow torch. I did this for about 10-15 seconds to release the Loctite.
http://img14.imageshack.us/img14/619/mp7review9.jpg

At that point the flash hider can be removed with pliers by threading it counter-clockwise. To affix a mock-suppressor you will need a 12mm clockwise to 14mm counter-clockwise adapter. KWA makes one that’s available on ASGI.
http://img51.imageshack.us/img51/7436/mp7review8.jpg

Trademarks:
The trademarks on this gun are amazing. It has authentic and licensed H&K trademarks in all the right places.

The lower-rear-right of the body displays the only painted trademarks. All others are inset. These are Umarex trades. (The license-holder for H&K).
http://img11.imageshack.us/img11/3106/mp7review20.jpg

On the right side of the body, right in front of the ejection port, there is an HK trademark along with a unique KWA serial number.
http://img694.imageshack.us/img694/2944/mp7review21.jpg

On the bottom of both sides of the mag well, there is an HK MP7A1 trademark.
http://img841.imageshack.us/img841/790/mp7review19.jpg

On the left side of the body, opposite the serial number, there is an ammunition and energy marking. In Japan and Taiwan the energy marking would read Energy < 1J. All other sale locations have Energy > 1J.
http://img690.imageshack.us/img690/2411/mp7review16.jpg

There is a metal plate below the rear of the body, just forward of the stock.
http://img203.imageshack.us/img203/5954/mp7review18.jpg

Magazine:
The magazine that comes with the MP7 is an extended magazine which extends 3.25″ below the bottom of the mag well. There is also an available 20 round mag that sits flush with the bottom of the mag well. The magazine that comes with the gun holds 40 rounds in double-stack configuration.
http://img844.imageshack.us/img844/1720/mp7review13.jpg

If you load to 40 rounds, a few are visible when the mag is in the gun.
http://img51.imageshack.us/img51/3545/mp7review12.jpg

If you load to 30, only the bb follower is visible.
http://img4.imageshack.us/img4/6002/mp7review14.jpg

Performance:
This gun doesn’t mess around when it comes to performance. As good as it looks and feels, it is just as functional and is definitely combat effective.

Chrono:
Since I don’t use .2g bbs in any gun, I don’t own any to do a baseline chrono with. My chronograph results were done with .25g G&G bio bbs on an F1 Shooting Chronograph. With the mag heated to about 80 degrees F, I fired 12 rounds at 3-second intervals and removed the high and low for a 10-round average. The average was 392.6fps. Velocity variance from shot to shot was generally less than 3fps and I think the velocity would have consistently been about 400fps if ambient air temperature was 80 degrees.

After chronoing, I decided to get an idea of what the fps drops to during rapid firing. Indoors at room temperature of 66 degrees, my loose fps average had been 378 on semi. I loaded the mag to 20 rounds and fired a rapid series of automatic bursts, as one would do in a live skirmish. I then chrono’d a few rounds at an average of 370fps.

A low velocity bolt is now available from KWA. It lowers velocity to around 380fps with .20s (a bit under 350 with .25s) at room temperature.

http://img145.imageshack.us/img145/2919/mp7review11.jpg

Accuracy:
For my accuracy testing I zeroed the sights and hop-up first at room temperature. I set up a target at about 25ft and rested the mag on the ground while shouldering the MP7. I used the rifle sights and had to just realign the sights to the target center for each shot. Unfortunately I think human error skewed my results a little.

As the target sits, the gun made a 3″ grouping. If you eliminate the outliers, it was a 1.25″ grouping. I can attest that with a 3-round auto burst with the gun well braced, it can make a roughly 1/2″ group.
http://img5.imageshack.us/img5/4980/mp7review1.jpg

This is the view on target from the shooting position through a rangefinder. It says 8 yards here. If I moved about 1ft back it read 9 yards. Call it 25ft.
http://img8.imageshack.us/img8/3650/mp7review29.jpg

Shooting outdoors at 100ft, the gun was able to hit an 8″x8″ target 10 for 10 times. I would quote the effective range, using .28s, to be 150 ft. At my local field’s sniper qualification course in May 2011, I was killing time waiting to do my qualification shooting. Wind was low and ambient temperature was about 80F. Shooting in lulls between wind gusts, using Javelin .36g bbs, I was able to land about 5 of 10 shots on the face of a 4×4 post 200ft away, with the misses only missing by inches.

Recoil:
Recoil is pretty significant for an airsoft gun. If you hold it at arms length with the stock collapsed and fire full-auto, it’s pretty hard to keep your rounds right on target with one or two hands.

Here’s a YouTube video I filmed with a Canon 5D MkII. It gives an idea of the recoil.

Speed:
The bolt action is very snappy, as seen in the above video. ROF is quoted by KWA to be 15-16RPS (900-960rpm) and it’s definitely that or a bit faster. When firing on semi, it’s certainly going to snap rounds as fast as you can move the trigger.

Cool-Down/Gas Efficiency:
The KWA MP7 is remarkably efficient. Firing slowly on semi-auto with a warm mag, it will easily shoot through 80 rounds per charge of the mag, with bolt lock when you’re done. Firing automatic bursts of 3-5 rounds, the gun will easily work through a 40 round mag without issue or significant loss of velocity. I was happy to find out that with a mag heated to 80 degrees F, the gun can empty two 20-round automatic bursts with bolt-lock. Hard to say if it can do all 40 rounds on full-auto, as I haven’t had an ambient air temperature of 80 degrees to test in.

Internals:
The gun is powered by a scaled up version of KWA’s well known NS2 gas system. This variation is called the Force Velocity Engine. The gas system is contained within the bolt assembly and is very simple, eliminating the likelihood of failure. I have plenty of experience with the NS2 gas system and it is extremely reliable.

The only major thing that needs regular cleaning or maintenance is the rails on the bolt assembly.
http://img840.imageshack.us/img840/2867/mp7review2.jpg

To remove it, tap out the two receiver pins at the rear of the gun. Pull back on the stock and it will take the charging handle and bolt assembly with it. At that point you can clean out the rails of the bolt, oil them, and reinstall.
http://img43.imageshack.us/img43/3550/mp7review3.jpg

Pros:
REAL H&K TRADES
Very high velocity for a gas powered gun
Durable NS2-derived gas system (FVE)
Rock solid externals
Made of quality materials
Snappy firing action
Good recoil for such a heavy gun
Great accuracy for a gas SMG
Excellent realism
Hefty
Great overall performance to price ratio, despite the somewhat high price

Cons:
Very high velocity for a gas powered gun (Depending on who you are this is a pro or a con. On a hot day it will exceed 400 w/.2g bbs, and will therefore not be legal on all fields with that limit. Thankfully it’s legal on mine). Since writing this review KWA has released a low-velocity bolt for those playing at fields with lower limits.
Non-standard barrel threads (though KWA covers this by offering an adapter).

Overall:
I have been chomping at the bit to get my hands on a KWA MP7 for years now. Finally I have one and it absolutely did not disappoint. I am thrilled at the performance, looks, feel, and usability of the gun. I have no doubt it will be a formidable gun on the field, and is the best sidearm (or potentially urban primary) I’ve ever handled.

{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Terminator October 20, 2011 at 10:43 pm

Great review. You are a monster

Tyler Holland October 29, 2011 at 1:26 pm

I was wondering what else you could use besides a blowtorch to heat the loctite. Please get back to me when you are able to.

-Thank you, Tyler.

Zach Billings December 1, 2011 at 2:34 pm

Tyler, it’s really just a heat gun or a blow torch. It needs a substantial amount of heat and it needs that heat to be spread out. For this reason something like a soldering iron won’t work. Too focused. Both blow torches and heat guns run on gas and use a flame. A blowtorch is nothing but a $10 torch head at Home Depot and a Coleman propane tank to screw it on to. $13 total and very safe. Thanks for reading. Keep your eyes out for my upcoming KWA ATP review if you’re interested.

Jimmy December 22, 2011 at 12:41 am

how do you remove the outer barrel end cover to get rid of the flash hider? I’ve taken off the top rail and pushed in the tab on top(i think i might have even broke it). However, when i push up the tab on the bottom(one in front of grip) it still does not budge at all.

Zach Billings December 28, 2011 at 8:53 am

Good question. It sounds like you’ve taken all the right steps to remove it. It should just be a matter of removing the top rail, then simultaneously depressing the top and bottom tabs while pulling out on the outer barrel end cover. I actually broke one of the tabs on my first attempt as well.

Good luck,
Zach

Zach Billings December 28, 2011 at 8:55 am

My only other advice would be to try carefully depressing the bottom tab, working the bottom out a bit, then depressing the top tab and wiggling that out a bit. Try alternating back and forth and see if you can get it to budge. Let me know if you are unsuccessful and I’ll be happy to talk to KWA’s product manager for you to see if they’ve added some sort of adhesive.

Jimmy January 11, 2012 at 2:44 am

I ordered the piece on the front to replace the one that I broke from KWA’s proshop. Upon looking at it I think they redesigned the piece from the one you have. The hole that the outerbarrel/flash hider is sticking through is actually too small to allow the flash hider to fit through. the flash hider was placed after the cover was already in place. Since I already got a replacement, I just took the blowtorch to the cover and got the flash hider off. Thanks for the reply though

Todd June 17, 2012 at 8:49 pm

Has KWA been known to glue the front receiver on? I’m having a hell of a time removing it. I think I broke the the top tab as well. However, the bottom one seems to be un-moveable. Any ideas?

Trent Woida March 7, 2012 at 6:25 am

Great review, you really showcase why I love this gun. I wish I could get one for myself but it has been impossible for me to find one in Canada.

Zach Billings March 9, 2012 at 10:41 am

Will US retailers not ship to Canada? There was a guy I airsofted, with who moved to Canada, and I remember him telling me that the laws are extremely stringent up there.

Patrick August 9, 2012 at 12:54 pm

They will ship it but customs will seize the gun. It is illegal to import them without the proper papers to do so. That said there are numerous Canadian retailers who now carry the KWA MP7.

Zach Billings August 9, 2012 at 1:07 pm

For those reading, this comment regards Canada, not the US.

Josh March 30, 2012 at 7:25 am

Any way you know how to get some replacement sights for this weapon? Anyone Please help…

Zach Billings April 1, 2012 at 3:33 pm

Unfortunately KWA’s ProShop doesn’t seem to list them. What I’ve learned however is that if you call KWA USA they very frequently have replacement parts that aren’t listed online. The ProShop primary number is 1-626-581-1777.

Zach Billings June 18, 2012 at 8:40 am

When glue is involved heat is often the answer. The trouble there is that you’re working in an area with polymers not metals, so only so much heat can be used. I don’t know off-hand what I’d do about that one.