Top Tech is the new player among airsoft replica producers. Though it is not exactly new - since it is just more exclusive Guay Guay - like Lexus for Toyota, or Infinity for Nissan. G&G has introduced new Armalite line with 'blow-back" and few other innovations. What is more, they would be sold in exact price of previous G&G M-series. From this review you may find out, how does it stand a competition of 500 PLN less (about 180USD - Nov'08), Chinese M-Series by GFC.
Replica is packed in regular cardboard box with styrofoam interior. Gun case which you may see on the photos is not included. In the box, you get one Hi-cap (450BBs), ramrod, muzzle sight tool, manual and outer-barrel removal tool. It is not much as for the price.
Magazine is resembling the real one. Unfortunately, as it happens in most of M4 replicas, clip-socket is more shallow so the mag visibly sticks out more than in the real gun. Yet we have 150 BBs more than standard hi-cap. What is worth mentioning in tested piece, screw on the bottom of a clip was a bit loosy and at one point when taking out a clip i had metal cover of it in my hand and plastic interior was left in the replica.
As replica goes without battery I have used the standard GFC 9.6V 1100mAh, made in China. What is surprising, manual recommends using 9.6V and 12V batteries. I really don't know on what basis since 330 fps replica should easily go with 8.4V battery.
Body is made of metal - supposedly aluminium, basing my fair on low weight. Top Tech gun is about 400g (8.8 lb) lighter than GFC M4. Top Tech body is more mat colour than GFC with a bit rugged texture. Quality is better in Taiwanese product, but the difference is not that big.
On the left side of the body we can see: "United States Special Forces 1st SFOD-D", serial no. T10119 and logo with sword. Abbreviation stands for 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment - Delta. Logo with sword is just Delta Force logo. Those emblems guarantee +5 to accurate aiming, +5 to sneaking skill and +10 to a swank obviously. Unfortunately they are later fully denied by following "COMPLETE A.E.G SERIES MFG. BY TOP TECH MADE IN TAIWAN".
Rear-sight elements and screws of handlebar are made of different metal (as you can see it in G&P replicas). You can't complain on quality, though in tested piece I was not able to set sight to hit a point from 20 meters (65.6 ft). When rear-sight was set at maximum to the right - straight shot was still a few centimeters to the left of the target.
Pistol grip is made of as good quality ABS as a front grip, radiator like end-foot and metal screw-threads. It goes better than one in GFC product.
Telescopic stock has six settings and is about 2cm (0.79in) longer than in GFC. Covering of stock slide seems more durable to attrition in comparison to GFC.
Let's say something about what makes Top Tech replica different among many others. When we pull reload handle, it opens extractor window beneath which we can see dummy breech as it is in Tokyo Marui replica. Thanks to pneumatic mechanism, this metal plate is moving with metallic sound during shooting. We may call it "blow-back imitation" since it doesn't generate real recoil kick, but just sound. In addition I could say that kick is a bit stronger in GFC M4 thanks to M130 spring. Top Tech "blow-back" mechanism is interesting because breech is not being moved by moving backward piston, but by compressed air piped while shooting to small cylinder mounted above it. Thanks to it, breech would never stop in half a way, as it happened in LA85, gearbox is not under more pressure than in regular AEG and whole mechanism is reliable.
It is worth mentioning, that if we shoot without BBs blow-back is not opening extractor plate while BBs opens it and "blow-back" effect is stronger.
Also when we push a bolt catch, dummy breech would stay in this position so we can easily set up hop up. It was previously introduced by VFC in HK416 and SCAR.
Forward assist lever has finally got some use in airsoft gun - when pushed it would release anti-reversal catch in gearbox. Thanks to it we may release spring after shooting, so it would keep longer its flexibility and therefore initial velocity. Manual warns about pushing forward assist lever during shooting because - without anti-reversal - engine might get damaged. Similar mechanism has been present for some time in ICS dual gearbox - but Top Tech is the first to adapt this solution in single gearbox.
Above picture shows single / auto / safe selector right display. In most of the M4 replicas it's just not movable dummy, while in Top Tech it moves and displays actual mode.
To disassemble, as it is frequently in M-series, we should firstly remove front lining and disconnect wires. Soon after we can see dummy exhaust pipe which is not present in GFC replica. Then we detach connectors so we could move apart parts of body.
Clip release button is not made of steel - it's a cast. During second dis-assembly it has just cracked. Fortunately inner structure is porous enough to glue it without any problems.
This is how breech latch works - after pressing a button it locks breech in backward position.
Gearbox has selector plates on both sides, synchronized by lever placed across the gearbox. Thanks to this solution - on the right side we may see fire mode indicator.
Ball bearings - 8mm (0.31 in).
As G&G got us used to, racks are of good quality - but reportedly only middle rack is said to be steel made. Washers were neatly selected - gearbox functioning is better than GFC, but is still far from being perfect. Anti-reversal has different structure due to releasing mechanism.
Air is going out from main cylinder to small one which charges blow-back, by green gasket visible on this photo. It is characteristic, that cylinder doesn't have a hole on its side as it is in other M-series.
Above : main cylinder, and blow-back cylinder. Cylinder head is made of brass.
Piston is made of plastic, piston head is made of aluminium. After tests you can't observe wear and tear effects - which shows how well gearbox parts are matched.
Stock M4 by G&G has velocity ranging 350-360 fps. M4 by Top Tech has pretty stable 330 fps. I was curious if new blow-back system has really influence for muzzle velocity. To test it i used MS120 by Systema, which should give result of 120 m/s (P90 got 405 fps). Top Tech M4 was measured with 375 - around 25 less than it should be. Maybe weak performance is caused by leakiness between gearbox and hop-up chamber (no compression spring). I didn't have enough time to investigate on that issue.
Rate of fire with stock spring, 9.6V 1100mAh battery ranges to 15 BBs / second. As much as M4 GFC - but it has 90fps more.
Top Tech M4 is rather accurate - its accuracy is better than stock Tokyo Marui, comparable with M4 by GFC and for sure better than M4 by G&P, which I had in my hands. Range is rather standard for 330 fps M4 - with around 45 effective and 50 maximum. Comparable to Classic Army with accurate barrel.
Magazine is well serving BBs, blow-back system is drowning out sounds of gearbox, so this M4 sounds much better than regular AEGs.
Airsoft producers have turned to blow-back trend recently. M4 by G&G is for sure some step ahead in comparison, to "blow-back" known from LA85, and at the same time it's much more economic than gas charged Western Arms M4. Though in my opinion it is well behind AK74MN by Tokyo Marui solution. Blow-back as a definition says it should simulate recoil kick not only visually but it should be felt as well.
Top Tech wanted to be innovative, but it seems it was too afraid of going too far from standard solutions. It would be nice to feel the kick of gas charged replicas and lock when shooting without BBs in the mag. Such a solution are meant to be introduced in new Tokyo Marui M4 SOPMOD.
Performance is another issue. 330 fps next to opponent having M4 by GFC gives him even 10-15 meters of range advantage which makes it difficult to have an even fight. When you decide to upgrade this replica you must take it into consideration that muzzle velocity would be lower, than it would be indicated by used spring, and if gearbox cracks you have to rely upon original parts.
+ Very good outer look and quality
+ Good interior parts quality
- complicated not standard construction
- low muzzle velocity (using MS120)
The gun was tested thanks to producer Top Tech from Taiwan: