Time for something a little different; a long term test report and a direct comparison between two replicas. In some ways, these are very similar. Both are gas-powered replicas of compact handguns and both shoot 6mm BBs through barrels less than 3” long. In other ways, they’re very different. One is an all metal replica with good weight that provides strong recoil effect through blowback. The other is mostly plastic, very quiet and with much less oomph from the blowback.
The manufacturers are very different too. Tokyo Marui is one of the most respected manufacturers of high-quality airsoft replicas while Army Armament is, let’s be honest here, a Chinese manufacturer that is generally regarded as belonging to the cheap and cheerful end of the market. That’s reflected in the price; the TM Glock costs around three times as much as the Army Armament R45. But, after owning and shooting both replicas for more than two years, how are they holding up and how do they compare? Is this TM replica three times as good as its Chinese counterpart? Let’s take a look…
Tokyo Marui Glock 26
This TM replica features full Glock markings and visually, it’s a very accurate replica of the original. However, other than the magazine, it’s mostly of plastic construction including the slide. In some ways that’s good; there is no paint here to wear off so even after extended use, it still looks almost as good as it did the day I received it more than two years ago. But this plastic construction also means that this is a light replica at 575g including the metal magazine and the recoil effect from the blowback of the plastic slide is minimal.
Like most TM replicas, this uses HFC 134a gas and it shoots 0.2g BBs at around 200 – 210fps. That’s enough power for target shooting at 6m, but this is quiet, the blowback effect is not strong and overall, it just doesn’t feel very powerful. It has however been completely reliable in the two years I have owned it. It has never once failed to lock back on empty, I don’t think I have had a single failure to shoot and it holds gas indefinitely without any leaks.
After two years, there is simply no sign of wear, internally or externally. This appears to be as good as it was when I first opened the box. Impressive!
If I have one minor issue, it’s with the trigger. Right at the end of the pull, just before the release point, it suddenly gets a little heavier. It isn’t a major problem, and it’s only really noticeable when you shoot it back-to-back with something like the R45 which has a short pull with a clean, sharp break. Despite that, this is a decent shooter and I can still generally get groups close to 1” at 6m using 0.25g BBs.
Ten shots, 0.25g BBs, 6m, semi-rested. The group is just a whisker over 1”.
Army Armament R45
This is a pretty decent blowback replica of the classic Detonics Combat Master though it has no markings at all. It’s of mainly metal construction with an overall weight of 700g. It uses Green Gas, shoots 0.2g BBs at a respectable 230-240fps and has strong blowback.
However, when I bought My R45 back in the summer of 2020, it had some problems right out of the box (you’ll find a link to my original review at the end of this article) with gas leaks and generally erratic shooting. I dismantled it a couple of times, but I couldn’t find any problems. It seemed to work OK after that, but I was always concerned about its long-term reliability. As it turned out, this hasn’t been a problem. Externally, it is showing no signs of wear at all. Internally, some paint has worn off the slide and frame where they rub during blowback, but otherwise, it’s absolutely fine.
I still don’t know what caused those initial problems, but since then it has been completely reliable. The magazine holds gas even when its left unused for months and it now shoots reliably and better than it did in terms of accuracy. I have no idea why, but If I shoot carefully, I can generally now get groups of about 1” at 6m using 0.2g BBs. When I first got it, groups were more usually 1½ – 2” but it now shoots as well or better than most of my 6mm replicas even though it has a barrel less than 3” long. It remains the only gas-powered replica I own (or that I have owned) that fills without any leakage around the nozzle at all and one fill still gives me around 32 shots.
Ten shots, 0.2g BBs, 6m, semi-rested. Group is 1.5” vertically and 1” horizontally.
It shoots around 1” above the point of aim at 6m, and it seems to be notably more accurate and consistent using G&G Armament Competition Grade 0.2g BBs. The trigger is superb: a short, light pull and a clean, sharp break. Once the initial problems disappeared, the slide has never failed to lock back when the magazine is empty and I haven’t had any other leaks, problems or issues.
I didn’t really expect much from this replica when I first bought it; you just don’t get much for around €40 and the initial reliability issues made me think that it wouldn’t last long. I was wrong and this has turned out to be one of my favourite replicas for shooting. It’s accurate enough to be challenging, reliable and the recoil effect is strong. I still don’t know what caused those initial problems but they have never reoccurred. In my initial review, I said that I wasn’t sure that this would prove to be reliable but now, two years on, I would be much more positive about recommending this as a budget buy.
How Do They Compare?
When I first bought these two replicas, I would probably have chosen the TM Glock as my favourite, mostly because it was reliable and consistent right out of the box. Two years on, I’m not so sure…
The TM Glock 26 is still accurate, consistent and as reliable as if it were chiselled out of a block of solid granite. But now, the R45 also seems to be reliable and more accurate than it was so that the only meaningful comparison is about other features of these replicas.
And surprisingly, the R45 comes out on top more often than you’d think. It has a better trigger, more convincing weight, stronger blowback and it shoots with notably more power. It’s louder too, though whether that’s a plus or a minus depends on where and when you shoot.
In fact, if you were to directly compare these replicas without considering where they’re made, the R45 is better in most ways, and that’s not something I expected to be writing. When you add in the fact that it’s just one-third of the price of the TM Glock, well, logically, there’s only one winner here…
When I bought the Army Armament R45, I wasn’t expecting much, and when it had problems right out of the box, my negative expectations seemed to have been confirmed; cheap Chinese rubbish, etc. But long term, that’s not how it worked out at all.
Over two years, the R45 has confounded my initial impressions. It has proved to be reliable and it’s accurate and consistent enough to be fun as a shooter. It also has good weight, fairly strong blowback and sufficient power for fun target shooting at 6m. The TM Glock on the other hand, has done precisely what I expected. It has been totally reliable and it’s consistent and more accurate than you might expect at 6m.
However, the TM Glock is quiet, light and the blowback effect is minimal. Partly because of this, of these two replicas, the R45 is the one I prefer to shoot with. Does that mean it’s better than the TM Glock? Of course not, it’s just my personal preference. I like them both, but I do feel that the R45 provides a more enjoyable shooting experience. And it does that for not a lot of cash…