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The ICS-18 MX5-PRO AEG Revisited

ICS-18 MX5-Pro Review

Straying away from the M4 platform is not easy for me, like many Airsofters who were first introduced to this platform and kind of grew into it.  Firstly, because of the mindset and the way I operate my gun, it has become so familiar to me and it gets so intuitive to operate it that I feel it’s one less variable out of the way. Changing to a different platform at the beginning always seems awkward and it takes me some time to get used to the little or big differences.

Secondly, because of the vast array of attachments and accessories available for the M4 platform. Platforms such as the MP5 where some models might not even come ready out of the box just for you to attach that something as simple as your favourite red dot.

But even though M4s are a great all around solution for most playing scenarios, I don’t know about you but, for indoor games the M4 rifle, and even the so called CQB version, seems to be quite bulky and heavy. Plus, there are several other platforms out there which offer some very valid and strong benefits such as size, weight and manoeuvrability in small spaces.

The MP5 from Heckler and Koch (H&K) is one of the most popular non-M4 Airsoft AEGs in the market and it has been produced by several manufacturers from the Airsoft industry in several variants.

I Chih Shivan Enterprises  or ICS are a Taiwanese manufacturer that goes back to 1998 in the Airsoft industry, and they’ve been introducing several new innovations and product improvements that have caught the attention of the Airsoft community worldwide.

The AEG reviewed here is no exception, and represents the best the brand has to offer since it’s a top of the line AEG with advanced electronics and mechanics and high quality materials. This was already reviewed here when it was first released almost four yeas ago, but revisiting this AEG should give us a new understanding of this AEG.

So without further due let’s see what the ICS-18 MX5-P is, kindly provided by Airsoft International is made of!

BUILD QUALITY

As soon as I picked this gun up I noticed that weight and finish breathe quality. Heavier than other MP5’, like for instance a Classic Army which I had the opportunity to try and was noticeably lighter.

This is because of the stamped steel, which replicates the way the real steel gun is manufactured. As for the polymer quality of the lower receiver it is superb, extremely rugged and hard. It’s probably the best plastic I ever came across on an Airsoft AEG apart from the MOE Magpul plastics.

Almost every aspect of the gun results in a great combination of great materials and technological innovations. However, not everything in this gun is flawless, in fact there are a couple details that surprised me not for the best reasons. These are not deal breakers, but I only wish that ICS had put some more thought into these issues since I’m sure they also use their own guns.

The first issue that I found has to do with the handguard, again the polymer is top quality, no complaints there. The real problems arise when I grab the gun and the handguard wobbles a lot making it difficult even to have the same hand position every time I grip the gun. The reason for this is the fact that the handguard is only secured by one pin on the front, so the rest of the handguard has no place to hold on to and moves a lot. I doesn’t fall down but it’s extremely frustrating during a game.

The other issue I will touch later on when I talk about the gun's performance.

TECHNOLOGY

As mentioned before this AEG incorporates the best ICS has to offer in terms of Airsoft technology and it all starts with its proprietary split gearbox system which, according to ICS, offers unparalleled durability and performance out of the box and it’s easy to upgrade.

As for the durability it’s still early to comment since I’ve only had the gun for a few months. But in terms of performance I must say I agree as you’ll be able to learn more about the performance bit on this review.

One of the features that contribute to the increased durability of the components, mainly the spring, is the automatic spring release system that is engaged whenever the fire selector switch is set to safe. So once you go safe, you can easily hear the spring decompress, meaning the stress on the spring and other internal components will be much less than in ordinary AEGs which do not have this feature.

Upgrade wise, apart from the nozzle which is proprietary, pretty much all of the internals are standard Marui V2 gearbox internals so you can easily find new gears, a new cylinder, another piston, etc. But where this AEG makes upgrading so easy is the fact that if you want to quickly change the spring you can just get another upper gearbox section with a different spring and swap them out in just a few seconds.

The bit of technology I most liked has to do with the electronics that enable this MX5 to have a three-round burst just like some models of the real steel version. It’s just great to have the option that with one pull of the trigger you send 3 BB’s down the barrel into your target. Just  brilliant and efficient too.

OPERATION AND PERFORMANCE

Operating this AEG is quite simple. The first step is installing the battery, being that the battery compartment is on the handguard, which has the wiring and a fuse. The fire selector is solid and crisper than in some H&Ks from other brands I’ve tried up until now. However, it still isn’t perfect, and sometimes it seems there’s no clear position for single and 3 round bursts. At times I would even go from safe to 3 round burst without noticing that I had missed the single fire position. And sometimes the fire selector would just stay in between positions which is quite annoying.

The trigger response is good thanks to the powerful ICS Turbo 3000 motor that is pulling a very strong M120 spring.

Rate of fire is also another positive aspect, firing at around 14 round per second, this gun goes through a magazine quite fast. FPS wise you can expect around 380fps using .20g BBs.

Another great addition is the precision inner barrel which, although not very long, does increase accuracy and consistency in such a compact platform.

So this is a great gun to play around with different BB weights in order to get the most consistent, accurate and longer shot. I tried it with .23g BBs without losing much range and with noticeable improvements in accuracy. I believe that if I go to .25g BBs I can even improve on the accuracy and consistency of this gun without losing much range. In terms of range you can easily hit targets at over 30 yards.

Another thing I liked about this AEG is the hop up adjustment which is probably one of the best ones I have ever used --- simple to use with easy “steps” or clicks by simply pushing forward or backward a small plastic tab. This should be the standard in terms of hop up adjustment and not the knob adjustment which is very imprecise and harder to fine tune.

The only thing I can point out are the original magazines that come with the gun that cause it to dry fire frequently. Again, another point that  ICS should look into. And no this didn’t happen only to me since I have another teammate which bought the same gun from another supplier in Europe and his gun had the exact same issue. Once I started using a couple of old Classic Army mags the gun started shooting without dry firing again.

CONCLUSION

Although with some shortcomings, this is the best and well-made MP5 Airsoft replica I’ve ever handled, period! With build quality and materials that are above most of the competitions' offerings, ICS are really trying hard to achieve perfection. However, they aren’t trying hard enough and should really fix some of the issues that I pointed out such as the mags mis-feeding, the fire selector and the wobbly handguard.

Once you sort these details out, and two of them can be easily fixed, you get a top of the line gun that sets the bar for the competition. A gun you can trust to be accurate, sturdy and lasting.

So if you’re interested in getting one of these, just get in touch with any of these stores.

Pros

  • Build quality and construction
  • Technology used
  • Quality internals
  • Performance and accuracy
  • Hop-up system and adjustment

Cons

  • Wobbly handguard
  • Stock magazines tend to miss feed
  • Fire selector could be more reliable




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