Tokyo Marui – Hi-Capa 5.1 Gas Blowback
The Tokyo Marui Hi-Capa 5.1 was their first Colt 1911 Gas Blowback clone bought into the UK market in the early part of 2005. It was met with mixed reviews as Western Arms already dominated the scene with their 1911 clones, which are considered to be amongst the best, used by skirmishers, collectors and practical pistol shooters. Marui’s version however seemed to be a more appealing price, at only £100, a considerable saving… but would it compare against the competition?
It appears the Hi-Capa 5.1 is something of an oddity for Marui, in the respect that as far as we know, no real steel version of the gun exists. It does however bear some striking resemblance to the Kimber series of Colt 1911 pistols, used by special forces such as the US’s SWAT teams. In this instance it seems to take features from the Kimber Target II pistol range, such as the fully adjustable rear sight, the long back strap and skeleton hammer. This is quite a first for Marui as pretty much all of their models (apart from the VSR Range) are based on real world weapons. A Colt 1911 is however, a Colt 1911 whichever way you look at it, and they all share similarities across the entire range. So lets look at those in more detail.
This gun feels like it has more weight to it than most gas blowback pistols (894g in total), and that is largely due to the enormous magazine housed in the grip, and the fact the pistol is a little larger than most. The magazine holds 31 rounds which is a fair amount more than your usual pistol range. It is claimed that the gas reservoir in the magazine is such that 3 reloads of BB’s are possible, that’s over 90 rounds and certainly impressive, we’ll put that to the test later. The magazine is of one piece construction, and the BB loading mechanism is very similar to that of the SIG P226, which I found slightly fiddly to load due to the recessed slot on the BB follower. Which such a large magazine capacity a speed loader would certainly be recommended to speed up the loading process. Stamped on the back of the magazine is also the wording ‘RESTRICTED 15820 FOR EXPORT / 2133 FOR LAW ENFORCEMENT ONLY. TOKYO MARUI, MADE IN JAPAN’. Being such a weight, care needs to be taken when ejecting the mag so that it doesn’t fall on your foot! – ouch.
The pistol itself is manufactured using the same high-impact plastics on the majority of the Marui GBB range. The gun overall has a nice matt finish to it, and trademarks and markings are abundant on this model. As this is not a copy of a real steel weapon, there are no Colt Trademarks or similar, which means no problems for our friends in the US, who frequently have their Airsoft models butchered with putty tape to avoid legal issues. Deeply cut into the left hand side of the frame is the wording ‘OPS-M.R.P CAL .45’ and underneath in smaller lettering, ‘NM-2010-03AI/5063SOPS-8740012’. I feel they may have gone slightly overboard there, but if you like your markings and serials numbers, you’ll like this gun.
The metal parts on this gun are fewer in the places you’d expect to find them, but made up for elsewhere. The fore-sight and fully adjustable rear sights are all metal, as are the hammer, spring guide, slide take-down lever, safety (ambidextrous), magazine release and grip safety feature. Oddly the skeleton trigger is made of plastic, which is quite disappointing, but after-market parts are available which include a whole host of upgrades and modifications. Where they’ve made up for things like this, is in the upper part of the frame, which is all metal construction. This adds extra weight to the gun, and also offers metal rails for the slide to lock into. The lower part of the frame including the grip panels are all ABS plastic. Another disappointing feature on this gun, is the lovely chrome effect outer barrel, which gives the pistol it’s striking looks, is made of plastic and not metal. Again, aftermarket parts are available to replace this, but it would have been nice if this has been a stock feature.
Most of the airsoft pistols that were intended to serve a tactical role, come with a 20mm adapter rail on the underside of the gun mount a tactical light or laser, and the Hi-Capa 5.1 is no exception to this. Marui have however, given you the choice as to whether you want this on the gun or not. It comes as an additional part in the box, with screws to mount it. I could not understand how this was attached, as there did not appear to be any screw holes on the underside of the gun to mount the rail. On further reading of the instructions (ok it was only now that I picked them up!) it all becomes clear! In the box, Marui provide you with a metal rod, which is used to puncture two holes in the metal upper frame. Upon removing the slide you can see the two markings where the rod is to be positioned. As this gun was on loan from fire-support for review, we couldn’t actually fit the rail, but it seems simple enough process, and a nice touch to give you the option to use it or not.
Now, when looking at the aesthetics and ergonomics of the pistol it certainly is a pretty piece. But is it at all practical? If you’ve read my review of the Colt 1911, you will remember that I thought the safety feature on the gun could be accidentally engaged when you least want it to, unfortunately, the same applies to this model. Perhaps even more so as the safety lever is far more pronounced than on the 1911. I also found on the 1911 that the slide release lever or lock-back lever is tricky to get to, unless you have a really long thumb – but this is common on all 1911 clones, so it’s not necessarily the fault of this pistol or Marui. Additionally, the magazine release sticks out further than the grip panels, which means it could be accidentally pressed when drawing or returning this pistol to a holster. And unlike the SIG P226, the back-strap on this gun which doubles as the grip safety, sticks out so much it is difficult to move your thumb into a position to cock the hammer. But enough of the negative points, let look at some of the positives. The space in the trigger guard is plenty big enough to accommodate gloved hands, the gas efficiency on this gun is possibly the best we’ve seen (more on this later) and the fully adjustable rear sights make the gun very accurate too. It also appears on closer inspection that the rear sight is removable to allow a 20mm rail to slot in place, perhaps the addition of a red-dot? but we could be wrong and no accessories for that have appeared on the market yet. Because the sights are of the target type, the rear sight does not have white markings on it, which in lower light conditions could make finding your target slightly more difficult, but then when using a pistol in a combat situation, it’s usually fired instinctively, without careful aiming.
The hop-up on this model is the same ‘wheel’ type that Marui are using on all of their newer gas blowback pistols, and very reliable it is too. To gain access to it, you need to remove the slide. Now on 1911 models, this is a little more tricky than on some others. You need to remove the magazine cock the pistol and then draw the slide back slightly whilst pressing the slide release lever in from the right hand side of the gun. There is a small notch in the slide that needs to be in-line correctly for the pin to be removed. On the plus side, the reliability of the hop-up means once it’s set, it will remain where you’ve put it, and you won’t need to remove the slide again apart from maintenance.
Charging the gun with gas is nothing unusual, although it does accept a little more than most GBB’s I’ve tried, this will be down to the larger reservoir. I was slightly worried that the valve was too recessed into the bottom of the magazine for my can of gas to reach, but it do without a problem. We were using Cybergun Winter gas, and the ambient temperature was around 10 degrees Celsius. So with a full magazine of gas, and BB’s, it was time to put it to the test.
Unlike the SIG P226, this gun is single action only, which means the hammer has to be cocked for the gun to fire. If you manually de-cock the gun, you will need to pull the hammer back for the first shot. Racking the slide will pull the hammer back ready to fire the gun, so taking careful aim at our 10m target, we took the first shot. It has a nice healthy kick to the gun, and the first shot was only a few centimetres off the bull’s-eye. The subsequent 9 shots left a grouping of around 3 inches in diameter, making this gun quite accurate. We then emptied the rest of the magazine in rapid fire, bringing the grouping up to a rather large 9 inches, not surprising with kick on this gun. We then decided to empty the gas out of the magazine and wait for it to warm back up again, to test the claim that 93 rounds could be fired from a single gas fill, as we thought that firing the pistol rapidly would use up more gas than normal. Did it pass? astonishingly so yes. A total of 95 rounds to be exact, although the last few were very underpowered. Accuracy at further range was also good, 20 metres, a 1 litre milk bottle could be hit with a bit of practise (and perhaps a bit of luck). Not having a chronograph handy we couldn’t check the fps output, but I would expect it to be around 300fps or over.
Whilst firing the pistol I found the chequered grips to be a little sharp and uncomfortable, but in a gloved hand, I’m sure they’d be fine. We also tested the gun in a standard pistol holster (mine was on my cross draw tactical vest) and it fitted ok. So in conclusion, we thought the Marui Hi-Capa was extremely practical due to it’s large magazine capacity and even larger gas capacity, which makes the pistol very useful in a skirmish situation. Marui also make a slightly smaller version, the Hi-Capa 4.3, if you want something a little more compact, which is more or less identical to the 5.1 version. A host of accessories are available for this pistol, including hi-flow valves and aftermarket metal components. The Hi-Capa 5.1 is well worth looking at if you get the chance, we think you’ll be impressed.