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Bite The Bullet

Top Picks for 1999 and Innovation of the Year! (1999-12-30)


So year-end accounting is complete and after some number crunching and analysis, we've identified the top picks amongst our customers for 1999. The results were not all that surprising but suffice to say that some manufacturers in the blowback market have really come up to speed quite quickly against some well established market leaders. Here's a closer look at where the money went this past year!

TOP 5 GBBs
1. KSC MK23 SOCOM
2. WA Beretta Perfect Version
3. Maruzen Walther P99
4. Tanaka Sig Sauer P226
5. Tanaka Glock 17 Railframe

It wasn't that long ago that we saw the emergence of clear market leaders in the gas blowback market. As many of you have seen in the latter half of 1999, WA clearly blew ahead of the competition in terms of quality, fit and finish, power and blowback kick. Following the introduction of it's type R valve technology, a new standard was set in the GBB market. Not to be outdone, several manufacturers came out with hot new styles to compete in a relatively quiet year of introductions (compared with prior years). Then there was the big KSC vs. Tanaka "shootout" for Glock variants. But no matter what new styles or new technologies were developed, they failed to unseat the most popular and best selling GBB pistol sold online :- the MK23 SOCOM pistol from KSC. We here at RedWolf have never understood this popularity quite fully, being that the MK23 is a big pistol with less than stellar finishing and details, nor power or blowback to match that of WA's Hicap series. We suspect though that its ability to take a SOCOM silencer and a LAM unit make it the perfect tactical pistol following the demise of the Tanio Koba USP in recent years. Mind you over 40% of our MK23 buyers opt for a metal slide and power upgrade of some sort.

A pleasant surprise winner is the Maruzen Walther P99 which proved immensely popular despite its introduction in the latter half of the year. With the introduction of the new James Bond movie, this was completely expected though! Rounding out the list are the WA Beretta PV, Tanaka P226 and Glock 17.

Other close runner ups included the WA Hicap series pistols (CQB, SV's, etc.), and the KSC 93R. One point worth noting though ; while our top 5 list categorizes the most popular individual pistols, it does not account for the most popular design or category of pistols. That said, the WA Hicap series has performed quite well, though their diverse array of styles and models diluted popularity for any one individual model. Had we counted all Hicap Colt Government Variants as one model, they would've proved more popular than the MK23!


TOP 5 AEGs
1. Tokyo Marui Colt M4A1
2. Tokyo Marui MP5 SD6
3. Tokyo Marui MP5 A5
4. Tokyo Marui SG1
5. Tokyo Marui AK47


I'm sure it serves as no surprise to anyone who knows anything about airsoft that the most popular Automatic Electric Gun for 1999 is the Tokyo Marui Colt M4A1. Introduced the the latter half of 1999, the M4A1 was a long anticipated release that was hyped to the max! Sporting great looks with a detacheable handle and the promise of modularity through an RIS system, the M4A1 surpassed the MP5 SD6 and A5 quite quickly to take the top spot. A distant second to the list comes the SD6 which prior to the M4A1's release was in the same enviable position. In third place; MP5 A5's are pretty much the bread and butter of airsoft and anyone who owns airsoft guns apparently must own an MP5A5 to substantiate their collection. And for outdoor players who strive for accuracy, power through a long barrel, and a nice big fixed stock to accomodate a large battery to drive major spring upgrades, the SG1 and AK47 have proven themselves to be preferred models consistently. Hence again no surprise here that they've managed to stay in the top 5 spots.

Of worthy mention is the Tokyo Marui PSG-1 which by no means even matches up to the others in terms of popularity but taking into account it's single shot ability, we found quite a large number of people really buying into the styling and image that comes with a high-precision sniper weapon. One disappointment we have is for the Steyr AUG which we here at RedWolf feel is a great AEG with solid construction and hefty weight. A special battery that fits in the stock allows upgrading it to great power as well and its design allows the installation of different barrel lengths without making it look out of balance. We suspect though its unique styling prevented it from finding a major following. What will the list look like next year? Will the M1A1 Thompson make it big just like the M4A1. Only time will tell...


AIRSOFT INNOVATION OF THE YEAR, 1999
We give this year's honors to Tokyo Marui for bringing us the Electric Blowback Pistol. While the technology did not enhance the experience for traditional airsoft guns that most serious airsofters look for, the invention of the Electric Blowback has brought airsoft to a new frontier. Where one day electric technology may be enhanced and applied in a manner more exciting for all of us, I equate it's invention to that of the Electric Car. Yes performance may not be spectacular compared to the traditional designs, but the ramifications may be immense in the years to come.

c. Echo1 M134 Minigun4979a. Tokyo Marui M4 SOPMOD800b. Systema M4A1 SuperMAX663e. VFC Knight's PDW202d. G&G GS55076