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Review

Pimp my Type 97B!
  • Manufacturer 
     Real Sword
  • Model 
     Type 97B AEG
  • Capacity 
     130 rds
  • Weight 
     3130 g
  • Power 
     328 fps
  • Motor 
     Real Sword
  • Hop-up 
     Adjustable
  • Battery 
     8.4V 1400mAh Custom
  • Shooting Mode 
     Semi, Full auto
  • Construction 
     Nylon, steel, aluminum

Pros

  • Incredibly strong construction and internals
  • Same polymer material as real steel version
  • Realism is top notch
  • Smooth running mechanism
  • Impressive accuracy out of the box
  •  

    Cons

  • Limited battery size
  • Slight rear-heaviness
  •  

    Verdict

    Quite possibly the strongest built AEG made, with a high level of realism as well. High quality internals, good accuracy and a quick spring-change make this a great AEG for the skirmisher, once you connect a powerful battery to supercharge the mechanism to drive strong springs.

     

    The little brother of the Type 97, the Type 97B is gaining popularity, and we can't say it's a big surprise. Who wouldn't like a weapon that has reliable and durable internals out of the box, compact size, excellent accuracy and is built with a forged, CNC-machined and hard-anodized receiver as standard? The small type battery won't cycle the hardest upgrades, but this compact AEG is very appealing for CQB use. Please also see our review for the Type 97 for reference.

    ACCESSORIES

    As the build of the AEG consists of a forged and CNC-machined receiver with an all steel outer barrel mated to it by a solid connection, we dare to say this is physically the strongest AEG manufactured to date. Especially the short Type 97B, having the benefit of the short leverage, is so strong you could run through a wall and should be more worried about your bones than the weapon. Part of the reason is that the RS Type 97 and 97B are made from the same polymer plastic material as the real steel Type 97. Mounting a proper two- or three point sling won't cause flexing and bending like on plastic bodied guns, and in the picture we show a MilSpex Three Point Tactical Sling installed. The front sling mount on this short carbine model is a small eyelet suitable for hook type attachments, while the rear is the usual wide type for a strap.

    On the 14mm left-hand (CCW) threads we installed a suitable "can" for the looks. The King Arms OPS Silencer completes the overall look perfectly and dampens the muzzle pop effectively. While most of an AEG sound comes from the gearbox, this is most audible to the shooter, so reducing the muzzle pop will change the sound and make the shooter less easy to spot from the front. A 363 mm inner barrel can be used with the original muzzle device, while a silencer allows to install a longer inner barrel. However, even the original inner barrel provided pleasing velocities and accuracy clearly better than average, so we stuck with that.

    The aesthetics of the Type 97B is something that grows on you. Maybe it's because a well-performing AEG is easier to like, or it just took a bit of getting used to. In any case, the Type 97B looks very futuristic and the appeal can be increased even more with the right choice of parts. The Picatinny Rail is a worthy piece to mount optics on it, such as a red dot sight of your choice.

    Push out the pin. It's captive, you won't lose it.
    Remove this screw to disconnect the mock bolt carrier.
    This little screw here disconnects the trigger link. Notice the anti-reverse latch that you should press to release the spring tension.

    UPGRADE POTENTIAL

    Since the AEG was released, we have put it through its paces with some harder upgrades, as is the norm in Hong Kong. You can tell that the internal parts are high quality already by looking at them, but of course no estimates can beat practical experience. As the spring-change feature of the Type 97 series don't require opening up the whole gearbox, you can quickly tune the weapon for different velocity settings. As implied by the quality of the internal parts, upgrading the Type 97 series is simply a matter of choosing a spring for the desired velocity, and a battery to cycle it. The sound remains smooth even under stronger springs, and even after extended use there was neglible wear on the internal parts.

    THE WORK AND RESULTS

    Changing the spring requires just one tool. It is useful if your phillips screwdriver has a thin shaft to make seating the spring guide easier. Takedown is started by pushing out the takedown pins and removing the stock and grip. The mock bolt carrier comes off after removing one screw, and the trigger bar can be disconnected after one more screw. Removing the third and final screw below the gearbox allows you to slide the gearbox back and out of the receiver. All this takes a couple of minutes only and the washers on the screws are captive, so it's not an unrealistic task to perform even at the gaming site.

    With spring rates this high, the original small type internal battery falls short to provide power to cycle the mechanism with a good rate of fire. While it is possible to build a lithium battery inside, an easier option is to use a large type battery together with a MilSpex Battery Sling. This allows you to use a large enough battery for any thinkable upgrade level.

    Flip the safety off, and you can wiggle and tilt to disconnect the trigger bar.
    One last screw to go, and the gearbox will be out.
    The spring is coming out without separating the gearbox halves. An M120 OT waiting to be installed.

    Despite the piston being short-stroked by one tooth compared to regular AEGs, the Type 97B followed the nominal velocities of Systema AEG springs accurately. Systema springs are rated to indicate the metric velocity with a 0.2 gram BB from a 330 mm inner barrel, so an M120 spring should produce 120 m/s of velocity. In our tests the M120 spring provided 398 fps (121.99 m/s) very consistently from shot to shot, with the occasional 397 fps and 399 fps in between. The quality of KSC Perfect BBs is of course one factor, but it also shows the precision put into the pneumatics department. Changing to an M140 spring provided an average velocity of 460 fps, which translates to 1.96 Joules of energy. This is perfect for our local Hong Kong players with a legal limit of 2 Joules imposed by the authorities.

    When assembling, make sure that the spring guide clicks into the correct orientation. You can poke it through the hole until it's right.
    Proper selector operation. "S" blocks movement, "1" is the middle, and "A" pulls the cut-off lever down.

    All in all, this experiment of ours just adds notches to the belt of Real Sword. The AEG has lots of neat design points, and the quality is as good on the inside as it is on the surface and everywhere in between. While MilSim players would not be that quick to get a Type 97B (unless they are mimicing special forces from Cambodia or Sri Lanka...), it's an effective players' weapon with lots of upgrade potential. The looks may divide people already because of the bullpup configuration, but as a homage to mainstream it uses your good ol' M16 magazines.

    Got accuracy? Check out this video made by Real Sword, where the Type 97B is used to repeatedly nail 25.4 mm (1") coins from a distance of 10 meters (33 ft)!