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Review

Why is everyone talking about the SOCOM Gear NOVAK NeXt?
  • Manufacturer 
     Socom Gear
  • Model 
     Novak neXt
  • Capacity 
     15+1
  • Weight 
     930g
  • Power 
     300fps (Green Gas)
  • Power Source 
     HFC134a, Green Gas (aka Top Gas / Propane)
  • Blowback 
     Yes
  • Hop-up 
     Adjustable
  • Shooting Mode 
     Semi Automatic
  • Construction 
     Metal

Pros

  • Fully approved and licensed by Novak replicating the real steel version of the neXt pistol.
  • Authentic markings.
  • Threaded barrel adaptor.
  • Free matching lanyard.
  • Ease of maintenance.
  • Availability of aftermarket parts.
  • Unique and comfortable grip design.
  • Fits in various holsters such as Blackhawk / Uncle Mikes / Safariland etc.
  • Compatible with Wilson combat and MEU style magazines.
  •  

    Cons

  • Not used in operation theatres.
  • Recognition of the neXt pistol is low.
  • Does not follow the current desert/tan trend.
  • Single stacked magazine.
  • SOCOM Gear have not made a Novak neXt specific user manual.
  • Does not feature the enlarged ambidextrous safety as the real steel version and uses a low profile combat safety.
  •  

    Verdict

    A unique pistol featuring licensed and authentic markings from Novak and uses the Novak's hallmark iron sights.

    Performs and looks great allowing the user to stand out amongst other users on the skirmish field.

    Compatible with plenty of aftermarket parts available making this pistol fully customizable without the difficulty with sourcing the specific parts you want.

     

    Socom gear have released yet another special item after its tan MEU and M82. This time collaborating with Novak, they bring to us the 'Novak neXt' 1911 variant. With feedbacks from their previous Wilson Combat and MEU variants regarding the Novak style sights, it only made sense to release a Novak authorized pistol with Novak markings on the gun itself. So if you liked the Wilson Combat or the MEU pistol from Socom Gear, you're probably going to like this Novak pistol too!

    Initial impressions.

    Just like the MEU featured in one of our previous reviews, the Novak neXt comes in the same style brown box with the authorized logos and a big product label across the top and back edge of the box. Upon opening the box, you will notice the neXt pistol sits inside a cavity with a sheet of black material holding it in place. Some people prefer this to catch any running excess lubricants from the gun itself as well as reducing abrasive marks from cardboard rubbing against the gun body during transit even though this rarely happens. Since Socom Gear have previously released a few 1911 variants it is no surprise that the packaging is no different to the other variants. What's disappointing however, is that Socom Gear did not bother to provide a new user manual, specific to the Novak neXt and still features the same manual to the MEU even though it's a higher quality glossy booklet that's better than the mundane regular manuals that come with other pistols.

    When handling the gun, the finish on the gun is pretty nice as the metal slide has a nice matte black touch to it even though the paint may give you the initial impression it may be plastic. The frame is also made of metal with the same black finish yet does not give this gun a ridiculous weight to it, weighing in at 930g, this is hardly a heavy pistol considering it's a full metal design. The contoured rubber grip houses a Novak logo on both sides as if it's Novak's stamp of approval and there is another featured aspect of the grip even though the ribbed edges look like it may be rather abrasive on your hand as you fire the gun but the most abrasion it will do is just grip your hand better than the regular stippled 1911 grip which may slip if you were not firing this in range conditions. Furthermore, just behind the magazine release latch, the grip also features a thumb groove so that when your thumb is placed on to the mag release, you will not have to reach around the grip plate to press that mag release. Not only will you feel the additional comfort the thumb groove can provide, if your hand is on the smaller scale, this may decrease your reload times by that crucial fraction if you were caught in a tight situation needing to reload your pistol.

    Since this is a Novak's approved and licensed product, it comes with no surprise that the iron sights are the classic Novak style sights along with Novak's trademarks throughout the gun. So what's different with these iron sights compared to the previous Novak style sights that are not the official Novak ones? Well, using the classic Novak style sights, featuring the 3-dot high contrast sights along with it gives the impression that even the iron sights have a higher quality control than the standard airsoft guns these days as target acquisition can be made very quickly and easily without obscuring your target sight with the ability to provide a second opinion with the sight by having the high contrast spots giving you a co-witness reading.

    Performance:

    Being compatible with using propane as standard, it's no surprise this pistol reaches 300fps in 24celcius. Even with strong, quick snappy recoil, the ability to fire a nicely aimed follow up shot can be done with little difficulty as the rubber damper pad on the recoil spring guide helps to control the excess recoil produced from the blowback chamber.

    A grouping test has also been done with the Novak pistol using KSC perfect .20g ammo on propane at 20metres. Without a proper open area to set the hop, we had to make do with the 20metres we have available to do a groupings test with the hop set to what seems correct at this range. A target was printed on an A4 sheet of paper, the shot grouping was recorded before and after the hop adjustments.

    The hop adjustment made a dramatic difference as there is only a short distance given for the BB to stabilize its flight path before leaving the barrel which gave a grouping that to be honest, was not much to boast about. After adjusting the hop up, the results was noticeably different providing a 3.5inch grouping at 20metres. Below is the groupings sheet before and after the hop and scope adjustment.

    Conclusion:

    The Socom Gear Novak neXt pistol, although is based on a 1911 and features all the classic 1911 characteristics the additional features have basically enhanced the feel and style of the 1911. In laymen terms, you have an unusual yet a beautiful piece of kit that performs well along with the pistol providing you with extra comfort whilst handling it. The gun performs well straight out of the box with absolutely no additional parts or assembly required, all you need is ammo and gas and you're ready to go! Since the groupings test and fps consistency speaks for itself as well as having the ribbed grip for added comfort and stability providing you a better platform to engage targets at longer range with the help of the licensed Novak sights. With its beautiful finish as well as the feel of sturdiness throughout the whole gun, gone are the days of having to worry about the gun functioning at all if you've caught the gun on a part of a bush as you ran past it. No longer do you have to test and adjust your hop before every round and if you really want to turn this pistol into a pocket sniper cannon, it's compatible with all sorts of aftermarket 1911 parts and if accuracy and air seal is what you're after. Look for the air seal hop up units that the VSR snipers all love, they're also compatible with this pistol too, as well as any other TM style 1911 pistols.