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Review

Tokyo Marui M203 Grenade Launcher
  • Manufacturer 
     Tokyo Marui
  • Model 
     M203 Grenade Launcher for M4A1 / M16A1 / A2 / VN
  • Capacity 
     30
  • Weight 
     740
  • Power 
     220
  • Power Source 
     Spring
  • Blowback 
     None
  • Hop-up 
     Fixed
  • Shooting Mode 
     Pump Action
  • Construction 
     ABS Plastic, Some Metal

Pros

+ Easiest way to gain more firepower on your M16 series AEG + Easy to install + Looks great on your M4!
 

Cons

- Wish there were more metal parts like the Sun Project M203 - 3 holes visible from front look a little silly
 

Verdict

Bottom line is that if realism is what you strive for, then opt for the Sun Project and go with an Mosquito Molds shell for maximum authenticity. But if you skirmish a lot and want to add a new dimension to your tactics without too much desire to absolute authenticity, then I recommend the Tokyo Marui M203.

 

Ever find yourself charging through a jungle of trees during a heated skirmish with less than a handful of BB's left in your M4A1, and seeing a group of enemy soldiers hunched together in the some distant bushes and you know your backup pistol is out of range? Well with an M203 installed, sending a hail of BB's towards your would-be enemies is a snap. Introducing Tokyo Marui's latest rendition of the M203 grenade launcher based on it's original design of the Benelli and SPAS-12 shotguns. Offering versatility and functionality over authenticity of the Sun Project version, the TM M203 is perfect for airsofters who skirmish their rifles more than they display them! Finishing and construction is top notch and the M203 feels sturdy enough to take a rough beating. The TM M203 comes in a standard kit that requires user installation, along with one shell, loading tool, and a manual in both English and Japanese. Installation is relatively easy and comes with English instructions with graphical illustrations that make the procedures relatively easy to understand. One point to note is that the installation requires relocation of the battery from the lower foregrip to the upper foregrip.

The kit comes with the proper parts to make even this one tough part relatively straightforward though. Following the installation of the M203, battery installation is performed through the upper foregrip as opposed to the lower grip as is the case in the stock M4. The rest of the installation was quite straightforward and was accomplished with simple tools. We had the kit completely installed within half an hour of opening the box.

The weight of the M203 adds considerable bias to the front end but made the entire M4A1 seem much more of a "big weapon". The fit and finish is top notch and is visually no less impressive than the Sun Project M203. The plastic lower frame is finished in a convincing drab gray that is believably metal. The trademarks are finely etched into the frame which adds to the realism. As with the Sun Project version, the trigger guard can be flipped forward if you wish for unobstructed shooting. The safety comes authentically in the form of a lever in front of the trigger.

By pulling the safety lever back towards the trigger, you engage the safety and the trigger cannot be depressed. Deactivating the safety is extremely easy; simply slide your trigger finger onto the trigger, push forward with your index finger to push the safety lever away from the trigger...and now when you pull back on the trigger, your shot is released. This action can be performed amazingly quickly to give the least amount of lag time.

Loading the M203 is identical to the way you would load a TM Benelli or TM SPAS-12 shotgun. This M203 is based on the shotgun shell design and therefore also takes one shell in it's loading chamber (see below). The only difference is that the shotgun shells are red and the M203's shell is green. Just like the shotguns, this shell takes 30 BB's which are easily loaded into the shell by using a loading tool (included). To gain access to the loading chamber, you first have to press the chamber release lever located above the foregrip on your left side (while you're pointing the gun).

This little lever is disappointingly plastic but is thick enough to be quite sturdy. If you hold the foregrip as you would in a shooting position, your thumb can easily reach up to depress the button. The foregrip then slides forward to expose the shell loading chamber as you see in the picture to the right. Simply insert a loaded shell into the chamber and pull the foregrip back to complete the loading action. Unloading the shell is exactly the reverse and a small button is located behind the shell (see picture to right) that you can depress to pop out the shell from it's seat. We found this mechanism to be quite versatile and it was definitely convenient not having to load for 30 rounds.

Cocking the M203 requires pulling the foregrip from the resting position to about 3 inches back, and then releasing the foregrip back to it's rest position. Given the compact design of the cocking mechanism, we found a strong pull was required to cock the M203. But once you were able to cock the M203, you were ready to do some real skirmishing as the range of the M203 matches that of the Benelli and the SPAS 12. Power is just as brisk at approximately 0.6J and individual hop-up units within each of the 3 chambers ensure the BB's travel long and far. Each shot pumps out 3 BB's in scattered formation to cover an area of approximately 2 ft by 2 ft from a distance of 25 feet; more than enough to rain your enemies in BBs!

Kit comes with all required mounting adapters
M203 easily installs onto the M4 for great looks!
Loading shells of 30 BBs is a snap

We took our new M203 out for some quick field testing and found it to be quite a handy accessory for support fire. While the full auto nature of the M4 kept most heads down, the M203 added an interesting dimension to close quarters combat where the M203 provided the extra coverage needed for panic firing.

So you've heard the good points. How about the gripes? Well we do have a couple and we'll start off with the 3 holes in the front of the muzzle. Instead of providing a big hole with 3 recessed inner barrels, Marui chose to only create 3 small holes at the end of the muzzle that is clearly visible. We feel this takes away from the realism though we understand the need to maximize inner barrel length to maximize power. Secondly, the white internal plastic parts of the M203 look absolutely unattractive when you push the foregrip forward for loading. We also wished that Marui would have made the lower frame metal as well to match the heft of the Sun Project M203. Finally, we've said this before but we'll say it again; the cocking lever really needs to be metal and more metal parts could be used for the internal mechanism to create more of a "clunk" during loading.

Nice authentic trademarks in body
Trigger with safety lever (left) in engaged mode
Muzzle with 3 embedded barrels for 3 BBs at a time. This is ugly!

Having said that, the M203 is an overall winner in style and functionality. The range is quite usable and retaining the 30 round shell design makes for very convenient shooting without the frustration of loading after very shot as in the Sun Project version. Effective "kill" range was approximately 90 feet through the hop-up setting on our test unit seemed rather aggressive and raked the BBs upwards after about 60 feet. That could be due to the fact we used 0.2g BB's and using 0.25g BB's with prolonged use should level out the projectiles. Accuracy is quite high at a range of 20 feet and the spread formation of the BB's widen proportionally with distance to give you a shotgun-like spread. Bottom line is that if realism is what you strive for, then opt for the Sun Project and go with an ANGS shell for maximum authenticity. But if you skirmish a lot and want to add a new dimension to your tactics without too much desire to absolute authenticity, then I recommend the Tokyo Marui M203.

Push a button and slide the foregrip forward to load a shell
Uses the same (different color) shell than TM's other shotguns

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