Date product posted
Fri February 25, 2011
APS Patriot M4 review by Booligan
Discuss this review HERE
Table of Contents:
Basic Gun Information
A Patriot is a common name for an M4 based pistol, which combines the versatility of the AR platform, with the compact stock-less overall size, truly giving you the best of both worlds. APS has designed their new Patriot with a few special features, including a railed front end, and a large buffer tube cover which houses the battery, which make for a very interesting looking gun. I will discuss all of the various aspects of this gun in this review!
I obtained the APS Patriot from Evike, who currently has the gun in stock HERE, priced at $190. Since it is over $100, it qualifies for Evike's free shipping program, using UPS Ground. The gun arrived 2 days after ordering, which is my standard shipping time with Evike using UPS ground. Many thanks to Evike for providing this unique gun in order to have it reviewed here on Airsoft Retreat!
Basic Gun Information:
The APS Patriot is a full metal AEG, which has a shuttle driven blow-back system, short RIS, and the aforementioned battery compartment which is disguised as a buffer tube cover. This extremely compact AEG gives you a tremendous amount of firepower in a tiny little package, making you a force to be reckoned with on the CQB field.
APS has packaged the Patriot in a cardboard box, which is finished in a stylish red color, complete with stickers showing the gun held within. Inside the box, the gun is held in place using cardboard pieces that keep everything locked in during shipping. My first impression upon looking at the gun was how small it really was, as well as the nice finish on the full metal body.
Along with the gun itself, APS included a single hi-cap magazine, a cleaning/unjamming rod, a manual, and a small bag of BBs. The manual mainly covers the standard M4 models from APS, but some of the information does apply to the Patriot. The small (100 rounds or so) bag of BBs had broken during shipping, but they were stored in a small box inside the main package along with the magazine, so it wasn't a total mess.
Weight: 5.6 lbs
Height: 10" (sight to mag)
Sight Radius: 8.75"
As mentioned before, the APS Patriot is a full metal AEG, and the only part made out of a polymer is the pistol grip. The receiver has a slightly textured, matte black finish, while the rest of the gun has a smoother finish. The gun is free from any receiver wobble, RIS freeplay, or creaks, however, the magwell is a little loose with the stock magazine.
From this point on, click on the thumbnails to view full size photos
External overview, left side
Overview, right side
Normally, I start my external discussions by examining the stock, but being that this is a Patriot, there is no stock! APS has installed a large faux buffer tube cover, which unscrews to allow access to the battery compartment. The compartment is limited in size, fitting only 8.4v mini NiMH and some LiPo batteries. I use an 11.1v brick LiPo with this, and it fits in perfectly.
Buffer tube cover
Shot into the battery compartment
8.4v mini battery inserted
11.1v battery installed
Size comparisons of batteries used
The receiver is a tabless "slide off" design, secured by the front receiver pin. It is a standard M4 layout, with a left sided selector switch, right sided magazine release, and even a functional bolt catch. The faux bolt carrier is finished in a satin silver color, which will certainly catch your eye as it reciprocates with every shot. The bottom of the bolt catch must be held down to lock the bolt back, and the top pushed to send it sliding back to the front with a satisfying click. The selector switch has a very positive detent, giving you solid clicks between the different selections.
Receiver, left side
Receiver, right side
Bolt locked back
APS installed a TD Battlegrip style pistol grip, with texturing on both sides for a non-slip finish. A heat sink motor base is also installed, complete with a flat head adjustment screw. Finally, a KAC style trigger guard puts the icing on the cake, adding to the unique look of the gun, and allowing users wearing gloves to comfortably use the gun.
Heat sink motor plate
KAC style trigger guard
Moving forward from the receiver, you will encounter the short, 3.3" long RIS, which is attached to the receiver using a simple screw on system. It is very secure on the receiver, with no wobble or free play whatsoever.
The muzzle takes the form of a fat can, with stylish ventilation holes in the front. I was expecting your standard 14mm- can, but I was surprised once I unscrewed the front cap (!), which was screwed into a female positive threaded outer barrel, which extended into the can. The can is pressure fit against the RIS using the front cap, which is a very unique design, to say the least. Regardless of the unusual mounting system, it is incredibly solid, so you get no complaints from me!
Big fat can
Everything taken apart, notice the internal threading on the outer barrel
A gun is usless if you can't aim it, and APS included flip up iron sights, in addition to the 20mm top rail. The iron sights are fully constructed out of metal, with the rear being adjustable for windage and elevation, and the front is adjustable for elevation using an AK sight adjustment tool. The top rail is made to spec, and I haven't had any issues mounting any of my optics on it.
Rear sight, folded
Rear sight, raised
Front sight, folded
Front sight, raised
APS laser engraved a stylized trademark on the left side of the receiver, including their company name, caliber markings, and a serial number that appears to be unique to each gun. The overall trademark appearance is pretty nice, and resembles real steel trademarks, due to the stylized design. A small "Made in China" mark is located on the bottom of the receiver, next to the trigger.
Tiny little "Made in China" mark
The included magazine is an oddly grey colored hi-cap unit, which is constructed entirely out of metal, and feeds well in the gun. Fitment is another story, as it is fairly loose in the magwell. This was the story with pretty much all of the magazines I tried in the gun, so it appears that the magwell itself is fairly loose. I didn't have any feeding issues with the magazines I tested, and everything locked into place without the risk of falling out, but the freeplay was irritating. It can be rectified by placing a small piece of "loop" side velcro inside the magwell, to close the gap.
The always important feeding parts
APS markings on the magazine base
Chrono results using Matrix .20g BBs, shot through a Madbull V1 chrono, after a 500 round break in period:
High FPS: 331.2
Low FPS: 319.1
Average FPS: 323.4
I was pleasently surprised to see the CQB ready FPS readings, showing that this gun has deviated from the normal 400+ FPS that you see nowadays from Chinese based manufacturers. Consistency could use a little improvement, but overall, on a stock AEG, +-5 FPS isn't too bad.
Range and accuracy, once the hop-up was dialed in, and using .25g BBs was surprising. I was expecting 100' or so of accurate fire, but I was actually able to get 140' torso hits with no problem at all. Side to side deviation was acceptable, and the gun uses standard hop-up components, so accuracy upgrades are a piece of cake.
Rate of fire using the 11.1v LiPo battery was a little low, likely due to the extra drag of the blowback unit. I was able to hit a solid 19 RPS with the LiPo, but I plan on disabling the blowback unit and seeing where it goes from there. Speaking of blowback, it adds a very nice sound and vibration when firing, with more recoil than a G&G pneumatic system, likely due to the extra weight of the piston shuttle.
The Patriot uses a relatively standard V2 gearbox, with a few notable exceptions, mainly with the blowback system. The blowback system operates using a top mounted shuttle that is caught by the piston during firing. The shuttle is hard mounted to the faux bolt carrier, eliminating any major failure points along the way.
Upper receiver slid off of the lower receiver
Gearbox in lower receiver
Left side of the gearbox
Blowback shuttle system
Getting to the gearbox is pretty simple, just follow your normal steps for any other M4. The only thing you may get hung up on is the bolt catch rod, but you can move it out of the way to pull the gearbox out. Inside the gearbox, you'll find a LOT of lube, and a ton of orange plastic. APS apparently loves to use orange plastic inside their guns, as the piston, cylinder head, spring guide, bushings, tappet plate, and trigger components are all made out of the stuff. Compression is great with the stock piston/cylinder unit, but the overall greasing is a touch excessive. The gears were shimmed well, but the plastic bushings, which appear to be 6mm, could be replaced with metal units down the line. The piston shuttle is the large metal thing on top of the gearbox, and in order to disable the blowback but keep the faux bolt, you will need to cut off the little part that drops into the gearbox shell to catch the piston.
Gearbox, left side
Gearbox, right side
Gears, sector chip installed from the factory
Funky tappet plate, replacements may be a little hard to come by
Aluminum air nozzle
Blowback shuttle removed
The motor is a standard torque/speed unit, with an APS sticker on the side. The wiring is top notch throughout the gun, with high strand count wires keeping everything flexible, yet strong.
The hop-up is a one piece plastic unit, which is attached to a 175 mm inner barrel. The hop-up holds its adjustment well, and doesn't undo itself while firing.
Inner barrel unit
This gun already is a custom model, however, it is still an M4 at heart, so you can change it up to your heart's content. It comes with a railed front end, so you can add lights, lasers, foregrips, grenade launchers, or whatever else tickles your fancy.
One of only a handful Patriot models on the market
Large buffer tube cover acts as a battery compartment
Full metal construction
Great fit and finish
CQB ready performance
Electric blowback (also a con) – is a fun addition, adding something different to your gun
The looks aren't for everyone
Odd barrel threading prevents front end modifications
Electric blowback (also a pro) – piston driven blowback tends to cause extra strain on the gearbox, and slows the ROF
APS is a relative newcomer to the AEG scene, but they have made several really high end guns, but at an affordable price. They did a great job with this gun, and while its looks are certainly an acquired taste, the gun really is functional, and fun to use. The blowback adds a nice touch to the firing experience, and will certainly make people give your gun a second look.
Many thanks again to Evike, and of course, Airsoft Retreat!