Sunday, April 20, 2008

Tactical Force TF16

Sorry that photo is so blurry. This is the Tactical Force TF16 I purchased last Sunday. The TF16 is an airsoft M4. Airsoft guns are a type of air gun. They shoot 6mm plastic pellets at relatively low velocities.

The quick history on these is that extremely strict firearms laws in Japan lead to a demand among "fans" for extremely realistic replicas of military guns that could be used for some kind of target practice. It was a short leap from shooting paper to shooting people, and now these things are used in elaborate games of tag, much like paintball. However, the nature of realistic airguns has pushed these games of tag into military simulations. And some military and law enforcement groups have latched onto the technology for force-on-force training.

Mention "force-on-force" training, and I get interested. So when I saw one of these babies in a local sports equipment store, I started salivating. The TF16 is an "AEG" or "automatic electric gun." It uses batteries to drive gears that run the air chamber. This can be done fast enough to allow a rapid rate of fire -- the TF16 is rated for 900 rounds a minute. All you have to do is hold down the trigger.

Full auto anything sounds like fun to me, but the TF16 is priced at $129.99, so I didn't snatch one up quickly. Instead, I went to several competitor stores to see what kinds of airguns that had, and what the prices were. You can imagine that a realistic looking airgun makes lots of people nervous, so most other stores had clear, plastic-cased guns. Other guns weren't AEG, but spring loaded one shot at a time. So if I wanted a gun that looked like a real-deal M4, the TF16 looked like it. I also knew the store put the airsoft guns on sale from time to time. So I waited a couple of weeks until last Sunday's flier indicated a 25%-off sale.
Once I'd finished my comparison shopping, and the sale was on... I was ready to buy my very own AEG!

The TF16 is superbly detailed in every respect. It's 1/1 scale. The stock extends. It includes accessory rails. The sights are fully adjustable. And it includes a replica "red dot" sight.

The instructions told me the batteries needed to charge between 2 and 6 hours. So I had to wait a little while before being able to try out my new air gun. In the meantime, I set up my basement target range. I jerry-rigged a target and trap. I'd be able to shoot the paper bullseye, into a net, and the pellets would drop into a bag.
Then I figured out how the magazine worked. This was fairly complicated, since you had to crank the springs in the magazine until the BBs were in place.

Once I was fully-charged, I turned on my red dot sight and slapped my magazine into place. Then I pulled back the charging handle above the pistol grip and clicked the selector switch to "semi." I was ready to rock and roll!

A few shoots later, I was hooked. Everything was working great. The red dot sights were awesome! It took me a little getting use to it. But I was able to keep both eyes open and put the red dot right on top of my target. Best of all... the BB went right where I wanted it.

At that point, I switched the selector to full auto. I pressed the trigger and cut loose with 900 rounds of BB fury! I was able to shoot out the center of my target. The shot groups were extremely tight at 20 feet on full auto.

This was heaven! Full auto fun right in my very own basement. And the sound was no worse than a typewriter. (You remember those, right?) Of course, on full auto, the magazine ran dry quickly and I had to reload.

I reloaded the weapon and started shooting again. Then I noticed that holes were no longer appearing in the paper target. I fiddled with the magazine again, and even went back to semi-auto fire. This time, the sound in the gear box changed form a stiff "whiff" to a dull "whaff." The air was no longer being directed out the barrel of the gun, but escaping out the sides of the air chamber.
My airsoft gun was defective. Talk about feeling deflated! My shooting session hadn't lasted 40 minutes. So, despite my big fun, I'm giving a hearty two-thumbs down to the Tactical Force TF16. Don't buy one! On the bright side, I was able to return the rifle to the store without a hitch.

What have we learned? Well, if the cheapo red dot sight on a crappy air gun worked this well, I can only imagine a real red dot sight works much, much better. So I'll be saving some pennies to add one for my real rifle. Second, airsoft guns don't like me.


Anonymous said...

Blind man captures and holds burglar


Calum said...

You know when you pull back the charging handle, on the right hand side of the gun a little flap pops open, pull the handle all the way out and hold it there. You should see some gears, you can adjust those to put spin on the bbs, thats what the charging handle is for, to adjust the hop-up.

jrf said...

Never got a chance to adjust the hop-up. You see, the stupid thing broke after 45 minutes!

Thanks for necro-ing the post though!

Anonymous said...

Hey man, I bought this gun an it works great, however the step up would be a aftermath broxa. Any way, how did u get the handle on the front of the gun to come off like that?

Anonymous said...

you unscrew the bottom of the handle, and slide if forward

Anonymous said...

this gun kicks ass

Anonymous said...

piece of absolute crap dont buy it. ive had it for two years or so now and i tried bringing it to proffesional guys and half of them said its the a low entry level gun and the other said dont trust tactical force at all. save up your money. i reccomend doing alot of research first on airsoft then (my rule): dont buy anything that comes with anything more than the batterie gun and charger, and it must be at least $200. that is a good quality gun. (i recomened buying a G&G airsoft gun)