Recently, we have seen a rise in the popularity of 9m- based airsoft replicas entering the market. And it seems like most, if not all, airsoft manufacturers have decided to build their own versions of 9mm AR-style pistols.
The latest one to release their own take on this is King Arms with their PDW 9mm SBR Shorty or PDW SBR. At first glance, the PDW SBR looks like a tactical version of an MP5 but on second look it’s very different from that. For one, the top receiver is an AR style receiver with a PDW stock and the lower receiver is modified to fit in an MP5 magazine.
The King Arms PDW SBR with its unique design is designed for maneuverability in tight close quarter battles. It is short and light. The entire rifle apart from some small parts is made entirely of polymer material which makes it lightweight. The tubular flash hider, also made from the same polymer material as the receiver, looks like a suppressor but it actually enhances the sound of the rifle when fired making it louder than usual. Let’s say that your opponents will hear you coming their way.
At the top is a continuous rail, from the top receiver to the front rail system. The PDW SBR also features front and rear folding sights. These are fully adjustable and line up very well and are low enough when folded that they are both out of the way when optics are in use. The front handguard features a top, bottom and side rail system. I attached a couple of accessories on the rails and both fitted perfectly without any movement unlike some brands where accessories are not secured properly and need a bit of material to ensure a tight fit on the rails. The only issue I had was that I prefer attaching my optic and PEQ box on the top rail but due to the accessories I used and the length of the top rail without removing the front and rear sights the available top rail was too short to accommodate both accessories. So I had attached the PEQ box on the right hand side rail. Not the look I prefer but still very usable.
As I mentioned earlier, both top and bottom receivers are made from polymer. The top looking more like a standard AR receiver apart from the shortened ejection port customised to just fit the 9mm spent shell. The bottom receiver is customised to use the MP5 magazine. And the PDW SBR is designed to use third party MP5 magazines, especially the Marui-compatible ones. I used a double mag and the only issue I had was that I had to hold the magazine and push it forward to help it feed. With the stock magazine, the only issue with it was that it has a very bad magazine wobble. Also, I am not sure if MP5 users have this issue, but the magazine has to come in at an angle for it to lock in properly and engage onto the magwell. I had instances when the magazine failed to lock and fell.
The rifle also features a flat trigger which is very responsive during single or semi auto fire. The pistol grip is modular and the package comes with spare rear grip pads for better and more comfortable grip. Changing them is also very easy and do not involve any disassembly. Simply pull out the rear of the grip from a lock at the bottom and slide the new one in place.
On the rear, the PDW-style extendable stock is built and designed for quick deployment. Unlike other similar stocks, the King Arms stock can be extended quickly by simply pulling it out. No need to press the release button. The buffer tube also appears to be slightly extended than other brands of the same or similar model. The buffer tube acts as a battery housing and the space available is pretty good. It can easily take a 7.4 nunchuck lipo battery or a single stack lithium ion batteries. To insert the battery you will need to detach the stock and remove the end cap of the buffer tube.
Similar to other high-end polymer airsoft rifles, the finish on the PDW SBR is great. It doesn’t look plasticky or cheap in any way. It looks solid and apart from the magazine wobble it is a very sturdy AEG. There are no real steel trademarks on the rifle but it is stamped with the King Arms logo on the side of the receiver.
To be honest I was a little skeptical with this rifle at first. As I rarely play in CQB sites, I wasn’t sure if it will be any good to use outer doors.
The muzzle velocity of this AEG was pretty much spot on with the UK legal limits of 350fps although I think it is a bit too close to the limit. A spring change may just be the best thing to do to ensure that it doesn’t go over the site limits with any fluctuations on the chrono.
Range is very impressive with such a short barrel easily hitting +30 metres using 0.2g BBs. I think that further distance can be gained with slightly heavier BBs.
The rifle was very responsive on single fire or semi-auto mode. The site where I play, Airsoft Plantation, here in Essex, U.K. has a 30 metre full auto engagement distance with makes you use the semi-auto fire a lot more than usual. On full auto, the rate of fire is very decent and I think a slightly softer spring will make this even better. The double mag was perfect for this rifle although I had some issues with double feeding and that I had to push the mag forward to help it feed better. The stock mid cap magazine that came with the rifle had no issues at all apart from the really bad wobble.
The rifle performed extremely well which in a way I expected from King Arms. Like other AEGs of the same platform, the PDW SBR is very manoeuvrable in tight spaces and still has great distance with its range. Another positive thing for this rifle is that it is very light and is perfect for players who do not like heavy rifles. I had players commenting on how great it feels especially with its weight.
With the surge in the production of PDW-style AEGs recently, the market is getting somewhat crowded with these which I think is a good thing because the more popular a certain line becomes, the more manufacturers will compete on who will make the best out of the bunch and this is only benefits the end buyers as they will get top quality products.
The King Arms PDW SBR is no different. King Arms made sure that it will be able to compete if not be better than its counterparts that are currently out in the market to date. Be for its looks or for its performance, the PDW SBR will surely hold its ground against its rivals.
- Quick deploy PDW stock
- Decent sized battery compartment
- Can use third party MP5 magazines
- Very good range
Not so good Bits:
- Bad magazine wobble
- Some third party magazines may cause feeding issues
Many thanks to our friends from King Arms for sending us this sample for testing and to our friends over at Airsoft Plantation for always allowing me to do my reviews at their site.