The Black Hornet CO2 Pistol By APS
10 Apr 2017
The Black Hornet is an innovative airsoft handgun developed by APS they just released last week after a long period of development by the company of an airsoft blowback pistol that can be preferred as a primary weapon for airsoft games.
I met for the first time Mr. Frog Lee and Derek of APS during the IWA Outdoor Classic 2017 in Nuremberg, Germany and we spoke about their new concept which is a fully automatic Co2-powered airsoft pistol which they call The Black Hornet. This was first announced to the world last February at most airsoft media sites, including Popular Airsoft. Mr. Frog was very enthusiastic about this new product and was very confident that it will equal if not better than other similar airsoft replicas that are out in the market today. Mr. Frog offered me to try out some of his APS products and one of them would be The Black Hornet
My first impression of the Black Hornet was good as I was impressed by its build quality. The pistol feels very solid and has a good weight into it with the magazine in place. It feels well balanced in when you hold it in the shooting position.
I encountered some issues with the pistol out of the box. This could be due to it being a pre-production sample and being a very brand new product. The moving parts were very tight and the top slide was not sliding smoothly. The trigger was in a safety pulled back position and was meant to pop out when a charged magazine is put in and cocked but the trigger will not move. After a few sprays of silicone spray and a lot of pulling of the top slide, it began to slide smoothly along the receiver.
The locked trigger gave me more of than an easy fix, I had to strip the pistol and detach the trigger assembly to free up the trigger. Once the trigger is free the pistol worked perfectly. Another small issue I had was that I had to force the slide off the frame as it would not come off. I had to redo this twice before the take down went a lot easier. Again, I blame this issue to the fact that it is a brand new unit and some off the parts needed a bit of wearing off or bedding-in. I hope that APS are aware of these issue and have resolved these before shipping out the production units to their distributors and resellers worldwide.
The Black Hornet's main feature is its full automatic firing mode. There is a switch located on the left side of the slide that the shooter can push forward or back to switch from single shot to full auto mode and vice-versa. The switch can easily be accessed by the shooter’s non-shooting hand and can quickly switch between firing modes. The shooting modes are marked with dots with the single black dot for semi and three red dots for full auto. To put it better, when the switch is pushed forward showing the three red dots, the pistol is on full-auto and when the switch is pulled back showing one black dot, the pistol is on semi.
The pistol shoots very well and crisp. There is a bit of a slack when you pull the trigger before you feel it engage but once you feel that trigger bite, the trigger pull is quite firm so you can easily control your shots properly. The trigger reset is almost exactly the same position as the trigger pull. It will easily shoot 30 rounds on full auto with no problem and more than 46 rounds at normal temperatures (22-25°C) with one 12g Co2 capsule. I did an actual shooting test and the pistol easily emptied 2 fully loaded magazines with one on semi and another on full-auto mode using 1 Co2 capsule. Outside temperature was 9°C at the time of the test. Muzzle velocity was very stable at an average of 290 fps. The full auto firing mode is very fun to use as it is a lot stable and more crisp than its green gas counterpart.
The magazine is designed in a way that the Co2 capsule is inserted upside down. APS claims that this design allows the pistol to be more stable when shooting as the magazine itself acts a regulator by allowing the gas to fill the inside of the magazine first rather than going straight into the chamber.
The cover for the Co2 capsule compartment has a two-stage locking system as it also holds the spike that will puncture the Co2 capsule. APS sent me a tool to unscrew the cover but a coin should do the job just fine. To remove the cover, remove the magazine base first. This will then expose the brass coloured Co2 compartment cover. Make sure the two slots are aligned properly. Unscrew the cover until it comes off or loose enough to be turned by hand. Try not to turn the inner slot on its own as this will disconnect the spike disc inside and it is a pain in the butt to screw it back in place. When the cover is off, insert the Co2 capsule upside down and replace the cover, again by screwing the cover back into place turning the entire cover as one unit. Do not over tighten it as doing so can damage the O-ring seal. When it is tight enough, turn the middle part about a quarter tighter. This will allow the spike to puncture the Co2 capsule.
Since this is a Co2-powered full-auto pistol, APS made sure that it will be durable enough to withstand the stress and punishment that this put on the internal parts. With this in mind APS have installed a steel hammer giving the pistol that durability it needs.
Using the Black Hornet pistol is pretty straight forward like any other airsoft pistol. The Co2 gives it more kick and a more consistent full-auto firing mode. The design gives the pistol a tactical look and the magwell adapter not only adds to the aesthetics of the pistol but also a functional part of making reloading magazines easier and quicker especially if the pistol will be used in practical shooting events. The top slide is metal but a part that had been cut away to make it lighter, thus, a smoother action along the frame. The slide also has grooves on the side which helps the shooter grip the slide properly.
The front sight in this unit is fibre optic with a luminous rear sight. I was informed by APS that the final design has been changed slightly and the front sight will be replaced with a matching luminous feature similar to the rear sight.
As for the Safety, it is located on the trigger itself. There is a button that, if pressed in from the left side, will lock the trigger and will prevent any accidental shooting even with the trigger finger in place. Push the button out with a red mark showing and you can pull the trigger to fire.
The frame is railed for attachment of lasers or torches. The build of the frame is pretty good and clean. There is a visible seam that runs along the two halves but the joint is finished very clean and the seam can only be seen on very close inspection. There are grooves on either side of the grip for better handling and there is also a thumb rest on both sides which makes handling it more comfortable for both right and left handed shooters.
The Black Hornet still has its little issues hanging about but as I said this is a pre-production sample and that most of the problems that I encountered are due to the unit being brand new and the moving parts haven't bedded-in properly yet. I also had episodes where the slide will lock back as if the magazine was empty but it is not. But it cannot be denied that this is an airsoft pistol that can hold itself up against the competition.
Loading and reloading of the Co2 capsule can be a bit fiddly due to the upside down capsule design but then this would be acceptable if the design of the magazine gives the pistol a more stable and consistent muzzle velocity. Also, the cover for the Co2 compartment will not unscrew unless all the gas is expelled from the magazine. The good news is... it is compatible with Marui magazines of the same pistol design so you can switch from Co2 to gas if you want to.
So if you are looking for an airsoft pistol either to use as a secondary weapon or for practical or speed shooting without breaking your bank account then why not try the Black Hornet by APS.