Airsoft has always been an industry of constant change and innovations. Airsoft manufacturers are always looking for ways to improve their products and this has been good news for consumers as the products coming out are getting better and better. The only downside of this is that new products are getting more expensive. It is true that you need to pay up for good quality and most of us do not mind paying the extra cash if we are getting the best product.
In 2016, a Korean company released an airsoft replica that is the first of its kind. This is the GBLS DAS M4A1, now known as the DAS GDR15. The concept is amazing as it is marketed as an airsoft electric gun (AEG) with the features of a gas blowback (GBB) rifle especially with its operations like the real deal. It became one of the most anticipated products at the time and after some improvements over the first version, it has garnered better reviews. But when it finally came out apart, there is thing that made airsoft players think twice before purchasing one: the price. Here in the UK, the GBLS DAS GDR15 costs between £1,400 to £1,600. This is where all the questions of its worth came out.\
I first got a close-up look at the GBLS DAS GDR15 during the last National Airsoft Festival here in the UK. I was able to test fire the rifle and the guys from GBLS UK showed me the internals explained to me how the concept work and it was very impressive. I will delve into this in more details when I do my proper review of the rifle. On my recent trip to Nuremberg, Germany for the IWA Outdoor Classics 2019, I met the guys GBLS UK guys again during the “MealSim” dinner event and we started chatting about the GBLS. I also interviewed Eric who is in-charge of marketing at their booth. Eric was also able to arrange a DAS GDR15 to be sent to me for testing which came a few days ago.
The GBLS DAS GDR15 came in boxed. Looking at the size of the box it is obvious that the rifle will need to be assembled. Inside the box is the rifle with the upper and lower receivers disassembled from each other. So it was just a matter of putting the two together. The body pins on the lower receiver are self-retaining which is handy as these are so easy to lose. Putting the two halves together is dead easy. I always advise people not to slam the upper receiver onto the lower to avoid damage. The body pins slide into place easily with no tapping or hammering needed.
The DAS GDR15 is full metal except for the pistol grip and stock. The stock, grip and front rail of the unit I got are all made by PTS Syndicate, indicating them to be of high quality. The stock also houses the battery and comes with Deans connectors. There is a very decent amount of space for the battery. Only 11.1v batteries can be used for this rifle as 7.4v is just not powerful enough to make the system work.
The PTS Syndicate Centurion Arms CMR Rail 13.5" rail has a low profile feature making it very comfortable to grip. The front rail does not include any additional rail attachments to reduce weight so you are kind of limited to just having a top rail. I will try and find rails that are compatible with the CMR Rail and will include this on my follow up review.
Both upper and lower receivers are made of metal and they align perfectly when put together with hardly any noticeable wobble between them. The fire selector switch cycles very good between the firing modes and locks into place.
The rifle does stop firing when the mag is empty and the bolt locks back. One of the most satisfying features of this rifle for me is the bolt release catch. Yes, it is a working bolt release unlike the flimsy ones that we are used to with other airsoft replicas, this one needs a good hard press to release the bolt which some real steel users say is very similar to the real steel experience.
Externally, this rifle feels very solid and you can see and feel how robust the materials used are. Using PTS parts are also a huge bonus although these could have added to the high retail price.
It is also good to note that the DAS GDR15 comes with an orange plastic flash hider which is apparently due to Korean laws that they need to adhere to. Also, the rifle does not include any front and rear sights so that means you will need to mount your own optics or iron sights.
The internal components are some of the best I have seen. The material used which I am guessing is steel looks very high is quality and very hard wearing. The BCG or Bolt Carrier Group is made of the same material as the gears so they should not wear each other out so easily.
The BCG contains the spring piston and nozzle. Underneath the BCG you will find a full steel set of piston teeth. Now this is made as part of the bolt itself. The teeth connect to or engage the sector gear on the lower gearbox and pull the entire bolt into the buffer tube to pre-cock the spring. The gearbox which forms the lower half of the internals houses the gears, the trigger assembly and a MOSFET.
I have heard a lot of negative feedbacks about the performance of the GBLS. I am aware that a first version was released prior to the GDR15 and that particular model was riddled with issues but then again people or players have been telling me of friends having the GDR15 experiencing issues from units breaking on skirmish days to units jamming.
The 30th of March 2019 was a great sunny day here in Essex UK and the day for the BattleSim event at Airsoft Plantation. This will also be the first time that I will take the DAS GDR15 for a proper skirmish.
GBLS sent me 6 mags for the DAS GDR15. As far as I’m aware, each mag can hold up to 60 BBs but as we all know, filling lowcap mags to their full capacity is near to impossible. The loading adapter for the mags worked really well and made the task less difficult. Loading the mags was a little bit difficult. The spring felt very stiff and needed some force to get the BB loader to work properly. At some point the loading will just stop as the mag is already full but when I used them, I probably only got half of its full capacity.
It is important to keep in mind that the DAS GDR15 will only run on 11.1v batteries.
I spent the day using the rifle on semi auto fire and had no issues at all. There was a point when the rifle started dry firing but on close inspection it was a jammed mag that was causing the problem.
The recoil on the rifle is great and gives a great game play experience. Although honestly, I would love for it to have a bit more recoil. The rifle stopped firing when the mags are empty and pressing that bolt release catch is probably the most satisfying and most realistic bolt release catch in airsoft.
The trigger pull is something that needs getting used to although as the day went on it just felt normal and never really thought about it.
I was using 0.30g BBs and I was getting, I would say over 50 metres accurate range although I was getting some flyers every now and then.
Slightly heavier BBs might work better. Burst full auto fire was great and very crisp. I didn’t do any long full auto fire so I do not know currently if the rifle can handle longer bursts. But with single fire, the rifle was close to perfect apart from the magazine issue that I had.
My first experience with the GBLS DAS GDR15 was very positive. It was pretty much flawless all day and performed very well. The recoil and blowback was great but I think it can be made better. The trigger pull which I have heard a lot of complains about was virtually non-existent after a few hours of using the rifle.
The mags are probably the part that I am not a fan of. They are stiff to load and you will need a loading adapter to load them and you really can’t fill all 60 BBs into them.
Range and accuracy were very impressive. This is not only my opinion but with other players who I asked to try and have a go at the rifle.
Some pros and cons that I have observed on first time use:
- Good range and accuracy
- Decent weight – not too heavy
- Very solid
- No internal issues all day
- Heavy trigger pull and stiff bolt release catch gives a very realistic feel
- Magazines are very stiff to load and unable to load max bbs
- Magazine needs loading adapter to load
My first day of testing the GBLS DAS GDR15 was very promising although it was done at the BattleSim event where the airsoft rifles are not put into too much stress. Then again, the DAS GDR15 is sort of marketed as a training weapon which we all know from experience with other top end PTWs of the same price bracket do not like being abused and are said to behave more like their real steel counterparts. So I wonder if this is the issue that some players experience with their DAS GDR15s breaking during games. Maybe they just need to be treated more gently compared to your standard AEGs. It is still early days with my testing of the DAS GDR15 but so far everything seems to be looking good.
Battery Used: Titan Power 11.1V 2000mah
BBs used: BLS 0.30g