Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Classic Army P90 Sportline TR with Metal Receiver

When I got word from Spartan Imports that they were interested in sending us one of their Sportline P90 TR's for testing I was excited. I've always liked the compact bull-pup design and I had heard some great things about the CA P90 MPEG recently.

What sweetened the deal even more was the offer to include a metal receiver upgrade for me to take a look at. The P90 SL TR by itself is pretty slick and the heft that the metal upper receiver and rail system adds makes the gun feel really great. Bear in mind that at$85-$90 the metal upgrade isn't the cheapest part to buy, but its not as expensive as some rail kits I've seen.

Playing with the gun wasn't all roses and kittens however. As this model is a "Sportline" unit, there was a fair amount of average feeling plastic body work. I could look past the plastic finish, but what really bugged me was the seem which ran down the middle of the gun. The problem was that the seem created a ridge in both the handholds and caused some chaffing and scratches to my hands.

Luckily the fix was simple, q
uick and effective. I simply took an exacto and shaved down the portions of the seem where my hand came into contact with it. I am sure a bit of sand paper or a file would achieve a similar result.

In these pictures you can see the seem along with the fire selector switch and the hop up access port. The fire selector worked fine and clicked through its positions well. Interestingly I noticed that when the gun was in full auto mode the trigger could be consistently manipulated to fire in single fire much like the Steyr AUG (Pull the trigger in slightly for single fire and all the way for full auto). The hop was a little difficult to get to, but it hasn't yet required frequent adjustment so it did not concern me too much.

The next problem area was a bit more important to the gun's functionality. The high cap magazine was finicky and required several hard smacks during the preliminary firing tests to cycle properly.

Additionally, the mag would sometimes unwind because the bbs had gotten stuck in the reservoir and this required that the entire mag be removed and rewound. This problem is undoubtedly due to the P90's design which places the magazine in a horizontal position.

I don't fault CA per se as it seems to be part and parcel to the airsoft gun that is the P90. It would seem that, for these reasons, the average P90 skirmisher would do well to pick up some more conventional spring powered low or possibly high cap mags.

Aside from the metal receiver one of the coolest features on the P90 was the quick take-down feature which allowed for the upper receiver to be completely separated with ease.

Although obvious, another feature I liked was how well integrated the stock is with the rest of the gun. It made the gun feel very solid. Removal of the butt plate requires that you press the small button on the underside of the butt plate.

Once the plate is removed, a very modest battery compartment is exposed that could accommodate only a conventionally shaped 8.4v 1100 mah bat. or a custom fitted battery.

We have not yet completed our full firing tests, but the preliminary results look promising. The ROF with the stock 8.4v 1100 mah battery seem to be above average and the FPS has been clocked as high as 380. One strange thing about our test gun was the inconsistency of the bb velocity. A couple of shots would register around 330 and the next couple would spike to around 380 fps. This is a sportline model, so there may be some loose ends within the gearbox, but it is still strange to see such a variation in the velocity.

The accuracy has been good however, so whatever velocity spikes there are they don't seem to produce many flyers. I got tight groupings out to 100' with ease and I expect good performance when we start pushing this little gun's outer range limitations.

Thus, while our testing is not complete, there are some good and bad things to be aware of if you are in the market for a P90.

To see an excellent review of the CA P90 take a look at this review from

For a great video on how to disassemble the P90 take a look at this guide from

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