It has been a while since GHK produced a new Gas Blowback Rifle. Have they lost their touch, Or have they created something that could change how we perceive the gas blowback range?
Before you start looking at these pictures and try to assess whether you have seen a real world variant of this gun, let me just stop you in your tracks and tell you that this is not a direct replica of a Real Steel firearm. GHK have mentioned that the GHK G5 does resemble that of the CZ EVO Scorpion 3a1 but have not mentioned any direct association with the EVO Scorpion. I personally have to say that it seems to be a split resemblance between the EVO Scorpion and the futuristic looking MX (designed by CMMG Inc).
As a small carbine, the GHK G5 is a very light and manoeuvrable. This means that it is ideal for close quarter encounters especially when the original stock is folded into position. The front end of the carbine is so short that the foldable stock is longer when fully extended. Knowing this, one could assume that the inclusion of an extended barrel length or silencer, suppressor or gas regulator (whatever you want to call them) would only increase the length to that of a regular M4 carbine.
If you decide to get a carbine kit for the GHK G5, you will be able to extend the rail by an extra six inches. Although this is called a carbine kit, I would consider the GHK G5 already a carbine as its current size is already quite small. I would consider that the carbine kit would actually make the GHK G5 more of a carbine than a pdw. With the extra six inches, there is adequate room for attachments without obstructing the supporting hand on the front rail.
Externals – Build Quality
A majority of the GHK G5 comprises of plastic furniture. However the plastic is very hard and durable of which does not bend unless a breakable amount of pressure is applied to the frame. Bare in mind that the externals are supposed to take in the operation of high pressure gas and a solid moving bolt for what would be multiple firing actions. Overall, the plastic furniture is more comforting as it helps retain potential cool down and is gentle on the hands (unless you wear gloves).
Other external parts of the GHK G5 such as the hex screws, trigger and body pins are all metal and are coated in light and durable coating which has some light scratch resistance. The volt carrier is also made of metal which shall be looked into more detail on the internals section. The outer barrel and the front iron sight are also made of metal and are coated with a more matt black coating but are more susceptible to scratches due to the wider surface area.
The G5 magazines are externally made of a polymer chassis which closely resemble that of Magpul P-Mags. This can be seen as a bonus for those who are fans of magpul. For those who don’t, well there is always the option to get the GHK M4 mags which are not of polymer design but are available for the GHK G5.
The G5 polymer magazine capacity is between 30 and 40 rounds. I’m not giving an exact value as GHK recommend that one does not fill them all the way up to it’s mag capacity as it can cause jamming and misfeeds. If you’ve filled it so much that the last bb cannot be pushed down slightly, you have filled it too much.
The main difference between this mag and other GBBR magazines are the placement of the fill valve and how much the knocker valve protrudes from the magazine’s frame. These aesthetic differences seem to improve the overall efficiency of the gas magazine and hence will most probably become the standard for all future gas magazine designs. The knocker valve however can cause accidental discharges if caught against the insides of magazine pouches. This is especially evident with tighter magazine pouches.
Overall, these magazines are very well built externally. However having said that, I would not recommend dropping these magazines as they are heavier than the GHK G5 itself. If you have handled a gas magazine before, you will notice that they are heavy. The GHK G5 magazines are heavier.
Externals – Functionality
Resemblances put aside, this gun was aesthetically well designed with multiple ambidextrous functions and a non-reciprocating charging handle. The bolt catch is non-existent which means that the charging handle will be the only way to release the bolt after it is locked back. This is not generally a problem as most rifles which are not AR variants, work in this manner.
One great advantage to the GHK G5 charging handle is the fact that it can be reassembled to fit on either side of the frontend of the pdw. This means that the charging handle can be operated on either hand, but unfortunately not both. One fact to note is that the charging handle will break over a short period of time if used aggressively.
The iron sights on the GHK G5 are effective and are capable of being used as backup sights when needed. The ability to adjust for windage on the rear sight and elevation on the front sight allows for calibration of up to 40 metres. Although the rear sight can be removed from the rail system, the front sight is not so easily removable. The front sight was in fact designed to recede into the top rail to allow for other attachments to be added if the user wanted to. There is the capability to remove the front sight, however it would require some disassembly of the front gas block.
The magazine release function much like that of an AR mag release, however has the additional feature to release the mag on both sides. This is a clever design which would assist use by both hands operating the weapon. It is also a great way to troubleshoot the mag release if and when it gets sticky. It has not been necessary to troubleshoot the mag release, however it is nice to know that one could potentially do so.
There is not much to say about the fire selector other than the fact that it is very sturdy and ambidextrous. It has kept this way for many months and will not loosen, no matter how many times it is moved. The same can be said of the trigger as it has a very satisfying weight to it and uses a strong spring to reset. One function which would be or could be a negative point is that the trigger has a long travel distance between rest, hammer release and reset.
The original stock is very versatile and sturdy considering it’s plastic construction, which also increases the felt recoil of this weapon. The stock is not only collapsible, but retractable. This makes the stock, more functional than any other stock that could be added to the GHK G5. However it does mean that one could customise their very own stock onto the gun and make it their own.
The 20mm RIS rail system is not only extensive but made of both metal on the side rails and plastic on the top and bottom rails. Regardless of whether it is metal or not, the rails are nicely finished as to not cause any form of irritation with the skin. The coating and finish on the rails also have been durable enough as to not lose any paint or gain any scratches.
Much like the WE G39 GBBR, the hop unit is adjusted with a dial which can be accessed without disassembling the gun or having to remove the bolt carrier. This can be done through the side of the front rail, nearest to the bolt carrier and would require a small tool such as an allen key or a small finger to adjust. This is primarily due to the small size of the hole leading to the hop dial which is just small enough to put your pinkie finger through.
In short, this pdw is a very diverse and functional gun with the ability to be customised into almost anything. Not only would the stock be replaceable, but the pistol grip and any other railed attachment that could be added to it. By the way, the pistol grip is compatible alongside any WA based gas pistol grip.
Internals – Build Quality
The internals are very well made by GHK as they have not sacrificed materials unless it has been deemed inappropriate. There is almost no sign of wear in the trigger mechanism or the outside of the bolt carrier due to the high quality finish and coating of these materials. In fact, the only part of the gun that has even been able to show signs of rust or wear due to wet conditions and storage, have been the external screws which hold the rail systems and the bolt catch. This wear however has not diminished the performance of the GHK G5 in any way.
Disassembling the GHK G5 is almost as easy, if not, easier than disassembling a WE or WA based AR. This is due to the use of a rear body pins and hex screws on the sides of the hop unit’s placement.
When the lower receiver and upper receiver have been separated, one can take out the bolt carrier and spring assembly out to clean. The lower receiver houses the trigger mechanism (is not a mech box like those found on the WE GBBR range but a grouping of parts which would have to be disassembled one by one) and the bolt catch bar.
If one would want to disassemble the hop unit, they would have to unscrew the hop unit itself from the outside, and slide it out through the front. Technically one would not need to separate the receiver to do so.
The rear pin will only require a pin punch to push out, however it will not come out all the way as it is held by an E clip on the inside. This does not have to be removed as it’s only there to retain the pin from falling out. The front pin however is a two piece screw pin which can be taken out by simply unscrewing the right side with a flathead screwdriver. The other piece is held in place due to the edge on the lower receiver which retains the other side from turning.
When the two receivers are split from each other, the bolt carrier and spring assembly can be removed. The bolt carrier is designed to take the felt recoil and move back on the spring assembly to take the force and push it back. This is the same design and way that the G36 and SCAR bolt carriers operate.
The back plate of the spring assembly is made of hard plastic and has a mould on the receiving end. It seems GHK had predetermined that a speed rubber would be designed later on to be installed in the mould. One can purchase an Azimuth speed rubber in order to fill that mould with a stopper which allows the bolt carrier to rebound quicker.
The bolt carrier itself is made of a strong metal cast which is very durable and surprisingly hasn’t had a single scratch after many skirmishes. The loading nozzle is retained inside the bolt carrier by a single spring on the top side of the frame. This is different to older designs which rely on having a spring on the inside of the loading nozzle. This makes it easier to disassemble in comparison to that of the older designs.
The underside of the bolt carrier is more revealing of what is in the bolt carrier as it shows the gas route within the loading nozzle and the two o-rings at the back which contain and seal any gas which is pressuring the bolt carrier to move backwards. This has shown to improve the seal within the bolt carrier and may be one of the many reasons behind the gas efficiency of the GHK G5.
Moving on to the lower receiver, apart from the trigger mechanisms which are mainly made of metal alloys, is the small magnetic bolt catch. This bolt catch is small and only held in place by the bolt carrier and the lower receiver. It is worth making sure this is not lost as a replacement would not be too easy to find. There is a smaller part to the bolt catch which can be even harder to replace and easier to lose. That is the small plastic suction cup underneath it. The purpose of this cup is to keep the underside of the bolt catch lubricated as the only reason it does not catch the bolt carrier by itself is because it is held down by a magnet within the lower receiver.
Stepping out of the receivers, we move to the folded stock at the back of the GHK G5. This part of the folding stock is held in place by a rather large pin which is shaped to pin from the top of the receiver. This pin is held in place by a large E clip found underneath the lower receiver. If one where to swap the foldable stock out, they would need to remove the E clip and push the pin out.
To remove the hop unit and the barrel assembly. The first two screws from the front receiver pin need to be unscrewed. Take note that the front screw is longer than the rear one and hence should not be muddled in order to not damage the hop unit. Take note that the barrel assembly will not come out of the top receiver if the front iron sight is folded in as that stops it from coming out.
The barrel assembly consists of the barrel, the front barrel assembly/gas block (although there is no gas router), the charging handle and the hop unit assembly. All parts other than the hop internals and the charging handle itself are made of metal. Because the charging handle is made of plastic, it is likely that aggressive use of it will lead to it snapping off.
The hop assembly and inner barrel can be removed from the barrel assembly by punching the bottom rolling pin within the hop unit assembly. Once this rolling pin is out, the entire inner barrel and hop assembly can be taken out of the outer barrel alongside the charging handle. At this stage, the charging handle can be swapped to either side.
There are no more pins to remove once the hop assembly is out of the barrel assembly. This makes it easier to access the hop unit within and the inner barrel. Everything other than the hop assembly block and the inner barrel are made of plastic and rubber.
The charging handle is part plastic at the handle, metal rod and a returning spring. This is a very clean design, however there is no reinforcement for the charging handle which means that it is likely to break under stress. It would be worth either taking care of the handle or replacing it with a metal counterpart in the future.
Finally we get to the GHK G5 polymer magazine. The outer casing may be made of plastic, but the gas chamber is made of cast metal which has minimal openings for the gas to enter and exit. The internals can be accessed from the butt plate of the magazine which requires gentle but firm hammering from the rear end of the plate. This is due to the retaining pin which keeps the plate in place. Be sure not to lose the follower spring when you fully remove the plate.
The bottom of the magazine houses two chamber screws which can be tightened if there is any leakage coming from the gas router at the top of the magazine. It is not clear but it is likely that these screws add pressure to the gas valve and router. This may be one of the reasons as to why the GHK gas magazines are very gas efficient.
The GHK G5 has not been one of the first GBBRs to show significant improvement in the niche market that is realistic gas operated airsoft guns. The only issue is that each improvement has become the new standard. All that can be said is that the GHK G5 has now set the standard even higher for the market. There is less cool down which means that the fps is better regulated and the rate of fire does not have a significant decrease due to the cool down. Overall, this gun can surprise a GBBR enthusiast who is used to nurturing and maintaining their GBBR rifles. The most improved part of what is essentially a stock airsoft gun is the recoil that comes with it.
The accuracy of the GHK G5 is comparable to an AEG, however there still are slight inconsistencies due to the slight variances in the gas temperature which is unavoidable in a GBBR which is not HPA fed. The same could be said for the groupings at a range of not thirty but 50 metres. Testing the average grouping of the GHK G5 in an indoor area without environmental variables such as wind. The GHK G5 is able to hit a man size target very consistently at that range.
Overall, the GHK G5 is one of the first GBBRs of which do not require any modifications to be “skirmishable” or otherwise used in an airsoft game without having issues with performance.
To maintain the GHK, one would only have to understand how to clean and lubricate a normal gas pistol. It’s not complex as all one would have to do is remove the bolt carrier and clean both that and the trigger mechanisms. Another recommended maintenance procedure would be to take out the bolt catch, clean and lubricate it before putting it back in the gun. It is a pretty simple process which may only need doing every game day. This is generally typical of gas blowback airsoft guns.
Apart from the gun itself, the magazines can be maintained by ensuring that some gas is left inside the magazines during storage, and that the springs are not holding any bb pellets whilst not being used. It would be worth keeping the spring clean and if there is a small gas leak. One could try opening the bottom plate (but not completely removing it due to the spring pushing against it) and tighten the two screws at the bottom of the gas magazine. This has been a remedy to most leakages.
To the readers who are not familiar with my reviews, this is where I end up giving an opinion in this article/review. I would recommend you only read this as a friendly conversation than a technical section as I will most certainly express how I feel and not be unbiased in this section.
The GHK G5 is beautiful and slim with many cool features. I’ve enjoyed showing it off to other Airsofters, especially when I hand it over to them to hold without the magazine. It is one of the lightest airsoft guns on the market, until you insert the gas magazine into the gun. The recoil has given me intense grins which after many months of use, has yet to dull down when I fire the weapon. This GBBR has outlived many AEGs and has performed beautifully in conditions which would destroy most AEGs and GBBRs. I experienced the efficiency of the GHK G5 when it started to rain heavily, causing most players to experience their AEGs and GBBs losing performance. The GHK G5 however was taking it like a Scotsman, ignoring the terrible weather and kicking proverbial buttocks. By far one of the best GBBRs I have ever owned.
Extras – AR Stock Tube Adapter
Included with the GHK G5 is a stock tube adapter, which does not include the AEG buffer tube with the retaining screw which goes into the adapter. This allows for the attachment of different AEG stocks which allows for more personalisation of the GHK G5. Bare in mind, the use of the stock tube adapter would disable the ability to fold the stock. Only the original stock has the ability to be foldable on the GHK G5.
Extras – Azimuth Speed Rubber
The Azimuth Speed Rubber at first was a requirement for the first production model of the GHK G5 due to the frame not being strong enough for the recoil action. The later production models were reinforced and do not further require the use of the Azimuth Speed Rubber to reduce the recoil of the carbine.
So what is the speed rubber?
The speed rubber is a small rubber stopper which shortens the action cycle of the bolt carrier. This means that the GHK G5 will cycle much quicker, increasing the rate of fire and the gas efficiency, however reducing the recoil. Apart from the reduced recoil, the other feature which potentially can be negated by the speed rubber is the bolt catch function. Due to the shortened cycle distance and faster cycle time, it is less likely that the bolt catch will have a chance to catch the bolt when the magazine engages it.
Extras – G5 Carbine Kit
The GHK G5 Carbine Kit contains the extended rail section, extended outer barrel and the inner barrel to replace the original inner barrel. The entire kit extends the front of the pdw’s rail system by a further six inches. The extended furniture is made of the same durable plastic as the carbine and the extended outer barrel is made of metal with the same coating as the original outer barrel. Please take note that the inner barrel will significantly increase the FPS of the G5 and may require the nozzle to be adjusted.
Extras – G5 DMR Kit
The GHK G5 DMR Kit is similar to the carbine kit however instead of the extended outer barrel and the inner barrel, includes a longer DMR barrel with a longer, lengthier inner barrel to match. This however is the only main difference between the DMR and Carbine kit. The DMR kit extends the GHK G5 a further twelve inches which is quite long considering the original G5 is quite small. Please take note that the inner barrel will significantly increase the FPS of the G5 and may require the nozzle to be adjusted.