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Tokyo Marui 5.56mm Type 89 Assault Rifle
By Chad

I had received word of a brand new AEG being released by Tokyo Marui, complete with a brand new mech box featuring a revised mechanical burst system. Only confirming my suspicions, and adding fuel to the fire, was the always helpful and well informed staff of Impact games in Aiea Hawaii. Yes indeed, TM’s latest release was slated to be the Japanese Type 89 Assault rifle.

The Type 89 is a thoroughly modern assault rifle, being heavily based upon its predecessor, the American AR 18, which had been previously under license production by the Howa Machinery Company. Firing a 5.56mm NATO round, the weapon is fed from a standard M16 type clip magazine. The weapon itself is specifically designed to fit the physical profile of the Japanese infantryman, whose build is somewhat shorter and slighter than the average western soldier.

The Tokyo Marui Airsoft Type 89 has faithfully preserved both the profile as well as feel of the actual weapon, by constructing their replica with mostly metal parts. The foregrip, pistol grip and stock are actually the only plastic parts to be seen on the gun itself. This in turn, gives the Type 89 a very realistic and solid feel. As previously stated, the actual weapon was designed to meet the physical profile of a Japanese soldier, so it is slightly smaller than most western battle rifles. This gives the airsoft weapon another added plus, which although it appears to be a full sized rifle, it actually feels much smaller that what I am used to, feeling somewhat more like a carbine type weapon similar if not more comfortable than an M4. This results in a weapon combining the compact feel and maneuverability of an assault carbine, with the accuracy of a full size rifle. Although the gun feels small and is easy to control Tokyo Marui does include a collapsible (and removable) bipod.

Mechanics
The TM Type 89’s Version 8 Mech Box incorporates a mechanical burst system, similar to that used in KSC Beretta 93R’s. A set of saw toothed ratchets is used to engage a sear which operates the cutoff for the 3 round burst. Physically the Version 8 Box is similar in layout and shape to a reinforced version 2 box. But that is where the similarities end. Unlike version 2 mech boxes, the Version 8 has an array of external mechanics used to control the weapons firing modes. A set of 7 external gears operates the weapon with a grouping similar to that of the Soviet AK47, full auto being the first step, followed by burst and semi. The right side mounted safety lever may take some getting used to for right handed shooters. A left side lever is available as an aftermarket accessory.

Power is provided by Tokyo Marui’s newly designed EG1000BT motor, which apparently has improved torque and response over the previous EG1000 motor. The EG1000BT although identical in length to the standard “Long Type” AEG motor has a different collar diameter, making it unusable with any other long motor application, without the removal and replacement of a standard collar. Internally it is compatible with all aftermarket pistons, cylinders, piston heads and bushings. The spring guide is the same as that of the version 2. As for gears, there are currently no aftermarket gear sets available. The only standardized gear, is the spur gear. The uppermost gear, the sector gear is actually what engages the cam and ratchet system to operate the burst. Unlike any other previous AEG, the Bevel Gear does not have a set of pawls to connect with the anti reverse latch. It instead uses an entirely splined gear shaft. This results in an incredibly fast and responsive semi automatic action. In all, the stock gear ratio has been preserved despite the modifications required to accommodate the three round burst. A very durable and very heavy quick detach bipod is included with the weapon.

Performance
On a full battery charge, the Type 89 is very crisp and responsive with a very solid trigger pull. Range is decent; comparable if not better to that of Tokyo Marui’s AK 47 series. Once the hop is dialed in, the Type 89 provides accurate groupings of about ½” from a distance of approximately 120 feet. Stock velocity is rather low, approximately 265-275FPS with .20 BB’s. This is most likely due to Japan’s stricter enforcement of their velocity laws. The three round burst function, although neat is of little practical use other than in games requiring restricted ammo capacities.
The Type 89 comes packaged with a proprietary 69 round standard magazine, with an available 420 round Hicap. A real life saver is that the Type 89 is also compatible with any M16/M4 magazine! Although they are both similar in design, the M16 is NOT backward compatible with Type 89 Magazines, due to a slightly different design of the 89 magazine’s upper half.

The Type 89’s greatest failing is that it has a limited battery capacity being originally intended to use a AK type stick battery. This fits within the two piece foregrip, which is held together with a lock pin. This problem is most easily solved by using a battery sling.

At about the same time this article was being written, both PDI and Tokyo Marui had released several external accessories specifically for the Type 89. The first of these modifications having been released by PDI were essentially a small 20mm triple rail kit designed to be mounted on the outer barrel. The kit, available in two parts, consists of a small rectangular block which mounts around the rearmost part of the outer barrel, is secured with two 3mm dia. set screws. On either side of this block, are two single slot 20mm rails, allowing the attachment of a single small accessory, ideally a small flashlight or a laser. The second half is merely a flat Weaver style rail, similar in size to that of the G36 lower rail. This is attached to the lower surface of the rail block via two countersunk machine screws. Once mounted however, Tokyo Marui’s included bipod cannot be mounted to the Type 89. Each part of this kit must be purchased separately, and are approximately $28.00 and $13.00 respectively.

The second lineup of external parts comes from Tokyo Marui themselves. Initially, the first release from Marui was an upper rail for the attachment of either a scope or an aiming device. Due to the rather high design of the 89’s rear iron sight, the mounting of a standard scope may be obstructed, either necessitating the addition of a riser or high mount scope rings, or the removal of the sight itself. The attachment of a projection type aiming device or “Red Dot”, such as an Aimpoint should not interfere with the rear open sights. This upper rail attaches onto a small groove on the top of the Type 89’s metal upper receiver using two hex head machine screws.

As mentioned earlier in this article, the 89 has a somewhat awkward safety for right handed shooters. Tokyo Marui has solved this problem by releasing a bolt on safety lever. This quite simply mounts on the left hand side of the weapon’s body in place of the stock notched indicator disc.

Weapon Data:
(All Info pertains to Stock weapon except as noted)
Length: 916mm
Weight: 3700 grams
Magazine Capacity: 69 rounds stock, available 420 round hicap.
Battery: AK Type “Stick Pack”
Motor: EG1000BT
Velocity: 265-275 FPS using .20 gram BB’s.
Notes: Comes standard with metal body as well as a quick detach Bipod.

At this time, the most critical aftermarket internal parts, the gears and the burst related mechanisms are not yet available. Only time will tell if or when these will be released. Due to a tightening of Japanese velocity limits, the Type 89’s velocity is moderate, although with merely the addition of a PDI 05 aftermarket barrel, a velocity gain of approximately 25 FPS may be achieved. (The highest FPS I have seen an 89 achieve was approximately 420 FPS, the result mainly having been from a substantial and time consuming modification of an aftermarket gear set by Impact Games).
From actual Gameplay experience, the Type 89, sufficiently tuned, has proven itself to be more than a match in both range and accuracy against similar long arms, namely the Armalite series as well as HK type weapons. The Type 89’s size and proportions make it extremely comfortable and well balanced, so despite its apparent size, player maneuverability is not compromised. Of most interesting design is the stock of the weapon. It is designed with a slightly slimmer profile, comparable to that of the SIG 550. This reduced profile allows it to be used conventionally, the shooter having stabilized the weapon by locking into his shoulder, or as needed, to quickly tuck it under his arm allowing easy maneuvering in tight situations. There is also a very shallow dip on either side of the neck of the stock, allowing a masked player to easily use the weapon with an optical device.

Overall:

Pros:
Good solid feel.
Comes standard with a metal body!
Mechanical Burst system, no more burnt out burst chips!
Very responsive and smooth firing action.
Compatible with M16/M4 magazines.
Comes standard with a bipod.

Cons:
Lack of aftermarket parts.
Limited battery life.
Mags are not compatible with M16/M4.

Neutral:
Odd motor collar diameter on BT motor.
Standard size long shaft motors will still work.

I would recommend this weapon to anyone who is willing to spend the slightly higher cost to purchase one, yes even first time players. It has proven to me, to be extremely durable, even in stock form. Futhermore, those who already own an M16/M4, or those who don’t want to, will find the ability to interchange magazines an added bonus.
In all, I give the Type 89 a 9 out of 10.

Editorial note: Tokyo Marui has just released news that they will be making a folding stock version of the Type 89.

Chad has been playing airsoft for the past 8 years. He has years of experience helping out at Power Edge, Impact Games and Airsoft Hawaii events.