The following Review was first published in Airsoft International Volume 7 Issue 7.
It might look like the results of H.R. Geiger and the guys at Magpul getting together to design an M4 variant, but the G&G GR4 G26 has a host of interesting features that could make it an ideal choice for a new airsofter looking for something to last them a little while. Weighing in at less than £220, it also represents a great choice for the budget conscious.
First things first, let’s take a look at the outside of the gun, which, since the whole things runs on an M4/V2 style gearbox are going to be the most likely to set it apart. Being part of the “intermediate” or “Combat Machine” range, the GR4 G26 comes with a Nylon Fibre receiver, but don’t let that put you off at this early stage, it’s actually very well made, with sharp, defined edges and barely a mold-line or seam in sight. The upper and lower portions of the receiver mate together perfectly too, with no gaps, creaks or wobbles. The receiver itself is probably the most understated portion of the entire gun, it’s a simple “armalite” style receiver bearing a white G&G “crest” logo, printed on the mag-well, the upper is equally familiar, being a flat top, RIS offering.
The controls fitted to the receiver are made from a combination of steel and what we expect is the commonly used aluminium alloy mazac. The body pins hold in firmly, the bolt cover is sprung, with a catch allowing you to store it in the closed position and the mag release is positive. The feel of the fire selector itself is exceptionally good, solidly and definitely locking into Safe, Semi and Auto positions smoothly and without any slop giving the gun a feeling of quality far outside its price bracket. The trigger guard is also a custom-style design not dissimilar to the Magpul or perhaps Knight’s Armament products, it’s far more comfortable than the flat, angled mil-spec style one and has a slight “loop” shape to give more room inside the trigger area, all good stuff.
Also attached to the receiver and a slight break from the usual AR fare is the pistol grip, instead of the commonly seen mil-spec grip this one is strikingly close to the HK416 type. It’s made from a comfortable textured, Nylon fibre material and combined with the enhanced trigger guard, offers a great interface area for the user, again belying the price of the gun.
Working from the receiver down towards the business end of the gun, we get to the handguard which is held on using a proprietary delta ring design. The ring isn’t actually sprung like with most designs, instead, part of the false gas block further down the barrel serves to hold the lower half of the guard, the top then slots into place. The design is similar in shape to the Magpul MOE guard, a rounded, vaguely triangular shape that’s actually rather comfortable to take hold of, and despite the unusual locking mechanism, pretty solid.
Along with slots along the sides and bottom, the guard has an integrated rail and backup sight built in to the top, and interestingly, a flip out LED torch powered by a single CR123 battery within the lower half. It’s not particularly bright or easy to use, but it does carry a certain cool factor! Not only this but the front portion of the barrel is removable via a grub screw, and a second one, included in the box, incorporates a laser sight with batteries housed inside the top portion of the handguard. Of course, all these batteries and extras do take up a lot of space, which would otherwise been used to store the main battery since the gun is front wired, but fortunately, G&G supply an extra front-set if you don’t want to use the torch, lazer or both. Of course, you can still fit a battery in the space left, but you’ll be restricted to the one supplied, an 8-cell split-pack, 9.6v, 1500mAh, NiMh with a mini-Tamiya connector. Spares or replacement batteries are available in a similar configuration, but they will be tougher to come by than “standard” configurations of cells, for that reason, it might be prudent to opt for a simple 7.4v LiPo to power the gun, should you need to replace the original.
As we mentioned, the outer barrel of the gun is segmented, fixing together by means of grub screws but it’s also made from turned metal adding much needed weight and rigidity to the AEG. At full length, the outer barrel is long enough to accept a 233mm inner barrel, and it terminates in an aggressively pronged and oversized flash hider, not dissimilar to the PWS DNTC designs. It is VERY aggressive and although it’s a plastic material is still quite sharp, so anyone that playing at very close quarters may want to switch it out for any other anti-clockwise flash hider to avoid any kind of poking injuries to fellow players!
Back out at the rear of the gun, G&G look to have taken a little more influence from the Magpul line of aftermarket weapon accessories. Mounted on a finely machined metal buffer tube is the multi position, locking and sliding stock. It has a shape and design largely similar to the MOE or CTR stocks available, with a very similar locking mechanism to the CTR. There are a few important differences though. Firstly, the top of the stock where you rest your cheek features an over-moulded, rubberised pattern that’s both grippy and slightly squashy, adding a little comfort and luxury. There’s also the storage compartment built into the lower brace of the stocks skeletal design. Simply pushing a button allows you to swing out the bottom portion, revealing a void space perfect for storing CR123 batteries… Just the ticket for powering that torch/laser combo up in the hand grip!
Between the rather nice machined stock tube and sliding stock assembly to the receiver sits a useful and durable feeling single point sling plate, perfect for hooking up any kind of sling. In its factory position, the plate allows the user to hook up the sling to the left hand side of the weapon, best suited to a right handed shooter, although it doesn’t look too difficult to simply flip the plate over for a left-handed user. Finally, to finish up the outer of this AEG, a compact flip up rear sight is perched atop the receiver to compliment the front sight built into the handguard, a useable and unobtrusive set-up right out of the box, especially when you consider the laser aiming device built into the front end.
Since this G&G gun uses a tried, tested and proven design, the V2 gearbox with large 8mm oil less bushings, we think it’s wise that they’ve not tried to reinvent the wheel. V2 boxes are not without their faults, which only really show up after extended use, or when you a really trying to push them hard, but this simple, reliable ‘box should be firstly, solid and dependable to use in its standard guise, and secondly, easily fixed without spending large amounts of cash should anything go wrong.
With all that said, it should be noted that the gearbox shell at the heart of this AEG isn’t actually totally standard, it comes with a few little extras in the shape of G&G’s new “pneumatic blowback system” which is actually rather exciting. Previous electric blow back designs as in, guns that had bolts or mock bolts that moved when you fired, relied on rudimentary and inefficient piston “hook” designs to pull back the bolt when the gearbox was working. G&G have done away with this basic design, since it’s known and proven to reduce the working life and performance of the ‘box, and have come up with a far more advanced design that uses a secondary air cylinder to mimic the bolt movement of a real gun, without adding undue wear and tear, great news!
Another not-entirely-standard feature of this gun is the functional forward assist, positioned on the right hand side of the receiver. Although in an AEG, the forward assist works in an almost opposite fashion to the real steel, allowing the spring to return to its most relaxed state by disengaging the anti-reversal latch, it’s still just as useful and adds peace-of-mind for the user.
Aside from the gearbox, the other vital part of the AEG is the hop unit. G&G have opted for an all plastic, one-piece design in this gun, which is no bad thing, considering it’s well molded and achieves a good airseal with the surrounding components. The hop is adjusted via a wheel that turns a set of cogs to apply pressure via an arm to the hop nub, nothing groundbreaking there, just proven, solid designs manufactured and assembled to a high standard. In use we did find the hop perhaps a little too effective though, with such a large range of adjustment available, it was actually possible to jam the barrel, so caution should be exercised when dialling on the hop!
Unfortunately no information was provided with the gun about the bore diameter of the standard inner barrel, but upon inspection it appears consistently machined and free from burs or debris so should provide reasonable performance provided you use it with good quality BBs.
Accessories & Extras
It’s fair to say this gun comes packaged with an almost unprecedented amount of extras in the box, which can sometimes raise a few eyebrows with doubts about the quality of what you do get, but that’s not the case here. G&G generously package a quality battery, a bag of 2000 BBs, a 300 round high capacity magazine, a spare front handguard set, a battery charger, a set of stick-on decals, some G&G playing cards and even a Velcro G&G patch! The only item that perhaps wasn’t up to scratch was the basic charger, since we’d always advise using a high quality aftermarket model to get the best from your batteries, but other than that everything was of top notch quality.
Of course, the most essential extra, aside from the battery, is the 300 round high capacity magazine. Featuring an overmolded grip design, in fitting with the other parts of this gun, the mag is comfortable to use both in reloading and also to use as a grip, but it is pretty bulky and impossible to use in mil-spec mag pouches. That’s no big issue though, since any other brand of M4 type mags fit just fine in the receiver. In use, the included mag fit and fed perfectly though, so it’s fair to say it’s perfectly useable.
Another extra that isn’t always included, but should be, is a well printed, well translated and well illustrated instruction sheet. Covering everything from battery installation to hop adjustment, the A3 full colour sheet helps even the freshest newcomer get up to speed on their new purchase, and goes a long way to preventing disappointment and damage through misuse or misunderstanding, bravo G&G, a huge plus.
Its looks aside, the G&G GR4 G26 DST Blow-Back is undoubtedly a cracking gun straight out of the box, perhaps not for the seasoned player or avid collector, but for a newcomer to the sport or youngster looking to make their first purchase, it’s perfect, and won’t leave you falling short on the field.
High quality manufacture, great performance and all importantly, well implemented added features all add up to make an exciting finished article. It’s not a huge thing for those well used to getting new guns, but G&G have gone to the lengths to package this AEG beautifully, with a full colour box and the aforementioned added extras, making it an ideal option as a gift package. There are even enough BBs in there to get through your first skirmish!
If you think you are going to want to upgrade your gun much, especially externally, we have to be honest; there are probably better guns out there, within G&G’s extensive range and beyond. As a reliable, exciting gun straight out of the box, we can’t fault it, even though the cynic in us initially wrote it off as a gimmicky plaything. All told, the G&G GR4 G26 Blowback is a solid choice, especially because of the package it comes with, provided you can handle its unique looks!
FPS average: 331.9fps on .2g BB – Skirmish Friendly!
ROF average: 850rpm – Solid performer!
Overall Length: 700mm – CQB Approved!
Weight: 2.4kg – Nice ‘n’ Light!
Extras: Battery, Charger, Electric Blow-Back, Functional Forward Assist, Integrated Light & Laser, Spare foregrip, BBs, Velcro Patch, Playing Cards, Stickers – Feature Packed!
Colours: Black, Tan or Two-Tone
Price: Approx £220
At a Glance…
External Parts = 3
Internal Parts = 4
Performance = 4
Field Testing = 4
Good Stuff – Usable straight out of the box. Plenty of fun features. Lightweight and easy to carry.
Not-so-good Stuff – “Marmite” looks. Difficult/Expensive to upgrade.