Norinco is a fairly well known name for anyone into real firearms. The name is short for North Industries Corporation, and the production facilities are used to manufacture a very wide selection of pretty much anything from sewing machines to high-tech long range suppression weapon systems! While the finish of the equipment is not always made to please the western eye, the functionality of the products is very high in contrast to the low cost. Their 1911A1-clone is actually credited for having the slide and frame made out of higher grade steel than many of its American produced counterparts! It is a popular base for custom 1911s among people who want a cost-effective base for their handgun.
Naturally, the weapons for the Chinese military forces are nowadays produced mostly by Norinco, and this includes the QBZ97, or "Type 97". The Type-97 is a 5.56x45 mm export version of the standard QBZ95, the former being chambered for the Chinese-developed 5.8x42 mm cartridge. As much as we'd like to go into detail about these, this article is about the airsoft version. More info on the real one can be found here and here. Open them in other tabs, because now we move on to the airsoft version!
THE ELECTRIC EXPERIENCE
The RS Type 97 feels incredibly solid in the hands, and quite heavy for the average size. The first comparison that springs into mind is the FA-MAS (because the amount of plastics, and flat surfaces), but still the Type 97 is completely different inside out. The first very obvious difference is that instead of the ABS plastic found on Japanese AEGs, RS uses reinforced polymer 66 (Nylon) for the plastic components. This is the same polymer that's most popular in real firearms with plastic parts as well. There are no creaks of flexes to be found in this model, and the center of balance is just a bit to the rear of the grip.
Not only are the plastic parts higher grade with better looks, but the metal parts are all steel, with the exception of the receiver, which is forged and CNC-machined duraluminum. The one-piece steel outer barrel is attached to the receiver via a trunion block and two large hollow pins (not the spring type though), to create a rigid platform for everything that is attached to the AEG: The inner barrel and hop-up have a precise fit with the outer barrel, and the gearbox locks onto the receiver positively as well. Add to this the steel scope mount rail that is also monolithic with the other parts, and you have a rock solid spine.
The receiver is finished by hard-anodizing to match the exact look and durability of the real one, but on the inside it is designed to fit the AEG gearbox only. Naturally as real as an airsoft gun looks on the outside, the insides still have to meet the requirements of a gearbox. The outer barrel has six holes drilled straight through, to further prevent any conversions and to meet the import requirements of certain countries. The holes are only visible when you disassemble the AEG, so they don't compromise the realistic looks at all!
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