In the new world of airsoft GBBRs, there is no talking about WA without mentioning WE, and many a debate have been done on the merits of the WETTI AWSS system over the Western Arms system. The crew check out what WETTI has to offer the gas blowback addict with their replica of the unique KAC PDW to draw their own conclusions.
Internals and Externals
WETTI offer a number of variants of the KAC PDW, with and without trademarks, in some color options and all in metal alloy. Even with the trademarks-less version we reviewed, the build quality and materials were very good. Construction is nearly all metal from the barrel to the stock (only the pistol grip is plastic), but it manages still to be very lightweight and compact. Inside as well as outside, the Advanced Weaponry Simulator System (AWSS) KAC PDW feels well built and incorporate some nice features such as what should be a more efficient closed bolt (more on this later) and a hammer with a roller bearing, and internal construction that is claimed to be CO2-ready (you must buy CO2 version magazines or a CO2 package).
The PDW magazine has a plastic shell as on the real PDW. The included M4 STANAG magazine has a metal shell. Both are lighter than the WA system M4 magazines. WETTI seem to have traded lightness for mag capacity, as both magazines can load only 30 rounds compared to 40 to 50 on most WA-style magazines, and seem to only charge enough for that many rounds. The magazines, being of their own design, are of course incompatible with the WA system.
As already mentioned, the KAC PDW initial version had a closed bolt design, just as with their first AWSS models (M4 and SCAR). WETTI eschewed accuracy for better reliable and respectable power output, and the system delivers power. Our unit produced between 1.8J (390FPS @ 0.25g) to 2.08J (420FPS on 0.25g) in sub-tropical climate. However the PDW suffers from a lack of precision, producing very dismal 22cm or worse groupings. It is possible on the unit we tested that the 275mm brass inner barrel was either defective or maybe just too short to handle the amount of air being fed.
Running on green gas for up to 700 rounds did not expose any issues or weakness in the parts or construction. The PDW just kept shooting hard and survived our abuse, and we did our best to abuse it, not hesitating to lean on the full auto. We noted in the progress of this review that some users reported cracks on the back of the receiver (probably from impact of the metal bolt) ultimately leading to the receiver breaking. However the only issue we confirmed in our long term test was a tendency for the receiver to develop a gap between upper and lower. It did not affect operation, though we cannot speak to how long this issue might persist before it becomes a concern.
We had only one failure with the magazines: a malfunction causing the magazine not to load any gas, but this was quickly remedied. This is apparently a commonly known issue, and the fix is simply to shake and load the magazine upside down to reseat the seals.
Owning and Playing
In nearly all aspets the AWSS KAC PDW is almost a completely satisfying gun to play. It delivers even better than the WA system on the blowback action. It is particularly loud as the metal bolt crashes into the back of the metal receiver. It remains fairly consistent in continuous use, probably that much more reliably enough than WA system model. However the intractable problem with the KAC PDW is its imprecision. An otherwise great experience is ruined as one cannot predictably send rounds that actually hit a target unless the target is close enough perhaps for pistol range. This is a personal defense weapon indeed.
The uniqueness of the WE magazine system is both advantage and disadvantage for the AWSS system. The lightness makes it easier to carry more magazines. The design seems fairly resistant to getting knocked around and is much more reliable than the WA magazines. However extra WE magazines are still a pricey proposition, as there are no budget-priced alternatives available unlike with the more popular WA system.
Note: WETTI released an Open Bolt Version, which brings the FPS down but improves the groupings. A conversion kit lets you change your old “closed bolt” PDW to the new system, however annoyingly the new system requires new parts to be installed in older magazines. Be sure when purchasing magazines of what version you are getting, or you may end up with mags you cannot use.
The AWSS KAC PDW closed bolt is a great gun, until you have to shoot at something. If you tend to play CQB and your environments always put combat in short ranges, perhaps you can consider the PDW as a viable main weapon. In most other cases, the precision problem really makes the PDW unplayable. If you want a gun that can be counted on in larger playing fields, look elsewhere. Otherwise if you must have the PDW, take a look at the Open Bolt version instead.
When you’re on the run and all alone, you need a bit of personal defense. Enter W.E.’s black edition of the Knights Armament PDW. This handsome package comes with the closed-bolt gas blowback gun,
a standard PDW magazine and a bonus STANAG magazine. You get a loader and a nice illustrated manual.
This gun comes in many variants. There are models with trademarks and without. Colors include black and FDE tan. Like the real gun it comes in 10 inch or long version and 8 inch or short versions. Not to be confused, this is the original advanced weaponry simulator system with a closed brass tube. The packaged magazine uses green gas. All parts are metal which makes it hefty.
Take down is straightforward. It is by design, similar to an M4 or M16. There are two receiver pins, front and rear. Rotate until right faces up. Push from the left side. Pull both pins out. Rotate the gun to normal position and lift the upper receiver from the lower. Pull out the guide rail then take out the bolt carrier which slides from the brass tube. Afterwards, slide out the charging handle. The handle, bolt and guide rail form a unit which attaches to the brass tube. Two screws hold the barrel assembly. A set of hex keys will be needed. Use an anticlockwise movement to remove the screws. The front screw should be the longer piece. With both screws removed, slide the barrel to the front. The inner barrel extends all the way to the flashhider with a length of 275 millimeters. The lower receiver houses the complete trigger mechanism. One odd feature is the roller bearing on top of the hammer.
FPS is about 450 adjusted for 0.20g. Rate of fire is high at 19 rounds per second. But here’s the fly in the ointment: It was a dismal performer at our 15 yard test with only two rounds out of fifteen hitting the paper. Unless you’re a member of the Imperial Stormstroopers, this would be a poor field gun.
For CQB purposes and no wind you have decent chances of hitting what you’re aiming at. If you insist on using it out in the field, you’d have to get very close! That’s not the only trouble with the gun. The strange BB loader is terrible even with two people trying to load it. Get a pistol loader after market and you’ll be happier.
For long term reliability, we observed some receiver wobble at 5 months which is normal even for real steel and doesn’t affect performance. The glaring problem with this unit is excess gas discharge. On a good day it may output a consistent 2.06J. But it’s hardly consistent and usually averages 1.8. We suspect that the power from the magazine is more than what the 275mm barrel can control. If not for that, this gun would be excellent.
It’s a pretty gun. Nice to display and to hold. In the limited scope of close quarters it could perform. The crisp recoil noise and nice finish make this unit fun. But I wouldn’t replace my AEG for it if I actually want to score.
That’s it for this evolution. See you next time.