Working in the airsoft industry brings with it a certain level of passiveness. It’s a cognitive overload of metal and polymer – after looking at piles of 1911 pistols, they all start looking the same. It’s even worse with Glocks – the polymer construction and common parts make them the Toyota Camry of the airsoft world (Nothing against Toyota Camrys, I swear). So it takes something special to really snap you out of your fatigue. So it was a surprise that I found a red and black box waiting for me one day at work.
Turns out I had a new gun from the higher-ups to review. The Armorer Works HX1102 from Taiwan, to be specific. Initial impressions were good. Opening the box, I was greeted to a pistol wrapped in plastic, a red dot mount, a couple of pins, and a colourful and well designed manual… directing me to go online to their website to download their manual. I recognize that most manuals are poorly written, but it surprises me that in a premium model, they didn’t even include the full manual. A plus, however: The online manual is very well written and I encourage you to take a look at it for yourself. I would have preferred a foam insert in the box, rather than the pressed cardboard used in this case. After all, premium products don’t just sell based on their merits, but on the experience of owning one… I sound like a car reviewer, don’t I?
Pulling the pistol out of its packaging, I was immediately struck by the heft of the gun. It’s not an anchor, but at the same time, it doesn’t feel like its going to fall apart on me. Solid would be an appropriate way to describe it. Racking the slide to check the chamber, I was puzzled by how smooth it felt. Normally with new airsoft pistols, there is a bit of grit that works its way out after breaking in. With this gun, complete smoothness – it’s like they paid attention to the details, and the further I looked at the gun, the more this came to be true.
The finish is an evenly laid layer of matte paint covering some crisply cut serrations, and the slide fit to frame is superb. More manufacturers could learn from the texturing on the grip of the pistol, though I am not a fan of the finish on the trigger. The rest of the silver components are covered in a uniform paint, where the trigger is machined down on the sides to show off its metal construction. Not a functional problem, but at the same time, for a gun that has such great attention to detail, the mismatch is a missed opportunity. Thankfully it’s not a functional issue, and the gun itself overall is a high quality item.
Shooting the Armorer Works HX1102 was an interesting experience. The trigger is buttery smooth, featuring a light takeup and a noticeable break. Those of you seeking a loud and clear reset will be disappointed, but there’s no overtravel and the length of pull is one of the shortest I’ve seen in airsoft. The safeties engage with a loud click, though they are lighter than I’d prefer in a pistol such as this. The slide stop is standard 1911 through and through, and will not drop should you wish to rack the slide to unlock it after a reload. This may be a deal killer for some, but for most it should be perfectly fine.
The gun itself sits well in the hand, and the action is snappy, though those looking for something snappier should look at the HX1002, with its partial slide and fixed barrel. The HX1102 is no slouch, however. I was able to hit a 2″ by 6″ steel plate from 30 feet, and at 15 feet had no problem performing double taps on the target. Unfortunately our facilities for testing hop performance are limited, so that answer remains a question for now.
I love how the slide stop pin is rebated on the opposite side – normally, a 1911 pin can be pushed out by the trigger finger, meaning you have to be careful about where you place your finger. The HX1102 has a shorter pin in a machined pocket on the frame, resolving this issue.
On the topic of handling the gun, I’m dedicating a specific paragraph to the sights on this pistol. Tokyo Marui – pay attention. Armorer Works has perhaps the best stock sights installed on their HX1102. Fiberoptic rods provide excellent illumination for target acquisition, and the green front sight contrasts with the orange rear sights with ease. This is how you do sight illumination. I personally have a Glock 22 with GunsModify Tritium sights. They’re great, but they’re all green glow – which makes it harder to line up. I want these sights on my gun. Making them even better is the use of a U-Notch for the rear sight, rather than the square notch used on most sights. I was puzzled by this early on, so I went to my friend Google to do some research. Turns out that by turning the square notch into a u-notch, the rear sight removes two right angles that draw attention from the critical right angles – namely, the top of the front sight and the top of the rear sight notch. This should make it easier to line up, though I didn’t have much time to test out that theory.
Cytac’s HCP holster fits this gun without an issue – though this gun is much heavier than a Glock or M&P, so you will want to invest in a good belt. I personally love the fact that there’s a locking Kydex holster for the Hi-Capa series of pistols now, and I look forward to seeing more models come out down the line. The HX1102’s full length dust cover accepts 20 mm accessories, and I can confirm that a Streamlight TLR-1 weaponlight fits without issue. Armorer Works has indicated that these pistols will have parts support from their company, and if not available from them, most parts in this pistol should be compatable with Tokyo Marui Hi-Capa pistols. KJW Magazines will not fit, however, Tokyo Marui Hi-Capa magazines should fit once the magwell is removed. Perhaps most excitingly, Armorer Works includes a RMR mount that works with the majority of Red Dots out there. Exciting is an understatement.
Rating (Out of 5 Stars)
The HX1102 surprised me with how it defied my expectations. I enjoyed shooting it, and while it’s a tad heavy to carry, I could see this being the ideal sidearm for the kind of player that either runs only their sidearm, or relies heavily on it. Some say the HX1102 is a competition gun, while others liken it more to a duty gun. I choose to say that it belongs in the middle as a hybrid of those concepts, taking the best from each.
The accuracy out of the box was impressive, the ergonomics traditional yet evolved, and firing it was a pleasure with the innovative sights mounted on the gun. Armorer Works could improve on the presentation and the small details, but overall this is a solid package. Thus, I think we can easily give this one 4 stars out of 5.
Thanks to this evaluation, looks like we went full in here at Mach 1 Airsoft and decided to stock some of these Armorer Works pistols. You can see them at the following link: