After my first love with a G36, I left it. Numerous other rifles were nice and all, but just didn't satisfy me like that first one.
Enter the newest production model JG has offered the airsoft market.
After picking it up for a meager $145, I thought that it was too good to be true, especially for the military version I ordered.
Tearing open the usual oversize UPS box, along with the annoying packing paper and order forms, was a pretty plain cardboard box. This surprised me, especially since JG had always decorated their boxes. This one had a simple black sticker with the model, a small picture of the gun, and a warning label.
Upon opening of the box, I was greeted with a good spread. A 470rd hi-cap mag, magazine winding tool, an 8.4v 1100mah NiMh battery, dumb charger, a manual, cleaning/unjamming rod, and a bag of BBs. Strangely, they are not JG brand BBs. The bag is labeled "GoldenBall", suggesting the BBs were made by GoldenBall. They seem to be of good quality, however I have not used them, for fear they may be total garbage. And finally, the rifle itself.
Now we get to the beauty sitting in the box=the rifle itself. When I first picked it up out of the box, I was surprised at how much the rifle weighed. For an all polymer gun, it has a satisfying heft to it. This thing sure feels as if it wont break anytime soon. The finish seems great, and the optic reticle is true to the real-steel version. The gun is packed not in Styrofoam, but a composite material seen with higher end guns. The gun is very well seated and is not going anywhere.
The gun is made not from ABS like previous generations, but from nylon reinforced polymer. It feels great in your hands, and when compared to some older ABS parts, you can clearly tell the difference. The G36 is by far the most comfortable rifle I have ever held. Everything on it seems to flow very smoothly and match up with your hands and shoulder.
As being made mostly out of plastic, you would think the gun is light, but it actually has a good heft to it. Weighing in at around 6.75lbs(empty), (almost as much as my ICS SIG 551(empty)) it is light enough to be carried and wielded into battle, but not heavy enough to slow you down. The paint job is good. Flat black that does not reflect light, so gloss is at a minimum.
The folding stock is a nice feature, especially those who do CQB, or ride in vehicles. To fold it, simply push the button on the left side of the rifle and fold until it clicks into place. Once, folded, the stock is going to come loose on you. To release, give it a good tug, and fold it back into place. It cuts the overall length of the rifle by about 1/3, making it smaller than your average M4 with a stock fully retracted. It has an ambidextrous sling mount located on the bottom of the stock at the back. The stock also has a nice rubber butt plate with a small compartment for whatever. Leaving it empty results in the butt pad giving way and conforming to the user's shoulder, making the rifle even more comfortable.
The military version comes with a built-in 3x magnification scope, in place of the civillain model's usual top-rail and iron sights. The reticle is very clear and provides a crisp image of everything. The reticle is true to the real-steel G36 one. It really impressed me that JG included that. It is also adjustable for windage and elevation by using an allen or hex key. Another nice feature, is that the carry handle also has a 20mm rail-for red dots or most anything else, and built-in pistol sights for when targets get too close for use of the optic.
Moving down the rifle, you have your fully ambidextrous selector switch-which clicks firmly into place, and charging handle with catch. Yes, a functioning bolt catch on a stock JG gun. Pulling the handle back to either side reveals your drum-style hop-up unit. Pulling back straight and pushing down slightly will allow the bolt to catch in a groove on the upper receiver. Unlike on previous versions, the bolt on this gun is metal rather than plastic. To release, simply pull up. Don't put your fingers in front however, unless you want them to get pinched, the return spring is pretty strong! There is a sling mount on the left hand side just before the button to release the stock.
Moving forward, the mag release is nylon polymer and sits flush with the rest of the body. The included magazine sits very firmly in the well, with no signs of wobble in any direction whatsoever. To release, simply push the large tab forward at the back, and the mag will drop out similar to an M4. If this does not occur, simply give the mag a tug while still pushing the tab forward. The included mag feeds very very nicely as the gun cycles, giving no feeding issues whatsoever.
The handguard too is made of the same material. It comes with one bottom rail, and space for two more-one left and one right. It also has an ambidextrous sling mount just above the rail. The G36C hand guard has 2 vent holes, the G36K has 4, and the standard G36 (or G36E) has 6 vent holes. The battery is stored inside the hand guard. To install your battery, take out the tin at the top of the hand guard, and pull forward. The G36C can hold a small 9.6v battery at the most. The G36K can do the same, although it can hold a slightly larger mah battery, not size. I myself would recommend a 9.6v 1600 mah nunchuck battery, or small brick type to get the best performance out of the gun.
Testing and Shooting
After going over the new beauty, it was time to test fire it. I plugging the included 8.4v battery into my smart charger which resulted in it smoking and almost starting a fire after the first few minutes. My charger has never done anything of the sort to other batteries before, so I figure it was a fault from the factory. JG batteries can be hit and miss at times and seems to be a miss. No big deal, I went and grabbed my other 8.4v battery from my first JG G36 from over 3 years ago. Chronoed it between 359 and 364 fps stock with .20g BBs. Perfect for field/woodland, but may be too hot for CQB depending on the field. Rounds per second was good at between 13-14. On my 9.6, the RPS went a bit higher to around 15.
Accuracy from the rifle was, meager at best. At 50ft, it hit my living man-sized target 9/10 times. I backed out to 75 feet, it managed to hit my target 6/10 times. At 100 feet the accuracy really began to suffer only hitting my target 4/10 times. It's maximum range is around 125 feet. I wondered, "Why is this? I can expect this from a G36C, but why the K? It has a longer inner barrel..."
After taking the rifle apart, I found to my horror, a G36C length barrel in my G36K. Why JG skimped out on the barrel, I have no idea. I do however know, that I very strongly recommend changing it out if you plan on playing field/woodland. I suggest a 350-370mm inner barrel to fix this issue.
Disassembly of the gun is very easy. Refer to your manual or check YouTube on how to do so. Typing everything will take too long.
The stock hop-up unit is plastic. Nothing special. The stock bucking looks to be a knockoff of Madbull's blue bucking, and the stock nub is of nothing special.
The barrel is a standard G36C size barrel and is around 6.1mm in bore for both models
The gearbox is a reinforced metal Version 3 and has 7mm nylon bushings. I recommend replacing them in the future. It has a metal spring guide with no bearings. The spring is about equal to an M100. The piston is plastic as well as the ported piston head. The gears are steel and should not break anytime soon. They are stamped with either "XYT" markings, or "GE". JG gears are pretty good, but there are better ones out there. Shimming is poor, adequate at best. Mine came with a chrome 1/3 port cylinder, plastic cylinder head w/ 1 o-ring and plastic air nozzle w/o o-ring. The cylinder assembly had a pretty good air seal for a stock gun. I was surprised at that. The stock motor has similar markings to JG's blue and red motors. It is average on the torque and speed. Not much to really expect from it, other than it works well for the stock setup. The electrical throughout the gun is an average gauge wire. Seems to be 14AWG from the gearbox and 18AWG with a slow burn glass fuse up front. The gun uses small type Tamiya battery connectors, and spade connectors to join the gearbox wiring to the front assembly.
Overall internally, the gun is good and reliable. I like to refer to JG guns as "The Hondas of airsoft," they just keep running and running. And because JG is a Tokyo Marui clone, it is compatable with 99% of aftermarket upgrade parts.
One other thing I found when disassembling the gun, was a proprietary hop-up unit. Since JG redesigned to magwell, the older magwells having a feeding nozzle that went up into the hop up unit, the newer ones have that removed, and the hop-up protrudes down into the magwell. The stock unit looks similar to an SRC metal unit, however when it comes to compatibility, I do not know if it would work. If the stock unit ever goes out of service on you, it can be replaced with older model aftermarket ones, but you will also need an older generation magwell to prevent feeding issues.
The G36C length barrel is another issue that needs to be addressed. If you purchased the C model, you are fine, but if you purchased the K model, be aware of this small issue. One other gripe I have is the flash hider. JG put a C model flash hider instead of a K. The K model being much longer. It's not too big of a deal, but if upgrading your inner barrel, it will get in the way of anything over 360mm.
The scope may or may not be an issue. For me it was. I for the life of me could not get it to zero in as it should have. It was always too low and to the left of every shot. Adjusting it too much causes the adjusting pins to actually pop out of the scope. Getting them back in is a PITA.
I do like the ambidextrous features of the rilfe. Being a lefty, it's great to not have to hold the gun awkwardly to shoot it.
Did I mention it's very comfortable?
Magazines hold more than any M4 mag-short of a box/drum mag.
In my personal opinion, the G36 is among those in a very small list of rifles that looks good with a beta mag. (You know, the ones with the two drums on either side?)
Magazines are clamp-able. You can clip two, three or a million together. This dramatically reduces reload times in firefights.
Magazines do not wobble at all.
The G36 does have parts on the market so that the rifle can be adapted to use AR magazines, and stocks, as well as the large list of available G36 parts. It may not be as modular as the AR platform, but is still pretty good.
JG has really outdone themselves on this new rifle. I am very surprised at how much attention they put into this product. JG has been on a roll lately in producing quality product, and this is no exception. If you are new to airsoft, an old pro, or a tech wanting a solid base for a project gun, the G36 is a very worthy choice.