Big Things Do Come in Small Packages
Words: Jonathan Higgs
Photos: Justin Harvey
With so many pistols on the market these days, it’s hard to find one that stands out from that crowd. I’ve personally spent hours looking over countless sidearms just to see which one fit my hand the best, or looked the coolest. But then I made my way over to the ATP Auto and realized it had something extra. Something that made it stand out from the crowd: full auto! Now this was something that had my attention, and was definitely worthy of a closer look. And really, who can resist a full auto pistol?
THROUGH THE SCOPE
WHO MAKES IT: KWA USA
GUN NAME: ATP Auto (Adaptive Training Pistol)
CLASS: Gas Blowback (GBB)
WHO IT’S FOR: Experienced Player
HOW MUCH: $149.95
FPS: 337 with .20g BB’s
A great sidearm for outdoor play, and a solid option when playing CQB games. The full auto option really makes the ATP auto a versatile gun.
Star rating (1-5) = 4.5
PROS & CONS
+ Light blowback makes it easy to control in full auto
+ Fits off-the-shelf G17 holsters
+ Familiar controls
+ Adjustable back strap allows you to dial in the grip to your size
+ NS2 Gas System allows extended shooting without running out of gas
– FPS may be above some field limits
– Cooldown on full auto could be improved
INNER BARREL LENGTH: 94mm
GRIP: Contoured with interchangeable back straps
UPPER & LOWER RECIEVER: Metal/Polymer
MAG RELEASE: Right-handed action
SIGHTS: Triple White Dot Sights, windage adjustable.
RAIL: 20mm Bottom rail for accessories
MAGAZINE: 23 round gas magazine (included) will also accept 49 round extended KWA FPG magazines
MATERIAL: Aluminum alloy slide/polymer frame/metal internal parts/brass barrel
OVERALL LENGTH: 8 in.
OVERALL HEIGHT: 5.7 in.
WEIGHT: 1.45 lbs. unloaded
GAS SYSTEM: KWA New System 2 (NS2) Green Gas
INNER BARREL: Brass (prototype), polished alloy (production version)
HOP-UP UNIT: 1 piece, KWA dial-type
GENERAL FEEL: Lightweight, balanced pistol with adjustable back straps for comfort
CONTROL OPERATION: Intuitive controls, but designed for right handed operators. Large select fire switch offers a hidden 2nd built-in safety
RANGE/ACCURACY: 100 ft. effective -180 ft. max
.20g- 337 fps (average)
– Elite Force “Fuel” Green Gas
– BB’s Elite Force .20g
The ATP Auto is nearly identical in construction as the original ATP pistol released in 2012, complete with a polymer frame and aluminum alloy upper. What the combination of these two materials gives you is a strong, yet lightweight pistol that won’t weigh you down during long games, but can stand up to the punishment of a full-on CQB battle.
The lower frame includes a 20mm 3-slot rail for attachments of accessories, which is a nice touch for adding a light or laser for low light games. The slide catch is oversized and is easy to use even with gloved hands, and the magazine release has been extended for easy access under stress.
The upper slide has a three-dot combat sight for easy target acquisition in both daylight and darkness, and also includes ridges on the front and rear for a positive grip when chambering a round. Trademarks are non-existent since the ATP is not based on a real firearm, but KWA did add a subtle “ATP AUTO” marking etched into the slide. But the real showpiece is the fire selector switch found on the back right side of the gun. Positioned up and out of the way of your grip, it’s still accessible for when it’s time to make the flip from semi to full auto. A simple click to the down position (marked with two dots) enables the full auto mode, and a click back up (marked with a single dot) re-engages semi auto. If you position the switch in the middle of the two marks, you enable the safety, and the gun cannot be fired. This is also the position you set the switch if you want to remove the upper slide from the frame for maintenance by using the slide release latch on the lower frame.
KWA has consistently solid pistol hopups, and the ATP Auto is no exception. Using the included hopup key, you can access the adjustment from the chamber by locking the slide back. Set the toothed key in place and the hopup clicks at each stop as you dial it in, so you can fine tune it for your weight BB and know it will stay put.
The inner barrel on our test unit is brass, but in the final version it is a polished gray metal alloy measuring in at 6.05mm inner diameter and 95mm long. The smaller inner diameter ensures tighter groupings at range but does demand the use of high quality BBs only.
The ATP Auto uses a Glock-style trigger with an integrated middle safety fin. This is a nice touch, and helps prevent accidental discharges by ensuring your finger is wrapped around the entire trigger before it can be pulled back. Trigger pull is light and the break is very consistent once you pull out the slack..
The grip is another shining point for this pistol, and I have to admit that it’s probably one of the most comfortable grips I have held in a very long time. The contoured finger ridges and interchangeable back strap allow you to get a positive grip on the replica and adjust it to your liking. Changing out the back strap is done by simply tapping out the retaining pin near the bottom, and removing the installed grip by pulling down and out. Just pop the new one in and replace the pin and you are done.
Since the introduction of the NS2 Gas System, KWA has been known for their solid magazine design and build. The ATP again lives up to that reputation and uses their tried and true M17 magazine design for the ATP series. With this move, the 23-round ATP magazines are interchangeable with the “M” series magazines, as well as the FPG 49 round magazines. All of the current KWA magazines also have a follower lock feature for easy BB loading. Simply slide the BB follower to the bottom and it stays down until you press the release. Coming from a guy who reloads his magazines a lot, this is a HUGE thumbnail saver.
And, being a training pistol aimed at both the law enforcement and airsoft markets, they did add a large rubber bumper at the bottom of the factory ATP magazine to help mitigate damage from drops on hard surfaces. The best part is that the bumper does not impede access to the fill valve at the bottom, you can simple slide it forward by releasing the lock on the bottom front of the magazine. Once you are done, release the lock and slide the bumper back.
So far, the ATP has passed the tech portion, but how does it really work where it matters…out in the field?
For my test, I took it out to a national Milsim event to really run it through the grinder. What better way to test a new pistol than to bring it to a major OP and see how it holds up? I grabbed my Glock 17 Drop leg holster and strapped it on; fortunately KWA really thought ahead and designed this pistol to fit Glock holsters. This is a big plus for anyone looking for a new pistol, since getting a new holster can be expensive.
Out in the hot Georgia sun, the ATP auto performed very well, and this is thanks to KWA’s NS2 gas system. Each shot delivered an impressive 340 fps of power, but just sips Green Gas. Think of it as a turbocharger for your airsoft pistol; all the punch with good fuel economy. I was able to get out two full magazines of shots before I ran out of Green Gas, which is almost unheard of in a pistol of this type. Even using the full auto feature, I averaged this efficiency.
I did notice a slight cooldown effect in full auto, as the rate of fire dropped a fair bit when I performed a full mag dump at the chrono station. But in the warm weather, it rebounded quickly.
The 95mm barrel guided the BBs surprisingly well, and I had no issue hitting opposition forces 100+ feet away easily in semi auto. On the few kills I made using the pistol in semi, a single shot was all it took to get the job done. Shots were crisp, and I didn’t experience a malfunction whatsoever.
Full auto fire is far less accurate, and you’ll need to move into about 75 feet to get most of the rounds on target. But that setting is more about room-clearing or last-chance defense vs. accurate single-target kills.
Flipping the “fun switch” over to full auto brought out my more devious side, and I couldn’t resist the temptation any longer. For safety reasons, full auto was restricted indoors, so I opted to wait to use the dark of night so I could close the gap on my enemies. With the ATP Auto in hand, I made it my mission to find some small groups to deliver a “gift” of full auto plastic to. A few failed attempts later (some of the opposition had night vision goggles, which ended badly for me) and I finally found my mark: two enemy players posted up on the corner of my building.
I carefully made my way down from the 2nd floor to the ground, and snuck out a back window. As I rounded the corner I could just make out their silhouettes against the urban landscape. Keeping the pistol up and sighted in on my prey, I moved up to get within range. Once I was close enough to ensure a double kill (about 75 feet from the unknowing targets), I took close aim and pulled the trigger.
The sound of the burst was unmistakable; the metal slide going to work delivering the full auto salvo of plastic and Green Gas. Over the din, I heard the first “hit” followed by the second.
Heart racing, I quickly looked around to see if I had given away my position to other opposing forces. Whew…this time it was a success! Not wanting to wait to see if they had friends in the area coming to their aid, I ducked back into the building to join the rest of my squad.
I’ve spent many years around gas pistols during my time doing reviews for airsoft, and after a while you learn what to expect from certain companies. But, every once in a while a company surprises you and steps up the game a notch or two, and that’s exactly what KWA has done with the ATP Auto: It delivers the full auto pistol that players have been begging for, but also went above and beyond by pairing it with the NS2 system.
If you are looking for a new sidearm, or just want to add some spice to your pistol collection, the KWA ATP Auto really is a great value for the price.