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Finally, the Russian VSS Vintorez, sniper rifle used by the Spetsnaz, has been released to the airsoft world. And it is coming in several airsoft forms: the Echo1 Red Star IGOR, the G&G GSS, and the King Arms VSS Vintorez. Let's take a look at how the airsoft replica compares to the real thing from an external perspective.
We have now reviewed the Echo1 Red Star IGOR. Read our "Echo1 Red Star IGOR VSS Vintorez Review" article.
The statistics shown in this article are from Wikipedia, various reputable airsoft sources, such as the manufacturers or the retailers, and other reputable articles about the real VSS Vintorez firearm. You can see our list of sources in the "Related Links" section below.
Nothing speaks more than photographs. The following is a photo of the real VSS Vintorez by Small Arms Defense Journal (see their full article in "Related Links" below).
Evike has excellent profile photos of the Echo1 Red Star IGOR:
Evike has excellent profile photos of the G&G GSS:
Evike has excellent profile photos of the King Arms VSS Vintorez:
The real VSS Vintorez is 820.72mm long. The length of the Echo1, G&G, and King Arms versions are 955mm, 900, and 910mm, respectively. It's interesting that none of the replica matches the real VSS Vintorez in length. You would think that the airsoft manufacturers can save some material cost by reducing the barrel length to match. But instead, the airsoft version exceeds the real thing by 100mm (4 inches)!
The real reason is because all of the airsoft manufacturers are using verison 3 gearboxes that simply will not fit inside a real VSS Vintorez dimension. So the manufacturers has up-sized the airsoft VSS Vintorez to fit. It's unclear why manufacturers did not design a new gearbox. Perhaps, it's because Tokyo Marui did not release a VSS Vintorez for everyone else to copy.
The real VSS Vintorez has a silencer diameter of 35.86 mm, which is probably the optimal diameter for such a silencer. All of the airsoft VSS Vintorez replicas have mock silencer diameter of 40 mm.
Both Echo1 and King Arms place the inner barrel where you'd expect... in the center of the mock silencer, like the real VSS Vintorez. G&G, on the other hand, has a offset inner barrel toward the top of the mock silencer (see photo below). It is obvious that Echo1 and King Arms wins in this category.
The real VSS Vintorez uses a shortened AS Val magazine that holds 10 rounds. It is fully compatible with the 20 and 30 rounds AS Val magazines. The shortened magazine allows the operator to lie prone without the magazine getting in the way.
There is no airsoft version of the AS Val prior to the release of airsoft VSS Vintorez. Therefore, the VSS magazines are brand new in the airsoft world. Echo1 produces a shortened version for its Red Star IGOR. However, G&G and King Arms produce a full-size version.
Strictly speaking, the real VSS Vintorez uses the shorten magazine, so the Echo1 replica is more true. However, the full size AS Val magazine is also useable in the VSS Vintorez, so G&G and King Arms replicas are valid as well.
The real VSS Vintorez allows for semi-auto and full-auto firing modes. The selector switch is behind the trigger, separate from the safety level. The safety level is practically the same as the AK version. The G&G and King Arms model the fire selector switch and the safety lever in the same manner. On the other hand, Echo1 has gone a different route by using the safety latch as the mode selector, much like other AK47 airsoft guns.
The real VSS Vintorez has two firing modes: semi and auto. Both Echo1 and King Arms replicate these two firing modes. However, G&G also introduces a 3-round burst firing mode, which is not available on the real VSS Vintorez. In this category, Echo1 and King Arms win.
G&G GSS has a trigger cut-off when the magazine is not inserted. Echo1 and King Arms versions do not have any cut-off. None of these implementations match that of a real gun, which only has the cut-off when there is no bullet in the chamber (whether a magazine is inserted or not). Therefore, all three manufacturers fails in this category.
Material. The real VSS Vintorez has real wood shoulder stock. G&G and King Arms replicate this feature on the airsoft versions. However, the Echo1 provides two different version of the Red Star IGOR. One version has a plastic faux wood shoulder stock. The other version has a black plastic shoulder stock. In the shoulder stock material category, the G&G and King Arms versions are more true.
Slope. Looking at the profile photos above, you'll see that the G&G GSS and the King Arms VSS Vintorez shoulder stocks have a slight downward slope. The Echo1 Red Star IGOR shoulder stock, on the other hand, has a slight upward slope. In this regard, the Echo1 version more true to the real VSS Vintorez.
Color. Looking at all the photo above, you can see that the Echo1 and King Arms replicas have a darker shoulder stock tone. However, the real VSS Vintorez and the G&G GSS and a brighter, more saturated tone. In this category, the G&G is more faithful to the real gun.
The real VSS Vintorez weighs 2600 grams. The Echo1 Red Start IGOR weighs 2500 grams. The G&G GSS weighs 3500g. And the King Arms VSS Vintorez weighs 2400 grams. All three guns are made out of metal.
Echo1 Red Star IGOR wins this category, being the closes to the real VSS Vintorez in weight. King Arms comes in a close second. But G&G is way off; almost 1000g off.
You can add weights to the Echo1 and King Arms VSS to make them weigh the same as the real VSS. It would be really difficult to reduce weight on the G&G VSS. The Echo1 is the closest in weight, so it is the easiest to get the weight right.
None of the airsoft VSS got it exactly right compared to the real VSS. So which one would you pick? And why? Tell us in the comments and discussion.