Another Russian Airsoft Rifle? It is sooo ugly! Again an AK Airsoft? –
That are just a few of comments you hear and read about the LCT SR-3 series. Especially when it comes to the SR-3 itself.
To be honest, they are not the prettiest, but are they any good in technical/pracitcal terms? I could just anwer with a plain “Yes!”, but that would just be too easy, wouldn’t it?
First of all, the SR-3’s do not have anything in common with the AK, as most people suggest and think, since they get misleaded by the curved mag and the idea that all russian weapons are somehow derived from the grandfather “AK 47”.
Peter Serdyukov was the main weapons designer in the Central Institute of Precision Machine Building (TsNII TochMash) Factory. He is responsible that we have today the SR-3m, AS Val, VSS Vintorez and a few other weapons like the SR-2 “Veresk” Submachine gun and the lesser known SR-1 “Vector” Pistol (see above).
By the late 1980s, special operations elements of the Soviet Army, Internal Affairs Ministry and KGB were well equipped with silenced weapons which covered most bases and practical ranges. However, the rise of organized crime and political disturbances in the USSR during the late 1980s increased demand for other types of weapons, previously overlooked by Soviet “Force Departments”
In 1989, the 9th Department of the KGB, which was responsible for VIP protection, issued a request for a compact, easily concealable automatic weapon which would be significantly more powerful than the old Stechkin APS machine pistol, the preferred weapon of many Soviet VIP security teams of the time. The request was handed over to the Central Institute of Precision Machine Building (TsNII TochMash), which was a state-owned organization during that time, who was responsible for the development of most specialized small arms like the SR-3 “Vikhir”.
The SR-3 ” Vikhir” (Whirlwind) was firstly named MA – Malogabaritnyj Avtomat “Vikhr” (small-sized automatic rifle “Whirlwind”) during development and prototyping. While testing and presenting the MA to the responsible Persons with the KGB, it showed enough promise to be allowed further development, which was commenced under the factory designation RG051.
Also, before I forget to mentioned, the SR-3 is designed to be ambidextrous (saftey, firing mode and charging handle), which is a rare find during this time.
Fun Fact: Somewhere I read, that the Buttstock of the SR-3 in the first designs was springloaded, so the Operators could deploy it faster. But during the presentation, a KGB Officer got the buttstock straight in the face and broke his nose, which was then (obviously) the cause for the immediate removal of the spring.
Now they had the SR-2 submachine gun, chambered in 9x21mm “Gyurza” AP round (specially designed for the SR-1 and SR-2) and the 9x39mm for the SR-3, VSS and AS Val. However the Operators and Agents asked now for a weapon with the 9x39mm calibre which could repurpose the SR-3, VSS and AS Val in one compact and changeable version – also in terms of removable silencer for concealed carry purposes. As you may have guessed right, this was the moment the SR-3m was “born”.
But wait! Thats not the end if the 9x39mm “Saga”!
The SR-3m was surely the perfect solutions for all special operations Agents, but it is very expensive to manufacture and beared some diffculty. Therefore the Central Institute of Precision Machine Building (TsNII TochMash) decided to invent a “low budget and easy to manufacture” Variant, known today as the 9A-91 and the dedicated Marksman variant VSK-94.
I know, I know…I got again carried away with the story and facts etc. Now we go straight forward into the acutal Review – I promise!
From top to down you can see a LCT SR-3m with extended inner barrel with the LCT dedicated SR-3m silencer and an custom rightside-folding stock (to keep the optic attached, even in withthe folded buttstock), my LCT SR-3 with an PBS-1 silencer (more on that later) and attached foregrip (with 22mm rail) and another LCT SR-3m on the bottom in stock conditions (out of the box, so to say)
To give you first an Idea about the weight and dimension of them, here is a short listing:
- SR-3m with extended inner Barrel and Silencer (and optic!) weighs in with 4,81kg excluding magazine and batteries. The dimension are unfolded 96cm and folded 75cm in length. The Silencer measures 32,5cm in comparision ot the stock muzzlebrake with 5cm.
- SR-3 with the PBS-1 silencer and foregrip weighs in with 3,68kg excluding magazine and batteries. Dimension are unfolded 82cm and folded 57cm with the PBS-1 as well (stock dims are unfolded 66cm and folded 40cm)
- SR-3m out of the box weighs in with 3,06kg without magazine and batteries and measuering 70cm unfolded and 46cm folded.
About the PBS-1 silencer on a SR-3: The PBS-1 was designed for the AKM, which used 7,62x39mm rounds, but the diameter of the holes in the PBS-1, which the bullet actually passes, are 12,25mm. To be precies the PBS-1 is a supressor isntead of a “silencer” and works only correctly while using subsonic rounds. There are reports of MVD actually using the PBS-1 with the PP-19 bizon, which is chambered in 9x19mm or 9x18mm. So I am pretty sure that at some point any KGB Agents did used the PBS-1 with the SR3 before they designed the dedicated Silencer, since it used 9x39mm rounds which are subsonic.
Without any further teasing I will right away tell you what we think of the LCT SR-3 and SR-3m with pro’s and con’s – further below I will get more into the detail of our modified variants.
First of all, the SR-3 and SR-3m are totally made out of steel. The only parts, which are not steel, are the plastic handguard and pistolgrips and probably some aluminum parts of the gearbox and internals – and of course the barrel, which looks like brass. This a big PRO, but also explains, why they are so “heavy” in comparision to other Airsofts in this Area. But the steel is after all LCT’s “figurehead” and probably the first reason at all why I (we) decied to buy them. 🙂
One thing I really don’t like, are those sharp edges they have from the machinening, which needed to be grinded down. I managed to cut my index finger kinda deep on the SR-3 muzzlebrakes groves already 🙁
The plastic Handguard and Pistolgrip have a good feel and are rugged and sturdy, as they should be. Only on the SR-3m the Handguard feels kinda flimsy and netsplit already managed to get one broken only by take it off and putting it back in (which is necessary to fix the battery on the gun, but more on that later) – LCT was kind enough to bring a new Handguard as replacement for us on last years IWA Exhibition – thank you LCT!
LCT uses a (their) V3 gearbox which consist of the following high quality parts: 8mm steel ball bearings, metal spring guide with bearing, M100 spring, metal cylinder, aluminium cylinder head and piston head, polycarbonate piston with steel teeths, air-seal nozzle and a steel gear set, as expected. Can’t complain with that for an “out of the box” AEG.
We “clocked” it in with always consisten 1,4J with 0,2g bbs or around 350/360 fps constantly in conditions between 0 till 30 degree celsius.
Here you can see the custom made (to achive the necessary angle for the pistolgrip) Motorcage by LCT holding – of course – the Motor, which has around 22.000 rpm’s.
Funny though: Last year at the IWA Exhibition we kinda “complained” or better said “asked” LCT, why they do not fit a high torque motor in their guns, since this is in our opinion the only thing missing to make this a perfect skirmish gun out of the box. Now half a year later, we saw that LCT introduced a 2016 version, which includes now a so called Hi-Torque Motor with around 35.000rpm (and 9mm steel bearings, 18AWG copper cables, M120 spring and chromed piston and piston head) – coincidence?
For ourselfs we did change the typical Tamiya plug with a DEAN plug for max. conductivity. (Pro-tip!)
Typical LCT and most Airsoftguns the SR-3 got an 14mm negative threaded barrel. In the case of the SR-3 the muzzlebrake ist mandatory to hold the handguard in place – so if you decide to use anothe muzzlebrake then the original one, be sure it is wide enought to keep the handguard in place!
In comparsion, the SR-3m got an special threaded muzzlebrake, which is for the additional silencer attachement – of course below the muzzlebrake there is as well the 14mm neg. thread.
The LCT silencer for the SR-3m is as well 100% steel and makes the gun really front heavy.
Looking back, the SR-3 buttstock was probably the reason why I decided to buy the SR-3 instead of the SR-3m. It folds overhead instead of sideways and therefore does not interfer with the handly of the gun in any way. Also the Safety was more accessible for my tast as well as the chargin handle, but more on that further below. Not to forget that everybod has their own preferences 😀
…here is the littel button (slided to the fron of the SR-3 to unlock) to release it to be extended again. Now you’re probably thinking – DUDE what the Fudge happend to your SR-3? why are there cutouts and those weldspots? Well you should know me by now…i cant restist to modify it for my purpose ^^ more on that later
About that preference with the charging handle withthe SR-3, as I just told before. Pulling the charging handle back revealse under the hopup adjustment and its little tab to adjust it. Since the charging handle is above the barrel in front of the SR-3 it is very easy to pull it back with one hand and make the necessary adjustments with the other hand. Also the space to “work” with the hopup is slightly biggeer with the SR-3 then with the SR-3m.
Please note that the top cover has been removed on this above picture to show the hop up adjustment better! As you can see, you need to bull the bolt back like you would with an AK for e.g. to access the hopup. Which is in my opinion a little harder to to quickly in comparision with the SR-3’s solution or style.
Usually the top cover do cover the little tab to adjust the hop up, which disturbs the process quite (for my big finger at least). The “bolt” also keeps stuck when you pull it with force back – not sure if it is intended or not.
The adjustment itself works like a charm is really easy to manipulate during any skirmish and battle. It also keeps its position pretty good, even after running, jumping and throwing yourself on the ground.
With extended buttstock the Ironsights look like on the picture above and are actually good enough for a great skirmishing experience. You can adjust the front post by screwing it in and out (AK style) and only adjust the the backsight by flipping it between a 100m and 200m setting, which actually moves the cleft a litle higher (in the 200m setting) – obviously the gun does not shoot that far (sadly). It reminds me alot of the AK74SU sights. The ambidextrous charging handles left and right of the ironsight are pretty good to spot as well on the picture.
This is also one of the main difference with the SR-3, which has no possibilities out of the box to attach any optics.
Another difference (and great addition) in comparision with the SR-3 is the the SR-3m frontgrip, which is “hidden” under the handguard and can be release with a push of a button which takes the tension of the locking mechanism.
Red circle indicating the release button. You will probably find yourself playing always with the frontgrip extended, since it is much more comfortable,not to mention that it takes away and possible battery storage place.
Talking about the battery and the SR-3 and SR-3m: This is a real pain in the Ass. LCT has some batteries displayed in the Poster and Manual which comes with the AEG, but you can’t buy it anywhere. So finding a battery which fits is near impossible. They can not exceed 15x25x75mm in size or they will not fit at all. LCT, if you are reading this – bring the batteries to the market!
LCT offer 3 kind of Low cap magazines. 20 round style magazines holding 50 bbs in brown or black sturdy ABS plastic and the newer 30 round style magazines holding 70 bbs made out of stamped steel. Of course there are still the 10 rund style for the VSS, which do fit as well in the SR-3 and SR-3m as they does in the VSS and AS Val made by LCT. I personally prefer the brown 20 round style magazines, which a dusted with matte black color, so they get the real look (not on the picture above).
Just because we can: Here is a size comparision between the WE ACE-VD SVD and the LCT SR-3m with the attache LCT silencer and extended (custom right side folding) buttstock.
Mentioning the custom butstock on the SR-3m with the extenden barrel silencer modification: If I am right this is a all steel custom buttstock from NPO AEG, which we welded on the mounting plate of the original buttstock.
At first I did not bother to have no possibilite to put any optics on the LCT SR-3, but after some games, I kept getting annoyed that i needed often quite a time to get the ironsights quickly aligned to get a good shot. So I came up with an Idea to fix my problems without killing the top foldable buttstock.
First, I cut out the excessive steel on top of the buttsock between the end and the release button.
Since the buttstocks side would get into contact with my choosen optic, I decided to make some arc’s and weld them above the part jamming with the optic.
And boom – I got an Optic on my (ugly) LCT SR-3 😉 The cool thing about those extra welded arc’s, is that I have now a nicer cheekrest for aiming down the gun.
Furthermore I added an additional 22mm rail on the right side of the Handguard for additional tacticool stuff like a camera or lamps (when playing outside of Germany)
Would I buy the LCT SR-3 again? Yes I would, and you know why? Because it works without any problems out of the box. Of course we are only playing it in Semi-Auto and therefor gearbox jams are less likely to appear, but I had no problems in any games so far.
The haptic is great, I reall feel “at home” with the SR-3 in my hands and I like the mags. They are grippy, fits great in my hand and do fit all AK and M4 style pouches – talking about both the 20 round and 30 round style mags. (secret tipp: The 20 round style mags fit perfectly in the Type 81 chinese chest rig, which you can get for 10 bucks off ebay)
Battery consumption is really low. For e.g. I played from December 2015 until March 2016 with only 1 charge (and we had 5 full weekend games during this time) with an 11.1v LiPo with 1400mah. As mentioned before, the non existing fitting battiers is a big no-go and seems to piss off a lot of SR-3 and SR-3m owners around the world.
The small overall size of the AEG is great, it is awesome in any CQB areas or urban style games. Precision until 50m+ is pretty good out of the box. I hit always what I am aiming for.
People keep asking me/us what kind of special AK kit are we using. SR-3 and SR-3m are definitely the eyecatcher when you are out on the field.
If you would put in front of me an AK and the SR-3 and would always go for the SR-3. Maybe because of the “exclusiveness” but also of the great handling it has.
Still on the fence about the SR-3 or SR-3m? you can also go for the VSS or AS-Val – they are all actually more or less the same, but the all steel LCT’s are great and i would recommend an LCT everyday again (and probably E&L is the same, like Realsword – but no personal experience so far)
17.04.2016 – by Logisticz for Gruppa L