[ENG]Review: ICS KORTH PRS
Review of the new airsoft pistol KORTH PRS from ICS Airsoft under an exclusive license from Begadi.
First of all many thanks to ICS Airsoft and Begadi for the support and for providing the ICS KORTH PRS for my review. And also many thanks to Airsoftcenter Allgäu, where some of the pictures were taken during a game day. Before we start, I'd like to make a comment on my own behalf - I'm ICS Captain 2019, but that doesn't affect my honest opinion about the strengths and weaknesses of the product.
My reviews are often quite detailed because I try to provide as much information as possible about the product. Since everyone has other preferences, here is an overview of the topics, so that you can scroll directly to the relevant part:
Unboxing and first impressions
I had the chance to get a first look at the KORTH PRS at the IWA 2019. For me, it was one of the most exciting pistols in 2019 - a licensed model from the German manufacturer KORTH, which stands for quality and high value as an Airsoft version? This could be worth a review!
And a few months later, the KORTH PRS is finally available at Begadi and I have the chance to take a closer look at it. As Willi Korth already said:
"It's always been something special to own a KORTH!"
And I was very curious if this could also be said of the airsoft version. Begadi owns the worldwide exclusive license for airsoft replicas from KORTH and the PRS has been produced by ICS Airsoft. The real steel model costs between 4.000 to 5.000 EUR. Compared to that the Airsoft Pistol is quite cheap for a price of 169 to 229 EUR (August 2019). Begadi offers two versions - with and without a compensator. The review is for the standard version without the compensator.
Note about the pictures in the review:
When I received the pistol, I had a game day on the following day and took the chance to play with it to get some insights for the review. Because of that, you might see some traces of use on the pics.
As already mentioned, the KORTH PRS is available in two versions at Begadi:
ICS KORTH PRS GBB, regular for 169 EUR
ICS KORTH PRS GBB, XL version with a compensator for 229 EUR
The differenence is simple - the version with the compensator is a bit longer and Begadi uses a 112 mm tuning barrel. The compensator manufactured by Retro Arms is available in two versions (with and without holes). The XL version is available worldwide exclusively at Begadi and the design with the compensator is based on the Real Steel version (see the website of Korth).
The "regular" version has an 85 mm barrel and these are the basic features:
Korth Licensed 1:1 Scale Metal Receivers
REVO High Performance Valve System
Fire Control system compatible with TM spec
Steel made components.
SUS301 Stainless Steel Searing Spring
Double Safety Function (thumb, grip)
3-dot Luminous Sights
Aftermarket 1911 Grip Plate Compatible
Incl. CCW 14mm Barrel Adapter
The PRS weighs 545g without magazine and with 779g. One magazine holds 15 BBs and like the ICS BLE XAE it has an 11mm positive thread (CW) in the external barrel. It has between 0.5 - 0.6 Joule.
Unboxing and first impressions
The gun comes in a black box. The original KORTH lettering in red with their claim "Living Passion" in gold on the top. Additionally, there is a seal of Begadi on the packaging, which makes it a "Licensed Product". On the sites, you will find various logos of ICS and the exact product name including model number. On the bottom of the carton, there are several disclaimers printed in several languages.
The following things are included in the box:
Adapter from11 to 14mm
User Manual (incl. parts diagram)
Everything is protected by a layer of foam at the top and bottom and additional bubble wrap in which the pistol is packed.
I also ordered the wooden grip plates, which I attached directly. They are available at Begadi for 44,90 EUR (August 2019).
My first impression was a little "wow". The pistol looks and feels very well valuable and nothing rattles. The slide can be pulled back smoothly and there are no visible gaps. It has a very clean black finish, which is a little coarser. The weight with the magazine very pleasant and well balanced. Compared to the real model, it weighs about 400g less.
The body is licensed 1:1 from KORTH. The markings are very similar to the real steel version and there are no additional manufacturer logos from ICS. Only the importer, the caliber and the F in the pentagon can be found in a quiet discreet place on the trigger guard (this information on an airsoft replica above 0.5 Joule is required by law in Germany).
The markings in detail:
The "KORTH" lettering is on the left side of the slide.
On the front is the writing "Waffenfabrik Korth Germany" and behind it on a small silver plate the serial number.
Under the trigger guard is the F in the pentagon. The information about the importer "BEGADI", the caliber "Cal. 6mm BB" and "PRS". I like the positioning because it is hardly noticeable compared to other guns.
As mentioned before, the slide can be pulled back soft as butter. The fit is exceptionally good, nothing clatters and the stability is additionally increased by the fixed barrel.
If you pull the slide back, you will find a lot of grease on the outer barrel. I don't know why, but one reason could be to avoid the noise that you can hear if you pull back the slide. The slide and barrel create a noise that somehow doesn't fit the great workmanship and haptic. I tried other grease and PTFE dry lubricant spray to get rid of the noise, but it didn't work. If the noise bothers you, it will be necessary to grind the outer barrel a bit with a greasy paper. No big deal at the end.
Important: Despite the noise, the slide runs absolutely smoothly and you don't get the feeling that something is rubbing.
The slide catch works flawlessly when the magazine is empty and you can easily reach the slide stop with your thumb to release it again.
The pistol has an adjustable trigger. This can be adjusted directly with the appropriate allen key using a grub screw. By screwing it in you shorten the trigger travel. Personally, I don't really notice any difference, but if you want to tickle out a few more percents of the performance, you have the possibility.
What I like a lot are the design of the trigger and the trigger guard. The shape is picked up and the small nose on the guard gives the pistol an aggressive look. The shape also supports the handling of the gun with both hands.
The KORTH PRS has a classic 3-point sight. Fluorescent paint was applied, which supports the sighting in darker surroundings. The sights are screwed to the slide from below with a screw.
As I mentioned at the beginning, one of the first things I did was changing the grip plates and I installed the separately available wooden ones. Compared to the standard plastic plates they improve the look and feel extremely. The replacement could be easily done, you just have to loosen two screws on each side and you can change the plates.
Here is an overview of the two options (Copyright ICS Airsoft):
The wooden grip plates are made of red sandalwood (Pterocarpus santalinus) and belong to the highest quality wood for furniture in ancient China, the Ching / Manchu dynasty. The wood originally should be used by a weapon manufacturer for the stock of their weapons, but something came in between and so ICS took the chance and used it for the wooden grip plates of the KORTH PRS.
The pistol has a 20 mm tactical rail. It has a length of approx. 6 cm and offers 4 positions.
A special feature of the KORTH PRS is the fixed barrel. In could help to improve precision because there are fewer moving parts during shooting. It also supports the haptic of the pistol, because you will have no wobbling.
Everything is made of metal and the outer barrel has an internal thread with a diameter of 11 mm. As a player, I welcome this very much, but it is a positive thread and so I can't attach for example my tracer (XCortech XT301) directly.
I have to use the adapter of the tracer plus the included adapter from ICS. This leads to an increase in length and is not the best solution. It would be much better if the thread would be the other way around so that you can use the common tracers without adapters.
The mag release works without any problems. When the mag release is pressed, the magazine falls out immediately. As with the original model, the mag release button is just a small round button. People with smaller hands may have problems reaching it directly with their thumb.
Inserting the magazine didn't work so smoothly in the beginning. I had to use more force or press the mag release button when inserting it. At the end of the first matchday, the problem didn't occur anymore and I was able to insert the magazine without any problems. Unfortunately, the finish on the magazine suffered a bit and I had some scratched on it.
One magazine holds a total of 15 BBs and therefore the KORTH PRS is more suitable as a secondary weapon or you have to change a lot of magazines depending on your play style. Usually, I'm using magazines with 25 BBs upwards in my other pistols and I could notice the difference.
The filling is done through a small hole and with a Speedloader and gloves it might get difficult to fill in the BBs. Maybe I just have to get used of it, but I prefer a wider opening to reload faster.
A special feature are the REVO valves, which are used in the mags of the KORTH PRS. The filling valve has a kind of "venting", which means that air escapes from the magazine during filling and you notice that the magazine is fully filled with gas if it escapes. It might be a bit unfamiliar at the beginning, but quite practical in the end because you know exactly when the magazine is completely full and with more gas in the mag, more shots can be fired.
The outlet valve has adjustment possibilities to regulate the gas flow. When you turn it out, more gas can escape and it could increase the energy and when you turn it in again, the other way round.
To get to the internals you have to remove the magazine and then pull the slide back so that the cut-outs are above the slide stop. Then you can pull it out and pull the slide forward. This takes 2 seconds, so you can quickly get to the hop-up or the other internals.
Some internals are made of steel and therefore more durable than parts made of aluminium or other materials. Here is an overview with all steel parts:
In addition, some parts are compatible with TM, so you have additional alternatives. These are:
I was able to check the Hop-Up Unit, the bucking and the inner barrel myself. I read in forums that some grip plates might need some rework for a perfect fitting.
Internals in detail
The parts inside were heavily greased. If necessary, the gun can be cleaned very quickly.
The Hop-Up chamber is very well crafted and I would rate it on a level with Maple Leaf's for the 1911s. The hop-up wheel is easy to rotate, but fits so tightly that you don't have to worry about any unwanted changes. To adjust it, it is necessary to remove the slide.
Begadi offers various tuning options. Qualitatively an update is the unit of Dynamic Precision. But quality has its price and the unit is quiet expensive. At the end the unit has to seal well, everything has to be tight and the hop-up arm must press consistent on the bucking - everything that the unit from ICS fulfills.
The bucking provides good results in terms of precision and range. If required, it can be changed with other TM compatible GBB buckings. Begadi offers also various options.
I usually use Maple Leaf buckings in my GBBs. They always improve the precision, often the range, and usually seal better. With the KORTH PRS I would use a very soft bucking with 50°. Maple Leaf rubbers are available in different versions (Wonder, Autobot, Deception) and to be honest I can't tell you the strengths and weaknesses of them. According to the description Autobot is designed for more distance, Decepticon for more precision and Wonder for more of both. Since I can't decide, I just took the Wonder. Please note that a new bucking takes about 500 shots until it performs really good.
A 6.03 mm tuning barrel with a length of 85 mm is installed. At the front of the barrel there is a slight notch with an embedded O-ring, which acts like a spacer. This helps that the inner barrel sits very well in the outer barrel.
Begadi is installing a 112 mm tuning barrel into the XL version. You can also replace the existing barrel with a tighter or longer barrel, which may increase precision and energy, but I'm really satisfied with the standard barrel and it's no mandatory upgrade.
Nozzle and blowback unit
One thing you might recognize if you shoot with the KORTH PRS is the blow out of gas at the back. I'm not talking about regular blowouts, but stronger ones, which you might get if you use it in lower temperatures. The reason is the combination of the blowback unit, pistonhead and nozzle, which don't seal perfectly in all environments. A result can be inconsistend Joule/FPS.
Begadi spends a lot of time to offer players a good solution, if they have the problem. The result is a combination of Guarder's CNC Alu Housing with the Deep Fire Bubo Scandi Dyna Pistonhead. This combination seals much better in combination with the standard nozzle and provides more consistency (see the test in the next section). For the installation, Begadi has to adjust the unit slightly, but the result is very positive and a clear recommendation for the tuning from Begadi's workshop!
I did various tests with different combinations to test performance and consistency. I used three setups:
Stock with an upgrade of the gas router in the magazine (Nineball)
Guarder BBU with Bubo Pistonhead and Nineball gas router in the magazine
It has been tested with 0.25g BBs at a temperature of 25 degrees and the Swiss Arms Extreme Gas with a fast shot cycle:
In the first test series "Stock" the energy has an average of 0.66 Joule. There is a strong inconsistency of 0.11 Joule between the lowest and highest value. 29 BBs can be shot with one gas filling.
The second test series with the installed Nineball Gas Router in the magazine shows very similar results. The energy has increased to an average of 0.72 joules and the variation between the lowest and highest value is almost identical at 0.10 Joules. You can shoot 3 BBs more with one gas filling. The result indicates that the gas flow and seal between magazine and nozzle are improved by the gas router from Nineball.
For the last test, I tried the recommended blowback unit from Guarder with the Bubo Pistonhead. This reduced the energy to an average of 0.65 Joule, but improved the consistency a lot! I had a variation between the lowest and highest value of just 0.02 Joule. That's pretty impressive. I could even fire more BBs - a total of 35 BBs (compared to "Stock" with 29) per filling. From my perspective the tuning is absolutely worth, if you want a really good performance..
On the next day, I took the pistol directly to a match at the Airsoftcenter Allgäu. It's a CQB field in the south of Germany and offers perfect conditions for playing with a pistol.
It didn't take long and I had my first hits with the KORTH, before I ran out of ammunition. I have a rather aggressive play style and I'm used to putting the opponent under pressure with a few shots. I had no problem with the cooldown, even with the faster shooting, but the magazine with 15 BBs is empty very fast.
Because of the small mag capacity the KORTH PRS is better suited as a backup from my point of view, if you don't have so many magazines. In the second half of the day I played it as secondary and it worked very well. The handling was great and I also like the holster from Begadi. No wobbling, many adjustment possibilities and you can pull the pistol quickly. It is a special hard shell holster made from Kydex, in which all versions of the Korth PRS fit and which you can buy at Begadi for 19,90 EUR (August 2019).
The KORTH PRS is a great replica of the real steel version. For collectors it is very interesting because of the KORTH license and markings. The interchangeable grip plates create many possibilities for individualization and players get an extraordinary and unseen model. The main parts for precision are TM compatible and there are many alternatives on the aftermarket. The steel internals make it a complete package.
For the best performance, a few adjustments are necessary, such as the replacement of the blowback unit and the piston head. I'm not the biggest fan of the small mag capacity and filling hole for the BBs, especially if you were gloves. You can get rid of the noise of the slide with some sandpaper and then you will have a great pistol which is satisfying collectors and players!
Recommended for all who want something other than a HiCapa or Glock. Especially interesting for collectors because of the license of KORTH, but also for every player, if you do some small tuning.
+ TM compatibility
+ Internals made of steel
+ Spare part availability on the part of Begadi/ICS Airsoft
+ REVO valves
- Noise when loading through
- Magazine capacity of 15 BBs
- Filling magazine through a small hole
- Consistency without upgrade
Additional products from the review: