Gearbox V2 vs V3 – Clash of Titans, part 1.


Gearbox V2 vs V3

The Internet is full of opinions concerning V2 gearbox – that it is hard for servicing, that it’s not reliable, that the gearbox shell can break only being looked at… Really, there’s a lot of such opinions. But how often do you see DMR based on V3? Very rarely. Most of so-called airsoft tech “specialists” love V3. V3 is praised as indestructible and always reliable, and that is supposed to be its main advantage.

What is the origin of such opinions? I will try to answer that question.

First of all – the “number” of gearbox has got nothing to do with the level of technical advancement, it is used only to describe different versions of the same system. First electric replica from Tokyo Marui was Famas where they used GB V1. Then there were some copies of AR15 where they used GB V2 and so on. 99% of designs available in the market comes from TM so their way of numbering was widely accepted. And when Chinese manufacturers started copying technical solutions of TM, everything remained as in the original ones – numbers included.

If we want to understand the design of both versions, their applications and how to use them, we need to learn something about basic differences. First of all – GB V2 can be found in copies of AR15 system, while V3 can be seen in copies of AK and G36. There is a popular belief (at least in Poland) that your first replica should cost around 120 EUR and should be one of the latter. The way I see it, the main reason of such opinions is a fact that it is really hard to find good AR15 for such money and it shouldn’t be made of plastic, because it’s going to break. I don’t think that we should look only at gearbox type when dealing with such dilemma. We should look at whole system and everything around gearbox that makes our replica shoot (or not). But first things first.

Let’s start from basic differences between V2 and V3. To be honest… there aren’t that many. All parts like:

  • Gears
  • Cylinder
  • Piston head
  • Piston
  • Bearings
  • Antireversal

are common for both systems. Separate parts are:

  • Cylinder head
  • Nozzle
  • Tappet plate

And we need to remember that there are some distinctive differences inside V3 family, between AK and G36. For example the nozzle. Even cylinder heads can sometimes be different (depending on the manufacturer).

The separate thing is electric system. In V3 it is located generally on the outside – a fact that causes great excitement among your airsoft techs, because they can change the wires or install the mosfet without opening the gearbox. In V2 the system is inside GB. What is more, in V3 the motor is located in kind of “nest” attached to GB and it is much more stable than in AR15 system, where it is generally a separate part located outside GB. And we should have in mind that such solution can be found almost exclusively in V2 – in many other popular replicas like M249, Tavor or P90 motor is integral part of gearbox. Of course there are exceptions like SIG55X and its copies based on TM system, where we have GB V3 but without motor nest.

There are also differences in the construction of gearbox shell. First of all we have to be aware of one simple fact – V2 has never been designed to work on FPS level that we currently use. Legal restrictions in Japan are set to about 300 FPS and TM replicas were designed to follow those restrictions. That is one of the reasons why V2 had kind of bad opinion, at least in the beginnings. Chinese manufacturers mindlessly copied ready solutions, but made their replicas with 400 FPS and used low quality components. But those times are long gone. The awareness and approach to the question of quality is now much different among Chinese manufacturers… But that’s something for another time.

So those are the most basic differences between V2 and V3. But they don’t make our replica reliable or accurate. In the next part we will move to more advanced questions like position of gearbox in the body, stabilization, support of GB, type of chamber… But that something for another time.


Part two | Part three


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