[REVIEW] ICS - Par Mk3 review



The Par Mk3 is a licensed EBB (Electric Blowback Rifle) by ICS. It comes in many different versions and with the advantageous split gearbox, allowing to satisfy every gameplay style and need.


ProArms Armory is a firearms manufacturer from Czech Republic, ICS Airsoft is now offering their Par Mk3 in many (16!) different, full metal, electrical versions.

Differences among versions are in the color (black or tan), the stock (MTR or Crane Stock), the inner barrel length (263,  375 or 420 mm) and the handguard size (4 different sizes).

In the Par Mk3 the Taiwanese ICS is offering again its split gearbox, which is the main and most interesting feature of this beautiful EBB.


Unboxing:

The Par Mk3 comes in a nice and captivating black box.

The box looks like being a standard ICS package: the ICS logo is on the top, on the sides you can find logos about the different ICS series (CXP, Combat Boy, and so on); the Par Mk3 brand is actually on a sticker attached at the side of the box.

When you open the package you are glad to see your nice EBB, anyway, disappointment is inevitable as the Par Mk3 is accommodated in very cheap plastic (just some foam is on the top): I actually expected more from a product that is priced mid-high range, sure the plastic  cannot give an high level of protection against blows or falls.

In the package you also get some BBs (just an handful), a 300 rounds hi-cap magazine, a tool for removing/installing the outer barrel, additional fuses (this is good) and the instruction manual.

Instructions on the manual are about the essentials; sometimes you notice little translation errors (like telling that by rotating the hop-up wheel down you decrease the hop-up: actually you increase it).

The box is equipped with a carry handle, but you definitely have to get a better case for transporting and, in particular, protecting the replica.



Externals:

The full metal body of the Par Mk3 feels good in the hands;  it is actually quite heavy (ranging from 3040 to 3320 g, depending on the version), but it is something expected from a full metal replica.

The EBB is solid and there is no wobble on the handguard, as well as on the stock. There is actually a little wobble between the lower and upper receiver: nothing serious, but fussy airsofters could have something to complain about (please note that the issue could be actually connected only to the Par Mk3 that has been tested).

Painting on the metal parts is well done and it gives a serious, high-end appearance to the replica. Unfortunately, the logo is not engraved (as in the real version).

The grip, the stock, the ambidextrous sling plate, the flip-up sights, the ambidextrous charging handle and the metal flash hider are produced and designed by ICS; of course it is a matter of taste, anyway, in my opinion they look great!

The grip is very ergonomic and the flip-up sights are maybe the best I have ever tried on an airsoft gun.

The stock has no wobble at all and, in case you are choosing a Par Mk3 with the MTR stock, you will sacrifice space for battery storage (you will have to insert the battery in the buffer tube), but you will get a light, high adjustable stock with bilateral sling swivel attachment points. By the way: if you wear a mask during airsoft matches, a MTR stock is better than a Crane Stock, as it is narrow and it makes it easier to take aim.

Last but not least: handguard, reinforced outer barrel, flash hider and (dummy) gas block can be disassembled, something that adds realism to this replica and gives possibility for modifications.



Internals:

As already said, the Par Mk3 comes with a split gearbox.

The upper gearbox shell can be easily extracted by lifting up the upper receiver and pulling the charging handle.

There are just 4 screws to unscrew and you have to remove the bolt cover (2 tiny screws block it) in order to open the upper gearbox shell.

Pay attention when unscrewing the tiny screws blocking the bolt cover: it is quite easy to ruin the drive, unless you use a proper screwdriver.

The upper gearbox is separated from gears and electrical cables, it includes spring, plastic spring guide, cylinder, reinforced polymer piston with metal teeth, piston head, plastic tappet plate and plastic nozzle (the only proprietary part). The benefits are straightforward: if you need to change the spring or do a modification, it will be very easy to do so. Again, fussy airsofters could complain about the plastic spring guide and nozzle: they both could have been made out of metal actually.

Lower and upper gearbox are well done, grease is distributed properly on the full metal gears and, even if it is not sold as a PTW (professional training weapon), you will notice that the Par Mk3 is a step further compared to a standard AEG (or EBB).

The replica is provided with a spring tension release function: when you switch the fire selector on safe, the spring tension will be automatically released.

The hop-up is full metal, more durable and reliable compared to the plastic version in previous ICS products; it also allows to sustain properly a massive ROF (in case you are upgrading the EBB).

The tight bore inner barrel has a 6.04 mm diameter, allowing for a very good accuracy.

In the grip you will find an ICS 3000 Turbo Motor. It is a long type high torque/speed motor, capable to move  airsoft guns with 480 fps (about 1.6 Joule) power; at least this is what technical data provided by retailers say.



Battery:

This is actually a weak point of this replica.

Unless you are getting a Crane Stock version, you will have to insert the battery in the buffer tube.

The Par Mk3 buffer tube is actually a little shorter than that of a standard M4, hence you will have some more difficulties in finding a proper sized battery.

Changing the stock is not an option, as the buffer tube has proprietary measures: I tried to install a standard M4 stock, but it doesn’t fit.

Hence, you get the MTR or Crane Stock by ICS, or you get the new ICS MTR S1 (sold separately).

ICS recommends to use a battery with 9.6 V (or lower voltage), in case you have a M100 spring; with harder springs it should be actually possible to employ 11.1 V Lipo batteries and, in fact, some retailers states that the Par Mk3 can work with such high voltage batteries.

In my Par Mk3, with M100 spring, I employ 9.9 V LiFe batteries from Action Batteries: they work great and the trigger is very responsive; the batteries are also sized properly for the Par Mk3 buffer tube.

As a last thing, you also have to mention the rubber block you have on the buffer tube: what has it to do with the battery?

It is clearly a block that avoids to adjust the stock too close to the receiver, thus compressing excessively the battery and the power connector.

As you probably are considering: it is not possible to adjust the stock close to the receiver without compressing the power connector, as the connector sticks out from the buffer tube.



Electric Blow Back mechanism:

Sure this replica can get your attention thanks to its electrical blow back feature.

Let’s make it clear: you won’t feel the kick.

Sure it is a nice feature and you can see and hear the bolt cover move, but you won’t get something as a Tokyo Marui Next-Gen or a Bolt Airsoft gun.

Actually, if you are concerned about precision, please note that the absence of a kick won’t affect your accuracy when shooting full-auto and you don’t have to keep the EBB steady.



The magazine:

The EBB comes with a 300 rounds hi-cap magazine. It is made of plastic, it is light and has a side window that allows to see how many BBs are left in the magazine.

I have tried 5 of these magazines and they work as they are expected to do; in case of problems, they are easy to open and repair, their mechanism is similar to standards M4 hi-cap magazines.

By the way, ICS also offers a low–cap version (45 rounds).

Compatibility with other brands is questionable: I have tried them on a G&G “Tr4 Mod 0” and they don’t work; on the contrary, my “G&G 120rd GR16 Mid-Cap Magazines” can be employed with the Par Mk3.












Performance and reliability:

Some ICS users were complaining about the spring release function failing and breaking after a while.

The “CXP-UK1” has been the first ICS product equipped with the spring release function on the fire selector (on previous products it was installed in the forward assist); it is presumable that new products (like the UK1 and the Par Mk3) are not affected by any issue.

I have played for months with my Par Mk3 and until now the spring release function works perfectly, as well as the hop-up, the magazine, and the EBB itself.

When I have adjusted the hop-up, I noticed that the hop-up wheel works great, but you need to rotate it long in order to have the desired adjustment; when you have found the right adjustment BBs fly straight and you will notice with pleasure that accuracy is high (both in semi and full auto).

The magazine provided with the replica works well and there are no feeding problems.

Switching from semi to full automatic hasn’t presented any issue until now; my Par Mk3 has always fired and there haven’t been jams.

It is actually one of the few times, and I am very glad about it, that an airsoft gun shows itself so reliable.

ROF is very high (not exceptional) and the replica fires consistently; please note that ROF can vary depending on the battery and the spring you employ.

The 3000 Turbo Motor definitely works well and I haven’t experienced any overheating issue until now; in hindsight, the grip bottom cap allows great ventilation.













Final words:

Whether you are looking for a compact CQB weapon, a carbine rifle or a DMR, the ICS Par Mk3 serie can offer you a suitable, out of the box solution.

I have got the short version, as I was looking for a more versatile weapon, which can be employed effectively in CQB, as well in the wood.

Accuracy is not a matter with the Par Mk3 serie; unless you want to play as a sniper, you don’t have to care about the inner barrel length: just get your preferred Par Mk3 version and, actually, you can always change the inner barrel if you wish.

The split gearbox is definitely the main reason for buying this replica: modifications and spring change are easy and quick; if you get a second upper gearbox you can have, for instance, an upper gearbox that supplies power under 1 Joule, and the other one above 1 Joule: according to local laws or the environment you are playing in, you will have the chance to set your Par Mk3 power properly.

This EBB is definitely a very good choice; airsofters on the field will ask you about it and notice that it has a great look. Sure they will be impressed then they see its performance.

Price could be an issue, which also depends on the country in which your retailer is located (for instance Switzerland, with a CHF 520.- retail price).

However, with the Par Mk3 you are not getting a standard AEG; unless you are considering a PTW (a Systema, or a questionable Chinese PTW), sure the Par Mk3 is a product that can give you added value an features.