Imagine holding this bad boy up over a wall with the stock folded and mag dumping. This kind of airsoft AK gives you an excuse to be the “bad guy” in your airsoft games. The AKS-74U is the quintessential gun of the militia in MilSim West.
Let us tell you that, among the hundreds of guns we brought to the airsoft field, the CYMA AKS-74U, also known as the CM035A, is one of our favorites. Read our CYMA AKS74U review below.
What makes the CYMA AKS-74U unique?
Aside from being a short and compact airsoft AK, this gun sports very nice externals at a great price. While the internals is okay, easily hitting targets out to 125 feet, it is a great compromise between price & external build quality that elevate this airsoft gun from others.
Features and Benefits
This gun features all the usual suspects as a replica of the real carbine including:
- Side folding stock to keep the gun compact
- Short 8-inch barrel
- AK style safety, fire selector, and magazine release tab
- IzhMash muzzle brake
- AKS-74U U-shaped sights
- Rear mounted sling adaptor
These features, plus the performance, marks this as one of the best airsoft guns for beginners.
Material & Construction
This airsoft gun is metal where it matters. The hand guard is real wood (although a faux wood variant is available) giving it that classic militia look.
The included magazine is of the AK74 type (which is less banana-shaped than the AK47 type) in the bakelite reddish-brown coloration.
This gun comes with a full metal receiver, barrel, and folding stock that is very well put together. There is almost no flex or wobbliness from the muzzle break to the end of the buttstock. Even folded, the gun FEELS rock solid.
Hop Up Adjustment
The hop up adjustment is located behind the fake bolt. Just pull back on the handle to reveal the sliding tab. The sliding tab just needs to be moved to the rear to apply more hop. You can expect .20g BB’s to fly around 160-180 feet in distance. Check out our range tests further down below.
Internally, the CYMA AKS-74U is about what you can expect from CYMA – which is servicable, especially as an entry level airsoft gun. The Version 3 gearbox is not bad at all with mostly plastic compression parts and an M120 spring. We’re generally impressed with CYMA gears, and this one is no exception.
The AK-style hop up unit is about what you’d expect: classic nub and rubber bucking. We do rather enjoy the sliding tab over the usual dials more commonly seen in the AR15 style of airsoft guns.
Lastly, the brass 6.08mm inner barrel is 280mm long, which is to say it is VERY short. You could, theoretically, install a longer barrel and a new barrel shroud for some more distance (although be sure to install an appropriately vented cylinder if you do so).
Honestly, it’s fairly standard and meets expectations for a $200 airsoft gun.
How has it held up after 1,500 rounds? Pretty decent actually. We ensured that our motor height was good to go before really taking it to the field. It shoots about as well as it did when we first bought it years ago.
We both love and hate AK style airsoft magazines. On one hand, they have a HUGE capacity (600 rounds in this case), and on the other hand they are prone to wobbling, especially side to side. Periodically, if you’re supporting against a rock or door frame, the magazine will misfeed.
We found a magwell grip often solves this issue, but it would be better if it wasn’t a problem
The battery compartment is located on the top, and it is tight squeeze, even for the intended 8.4v NiMH stick batteries. We found that many smaller 7.4v LiPo batteries don’t fit in this compartment, either.
Personally, we used this specific 11.1v LiPo (which can void the warranty due to how strong the battery is, as the higher 11.1v will burn out contacts faster). We did try to use it with an 8.4v NiMH battery… and it disappointed us.
We prefer the higher performance of the stronger LiPo batteries, and are more than willing to do fixes ourselves. If you don’t want the extra wear and tear, then consider a 7.4v LiPo battery instead, as we’re fairly certain a 9.6v NiMH stick won’t fit.
This is the fun part of our CYMA AKS-74U review. Here’s a quick breakdown of the technical specs of this airsoft AEG:
|Semi-Auto and Full-Auto
|Tokyo Marui AK Single Piece Style
|Inner Barrel Length
|19.6 inches (folded) & 28.9 inches (extended)
We put this AEG through the paces and are aiming to determine the following:
- Average shot placement at combat distances
- Average RPS (rounds per second) also known as the rate of fire
- FPS Consistency
The following are the parameters of our testing:
- Stock CYMA CM035A
- Stock CYMA 600 Round high cap
- Maintenance performed included cleaning the hop up unit, inner barrel, and bucking.
- Adjusted the hop up as close as we could to point of aim, point of impact at 75 feet.
- 68 degrees temperature
- Outside range with some wind
- 0.25g BBs (Elite Force Brand)
- Actionunion Airsoft Chronograph E9800-X
Accuracy at combat distances
We chose 75 feet and 125 feet as our standard combat distances typically seen by airsoft players. The gun is accurate enough within 75 feet that you should be able to hit anything you want.
We gauged the groupings by measuring the distance between the two furthest shots in a single group. Each group was done with 8 shots in semi auto.
Click to see the Chart & Results
75 Feet Test – grouping measured in inches
125 Feet Test – grouping measured in inches
It’s pretty clear that the short barrel affects the effective range of this airsoft gun. By 125 feet you’re starting to lose the ability to place hits on man-sized targets. Granted, the wind did seem to affect our got placements.
In our opinion, one of the first upgrades you’d want is for accuracy. I’m sure stabilizing the inner barrel & getting a flat-hop & high quality bucking would do wonders for effective range.
Rate of Fire Testing (RPS)
Sometimes you just need accuracy through firepower, right? In a world where a single BB is all it takes – just flinging hundreds of them at the target is just what you need.
We don’t need to include a set of tables for this one as on an 11.1V battery we were consistently getting 23 Rounds per second. This is good enough, as far as we’re concerned, especially for an entry level airsoft gun.
We often test for FPS consistency since it tells us how tuned the air compression is. We did not open the gearbox yet for this test, so this is one factory stock numbers:
What we found was that the FPS variance after doing a full magazine dump was quite decent. The lowest FPS we saw on our chronograph was 396 FPS on .20 BB’s. The highest we recorded was 402 FPS. That is less than a 10 FPS difference, which is not too bad in our opinion.
By the numbers: Pros & Cons
While we may not place this gun as one of the best beginner choices for AK’s, it is definitely a fun gun to shoot.
- Incredibly compact design
- Fairly reliable internals
- Full metal body w/ real wood furniture
- AK magazines have larger capacity than the M4 style magazines
- Side dovetail mount for Russian style optics
- Short barrel definitely affects the range
- 8.4v Battery RPS is lacking
- Tiny battery space
Other Reviews: At A Glance
Should you buy the CYMA AKS-74U?
If you’re in the market for an AK and you’re not terribly concerned with getting the best performance for every dollar, then this is going to be a GREAT buy. The sheer FUN factor of using this “bad guy” gun cannot be understated.
We do have one recommendation: If you can afford the extra $20, we do recommend going with the CM045A version of this gun instead of the CM035A. The CM045A has pre-upgraded internals making the gun perform just a bit better.
However, if you end up with the CM035A we’re certain that you’ll, like many other airsoft players, have loads of fun playing with it.
Personally, we’ve had so much fun with this gun that we list it as the best budget airsoft AK for our best airsoft guns list.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is CYMA a good brand?
We like to think of CYMA as a good brand for beginners