Tokyo Marui 1911 Review (4.3 / 5.1 / Hi-Capa) – How does a Plastic Pistol Perform in a Full Metal World?

Tokyo Marui’s 1911 line is perhaps one of the most venerated gas blow back lines currently available. Allow us to elaborate.

Tokyo Marui is a legendary airsoft manufacturer. Based out of Japan, their airsoft products have a quality of build to them that, only recently, their competitors in Taiwan, China, and the US have been able to approach.

One of our writers has played well over 500 airsoft games and had inherited an old Tokyo Marui M9 from a friend who was leaving the hobby.

The performance of that TM M9 was… okay. It did, however, encourage him to finally try out a Tokyo Marui 1911 and he found that the 1911 line is made vastly superior to the M9 line.

Tokyo Marui 1911 MEU / 4.3 / 5.1 / Hi-Capa Review

Since then he’s owned both types of Tokyo Marui 1911’s (Hi-Capa and standard slim style) and has brought them out to over a hundred casual airsoft games plus some MILSIM operations. Soon after he looked into the custom aftermarket parts world and never came back out of that hole.

Allow us to show you why TM 1911’s are considered some of the best in the world in the best way possible… with data. We will be assessing these pistols based on the following components:

  • General Accuracy
  • FPS Consistency
  • Gas Consumption Efficiency

The History of the Tokyo Marui 1911

Did you know, Tokyo Marui did not actually start off as an airsoft company?

To understand a bit about the TM line of gas blow back 1911’s, you’ll need to look at the history of the company itself. Originally, TM was a general manufacturer and designer for general toy designs including small pvc planes, walking hand thriller toys, wind up toys, and the like.

In 1985, they built the Luger P-08, one of the very first airsoft pistols firing 6mm BB’s. It… wasn’t the great quality, especially if compared to today’s airsoft pistols, however for the time it was a unique product.

Next came the S&W M59, which was a gas blow back design that didn’t end up surviving, but it paved the way for the HP Browning gas blow back pistol.

For a while, they only made products in the pistol and submachine gun range until they started manufacturing the AEG lines and pioneering the design of modern airsoft electric guns.

Come today, where their products are still considered legendary in both their historical contributions as well as the quality of their product.

The 1911 line of TM pistols quickly became one of the most popular, if not the most popular, designs in the airsoft world. The number of aftermarket parts for the 1911 line is staggering with upgrade parts for, effectively, every single component of the TM.

Some even argue that by the time you’ve spent an additional $200 – $300 on aftermarket parts, your 1911 is really no longer a TM.

Two types of 1911

The main thing to know here is that there are actually 2 types of Tokyo Marui 1911’s:

Standard Size– These most imitate the famous .45 single stack pistol with its thin frame and magazine.

Tokyo Marui slim style magazine for 1911
This is a “slim” 1911 magazine. Note: It is more true to the actual single stack 1911 magazine.

Hi-Capa – These 1911’s are basically the same as far as the slide is concerned. However, the frame & magazine is significantly fatter, which allows for a larger BB magazine capacity as well as a larger gas reservoir. Is there a real steel version of this? Sort of, as there does exist double stack 1911’s, but do they match the Hi-Capa in size? We can’t confirm as we don’t personally own any double-stack 1911’s.

Tokyo Marui Hi Capa Magazine
This is a Hi-Capa magazine – not just how much wider it is than the normal “slim” magazine.

In addition to these two types, you also have two slide lengths:

5.1 – this is the standard M1911 slide length.

Full-Size 5.1 1911 by Tokyo Marui
This 1911 has the standard barrel length (5.1)

4.3 – this is a shorter more compact slide.

4.3 Short 1911 for AIrsoft by TM
This 1911 has the shorter barrel length (4.3)

What type of TM 1911 should I get? A standard one, or a Hi-Capa?

The truth here is that it’ll depend. We often as airsoft players to try holding the gun in their hands to determine if a Hi-Capa or a standard size 1911 is more comfortable. We personally enjoy firing both, and in terms of sheer performance, we found that the Hi-Capa’s expanded gas tank is important in regards to how many shots you’ll get before needing a new fill.

In regards to length, we don’t really think there’s a big difference between the 5.1 and 4.3 aside from aesthetics.

Most pistols are already so short that the difference in length doesn’t really matter (especially single we’re not attempting to do any conceal carry).

With that said, if we had to be pushed to a recommendation: we would recommend a standard-sized 1911 with a 5.1 barrel and slim style frame. This is because this is closer to the actual 1911 and would provide the most realistic feel (if you don’t mind the plastic frame & slide).

However, you want to go with PURE performance, then go with the Hi-Capa.

Features & Benefits

The Tokyo Marui 1911’s main feature – and drawback – is the entirely plastic construction. Outside of that, however, is the absolutely immaculate construction quality. Each internal part installed on a TM is well-engineered and precisely placed giving great performance.

Material & Construction

So, upon picking up a Tokyo 1911 you’ll find that despite it being made of plastic you can feel the solid construction. Frankly, it doesn’t feel as good as the top-tier full metal pistols out there, but for an all-plastic gun, it still has some heft.

In terms of stock durability, we’ve fired about 1,000 rounds out of our TM 1911 5.1 and have not had a single failure to feed or failure to fire. This isn’t as stress tested as some of our other pistols (some we’ve fired 4,000+ rounds), but the performance we were getting at 1,000 rounds is still impressive.

Tokyo Marui 1911 MEU Image

External

The external build of the Tokyo Marui 1911’s is entirely made of ABS plastic. This brings some advantages and some disadvantages. For starters, having a lightweight slide ensures a very high cyclic rate meaning that the gun is SNAPPY when you pull the trigger.

It is difficult to describe exactly why SNAPPY is good – but we can say that it helps keep the airsoft pistol fun to shoot while also keeping up with rapid fire discharges.

Plastic vs Full Metal Slide

This is a question often asked when comparing Japanese airsoft guns to the ones manufactured in Taiwan or China. The main thing to know is that a plastic slide does come with some advantages:

  • Snappy blowback
  • Faster cyclic rate
  • More gas efficient

It also comes with some disadvantages too:

  • The slide is less durable
  • Pistol feels a bit too light
  • External upgrades are trickier to install
  • It doesn’t quite look right

Other External Components

You’ll find TM 1911’s come in all sorts of different packages. The one we use is the “1911 MEU” version that includes low profile Novak sights, front and rear cocking serrations, ambidextrous external safeties, extended beavertail, and a skeletonized trigger and hammer.

Some other TM 1911’s packages will include additional items like a front underside 20mm accessory rail, classic 1911A1 sights, extended hammers, and a whole host of other external features.

For the most part, almost all of them will perform similarly, so go with the airsoft 1911 you feel looks coolest.

Field stripping the 1911’s is quick and simple. You’ll need to line up smaller notch in the slide with your slide catch and push on the opposite end. This will remove the slide catch and you can remove the slide from the frame. Get comfortable doing this because this is how you access the hop up unit adjustment wheel.

Hop Up Adjustment Wheel Location on the TM 1911

From here you’ll then need to remove the spring guide & main spring, which should then allow you to remove the plunger, and finally, twist and remove the barrel bushing.

Internal

TM 1911 disassembly guide for internal parts

Know from the start that while most high end airsoft 1911’s on the market are Tokyo Marui specced, not all of them are. KJW airsoft 1911’s, for example, are TM specced and their magazines and parts work fine in TM guns. However, WE-Tech and KWC 1911’s use their own design entirely, and their parts will not be compatible with yours.

The fact is, however, that TM parts are mostly good to go completely stock.

But, is the TM “magic” hop up a thing? Well, you’ll see in our performance testing below.

Other than that, know that the TM 1911’s designed with HFC134a (also known as “duster” gas) as their main source of propellant. This is a lower pressure gas than green gas, and so this airsoft pistol will perform differently using that gas source.

We opted to use green gas with our TM 1911 MEU, mostly due to the fact that it is easier to source green gas than HFC134a. Just know that if you do this as well, you are placing more wear and tear on the gun than normal.

Magazine Construction

As of the time of writing, TM 1911 magazines run between 30 and 40 dollars. This is a relatively reasonable price for an all-metal magazine. In general, we’ve found that the TM magazines are serviceable and get the job done.

We own four Tokyo Marui magazines of two varying types. MEU, which has a metal finish and thicker baseplate, and the standard 1911 magazine, which is black and has a thin baseplate.

TM specced 1911 “slim” magazines will carry 28 rounds with the Hi-Capa “thick” magazines will carry 31. The gas reservoir on the slim magazine does mean that you’ll need to refill the gas more often.

Technical Specs

Here’s a quick breakdown of the technical specs of this airsoft pistol:

TM 1911 slide

SpecsTokyo Marui 1911 MEU
ManufacturerTokyo Marui
Magazine Capacity28 Rounds
Ammo Type6mm BBs
FPS~230
Gas SystemGreen Gas / HFC123a
Sight SystemBlade and Notch
Firing ModesSemi-Automatic
Hop UpTokyo Marui Style
Dimension8.67 inches long / 5.3 inches tall
Weight1.75 Lbs
BlowbackFully Blowback
Barrel:112mm / Brass

Tokyo Marui GBB airsoft pistol

Features

In terms of features – these are the top standouts with the main benefits:

  • TM “Magic” Hop Up – Tokyo Marui hop ups are LEGENDARY in terms of their consistency in backspin
  • Plethora of Parts – the vast majority of aftermarket parts are for Tokyo Marui airsoft guns
  • 3 Dot Front & Rear Sights – the MEU version of this 1911 included NOVAK sights
  • Functional 1911 Safeties – fully functional grip & external safety
  • Fits in 1911 Holsters – compatible with your training tool
  • ABS Plastic Slide – while this seems like a negative we cannot discount the positives: snappy blow back, higher gas efficiency, and lighter weight
  • Large Magazine Capacity – 28 rounds per magazines is a bit higher than other similarly sized magazines.

Performance Testing

How about we show some actual performance data for this pistol? Here’s the parameters of our test:

  • Completely stock TM 1911 MEU bought in 2018 with ~1,200+ rounds put through it.
  • Maintenance performed included cleaning of the slide, frame, inner barrel and seals with silicone oil & grease where needed.
  • We adjusted the hop up as close as we could to point of aim, point of impact at 30 feet.
  • 82 degrees temperature
  • Outside range with very little wind
  • 0.25g BBs were used (Elite Force Brand)
  • Brand new green gas can used (Elite Force Fuel)
  • Bench Rest used for accuracy testing – and my own hands for live testing
  • Each test we fired 10 rounds
  • We fired one shot every 3-5 seconds

Accuracy at Combat Distances

Similar to the other accuracy tests we’re firing at targets set up at 15, 40, and 75 feet. We gauged these are standard combat distances a player might expect during an airsoft game. We gauged the groupings by measuring the distance between the two furthest shots in a single group.

Check out how the TM 1911 MEU did below:

Click to see the Chart & Results

15 Feet Test – grouping measured in inches

Test 1Test 2Test 3Average
Bench Rest0.4”0.2”0.4”0.33”
Combat Shooting1.1”1.0”0.8”0.96”

40 Feet Test – grouping measured in inches (slight wind)

Test 1Test 2Test 3Average
Bench Rest1.4”1.2”1.9”1.5”
Combat Shooting3.0”2.5”3.2”2.9”

70 Feet Test – grouping measured in inches (slight wind) 

Test 1Test 2Test 3Average
Bench Rest6.0”4.5”3.8”4.76”
Combat Shooting11.0”10.2”11.2”10.8″

This TM 1911 outperformed most of the pistols we’ve ever used, including the KWA M9 PTP (which we consider to be one of the best airsoft pistols currently made). We did have a bit of an outlier with our first bench rest set at 70 feet at 6 inches. However, you can easily hit man-sized targets out to a respectable combat distance.

If you’re looking beyond 70 feet at a target with this pistol, you’ll hit it no problem.


FPS Consistency

Next we’re testing the consistency of the FPS. Having variance in the FPS will affect the overall range & accuracy of your BB’s since it affects the speed of the backspin. A large amount of variance at the muzzle will make a large difference by 50 – 100 feet away.

For this test we used the following parameters:

  • Stock TM 1911 MEU with the same setup as the accuracy test
  • 0.20g BB’s were used (Elite Force Brand) <- Variance will show up better on lighter BBs
  • Same Green Gas can used in the previous test (Elite Force Fuel)
  • Matrix X3400 Chrono
  • 80 degrees temperature
  • 1 shot every 3-5 seconds in test 1
  • 5 shot bursts with a 10 second pause in test 2
  • 20 shots in total for each test

Click to see the Chart & Results


ShotFPS – Test 1FPS – Test 2 (5 shot bursts)
1290.2292.6
2288.8290.2
3288.4288.8
4290.6287.4
5284.6287.4
6286.8285.8
7286.2290.4
8280.2290.2
9284.8284.6
10280.4280.4
11286.8286.8
12290.4281.4
13285.4278.8
14288.2274.6
15284.8274.2
16282.2283.6
17278.8280.6
18284.6276.2
19287.8273.8
20283.6270.4
Highest FPS290.4292.6
Lowest FPS278.8270.4
Average FPS285.68282.66
Max Difference11.622.2

Wow! This beats out the KWA ATP as the most consistent airsoft pistol we have ever tested on burst fire. The max variance we saw on the airsoft pistol was 22.2 FPS, which is 3 FPS more consistent than the ATP. It barely loses out to the ATP on more steady firing, but wow are we impressed.

The burst fire consistency for our Tokyo Marui 1911 is the best one we’ve tested for ALL pistols so far.


Gas Consumption & Efficiency

Our final test is the Gas Consumption & Efficiency. It is worth noting that we’re testing the slim style 1911, not the Hi-CAPA variant. This means that the gas reservoir ratio to BB capacity is much lower than on the Hi-CAPA. You can expect MORE BB’s per magazine on that variant.

With that said, the parameters here are:

  • Stock Tokyo Marui MEU 1911 with the same setup as the accuracy test
  • 0.20g BB’s were used (Elite Force Brand)
  • Fresh Green Gas can used (Elite Force Fuel)
  • We used a separate magazine for each test.
  • 80 degrees temperature
  • 1 shot every 3-5 seconds

We will empty each of our 4 magazines of green gas by firing BB’s at a target. Once a magazine has been emptied of BB’s we will refill and repeat firing until we run out of green gas. We will rotate each of our 4 magazines to get a spread of data.

Each time the magazine was drained of BB’s we also took note if the pistol’s slide locked back. This is an important function as it increases realism along with allowing the shooter to know that the magazine is empty of ammunition.

Additionally, we observed when the slide locked back once the magazine was empty of BB’s. This is an important function since it allows the airsoft player to know when the magazine is empty as well as enhances realism.

Most importantly, however, we are counting just how many BB’s can be fired on a full gas reservoir.

Click to see the Chart & Results


Magazine Fill Total Number of Shots Fired Did the slide lock back every time?
171Yes
269Yes
373Yes
468Yes
Average70.25Yes on Average

According to our tests, we are ranging between 68 to 73 shots per magazine fill with an average between 70.25. The majority of the time the slide will lock back. The lightweight of the plastic slide, even if it is less durable than a full metal slide, helps in ensuring that the slide can lock back on each magazine fill.

You can expect to get almost 3x magazines work of BB’s for every full gas fill.

The gas efficiency of the TM 1911 line rivals that of the KWA’s NS2 gas system.


By the numbers: Pros & Cons

8.4Expert Score
Tokyo Marui 1911 MEU

Shooting Performance
9.5
Reliability
9.0
Build Quality
8.0
Value
7.0
PROS
  • Very good shooting performance.
  • Snappy slide action.
  • Very good shooting consistency and gas efficiency.
  • Functional grip and thumb safety like the real gun.
  • Fully adjustable hop up.
  • Comfortable GBB pistol grip w/ ambidextrous controls.
CONS
  • Tokyo Marui pricing - expensive.
  • Plastic slide will turn some people off.

Should you buy the TM 1911?

Ask anyone who has been playing airsoft for a long time and you’ll find them saying that, even 20 years ago, Tokyo Marui guns are some of the best in the business. While we don’t wholeheartedly agree with that statement in broad strokes we do think that their gas blowback 1911 airsoft pistol line is GREAT.

Is it worth the money?

Coming in between $165 and $199 (at time of writing) this pistol is more expensive than most currently available. Event the most expensive KWA airsoft pistol comes in at 75-90% of the ask for a TM pistol. So, this is why the Tokyo Marui 1911 takes a knock in the “value” department in our breakdown above.

This is still quite a fine pistol and the plastic slide can often be a benefit as opposed to a drawback.

That concludes our review of the Tokyo Marui 1911. You’ll find that the Hi-CAPA, 4.3, and standard 5.1 1911’s all have similar performance levels – so you can take our review and apply it to those pistols as well.

Remember, if you want PURE performance, go with the Hi-Capa, but if you want max realism, go with the 5.1 or 4.3 1911’s. We will list both below:

Tokyo Marui 1911 MEU

Slim Style – Better for Realism

Tokyo Marui 1911 Hi-CAPA

Wider Grip – Better for Gameplay Performance

If you’re interested in looking at best airsoft pistol currently on the market, check out the list in the link provided. Or, if you’re just in the market for 1911’s we also have a list for the best airsoft 1911.

Timothy Hackett

Tim has been playing airsoft since 1994. With over a thousand (no lie) airsoft games under his belt he has spent countless hours testing various airsoft guns and tactical gear. He's gotten hundreds (still no lie) of people into the airsoft hobby and is more than willing to spread the love of slinging 6mm plastic to any new player.

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