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Old November 16th, 2008, 21:13   #1
Crunchmeister's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: In your bedroom going though your underwear drawer
Echo 1 E90 (P90) review

I had been looking for a P90 for a long time, mostly as a collector's item. I had tried a Well and a TM some time ago, but was left unimpressed with either. The Well is just plain junk. There's no better way to describe it. While the TM performed well and cosmetically was far superior to the Well, it still felt like a child's toy more than a replica firearm. And personally, I don't care much for the shiny ABS plastic that TM uses in their guns. And with a price tag of usually $600 or more, I really wasn't interested in a TM that would see the occasional plinking, but mostly be nothing but a wall hanger. I also knew Classic Army was going to release a P90 in the future. I'm a huge fan of CA guns, but again, the price tag would be a major turnoff for me. So I was left in a lurch there, with no real options.

Then someone here on ASC made a post a couple of months ago about Echo 1 releasing a P90 - the E90 - in the near future. Right away, this got my attention. It would offer a full metal upper receiver, and the usual decent reliability that Echo 1 and JG are known for - being the top of the ladder when it comes to more affordable Chinese-made airsoft guns.

Image taken from the Echo 1 web site

So I contacted another ASC member who imports guns occasionally, and got him to keep an eye out for me to get one on the Oct 10 release date. In mid-October, he contacted me saying the order had been placed and my gun would be in his hands within a week. Less than a week later, I received the gun at my door.

As soon as I took the box from the friendly Canada Post contractor, I was immediately impressed with the weight of the box. I had remembered the lightweight feel of the TM P90, so the heft of the box was a great sign. Removing the wrapping paper, and opening the box, I was now looking at my new toy.

Side view with magazine removed

Removing it from the box, I was impressed with its nice weight and feel. And the included extra were nice, including a SECOND 68-round low cap magazine, complete with very realistic looking fake bullets, the usual cleaning / clearing rod, a 200 round pistol mag-style BB loader (instead of the loading tube), a 9.6V 1100 mAh battery, the useless wall-wart charger, and a brief manual. All in all, this was a very complete package. I plugged the battery into my 'real' charger and returned to work.

Top and side views of magazine

Upon returning home from work, I got a change to examine the gun in more detail. The ABS body is similar in strength and style to TM, although it has a more textured finish similar to Classic Army plastic instead of TM. While it's ABS and not fibre-reinforced nylon like CA, it does have a very similar feel, only with less texturing. It also eliminates the shine that is normally associated with TM plastic.

I inspected the details of the body. The seam line between the 2 halves of the shell is excellent and show no unevenness or spaces. The shells parts fit together perfectly. The plastic appears to be very sturdy and looks like it could handle some serious abuse without and problem. There is a little bit of 'creak' in the front grip, but otherwise, the whole thing is very solid and doesn't creak all over like the TM P90. I'm sure a little expanding foam sprayed into the front handle would remove any signs of creaking. The left side of the body has "Model ECHO90 Cal. 5.7x28" This is the only marking to be found on the plastic body.

Trademarks filled in with white crayon, but needs to be retouched

Next, I removed the upper receiver. This thing is HEAVY. Other than the hopup unit and the cocking lever "knobs", there isn't a piece of plastic to be found. While it did ship to me with a blaze orange plastic flash hider, but also included a black metal one. It did take some work to remove the plastic one though. I don't think it was glued on, but took some force to remove, and that ended up stripping the flash hider's threading. Not really an issue though, since I don't plan on ever reinstalling it. The muzzle is threaded with a standard 14mm negative thread, so you can attach your choice of flash hiders, silencers, etc. Echo 1 has now released a Gemtech style silencer that's now available for this gun.

The upper receiver is stamped with Echo 1 E90 trademarks instead of FN. Since Echo 1 is an American distributor, they obviously have to adhere to US trademark laws, and since their product isn't licensed by Fabrique Nationale, they can't use their trademarks. That being said, the trademarks do look good. The left side of the receiver has the "E90 cal 5.7x28" in large lettering on the side of the rail, as well as a serial number in smaller print. The right side of receiver is stamped with "E90 5.7mm ECHO1USA.COM MADE IN P.R.C." in small lettering right above the cocking handle. All lettering is clean and clear and has good depth.

Right side reciever trademarks

Left side reciever trademarks

So with a fully charged battery, I loaded up a magazine and test fired it. This gun is quite loud. While I don't have a TM P90 to directly compare it to, I seem to remember the TM seemed reasonably quiet. This one has a rather loud report - louder than any of my other guns. I found out subsequently from a video review I saw on YouTube that the gun comes with a metal piston head, so I assume that's the reason for the loud crack with each shot. The sights on this gun are very basic at best, since it's intended to be used with an RDS or other optic. But the shots were straight and true at the 20 foot range I have to shoot it at in my house. I also like the fact that since the magazines feed top to bottom, there are no extra BBs "lost" in the hopup when you empty the mag. 68 rounds means 68 rounds!

Next I ran the gun through the chrony. The gun is advertised as shooting 350 fps - ideal for CQB. My results showed the gun to be a bit hot, shooting in the 360-375 range. I will note that I've put almost 2000 rounds through this gun since I got it just plinking it (yes, it's THAT much fun to shoot). I ran it through the chrony again today for 10 shots, and most were between 345 and 355 fps now that the spring has settled a bit. I did get a shot that was 362 fps, but all others were within range. Rocking the 9.6V battery, I got a rate of fire of 13.5 BBs/second.

Now I have to get to the problem I had with the gun. Right out of the box, I had a bit of an issue with shooting in semi-auto. If I switched from safe to semi, it worked perfectly. However, switching from auto to semi, my first shot would yield a 2-3 round burst, followed by single shots. But the more I fired it in semi, the more frequent this burst would occur, until finally, after about 6 magazines, semi was replaced by full auto. I opened the gun and removed the mechbox to see if the problem wasn't with the trigger assembly, but found that even out of the body while manually activating what I assume is the selector, it would still fire auto only. I didn't open the box, since I'm not familiar with V6 design, but I suspect the gun had an off-spec cut-off lever installed at the factory, and it wore out quickly from repeated use.

As I said, I don't have any experience with the V6 mechbox, but this mechbox looked pretty sturdy. It's black, and sports the Echo 1 logo in white on the right side. It feels very solid compared to the standard lightweight pot metal JG and TM V2 mechboxes I've handled. It feels more akin in solidity to the JG, CA and Guarder reinforced shells I have dealt with. The external plastic parts are clear, allowing you to easily follow the electrical connections. This would be great for troubleshooting potential electrical problems. The gearbox also features 7mm metal bushings instead of the usual 6mm nylon bushings on the TM version.

Since I don't have any experience with the internals, I figured I would link to this 2-part video on YouTube by Stryke Airsoft that shows the complete disassembly of the E90 and shows off its internals. The guy knows what he's doing, so he can give a better explanation than I can.

Stryke Airsoft Review Part 1

Stryke Airsoft Review Part 2

And now for a bit more pr0n....

Gun taken down

Rail system


Great feel
Solid construction
Comes with 2 standard lo-cap magazines instead of the crappy TM high caps
Excellent accuracy (at least at the range I tested)
Excellent rate of fire
Good muzzle velocity for CQB
Great price (Expect JG-calibre prices instead of TM-level prices)

Cheap battery that probably won't last
Cut-off lever failed at less than 500 rounds leaving it full auto only.
A little hot for CQB out of the box - requires some use to break in the spring
Echo 1 trademarks instead of FN. Not really an issue IMO, but some people will more than likely whine and complain about this

So all in all, this is actually a pretty awesome gun considering the price. For anyone who wants a P90 with a full metal upper receiver, but doesn't really want to shell out the $600+ for a TM with a plastic upper, then another bundle for a metal upper or probably even more for a CA (once it's released - it wasn't yet at the time of writing this review), the Echo 1 E90 is the choice for you. At a very affordable price point, it offers great performance and great cosmetics. The loss of semi-auto so prematurely was a bit of a bummer, but since I rarely use semi, it's not an issue for me. And it's a rather cheap and easy fix anyway.

So if you're looking for an affordable P90, this is definitely the way to go.


Last edited by Crunchmeister; November 16th, 2008 at 21:18..
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