ICS ProLine CXP-MARS Carbine Airsoft Rifle Review
Overview & Rating
Product Name: ICS CXP-MARS Carbine
Product Description: The CXP-MARS Carbine continues ICS’s trend of providing authentic-looking airsoft gun replicas. The rifle features full-metal body and internals from high quality CNC steel and a durable polymer stock and grip for optimum weight distribution and hand feel. The carbine is fully ambidextrous and has variable fire modes. The gun fires with a decent accuracy and top-notch fire rate and FPS. The rifle has both Picatinny and keymod rail sections for various attachments.
ICS is world-renowned for producing high-quality airsoft rifles, and the CXP-MARS is no exception. The externals are mostly made of CNC treated metals, apart from the stock and grip which are made from a high-quality polymer to ensure a proper grip and weight feel. The gun is hefty and feels like an authentic carbine rather than an airsoft replica. The high-quality internal build is durable, but also has plenty of upgrade opportunities if you want a more customized experience. The gun’s generous mag size and top-notch fire rate and FPS make it a force on the open field.
Full-metal body and internals for proper weight and feel; good customization options; elongated Picatinny rail on the top and keymod support; ambidextrous firing, magazine release, and charging; elevated upper receiver for improved CQB performance and aiming
The stock is a bit too small to fit nunchuck or flat-style batteries; has relatively low accuracy compared to FPS performance; the stock fuse can malfunction and needs to be replaced with a better one; mags can wobble over time
I’m excited to bring you a review of this marvelous gun. The CXP-MARS carbine from ICS is one of the highest-quality rifles I’ve reviewed so far. The metal externals give this gun some real weight, reminiscent of real-life rifles compared to the usual polymer airsoft builds. The high-quality polymer stock and grip provide good weight balancing and an excellent hand feel while holding and aiming the rifle.
The CNC treated externals of the gun feature ICS’s markings prominently, but not so much that it becomes overbearing. The gun comes in a two-tone tan and black mix, but is also available in fully black or tan options as well, so you can choose the look of the gun you prefer. The gun’s stock is somewhat slimmer than some similar rifles, which also gives it one of the more obvious downsides, as it can only fit lipo batteries comfortably.
The gun comes with an extended Picatinny rail on the top, shorter Pic rails on the sides and front of the barrel, and also a proper keymod design running alongside the barrel. Altogether, the rails allow you to fit many different types of attachments to customize your gun’s appearance and functionality. The stock flip-up iron sights on the front and rear of the barrel can be detached if you prefer a better scope to use on the open field. But they serve the basic function well if you want to leave them as is. There are no rails on the bottom of the barrel, which can impede customization somewhat, but doesn’t factor greatly into the overall review.
The internals of the rifle are altogether great. The fully upgradable version two gearbox is fairly easy to open up and maintain, and the inner M120 spring is of decent quality that you can replace at your whim. But the stock ones will do the trick if you’re looking for a great out of the box experience.
The stock magazine comes with 300 round capacity and has a functional capacity window, so you can check on your remaining ammo quite quickly without the need to shake or remove the magazine beforehand. All of which allows for smoother gameplay. The magazine release is also recessed into the rifle so you won’t accidentally drop the magazine in the middle of a fight. The mag can be dropped with either hand, making this gun one of the better ambidextrous rifles on the market.
The gun fires at about 410 FPS, but can drop to 390s depending on the power source used, and is fairly accurate at mid- rather than longer range. The adjustable hop-up will improve the long-range situation, but don’t expect laser accuracy at more than 100 feet from this gun.
You can adjust the fire rate to be either a single or three-round burst by pressing on the trigger for 10 seconds, or you can switch to a fully automatic fire mode. This can be done with either hand.
The rifle isn’t particularly long, making it maneuverable for CQB spaces and open terrain alike. In addition, the ambidextrous capabilities allow you to take different cover opportunities when using the gun with your non-dominant hand while still being able to use it properly.
ICS ProLine CXP-MARS Specs
Product Information Detail
Make & Model ICS CXP-MARS Carbine
Materials Metal + polymer
Weight 6.7 lbs
Gearbox Version 2 ICS split gearbox with in-line MOSFET
Muzzle Velocity 410 FPS with .2g BBs
Magazine Capacity 300 BBs
Battery Type 9.6V nunchuck or 11.1V lipo, not included
Color Black + Tan Two Tone
Firing Modes Safe, single or 3-round burst semi-automatic, fully automatic
Hop-Up Adjustable hop-up
Ammunition 0.20g or heavier
Attachments Extended Picatinny rail on top of barrel
Picatinny rails on top and side of barrel end
Keymod rails on top and side of barrel
Sights Included flip-up front and back iron sights
Software Self-diagnostics mode
Externals Polymer buttstock, hand-grip, magazine
Internals Fully metal
Charging Ambidextrous charging handle
Thread 14mm negative
Advantages & Pros
The CXP-MARS carbine has a few unique features making it a great gun to improve your existing airsoft arsenal.
The ergonomics and customization capabilities of the externals are top-notch, and I quite like how they’ve CNC treated the metal parts, giving the gun an authentic look and feel. The gun is weighty, but not overly so to impede aiming or cause discomfort during prolonged use. Overall, the gun feels very well balanced in my hand, and the added ambidextrous capabilities for mag release and fire rate adjustments mid-combat are also a bonus.
The upper receiver is elevated slightly to allow for a better CQB performance, especially if you’re wearing a bulkier mask during your airsoft fights. It looks more like a gas blowback rifle in that regard, improving ease of use and aiming without a scope.
I also like the addition of a genuine window for the mag capacity, which allows me to check the remaining BBs at a glance.
The internals are also terrific. The gearbox runs great, and you can also access it rather easily for future upgrades and modifications. The stock-provided M120 spring is also decent, but you can always upgrade it for something like a M170 if you want.
Disadvantages & Cons
However, with all the benefits this rifle brings, there are a few notable downsides.
The stock is rather small overall. While you can adjust its length to fit you regardless of height or size, it’s too narrow to fit a flat-type battery, and even a nunchuck poses a challenge. However, the carbine will accept a 11.1V lipo battery with no complaints (at least not in the stock department).
The stock 20A fuse of the rifle can break if you put a 11.1V battery and run it for a short time. Thankfully, the box contains a more powerful 30A fuse to replace it with, but you should keep that in mind regardless.
I’ve also noticed that the magazine can get wobbly over time. After a few reloads and mag changes, the mag definitely has a looser fit, with a faster wear than a rifle of this price range should have.
When it comes to performance issues, I’m slightly worried about this gun’s long-range accuracy. For anything above 70-80 feet, I’ve noticed that the accuracy takes a deep dive for the worse, which makes this gun suitable for indoor use mostly. The hop-up can adjust for this downside to make it more bearable for open field use, but don’t hope to get sniper precision out of this rifle.
Word on the Field
ICS has an excellent reputation with their higher-end product and users generally agree that this rifle is no exception. Overall, the high-quality external and internal build of the gun makes up for its shortcomings well. The good weight balance and feel also make it rather enjoyable to use for most airsoft fans that prefer authenticity.
The ICS ProLine CXP-MARS carbine is a great choice to improve your airsoft rifle arsenal. With its attractive CNC metal externals, ergonomic polymer grip and stock design, and excellent out of the box internals, the rifle has a great performance if you’re looking to get into more CQB.
The ambidextrous capabilities and plentiful Pic and keymod rails give this gun an edge for customization options, and the internals are likewise easy to maintain and upgrade.
If you don’t mind using lipo batteries for its narrower stock, or immediately replacing the fuse with a higher quality one, you shouldn’t have any other issues with the gun at shorter-range high-octane fights.
Overall, this gun is a fine piece of weaponry that you won’t regret buying.
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