Anyone who reads AIRSOFT ACTION on a regular basis will know that we have a very long-standing, close, and enduring relationship with ICS, and it’s one that will stand up to the test of time… just like their AEGs and GBBs! Bill now looks at three new Hi Capa GBB models from the Taiwanese manufacturer as he kicks off our evaluation of the LEGACY, ACME, and CARNOTAURUS!

Our journey with the new GBB pistol series from ICS pretty much all started when Stewbacca and I visited them “at home” last year in Taiwan and had the privileged opportunity to look both at their historical airsoft models (of which there are many and varied!) and the projects that they were working on for 2024.

As a long-time user of ICS pistols, SMGs, and carbines/rifles being able to see the entire range that they have produced since they started out was a rare and beautiful thing, and some of the models on the display walls brought back some insanely happy airsoft memories for me; so it was too with Stewbacca as he and I bored the “stuff” out of poor Rita, our ICS “handler”, with our tales of airsoft adventures around the globe!

Now this goes to prove just how deeply ICS have touched the stony airsoft hearts of players from different generations, and enabled 6mm shenanigans for all and sundry… and with what we now know will be coming they appear set to continue this trend in the year ahead of us! The list of global airsoft patents they hold for innovative technologies is as extensive as their back catalogue of airsoft platforms, and seeing inside their factory showed me that they have the capability to produce  high-quality airsoft items both old and new for the foreseeable future!

As much as ICS are rightly respected for their work with AEGs, in recent years their attention has also turned to other projects like the TOMAHAWK spring rifle and some absolutely, outrageously unique gas pistols; sure, they’ve worked with licences on things like the Makarov and the KORTH, but to me they are at their very best when they’re working 100% with their own designs, and using their own technologies to drive these designs along reliably and respectably!

It’s also no secret that in-house we are big fans of the CHALLENGER Hi Capa, and as Jimmy said when he looked at that some time ago (you’ll find his full review in the Back Issues section on the AA website):

“I really do feel ICS have hit the proverbial nail right on the sweet spot with this pistol…. all in all they have produced something that I believe is going to bode well with many an airsofter and I predict they will sell out very fast, faster than hot cakes! If you are looking for a high-level contender which offers superb performance, I recommend you take a look at the new ICS Challenger pistol – if you buy one, you WILL be the envy of many!”

As the CHALLENGER continues to perform well in our long-term test program (the next update will be in Issue 161) it’s a pistol that we can 100% recommend to you… BUT…

The CHALLENGER, to be blunt is being “challenged” by three new pistol models that we genuinely fell in love with at concept stage, and have been eagerly awaiting to test since we first saw the prototypes in our factory visit last November… so please say big hello to our newest little friends, the ICS LEGACY, ACME, and CARNOTAURUS!


So, three new pistol models, all Hi Capa-style GBBs, but all three with a very distinct character; what are the differences? Let me break them down by model for you…

The LEGACY looks to me to be an out and out “fighting iron”, but in a modern and aesthetically pleasing form which nods to current “best practice” in 1911-style design. It’s an all-black, all-clean-lines design that looks business-like with very little fancy-schmancy stuff going on, or should I say that is obvious; that, however, is not to say that it’s not chock-full of superb features such as:

  • High-Grade Alloy slide
  • TDC Hop-Up Chamber ( Compatible with TM spec)
  • MASTER MODS R-Hop System
  • II High Performance Valve System
  • Steel fire control system components (Compatible with TM spec)
  • SUS301 Stainless Steel Sear Spring (Compatible with TM spec)
  • Adjustable Trigger
  • 3-dot Luminous Sights
  • Steel CCW 14mm Muzzle Adapter

All the elements that we like to see are present in a very functional and to-the-point handgun that looks fabulous. The LEGACY will be available with gas and CO2 dual-system options, and the gas version comes with with the Revo high-performance gas valve to improve gas conversion efficiency that we know already can increase gas efficiency by up to 20%; the CO2 version uses a Japanese-made CO2 gas valve from Kobayashi for more stable airflow output and safe operation. With an overall length of 205mm and weighing in at 886g, you get  a great, easily-pointable pistol kicking out 0.91 Joule/313fps (tested with a .20g BB) from a 30 BB mag, and that offers compatibility with Tokyo Marui Hi-Capa parts, providing a wider range of variety of maintenance, repair, and upgrade options…. what’s not to like?

As much as I like the LEGACY, and I do as it’s a skirmishers pistol through and through, the ACME notches things up towards a “comp-style” shooter with some very tasty-looking red accents for the cut-out trigger and outer barrel. Still benefitting from that thoroughly modern “look” the accents to me scream “RANGETIME!”, and I can imagine the ACME being right at home clanging steels and popping poppers!

Again the features are very cool, and fall internally in line with those of the LEGACY, but the ACME directly continues the CHALLENGER inspiration (and what inspiration it is!) by adopting the most common “5.1″ mid-length frame. Once again the entire pistol has a high degree of compatibility with Tokyo Marui Hi-Capa parts, providing the same wide range of maintenance, repair, and upgrade options.

The aluminium-alloy, hollow-design slide with cut-outs reduces the overall weight of the slide which of course leads to increased gas efficiency, and married up to the ICS Revo technology and those uber-efficient MASTER MODS parts this is quite striking in performance terms, delivering 30 BBs from a platform 220mm long and weighing 997g at a mean of 0.95 Joule/315fps all wrapped up as one very attractive package.


Now let me get serious for a moment if I may; impressed as I was by all three Hi Capa prototypes that ICS showed us, it was the CARNOTAURUS (yup, me neither but it sounds meaty, dinosaur-y, and cool!) that really made me sit up and take notice as this is an all-new split slide model that shows further innovation in the ICS pistol program, and moves things forward for them yet again!

Once again you get all the good feature-related stuff that sits in the more traditional-looking (if I can use that term with these super-modern designs) LEGACY and ACME… then moves all of that up a notch by increasing efficiency all over again, as I’ve said before about other split-slide designs that I’ve come to love and cherish.  On first inspection this new Hi-Capa has everything that’s in the other models, but this time with a flared, oversized magwell which aids immeasurably doing fast reloads, and both an upper and lower frame that features rails to comfortably accommodate both a taclite and an RDS!

But it’s the slide and the fixed inner barrel that makes all the difference on this new pistol; that Split Slide design means only the rear half of the slide actually moves, dovetailing beautifully with the fixed front half so there is much less weight moving, making your gas usage massively more efficient, and the cycle time meaningfully less when it comes to taking follow-up shots! The fixed barrel also reduces vibration and negative “harmonics” while the slide travels, allowing you to get, in principle at least, better shot-to-shot accuracy. Delivering a mean of again 0.95 Joule/315fps the pistol does indeed do so for longer, offering better gas efficiency overall than its siblings…

At first when I laid hands on the CARNOTAURUS I thought it to be a most aggressively-styled yet eye-catching design, especially with the red accents on the outer barrel that’s visible through cut-outs again, the adjustable short-stroke trigger and the reinforced magazine baseplate. At 962g/220mm it certainly feels solid and weighty, a pistol made to “get work done”. The lower frame is also threaded for other style, high-style optic mounts (as are the others), and ICS have these as accessories if you prefer that style over direct-mounting to the fixed upper… personally I’ll stick with direct-mounting for a solid retention of zero should I choose to trial with an RDS.


I’ve already given the mean power levels over a 10 BB string in the individual descriptions above, and that’s more than adequate for any airsoft discipline on all three, be that skirmishing or competition. However, ICS say that these pistols will perform best on a .30g BB or heavier, and there’s a solid reason why this statement is absolutely true!

In the general feature description it’s stated that all three pistols benefit from both a TDC Hop-Up Chamber and MASTER MODS R-Hop System, and this is super cool, and much-loved by Tech Jimmy! The hop chamber design comes with a TDC (Top-Dead-Centre) mount that helps to ensure the best even and spread-out vertical bucking pressure, and this in turn stabilises BB trajectory and increases accuracy and range overall, and the pressure ring itself is created in powder-steel which increases preciseness even further! Going even further it’s an upgraded TDC HOP paired with the MASTER MODS R-Hop bucking, so that in principle again the pistols can be used with BB-weights up to and including .48g to improve trajectory stability and accuracy, resulting in better shooting performance, and a huge amount of consistency… and yes, you read that right… this ALL comes as standard!

With that out of the way I’ll get back to shooting the three pistols as new from the box… well, almost as I blasted though five magazines on each before testing proper… and it was super-fun! For the LEGACY and ACME the result downrange were exactly as I expected; my steels were ringing’ nicely using .30g BBs at 10 metres for quite some time! Although there is some cool down (as you would expect), the pistols keep on shooting, and feel distinctly “punchy”. I have tried a few of walk-downs on the woodland range, firing on the move and both pistols kept things on target nicely, especially given the as-standard fibre-optic sights. Mag changes are also a breeze as the extended floorplate on the mags and the flared magwell really helps to push things along efficiently and smoothly. Design-wise both pistols are highly user-friendly, the adjustable flat-face triggers have a pleasing and solid reset, the oversized controls come intuitively to hand, and the nicely textured grips fill the hand and give a very positive sensation during target transitions. All in all they are both supremely tidy platforms.

As new the CARNOTAURUS Split Slide has performed very well at 10 metres on steels too, using the same .30g BBs, even on cooler days. However, it does appear to be super-efficient on VORSK V8 FUEL, cycling the rear of the slide quickly and efficiently, and having no problem whatsoever emptying the entire 30 BB magazine at a solid, consistent power level. As with other designs of this style it also rocks when you fit it with a suppressor (all three models are delivered with a muzzle adaptor), and given that the front of the slide remains fixed in place it seems purpose-designed for this! Overall, with a taclite and the suppressor fitted it looks very cool indeed, and with the fast cycling you can certainly “double tap” to your heart’s content! As I’ve said before with other similar designs, this is another fine example of how elegant yet aggressive and thoroughly unique design can be married to the total understanding of how a GBB pistol works to create a platform that if anything shoots even better than it looks!

So, to wraps things up, which is my favourite? I think it’s pretty obvious, but yes, it’s the CARNOTAURUS as it melds performance and design in the best possible way as far as I’m concerned! However, ICS have been kind enough (and confident enough in their workmanship!) to provide several models for us to place in the long-term test pool for extended evaluation; as always “from the box” is one thing, but a hammering in the hands of Jimmy, Ben, Stewbacca, and I is a totally different thing!

As this “Triarchy from Taiwan” are all fine GBB pistols that will let you rule the field with some absolutely brilliant features as standard I believe they will be a total pleasure to own and shoot. As a team we will return to them at a later date once we’ve been able to get them on the range more, and out into game… and of course Stewbacca will be putting one through its full competition-paces too! For now though I do believe that one of the “meaty, dinosaur-y, and cool” CARNOTAURUS pistols will be on my to buy list, and I intend to make that purchase very soon indeed!

My sincere thanks as always go to our friends at ICS AIRSOFT for providing the test samples for us, and to learn more please do pay them a visit at