90th IDPG Reviews


Zeta Labs M9A1 Airsoft Bazooka

Review Date: 4/7/2013
Author: Chris Guska



From FM 23-30, 14 February, 1944:

The launcher M9 is a later model than the launcher M1A1 and is standard. It has a two-piece barrel; for carrying, the two pieces can be secured sideways to one another. The other chief differences between the two models are in the sight, hand grip, stock, firing mechanism, and flash deflector. The launcher M9 has no face guard.

Ordering: Online from http://shop.ehobbyasia.com/

Cost: $538.10 ($418.00 + $141.00 shipping - 20.90 discount)
Delivery: 4 Days via EMS Speedpost / USPS.


I've seen these Zeta Labs M9A1 Airsoft Bazooka replicas mentioned for the past several years on the US Militaria Forum and G503. A couple of hobbyists have taken the plunge and purchased them, providing limited photos and opinions.

Based on the photos I saw online, the Zeta Labs replica appeared to have some flaws that I could correct. Original M9A1 parts do turn up with frequency still, and can be used to potentially accurize this replica.

$538.10 may seem like a lot - but that is right in the ball park of what a quality replica bazooka costs here in the states. I recall that the excellent Lee Barlow replica M1A1 launchers were in the $450-500 range when I purchased one 5+ years ago - with shipping only adding significantly on top of that.

While I don't have an original M9A1 to compare against, there are some great reference photos available. Additionally, I have some original components that I can use as references.

The Reproduction:


My first impressions of the M9A1 were positive. It is pretty darn heavy and feels like it is made out of steel.

Once I got into the details, I was less impressed.

I'll work my way through the replica, area by area.


The rear guard basket looks good. Proper size overall, well put together, professionally welded, bends are even - well executed overall.

Fin Latch - Looks pretty good. Nice shape and radiuses - sized appropriately, not flimsy.

Sling loop - undersized both in material used as well as dimension. More on this later.

Storage loop - undersized in material used. Correctly dimensioned to nest with the materials used, but if it was the correct size material, it wouldn't work.

Spring Clips - The rocket wire connecting coil springs look pretty good. The clamp body is nicely done.

The "Wire Tube" that would have a wire inside it to connect the Spring Clips to the grip is not a tube, but just a piece of wire.

Sling & Stock Details:

The replica does not come with a sling - but it does have sling loops. I've shown it with an original GI web sling. Unfortunately the sling loops are too small for the sling to go through.

A plus, is that they used slotted head screws rather than phillips to secure the trigger guard to the grip. The pisser is that the trigger guard is narrower than an original, and were retained by 4 screws rather than 2.

The stock has a "funny" curve to it rather than laying straight down the tube. This is correct in style - as the originals have an offset to them just like this.

Latching / Storage:

This is of the same style as an original, but the details are different.

The top two photos are of the latch assembly This fits into a cup with a slot on it on the front tube piece.

On originals, this had a tab that extended to both sides to retract / unlock the front tube from storage. On the repro it has a tab off to one side that was face welded on. Unfortunately this bends easily as shown below.

The angle of the face of the catch does not want to lock into the front tube's corresponding piece, because the plunger piece is too large. This would need to be fixed by filing to fit. As it is right now, it wont latch properly - it can be forced, which results in damage to the tab as shown below when trying to unlatch.

The rear is held with the aforementioned loop and a corresponding hook of wire on the front tube section. These nest together properly, but were of a thicker material on the originals.

Grip Stick & Trigger

The grip stick is molded after a postwar version as commonly seen on the M20 series, but occasionally on postwar rebuilt M9 series.

The grip itself is smaller than an original, which results in the trigger guard being smaller than the original.

The grip and shoulder stock hang down approximately the same length from the tube. Since the grip was scaled down, the shoulder stock is also scaled down and awkwardly small.

The trigger works by simply pushing a rod forward to trip the valve on the back of the moscart type airsoft shell. I've show this in both positions.

Center Coupler:

Zeta Labs did a decent job of trying to fabricate what was originally a casting. The original was a bit larger with more rounded edges and filleted joints. For what this is, they did an OK job of it as it functions in the intended way. The center coupling is nicely tig welded to the tube.

The tube twists in place, then is locked by a cam screw. The cam screw is entirely too tight / poorly fitted, which makes rotating it a chore without pliers or a screwdriver. This is compounded by the lever being undersized.

Of note, the tube only has 1 relief cut for the cam screw, so it only goes in and locks one way.

There is some slop / play to tube tube when fully assembled and locked.

Rear Sight Group:

The overall look and attempt is there - but the sight glass is a joke. Its a piece of plexiglass with an X scratched in it. For all the work that was done on this thing to try so hard - this is a total cop out.

The range scale is pretty well done, with the graduations being close to an original, but the width of the scale plate being too wide. More on this later.

Obviously a lot of work went into this area - it just shows that one garbage component can otherwise spoil hard work.

The rear sight is held on with a nut and washer with a spring under it, so there is some play / shock resistance to the sight in case it gets bumped.

Airsoft Guts:

This is essentially a length of PVC pipe with some turned fittings glued on. A plastic airsoft shell is included.

I don't have any of the required gas or BB's to play with it, but I very well may try it out just to see what it does.

Forward Tube:

Not much to the forward tube itself. Blast deflector looks good, other than being blaze orange - which is easily fixed.

The hook for storage and catch are undersized / under built.


Yes virginia, an original rocket does fit and latch as it should.


Here it is in its assembled position. While impressive at a distance, it does have a number of flaws I intend to correct.

Detailed Comparisons:


Range Plate:

The original range plate is smaller in size overall. Zeta Labs did a pretty good job of getting the sight graduations close. On the replica, they are printed or etched rather than stamped.

Originally, the stamped markings acted as detents / stops for the sight. The sight has a finger that clicks into the grooves for positive indication.

Rear Sight:

The rear sight is close in appearance, but on detailed inspection leaves some details out.

The previously mentioned finger that clicks into the grooves on the rear sight scale is visible. It is a piece of spring steel that is affixed to the base.

The length of the "arm" with the finger is longer on the repro than the original. This excess length combined with the extra width of the rear sight scale have thrown off the dimensions / relationship of locations between the sight and scale. To install originals, new holes need to be drilled and threaded for the rear sight scale so that the rear sight touches the scale as it should. This reveals that the rear sight base itself is too long.

Of note, the threaded stud on the repro is of a smaller diameter and coarse thread, where the original is larger with a very fine thread.

I've detailed the rear sight in a number of photos for you to check it out. I was surprised how close they were able to get it, although not perfect.

Grip Stick:

As previously mentioned, the repro grip stick is significantly undersized. This is clearly evident in this photo with a NOS M9A1 grip.




The good:
Its steel.
Tube is the right size
The wire wrap is well done
The rear basket and latch is good to go
The OD paint is a pretty decent color

Shit that needs fixed before I can display this thing without feeling like a giant farb:
Orange paint needs to go
Make new sling loops
Make new trigger Guard
Install original grip stick
Install original sight
Re-position holes for original sight scale
Fill old sight scale holes and shorten sight mount plate
Make new stock
Fix storage mechanism

Nice to do to really bring it up to the level:
Replace storage mechanism parts
Remove "wire tube" and install real tube
Bondo up the center coupling to make it look more like a casting

Summary Pros and Cons

This would be the cats ass if I was a teen airsofter. As it comes, for its intended purpose, I'd think its pretty good.

I can't display or use this thing as it is out of the box. It needs a significant amount of work to be what I consider to be presentable.

Out of the box, its a toy - not a dedicated replica. Its not advertised or sold as a replica - so I cant say I'm disappointed.

The M9 series bazooka is a relatively rare piece of kit - and it'll be a nice show piece once its all done. Based on the amount of work I'll have to put into it, combined with the original parts, the question of build from scratch vs buy off the shelf and upgrade must be seriously examined.


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