Colt M4A1 Carbine Airsoft AEG Rifle – Critic Review
Speaking of AEGs, I have owned the Colt M4A1 Airsoft Carbine and have used it as my main AEG weapon for the past two years. And in my experience, it can be the perfect AEG for anyone but it can just as well be a nightmare for those who don’t know what they are picking.
If you’re looking forward to buying the M4A1 Carbine, please read this review first.
You can check out our full roundup article of the best airsoft rifles here!
The M4A1 Carbine AEG for Airsoft – In a Glimpse
M4A1 is the new and improved version of the iconic Vietnam-era M16. In real life, both use a NATO 5.56mm ammunition which is a golden standard among bullets that is expected to deliver power, accuracy, and penetration.
Living up to this prospect, the M4A1 Carbine holds its ground in the competitive environment of Airsoft fields. The gun is particularly accurate, shoots really far and at a decent rate, the battery timing is great, and the shooter enjoys each time he pulls the trigger.
When it comes to the Airsoft Ammo, you have many options if you own an M4A1 Carbine. This rifle can shoot 20mm BBs up to 450 FPS (feet per second) all while not compromising on the accuracy. You can shoot it on full-auto and semi-automatic whichever mode you may prefer.
That said, the M4A1 deserves another round of applause for the number of customizations it brings to the table. From handgrips to a hop-up system, everything is customizable and upgradeable.
You can choose between the two variants of power-mode available in the current market,
- Air Powered
- Battery/Motor Powered
In my experience, the battery-powered version is more versatile in its applications and gives a 100% better user experience.
Things to Consider
M4A1 Carbine easily ranks in the top recommendations from experienced players. An entry-level M4 just costs about $80 and even in that budget, you can manage to get 380 FPS and a metal assembly though the housing is just plastic which makes it a great practice weapon for amateurs.
Here are some things you should consider before you checkout with the M4A1 Carbine,
Physique is a very important factor to consider while you are selecting the best AEG. Your arm length, hand size, weight, etc. is influential factors for accuracy. If you have long arms go for heavier rifles and vice versa.
Effective Fire Range (EFR)
EFR is a weapon’s ability to fire accurately at a target within a certain distance. Ideally, you should buy a gun that has a longer range and higher power. Adjustable hop-ups are highly recommended for this reason.
The heart of your rifle is probably its motor. The more your motor can shoot, the better your rifle can perform. Try and get one within the 350-500 FPS range but check in with your field if you choose one with a high FPS range.
Sights & Scopes
If you are a beginner, a red dot should be enough for close quarters and aiming practice. Upgrade gradually and add a 4X Optical Scope at the end of your training. If you prefer iron sights, keep using the ones your rifle came with.
Spring, Gas, or Electric?
The best option among all is the electric as both the other options are either too cheap or expensive. Spring-loaded mechanisms fail very quickly, except for sniper rifles and gas kits are very hard to maintain.
Metal construction is the best value you can have on any AEG. There are some good plastic options out there but plastic guns fall behind substantially in terms of performance, feel, and longevity.
Now that you know what things will affect your purchase, it’s time for some reviews.
Features and Benefits of M4A1 Carbine in Airsoft Battles!
Here are some of the most versatile and useful features of the famous Assault AEG.
At first, I did not believe it when I read that it comes with an upgraded motor and version 2 customizable gearbox. It was on the field that I noticed my gun was shooting about 450 FPS out of the box. Expecting nothing more than 320 FPS, I was kind of amazed but it turns out that the M4 has a fully upgraded motor and version 2 fully upgradeable metal gearbox for you to play with.
If you put in an extra $100, you can add a stronger spring mechanism and get up to 600FPS quite easily.
Although that won’t be necessary as 450 FPS is a good shooting power on its own. I remember when I bought the M16 a couple of years back, I had to spend $130 to upgrade its gearbox and only got near the 370 FPS mark.
Barrel length also impacts the effective range of your weapon. This M4’s barrel is at the sweetest spot for an airsoft AEG. Measuring about 368 mm, the barrel length is spot on to deliver excellent performance.
Another advantage of having the perfect barrel is accuracy, longer barrels tend to be more accurate than shorter ones. This is why SMGs are the least and Sniper Rifles are the most accurate guns.
For the M4, I noticed a slight deviation at the standard hop-up position. But after a few test shots and adjustments, it shoots with pinpoint accuracy within 100 feet.
A Full Metal Design
The M4 comes with a durable full-metal design that helps it withstand almost anything. I did not notice any bends and cracks even after I hard-dropped the weapon or fell on it.
I love the idea of including a metal receiver as it adds icing to the cake. Colt Licensed official logos are intriguing and I have taken a liking to look at them, ha-ha.
Overall, the metal body gives the weapon very slight heftiness but not in a bad way. For me, it gave the weapon an almost perfect weight balance. Because of that perfect balance, I was able to strafe and aim accurately and hit the target 99% of the time.
However, remember that accuracy is a perk of experience.
The magazines are also available in metal construction and give a satisfying cling when tucked in the chamber.
Weight and Balance
Every assault rifle is made a little forward-heavy to compensate for the recoil after a bullet is fired and also to reduce the shakiness while you are aiming down the sight.
This is crucial for aiming and comes in handy when you are taking a fight after running or in urban assaults. In my observation, this M4A1 Carbine performs the same. It is very easy to maneuver and aiming is just cool as a breeze.
I can strafe, turn, and fire without tipping because of the rifle’s weight and losing accuracy. The balance is also kept a little further towards the barrel which makes it possible to fire at longer ranges accurately.
As stated earlier, the weapon is full-metal and weighs a little over 7 pounds (3 kilos) but it is surprisingly easy to control.
Feet Per Second (FPS) and Range
Unlike most assault rifles, the M4 has the option of upgrades that make it one of the most powerful weapons in the market.
The M4’s ability to fire 600 FPS after full upscaling made my enemies nervous to a point that they hesitated rushing on me even when they knew where I was hiding in one game.
Out of the box though, I have had the weapon shoot 450 FPS which is a pretty decent number on its own. The full metal gearbox and a strong long-type motor help keep the M4 powerful enough to carry out full clutches in a single game.
You can shoot up to 120 feet with this rifle but in real practice, I found that the most I was able to shoot accurately were within 90-100 feet unless I had a 4X scope equipped.
The rifle is powered by a lithium polymer (Li-Po) 8.4V battery that runs the motor and is stored in the handgrip.
For some reason, the battery I had received with my rifle didn’t charge but after getting it replaced, I didn’t have to worry about power issues for at least two long games.
The charging time is between 3-5 hours and firepower drops significantly at low battery levels.
To put it in perspective, after shooting 500 FPS on average at about 90% battery power, the rifle only shot 370FPS at 19% battery power.
However, there are a few things you can do to conserve battery timing like not shooting on full-auto when it is not needed and never giving long bursts.
I liked the metallic 300 round magazine that comes with the rifle. I didn’t have any issues with it but I like the way it fits in the mag-chamber. The satisfying cling pays off.
As much as I enjoy mounting the clip, unmounting it is equally satisfying. The mag just drops out of the gun as soon as the button is pressed. Nonetheless, if you are using M16’s clip, (yes, that is backward compatible with the M4A1 Carbine) you shouldn’t expect both these things as that mag is a tighter fit.
Fire Settings and Shooting Experience
The rifle has three settings on the left side. These are,
The knob used to switch between these modes is easily accessible with the thumb and it switches quite a bit smoother.
I have seen rifles where I had to tilt them and use my fingers and my thumbs to switch fire modes, but the M4A1 switches smoothly and easily.
Full-auto gives greater firepower averaging 435 FPS on 30-50 round bursts and about 70% accuracy. (Non-upgraded version)
The number climbs up to 590 FPS on 30-50 round bursts and about 74% accuracy in the upgraded model.
The shooting experience is just great. Everything from the vibrations and the iron-sights gives you an “unexplainable in words” feel. You can feel the weapon when you’re shooting it and that’s the sole characteristic of good weaponry.
Best Alternatives to the M4A1
If M4 is not so much of your craving, here are some likewise performing guns.
Everyone loves a Scar-L and some people even consider it as the best substitute for an M4A1 Carbine.
It has been an all-time favorite and my personal choice when I don’t want to use my M4.
It’s just that I don’t like the ergonomics very much. Especially when you factor in a thumb grip, Scar-Ls is just too odd. Not to mention that most Scar-Ls have heating issues due to their designs.
If you are someone who does not prefer ergonomics and performance overlooks, SCAR-L is definitely for you. They are cheaper and perform nearly as well as M4 but usually lack the premium materials unless you opt for a higher variant.
Army grey, Army Green, and Black colors look great and sometimes better when compared to an M4.
SIDE NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR:
As I said, rifles do not have a fit criterion and there’s no best rifle as parameters for most of them are the same.
What matters for rifles in Airsoft is the ergonomics, materials, and shooting power of your weapon. Since most rifles fall within the 300-500 FPS range, there’s not very much at stake unless you’re buying an SMG or a Sniper Rifle.
You can buy an AKM and compare it with an M4 because they are somewhat similar in working and range but you cannot compare an M4A1 with a P90 or M24 Sniper Rifle.
Those are pretty different from Assault Rifles.
To conclude, I will recommend the M4A1 Carbine to any amateur or Pro player out in the field all day long.
It is not only easy to train with but also affordable. Not to mention that you can always upgrade its parts later as you become more expert. The value for money that this rifle gives is also a commendation.
However, you can always go for the SCAR-L if the M4A1 Carbine doesn’t cut. Check out the SCAR here.
View the detailed technical parameters from the manufacturer of M4A1 Carbine on this page. And don’t forget to share your experience with us down in the comments. We promise we will add your suggestions if they are verified and credit them with your name.
Happy Airsoft, Hoo-Ah!