The dark side? Come on, you just left it and coming into the light now :P
For the gun, if you browse quite a bit you'll notice that at the moment the most discussed brand for starter, and having a great quality/price ratio is the King Arms M4. There are a few specials out there at the moment and the price is low given the quality (around 300$, even lower most of the time). This give you a bit more dough to spend on eye protection, bdu, vest and what not (don't forget battery and good charger too)
I'd say follow Sticks' advice and try out the King Arms, I love mine. Like other said, at 3-400$ you won't get *much* better than the ICS you tried, and in my opinion I think the King Arms is better. Others with more experience having tried both brand might chime in, I'm biased :P
Welcome to the bright side of war games!