Join Date: Oct 2014
Location: Waterloo, Markham (Currently)
What is the best M4? [Guide for Beginners] (Sticky Please?)
What is the best M4?
This is a question repeatedly asked on ASC, whether it is on the Newbie Tank or the Airsoft Guns Discussion categories.
This thread is also created explicitly for those new to this sport; therefore, I will do my best to explain some fundamentals that are explained in threads throughout ASC.
Budget is the biggest limiting and deciding factor in airsoft; the quality of what you get usually depends on how much you are willing to pay for it. See the Brands part of this for further detail.
An AEG is recommended over a GBBR.
This is due to how much more common AEGs are and therefore, technical issues and any questions that might come up are more easily solved.
As well, when the weather gets colder, gas efficiency drops. AEGs typically do not suffer this problem until the temperature drops below freezing.
Finally, GBBs are very maintenance heavy in order to have them function at optimal performance, which beginners may not have knowledge of how to maintain them properly.
AEG M4s are made in 2 different materials; there are those with nylon fibre (plastic/polymer) receivers, and metal receivers.
High quality polymer receivers fare no worse than most metal receivers, and help save weight.
Of course, for realism, metal bodies are more valued.
There have been many questions regarding whether increased barrel length offers increased accuracy.
A longer barrel does NOT result in greater accuracy; it may offer slightly increased FPS and range, but the accuracy will remain relatively equal.
Accuracy depends on the QUALITY of the barrel, as well as the quality of the hopup.
Consistency depends on the air seal of your barrel grouping; the better your air seal, the more consistent your FPS and range will be.
Therefore, an M16 has no significant advantage over an M4.
Indoors or Outdoors?
If outdoors, you can skip this section.
If indoors, you'll want something compact and highly maneouverable.
If you want the absolute most accurate M4, Systema PTW have the best performance, but are also by far the most expensive. They can also be rather finicky to work on.
Run Stock or Upgrade?
If running stock, VFC and KWA (and now Krytac) are widely regarded as the best out-of-the-box AEG M4s. VFC is the most recommended brand, however some players do not like their self-shimming gears. KWA works well out of the box, but has proprietary parts that make it more difficult and costly to upgrade or repair. Krytac comes with some bells and whistles stock, such as a mosfet, quick-change spring guide, upgraded motor, and ambidextrous fire select (of course, some models of VFC also have the ambidextrous fire select, and I believe sooner or later, the newer lines will come with a built-in mosfet).
If upgrading, VFC and G&P make beautiful externals to build a gun from. However, a lot of gundocs do not recommend running a G&P stock, due to iffy internals. Also, be advised that G&P does not have the best spec'ing; the magwells will fit only certain magazines, and the dust cover does not close for whatever reason. VFC has 3 lines to choose externals from; E-series, VR-series, and DX-series. The E-series is older, and features a white laser-etched VFC trademark on the side of the magwell. It has an older style hopup made of clear polycarbonate, but it's still a really good chamber. The VR-series is newer, and features a engraved VFC trademark on the side of the magwell and uses a rotary style hopup chamber. The DX-series is the most coveted for it's licensed trades. It also uses the E-series hopup chamber. All 3 lines use the same internals (VR-series hopup excluded) and feature the same finish.
G&G Toptech line is quite well regarded and have a wide variety of different gun platforms (M4, AK, MP5, 416, etc) to choose from. However, if you are looking for an AR platform, for around the same price you could buy a VFC which would perform better and have better externals. The Top-Tech gearboxes also have a tendency to have the front of the gearbox to crack and then blow off, so do be aware of this.
If you can't afford those, King Arms is the standard intermediate go-to full metal M4, while the Ares Amoeba line and ICS are also recommended. King Arms are highly upgradable and customizable, and offer decent externals and internals but usually need upgrades to perform at an optimal level. Ares Amoeba performs moderately well out of the box and has a convenient quick spring change feature, but is slightly more limited by internal upgrades and has a polymer body. ICS is known for their split gearbox design that allows for easy fps changes and run well out of the box, but their external and some internal compatibility is somewhat proprietary, thus limiting customization options.
If you are on a tight budget, G&G Combat Machines are the beginner guns most veteran airsofters recommend. The new G&G Combat Machine line is actually fairly decent; although it's not as budget-friendly as the old Combat Machines, the performance upgrade is well worth the cost in my opinion.
The general opinion of Classic Army is extremely hit or miss; either you get a decent/good gun, or you get an absolute lemon. Spin to win at your own risk with CA (currently).
Krytac is the new kid on the block. Initial response has generally been positive, although others have stated that if you are upgrading, it's more worthwhile to get a VFC to use as the base instead of the Krytac. If you are planning to run stock, Krytac is up there with VFC and KWA.
There are other brands out there I know I'm missing that I either don't have enough information about (BOLT, Deepfire, Dytac) or just aren't worth mentioning i.e. don't even look at these for an AR platform (APS, Ares non-Amoeba lineup, Echo1 non-Platinum lineup, Lancer Tactical, etc)
ASC Veterans, am I missing anything?
If so, comment that below please, and I'll gladly edit it in.
The marui M4s are outdated, they're only reliable when stock (at 280fps). Upgrading them to perform at the same level as, and have a metal body, will cost you more than just buying a new gun.
Classic army has never made GOOD guns, they've made a lot of crap and a lot of okay guns. The only reason any older player will THINK they were good is because way back 8-10 years ago your only choices in airsoft were a reliable $500 plastic marui or an unreliable $650 metal CA.
Their internals are crap, their externals are weak, their paint is too shiny, their 249 is inferior, they're just slightly off tm spec to make aftermarket gears whine constantly, and they've been upstaged by G&G on just about every gun.
G&P make excellent upgrade bases (I've got a love/hate relationship with G&P), but they're got some of the worst stock gears, unreliable pistons, explosive (aptly named) piston heads, and often times assembled incorrectly from factory. Their motors are also garbage. Really their only saving grace is that they have some of the toughest metal bodies and use RS threading on the receiver. Not sure if it's still true but the MK23's have semi-proprietary gearboxes that had the holes for the spur gear misaligned as well.
The make THE best 249 on the market, though.
Basically you'd be a fool to run a stock G&P lol
VFC is the best gun to keep stock and upgrade later.
G&G is a cheaper gun to keep stock and upgrade later, externals aren't quite as good. But this is the standard beginner gun.
KWA is actually pretty decent as a stock gun until the cylinder head inevitably explodes.
Some manufacturers will have better and worse specific rifles. Like G&G's AK5C is just a horrible gun, and marui make awesome sniper rifle bases.
BOLT and KRYTAC also make some pretty high end guns apparently, haven't worked on either myself but I know other gunsmiths who have.
Last edited by Datawraith; January 2nd, 2016 at 12:20..
Reason: Time for an update