Airsoft Basics: What is an M4?

Airsoft Basics: What is an M4?

What is an M4?

This question is harder to answer than you might think! In Airsoft terms, an M4 is a replica Airsoft rifle which shoots 6mm BBs at Airsoft skirmish safe velocities using compressed air or gas, and is based on the shape and external design of a real world M4A1 or AR15 rifle.

Airsoft M4s are available in a multitude of different lengths and shapes with different operating systems and features, and are one of the best Airsoft platforms to start the sport with thanks to the availability of accessories, simple and intuitive controls and tried and tested internals. 

The term "Airsoft M4" is a very general term which simply describes the external shape of the Airsoft gun, and with the plethora of M4 rifles available for Airsoft it is very important that you choose the right kind of M4 for your needs. With this in mind, lets get stuck in and give you a brief overview of the different types of Airsoft M4 out there, and what type of skirmisher they suit the most! 

M4 Assault Rifle Types

What type of M4 suits your playstyle? We can't tell you, but what we can do is give you the low down on the different M4 Assault rifle types and what they do best! 



Other M4 Airsoft Rifles

Being so prolific and popular, the M4 is also available in several more specialised setups. These M4s have proprietary internals and are generally not the best choice for beginners, but offer some impressive features for a player who wants a bit more from their M4.

Tokyo Marui NGRS M4s

What is an Tokyo Marui NGRS M4? 

Designed as the next evolution of the AEG platform, the Tokyo Marui NGRS M4 series is an electrically powered M4 with several advanced features built in. Tokyo Marui literally invented the AEG, so with that kind of pedigree you can expect big things from an NGRS M4 platform. 

The NGRS works similarly to an AEG, but adds in a moving recoil weight inside the buffer tube, and has a functional bolt catch which needs to be pressed before resuming fire after loading a fresh magazine. 

While not even close to the recoil a GBBR provides, the NGRS system gives a nice bit of feedback with each shot, and also has an EBB system which cycles the mock bolt carrier, making the NGRS a bit more fun to shoot than a normal AEG.

With the NGRS system, the bar to entry is high, and NGRS rifles generally cost much more than an AEG, and use their own proprietary magazines which are less common than AEG magazines. 


Tippmann M4 HPA Series

Why use an M4?

M4s are very popular amongst Airsofters primarily for one reason; they are very popular in the real world too! M4s are issued to the US Army, USMC and several Special Forces branches, and are also extremely popular with civilian tactical and competition shooters in the US.

This has resulted in an aftermarket for the real M4 which gives an almost infinite number of customisation options. The Airsoft M4 platforms follow suit, and usually have the latest and greatest aesthetic parts a month or two after the real M4 equivalent hits the market. 

No other Airsoft platform can match the M4 in the way it can be customised, and despite the fact that this platform serves the vast majority of Airsofters today you can still make an M4 which is one of a kind to suit your specific needs. 

M4 AEGs are often lighter than equivalent platforms, have simple and easy-to-use controls and broad magazine availability, meaning building a full loadout is often cheaper and easier using an M4 AEG. M4 AEGs use the tried and tested Version 2 Airsoft gearbox which has been around for decades and is known to be a mature design in which any design issues have long since been solved. 

Milsimmmers love GBBR and NGRS M4s, primarily for their realistic features such as the functional bolt stop, and the immersive firing experience their recoil systems provide. These M4s are more expensive and maintenance intensive but are a great option for a more committed Airsofter with a taste for realism. 

The M4 design has spawned some of the best performing Airsoft platforms available today, from the CQB speed demon G&G ARP-556 to the authentically licenced Krytac REC 7 series, complete with realistic Barrett Firearms markings. M4 AEGs particularly are often at the cutting edge of Airsoft design, and usually boast the latest innovations before they filter down to other platforms. 

With a bit more knowledge under your belt you should now know what you need to know to narrow down what kind of M4 platform fits you best. If you want to know more about the M4 and its different parts, check out our platform walkaround for the M4. If you are ready to start browsing and begin your search for the ultimate M4, check out the plethora of M4 rifles available currently below!

Show me the M4s