Most airsoft players either have at least one M4 in their collection or want at least one M4 in their collection. It’s an air-cooled, gas-operated, magazine-fed turbine with a telescoping stock.
It’s a version of the M16 assault rifle used all over the world by the US military. Oh, and it’s versatile as all get-out. Pretty much whatever you need it to do, the M4 will snap a salute, give a hearty “Sir, yes sir” and do as it’s told.
It’s the combination of that military element, that versatility, and the sheer, unbridled coolness factor that makes the M4 one of airsoft’s most sought-after weapons.
But there are a lot of versions of the M4 out there. We mentioned it was versatile, right?
And if you’re going to have an M4, why would you settle for a mediocre M4? Why would you not want the best that’s out there? You could even argue it’s a dishonour to the people who carry the real thing to get anything but the best.
But…how do you tell the best airsoft M4s from the merely OK airsoft M4s? Unless you’re going to go to airsoft weapon stores around the country and try them all out as if in game situations, how are you going to know which are the best?
We’ve got your six.
Well, your five, anyhow. We’ve gathered the five best, most well-regarded airsoft M4s on the market together and broken them down for you, so all you have to do is choose the one that best suits your style of play.
In a hurry? Here’s our top pick.
OUR TOP PICK
What do you need to know before buying the Soft Air Firepower F4D?
Well, it gives you full auto mode for a start, so you have an authentic M4 feel. It has a magazine which holds 500 0.12g BBs, and can deliver them accurately at a rate of 200 FPS.
Sure, that’s less than some of the heavier-duty airsoft rifles out there, but it combines firing speed with a realistic experience and a retractable stock, for a weapon that feels like it’s a go-anywhere, do-anything airsoft tool.
What’s more, it’s one of the most newcomer-friendly M4s on the market, so you can trust it to be kind to you if you’re just starting to get into the whole airsoft mindset.
Too simple and underpowered for experienced players? Some will undoubtedly think so, but for our money, having an M4 in your collection that’s very much ready for anything will still be an asset even when, technically, you have more powerful weapons for longer-range play.
If someone asked you to explain in a sentence where the fun of running round with replica weapons and shooting your friends lay, you wouldn’t even need the whole sentence.
You could just point them to the Soft Air Firepower and smile. They wouldn’t understand till they’d used it – but you’d know.
You get some fun additions to enhance your play right out of the box with the Soft Air Firepower too, like a strategic electric lamp and a laser pointing module.
But the real key to why this M4 makes the top of our list is that it makes the most of the M4’s inherent versatility. It has 4 rails, so you can add on your own accessories as well as those which come with the weapon.
That right there is the extra joy factor that really sings of the M4’s heart.
4 rails mean you can essentially make it a whole different animal, and it includes a bunch of fairly neat options to get you started, while seeming to invite you to experiment and do more, and try out different things.
This versatility takes your airsoft gaming to a whole other level. Besides the fun of going out and playing, having 4 rails means you can turn the collecting of new add-ons into an extra dimension of your gaming.
What’s the next great extra you can add to your Soft Air Firepower, and how will it change how you play?
It’s a versatility that turns an otherwise straightforward hobby into something with a geek cool edge, and yes, absolutely, it’s a versatility inherent in the M4, not an exclusive feature of the Soft Air Firepower.
It’s just that the Soft Air makes it feel so natural and easy to build on different extras that it feels like it's an exclusive element of the weapon’s construction.
Are there any downsides with the Soft Air Firepower? Only really the fact that very little is what it says it is – the ‘magazine’ is where the battery is stored, for instance, and the scope…isn’t a scope.
That’s where your ammo is actually stored. So in some respects, it can be like playing with a mirror image of the real gun for a while, until you get used to it – everything is there, it’s just not necessarily where you thought it would be.
But overall, that’s a small price to pay, alongside the small price you actually pay, for a weapon that’s this accommodating and this much fun.
That combination of accommodation, versatility, and fun is what makes the Soft Air Firepower out top pick for the best airsoft M4.
- This is a very friendly weapon for new airsoft gamers
- It encapsulates the versatility of the M4 for gamers
- 4 rails mean you can have endless fun adding new elements and trying them out
- It’s priced for new players, so you can grab it for a bargain
- Some major elements are not where you think they are
- Some players will find it too underpowered for long-term enjoyment
The BBTac M83 is another entry-level weapon, but it brings a lot to your airsoft party.
You can use it in either fully or semi-automatic mode, depending on the needs of your game, and if you use 0.12g BBs, it will give you 250 FPS. With 0.20 grams, it will still give you 200 FPS, so likewise, the adaptability of the M4 feels like it plays into this weapon.
The lightweight frame of the M83 is a particular draw, both for new players and more seasoned airsofters who care less about full metal accuracy and more about flexibility on the move.
It also comes with an adaptable bounce up, to send your BBs further than they otherwise would.
That said, if you grab an M83, everything about it immediately whispers “Close Quarter Battles” rather than “take a target down from a gazillion yards away.”
The lightness, the flexibility, it all feels like a weapon for the down and dirty sections of airsoft, rather than the cool aloofness of sniper rifle shooting. That gives it a longevity in the game it might not otherwise have once you move beyond the beginner stages.
Yes, it’s a plastic replica, rather than an all-metal version, and that might make it unattractive to some longer-playing hardcore airsofters. And yes, the price is significantly higher than the Soft Air Firepower.
But both for airsoft beginners and those whose game depends more on rapid movement and close quarters fighting, the M83 has a lot to offer.
- A good bounce up function throws your BBs further than normal
- A great weapon for close quarter battles
- Lightweight enough for beginners, but useful beyond that phase of gaming
- Some will find its plastic build quality unappealing
- The price is higher than other similar weapons without apparent justification
The Lancer Tactical G2 M4 is the first metal-framed airsoft M4 in our list, and were we limited to only metal M4s, there’s no doubt it would be shining right at the top.
Depending on the weight of your BBs, you can get 330 FPS out of the Lancer Tactical G2, so you’re looking at a weapon suitable for longer distance shooting.
A strong core and adjustable stock give the weapon a believable feel, though there’s a grittiness that can also make it feel more manufactured for the game than a genuine replication of the original.
An alloy outer barrel assembly is responsible for the strength of the core, and adding a free-float KeyMod rail system with 20mm adapters means you can start building on the basic frame immediately.
Optics, sights and other accessories are yours to click and clunk onto the strong base, and the whole weapon has an easy-to-hold lightness that you might not expect of a metal-framed M4.
Internally with the G2, you have a hop unit, which will add backspin to your BBs to boost your range of effectiveness.
You also get a 6.03mm Tightbore Inner Barrel, which helps with your aiming and accuracy – again, while you can use the G2 for close quarter battles, it’s more at home with middle-distance shooting.
Overall, the G2 gives you the best of several worlds – the realism of a metal frame, without too much of the weight that would normally come as standard on such a weapon.
It’s a sensitive, sensible middle-distance M4 that will suit players who’ve been once or twice around the airsoft block more than the first-day newbie.
- This is a lightweight airsoft M4, despite its metal frame
- You can get over 330 FPS out of it, for longer distance shooting
- The KeyMod rail system means you can start adapting and expanding the weapon immediately
- The exterior can feel gritty and off-putting, rather than overly realistic
If you’re new to airsoft, the G&G M4 could have your name on it.
Ready to play straight out of the box, it’s a weapon that will teach you to walk before you run to the world of adapted, extended M4s, because unlike most M4s on our list, it doesn’t come with any kind of rail system.
Basic, straightforward M4 goodness – that’s what you’re getting from the G&G combat machine.
That said, there are some add-ons you can fit to it, just so you’re not left hopelessly outgunned when you start playing with more experienced airsofters. You can add a laser red dot aiming device, or a variable optic, though the iron sights are fixed and built-in.
You get a magazine of 450 BBs at a time, which should be enough to keep you going for a while unless you decide to go berserker frenzy and hope for the best.
The 450 magazine is pretty perfect for an indoor campaign, and also gives you an adjustable hop-up, to make those slightly longer shots.
A friendly, uncomplicated game-opener for beginners, the G&G combat machine doesn’t do too much for you, but lays out the pathway to progress in front of you instead.
It’s a basic M4 for a beginner’s budget, and it will tell you whether you want to go further with airsoft, or whether it’s not your thing.
Once you can handle the G&G well, you’re ready to progress to the world of built-up, added-on, bolted-together M4s with the more experienced airsoft players if you want to.
- This is a great basic M4 with very few bells and whistles, so as not to overwhelm the beginner
- It has an adjustable hop-up to help you make longer shots and a magazine size that’s just right for indoor airsoft environments
- The price is right for absolute beginners who may not want to over-invest at first
- There’s no rail system to accessories, so if you want to build on it immediately, it’s not the weapon for you
Realism is often the key to opening up new levels of adrenaline in your airsoft experience.
You’re going to want to see the Evike Soft Air Colt M4. Featuring the real Colt markings, it’s licensed by the manufacturer or the real, lethal version.
Ladies, gentlemen, and airsofters all – we just went up a whole level.
The Soft Air Colt M4 is metal on the outside and metal on the inside. That makes it almost disturbingly difficult to tell from the real thing. That’s got to elevate your airsoft play, right?
Add to that elements like a retractable crane, adjustable front and rear sights, and you’re starting to have a real airsoft masterpiece on your hands.
300 rounds is what you get in the as-sold magazine, but, joyfully compared to others on our list, you can swap that out for a higher capacity magazine if you like.
And you can use the rail interface system on this model to build up, bolt on and get your airsoft war machine on.
Oh, and for those battles when you jusssst need that little longer to claim ultimate victory, you can also replace the batteries in the Colt M4 while you’re in the field. Let your enemies know of what a power you have control with the Colt M4.
- This is the most realistic design on our list, being licensed by Colt itself
- Use of the rail interface system means you can build up from the base easily
- Metal inside and out gives you an authentic feel during your game – and improves the weapon’s durability
- Metal inside and out makes this a heavy airsoft weapon to take into the field
When buying your airsoft M4, keep these points in mind.
You’re the master, it’s the servant
Just because an M4 can be upgraded within an inch of its life, it doesn’t mean it has to be.
If you’re comfortable playing with a stripped-back version for now, go with your gut, rather than with all the twinkly add-ons.
There’s realism, and then there’s snobbery. Learn to tell the difference.
Too many airsoft players sneer at plastic-bodied M4s because they’re not ‘authentic.’ They’re also lightweight, fast-moving, and a great boon to the newcomer and those who prefer close-quarters combat.
Don’t be ashamed to go plastic if that’s where your heart lies.
If you feel the need for metal, go with it
Just as there’s no shame in going with a plastic model for lightness, there’s nothing wrong with feeling the need for authenticity and going for all-metal in your M4.
If that’s where your heart leads you, it’s perfectly valid to learn your airsoft on a hardcore metal M4.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What makes an M4 so special as an airsoft weapon?
In a word – versatility. It’s almost as versatile as it is efficient, and in the rail interface system, it gives you a way of making a vast number of tweaked weapons from the same basic skeleton.
That means you can adapt to your heart’s content and give yourself a range of weapon options with this one weapon.
2. Is the M4 best suited to beginners or more experienced players?
Yes. Both. The joy of the M4 is its versatility, so there are versions that are stripped back and simple for the newcomer, and there are versions that bring the authenticity, complexity, greater distance, and finer balance of the real thing, to satisfy the needs of more accomplished players.
3. Do you need lots of accessories with an M4?
You don’t need them as such, no. You can play with a stripped-back M4, with no rail system, and be perfectly happy.
It’s more the point that you want accessories, to turn your M4 into an M4+ and discover what it can do for you.