The airsoft clones of the M4 and the AK have to be two of the most popular airsoft rifles. This popularity should come as no surprise to anyone remotely knowledgeable with firearms, fans of action movies, or anyone who enjoys playing video games such as Call of Duty Modern Warfare or any other first-person shooter.
The M4 is fitting if you want something sleek, modern, somewhat tiny, and infinitely adjustable, but with a smaller battery and typically less durability. If you’re looking for something a little rugged and durable, and perhaps a little less configurable and heavier, the AK is where you should look.
We delve into nearly all you need to know about airsoft M4 and AK-type rifles in the sections below, highlighting how they compare against one another. By the time you’ve finished reading the insider material below, you’ll have a lot better notion of which of these airsoft guns is worth your hard-earned cash and what is the legal ramifications of owning an airsoft rifle.
The M4 and AK Airsoft Gun Platform Overview
The M4 is the most prevalent platform in the real steel world and the Airsoft arena. The most significant advantage of the M4 platform is its modular nature, as many airsoft M4s can equip spotlights, lasers, scopes, and other tactical attachments. Another fantastic feature of the M4 is the many upgrade and repair parts available. The M4 platform is by far the most popular in airsoft.
The AK rifle has been synonymous with some of the most passionately contested modern battles of our time, manufactured in the millions throughout the world. The AK platform is the second most widely used airsoft gun, which means that both repair and upgrade parts will be plentiful and easy to come by. The AK has a rugged, almost rustic style, and it’s a bit “relic” in appearance with the wood stock and steel base.
For more information on which to buy, check out our list of airsoft M4's.
History of the M4 and AK
The Colt Arms manufacturing firm was the developer of the authentic M4, a carbine variation of the M-16 and AR 15 platforms, when the US Government requested them to create it in 1982. The M4 Carbine is one of the most popular rifle models, and all branches of the US military, law enforcement, and over 60 militaries worldwide use this rifle. The Airsoft version is replicated based on the M4 design from the real guns world.
Since 1947, the AK-47 Automatic Kalashnikov has become one of the most popular and well-known firearms. Since then, the AK-47 has grown into a versatile and modular platform. Many people in the firearms field believe the AK to be one of the most reliable rifles ever made, which is incredible given how inexpensive and straightforward it is to put together.
Despite their internals and ammo being about 60% the same, these two airsoft gun platforms are quite different. In terms of personalization, the M4 is unrivaled, but some may argue there are too many of them in circulation. Therefore people who want a rugged realistic look opt for the AK instead. Many say the AK feels better in hand, but each person should decide for themselves.
Choosing Between The M4 Or Ak Platforms
There is a lot to consider before investing in your first airsoft rifle. The first essential considerations to compare are availability, customizability, tech support, and team support. Then when you move to higher tier guns, you should look at things like build quality, shooting performance, and ultimately how reliable the rifle is. In the end, you will find that it comes down to personal preference, but we will help you narrow down the differences.
How Readily Available Are Parts And Aftermarket Products?
The M4 platform is the most readily available and popular rifle in the global airsoft arena, especially in the United States. That said, the AK is the second most popular and readily available rifle out there. As a first-time buyer entering the airsoft market, it is often overwhelming to narrow it down, but choosing either of these platforms will be a good choice.
Both AK and M4 have plenty of parts available, and you will not have a problem sourcing replacement parts and extras for your rifle. In most physical and online stores, you tend to find more M4 products since most manufacturers build items for the M4 platform first and then expand to other platforms.
M4 products are more cost-effective in general.
How Customizable Is The Rifle With Accessories?
- The M4 platform has more customizability with attachments and rail systems than the Ak platform.
The M4 has a more modern appearance, and this offers individuals more room to accessorize their rifles to look like modern warfare guns. The Ak is famous for being an iconic rugged-looking anti-establishment rifle used by the bad guys. Therefore, seeing a fully accessorized AK is not common.
Standard accessories that you will find on both are:
- Slings: Not just for completing the look and feel of a real gun, a sling is a must-have when running around carrying a heavy rifle for hours. To relieve some tiredness throwing your weapon on the ground is never a good thing. Therefore, a sling is a must-have to move it to the back or just let it hang on the front.
- Mag Adapter: The widely used M4 mag adapters help maximize the BB carrying capacity and make the gun reload way faster.
- Sights or Optics: some people say they are useless, while others say they are essential. A dot will always be better than the standard iron sights. Using tracer BBs will negate the use of optics
- Flashlight: A good flashlight is essential for illuminating rooms and critical targets in the dark. Use a flashlight to track BBs downrange or blind an adversary. When it comes to identifying targets, the practical aspect of visibility is invaluable.
- Extended Mag wells: mainly for the M4 platform since they have more mag issues.
Is Tech Support Available On And Off The Field?
When your rifle inevitably breaks, you will need a replacement part or fix. Almost all tech support will know the ins and outs of an M4 rifle. It might be harder to find tech support on the field for an AK since 90% of battlefields and arenas have M4s rifles as rental guns in the US. That said, you will find someone to help you out with an AK since many AK lovers do tech support themselves.
Don’t Underestimate Team Support
One thing that many novices underestimate is the team support you have while on the battlefield. Having a popular platform helps when you run out of mags since someone can pass you a mag from an M4 or Ak, and it will fit your gun most of the time. You should have the same platform for this to work, though.
Many teammates carry some essential parts for their platform and help you out if your gun runs into issues. Teammates on the same platform will inevitably know how to fix common problems. On most battlefields, onsite tech support with some parts for M4 and AK platforms is available if no team member can assist you.
Sturdy Internal Build properties
- A high-quality bucking object that touches the BB before firing the gun
- A solid hop up that is adjustable and should not move when firing
- Good rubber seals ensure reliable gas pressure
- A smooth inner barrel with a well-made crown
- A well oiled shimmed gearbox that does not whine under prolonged use
- Low resistance wiring prolong battery life and efficiency
Solid External Build Properties
- Entire metal body for extra durability
- Tactical rails is a must
- Ease of use like ambidextrous safeties, ergonomic collapsible stocks, ambidextrous magazine releases, and easy-to-reach adjustment mechanisms
Good Shooting Performance Rifle
- Consistent muzzle velocity with good backspin from a solid hop up, bucking, and Nub
- Good quality battery like the 11.1V Lipo Battery
- Great full auto mode, a high round per second fire rate
Reliability Under Prolonged Use
- A reliable rifle that will shoot under every type of circumstance
- Well designed and installed precision internal parts
Medium Capacity Vs High Capacity Magazines Vs Drum Magazines
Most M4 rifles come with a STANAG style magazine that looks like the 30 round 5.56 magazine used by authentic M4 rifles. The airsoft version of the AK has the same design as the real weapon, with the colossal curved-shaped clip setting the AK apart from the rest of the gun silhouettes on the field.
The M4 magazine is ambidextrous (both hands), precisely like on most genuine M4s. Press the small button situated slightly above the magazine hole to release the magazine with your index finger. Disengaging these magazines is quite simple but not as straightforward as the AK mag release system.
You can expect magazine compatibility issues between models and brands. Having your mag seat properly prevents inadequate BBs feeding and prevents dirt and debris from entering the mag slot. The AK platform has fewer issues, while the M4 platform has mag adaptors and more extensive mag wells accessories to compensate for these issues.
Still, reloading magazines, especially under stress when you’re in a high-intensity airsoft game, can be a little tricky. By practicing, you will master the art of quickly releasing and reloading your M4 or Ak rifle.
Medium Capacity Magazines
- M4 capacity: 140 – 200 BBs
- Ak capacity: 300 – 350 BBs
- It requires a loader to fill up the magazine
- It makes no noise even when running low on BB
- Most events require mid-cap mags giving those with AK an advantage since they carry fewer mags
- The way they cycle the BBs are more realistic
- M4 Loadout on the body requires nine hi-cap mags giving you 1260 rounds
- AK Loadout on the body needs four hi-cap mags giving you 1260 rounds
High Capacity Magazines
- M4 capacity: 300 – 350 BBs
- Ak capacity: 500 – 600 BBs
- Both Noisier when shaken, especially when BBs start to get low impairing stealth capabilities
- Easy to fill reservoir but needs the spring system (turning wheel or pull string flash-mags) wound up before it can work
- M4 Loadout on the body requires four hi-cap mags giving you around 1200 rounds
- AK Loadout on the body requires two hi-cap mags giving you around 1000 – 1200 rounds
Outrages Drum Magazines
- Hold up to 5000 BBs
- Heavy and bulky
- Looks unreal
- you may need gas or air to move the BBs
- Both M4 and Ak have compatible drum magazines available
Airsoft Guns And Their Legal Requirements
Even though Airsoft guns get marketed as game-playing devices designed to simulate real-life battles with automatic or semi-automatic weapons, their use by children and adults in other areas appears to be growing. Furthermore, to buy an Airsoft gun in the United States, you must be 18 years old or older.
To minimize misunderstanding with real firearms, federal importation laws in the United States demand that all Airsoft guns carried inside or imported into the nation have barrels with a minimum 6mm broad blaze orange tip. Most Airsoft gun retailers include disclaimers on their websites advising that their guns come with a bright orange tip and that removing them is unlawful and will void the warranty.
Misuse of these weapons can lead to several criminal charges, as well as bodily injury or death. Criminals who use an Airsoft or replica gun to commit crimes will nearly always be treated as if they had used a real firearm. Individuals (usually children) wielding realistic-looking Airsoft guns have been shot by police who mistaken the weapons for real firearms on several occasions.
To date, no one has died as a direct result of being shot by an airsoft gun, but someone displaying an airsoft gun only to be shot by someone with a real gun is an example of how you might die from having an airsoft gun.
From a legal aspect, anyone interested in purchasing an Airsoft gun should first check their local and state regulations regarding gun ownership and use. Knowledgeable and respectable local gun dealers will provide this information, but consumers should always double-check with their local law enforcement agency or a local consumer products attorney.
Many rules and regulations govern the manufacture, importation, and ownership of Airsoft guns due to their sometimes eerie similarity to actual firearms and the possible devastating repercussions. The M4 and the AK-47 are both extremely popular rifles, with the M4 being one of the most influential firearms in the world and the AK-47 being one of the most iconic designs ever made.
You really can’t go wrong with these airsoft AEG rifle Platforms, especially if you get them from a respectable manufacturer and add a few crucial improvements to bring them up to par. Choosing either comes down to personal preference and style.
1) Why Choose the Airsoft M4?