||Semi & Full Auto
||280 to 315 fps
|Rounds per min.
||2974g (without battery)
Looking for the perfect airsoft gun is in many ways
like looking for the perfect wife. Anyone with some experience
in airsoft (or in marriage) will tell you that such a thing
as perfection does not exist, and that any choice should
be the result of quite a few compromises. Having no airsoft
experience whatsoever, it took me a while to figure that
bit out, and in the meanwhile I have examined and contemplated
pretty much every available AEG out there, much to the amusement
of my fellow players that wondered (and rightfully so) if
I will ever get myself to buy an AEG.
So, why the CA M15A4?
Well, it's been a combination of factors. It has a good
reputation on the net, it's metal, which means sturdy construction
that's likely to withstand abuse. Also, it comes with a
high-cap magazine as standard, and it's pre-upgraded, meaning
that it shoots harder, or at least it's supposed to. More
to the point, it was readily available in Greece, at a decent
price from a local Airsoft importer, meaning I could save
a few bucks on the shipping cost. After some thought, I
decided to get the "Tactical Carbine" version,
essentially an M4 with a fixed stock. For one, I detest
the retractable stock of the M4 and two, I wanted the benefits
of a large battery.
I purchased the gun from a local distributor, so I was
pretty happy I had it in my hands within 24 hours. The M15A4
comes in a nifty-looking box with a picture of the gun on
it... inside you'll find what one can expect; the gun itself,
a high-cap magazine, a cleaning rod, a tool to adjust the
front sight and some paperwork including the gun's manual
and a CA catalogue of guns and accessories. I took some
time to browse through the former, and while it's all there,
and has a pretty comprehensive picture of the gun broken
into its parts, I could hardly call it helpful, especially
for the new and more inexperienced airsofter like myself.
The gun itself rests on the usual plastic styrofoam-type
berth. Picking it up one is struck by how real and how sturdy
it feels. Nothing seems to rattle or creak. Those that have
some experience with the real steel M4 will find the M15A4's
weight comparable with the real rifle, if somewhat lighter.
Any way you cut it, it's a heavy beast of an AEG, and that
can be an issue after a few hours of skirmishing.
The receiver, carry handle, barrel and sights are made
of good-quality metal, whereas the stock and hand guard
are made of some composite material, like in the real-steel
version. They both look quite sturdy and not likely to come
off or break with casual use. My one complaint is about
the paint. It seems very thin and easy to come off even
with the faintest scratch, revealing a silvery layer beneath
it. On the good side, the handguard has a matte finish to
it that makes it look very nice compared to the somewhat
shinier handguard on the ICS M4A1 model.
Construction on the handguard however, seems tougher on
the ICS counterpart as one of our guys with a retractable
stock CA M15A4 model already broke his handguard off after
just a handful of battery installations (another plus for
the M15A4 Tactical Carbine since the battery is installed
on the buttstock as opposed to the handguard).
As in the real rifle, the carry handle comes off
by twisting a couple of knobs, revealing a rail onto which
one may mount scopes, red dots, and the sort. For those
that want an older look, a pretty inexpensive adaptor with
a rail can be fastened to the carry handle and accessories
such as scopes can be attached there raising the top altogether.
The sights are typical for the M4/M16 series with
two apertures, a wide one for low-light/CQB conditions and
a narrow one for sharpshooting. They are not bad, but they
are not as ergonomic as the H&K ones in the G3/MP5 series.
The standard 300 rd mag goes easily
into the mag well and locks into place.
Removing the mag is equally easy.
Your index finger presses a button on the right side
of the mag well and the empty mag falls off. My one
complaint is that the magazine itself rattles in the
mag well. I hear that this is also the case for the real
M4, and anyway it is something that a little
tape will fix.
The fire selector has three positions for safe,
single fire, and full auto, and clicks satisfyingly between
the three. The cocking lever and spring-release button are
moveable, the bolt slamming back with a very satisfying
sound, but unlike the Marui which opens the door when you
cock it, and the ICS which opens the door when you cock
it and releases the spring tension when the button is pressed,
they are there just for show. The spring release does nothing,
whereas access to the hop-up is facilitated by manually
opening the dust cover on the right side of the receiver.
The little hatch is secured with a flat magnet. The markings
on the receiver look realistic enough, but I guess I am
not the right person to get into these details...
The large battery slides easily into the stock through
a small door that is built into the butt plate. Dealing
with the wiring takes a little getting used to, but once
the little door is closed, the battery does not move inside,
and the added weight balances the gun somewhat better.
Shooting the M15A4
My first experience shooting the M15A4 was one of pure
horror. I did everything by the book, but the gun would
not fire. I checked the wires, the connections, the battery.
Stories of faulty Classic Army guns came back to haunt me...
Thankfully it was merely the battery. A custom-made battery
I had bought here in Athens did not quite cut the mustard
and even when we did manage to charge it, the gun coughed
and stuttered. On my second game out, I had bought a better
battery and the gun worked like a charm.
In action, the M15A4 shoulders easily, the fixed stock
sliding over clothing and gear. The sights come up smoothly
and appear in front of your eyes like magic and with some
practice, one can take pretty accurate aimed snap shots.
For CQB situations the M15A4 like its real steel brother
has quite good point-and-shoot characteristics. As one may
expect, it's not as comfortable to swing around in closed
spaces, as, say, an MP5 or an M4 with fully retracted stock,
but it will not cause any problem either. Out of the buildings
and into the woods the M15A4 is a very stable shooting platform
that can be used just as well as an assault weapon, or a
marksman's weapon with the aid of some aiming device. The
hop up dial is easily accessible and with some tweaking,
the gun shoots straight and pretty far.
I've taken the M15A4 out a couple of times and have shot
over 3000bbs without a single problem, once the faulty battery
was replaced. However, a few friends that have bought the
same model have quite a few problems to report. Either of
these could be attributed to bad battery, bad BBs, or just
plain bad luck... but it's something that the future buyer
has to keep in mind. Most Classic Army AEGs can (and will)
All in all, the M15A4 is a pretty good buy. Perhaps it's
not the best AEG for a new player like me, being temperamental
as it can be, but it's well-built and shoots pretty well
out of the box. In my opinion it is a very good platform
for further upgrading, or to form the base of a project
This review was brought to you
February 1, 2006. Athens, Greece.