So, how come I bought an ICS M4A1 (retractable stock)?
Well... 2 reasons. The M4A1 is the model I wanted from the
beginning and my MP5SD5 acted up apparently because of a
bad upgrade. So, Campobase
offered to take the MP5 for a full credit and gave me the
choice of ordering anything else I wanted or to replace
all the internals to return it to factory specs. I chose
the new gun. I paid the difference for a total price tag
of 315 € (everywhere else it runs for over 360 €)
for the ICS M4A1, and today I'm again a happy airsofter
thanks to Campobase.
As I mentioned, M4 was the first replica I really wanted,
but I wanted full metal. So the choice was between Classic
Army or ICS. I had been inclined for Classic Army because
of some pictures at an Arnie's user review of the ICS M4
that almost made me throw up and make it look LIGHT GREY
and so shiny that the replica itself looks like a storm
trooper rifle from Star Wars. Please fellow airsofters,
make note that the person who took those pictures used a
flash that totally ruined the look of the real replica.
IT DOES NOT look like that. Look at my picture up at the
top, THAT'S how it looks like. In other words, awesome.
The technical data always made me like the ICS more, but
that darn color (that I thought it was) made me still want
to go for the CA despite the ICS's obvious advantages. Then
I asked the people from Airsoft
Alicante who rent both replicas at their top of the
line installations and they told me that they were replacing
all their rental stock to ICS because they were much more
reliable and lasted a lot longer.
So, my decision was made... ICS all the way, and I prayed
the color wouldn't be an issue.... and it wasn't... it was
just those horrible pictures. I chose the retractable stock
version because I like compactness, it looks cooler, and
it's also lighter than the full stock version. You definitely
need a sling for this, and I recommend the 3-point. Click
here for installation instructions.
ICS Specifications of the M4A1 Carbine Air Electric
Model: M4A1 Retractable Stock
Weight: 2950 g
Length: 778/873 mm retracted/extended
Initial Velocity: 100 m/s (around 300fps)
Firing Rate: 805 BB/second
Barrel Length: 363 mm
Magazine: 450 round
Motor: ICS Turbo 2000
Battery Type: Mini
I can't stress this enough, the gun looks awesome and the
color is so dark that if I hadn't read it was grey, I could
have sworn it was black. I loved the color. Rumors also
have it that they front guard is too shiny and/or toy looking.
My response, BS! It is dark, NOT shiny, and those who say
it's shiny are probably just judging by the web pictures
taken with flash that make this beautiful gun look so nasty.
The box was brown, absolutely nothing fancy about it, nor
do I care. If you want a pretty box, buy a Barbie doll...
if you're a man who wants to buy a gun replica, you deserve
manly packaging. Do I make my point clear soldier!!!???
The M4 was bubble wrapped and the box also included the
user's manual, safety tips, the magazine, a cleaning rod,
and a tool to adjust the front sights height.
The replica weighs about 3.5 kg with magazine and battery.
It is heavy, but "good" heavy since the weight
is very well distributed. However, after a full day of play,
you may feel some back pain for carrying it around so long,
but nothing you wouldn't feel after a baseball practice.
So, using a sling is mandatory.
This particular model I bought is the ICS M4A1 "Panther
Arms" which is a special model ICS makes for 3 Pylones,
probably the largest Airsoft Replica distributor in Europe.
Thus, you have the panther and ICS logos around the gun
in the places where the Olympic Arms markings would have
been, BUT it just so happens that
Panther Arms, just like Armalite too, are another real gun
manufacturer (as I found out recently from a renowned gun
magazine) so these logos are actually from a real steel
version. I personally prefer it not to have branding
of the real steel for law issues. If it so happens that
someone calls the cops on you, thinking that you own a real
rifle, believe me, real markings will not help your case.
But if you're into branding, this
one has got it (Updated January 5, 2005).
Anyway, all the branding is laser printed and I read at
the ICS website, that they worked together with Olympic
Arms (a real steel maker) to make the M4 model as a training
weapon for law enforcement and military. Mouse over the
images to read the text (I have no
idea why they'd also make it with Panther Arms logos...
maybe they're partners? Who knows).
The ICS M4A1 has 2 firing modes, Semi and Full Auto,
which can only be selected from the LEFT side of the gun
(with your right hand thumb). The right side is always shows
on "safe" since there was no way to make the selector
turn through the gun without piercing the internals.
But the neat
thing about the ICS model over any other brand is
that the forward release button is fully functional
and releases the spring tension for safe storage and
talk about this gun sounding weird, but to me it sounds
Down to Download a Video >
The classic M16 series sights are of course present in this
replica and they work just like the real ones. You have
a knob on the right side to move it left and right, one
under it to move it up and down, and the middle of the front
sight can be raised or lowered with a tool the replica brings.
really can't aim on the higher accuracy level of the
rear sights. I personally prefer it. They talk about
not enough light passing through, etc... whichever
the case, it's not an ICS issue, it's the same as
the real steel, and like I said, it's just fine.
are for times when accuracy is not such a big concern.
Still easy enough to aim with it. However, if you've
ever used H&K sights on MP5s, you'll notice their
a couple of knobs with your fingers you can easily
detach the carrying handle and use the rail to mount
scopes and laser sights.
can be raised or lowered in seconds with the use of
a tool that's included in the packaging. The bottom
also comes with an attachment piece you can use to
mount a bypod, and on the left, it's already curved
for you to mount a flashlight.
cool feature is the variable barrel length. Yes, that's
right. Using an Allen key, you can screw or unscrew
the barrel to change it's overall length. The standard
length is 363 mm.
It didn't seem to matter what I did, it always seemed to
fire left as if the barrel was a few inches to the left
of the gun. It wasn't the wind or the hop-up because the
BBs flew straight all the way, it just seemed as if they
were being shot from a second barrel left to the gun. It
was also shooting high. Again, not a hop-up issue since
the BB's flew straight and didn't gain or lose altitude
in flight. So I adjusted the rear sights all the way to
the right, and raised the front sights as much as I could
but the BBs still seem to hit a couple of inches above the
top of the sight. Now I can be around 5 inches of the area
where I aim at about 10 meters (30 feet). But with the MP5
I had, I could hit the bullseye from there trouble free.
So, here I have to use the sights to "guess" where
the BB will hit by imagining the shot hitting an inch or
two over the tip of the front sight, as opposed to aiming
with the sight to hit where the tip ends.
Anyway, this is an isolated issue with my gun only because
everyone that talks about this says that this thing shoots
dead on. So, I'll keep messing with the sights, wind direction
and such... I wish I could shoot it indoors to know for
sure the wind didn't play a big role. I'll update this review
if I ever have that chance.
The replica comes with 6 different settings to best
suit your style. I like it fully retracted, but some people
like it half way. That's the cool thing about this, lots
of options. Below are the three most common options.
You can access it by pulling back the charging handle
to open the port cover that shows the hop-up knob which
you can just rotate with your fingers. It seems that
there's a little flaw there (as I thought at first) since
if you close the port cover and fire a couple of rounds,
it will open on its own... But this is actually supposed
to happen, as that's the place where the used bullet casings
spit out from. Of course, this spits no casings, but this
open door holds true to the real steal by staying open while
it's in use and closed when it's put away.
< Scroll Down to Watch Video >
As it seems to be the standard now, it uses a mini battery.
On this version, it is stocked inside the front guard and
it will take some experience to get it to fit. The first
time I loaded it, it took me approximately 10 minutes to
be able to close the guard again with the battery inside
and it won't fully close. You'll notice like a 1mm gap in
the center of it and to wrap a strap around it wouldn't
hurt, which is what I do to prevent it from accidentally
opening during a game. You see that ring in front of the
hop-up cover in the picture above? Well, pull that back
and the front guard opens in two. It sucks that you can
see the battery and the cables through the holes in the
guard but you can just put black tape from the inside out
and cover all the holes nicely.
UPDATE NOV 1st - SANYO Battery space
Remember those 10 minutes it took me to load the battery
the first time... well... multiply that by ANY number you
choose and that's how long I've spent so far trying to load
SANYO batteries into that claustrophobic grip. Sideways,
on top, bottom, vertical, diagonal, ANYWAY you choose and
the thing will always be a few milimiters too fat (or the
grip too thin).
So, after you get lucky and finally get it in, then you
have to wrap something around the middle of the grip to
prevent the battery from accidentally dislodging itself
and falling off the gun. So, in conclusion, it is a real
pain in the butt... if only the grip had 3mm more in space,
the battery would fit at the bottom (where it should be)...
but guess what, it doesn't... so, best of luck to you.
I have to space out my airsoft games or I'd develop ulcers
from just loading the battery... and yes, I am using a mini
size 8.4v 600mah battery and several other airsoft pros
are required each time to get it to fit, and it always takes
a while. One day I even gave up (and I'm not the kind of
guy who gets upset when losing on something), but I was
so frustrated that I couldn't get it to fit that I resigned
from the game and decided to just sit and drown in my misery.
Everyone had already waited at least 25 minutes for me.
UPDATE NOV 13th - Battery space frustration
experience PART II...
I now use a G&P 9.6v 600mah battery and it fits just
fine... it's thinner and it takes just a few seconds to
put it in and secure it in place (I was using a SANYO battery
before). Even if I wanted, I don't think I could use that
sanyo battery again, so I'll stick to the G&P one which
gives me a faster rate of fire, the frustration is gone
and I can now get ready in just a couple of minutes. END
How long will a 600mah battery last? Well, I have an article
about that one, but as quick reference, I can tell you I've
counted over 1200 rounds shot and still the battery would
keep on rocking.
Innovation = Modular designed gearbox
This gearbox is constructed by two parts - upper gearbox
and lower gearbox. The entire top cylinder and piston assembly
is separate from the gear and motor section, this revolutionary
modular design help users to exchange the suitable modular
easily in a skirmish and do the accurate maintain or repair.
Modular piston assemblies increase the convenient of upgrade
the firepower in a skirmish. More
info here >
How to open, change, upgrade, etc? Well, the gun comes
with an illustrated manual that nicely explains how all
of this is done. You wouldn't be doing it without owning
the replica, so there's no point in talking about that here.
I personally still havent had to do it, and don't plan on
doing it either.... the gun shoots too well to try messing
VIDEOS (right click, save target as)
video shows the how the hop-up port cover opens
when you fire. This is true to the real counterpart
as this is where the brass ejects from the gun
and stays open when in use.
video shows the magic of the forward assist
button to release spring tension. Also, it's
a good video to HEAR how the gun sounds. I love
video shows how the magazine rattles as you
shake the gun around.
A tighter magazine wouldn't be a bad idea.
Despite the mentioned design flaw of the front guard that
could drop the battery unless wrapped with something else
and that's too tight for batteries to easily fit, I am very
happy with my purchase, with the forward release button,
and the full metal construction. I know this replica will
last me for a long LONG time and has proven to be the envy
of many, hehehe...
This review was brought to you
by this website's administrator, Alex Alvarez (aka
August 28, 2005. Athens, Greece.
Hellas Airsoft Founder and