KWA LM4 – The Professional Training Rifle
May 18, 2012
Everyone has been anticipating the KWA LM4 since the announcement was made at the 2010 SHOT Show. I did not had the chance to check out the prototype until SHOT Show 2012. Last week, the first batch of LM4’s arrived at the Airsoft GI warehouse, and as expected, all the employees immediately went to the warehouse and drooled over them. But as the editor-in-chief of the GITV blog, one of the LM4s made its way to my desk. I began to dissect and analyzed it piece by piece. Needless to say, I was quite impressed by how accurately the KWA LM4 P.T.R (Professional Training Rifle) controls operate in comparison to an AR-15 weapon system.
The KWA LM4 feels extremely solid and well built. It is balanced very similar the real AR-15 weapon platforms. When I pick up the LM4, it feels just like my AR-15. Just like other brands of gas blowback rifles, the LM4 operates similarly to the real AR-15. The operator has to charge the rifle in order to load a round into the chamber. The LM4 is an open bolt design, which adds realism to the rifle. Unlike traditional AEGs which have a wider pistol grip, the pistol grip on the LM4 actually has the same dimensions as the real AR-15 A2 grip.
I noticed that the KWA LM4 has a design shortcoming on the bolt catch. It seems like there is a spring missing. Compared to the AR-15, there is a spring at the bottom of the bolt catch to keep the bolt from engaging when the magazine is removed. At the same time, the bolt catch needs to be engaged when there is an empty magazine present. On the LM4, once the bolt catch is engaged, the only way to disengage it is by pressing the bolt catch. This may not seem like a big issue for airsofters; however, the issue sticks out like a sore thumb. I anticipate this will be among the first thing noticed by AR-15 owners, military and law enforcement personnel. For military and law enforcement personnel, sometimes they like to disengage the bolt catch by charging the charging handle on their AR-15/M4 weapon systems. However, with the LM4, they would have to press the bolt catch in order to release it.
I am impressed with the craftsmanship and the quality of the LM4. It is obvious why KWA would label this gun as the Professional Training Rifle. The entire gun is constructed with metal, with the exception of the hand guard, pistol grip, and the butt stock. The bolt, trigger group and the magazine catch are constructed of high quality steel. The rifle is a little bit over 7 pounds, which is extremely accurate to a real AR-15/M4 weapon system. KWA is no stranger when it comes to manufacturing of training weapons for law enforcement and military personnel. This is because their products look, feel, and operate just like their real firearms counter parts.
The metal outer barrel on the KWA LM4 is a government profile M4 barrel. It has an A-frame (triangle) front sight post pinned onto the barrel. Underneath the A-Frame front sight lies a front sling mount. The LM4 has a standard orange A2 style flash hider on the barrel, which is compliant with the United States Federal Law. Standard M4 plastic hand guard wraps around the barrel, but when I removed the top half, there is an imitation gas tube. This tells me that KWA did not leave small details out when putting this rifle together. I can start to see why military and law enforcement, especially federal law enforcement agencies show extremely interest in the KWA LM4 and use it as their official training weapon.
Continuing on to the rear of the rifle, the LM4 has the standard M4A1 removable carrying handle. Once the carrying handle is removed, the LM4 features a standard 1913 picatinny rail for accessories, such as an optic. The magazine weighs in at 19.7 ounce (1 lb 3.7 ounce), which is 4.7 ounce heavier than a loaded standard GI 30 round magazine. The trigger feels a little bit “off” compared to the real AR-15 trigger. In comparison with my own standard AR-15 mil-spec trigger, the take up has more “slack”, the break is less crisp, and he trigger rest has more travel.
KWA installed an ambidextrous rear sling plate between the buffer tube and the lower receiver. This feature is an excellent addition because normally, the sling plate is extra on a standard rifle. The LM4 is equipped with a 6 position retractable stock, which is the standard for all airsoft guns on the market at the moment. There are also 2 sling attachment point on the LE Stock, for your 2 point and 3 point slings.
The field strip procedure of the KWA LM4 is exactly the same as my real AR-15 weapon system, with the exception of removing the charging handle. I field stripped the rifle like I would on my real AR-15 weapon system. First, I removed the magazine, and then visually and physically inspected the chamber to ensure it was empty. After making sure the bolt was forward, I put the LM4 selector on safe, and punched out the rear body pin. The upper receiver pivots downward, exposing the charging handle and the bolt carrier group. With the bolt carrier group and charging handle removed, I punched out the front body pin, completely separating the lower and upper receiver. From there, I began to examine the internal parts of the LM4.
The upper assembly looks exactly like a real AR-15 upper assembly. What makes the LM4 more superior compared to the other brands of gas blowback guns is the fact that you can adjust the hop up with ease. With the other guns, the hop up chamber is located under the barrel. That design makes adjusting the hop up unit with a 1 piece RIS unit extremely difficult. The engineers at KWA thought of that and designed the hop up adjustment in the chamber with an adjustment key (comes with the LM4). This design allows the user to install whatever rail system they like worry free.
The lower receiver assembly is exactly the same as my AR-15, with a few exceptions. My AR-15 does not have full auto sears (if it did, it would be a federal offense). Like I have mentioned before, the bolt catch is missing a spring, which to airsofters may be no big deal. But for people who use this as a training tool, it might present some potential problems. The buffer tube, buffer, and buffer spring looks exactly the same. The only difference is the real AR-15 has a metal buffer (tungsten, aluminum, etc), the LM4 has a plastic buffer. I would also like to point out that KWA did an excellent job designing the body pins. Just like the real AR-15/M4 platforms, the body pins are retained using a retaining pin and spring.
At the Range
I was very impressed with how the KWA LM4 performed on the range, it surpassed my expectations. It is reliable, durable, and very consistent. Right out of the box, it chronographed at 380 fps, consistently! The recoil is very similar to my AR-15, which adds more fun when shooting the LM4. The “rock n’ roll” features on the LM4 is definitely most fun.
I set up an accuracy test at 15 yards (45 feet), 25 yards ( 75 feet), and 40 yards (120 feet). The LM4 is not only fun to shoot; it is also extremely accurate in terms of grouping size. At 15 yards, I shot a grouping of 1 and ¼ inch. At 30 yards, I shot a grouping of 2 and ½ inch. And lastly, I shot a grouping of 4 inches at 40 yards, which is phenomenal for a gas blowback airsoft gun. The range test proved that the KWA LM4 is not only reliable and durable, but it was also very consistent, with the fps and the accuracy.
Tim and Bob did a more extensive test on the LM4 (more like a torture test). One thing is for sure, it surprised us all. Tim and Bob compared the LM4 with the King Arms gas blowback M4 and the WE FN Scar gas blowback side by side. They did 2 tests to test the reliability of all 3 guns, shooting sideway and shooting in cold weather condition. For the sideways shooting test, the LM4 is the only gun that shoots all the bbs out and the bolt successfully locked back.
To test the LM4 in cold weather, Bob filled a cup with ice and water, loaded the magazine into the LM4 and stuck the magazine into the ice water while shooting it. The LM4 performed flawlessly during the test. At the end, the entire magazine had no bbs, and the bolt successfully locked back. When bob took the magazine out of the ice water, there was ice frozen on the magazine. This test proved that the LM4 will have no problem performing in cold weather condition.
KWA has definitely set a new standard and brought the airsoft industry to the next level by producing this amazing rifle. The LM4 is extremely realistic compared to the real AR-15 platform. However, as good as this gun proved itself to be; there is always room for improvement. Since KWA is calling this gun the Professional Training Rifle, KWA should definitely improve the bolt catch and the trigger. Other than the bolt catch and the trigger issue, this gun is definitely a great addition to collectors, chairsofter, or professional airsofters. It is ultra reliable, durable, and very consistent, even in cold weather conditions. I am Andrew, check out the KWA LM4 P.T.R. at www.airsoftgi.com, and get out and play airsoft!