M4 or AK: Which one is better?
August 5, 2019
Which gun reigns supreme?
The two most common rifles on the airsoft field are the M4 / AR15 or the AK style. Without a doubt, you’ve seen the comments on at least one airsoft video on youtube where someone proclaims “Oh no! Not another M4” and the AK is beginning to get the same treatment. Is one of these really superior? Does one of these clearly make for a better rifle? Let’s dive in to what makes each of these guns great and break it down!
The American Standard: The M4
The M4 rifle is a descendant of the Ar15 family of rifles, and a more compact version of the military standard for many years, the M16. It features a 14.5″ barrel, a collapsing buttstock, and modern variants can be equipped with all manner of grips, accessories, rail systems and other accessories. This rifle is so popular, that it saw foreign militaries pick it up in conflicts overseas when their rifles failed to meet the combat standard. In fact, modern variants of the M4, such as the 416 are seen in use by many units world wide, including the SEALS, GROM, French Army, SAS and many others!
The airsoft version typically features a version 2 gearbox, which makes it the most parts-standard rifle on the market. It features many of the same aesthetics and accessory compatibility options as the real thing. It is widely regarded as one of the most customizable rifles in the business, and with good reason. There is a reason you see so many people with M4’s on the field, because everyone wants to be the good guy! Along with the style, many players want the robust parts options and rugged dependability most M4 models are known for.
These factors congeal into a model that has cornered the airsoft market in it’s popularity. Almost every manufacturer makes an M4 of some kind, and many even branch out from military styles to crazy competition style or outright outlandish guns designed to market a hypebeast appeal or make you feel a certain kind of way on looks alone. The AK may be a popular choice, but is it even in the same league?
The Right Arm of the Soviet World: The AK
The AK was designed by Mikhail Kalashnikov as an improvement over the semi-automatic rifles he saw in use by the Nazis in WW2. It’s commonly depicted with wood furniture, a full stock and a complete lack of accessory options, but modern variants designed since his original was first manufactured have addressed this. Nowadays the AK is just as customizable as the AR15, though parts can be a little harder to come by if you don’t know where to look. The AK, much like it’s American counterpart, can come in all shapes, sizes and calibers, making it adaptable to any mission.
The Airsoft version features a version 3 gearbox, which shares many parts compatibility options with a V2, and in some ways even improves on the design. A mounted motor cage makes controlling your motor height and angle a breeze, while some other minor improvements make disassembly and re-assembly a bit easier as well. The hop up chamber is the biggest change from an AR rifle on the inside, using a slider most of the time, where an AR style typically uses a rotary hop up.
These facets combine into a rifle that can be as rugged and simple on the outside as the inside, but the converse is also true. AKs can be just as complex with microswitches, mosfets and high performance parts on the inside, while smothered in MLOK, Keymod, or 1913 rail on the outside. Every gun is as unique as the player who owns it.
So which one is better?
Which one is the better rifle? Can the AR’s american sensibilities trump the more difficult customization of the AK? Will the AK’s internal ease of upgrades trump the older design of a version 2 gearbox? Does one have an ergonomic benefit over the other?
The answer to this question is honestly personal. You have to look at the pros and cons of each. Hold each one and see what makes you feel like an absolute badass when you shoulder it. The options are endless on both sides of the spectrum, and personal preference is going to be the primary decided.
But if you’re curious which way I’d go….
Just get a bull-pup. Everyone knows it’s the way of the future.
Want to browse our selection? Click HERE