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Review

Tokyo Marui M4 SOPMOD
  • Manufacturer 
     Tokyo Marui
  • Model 
     M4 SOPMOD
  • Capacity 
     82
  • Weight 
     3200
  • Power 
     280
  • Motor 
     EG1000
  • Hop-up 
     Adjustable
  • Battery 
     8.4v 1300mAh
  • Shooting Mode 
     Semi, Full Auto
  • Construction 
     

Pros

  • Recoil Engine makes for a realistic experience
  • Accurate right out of the box
  • Full metal body and one piece barrel
  • Tactile Blowback
  • Simulated Bolt stop features means it's easier to tell when you need to reload
  •  

    Cons

  • Only the midcap has bolt stop feature
  • More expensive than other Tokyo Maruis
  •  

    Verdict

    An excellent, high quality gun that brings features previously only seen on professional training weapons to a more affordable price. Complete with blowback and good accuracy, makes this a gun worth looking into.

     

    There is already an enormous slew of M4 and M16 variants on the market, making one question the logic of releasing yet another M4. The M16 was developed in the 1960s making this design almost 5 decades old yet it is still in wide use with various military organizations today. Over the years this rifle has gone though many iterations including an overhaul of its internal firing mechanism and conversions to gas piston operation over the original gas tube design.

    This variant is the CARBINE 5.56mm M4 A1 M.W.S. (Modular Weapon System) more commonly known as the M4A1 SOPMOD (Special Operations Peculiar MODification), featuring a flat-top receiver and a set of rails to mount accessories. What this all means is that you are free to attach vertical grips, folding grips, grenade launchers, masterkey shotguns, scopes, aimpoints, reflex sights, night vision scopes, lasers, flashlights, iPhones and anything else that you can fit on a standard 20mm rail.

    But in the mass of currently available Airsoft Armalites (M4 and M16 type rifles and carbines) almost all of the modern variations have RIS (Rail Interface Systems) or RAS (Rail Attachment Systems). This gun differs from the traditional AEG by having blowback, a recoil engine, and a functioning bolt catch, but is this enough to stand out from the quite substantial crowd of competitors?

    The Tokyo Marui M4 SOPMOD comes in a neat case and is secured with velcro.
    The M4 SOPMOD hits the mark exactly when it comes to weight and center of gravity.
    The rails are numbered making it easier to remember exact configurations.

    From the get-go you notice a deviation from all of Tokyo Marui's previous M4s. The body is aluminum, the barrel is a single piece of aluminum, the rails are aluminum. All this new metal makes the gun weigh 300g (0.7 lb) more than the older Tokyo Marui M4A1 at 3.1 kilos (6.8 lb), making this replica match almost exactly to the real steel, which weighs 3 kilos loaded (6.6 lb). However it feels a little lighter than the plastic m4 because the center of gravity is exactly above the trigger. Another effect of all the new metal parts is that the notorious barrel wobble that plagued earlier versions of plastic guns is gone. This thing is solid as a rock. The new materials mean your shots will fly straight and true and this gun will take much abuse. The trademarks on the gun are true to the real steel and are cast into the aluminum lower receiver along with 'safe', 'semi' and 'auto'.

    Authentic Trademarks make this gun a keeper for all collectors.
    A beautiful jet-black finish covers most of the gun's surface.

    The finish on this gun is excellent with jet-black powder coating covering all major metal surfaces. The seam lines are visible but not glaringly obvious and the color of the ABS stock and grip match the body perfectly. On the front RAS, the slot numbers are printed on in white to let you easily remember accessory configurations. The selector, trigger, bolt-catch, magazine catch, sights, stock locking lug, and pins have all been treated and have a metallic finish to them providing contrast to the body.

    The metal body houses a completely new design of gearbox.

    There are a multitude of features on this gun, mainly due to a completely new gearbox design. There is a blowback function like on many recent releases, which features a buffer spring between the piston and the bolt carrier to prevent jams from the carrier getting caught on something. The dust cover flips open upon firing or charging the cocking handle, just like the real steel. The front sight is adjustable for elevation with an included tool, and the rear sight is adjustable for both range and windage. Notice that the rear sight is a shortened, compact type rather than the full carry handle to allow for optics to be mounted on the receiver without removing the rear sight. The stock stored the battery and is a collapsible crane type stock that stores the battery, and sits on a six-position stock tube that gives maximum options for length of pull.

    A specific charger and adapter is required for charging the SOPMOD's battery.
    The battery uses low-resistance contacts previously found mainly in AEPs.
    The battery is the easiest fit of all AEGs i've ever had the privilege to handle, no wires or cramming into sight spots. Just slide it in and you're done.

    In preparation to shoot, the battery must be charged. The SOPMOD uses it's own type of battery with unique connector contacts for insertion into the crane stock, not dissimilar than Tokyo Marui's MP7 or EBB batteries. The battery is clipped to the adapter that is then attached to the specific Tokyo Marui SOPMOD charger. Replacing the battery on the SOPMOD is how ALL BATTERIES SHOULD BE CHANGED. It is so easy and streamlined (check out the video to see for yourself). You squeeze of the stock butt plate by pressing on two latches and the plate pops right off, but is secure enough that it shouldn't come of in a skirmish. Slide in the battery in and replace the cover. No fiddling with different sized connecter pins, or wrestling with the wires to fit into a cramped space. It is a drop-in operation. And by using two tracks of connecters along the inside of the crane stock, the stock can be collapsed all the way even with a battery inside. It would be nice to see other companies and models of guns utilizing specially made battery compartments and contacts. On the other hand, such a system limits the aftermarket battery and stock options available for the SOPMOD, making it incompatible with other stock tubes or even stocks.

    From left to right: G&P VN midcap, Tokyo Marui lowcap, Western Arms gas mag, SOPMOD magazine.
    The lever at the back of the magazine is responsible for activating the bolt-stop.
    A 430 round magazine is available for those of us with itchy trigger fingers.

    You'll need a speed loader to load the standard 82 round magazine as the SOPMOD does not come with a loading tube, but the loading tube makes a poor excuse of a loading tool anyway. Immediately upon glancing at the magazine you can see that it is not a standard m4 magazine. The M4 SOPMOD magazine is longer. That's because the SOPMOD's magazine is closer to the real steel length and will fit better in pouches made for real magazines. As an added plus, the magazine follower is longer than the average midcap's and will feed every last bb. A high capacity magazine is also available in 430 rounds but lacks the ability to feed every last round and to activate the bolt stop when empty.

    When your midcap is empty, the bolt catch protrudes and requires you to tap it before resuming the carnage.

    Which brings me to the most interesting feature on the SOPMOD. The bolt catch. Previously this has solely been the domain of Systema Professional Training Weapons and Gas guns. What this function does is it makes the weapon cease to fire after the last round has left the chamber. This works by the follower pressing up against a series of levers once the last round is loaded. The lever can be seen from the upper rear section of the magazine. This in turn disconnects the power from the motor causing the M4A1 SOPMOD from firing blanks while an empty magazine is loaded. To resume firing, you remove the empty mag and hit (gently please) the bolt catch. On the real M4 the bolt is then released from a held-back position to load another round into the chamber ready for firing. On the SOPMOD it simply re-engages the motor. This is the same method of reloading from the real firearm making this one realistic piece of airsoft hardware to shoot and skirmish with.

    Shoot on full auto and you start to look like the guy in the picture.
    The blowback mechanism is housed in the receiver, above the gearbox.

    To add even more realism this m4 has a blowback and recoil engine. On semi auto, the recoil is little, simply giving a reassuring thump on your shoulder every time you shoot. It is not enough to put you off target but it's there and noticeable. Compared to the recoil felt from a WESTERN ARMS GBB M4 I'd reckon it's about 20-30% as strong. On full auto the recoil is more substantial and the gun jumps in your hands. I also noticed that the blowback slamming home at every shot overpowered the engine noise and made an amazing CLACK-CLACK-CLACK-CLACK noise as it shot the shooting experience easy to describe: AWESOME!

    A new type of hop-up keeps your setting well and is responsible for the great accuracy of this gun.
    Shooting test, 10 meters, prone and semi, target is 20cm wide.
    Shooting test, 10 meters, crouching and full auto, target is 20cm wide.

    During the accuracy test shooting the kick made the gun rock in your hands quite hard, it definitely felt like it was affecting your aim but i managed to squeeze of quite a good grouping for ten meters. The pictures of the targets really do it justice. This is an accurate gun right out of the box. The full auto accuracy test surprised me. I was expecting much larger groupings but it turns out the groupings were about the same so the rocking motion was actually not affecting the aim that much, just making it a little harder to keep your eye on the sights.

    There are a slew of external accessories for the Tokyo Marui M4 SOPMOD.

    The only downside for this gun is the lack of non-RIS-attachable custom parts available, however you can still choose from a wide variety of RIS-attachable parts like, vertical grips, RIS covers, lasers, flashlights and grenade launchers, in addition to silencers or other muzzle devices. The realistic reloading and recoil engine makes this gun one of the most fun that i have had the privilege to shoot. The availability of both midcap magazines with the realistic stop-function and high capacity for those who desire it. Combined with very high out-of-the-box accuracy and an authentic look and feel i come to the conclusion that this gun has all the bang that you can expect from a high quality manufacturer.