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Review

 
3 Gun Shootout - Battle of the Blowback Armalites!
go to Product Page >> Western Arms (WA) M4 Patriot Pistol (Clearance)
go to Product Page >> Tokyo Marui M4 SOPMOD
go to Product Page >> Airsoft Surgeon N4 Noveske GBB

Untitled Document


Untitled Document

Here's what the Redwolf reviewers thought of their respective guns:


Box

Socomgear Noveske N4:
The box that the SOCOMGEAR Noveske N4 comes in is plain save for a large sticker labeling it as the N4. Shown on the sticker is the N4 with all the optional extras but the one i received comes only with the Noveske KX3 flash hider. Inside, the gun is wrapped in plastic and held securely in place with cardboard slits. Not the prettiest setup but it works

WA M4 Patriot:
The box in which the WA Patriot comes in is remarkably plain, with no hint whatsoever on what's inside the box other than the fact that it's an Airsoft gun; no brand markings or names are visible at all. Once opened however I found a neat and compact package where the Patriot itself is seated in, complete with an S-type 50rds magazine and the usual assortment of manuals and extra bits.

Tokyo Marui M4 SOPMOD:
Now, I've seen a lot of Airsoft product boxes in my time. Some are dull; others are duller than dull. There is a fine art to making nice boxes - it's every bit as important as the product itself, especially when you have to consider that the product has to be shipped across the world. It has to protect the things within, just like a box of eggs. But that doesn't mean it has to look like an egg box.
Like any other Tokyo Marui product, it doesn't disappoint with the packaging. The box with which it's presented in is far from being a plain-old brown cardboard box. It fulfills both its values of form and function, as an aesthetic indication of the cool stuff within and also protecting it with a nicely designed interior. The Styrofoam keeps the gun protected and a neat little Velcro strap keeps the gun in place.


First impressions

Socomgear Noveske N4:
Taking the gun out of the box the gun is mostly solid. There is minor play between the upper and lower receivers but it's not noticeable unless you're looking for it. Also the 4 position stock experiences some wobble but that's not uncommon for retractable armalite stocks. On the good side, the body features authentic, licensed Noveske Rifleworks markings, with the Noveske logo and unique serial number. on the left and a small logo on the right side of the upper receiver. In the land of first impressions, this rifle is a noble.

WA M4 Patriot:
Upon viewing the Patriot for the first time I found the looks to be a bit awkward, but soon found myself warming up to it. The Patriot is completely devoid of any aiming devices and is also without a stock, to some that may be a disadvantage, but to me it's a blessing where I'm now able to reflex shoot without having the urge to shoulder the weapon and look down its non-existent sights!

Tokyo Marui M4 SOPMOD:
The beauty of the artwork on the box does not contradict what is found within; open the box and you will find the Marui M4 SOPMOD asleep on its green bed with a magazine right beside it. This is not Penthouse though, it's a metal Marui M4 SOPMOD proprietary mag that works only with the latest generation of Marui M4 AEGs that feature a recoil mechanism. Pick it up and touch it - the first thing that hits you is that is that it's quite a hefty bugger; unlike some of the classic Marui AEGs, this actually features a full-metal body as standard along with a full-metal RIS rail. It's not a case of slapping together lots of bits of metal parts and hoping that it all fits together either, as it really does fit together well.


Build Quality

Socomgear Noveske N4:
The receiver is made from zinc aluminum alloy, and feels alright, The markings on the receiver are CNCd onto the body. The plastic furniture feels nice and strong however the pistol grip quickly developed a minor wobble, nothing that tightening a screw wont fix. It is also a nice surprise to see that the barrel is steel. There is no barrel wobble of any sort but the 2 piece barrel comes loose easily, so some locktite should be applied to prevent it coming loose during a game. Overall, the build quality of the SocomGear Noveske N4 is about average for any good gun.

WA M4 Patriot:
The entire body is made from high quality FRP with a standard M16 grip also in FRP. All else however is made from high quality aluminum, from the buffer tube to the outer barrel and fore-grip, imitation gas block, and muzzle break. The rounded fore-grip is easily removed for access to the hop-up unit. Although the body is made from FRP, it feels incredibly solid with no play between the upper and lower receiver at all, the dust cover has been removed entirely showing you the silvered aluminum bolt carrier within.

Tokyo Marui M4 SOPMOD:
As they say: the devil's in the details; and the details of this gun are certainly devilishly-delightful. Look on the stamped metal receiver and you'll note that 'Made in Japan' is proudly emblazoned on it, and they have every right to be proud of it as the Japanese are certainly very handy when it comes to producing top-notch quality products. Pick it up from its box and you are pleasantly presented with a solidly constructed gun. All the pieces have been put together in such a manner that it would make one caress it in such a manner that would alarm in the immediate vicinity. This gun is more solid than a sumo wrestler in the morning. In terms of build quality, it really is second to German.


First Shooting

Socomgear Noveske N4:
The GBB system in the SocomGear Noveske N4 means that as soon as you get it out of the box, just charge gas into the magazine and shoot, there is no waiting for batteries to charge and no need to buy a separate battery and specialized charger. Charging gas and firing blanks is a joy with this gun, the oscillating mass that is the steel dummy bolt induces recoil as it slams back and forth in the receiver and buffer tube. This is something that you cannot experience in an electric gun.

WA M4 Patriot:
Although the stock WA Mags are only capable of using HFC134a gas, the WA Patriot feels excellent it even maintains a very nice kick with every shot. Due to its smaller size as compared to other M4 models, the Patriot can be very effectively shot single handed, even whilst running!

Tokyo Marui M4 SOPMOD:
I have affectionately nicknamed this gun the iAEG, with the 'I' standing for intelligent, so you don't need to be to get this gun working. It really is imbecile-proof, with an immensely easy setup. You won't need to refer to the instruction manual to get the SOPMOD started, especially as I hate reading manuals. Even if you do need to look at the predominantly Japanese manual, you will have no problems comprehending the crux of it.
To awaken the gun, first you will need to buy a battery and charger (not included with the gun), and more specifically you will need to buy the Tokyo Marui items as the battery is a special fit for this model and the charger is made to charge this lithium-polymer item. Once you've gotten over the annoying fact that it didn't come packaged with the battery and charger in the first place, you will be pleased when you find out the battery solution for this gun. In fact, when you actually you try this Tokyo Marui M4 SOPMOD, you will wonder why it isn't more commonly seen in AEGs.
The battery kind of looks like an explosive pyrotechnic, but don't try to ignite it. The real bang comes when you insert this into its specially made space in the extendable crane stock.
You won't be able to use your old Marui M4 mags if you have any as these are a completely new design, but the nice thing about them is that they are actually closer to real steel dimensions than the old ones are. You can get 430rd high-cap mags for it, but you won't be able to benefit from the bolt stop action when you have emptied your mag. It seems like a insignificant feature, but it really isn't.
Battery. Check. Mag. Check. Fire! Shoot in semi-auto mode and you'll feel a modest jolt that is not jarring. Put it in full-auto and it seemingly more substantial; it won't dislocate your shoulder but it's enough to give you some pleasing recoil.


Internals

Socomgear Noveske N4:
The internals of the SocomGear Noveske N4 are similar to the old mgc system, a tried and true classic. The internals are made of mostly metal with the upper internals made of brass and steel and the lower internals made of aluminum. However the non-metal pieces are rather fragile but replacements and reinforced parts are available as aftermarket. The whole system utilizes a gas-in-mag solution that uses proprietary WE magazines to feed the internals.

WA M4 Patriot:
Internally the WA Patriot is just like the rest of the WA range of M4 GBB series where almost all the bits and pieces are made entirely from aluminum with exception is the loading nozzle. Where standard WA M4s use a dull black bolt carrier, the Patriot uses an eye catching matte silver colored aluminum bolt carrier which can be seen from the forever open shell ejection port.
Unlike other WA M4s however the bolt lock function has been removed, but can be easily reactivated by installing a new bolt stop lever, available from aftermarket companies like G&P.

Tokyo Marui M4 SOPMOD:
The new recoil feature means that within that all-metal receiver, beats the heart of a totally new gearbox design. Open up the receiver and you'll find the blowback mechanism above the gearbox. As I've mentioned already, Marui have dealt with the battery solution so you don't need to. All you need to do is to buy the battery that was made for this gun. Of course, that inevitably means that you don't have many options when it comes to upgrading. Mind you, there aren't that many upgrade options available right now anyway. Although, you can bet your grandma that we will see upgrade options for what is proving to be quite a popular gun.
The hop-up is also a new item. It's easily accessible and requires no tools to adjust. Once you've made your setting it keeps it in place well.


Upgradability

Socomgear Noveske N4:
Internally i have already mentioned that there are aftermarket reinforced parts for the SocomGear Noveske N4 as it uses the same system as WE and their parts are 100% interchangeable. Unfortunatley, as for externals you're rather limited for options. The barrel is not compatible with AEG barrels and there are no replacement aftermarket barrels for the SocomGear N4 (or WE M4). Also, there are no aftermarket receivers for the M4 save for this one, the Noveske Rifleworks N4 body that comes with this gun. On the plus side, the SocomGear N4 takes real steel stocks and pistol grips with little to no modification, and the thread on the front of the receiver is compatible with most front sets.

WA M4 Patriot:
As with all WA M4 GBBs, the Patriot is compatible with real steel furniture and can be installed with little to no modifications at all. Internally however there are a ton of aftermarket manufacturers making stronger and heavier pieces, as well as lighter and more durable parts for the Western Arms M4 series. You can literally swap out everything internal and external to change the Patriot into anything you like within the Armalite series, with aftermarket parts from Magpul PTS like Full CNC milled upper and lower receivers, rear stocks, hand guards and flip up sights, and Airsoft Surgeon's internals like the ultra light weight bolt carrier CNC milled from 7075 aluminum, and loading nozzle sets.

Tokyo Marui M4 SOPMOD:
The Marui SOPMOD is still a new born, which means there isn't much on the market, in terms of upgrade parts. We are starting to see some parts from the likes of Prometheus and we are hoping that we will see a lot more, as this is one truly worthy AEG to use.


Conclusion
At the end of the day, each gun offers up a little something unique for us to be able to say: it's Horses for Courses. Obviously, the dynamics of an AEG is slightly different to that of a GBB rifle, and there are benefits and detriments to each. AEG's benefit from being a more a stable system, operating in variable weather conditions. Whereas the GBB rifles kind of lose their bite when put in colder environments. However, GBB's are incredible amounts of fun, with a harder blowback and a nice, meaty "blat-blat-blat" sound when your finger is down on the happy trigger.

Also, the Tokyo Marui, WA and Socomgear each have their own cool features. The Socomgear sounds hard and it shoots hard too, plus it has officially licensed markings. The WA re-ignited the trend or GBB rifles, and have done so with a very fun and accurate gun. The Tokyo Marui, it could be argued, is a perfect gun to skirmish with - it works in cold climates, is accurate, features a full metal body and is built like a tank.