Wednesday, August 24, 2011

M4 3181 Electric Airsoft Rifle with M203 Grenade Launcher

I think just about every person with more than a couple Airsoft guns has an M4 style rifle.  It represents the classic assault rifle image permanently burned into our brains through military commercials and Call of Duty games (or Counterstrike for those of us born before the 90’s). If you have ever shot a real steel assault rifle, there is a fair chance it was an AR-15, which is basically an M4 for reasons I won’t get in to. While popular culture and the trust of the military have certainly added to the M4’s reputation, there are many other reasons why you’ll see extremely high numbers of them at your local Airsoft field. One of these is ease of customization. An M4 is actually kind of already customized. It’s essentially an M16 with a shorter barrel and retractable stock. The M series of rifles are one if not the most customizable rifles you can get.

This M4 3181 Electric Airsoft Rifle with M203 Grenade Launcher comes with everything you need to customize the rifle and make it suit your body type and playing style. It comes with two handguards, one of which has an RIS system for your flashlights, lasers, or what have you. It also comes with a vertical grip for the RIS handguard that you can attach anywhere to get the most comfortable fit for your particular size. Two adjustable stocks are also included, one has a cheek rest and BB holder which is a nice touch. The normal stock is pretty standard fare, fully adjustable with a screw-in system so it won’t slip around. For the record you cannot fit a battery in the stock. Most people with M4’s (including me), just run the battery to the hand guard anyway, which is where it’s located on this rifle, so that’s cool. With M4’s I personally think having the battery up front gives it the best balance anyway. A tactical 3 point sling is also included, with standard attachment points.  These generally cost ten or twenty dollars by themselves and are pretty much necessary, so the inclusion of one is a nice bonus.

This is a plastic-bodied Airsoft rifle with a lot of accessories for a really low price. It has a plastic gearbox and is marketed towards beginners, so they could have put out a really terrible product and probably gotten away with it. However there are some nice touches that make this rifle stand apart from other guns in the price range and really add to the quality. The barrel is metal which adds some weight to the gun and also saves it from being completely useless. Cocking the gun will pop open the plate that allows hop up adjustment.  This is a small thing but a lot of the more affordable rifles don’t have it and they always feel really cheap when they don’t. Also the rear sight aperture is adjustable for elevation and windage, a feature that every good rifle should have. The M4 3181 shoots around 300FPS as well which is just about as hot as most indoor Airsoft fields will allow you to fire.

Of course the pièce de résistance of this particular rifle is the included attachable M203 Grenade Launcher. It works pretty much like any M203, you pull back the pump shotgun-style to cock the launcher and then it has its own separate trigger to fire. However this one just fires BB’s straight out of the barrel, which is actually better for this particular set up. It might not be quite as cool an Airsoft grenade launcher that fires shells, but keep in mind that just one shell for one of those costs almost double the price of this entire rifle. I personally love the M203 Grenade Launcher solely because it makes a great backup weapon.  AEG’s have a tendency to jam. They also have a tendency to run out of ammo and batteries. The grenade launcher is a completely separate system from the rest of the rifle, and will still fire even if it isn’t attached. This means when you suddenly run out of mags and batteries you don’t have to quit. Your rifle basically becomes a shotgun, and you can still get some tags. Nobody likes playing decoy and I think shotgun blasting people with an M4 is certainly a better alternative. It’s a much better alternative than just calling yourself out, because that doesn’t help your team now does it? 

Overall the M4 3181 Electric Airsoft Rifle with M203 Grenade Launcher is a really good deal simply because it has everything you need to go play Airsoft and have a lot of fun with it. I’m not going to lie and say it’s the best AEG money can buy, because it isn’t. Is it the best AEG for the money? I don’t think that statement would be too far off base. This is an entry level rifle geared towards newer players, and I don’t think any newer players will be disappointed with it. The 300FPS rating is probably the most important factor, because if you aren’t shooting high enough FPS you won’t have range and you won’t hit anything.  Most indoor fields only allow 350FPS anyway, and a majority of players will shoot for something like 320 or 330FPS to avoid accidentally firing some BB’s over the 350 mark. Therefore you are going to be running with the pack and able to keep up. The firing rate on this M4 is very decent as well. I really like that it comes with a vertical grip, because this is the first attachment that usually gets bought for M4’s anyway. And of course the M203 Grenade Launcher, aside from just being really awesome, genuinely makes a very reliable backup to the rifle’s main operation. I really think this AEG surpasses anything else in its class and price range. Try it out for yourself.

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