KWA KM4A M4 Electric Airsoft Rifle Gun
- 400 fps (0.2 g BB) / Range 180-200 feet
- Barrel Length: 14.5 inches / 37 cm
- Magazine Capacity: 350 Rounds
- Retractable Stock
- Lipo Ready!
- Battery and Charger sold Separately
- Accuracy Proven
- Airsoft Review Available - Click More Info
- Made in Taiwan
KWA M4 M4A1 Electric Rifle Manual
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The KWA M4 is perhaps one of the best deals out there right now. Right out of the box, this gun is ready to accept Lithium Polymer batteries of up to 11.1 volts. Internally, the KWA M4 has a completely upgraded gearbox, which includes 8 and 9mm steel ball bearing bushings. The carry handle is removable for mounting any aftermarket optics or sights.
Overall Length = 33.75" (30.5" when stock is fully retracted)
Inner Barrel Length = 15.5"
Inner Barrel Diameter = 6.05mm +/- .03mm
Magazine Capacity = 350 Rounds
Caliber = 6mm BB
Velocity = 400+ fps* with .20 gram BB's
Rate of Fire = 20+ rps*
Weight = 6.5 lbs.
Power = 8.4V, 9.6V NiMh Battery, or 11.1V Lithium Polymer Battery(Maximum)
Adjustable Hop Up
Adjust fron and rear sights
Six position collapsible buttstock
Removable carrying handle
Hi Cap Steel magazine
Dual sling loop on end plate
standard m120 spring
Hardened metal gear set for longevity
reinforced metal gearbox
9 & 8 mm steel ball bearings
KWA M4A1 Electric Airsoft Rifle Review - Click for more reviews
After hearing a lot of interesting things about the KWA M4 Electric Airsoft Rifle, I’m certainly curious to see how good it is. The box is very nice looking. You may have noticed that the guns for overseas manufacturers are often pretty bland, while US distributors tend to spice up their packaging. This gun is no exception to that rule. The box looks very professional and colorful, and does not have any Engrish on it. Here’s what we’re looking at:
The box contains the gun, a muzzle cap, the magazine, a barrel clearing rod, the manual, and a sheet of paper explaining that the gun is designed for the 11.1V LiPO battery (although it can take any normal AEG batteries as well). It also comes with a small set of Torx wrenches. It does NOT come with a battery or charger, which is unfortunate, but hey, it’s a high-end AEG.
I like that it comes with a muzzle cap; KWA clearly has safety in mind. Here’s a shot of the extras:
The gun itself feels very solid, although the external aesthetics aren’t particularly impressive. There’s nothing particularly amazing about it, but it feels good, and I certainly don’t have any complaints about it. I guess it’s time to pull it out of the packaging and take a closer look at the externals.
The appearance of this gun is very good, although not on par with a G&P. Don’t get me wrong, however. The externals look great; they’re just not the best I’ve ever seen. Virtually the entire gun is made out of metal, including metal receiver, metal outer barrel, carry handle, sights, etc, excepting only the grip, front handguard, and the stock. The finish is a nice matte black, and appears to be anodized, rather than painted.
The stock is a 6 position adjustable LE style stock, with a metal stock tube and plastic body. This is probably my least favorite part of the externals, as the G&G SR16, for instance, comes with a metal stock, and this just doesn’t feel as solid.
It fits on very solidly onto the receiver, with no wobble, and is nicely textured, especially in the butt-plate area. I’d prefer to see a nice rubber butt-plate cover, but that’s not a feature that you typically see, so I can hardly fault KWA for not including it.
The stock adjustment lever is nice and crisp, with a good quality spring, so it’s neither too difficult nor too easy to adjust. It has a decent heft to it, although the gun feels a fraction front heavy to me. I’ve never been a huge fan of the LE stock, and will probably replace it with a VLTOR or Crane stock, but it’s decent enough.
The grip handle is also plastic, and nicely textured as well. It’s made out of solid quality plastic, however; KWA plastic is worlds ahead of your standard ABS plastic, and feels more like nylon-fiber or carbon fiber. It’s styled like a standard M4/M16 grip, with the usual diamond style dimpled texturing. Being a lefty, standard handles are actually very comfortable to me (more so than sniper grips), so I’m pleased that this feels pretty solid and comfortable in my hands.
The carry handle is also nicely detailed, although I prefer the dual toning of the G&G carry handle, which has a grey adjustment dial. The sights in the carry handle are adjustable, and it is capable of mounting a carry handle scope or scope mount. It is solidly constructed out of metal, and can be screwed off to reveal a standard Picatinny/Weaver rail.
The front sight is fully adjustable with the included sight adjustment tool. As kind of a historical side note, it is instructive to note that during the Vietnam War, the brass was fond of mass fire techniques rather than precision shooting. As a result, the average infantryman did not know how to zero his rifle (or why it is important to zero one’s rifle), and expended over 200,000 rounds of ammunition per kill. A similar attitude exists among many airsofters, so adjustable sights might not be as important to them as ROF (this gun has both, incidentally). However, as a precision shooter, I really appreciate this feature. Here’s a side shot of the front sight, which is a standard sight:
One brief tip on zeroing your sights is to zero according to your role. The average engagement distance for a basic assault role is typically around 75-100 feet (25-30m), so you should zero at that range. Raise the sights for CQB (although this gun fires too hot for CQB, typically), and lower them if you are playing a long-range role, as for a designated marksman. I usually zero at 125-150 feet, since I play a DM role.
You will also notice a sling mount, and some very solid pins in the front sight, which is full metal, and standard configuration. I will note that the sling mount is well-designed, and does not creak. Here’s a shot down the sights:
Speaking of sling mounts, the KWA, unlike most other M4 models, sports an additional sling mount plate in between the receiver and stock. This feature is a very nice touch, since it allows the use of a broad variety of tactical slings. However, I will note that it is really only useful for right-handed shooters. If you’re left-handed, like me, this feature is unlikely to be comfortable. Here’s a shot of the sling mount:
The receiver is one of the most important parts of an AEG, since if it’s flimsy, it will cause barrel wobble and hence inaccuracy. It is also one of the main aesthetic parts of the gun. The KWA receiver is well constructed out of what appears to be treated CNC metal, probably aircraft grade aluminum, judging from the weight. It has no visible seam lines, and the detail is very good. The mock breech clearing button can be depressed:
The selector markings are also nice and clean.
The charging handle is functional, and opens the dust cover. The design is nice and simple, and the bolt cover is very clean looking and solidly made out of metal. You can access the hopup adjustment through the revealed breech, as is standard:
The selector switch is cleanly marked, and clicks very solidly into each position. It is an M4, we should note, and hence would indeed be capable of fully automatic fire, unlike the M16 (although it is the rare M16 AEG that has 3 round burst fire).
The trademarks say “KWA Corporation” in stylized lettering, and are my least favorite part of the aesthetics of this gun. Honestly, I’d prefer a blank receiver, or some sort of relatively realistic logo, or at least not having the word “Corporation” on my gun. For some reason, it makes me think of Resident Evil’s Umbrella Corporation, and I find myself strangely tempted to put an Umbrella logo on it. But that aside, I can’t say as how it adds anything to the gun, but it’s not hideous.
The receiver pins are screwed in with Torx screws, and are nicely made, albeit quite hard to remove the first time. The receiver is also TM compatible, although not CA compatible, as the receiver pins are not quite in the same place on the CA. I’m quite impressed with the durability of the receiver. While it’s not as detailed as a G&G, G&P, Systema PTW, or VFC, it’s still pretty nice. Aesthetically, it’s not much to look at (something like an SRC), but it’s very durable, and clearly made for skirmishing. This gun is, first and foremost, an AEG for the skirmisher, not for the person who wants a display gun to hang on the wall.
We next should look at the hand guard. It is solidly made out of good quality plastic, which feels like nylon fiber or heavy textured ABS, and withstands repeated blows from a hammer. It doesn’t feel as nice as the G&G hand guard or high quality carbon fiber, but the texturing is very nice, and the seam lines are either not visible, or else smoothed out nicely.
The hand guard fits together very tightly, and is in fact pretty difficult to get back together once you install a battery. It also is standard M4 length, and does not have any RIS or RAS, so it can only really accept up to a 9.6V small type at best. As this is a LiPO ready AEG, I think it would help to make M4 CASV, S-System, or RAS versions, which would be capable of accepting larger batteries or PEQ2 boxes that can hold batteries. Still, it is solidly made, and skirmishable. I would not be surprised to see Airsoft GI and other retailers offering KWA based custom guns (and I would pick them up in a heartbeat) using CASV or RAS handguards. I’m going to be investing in a CASV kit for mine in the near future.
In the above pictures, you will notice that the wiring is heavy gauge. Additionally, the fuse looks much thicker than the usual fuses that I see in other guns, including high-end guns. It is more than capable of handling higher voltage batteries than the 8.4V small-type that I’m running at the moment. This is the first real glimpse that I’ve gotten of the features that make the KWA M4A1 possibly the best performing high-end AEG to date, with the possible exception of the much more expensive Systema Personal Training Weapon (PTW). I also happen to have one of those, but they usually cost upwards of 1000 USD, compared to less than 300 for the KWA.
The outer barrel is one of the strangest parts on the KWA M4A1. If you remove the hand guard, you’ll notice a number of setscrews at several points along the barrel. I initially thought that it was a two-piece outer barrel, which would be a big minus, but the construction is unlike the usual two-piece barrels. I think it’s still a two-piece barrel, which would normally contribute to barrel wobble, but the barrel has grooves which improve stability, and the middle of the barrel seems to be expandable or something. It’s rather strange, but is designed that way so that it can support a wide variety of hand guards, including real steel parts, since the size might be off. Good deal, eh? The barrel is still essentially a weird one-piece outer barrel, and is constructed out of full metal. I have no doubt that it could support an M203, for instance. Here’s a few shots to look at:
The flash hider is metal as well, and is standard 14mm CCW threaded. A setscrew as is usual, fixes it in place. The threading is clean and can fit aftermarket mock suppressors without modification. It is orange-painted to adhere to US regulations, and looks very clean:
One thing that I like is that it’s not completely orange; it’s a bit more discreet. The magazine well is also very clean, and is TM compatible. It can take a wide variety of M4/M16 compatible magazines, including JG, A&K, King Arms, G&G, TM, STAR, MAG, G&P, and its own KWA magazine (those are the ones I’ve tested). The magazine catch fits smoothly into all of those magazines, and the spring is very firm. The catch itself is nicely detailed.
The magazine is a hicap magazine, and can fit 350 rounds. It is made out metal, which has an oily sheen to it for whatever reason, which actually looks pretty good. The magazine winds and feeds smoothly with no misfeeds, although I will not be using it much, as I’m strictly a realcap lover. It also feeds great in other guns, including my A&K, JG, G&G, and custom-built Mk12 mod 0. The top loading port opens and locks crisply.
Overall, I’m very impressed with the externals. There are no points of flex in any area, and all of the potential weak points seem to have been reinforced. The receiver tabs are very strong, and the barrel is strangely designed, but functional. Aesthetically, it is clean and simple, but not extraordinary. It is a solid and durable replica, however, which is clearly designed with skirmishing in mind. If that’s your primary aim, this gun will not disappoint. The stock power is probably too high for most CQB sites, but as a basic assault weapon, or even as a DMR (with a tightbore installed) or support weapon (think LiPO ROF + box magazine), it is at least externally very good.
CAOC Externals Rating: 46 out of a possible 50 points.
We’ve now seen that the externals are functionally very good, but not aesthetically exceptional. But what about the internals?
The internals are really where the KWA shines. It is marketed as being LiPO ready, and that’s not an exaggeration. One of my friends remarked that any high-end AEG is technically LiPO ready, but the KWA will last longer than any other stock AEG on LiPO, and possibly longer than even a heavily upgraded AEG. I want to remark that the differences are pretty subtle, and my camera is unfortunately not good enough to show them, so this section will be somewhat sparse when it comes to pictures. If reading lots of text bores you, suffice it to say that this gearbox is as good or better than the legendary Systema PTW gearbox. So, let’s take a closer look at the gearbox.
The first thing that I want to mention with respect to the internals is that the motor is a powerful high-torque motor, which is more than capable of driving the stock 400 fps spring. The wiring, as I mentioned earlier, is heavy gauge, although the clips on the motor are relatively weak, like on all motors. Let’s take a look at the gearbox proper.
The Gearbox Shell
The gearbox itself is a heavily reinforced Version 2 gearbox. More, it’s actually reinforced in the front, where the major stress occurs. Other so-called reinforced gearbox shells are not reinforced in the front where it actually matters. The KWA gearbox is a few millimeters thicker. You’ll also note that it sports 8mm and 9mm metal bearing bushings, which are perfect for durability and for a high rate of fire (ROF) setup—can anyone say 11.1V LiPoly… The gearbox is made out of durable metal, and frankly looks pretty imposing. Unlike the G&G, for instance, the screws are actually on the appropriate side, and look durable, although the heads do not appear to be reinforced.
Inside The Gearbox
Upon opening up the gearbox, I want to first remark that it is nicely greased and shimmed. Oftentimes, you’ll see either a dry gearbox, or else so much grease that some shoots out into the hopup with every shot, which ruins your accuracy. The KWA techs have done a pretty decent job.
The switch assembly and anti-reversal latch are relatively standard upgrade quality V.2 parts, although the switch assembly contacts are nice and clean and look a bit thicker to handle the higher voltage. The cylinder looks very clean and the inside does not have any burrs to impede compression. The spring guide is solid looking metal with bearings to reduce friction from the rotation of the spring. So far, so good. But now we begin encountering the features that set the KWA apart from it’s competitors.
The piston, for starters, appears to be a polycarbonate piston, with reinforcement around the last 4 teeth of the piston. It looks to be capable of supporting up to an M150, although in my opinion, the stock M120 is more than good enough. I was a bit surprised not to see reinforcement on all of the teeth, but it’s certainly solid enough to do the trick. But, it doesn’t look like anything particularly special, and I’d expect to see it strip teeth on a LiPO. So, the question is why it doesn’t. The answer is that the gears are a good bit different, which reduces the strain. The piston head is made out aluminum.
The sector gear in particular has thicker teeth than is usual for, say, a Systema or Guarder reinforced gear set. The wider teeth are really nice because they spread out the stress. By way of demonstration, press your finger against a piece of paper held spread out by a friend. Chances are that your finger will break through. However, press against a similar piece of paper with your palm using the same amount of force, and it will probably not break. The wider surface area spreads out the stress, thus preventing the piston from stripping teeth. This is a great innovative feature to see, and is a very nice move by the KWA designers and techs. The gears are made out of what seems to be high-grade carbon steel that has been cold tempered or differentially quenched for a harder and more resilient gear. The gears are probably my favorite part of this gun; it’s such a simple bit of physics that hasn’t been exploited until now.
The air seal nozzle is also different, and does not appear to be compatible with aftermarket parts. However, it looks solid, and has a great seal, so I’m not really worried about it. Compression is very good, although I might try replacing the O-ring on the piston with a Viton O-ring, since I’ve heard that they’re more reliable than the rubber. Overall, the internals on this gun are amazing. This is easily the best gearbox I’ve seen outside of possibly the Systema PTW gearbox.
The Hopup and Inner Barrel
The hopup is probably the weakest part of the internals. I’m frankly not very impressed. It’s a standard plastic hopup, and there doesn’t appear to be anything special about it. It’s a standard medium/soft hopup bucking with standard nubbin; I’d like to see these come stock with H-hop buckings and a metal hopup unit. Frankly, I was a bit disappointed with the performance of the hopup. Another point to note is that the hopup bucking is pretty greasy stock. I highly recommend cleaning it with soapy warm water, then letting it airdry, or else just replacing the whole hopup unit. It’s not difficult to adjust at least, which is nice to see. Sometimes the hopup adjustment is just insanely hard and requires pliers. I’m glad to see that’s not the case this time.
The inner barrel is made of good quality brass, and has an inner diameter of 6.05mm, with +/- .03mm, so it will range from 6.02mm to 6.08mm. I’m told that they’ve been pretty successful at keeping them to 6.05mm. Mine seems to be closer to 6.07mm according to my calipers, although I did contact KWA to see if that was as it should be, since the advertised inner barrel ID is 6.05mm. The barrel is not crowned, which is a bit disappointing, but it’s still cleanly cut. I’d recommend getting a 6.03mm tightbore for it, personally. The hopup and inner barrel are the most important parts of an AEG to me, since they’re the main parts that affect accuracy, and KWA is decent, but not outstanding.
CAOC Internals Rating: 45 out of a possible 50.
Okay, so how do we use this beauty?
You guessed it, it's pretty straightforward. Insert the (filled) magazine, making sure that it locks nicely into place. Work the charging handle (you don't have to, but it's cool). Remove it from safe, point at target, and pull trigger. If you're set on semi, keep pulling the trigger until you hit your target (hopefully that means you only fired once). If you're on full auto, hold down to rock and roll. But you better have known that already, plus, it's in the manual. When you're done firing, set it to safe, and remove the magazine. You may want to unsafe it and fire a few times to clear the chamber, and then re-safe it, especially if you plan on disassembling it. Okay, so how does it perform?
The performance is good, but not particularly amazing. My first chrono test was well over 400 fps with .2’s (using Airsoft Elite blacks), at 421 fps averaged over 10 shots. When I tested it more recently, it had settled to a more sedate 370 fps according to a PMC.
It penetrated both sides of a soda can cleanly (340+ fps), but was unable to penetrate the bottom center (< 385 fps).
I tested this gun using a 15 round test from 100 feet, and was reasonably pleased, although it’s certainly not the most accurate gun that I’ve used. I tested it using the usual controlled conditions (no wind, indoors, rubber matting, fired from prone position, sandbag stabilization) using the iron-sights. I might have done better using a scope. It was able to achieve a 5.2” grouping, although if you discount a flier, it drops to 4.8”, which is not that impressive.
Still, this gun is pretty solid out of the box, and has an effective range of almost 200 feet right out of the box. It is capable of firing 20 rps on a 9.6v battery, and well over that on an 11.1V LiPO. While performance was not as good as I’d hoped, it’s extremely durable, and really only needs work on the hopup and barrel in order to be a perfect assault/DM/Support weapon.
Accessories & Modications:
First off, the M4 doesn't have much in the way of rails, although you can detach the carry handle to install various things like rear sights, scopes, etc. You could also install new foregrips, or basically anything. It's an AR, so there are TONS of upgrades that you can buy to support whatever accessories you want. If you're getting an M4, you may want it pretty clean, so probably just an RDS or 4x scope will do you fine. But the possibilities, as they say, are endless.
Pros & Cons:
- Amazing gearbox with proper reinforcement
- 8 and 9 mm metal bearing bushings
- Stock M120
- Reinforced tappet plate
- Redesigned reinforced gears
- Reinforced polycarbonate piston
- 6.05mm brass inner barrel
- High Torque motor for great ROF
- LiPO ready, incredibly durable
- Adjustable front and rear sights
- Affordable, with an MSRP of only 295 USD
- Full metal construction
- Great attention to detail
- Reinforced externals
- Adjustable outer barrel
- Plastic stock
- Inner barrel is not crowned
- Plastic hopup is decent, but not great
- Limited battery space makes it hard to use LiPO
- Unrealistic Trademarks
- Average accuracy
The Final Word
CAOC Overall Rating: 91 out of a possible 100 points. This is probably the best AEG on the market for under 800 USD, and is a true engineering feat.
CAOC VPC Rating (Value Per Cost): .307
My final analysis on this gun is that the KWA M4A1 is a true engineering and design feat. It’s basically the perfect assault carbine right out of the box, with great durability and stock power. Accuracy and hopup are not the best on this gun, and I’m not fond of the trademarks, but with very little work, this is truly a great gun. I’d like to see CQB, S-System/CASV, and RIS variations on this gun, since those would allow easier use of PEQ2 boxes for bigger batteries, but for such a low price, this is definitely worth buying. The gearbox is flawless; basically the perfect M4 setup would be a KWA M4 with a G&P receiver, Guarder hopup with Big-out H-Hop, PDI 6.03mm tightbore inner barrel, and maybe a new foregrip. Add other accessories (Crane or VLTOR stock, CASV, etc) as desired. I’m very pleased with KWA’s AEG offerings thus far, and look forward to them making a foray into sniper rifles (if that day ever comes—I’m just hoping here, they haven’t made any noises about doing anything like that). Final conclusion, this is the best affordable AEG on the market, so go and buy one!
This airsoft gun is not to be misrepresented as a real firearm or gun that is manufactured by Colt and is merely an airsoft gun that fires 6mm pellets. The manufacturer of this airsoft gun is KWA.
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