UTG M4 CQB-OPS AEG
UTG CQB-OPS Commando M4 review by Booligan
Table of Contents:
Real Steel History
Basic Gun Information
Hooray for another airsoft M4 review! Okay, I know that it seems like thereâ€™s a new airsoft M4 on the market every week or so, and for the most part, theyâ€™re all pretty much the same, but this new UTG model is quite different from others on the market in several ways. First off, it features a side folding stock setup that you can only get on this line, as well as the UTG designed RIS that has a very neat trick up its sleeve. It also features an industry first, a 120 day warranty, as well as their support with obtaining replacement parts after the warranty expires.
Real Steel History:
Well, itâ€™s an M4. Hereâ€™s its history in case youâ€™ve been living under a rock for the last 15 years or so:
â€œThe M4A1 carbine is a fully-automatic variant of the basic M4 carbine intended for special operations use. The M4A1 is used by almost all U.S special operation units. The M4A1 Carbine is especially favored by counter-terrorist and special operations units for close quarters combat because of the carbine's compactness and firepower. These features are also very useful in urban warfare. Although the M4 has less effective range than the longer M16, many military analysts consider engagement with a non-specialized small arm above a range of 300 meters to be unnecessary. It is effective at ranges of 150 meters or less and has a maximum effective range of about 500-600 meters.â€
I obtained this airsoft replica directly from UTG in order to review it for you fine people. After a minor shipping error on my part (okay, the gun was delivered 400 miles away from my house, big whoops on my part) the gun arrived safe and sound, ready to be hopelessly abused for the sake of airsoft knowledge!
Basic Gun Information
So, what makes this M4 variant different from the multitude of M4 variants out there? Well, it has that sexy RIS that holds a large type battery, the left side folding stock system, the unique flip up sights, lots of parts from the Leapers real steel catalog, the aforementioned 120 day warranty, and the fact that itâ€™s arguably the lowest priced AEG that is built in the good old USA. It's priced about $270 or so last I checked around, but most retailers don't have this specific model yet, so expect that price point to change a bit.
UTG has always put a large priority on good packaging design, and this replica is no exception. Everything is packaged in an awesome box. Why is it so awesome you ask? Itâ€™s red. Red things are always better.
Anywho, there is a lot of information to take in on the box, namely some basic specs on the gun, a list of the item numbers for some of the various parts, and some very high quality pics of the gun that lies entombed inside. Inside, everything is tucked snugly and securely in their own little partitions molded into the foam, and covered with cardboard for a clean presentation. Thereâ€™s also a little blue piece of paper explaining the proper battery install procedure. Read. Obey.
From here on, click all pictures to enlarge
Assorted part numbers
Safe and sound
Important blue paper!
Like most UTG products, this bad boy is heavy on the included product love. Included with the gun is one metal 300 round hi-cap magazine with winding key, removable flip up front and rear sights, rubber LE stock butt pad, folding vertical foregrip, three small rubber rail covers, metal front sight adjustment tool, quick detach sling swivel, 8.4v 1800 mAh Ni-CD large battery with small connecter, a small to large battery adapter, a plate to use a mini battery in the RIS, and an 8.4v 300 mAh charger with no LED indicator. Thereâ€™s also an assortment of allen wrenches, spare screws, a VERY thorough manual, and the normal cleaning/unjamming rod. All in all, thatâ€™s the longest list Iâ€™ve ever written. All of the accessories are from the real-steel catalog, so you know theyâ€™re high quality and will take airsoft abuse with ease.
Battery and charger
Parts diagrams! Woohoo!
Weight: About 8 lbs
-Extended: 28.5â€ - 32.25â€
-Extended: 3â€ (At RIS)
Height (Folded sight to grip): 8.48â€
LOP: 12.3â€ - 16.25â€
Sight Radius: Varies with sight placement
Nothing like opening the box on a new airsoft gun, feeling the receiver, and experiencing the cool sensation of metal. Luckily, this replica offers it in spades, with everything that should be metal being just that, and everything else being made of firearm type polymers. Literally, the only parts on this gun that are not metal are the grip (which is my favorite M4 grip ever, and I know Iâ€™m not the only one), and the stock (which is a real M4 stock!).
Starting with the stock. Iâ€™ve got great news, bad news, and good news. The great news is that this gun uses what appears to be an actual buffer tube, attached to the folding mechanism by screwing into it, complete with what again appears to be a real steel LE stock. The bad news is that most airsoft guns use specially specâ€™d stocks and buffer tubes, so you canâ€™t use normal airsoft replacement stocks on this gun without some modding. The good news is that real steel AR stocks are plentiful, and in most cases cheaper than their airsoft counterparts. The stock itself is very nice feeling, and locks into its 6 positions easily. The included rubber butt pad (which is removable) is a plus that makes it all the more comfortable.
The big plus on this stock is the folding feature. The mechanism is a beefy hunk of metal that is extraordinarily solid. It folds to the left (the side with the fire mode controls) by lifting up on the stock tube portion so the locking lug can clear, and locking it in the folded position. Itâ€™s pretty stiff, due to the heavy spring in the mechanism, but thatâ€™s certainly not a bad thing. Itâ€™s the same process to unfold it, only reversed. The stock does lock in the folded position quite solidly.
Lift up to clear the lugâ€¦
Folded. Tasty CQB goodness
The receiver is metal, and is of the tabless, slip on upper receiver type. I believe they made some changes to the receiver from the V1s, as my MAG Midcaps fit in easily now, unlike the V1 that required a slam in and a yank out. Like the last one though, the receiver is exceptionally high quality, both in construction and in finish. No gaps, no wobbles, no nothing. Pulling back the charging handle opens the dust cover, exposing the hop-up. There is no mock bolt carrier.
The grip is the trademark UTG AR grip, made out of textured rubber and dreams. I seriously love this thing, and if you try one and donâ€™t love it, thereâ€™s probably only one reason: youâ€™re left handed. It has a palm swell, thumb rest, grippy texture, finger grooves, all working together to make a grip that is just ridiculously comfortable to use. The base is a plain non-vented motor base with an allen head adjuster screw.
The RIS is another key point on this gun, both in design and in function. Itâ€™s designed both to provide lots of properly specâ€™d rail surfaces, as well as to house a large 8.4v battery inside. It pivots down easily from the front after pushing the two buttons at the rear. It is substantially larger than most RIS that you see out there, but itâ€™s still quite comfortable to hold onto. Itâ€™s similar to holding an EBR front end from a width standpoint. Only issue I have is that the pivoting screws at the front tend to loosen up, and require frequent re-tightening. Some loctite would be a smart idea here.
RIS pivoted down
Pivot it down to fit the included battery inside. The nice feature is that it includes a little piece of metal to stick in there so you could use a mini battery instead, and not have it rattle around. Watch those wires when you close it though, as the blue paper of death warned you about.
All closed up, battery inside
This model features a RIS front gas block, which is stepped down to mount the included front sight. It is secured to the one piece outer barrel by two allen head screws, so you can clock it appropriately. The metal flashhider is attached via 14mm-CCW threads, so feel free to mount your choice of barrel extenders, flashhiders, etc.
Slinging this beast is accomplished by the QD sling swivel attached to the front of the RIS, and the metal sling point on the stock. The swivel is just pushed in, and easily removed by pushing the center button and pulling it out. Little touches like this always please me.
Rear sling mount
Included are metal flip up sights straight out of the Leapers real steel catalog. They are a unique design that offers a sight picture identical to traditional AR sights, but with a handy folding feature. The rear is adjustable for windage using the hand adjustable turret, and the front is adjustable for elevation using the included metal tool.
There are also plenty of RIS surfaces for mounting optics of your choosing. Overall, I think the externals are a welcome and unexpected upgrade over the already impressive V1s. Iâ€™m very pleased with this thing externally, and think it should last a good long time.
UTG changed from just text on the last one I reviewed to a lion/dragon thing, as well as some other trademarks for this model. They are laser engraved, just like the selector markings and the RIS surfaces. The serial number is also unique, and is used for warranty tracking.
The included magazine is the standard UTG metal hi-cap, holding about 300 rounds, and featuring a side mounted optional winding key. Fit and feed is great, with a minimum of wobble.
Itâ€™s also fully compatible with TM compatible mags, with MAG midcaps fitting MUCH easier than the V1s, which is a big plus.
Baseline performance after a 1000 round break in period is as follows:
FPS (Tested using TSD .20g BBs shot through a Madbull V1 Blue Chrono):
Low: 369.8 FPS
High: 380.3 FPS
Average over 10 shots: 374.4 FPS
ROF (Recorded using Audacity/stock battery after 100 round break in): 15 RPS
Accuracy at range: I am able to consistently hit a man sized target at 155', which is what I expected with a CQB length replica like this. Accuracy is quite consistent, which makes me think that UTG's changeover to metal hop-up units was a good changeover. The use of heavier BBs, in the .23-.25g range is a good idea, due to the mid level power output, and the hop-up's ability to spin the heavier ammo to decent ranges.
Overall, I am quite pleased with the performance out of the box. It's plenty capable and skirmish ready, and with a few tweaks such as a tightbore barrel and new hop-up bucking, it can really reach out and touch someone.
The UTG contracted gearboxes really changed the ACM airsoft scene in the last year or so. They've found their way into the so called "enhanced" 2008 JG lineup, and have been met with praise for their power and durability. This model features the same gearbox as the last one I reviewed, with one slightly disappointing change; it comes equipped with plastic bushings instead of metal ones.
Disassembly is the same as other front wired M4 replicas, by taking out the front pin, disconnecting the front wires under the RIS, and sliding the upper receiver off of the lower.
There is plenty of info around about this gearbox and its components, so I won't bore you with the details. I will, however, show some pics of the guts of this beast:
Box in the receiver
Plastic bushings :(
Ported cylinder, metal spring guide
As mentioned previously, this model features a one piece metal hop-up, and a CQB length brass inner barrel.
Barrel and hop-up
Motor, unmarked, medium torque
Basically, you have a rock solid gearbox (albeit with plastic bushings), that's not equipped with too hot of a spring so it should last quite some time with no issues. The best part is that if you DO have issues, you have a warranty for 120 days from the date of purchase.
Mine is getting turned into a compact DMR setup, able to fold up for transport or for confined space operations.
Surprise! Got a flashhider under the can
Fully operational in this tiny state
Rock solid metal body
Unique RIS with large battery storage
Great stock setup
Tons of accessories are included
Good performance overall
RIS screws can come loose
Non free floating barrel (minor quirk, messes up zero on gas block RIS mount)
Paint scratches on folding mechanism
Battery wires can be a little tricky
I wasnâ€™t sure if they could improve on the V1 M4s, but they certainly have. Lots of little things were tweaked, and the overall sum of the parts is quite impressive. To build this piece by piece would be much more expensive than they are selling it for, and I think the US based build and support make this a great buy!
Many thanks again to UTG/Leapers, Deadrag Airsoft Radio and of course, AirsoftRetreat!