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WE - M4A1 AEG Review


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Right, just got the WE M4A1 AEG in to review this... initially there're a few questions people may ask, I'm already aware of that and this will probably show on the responding posts below where people obviously didnt read the thread and just want to bash WE here.


Why make an M4?

What's different about this?

Why choose WE for the M4 when there're possibly 10 other companies to choose from for one?


I'll answer these in my opinion, some of you guys probably dont have the same views but here goes.

why make an M4? probably because WE are going into the AEG market and expanding their range to other guns no other manufacturers have made? just speculation but completely feasible. probably just testing the waters etc.


what's different about this M4? i'll go into detail about what's good, bad and different about this AEG below (later). just bare with me on this, real busy doing various other things at the same time. first thing that's different is that the fire selector is also the spring decompression lever. some might worry about the nozzle was originally pulled back from the shooting cycle, put to safe (decompressing spring) when moving to another shooting position/location and thus pushing another round, possibly double feeding the gun? (will go into detail about this when i come to it)


why choose WE for the M4 above others?

at this point i cant think of anything REALLY standing out to choose them, BUT... with the limited supply of china AEGs, WE have mentioned it will definitely be way below 200USD, which is cheaper than marui and its plastic receiver, it's into ICS/G&P prices but only the M4A1 model so far.


So, to cut to the chase, here're the basic details for those who dont want to read the full post...


Retail price: TBC - suggested to be way below 200usd


FPS - 400-420fps (dependent on ammo used) i understand evike's video showed under 400fps, just to let you guys know... that was the first AEG that was shipped away from the factory to them since they pre-ordered quite a few boxes from what i gather. apparently i'm the second person to have one in their hands away from their offices (but i doubt that)


construction, aluminium body for the upper and lower receiver, fiber reinforced front guard, stock and pistol grip.

metal gearbox, polycarb piston, clear plastic (possibly polycarb too) hop chamber, steel gears (rest of the parts TBC)


Trademarks: has a navy seal 'frog skeleton and trident' marking on with 'MIT CAL. 5.56MM' and a serial number under. what i have in front of me is 00857. although i cant confirm if these will have unique serial numbers for each M4's but i'm already hearing people scream THAT'S DISGUSTING!!! on the trademarks and specially some people really dont like the 'WE Tactical.co.ltd' markings between the bolt release and the fire selector.


So, pictures... lets get some up shall we?

below are the stock photos WE sent over for me (trust me i have the one they gave me on my lap as i'm typing this, just havent got round to taking any pictures of it... so as the saying goes 'pics or it didnt happen' yes, i will have some put up real soon)









Initial impressions:

Not sure if they will be packaged the way I received mine... it was just a plain brown box with 2 basic green labels saying WE M4 with 3 boxes to tick (A1 cqb and ris) so i'm expecting these models to be coming in the near future (considering it's only a few minor changes to some of the external features)


opening the box, it was just a clear plastic bag covering the AEG itself with a foam board with a hole in it where the barrel goes to serve as a support pad. there was really not much in terms of packaging that would possibly make the AEG survive in a nice condition considering it was some 30mins for me on the train, changing trains once instead of some 5000 or 6000 miles flight to europe or the US where it'll be stacked with other packets and bumped, thrown etc by the carrier. so that's one of my concerns on this. believe me... i've received broken/damaged/bent barreled AEGs and the works before whilst living in england for a long time.



(more to come)

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nope. totally NOT true... i'm getting just a little less on a 7.4v 15c lipo (11rps) and this is at 370fps using 0.25g (around 1.6J)


read below, I have tested this with a 11.1v 15c and i was able to get 20+ rps on it.



Had this through from the WE guys last night... for what it's worth, have a gander at it.


Dimensions: 770MM/850MM

Color: Black

Weight: 3050

Thread: 14mm CCW

Body Materials: Aluminum Alloy

Outer Barrel Materials: Aluminum Alloy

Gearbox: Zinc-Aluminum Alloy

Gear Set Materials: Steel

Piston Materials: Nylon polymer 30%

Motor: 8.4V 25000RPM

Firing Modes: SINGLE, FULL AUTO + spring release on SAFE

Hopup: Adjustable

Power: 360-380 fps

Magazine Capacity: 300/400 BB

Package Includes: M4A1-AEG

Recommended Battery: 8.1V-11.1V


What made my alarm bells ring was the gearbox material... zinc aluminium alloy? doesnt that mean pot metal? correct me if i'm wrong but is this not a type of metal that's brittle? time will tell as this M4 i have next to me runs at 400+fps... if it's made from a weak metal for its gearbox, it's going to put quite a bit of stress on the front of the cylinder head, possibly breaking free from the front end of the gearbox after some time if this is the case... time will tell


since it's completely chucking it down at the moment in HK for the last 2 days, i ended up visiting an indoor site nearby to do a groupings test at 10 and 30metres. with those of you that wish to know the dimensions... the circle is 1inch and diamonds are 2inches tip to tip. below are the groupings of the 10 and 30m shoot respectively...


For this test I was using KSC .25g ammo and initially for the test, the iron sights and hop were not adjusted so on the top left you see the shots went wildly off target. hop was low and i tried to adjust mid-shoot to walk it in so i know roughly how far to adjust the hop and sights. so dont bother trying to work out the groupings there, it's inaccurate as i was not aiming at the same point.


top right was with the sights adjusted left and hop adjusted slightly higher, still not happy with it and i adjusted the elevation and shot a few in the distance to see when i will get a flat trajectory (at that range anyway... note to self, will bring a torch next time to trace the rounds going down range to verify flight path)

after making another minor change, i was happy it was doing fine.


middle and the 2 groups at the bottom left and right were shot at standing, sat down with support (on an oil drum) and prone with magazine on the deck respectively... they were all able to be within the 2inches square or in the case of standing, just a little farther out of that group. clearly demonstrating user accuracy here.




now to the 30meters results... i shot 3 groups again this time and for some strange reason, i saw what seems to be a puff of smoke on the second group once or twice. i noted that and continued with the groupings test and did not notice any drastic changes in performance or accuracy. strange... possibly it was the factory grease/oil within the barrel or nozzle area but not sure only a few shots after a good 100 or so rounds i have put through before this happening.




another thing i have noticed as well... this is for the people that actively uses the safe position on the AEG, it might feel wrong for you as something feels like it's stuck there towards the safe position (where the decompression function kicks in) and sometimes it feels a little 'sticky' dependent on what position your gears are in.


to add to the little things that annoy me (i'm sure i wont be the only one to notice these things) the front end had a little bit of wobble to it... on closer inspection, the front guard furnitures were able to rotate about half a mm either direction... minor issue, most people change them out anyway to either a rail system or magpul parts anyway. but i had to be sure... i grabbed the barrel tip and moved it around and there WAS a little bit of barrel wobble there, so i guess the age-long disease of the AEG delta ring still exists. although not as bad as TM or some CA models, but it's there, a little, not much... but it's there. Although i have my suspicions that the delta ring could be tightened a little bit more but the critic side of me says it's not nice to ship a gun to a customer that's still suffering from barrel wobble, although it's not a big amount... how bad is it? well it's kind of hard to guage how bad it is but it's around half a mill in any direction, but i have no way to clamp the gun down to see how far i can move the muzzle, so you guys would have to just take my word for it.


now to the rate of fire department... considering what i've got running is 400+fps (370fps on the 0.25g i'm using) it's actually something i would consider to have running on 11.1v lipo batteries in case it has too slow a rate of fire or the semi auto response becomes too sluggish...


i used 7.4v 15c lipo for this and firing a burst it gave me the following stats on the screen.





now 665RPM is 11/s. nothing spectacular, definitely not quick and a little too slow for my liking.


now to use a 11.1v 15c lipo cell...

this gave the following:






and 1320/60 to get the rounds per sec count... giving 22, with its magazine capable of keeping up the feed, that was no disappointment there... i certainly wouldnt want to volunteer to be on the receiving end of a 400+fps gun shooting 20/s at me, that's for sure. although i've seen and been on the receiving end of a much higher rof gun but that'll just get this review off topic and go into the grounds of gearbox mods.


speaking of higher rate of fire, the pistol grip does not however, only rely on a grub screw and a metal disc to adjust the motor alignment, this is similar to the G&P/magpul style AEG grips where it's got a screw cap type design where you adjust it with a flat head screw driver, much easier and it was a nice surprise to see they actually glued it with some creamy off-white substance, which magpul PTS i know for sure does not in some models... poor gits that ended up losing their motor alignment during a game is already bad luck... but losing a plate that you cant find a spare part for? that's just really unlucky... ANYWAY! back on track.


the hop adjustment, yep, the usual pull the charging handle back, bolt goes partially open, adjust the cog wheel, tap the bolt release, imitation bolt closes and you're good to go. but i have a gripe on this part too... the bolt looks WAY too shiny and reflective (so does the magazine, too black and a little too reflective) when you charge the handle and let go, the AEG just suddenly sounds plasticky even though you know it's made from a metal construction and when you release the bolt catch, you just hear a click of the imitation bolt hitting the front and the spring tension going 'TWANG~~~' not a performance issue and not really a big deal for me anyway since i dont really care too much about how i look on the field but you can even keep the dust cover closed if you wish to keep the shine out of plain sight.


but what can i say? this is something i wasnt expecting from the beginning... an AEG from WE, something that i reckon will be priced between china AEG prices and Ares but way below G&P prices. Sure does keep up with the WE's usual price range of being on the lower end keeping things affordable. The accuracy is already way better than the stock ACM guns i've tried, gearbox sounds smoother already and with direct comparison to the alternatives in that price range? it doesnt feel as cheap and the finishing and quality i already have a better confidence on its external work... but just suspicious of its zinc-aluminium alloy gearbox if it really is cheese metal.


i can justify paying this money for one considering what i've said above... would i get one? possibly if i was to get an AR platform AEG for its price range, but due to my personal preferences on using a shorter barrel, something around 7inches, this might not be the perfect option for me as i personally like to keep my guns in a small package. for those of you that LOVE to keep your guns running all vanilla, i already know what you guys are going to ask. battery, how big is the battery space? well this one is front wired, i can put 2 of my 'hot power' 7.4v 15c 2200mah battery inside, one either side of the barrel, without removing the gas tube, it's a snug fit, but not too tight even with the fuse still attached. just push the fuse round between the barrel and the gas tube, your 2 7.4v batteries can go in and if you link those 2 batteries up to go parallel, you'll be able to get 4000mah+ battery inside, sure it'll take forever to recharge but at least you will never have to worry about changing batteries in a game although you will definitely have to remove the top AND bottom cover to place the battery inside to avoid putting too much stress on your battery wires...


i know 4000+mah will last me a weekend game for sure. as for 11.1v lipos. i found a friend with a 3 stick 11.1v battery, 15c 1100mah. these ones are a little small and thin, so 'CHALLENGE ACCEPTED!' after spending a little time wiggling around the front guard with only the bottom removed, i figured out how to fit 2 11.1v inside. again, 1 battery either side of the barrel and gas tube, the side the tamiya plug is running is the battery i have one cell pushed towards the barrel/gas tube gap and as for the other cell, i pushed the cell facing furthest out right under the barrel. now this was an EXTREMELY tight fit with an additional tamiya plug put inside it... you may need child labor hands to get this done because i really do mean it when it's a tight fit, so i dont recommend any of you doing this in the long term because it WILL put a lot of pressure on the wires being twisted around, battery cells will start to get damaged but hey, it fits.


pics to come soon...

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What made my alarm bells ring was the gearbox material... zinc aluminium alloy? doesnt that mean pot metal? correct me if i'm wrong but is this not a type of metal that's brittle?


That depends on the exact composition of it. Some zinc/aluminium alloys can be ok, some can be utter ###### (the infamous "pot metal"). A lot also depends on how well it's been cast. Air bubbles in it wil dramatically reduce the overall structural integrity of the item.

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Hi guys, sorry for the major delay. food poisoning is bad for you, if it tastes too good, start being cautious! wait i think i'm getting paranoid.


anyway, on with the disassembly and the internals etc.


first you take the bottom of the front grip off, snip the heat shrink to disconnect the wires



then you pop the front receiver pin out, note: it has the lock pin inside it to prevent your receiver pin flying out and possibly losing it. nice touch for an AEG this price range. then slide the top and bottom receiver apart, watch you dont catch the wire on the hop unit.


you should be at this stage now, looking at something like this:



I have found, however, expecting the hop unit flying out the moment there is no resistance behind it, it didnt... it just kind of flopped out... the hop unit's tabs or the diameter itself may be at a perfect fit so it's a little stiff when placing it in or removing it, but hey... for me it's another point of secure contact to keep the barrel steady.


off with the motor plate, this is also another pleasant surprise, for me at least anyway... they give you enough wiring to actually not have to hire a child labour or somebody with child labour sized hands to remove the wires (because i'm too lazy to use a pair of needle nose pliers and my excuse is the pliers may damage the wires) so that was a piece of cake for me to tinker with...



then i pulled the motor out, removed the 2 screws inside the grip etc etc... nothing special or too different here as i expected since it's TM compatible and following the external design of the mainstream to be compatible with aftermarket parts...


alsoto my understanding and how i put AEGs back together, i never put any grease here, but yes i understand it's a moving part, good practice to lube everywhere that rubs and moves. but these guys arent shy about using grease are they?



then i got to the mag release part, this looks very familiar to the dboys range as there are no external screws or locking mechanism seen on the mag release



likewise on the bolt release too



something beneficial over the dboys (why am i comparing it? because i'm expecting the price range to be similar) is that you dont have to keep punching the pin in and out of the body, eventually damaging it.



the bolt release just slips out allowing the mag catch to 'unwind' its way out loose




now that most of the parts are free, there's also a massive screw going into the back of the gearbox, but here's something different i began to find, but pretty much instantly worked out, nothing you should be confused about if you're not afraid of taking things apart or taken AEGs apart before.


stock tube. get an hex key, unscrew that and the tube slides off, revealing a smaller stock tube holding the screw in place. i checked the dimensions, my ACM vltor stock tube fit there too so it was nice to see its stock design had enough support on the stock tube, and that 'peep hole' allowed you to see where your screw driver was going without guessing your screw driver was actually biting on the screw head anymore... risking wearing it down...






afterwards, you only need to punch out the pin just above the trigger's position to release the gearbox.

which i find was a little on the stiff side but nothing you should be concerned about... considering most M4's that have been taken apart quite a few times they begin to get loose... too loose for my liking. then again some argue there are enough securing screws/bolts/latches/chuck norris' spirit to hold the gearbox in place so that one pin does not make too much difference.


here's the gearbox quite a few of you have been looking for.



initial impressions, HOLY MOLY! the size of those bushings. wait, what's up with the spring guide? looks funny. and plastic too... (it's not it's actually aluminium [aluminum for the american friends])


here you can see the bolt release catch mechanism too, no need to disable/take down/whatever to access the gearbox. which i also like very much... less screws and little parts to worry about. simple but effective design.


the other side of the gearbox, showing you a part of the mechanism where the spring release is activated from. nothing mcguyver but it works and if you dont like it... easily disabled... some argue why would you buy something to only disable it? well... you got a sports mode in your car, why do you not use it all the time? everybody has their own reasons. but i'm just saying it can be easily disabled. that's all.



now opening the gearbox...

clearly see its similarities and differences instantly... what i mean is that everything looks familiar, yet it's just... different... got a different feel to it. not like the standard AEG that's sub-200usd that just looks... so... plain... the gears look very well made, very clean and smooth... when i took the spring and piston out to spin the gears, they actually mesh better than the alternatives in this price range. but that might be just the shimming of the gears, but it's smooth straight outta the box. one gripe about it... i feel it's not greased up enough... but there's some on there... and it's not oil... viscousity is between oil and grease, cant decide what to call it... maybe i will call it groil.


sorry about the cylinder part... i couldnt get it to be clearly seen without the photo being like a nuclear white-out. it's also full black just like the piston, but the cylinder is aluminium too. not brass or copper. also compatible with alternative parts if you dont like aluminium.



piston. nothing special there, 1 steel tooth. full width on the piston tooth. yes it's got a bearing piston head installed inside already, so you have no need to buy another one to fit there.


nicely lubed piston head and ported too for air seal.



cylinder head... they have no O rings there, just a big bit of rubber-like substance to act as gas seal as well as some sort of a mild dampener. interesting.



sector gear, i wonder what those black pins are for, maybe balancing? what will happen if i short stroke the sector gear? hmm...



here's a closer look at the lower gear (god whats that name again? spur right? or bevel?)

those of you that are into biking, you might see this earlier with the engagements per turn.

this one engages the anti reversal more than the average 4-5 per turn. this is probably to be used along side with the anti reversal release system.


and lastly, what i REALLY like about this gearbox design?

it is this...



those of you that do not know what i mean by looking at that is...


how many times have you been in a gearbox and that anti reversal gear annoys the living day-lights out of you? never aligning, pushing that lower gear so you have to wiggle something through the bushing on the other side to gets its axel and the anti reversal latch's axel back into position?


that really made putting the gearbox back so easy... apart from that 400+ fps spring because that spring guide was nicely lubed up launched it to the other side of my room once putting it back together, but that was my error though. other than that, it was very easy to assemble and no need to worry about special tools. screws were all cross head / phillips screws. you only need needle nose pliers for the motor wires if you dont have small fingers, a knife to cut the heat shrink... sure not everybody has a pin punch, but get one, it's really worth it... but if you dont, use a solid block of object and a small allen key or a nail to bash it out... pretty much all you need to open it...



cost benefit ratio, for me it's somewhere mid-high.

would i buy one? yeah, if they made a 7inch and railed front end version, but that's just my personal likings. but in short, yes i would if i needed an AR.

why choose this over the other M4? mainly about the gearbox. just easy to use, has some additional features at a cheaper price than the others that cost US$250+ with similar features.

bolt release and spring release features are nice but does not make the gearbox overly complex and not a hassle to access the gearbox.

could do with more lube in the gearbox just to be sure.

markings are not favourable for some people, but that does not bother me. but i understand why people do not like the markings. a non-marking model may be available soon but TBC by WE-Tech. i do not have this information to confirm if they will make a plain marking version.

gears run VERY smooth and looks of high quality. time will tell on its endurance.


talking about the endurance, sorry things have picked up recently and i cant stress test this on crazy rof to see how long it will take to destroy something inside. just dont have the time any more. but looking at the gearbox, it's not going to be the gears that die first, that's my bet at least. the piston? who knows. really depends on how much abuse you put that piston through and what FPS you're running it at... but it feels like a high quality polycarb piston so i'm not too worried about that... nothing feels cheap about it so i'm confident this M4 will be decent.



The Cow.

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