Okay, so I got that G&P Defender running like a top. Super fine, super reliable, thing shoots lasers. Love it. But after doing a little research online and speaking with the guys at Players First, holy cow the Tokyo Marui SOPMOD M4 with recoil engine is just the absolute must-have AEG right now.
It has several features that are neat, and several features that are absolutely amazing for an electric AEG… features that until know where the realm of the gas blow-back M4. First and foremost, it has recoil. Seriously. Not just ‘blow-back’ like some other airsoft guns out there, but actual recoil. And it’s pretty significant too. I expected some goofy jittering or something equally ineffective, but I gotta say: it’s not too far off from the recoil of a real M4. I had the pleasure of firing an AR-15 at the range fairly recently, and while the recoil isn’t quite the same, the fact that it’s there and pretty close to reality is something to smile about.
It stops shooting when you’re out of ammo. That may not seem like a big deal, but for anyone trying to get a touch more realism out of their airsoft experience, or anyone whose airsoft gun fires so clean that the difference between dry-firing and bb’s shooting out is so minimal as to be unnoticeable, this is A Good Thing. Heck, I’ve played in night games where I couldn’t tell if I was shooting or not, so I just reloaded. This feature is due to a sweet new magazine design (yep, it uses proprietary mags) that has several cool features, aside from the ability to stop the AEG once it’s out of ammo. It can switch from midcap to lo-cap. That’s right, a switch in the magazine changes it from mid to low. Also, it’s the right size… many people don’t know this, but airsoft M4 mags are actually about an inch smaller than real magazines. That’s not a tremendously huge deal, obviously, but again: for those players out there looking for just a little more realism (and gear that requires full-size mags, LOL) this is A Good Thing.
The hop-up unit has been redesigned and seems to perform well. Once I’ve had a chance to roll out into a combat situation I can determine just how well that hopup unit really does. It seems to be barrel-style, much like the SA-58 or the Classic Army SCAR-L, which is arguably a superior design to the circular knob on the average M4.
It has a bolt-release, by the way. So after reloading, don’t forget to hit it or the gun won’t fire. Again, it’s the little details that set this gun apart from the standard AEG. Full-metal, extremely well-finished externals featuring actual Colt trademarks and markings are all part of the package. It looks great, inside and out.
Did I mention the recoil engine? Tokyo Marui calls it the shoot-and-recoil engine, and they’ve really outdone themselves. The single-fire recoil is interesting and adds a touch of realism, but on full-auto is where it really shines. I’ve had AEGs that were shimmed roughly and have hammered like they were recoiling, and I’ve used AEGs with blowback that also kind-of sort-of felt like recoil, but the TM SOPMOD M4 actually really feels like it’s recoiling with every shot. It is an experience. You really need to shoot it to see for yourself, and once you do, you really will want one.
In my opinion, the Tokyo Marui SOPMOD M4 sits between the super-high-end and ultra-realistic Systema M4s and the high-end ‘standard’ AEGs. At the pricepoint it sits at (roughly $500USD) it is more expensive than all but the most high-end AEGs, but completely blows them out of the water in every way. At the same time, that pricepoint puts it well below the least expensive gas-blow-back airsoft guns, and well below the Systemas and the Deep Fires, and frankly, it seems to outperform all of those as well. The gas-blow-back airsoft guns have great ‘feel’, but they have a host of issues that simply makes their extremely high price tag untenable, and Systema is struggling to keep up, performance-wise, with the rest of the airsoft market. Systema hasn’t been worth the price-tag for a long, long time.
Lots of folks are picking up the Tokyo Marui SOPMOD M4 – retailers can’t seem to hold on to them for any amount of time – so you should get a chance to play with one at your local field when some lucky player gets his (or hers.) See for yourself… Tokyo Marui has really brought a new dimension to airsoft, and has really defined the term AAEG (Advanced AEG) for the market. I can’t wait to see what kind of aftermarket accessories will start cropping up, and you can bet Players First will have each and every one of them.