This review covers the new Marui Recoil engine gearbox equipped M4 Armalites.

The SOPMOD version is essentially the same gun with a different stock and rewired to the rear to accept the quick change battery incorporated into the stock.

Righty, in traditional fashion we start off with an opening for the box whores amongst us.
A very swish no nonsense offering from Marui here, sturdy, relatively plain with a small picture of an M4 on it. Inside the M4 sits on some acceptable polystyrene. It's held fast with a strip of velcro. Inside is one magazine, some beebs and a sight adjustment tool. Oddly there was no loading rod and certainly no charger or speedloader or cheapo sling that you regularly get with the chinese offerings

Upon picking up the rifle, the first thing that strikes you is the feel of the thing. Having been used to the Clone market for a while now, it was surprisingly reassuring that it didn't wobble about, bits didn't fall off, it wasn't rusty or scratched and all the screws were where they should be. A real heart warming experience that is not to be sniffed at.
The body is all metal and is free from any unsightly mould lines or bad casting.
Despite the specification on FIre-Supports website, this gun DOES actually have Colt trade marks and they are nicely cast into the body. I don't get all jumpy over the trade marks, but they are there which is a nice touch.
The full length metal barrel is located securely into the body and there is non of the associated Armalite Barrel wobble that Marui was so reputable for (in their plastic bodied offerings). It is nicely engraved with with the 5.56 NATO marks.
All the fixtures and fittings are securely attached.

The foregrips are of solid plastic and sit on the delta ring with only minimal wobble. Real steel fore-grips do fit this without any modification and are possibly a little tighter, but you do loose all the battery space because of the associated heat-shields inside them.
It may be possible to squeeze in a Li-Po and this is something I will be looking at in the future because the Real Steel grips do feel ever so slightly nicer.
The battery compartment is small..... tiny in fact. It is only big enough to fit in an 8.4v Mini battery, but with a tiny modification of filing a small section out of the barrel and removing a few tags on the inside of the fore-grip it is possible to fit in a 9.6v Mini. Changing to a Li-Po will also further alleviate this space issue.

The stock is the usual affair despite the recoil system being housed in the stock tube. It has accepted my Magpul PTS stock with no drama and has very little wobble when installed. So you'll be pleased to know that it should accept pretty much any after market stock.

The magazines are metal bodied jobbies and are nice and sturdy. They are very different from the standard M4 magazines and they are not interchangeable. The magazines that you get with the rifle are the low/mid cap versions, but there are hi-cap versions available.
The magazines come with a capacity of either 82 or 30 rounds and are switchable between the two (I haven't worked out how to do this yet, but I assume it's a switch on the inside of the mag somewhere. There is a small lifting switch on the top of the magazine which is there to activate the bolt stop function.
They slot into the mag-well perfectly and there is no slop at all. Again, this is something of a revelation having become used to the clone revolution.
A standard speedloader does the job perfectly and fills them with ease.

The hop unit is also a new iteration for this model. Gone is the fragile and notoriously unstable 3 cog affair and it is now replaced with a rolling barrel type, similar to that of the G3 and SIG (and any other of that type). Reports say that this is a lot more stable. I'll judge that in time. It is still accessed in the same way. Pull back the charging handle, the dust cover flips down and the hop is exposed. It is easy adjusted with good ridged to gain purchase and a handy big arrow saying HOP.

Now, onto the meat and bones of this little beauty. After all, the proof of the rifle is in the shooting!

Overall, the build quality is excellent. Well up to par with what you should expect from Marui.

Clipping in a nicely charged 9.6v mini (I've not done the mod yet, so it was just hanging loose), filling the mag and slotting is squarely she was all ready to rock.
Now I have to mention at this point that we are talking about the new Recoil engine here..... so you can understand my trepidation.

Switching to Semi, I stick the rifle in my shoulder and give the trigger a quick squeeze. "Clack".... nice and crisp. The trigger pull is light and responsive. The recoil and noise are very unfamiliar in an AEG and a suitable refreshment.
Now, I've got a Gas Blow Back M4, and the recoil on that is quite considerable for a replica. Nowhere near a real steel recoil, but still considerable enough to bring a wicked grin to your face.
As a direct comparison, the recoil on the Marui M4 is probably about half way between the Gas M4 and a normal AEG. It's noticeable, but not overwhelming. The fake bolt shield kicks back also, which is a very nice touch.
The action also changes the usual firing report quite considerably. Gone is the usual sewing machine sound of a standard AEG and it is replaced by a more hearty metallic clack.
This is a real nice addition to the functionality of the AEG and adds that extra little dimension for when it is in the hand.
It's not mind boggling like the GBBR but it is more than acceptable.

The Lo-cap magazines also have the 'stop firing on empty' function and this is something that is really sweet.
The last round flips up the switch on the magazine which in turn flips and switch on the bottom of the gearbox rendering the circuit incomplete and stopping the rifle from firing. The bolt stop flicks out when this happens.
To reactivate the rifle to firing, you have to tap the bolt stop in like you would on the real steel version. Again, a lovely bit of functionality that is lacking from all AEG's apart from a Systema. This action is positive and flawless.

The Rate of Fire on a 9.6v is nice. It's not mind bendingly fast like you can achieve with some AEG's. More than likely this is because some of the force is taken up by the recoil action. But again, it is more than adequate. I certainly don't think it needs to be any faster than it is.

Like all Marui's, the power is supposedly in the region of about 280fps to satisfy the Japanese regulations.
I don't have a crono, so can't get any definitive figures on this but the range on 0.25's is about 40m or so. It reaches my usual goal of the end of my garden from my garage before dipping off. I'd say the hop compensates for a lack of power because this is the range I normally expect from something pushing a little higher power.
Again, a suitably pleasing result and I'm probably not going to look to up the power at all for a while. I don't see a need to go changing it from stock just at the moment.

Accuracy wise....

Gun tested at 10m with 0.25g BB's. Negligible wind from an unsupported firing position.

Semi auto, 10 shots. Grouping of 2". Not bad... and the recoil does move your point of aim enough for you to have to think about it.
Full auto, 10 bursts of approx 3-4 rounds each. Grouping of 6". The burst fire certainly makes a difference to the point of aim. This is likely to give a reasonable spread when fired at range.

Overall as a first impression, this is looking to be a real gem of a rifle. It looks to be a really nice halfway house between the ultra realism that a GBBR provides and the simplistic reliability and functionality that an AEG provides.
At this current moment in time, nothing provides this level of engagement, recoil, working bolt (after a fashion), stop on empty and a decent simulated reload. Not even your uber expensive Systema. Yes, there are different models that can provide individual elements of all this, but none that provide it all in one neatly made package.

For me.... there are only two ways to go.
Get GBBR's firing consistently (which is unlikely considering the inconsistencies of gas) or ...... The new TM Recoil Engine.

Will it replace my VSR.... er...... no!

But interestingly, all my primary weapons are Marui and that has come about via trial and error! That's got to say something.

Review by 'Chef'

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