The Classic Army M15A4 RIS is an excellent AEG for those of us who like the look of the M16 / M4 but don’t want a gun as long as an M16 or as short as the M4 CQB. The M4 style AEG is huge in America, as it is based off the actual weapon used many American soldiers. In my opinion, this AEG is a great combination of tactical adaptation and size.
Appearance / Construction
Please note, the pictures you will see here depict the Classic Army M15A4 RIS with equipment that it does not come stock with (red dot sight, sling, tactical light, foregrip). That being said, it does show off the ability of this gun to be easily adapted to whatever you needs may be.
The major selling point of a Classic Army AEG is the full metal body. Metal parts include: lower receiver, upper receiver, outer barrel, RIS system, carry handle, front sight, delta ring, charging handle, trigger, front sling mount, ejection port cover, trigger, lower trigger guard, magazine release, gearbox, hi-cap magazine, and hop up unit. All this metal makes for a realistically heavy weapon, and for an AEG that can take a bit of a beating. The only external parts that are plastic are the adjustable stock, and the grip.
Laser etched ArmaLite logos can be found on the lower receiver, in addition to the Classic Army name and selector switch markings. Along the RIS rail you will also find laser etched markings to denote what part of the rail each component is.
My only complaint about the construction has to do with the floating RIS system. While there has been no evidence of barrel wobble, the RIS system does twist a bit around the outer barrel. While it is slight, and I haven’t ever had it be a problem while skirmishing, I’d like to see it a bit more snug.
Besides the all metal body, this unit features the newer version of the metal Classic Army hop up chamber. A flip of the ejection port cover allows access to the yellow plastic gears that can be adjust with just a finger (no tools required). A small magnet on the ejection port keeps it in place (up or down).
As a point of realism, Classic Army has put a metal charging handle with a spring on it, to make it appear functional. While it does not actually do anything, you can pull it back and slap it forward to allow for some realism. As a matter of function and an attempt at form, this model has an AN/PEQ2 box used to hold a battery. Now on a real firearm, this unit would be used to provide IR light for night operations… as used here, it is just a battery box. Now to be honest, this is an abomination of an AN/PEQ2 system. I have no idea why Classic Army created such a disproportionate AN/PEQ2 box. It is overly long and way too narrow. The do make another version of an AN/PEQ2 box that looks more like the real deal (though still not the best replica I have seen), why they do not include it with this AEG is beyond me. But I digress… and more on this abomination later.
The carry handle is detachable, and features 2 diopters for aiming just like the real steel. One can adjust the diopter for windage and elevation, and switch diopters for range. While this is all good and well on the real steel, I do not know how necessary it is on an airsoft AEG. I am glad that they included it though, if for nothing more than realism. With the carry handle removed, another scope / sight rail is available for mounting optics to. Being that this rail is part of the upper receiver it is well constructed.
The front sight is all metal and has an adjustable post. This adjustment allows you to set the impact point of your aim. Included with the gun is a plastic tool for adjusting this. I have found that this tool is not worth the plastic used to make it. On my first attempt to use it, the plastic teeth broke. Of course, once adjusted, this sight should not need to be adjusted again unless you change the outer barrel.
The telescoping stock adjusts to 5 different lengths. This is quite handy as I prefer a longer stock while laying prone for extended periods, but enjoy the short stock while moving as it is much more compact. The adjustment can be made easily on the fly by simpling pressing in on the adjustment lever and sliding the stock forward or back along the buffer tube.
Front and real attachment points for a sling are quite handy to have as well, given the weight of this AEG. The front features a metal sling mount that can swing forward and back, whereas the back attaches through loops in the stock. I was a bit leery about attaching a sling to this stock as such, but the fiber reinforced ABS construction appears to be quite strong, and after almost a year of owning it, am quite pleased with it.
The flash hider is removable via a small hex screw located on one edge of it, then just screwing the assembly off. This allows you to either change the flash hider, or even attach a mock silencer / barrel extension.
Initially when I purchased this, I was a bit unimpressed at its performance. Coming from having an UTG MP5 I expected a lot out of this gun, as it is in a whole other class. So my expectations were that the rate of fire (ROF) would be slightly lower, but the velocity would be outstanding, and the range to be an extreme improvement (given the barrel being about 33% longer and .1 mm smaller in diameter). What did I find?
ROF: Decent. It was lower as expected, since I was using an 8.4v battery on a stronger spring it requires more effort to pull. The magazine fed reliably and easily, and the ROF I would say is respectable. I think I would be happier with a 9.6v battery.
Velocity: Again, a marked improvement over my previous gun, and I was guessing it to be around 300-315fps. Close enough to what Classic Army states. From what I’ve heard of late, though, is that the Classic Army springs are inconsistent from one batch to the next. I’ve heard of people buying Classic Army AEG’s that are shooing 340 out of the box. So I was a bit let down, but one must consider that the quality of the chronograph plays a point here too (as well as the operator) , and we all know if you see it on the Internet, it must be true.
Range: This is my complaint. Firing this in my backyard, granted at a slight incline, gives me a maximum usable range of 100-107 feet. The hop up was finicky to adjust. It seemed to have three settings: nothing, almost right but just not enough, and screwball. Either it was too much hop or not enough. I took the gun by Airsoft Atlanta, and they said the gun was shooting about like what they’d expect, but the hop up might need some silicone oil.
The M15A4 RIS is stated to fire a .20g bb at 320 feet per second. Unfortunately I did not have a chronograph when I first bought this, so I could not chrono it when it was stock. Since the initial purchase, I have added a Madbull tightbore inner barrel and changed the hop up bucking with a Guarder hop up bucking. With the new hop up bucking and nub installed, there was no hop or way too much… no in between. So I changed it to the Guarder hop up bucking with the stock nub and things improved for a while. the range did not change drastically, so maybe I’m just expecting too much. I will say that the Guarder hop up bucking seems to have worn out as now I have to turn the hop up all the way up to get any effect whatsoever. There is the possibility that I tore the hop up and now it’s leaking air. I’m waiting on my Madbull Hop up to arrive, and then I’ll change it to see. I did get around to choreographing it at Bernie’s Sports, and it tested at 300 feet per second.
Consistency is awesome on this gun. Once zeroed, it shoots where you tell it to with negligible variance within it’s acceptable range of fire.
My biggest peeve with this gun, is the battery compartment. The abomination of an AN/PEQ2 box is HUGE for an 8.4v mini battery, and I do not think it will house a 8.4v full size (although I will try this weekend). Moving around with the mini battery in it, results in clanking of the battery and is just not acceptable to me. I later fashioned a foam surround for the battery. Now I see that as not ideal, as the battery will increase in temperature while it is in use, and the heat here in the summer will contribute to that as well. The insulation of the foam might not be great for the battery, but should not be a catastrophic problem.
The Classic Army M15A4 RIS is an excellent gun for those who love the M16/M4 series rifles. I love the adjustable stock and shorter barrel length that make this gun decent for CQB, yet it is still a great woodland AEG given it’s barrel length. Skirmishing with it in the rain has shown it to be durable, and the finish is good quality. I know that this has the second generation hop up unit, and I was still not impressed. Hopefully others do not have the same disappointment that I do with the hop up. Overall I would highly recommend this to an airsoft player looking for a rugged AEG that can be used in multiple environments easily.
tags: review classic army m15 ris aeg classic army m15a4 ris