LCT L4 CQB
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- Last updated: 28/02/2017
It seems to me that these days quite literally every airsoft manufacturer is utterly fixated on ‘M4/AR’ style replicas, from entry level way up into “money is no issue” territory; when I personally look at an airsoft replica though, there are several criteria that I have; build quality and finish must be exceptional, performance should be UK site legal straight from the box, internal parts must be proven or of at least high-quality, and the darn thing shouldn’t require me to take out a mortgage to buy it!
The prevalence of the ‘M4’ in airsoft stems from both TV shows and movies, and of course from the images we see on the news and in the papers every day; it’s equated with being the firearm of the ‘good guys’, just as the AK is the choice of the ‘bad’. There’s an entire industry for aftermarket parts, both real and airsoft, so when it comes to accessories, the sky is, quite literally, the limit. This is as true in the real world as in the airsoft one and the most simple internet search will lead to images of M4 style carbines that are stunning pieces of shooting art.
Of course, first and foremost, the M4A1 carbine is the primary weapon used by the US military. A shorter, more compact version of the M16A2 rifle, it was specially designed initially for US Special Operations Forces. In 1988, Colt began work on a new carbine design called the XM4, combining the best features of the Vietnam era Colt Commando and M16A2 rifles, and after extensive testing in 1994 the US military officially accepted the XM4 into service as the M4 carbine, to replace M16A2s in certain roles. The M4 carbine also replaced most submachine guns and selected handguns in U.S. military service; also in 1994, U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) and the Navy developed the Special Operations Peculiar Modification (SOPMOD) M4A1 Accessory Kit to make the M4 exceptional in versatility, lethality, and effectiveness.
The M4A1 is a high-tech, multiple-use assault rifle that can be configured by the user with multiple combinations of advanced optics, lasers and lighting systems for rapid and accurate target acquisition in daylight or at night. It fires in both semi and automatic modes, and is effective for both close-in engagements and long-range targets. The M4A1 excels in Close Quarters Battle (CQB) and Counterterrorist (CT) operations, as has been proven time and again in all theatres of operation. It fires a high velocity 5.56mm round, essential when taking on terrorists wearing body armour or bulletproof vests. This rifle can also be quickly and easily converted to use an under the barrelmounted grenade launcher or shotgun.
When it comes to high-quality airsoft replicas, there is one company that I know I can rely on for top-end components and materials, superb build quality, and excellent performance; that company is LCT. I’ve been using one of their tremendous AKMS replicas for a while now and it has proven itself to be a great performer, whilst at the same time being of absolutely bombproof construction.
With their superb range of AK variants now being used extensively across the UK, LCT really are making inroads with the player base, and for good reason. Little known to many UK airsofters until quite recently, LCT actually has vast technical engineering experience, as well as three-years as an OEM and ODM. ‘Li Cheng Technique Business Company’ was established in 2004 with the brand ‘LCT Airsoft’ and they’ve been quietly making some superb airsoft replicas since then, and their extensive range of ‘Soviet’ rifles, carbines and SMGs has to be seen to be believed! LCT AEGs are made from a mix of steel, wood and aluminium; they are extremely well finished with a hard wearing coating that is more resistant to wear and tear than normal airsoft replicas, with excellent and realistic colour matching.
Although they do make some rather tasty ‘Russian’ electric replicas, if you’re looking for an airsoft M4 then you really need go no further than LCT, as in their range they have a superb selection of eleven models to choose from!
And although they are well-priced (Fire Support are offering the version on test here for under £200 right now!) they are of absolutely top-quality. The LCT L4 CQB comes with a solid and durable metal body (which is bereft of any trademarks at all) and barrel and benefits from a black plastic pistol grip, a full metal free-float RIS, a battery compartment buffer tube with CRANE style stock, fully adjustable and removable rear sight, and a classic flash hider. Everything is put together very well indeed and there are absolutely no creaks, groans or wobbles apparent anywhere.
Internally, things are equally as good; there’s a tried and tested V2 gearbox, an aluminium cylinder, aluminium cylinder head, a plastic nozzle with O-ring, polycarbonate piston with steel teeth, and an aluminium piston head. This sounds all very well, and in actual fact it is, as these components will give you superior performance from the get go.
Performance-wise, the L4 is right on the money too. The AEG comes with a 300 BB High Capacity magazine, which is also of full metal construction; I did try it with other M4/AR magazines of different capacities and all fed very well with no jams or misfeeds. A 7.4v LiPo is recommended, and this type of battery fits easily into the buffer tube, although you can squeeze in a NUPROL 11.1V LiPo if you really try!
There are sling points fore and aft (the rear sling point will require you to buy a QD stud) should you wish to fit a conventional sling, and the control layout of the LCT L4 is much the same as every other M4/AR variant on the market. The dust cover hides a traditional hop-up adjuster and metal hop unit, and the safety lever has three positions as standard. With the magazine fully loaded and wound, and a charged NUPROL LiPo fitted it was time to run the L4 through the chrono, and the result was a very highly consistent and site-friendly 1.01-Joule/331fps using .20g BBs; rate of fire was also pleasantly encouraging, pounding along nicely on a 7.4, but darn quick on an 11.1!
With a relatively short 270mm barrel, just slightly longer than that of the realworld Mk 18 Close Quarters Battle Receiver built by Colt and Lewis Machine & Tool (LMT) which has a 260mm barrel upper receiver, I thought the L4 might have struggle in relation to both range and long-distance accuracy, but once the hop and the iron sights were dialled in that proved to be far from the case. I saw an absolutely flat BB trajectory out to the extreme of the 30-metre range, and I believe that this trajectory would remain the same for a good deal further out. At 30-metres prone, I was able to easily hit a dinner plate-sized target with each and every BB sent; none too shabby straight out of the box.
These days, the majority of M4 style replicas offer something a little different, whether it be a recoil system, working bolt releases, or a clever last round cut-off feature; the L4 is no exception, as it benefits from Electric Blowback (EBB). All this essentially means is the fake bolt, in reality just a cover, moves back and forth with each and every shot; it’s a nice feature, but one that can lead to overstressing the internals, so personally I’d be inclined to disable the function, as it gives no discernible kinetic feedback and is purely cosmetic.
That aside, the LCT L4 CQB really is a pretty fine replica; it’s built like a truck, performs admirably, and the price is extremely attractive if you need a back-up AEG for those days when your favourite one decides it really doesn’t want to play. In fact, I could easily see the L4 quickly rising to be a primary, rather than a back up, as it really is that good!