I can’t put my finger on it. Maybe it’s the wide range of customization options. Maybe it’s the layout and ergonomics that just fit. It could just be the way I was raised. Whatever it is, from the day I bought a used Marui 733, I have coveted nearly every M4 I have laid my eyes on. To date I have had no less than ten M4 come and go through my armory. As such, it might come as a a surprise that I no longer own a single one. Actually there is one, and after only a few hours of ownership, it has already become my favorite. Let me tell you why.
Thinking Inside and Outside The Box
The Recce M4 comes in your now standard Tokyo Marui packaging. The light to dark gradient colored box measures 93cm X 32cm x 11cm, and has the RECCE pictured full scale on the top panel. On the top right is the Recoil Shock Next Generation AEG logo. On the bottom right is a short description of the Shoot and Recoil Engine. On the top left we see the Marui logo, and on the bottom left is a declaration of the license agreement in place for usage of the 10″ Daniel Defense Light rail. Interestingly the top panel doesn’t have the patent or the age requirements that are found on the G36C Custom.
Inside the box is as one would expect from Marui. A foam insert in the bottom of the box is cut out to allow the RECCE to sit nicely in the box, with matching Styrofoam on the inside of the lid to keep it safe during transport. As with some of the other Next Generation guns, there is a Velcro strap that keeps the RECCE in place.
Manuals and documentation are on the left, a BLACK magazine is in the middle, and there is a battery charger adapter to the right. Under the battery adapter is a small bag of BBs. The loading tube, cleaning rod, and barrel cap are hidden under the foam insert.
I was surprised to find a black magazine included with the RECCE, but I was told that Marui included it because they didn’t have enough tan stock to include with the RECCE. All their stock is apparently on the shelf, or was used up with the SCAR-L CQC that was released recently. What makes this decision even stranger though is that Marui included tan colored stickers to place on the end of your SOPMOD batteries so that the black batteries don’t look out of place in the Tan stock. They know people are so color conscious that they include stickers or batteries, but not a tan magazine?
There are two manuals, one for the RECCE, and one that covers operation of a regular M4 SOPMOD. I gave these both only a very quick look, but I was immediately drawn to an announcement in the RECCE manual that said they will not be selling the hand guard individually at this time, and that there could be up to a 3 month delay in getting parts. To my surprise the handguard, although not for sale, is listed as costing 21,000 yen to replace. That’s currently 270 USD!
I knew that I wanted the tan RECCE as soon as it was announced. I owned a KJWorks GBB M4A1 and installed a DD rail on it. I loved that gun. I had tried to put the rail on a Marui SOPMOD and then a SOCOM, but both times the fit seemed off as I didn’t have any barrel spacers. I ended up selling the rail when I sold the GBB, but I really missed it immediately after I sold it. When the RECCE was announced, I knew it could take away the heart ache.
The rail is a 10″ Daniel Defense Light version, and the coloring is a very respectable tan. It isn’t a perfect match to the body, but I have yet to find perfect color matching across brands with anything other than black. The rail itself has a few color blemishes, some scratching, and the welds (if that’s what they are) look a bit ugly, but to be honest I am not too fussed.
The rail is labelled on all four sides from 19 to 39, and “For Marui Airsoft Gun Only” can be found on the bottom of the rail. The gas tube and gas block are included as well. The rail is solid and inspires confidence. There is zero wobble.
A Short Moment of Sadness
One of the big “selling points” of the RECCE has been the quick length change outer barrel. The barrel can be unscrewed just past the gas block to convert it from 16 to 12 inches. I was excited by this feature because I have a Gemtech quick attach compressor that I was going to add to the 12″ set up. Sadly, the gas block gets in the way and I can’t compress the spring inside the Gemtech to actually attach the compressor.
In my opinion the 12″ looks weird, and it really needs a compressor. Otherwise, leave it at 16″. The inner barrel on the RECCE only reaches to 12″, so out of the box the extra outer barrel length is for looks only.
This is Marui’s first all die cast tan aluminum body. It feels solid, but there are a couple of seam lines visible near the charging handle and some scratching near the front rail bolts. I imagine there was some contact during installation of the rail that caused the scratching, and the seam lines are perhaps more visible because the body is a lighter color.
As for markings, they are the same as we find on the other M4 electric blow backs. On the left we have colt markings that are clean and deep. Under the horse logo is written “PROPERTY OF U.S. GOVT. M41A CARBINE CAL 5.56MM W346074.” Near the fire select switch is written “COLT’S MFG. Co. INC. HARTFORD, CONN. U.S.A.” The fire select has the standard SAFE, SEMI, and FULL markings.
On the right side of the body we find “MADE IN JAPAN TOKYO MARUI CO. LTD” and the ASGK logo.
The only other markings on the RECCE are on the stock, where you will find a serial number and MADE IN JAPAN.
The layout of the receiver is exactly the same as any other Marui next Generation M4. The hop, charging handle, trigger, trigger guard, grip, and mag release are all as one would expect. The only thing I noticed that was any different than the other Next Gen M4 I have owned is that the fire select leaver feels much tighter than I remember. It takes some effort to move from position to position, and it certainly doesn’t feel flimsy. The bolt stop functions like all the Next Gen M4, and will pop when you run out of rounds, and needs to be paddle down before you can fire again. This function is only available with the 82/30 round mags.
After using Magpul grips and trigger guards, the straight trigger guard feels like it is in the way and bites into my finger. I will have to replace both of these as soon as possible.
Pimpin Ain’t Easy
The stock on the RECCE is the same as the SOPMOD stock, and fits a custom battery via a compartment hidden under the butt pad. The pad is removed via two easily accessible tabs, and you would be hard pressed to find an easier or faster battery replacement system on any gun. Up until now there have been only a few options for batteries, and even fewer options for lipo batteries in this stock. Part of my decision to get the RECCE was the discovery of a handy battery converter that allows the usage of 7.2 lipo in the stock battery compartment. Using a custom deans connector built into a battery cap, a small lipo can be attached and slid into the battery compartment. The system seems to work flawlessly out of the box, and only time will tell if the blow back mechanism causes any issues with long term usage.
Some may feel that the 7.2V 800mAh batteries are too small, but for my style of play this is a perfect set-up. With two battery compartments, you can easily have two batteries in place, and do a quick battery swap if needed. I usually fire less than 25 mags a day, so I don’t think I will need more than two batteries. The adapter system seems slick, and I am eager to field it. Cost wise, it is also much more affordable than the proprietary and custom batteries being offered by Marui, Echigoya, and Eagle 6, especially if you already use these batteries with your other guns.
The RECCE comes naked. There are no iron sights, front vertical grip, or any of that stuff. I immediately added some MBUS, an RVG, some XTM rail panels, and a 4X ACOG. I also added a tan surefire on the right hand side. As soon as I get my trigger guard and grip sorted I will be set. It also needs a sling attachment point.
F.F.A.P (Finally Fire, Accuracy, Power)
The RECCE fires like any of the Next Gen M4 guns. The blow back creates solid contact in the shoulder and adds a small touch of realism to firing. After using Next Gen and GBB rifles for the past year and a half, I don’t see myself ever going back to a regular AEG.
Using an Xcortech X3200 chrono I had the following results over 30 shots. The first 15 were with the 16″ outer barrel, and the final 15 were with the 12″ barrel. Why? Because I can.
– 16″ / 12″ –
1. 86.5 / 92.34
2. 94.36 / 91.49
3. 94.56 / 92.34
4. 93.06 / 93.4
5. 92.28 / 92.01
6. 92.34 / 92.75
7. 94.91 / 91.05
8. 92.94 / 91.64
9. 95.15 / 91.13
10. 91.75 / 91.9
11. 93.36 / 92.57
12. 91.97 / 92.45
13. 93.13 / 92.27
14. 92.98 / 92.42
15. 92.23 / 92.27
Average with 16″ barrel: 92.76
Average with 12″ barrel: 91.13
Tests were done with .20 G&G bio BBs with zero hop. These were the first 30 rounds through the gun.
This is a respectable reading, and is just a slight bit more than my G36C Custom, but less than the SCAR-L CQC. This leaves a little room for a tight bore barrel, but a spring upgrade will probably take it over Japanese law (1J).
For my accuracy test I set up a Marui Pro Target at 12 meters. I fired 20 rounds with .28 G&G Bio BBs. The hop dial was turned about 180 degrees, but wasn’t dialed in. The groupings and accuracy were impressive, giving a 2.6cm x 3.7cm grouping after 12 shots. The final 8 rounds were undetectable as they tore through the black area of the target and I wasn’t able to track them. They all fell within the same area though.
I am probably going to add a slack bore inner barrel. The shop owner that delivered the RECCE to me sells a 6.23mm bore barrel, and I am eager to see how this improves accuracy and distance. Coupled with a firefly hop, I am expected great things!
I am an M4 slave. After owning 2 SOPMODS and a SOCOM I knew right away that I had to have the RECCE. Initial impressions indicate I wasn’t wrong, or that I have a real problem. I think the New Gen platform is fantastic, and the RECCE looks and feels solid. I’m not stressed by the little imperfections in the receiver and rail. To the contrary, I know that it will get banged up eventually, and the little dings and scratches just add to the look. I am extremely relieved to be free of the SOPMOD battery, as it means that all of my guns are on lipo or gas power. Cost wise, buying the rail separately might be an option, but you wouldn’t have the tan body. By time you also bought the gas block and gas tube, pulled a SOPMOD/SOCOM apart, and installed the rail yourself, you might be at the same cost as buying the RECCE. My only complaint is the black magazine. It’s no where near a deal breaker, but it does seem like a weird decision. If you are in the market for a Next Generation M4 then I would highly recommend the RECCE. You might need to buy a couple extras to get you going, but the pain of the initial cost will be quickly replaced by the recoil induced sh!t eating grin. Like BA would say, “get one fool!”
A huge thank you to Teru from ORGA for bringing me the RECCE at 11:30 PM on a national holiday!