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M4 Universal ICS

This article comes from an older version of the portal and its display (especially images) may deviate from current standards.


ICS replicas are commonly seen as one of the "best of the best" - unfortunately if affects the price. At present you cannot get classic M4A1 for less than 1150 PLN (345USD). Regardless high price, and good sells of 'I Chih Shivan', company decided to get some market in budget line. Autumn 2008, we have seen first of Universal line replicas, in concept very similar to cheap G&G, giving "quite the same for less money". Strategy for ICS budget products goes, that you would get exactly the same so much favourable replica, except for body and carry handle. It is rather different to pre-mise taken by i.e. Sport Line CA.


Thanks to shop, I had a chance to test & review M4A1 Universal Version. What is presented below, it is based on own observation, in action and as well workshop tests, and what is more - some third party users experience.

Let's move on!


First glance and the look

Replica is packed in box with useful handle, so we get a handy suitcase. Inside, small parts of the set are fit into embossed plastic. Apart from a gun itself we get:

- two hi-cap mags (300BB) in Canadian version (ribbed thermold);

- cleaning rod;

- foresight adjustment tool;

- pack of 0.2g BBs;

- barrel stopper;

- brief manual;


As an addition to purchased product, we get a warranty paper and CD with catalogue and movies introducing how to dimantle selected replicas.


Even though, at the first glance, replica looks good, if you compare it to most of China made guns, with full metal body - ICS with its body made of ABS gives sort of a bad feeling. Especially it goes with shiny, slant-wise inscription with commonly disliked name: Cybergun...


So much for drawbacks - rest is above reproach: good guality of body ABS, magazines and stock, a bit lower (but acceptable) in foregrip and dummy breech cover.


Hi-cap mags, are of typical size for ASG. While placed in the socket they look really nice. It seems to be better solution to regular ICS with dimensions as in real gun. Those look nice in the pouch, but used in airsoft replica, they stick out too much and look funny.


One might have asked if it does look better, when colours of parts are more diversified- as it is in G&P, but it is just a matter of taste.


What's inside

Interiors are not much different to well known ICS design, but because -target customer for this replica would rather not be familiar with ICS tech solutions, it is worth to mention it briefly here.

Body is dismantled in similar way to real live gun, makes it possible to reach GB, HU chamber, barrel and so on. This solution results in some more changes in comparison to, so called, Marui standard.  HU chamber has no crosswise fin (as well as some other differences mentioned below), GB is divided in two parts: in first cylinder set, second racks. Stock is not mounted to spring slide. Lower receiver is connected to upper receiver by famous "ears", what might give somehow bad results in ABS body replica. Nevertheless ABS is pretty resilient, to there should be no fear it would easily result in typical M-series malfunction.


Trigger cover, is made as in number of M-series - with a remote bow.


As for a good quality product it really lacks metal thread mounting engine cover - there should be no economizing by two important tiny pieces of metal.

Replica has no dummy fume tube or dummy trigger pin. No trigger pin might be even seen as an advantage. It is pretty puzzling why Tokyo Marui M-series gearbox is mounted by so many pins (like mentined trigger one). ICS has only two, mag catch and pistol grip screws. It works fine, and dismantling is so much easier!

Most important thing: every piece of a replica sticks together, there are no loosy or squeeky sounds, and even though ABS body, barrel stays stable.


Gearbox and techs

Innovative ICS gearbox is one of the most important reasons, why Taiwanese brand has a number of fans. Spring release hidden in dummy breech, solid inner parts lowering costs of tuning and powerful engine - those are some among many worth mentioning:


  • Steel racks are very precise. Engine rack has four anti-reversal latches. If to believe producer assurance and as well users opinion it can handle even M140 spring. Original shimming is commendable, it is obvious that ICS is way above Chinese companies when it takes to quality control.


  • Unfortunately spring slide is plastic, it is the biggest drawback of this gearbox. There is a number of proven break down when it goes with a default spring... so it happened in tested replica. It went down after literally a few mags shot.


  • Cylinder - 'type 2', copper with a nice drop shape notches.


  • Cylinder head, regular, plastic but tight.


  • Piston – looks a bit alike with taken out from a Well company replica. Nevertheless during tests it worked above reproach.


  • Nozzle with tappet - plastic, not standard. Nozzle has cross bore-up.


  • Main spring - very regular action, power comparable to M100.

  • Wires - good diameter, but unfortunately with out-of-the-box malfunction. It was shocking, to see hot wire, with torn up isolation, melting part of the frame! You may see the effects on the pictures below.


  • Engine - famous TURBO-3000 - with strong magnets, gilded connectors, low energy consumption and non-standard rack cut, which supports (as MadOnion states) even M180 spring!


  • Bearings - 6 mm, steel

  • Trigger with slver plated contacts, while tests no problems occured at this part.


GB is very well greased, racks, cylinder, piston slide and so on. Its work sounds very good and quiet.

Except for plastic spring slide, all the parts should work fine with much more powerful spings. Note that, starting with M120 and up, we loose warranty for GB parts.

Spring release, should be used only after taking last shot during a game - otherwise anormal racks position would take effect in shooting a doublet.

There is a number of players using ICS, who build two upper parts of gearbox, having them changed in different game scenarios. I would not overestimate this solution. Why? As far as I am concerned, to prepare two fully functional sets of 'upper GB' is too expensive. Particularly - instead of having a seperate low-power set, we may buy any Chinese CQB spray - it would be much cheaper and easier. Nevertheless I am full praise of ICS GB service possibilities - it is easy to clean, grease, or parts wear and tear control.

HU adjustment is different to CA or G&P solutions. Spin is altered not by three small racks, but one big tuning knob - a bit alike to one in G3 and G36 chamber. To adjust HU by this knob it requires much more power than other standard chamber (tested replica, has given me a real fight with this piece of plastic...). This solution though makes it more durable, and let you avoid it going haywire.


Original HU chamber is very good, but if some people would like to use high-end chamber in TM standard it does not go that smooth. You  to remove 'T'-shape plates from standard chamber, which is in the front of the tube forwarding BBs. Next step would be to make this tube longer by about 2mm. And the last would be grinding of upper rack, so it would fit into body. I personally think, that hassle with adjustments and good price of ICS HU-chamber, makes such a change completely meaningless.

Distancer used in a replica is a bit narrower than standard one. HU rubber adds spin easily, also to heavy BBs. It may be used without any problem also at low winter temperatures. According to producer, outer barrel is 6.08mm in diameter - so there is no urgent need to replace it with precision barrel.



M4 Universal Version, stock parts was measured 335 fps (330fps is a value by producer). Tests prooved very stable oscillation - under 3fps per BB.

If that would be under expectations, you may perform mini-upgrade - change spring slide, piston and main spring, M110 to M140 as you wish.



During short test, there were more than one malfunction, but as an idea, I bacame convinced to M4 Universal. I appreciate that on the market there is pretty solid, well made replica in acceptable price. Carbine in its way, combines values of SL CA and ECO G&G - is much cheaper than a regular line, but is not that far behind it.

Since replica goes with 18-month warranty, and ICS well known long time trouble-free usage, I would recommend buying Universal to people who would rather not personally make modifications and would not bother with outer look of a gun, but are very keen to long time of non-failure play (with small exception of spring slide).


Replica provided for tests by:

translation by Bukhart



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