CS2 M4A4 Vs M4A1-S Comparison

Rifles are the king of weapons in the Counter-Strike franchise. The Terrorists and their AK-47s, and the Counter-Terrorists wielding their M4s. Over twenty years of high class gameplay and the core meta has always revolved around both sets of rifles. For the CTs, the debate on which assault rifle has been long held between the M4A1-S and the M4A4. Both have their pros and cons for varying scenarios, however throughout CS:GO only one of each can be equipped in the loadout at a time.

That all changed in CS2 with the addition of custom loadouts, making it entirely possible to have both M4s equipped, or unequipped, at the same time. Still, the debate rages on even in CS2: which M4 is better?

Comparing Differences

The first point of contention lies in the way these weapons handle. The M4A4 boasts a higher rate of fire compared to the M4A1-S. This translates to faster bullet discharge, allowing for quicker takedowns in close-quarters combat. However, this advantage comes at a cost. The M4A4’s spray pattern is notoriously more challenging to control. Mastering the initial burst and subsequent “pull down” motion to counter recoil requires practice. For some, however, this is seen as an advantage since the recoil pattern is similar to that of the AK-47, making the transition between CT and T side rifles not that big of an adjustment.


The M4A1-S, on the other hand, offers a tighter and more forgiving spray pattern. New players or those who prefer a focus on precise aiming will find this weapon easier to handle, especially at longer ranges. The silenced M4 is also more accurate while shooting on the run. Even if movement while spraying down a rifle is typically not a recommended tactic, certain situations call for more drastic measures. The slower rate of fire is compensated for by slightly higher damage per bullet. This means the M4A1-S can potentially two-shot an opponent at long distances, while the M4A4 requires three (excluding headshots).

Another crucial difference lies in magazine capacity. The M4A4 packs a hefty 30 bullets, giving players more room for error during extended firefights. This is particularly beneficial for aggressive players who like to push angles and hold down sites. Conversely, the M4A1-S carries only 20 bullets per magazine. This limited capacity forces players to be more conservative with their shots and rely on good positioning and burst fire to secure kills.

CS2, like all Counter-Strike titles, emphasizes round economy. The M4A1-S enjoys a slight pricing advantage, costing $2900 compared to the M4A4’s $3100. This $200 difference can be significant, especially during crucial “force buy” rounds where players have limited funds. Picking up an M4A1-S might allow for a smoke grenade or a flashbang, potentially enhancing your team’s strategy. To the M4A4’s credit, however, the additional $200 and ten bullets in the magazine may be the difference between picking up the round-defining kill and running out of rounds in the magazine too early.

Beyond pure firepower, the M4A1-S offers a unique tactical advantage with its silencer. Suppressed shots lack tracers, making it difficult for enemies to pinpoint the source of fire. This allows for sneaky flanks and surprise attacks, disrupting enemy formations and tilting the balance of a round.  However, the silencer slightly reduces damage and range, making it less effective in head-on engagements.

The M4A4, lacking the silencer’s tactical edge, excels in more straightforward combat scenarios. Its higher magazine capacity and faster rate of fire make it ideal for anchoring bombsites, holding down choke points, and eliminating multiple enemies quickly.

What Do The Pros Think?

During the first major international LAN event of CS2, IEM Sydney 2023, was able to gather data regarding players’ rifle preferences. The M4A1-S was the second most popular choice right behind the AK-47 with a 19.2 usage percentage, while its unsilenced counterpart only featured in 4.4% of the total kills throughout the event.

Final Verdict

At the end of the day, M4 preference is all down to what you as an individual player wants and is looking for. CS2 offers the option to carry both in the loadout at the same time, and there’s no reason why you shouldn’t. If you’re feeling like taking a round more aggressively, then sacrifice one flashbang for the M4A4’s power and extensive magazine. If you want to play more passively or save a small chunk of change, then the M4A1-S will serve you just fine. At the end of the day, everything is all down to preference and there are no right or wrong answers.

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