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There’s been plenty of debate about which of the two M4 variants in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is superior. Both sides make strong arguments, but there’s only space for one of these guns in the weapons loadout.

Here, we’ll take a look at each of these rifles to find out what makes them more appealing to the average player.

Is M4A1 or M4A4 better in CS:GO?

It’s hard to give a definitive answer to this. Each rifle is balanced in a way that makes one better than the other in certain circumstances. Some players may say that the M4A4 is superior because of its higher base stats, while others might argue that the tactical advantage provided by the M4A1’s suppressor more than makes up for its weaker performance in an upfront firefight.

To better differentiate the two identical guns, it’s best to understand their strengths and weaknesses in CS:GO.

M4A4 pros and cons

Provided by: Marc Santos

By default, the M4A4 outperforms its older brother in almost every way. It shoots faster, has more ammo, and it can kill the average armored enemy with 4-5 hits to the chest or a single body shot combined with a well-placed headshot. These strengths are countered by the gun’s recoil, which is stronger and more erratic than that of the M4A1-S. The weapon is also pricier at $3100.

In the context of an actual match, the M4A4 is better than the M4A1-S in a head-on spray fight. It spits out bullets quicker and ironically, given the M4A4’s higher recoil, players should be able to land a headshot within the first four rounds of a burst should they find their crosshairs just slightly below head level.

The gun’s first few shots always group relatively close to each other, which should be enough for players to land that critical hit if they start shooting from the upper chest area of a target, assuming they’re firing within the M4A4’s effective range. This ease of use makes it preferable in ranked play to the silenced M4.

M4A1-S pros and cons

Provided by: Marc Santos

Compared to its newer counterpart, the M4A1-S is cheaper, harder-hitting, more accurate, and easier to control. At just $2900, this gun offers much of the same things that the M4A4 does, but with a few notable differences.

First of all, the true strength of the M4A1-S lies in its suppressor. It reduces the gun’s recoil and audible firing range and completely removes bullet tracers, which means players will be able to shoot through smoke and from concealed positions without giving themselves away to the enemy. Tighter burst groupings and the gun’s ability to kill targets with four body shots more consistently also make it a bit more reliable in mid-range compared to the M4A4.

However, this weapon suffers from a slow rate of fire, a small magazine capacity of only 20 rounds, and a low total ammo count. Additionally, it has a harsher damage drop-off penalty than the M4A4, which, in another point of irony,  makes it less effective from longer distances despite being more accurate. The slower firing rate of 600 RPM also works against the M4A1-S in close quarters to a certain degree considering it shoots just as fast as the AK-47 but without the one-tap potential.

In summary, the M4A4 is more well-rounded than the M4A1-S. Players with good trigger discipline and spray control will favor the former over the latter for its dominance within the typical assault rifle engagement space. However, high-game-sense CS:GO veterans who are good at clicking heads may find more value in the M4A1-S over the advantages that its suppressor offers.

In the end, both guns are still very much identical performance-wise, and it’s up to the players to determine which one they vibe more with.