CSGO: M4A4 vs New and Improved M4A1-S


John Paul Santiago

Writer and Storywriter

John creates game guides and covers the latest updates and developments in Valorant, Diablo Immortal, and GTA V for PlayerAssist. He is a PC gaming enthusiast with an affinity for FPS and RPG titles, but he has recently also developed a newfound appreciation for MMORPGs.


September 21, 2021, was a big day for CSGO fans around the world. Valve had just released Operation Riptide along with some game-changing gameplay and map tweaks.

CSGO: M4A4 vs New and Improved M4A1-S

With this new CSGO update, players can now:

  1. Drop grenades like they can with guns(!).
  2. Dust 2’s iconic CT double door peek vision towards T-Spawn has been blocked off (CTs no longer have to jump like bunnies in a garden to cross towards B-site.).
  3. New missions and new competitive modes were introduced.

These are just three of the multitude of changes that Valve has brought to CSGO. These are all welcome changes to make CSGO just a little more interesting.

However, today we take a look at one of the most important changes in CSGO’s recent update: The M4A1-S Damage Buff.

M4A1-S vs M4A4

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CT side in CSGO always had the unique option of changing between two versions of the main automatic rifle. If the T-side had the trusty AK-47, the CTs had a choice between either the M4A1-S or the M4A4.

Since both guns are named differently obviously they have to perform differently to one another as well. Right? Correct.

The M4A1-S started out its life as the least preferred pick between in favor of the M4A4 for a couple of reasons:

First, the magazine size differed from the M4A1-S and the M4A4. The M4A1-S had a measly 20 round clip versus the M4A4’s 30 round magazines. (The M4A1-S did, however, receive a minor buff to 25 rounds/magazine later on.) If players lost track of their bullet count, they often found themselves out of ammo in the heat of battle. That can be a very fatal predicament in a low-time-to-kill game like CSGO.

Second, the M4A1-S had a slower fire rate than the M4A4. CSGO is a low-time-to-kill game which means that every little bit of speed matters in this game. One bullet can often decide the fate of the round for your team. So the M4A4 wins here once again.

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The only real advantage of picking the M4A1-S in CSGO was the silencer, (which substantially reduces the amount of perceivable sound across the map versus the M4A4. Often inaudible in longer ranges), the reduced price versus the M4A4 (2900 versus 3100 credits), and the smaller and more forgiving recoil pattern. 

New And Improved M4A1-S

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The M4A1-S must have been working its butt off in the gym a few months before the release of Operation Riptide because the M4A1-S came out Ripped in the recent update.

The new and improved M4A1-S now comes with more body damage versus its more popular sibling.

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This is huge because Valve not only made the M4A1-S more powerful, Valve also made it a more valuable gun than the M4A4 as a whole.

To put it simply, the M4A1-S, although slapped with a fire rate handicap versus the M4A4, can kill most targets with just four bullets to the body. Yep, that’s right. Four. Gone are the days when players tag enemies for four shots to the body for only 98 damage.

The increased body damage, along with the advantages of the M4A1-S such as its accuracy and suppressed fire, make it a far superior weapon to the M4A4 currently. Oh, and did we mention that you can buy a Flash Grenade AND an M4A1-S for the same price as an M4A4?

Which one should I be using now?

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Veterans of the game and M4A4 loyalists might argue that the M4A4 still has the advantage in terms of fire rate. They might even try to bring up the argument that the M4A4 is better suited to the low-time-to-kill gameplay of CSGO just because of its inherent fire rate advantage.

They are at least correct about that particular advantage, the M4A4 does have a higher fire rate, but that’s about it.

Because of the new damage buff that the Valve gods have bestowed upon the M4A1-S, it has now become on par with the M4A4 in terms of overall time-to-kill.

Think of it this way, the M4A4’s fire rate is faster, but it deals lesser damage versus the M4A1-S. The M4A1-S’ fire rate is slower than the M4A4, but its overall damage is greater than the M4A4. This evens out any fire rate advantage that the M4A4 had, and when compared against the positives that the M4A1-S brings to the table, it just looks like the worse gun right now.

I’m The Captain Now

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The changes to the M4A1-S following the release of Operation Riptide are enough to tilt the popularity scales over to the M4A1-S’ favor. There are just too many pros going for the M4A1-S at this point and not many cons. The suppressed sound and lack of bullet tracers, the tighter and more controllable recoil, and the damage advantage it has over the M4A4 are enough reasons why you should run to your inventory right now and switch your CT rifle over to the M4A1-S.

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