If we look at how much damage each weapon does per bullet before any modifiers are applied then the M4A1-S deals 38 dmg compared to 36 dmg for the AK-47.
So what modifiers affect the damage?
The armor reduces the damage taken by each shot. When adding armor penetration to the weapons, you can find out how much of the damage is blocked.
AK-47 = 77.5%
M4A1-S = 70%
These numbers tell that the AK-47 is more effective against armor and the damage only gets reduced by 23.5% compared to 30% for the M4A1-S.
The headshot multiplier is how much extra damage a weapon gives when landing a headshot.
The AK-47 has a headshot multiplier of 4 which means that the damage is increased by 400% when hitting the head. The M4A1-S has a headshot multiplier of 3.4 or 340%. This difference does that the M4A1-S needs two headshots against armor even at a 2.5m distance where the damage is 92.
Damage by distance
The amount of damage that drops as the distance increases is on the low end for both weapons. It is 2% per 12.7m for the AK-47 compared to 1% for the M4A1-S. This is not much and across the distance of 74m, the AK-47 damage drops 11% compared to 5.6% for the M4A1-S.
Counting in the armor penetration then both weapons need 4 chest shots to kill an enemy. But when you go above 76m the AK-47 goes up to 5 chest shots while the M4A1-S stays at 4 shots.
Looking into the details you find that the M4A1-S starts to deal more damage against armor at a 63m distance. Without armor, the M4A1-S deals more body damage even at a 2.5m distance.
Ammo and bullet power
Both weapons have plenty of ammo to do significant damage without worrying too much about using too many shots. The AK-47 has 50 more bullets in total.
Each bullet has its own potential. The AK-47 can one tap kill while the M4A1-S has the silence feature. Considering that the M4A1-S has fewer bullets, it could look like each bullet is valued higher, but this depends on personal preferences and other circumstances.
Talking about the power of each bullet, when hitting a body shot both weapons have the same amount of tagging power that slows down the enemy.
The amount of recoil determines how much the weapon kicks back when shooting. The higher recoil for the AK-47 makes the weapon more difficult to control when spraying than the M4A1-S.
AK-47 = 30
M4A1-S = 21
Comparing the pictures below, it is clear that the AK-47 spray pattern is more vertical. Both sprays were performed at a standing position at the same distance to the wall. If you want to improve your spray you should consider practicing on this spray training map.
The inaccuracy is a value that causes every shot to deviate from the point of aim by a random amount and direction. The inaccuracy varies depending on the circumstance, such as movement, shooting, and standing or crouching position.
If we look at how much inaccuracy each weapon has when firing a shot you find that the AK-47 is 11.4% less accurate.
AK-47 = 7.8
M4A1-S = 7.0
To give some perspective, the distance at which a 30 cm dinner plate is guaranteed to be hit when standing, is 21.7m for the AK-47 and 28.2m for the M4A1-S. This means that the M4A1-S has the same accuracy on a 6.5m longer distance. When crouching these numbers goes up to 28.1m for the AK-47 and 33.1m for the M4A1-S.
Inaccuracy when tapping and spraying
When tapping at a speed of four bullets per second or one bullet each 250ms, both weapons become 29% less accurate after 5 bullets. After 5 bullets the AK-47 and M4A1-S won’t become more inaccurate if you keep shooting at the same speed.
This looks very different when spraying. When spraying the first shot is always the most accurate. The more shots you spray, the more inaccurate the weapons will become. Assuming you are spraying 10 bullets while crouching, the AK-47 will be 180% more inaccurate compared to 151% for the M4A1-S.
If we look at the same numbers but while standing, the Ak-47 increased 187% in inaccuracy compared to 180% for the M4A1-S. This shows, that the M4A1-S has around the same 10 shot accuracy when crouching as the AK-47 has when standing.
The M4A1-S inaccuracy jumps from 151% to 198% when going from a crouch to a standing position. This suggests that you should prefer crouch shooting when playing with M4A1-S. On the other hand, the AK-47 stays around the same inaccuracy which suggests that it doesn’t matter that much whether you are standing or crouching when spraying. Considering the AK-47’s faster movement speed will add to the suggestion that you should prefer standing when spraying.
Overall, it doesn’t look good if you don’t kill the enemy before 10 bullets as it becomes significantly harder to hit the enemy due to managing spray control and a high increase in inaccuracy.
Reload and deploy times
You might have seen some players quickly switch back and forth between the weapon when reloading and there are a few reasons why they do this. The main reason is to eliminate the sound of the last part of the reload. Another hypothetical reason is that if you switch immediately after the magazine is put in, you can lower the time it takes before the weapon is ready to shoot.
Let’s take the AK-47 as an example if you switch at exactly 1.17 sec and add the deploy time which is 1.0 sec. Then you can be ready to shoot after 2.17 sec which is 260ms faster. It will of course take some time to push the switch buttons and it’s hard timing the exact moments. So in the end it doesn’t matter that much, but nice to know anyway.
AK-47 = 1.17 sec
M4A1-S = 1.37 sec
AK-47 = 2.43 sec
M4A1-S = 3.07 sec
AK-47 = 1.00 sec
M4A1-S = 1.13 sec
Both weapons have high damage and accuracy which make them a preferable main weapon for both the Terrorist and Counter-Terrorist. With the AK you are always only one bullet away from a kill. With the M4A1-S you leave no tracers allowing for a more stealthy playstyle.
The AK has better mobility due to the higher movement speed and faster reload and deploy time, while the M4A1-S has higher accuracy and is easier to control when spraying.