The USA’s M4 Carbine Controversy

Travelgall

LE
Kit Reviewer
#2
Very interesting. I had a go with The HK416 and its a lovely rifle. I'm suprised the article doesn't mention other faults with the M4 such as the fact that it's a Carbine and bugger all use at Longer Ranges, that its a direct gas impingement system, vulnerable to cook offs and and when it fails - it fails badly. I've mentioned the fault of the Bolt Carrier assembly getting stuck in the Buffer which can't be rectified in the field. But I suspect the unwillingness to undergo a whole new competition has been driven by the fact that the US is still fighting and it wishes to put off any further competitions until 2014. I also suspect the UCP fiasco has dented the Army's faith in whether these competitions play with a straight deck. Furthermore the US has a major "Not Invented here" problem, and a German company would have issues unless it was a country mile better than the US competetor - see the US tanker bid between Boeing and EADS. I'm just not sure 3x more reliable would cut it. I suspect it would have to be much better than that to replace the M4.

Of course the good old all American Precision Ordnance Factory’s P416 is another option. Or they could go back to longer Barrels like the C8 SFW which would mean the Gas Impingement would work much better.
 
#3
Nope, can't get that link to work on DII!

The problems with the M4 have been discussed before, too much heat generated in too small a body of steel.

I suspect that someone "dined" well during the tender competition.
 
#4
Very interesting. I had a go with The HK416 and its a lovely rifle. I'm suprised the article doesn't mention other faults with the M4 such as the fact that it's a Carbine and bugger all use at Longer Ranges, that its a direct gas impingement system, vulnerable to cook offs and and when it fails - it fails badly. I've mentioned the fault of the Bolt Carrier assembly getting stuck in the Buffer which can't be rectified in the field. But I suspect the unwillingness to undergo a whole new competition has been driven by the fact that the US is still fighting and it wishes to put off any further competitions until 2014. I also suspect the UCP fiasco has dented the Army's faith in whether these competitions play with a straight deck. Furthermore the US has a major "Not Invented here" problem, and a German company would have issues unless it was a country mile better than the US competetor - see the US tanker bid between Boeing and EADS. I'm just not sure 3x more reliable would cut it. I suspect it would have to be much better than that to replace the M4. Of course the good old all American Precision Ordnance Factory’s P416 is another option. Or they could go back to longer Barrels like the C8 SFW which would mean the Gas Impingement would work much better.
The M4/15/16/whatever is not bad for a 60 year old design... it should stick around, something else that had even more reason to stick around was the M1911... but we replaced them with those 'Not Invented here' items we tested and broke... so, no problem selling out... HK just didn't grease the right palms apparently... otherwise we'd be happily paying 5x the dollars for the same freaking 60 year old design, with a 70 year old gas piston design that has already been grafted onto the M-16 half a dozen times in reasonable production numbers for at least the last 30 years.
 
#5
the 416 is not without it's issues, a couple of UK Police forces have bought it and then promptly shelved it, not sure why.
 

Travelgall

LE
Kit Reviewer
#6
The M4/15/16/whatever is not bad for a 60 year old design...
The M-16 and the Colt Canada variants are lovely designs for 60 years old. It's the M4 I have a problem with. Leave the barrel nice and long and its still a great weapon.
 
#7
If I need a sniper rifle, I'd be happy with my old PSG-1, a Barret, or perhaps even one of those custom flat shot calibers. These things need precision, and are worth the investment in the same. For the majority of Soldier's work, we do not need high precision, and cannot justify paying for that which we don't need. In money or failure due to tighter tolerances. Anything more than 4-500 meters is a better target for something other than a rifle/carbine anyway. And migrating to the close end of the spectrum? If they would just lengthen the barrel a smidge on the old smudge (M3 grease gun), it would be more than adequate and put it on equal footing with the venerable old UZI. The MP5 was over engineered (and could be a pain to keep running), and their newer line is even more ridiculously overblown. I need a semi-accurate bullet hose, not a "wish I were Swiss" watch.
 

Travelgall

LE
Kit Reviewer
#8
the 416 is not without it's issues, a couple of UK Police forces have bought it and then promptly shelved it, not sure why.
I know there have been complaints about the G36. Didn't hear anything about the HK 416
 
#9
I've shot with the G36 in a competition against a Bundeswehr unit, we exchanged weapons at half time. I didn't get enough rounds through it to make judgements on its ability to handle heat.

We beat them hands down. (To be fair, they'd only had them for a couple of weeks, the unit was still converting from the G3)

I felt the rifle had been let down by the cheap gimmickry they built in, a tiny ten bob collimator sight, a piss poor optical sight, shit furniture.

The SA80 was the better rifle.
 
#10
The M4 is pretty much just a renamed CAR-15 with pretty accessory rails. You can have AR or even AK pistols as well... effective range is compromised... but whatever. I'm not hunting with an M4 or M16 even... I would be defending. If I wanted enfilade fire, I'd use a MG. If I wanted an entry weapon, it's not going to be a PSG-1, or M16, or fat assed M416, it's going to be my UZI or my OA-93, but I'd rather have a M3 with a 6-8" barrel that costs $50.
 
#11
The M4 is pretty much just a renamed CAR-15 with pretty accessory rails. You can have AR or even AK pistols as well... effective range is compromised... but whatever. I'm not hunting with an M4 or M16 even... I would be defending. If I wanted enfilade fire, I'd use a MG. If I wanted an entry weapon, it's not going to be a PSG-1, or M16, or fat assed M416, it's going to be my UZI or my OA-93, but I'd rather have a M3 with a 6-8" barrel that costs $50.
So what you're saying is, you want one of these:

 
#13
When did US forces bring the M4 in mainstream?

I had always thought that M16s were issued at a regular pace and M4s - as they are carbines - were for engineers, medics or other support personnel who may or may not be out with the infantry. Why make the change if the same company produces the weapons? Or are M4s cheaper?

I haven't had a moment to read the article but will in a moment.
 
#15
When did US forces bring the M4 in mainstream?

I had always thought that M16s were issued at a regular pace and M4s - as they are carbines - were for engineers, medics or other support personnel who may or may not be out with the infantry. Why make the change if the same company produces the weapons? Or are M4s cheaper?

I haven't had a moment to read the article but will in a moment.
M16 is a long old beast, M4 better for mech infantry. Tele stock also allows a better fit with body armour, USMC use them with full length M16's.
Almost nothing in the price, last time i looked US DoD was paying around $550 a copy for an M4/M16.

This old saw about the M4 being an unreliable jam o matic has been doing the rounds of the gun boards in the US for over a decade. Any gun will jam if you don't clean it, and the M4 is exceptionally easy to clean.
 
#16
I would also think that this train is being fueled by incidents like Wanat as well, which highlighted perhaps the general degredation and wear and tear of some of the weapons (not excusively m4s though) being fielded by teeth arms.
 
#17
I would also think that this train is being fueled by incidents like Wanat as well, which highlighted perhaps the general degredation and wear and tear of some of the weapons (not excusively m4s though) being fielded by teeth arms.

Ah yes, Wanat, were the fact that a rifle gets red hot if you fire off a dozen 30 round magazines on full auto seems to be regarded as some sort of catastrophic fault.
 

ugly

LE
Moderator
#18
Heaven forbid our cousins could learn fire discipline and deliberate fire? How many blood trails were found at Wanat?
 
#19
The M4 started service in the mid 90's after the first Gulf War and Somalia when it was realized that the M16 with it's 20 " barrel was deemed too long for CQC. And the M4A1 about 6 to 8 years later. The A1 used a heavier barrel to help with cooling, and also did away with the 3 rnd. burst function. The overall plan is to retire all M16's from service and to be replaced with M4's.

The discussion weather or not to keep the current design, Direct impingement, or change to a Gas piston has it's challenges. It's true that Gas piston prevents the bolt carrier from heating, but cannot be repaired in the field should there be a malfunction. Direct impingement failures for the most part can be corrected in the field, but generates more thermal transfer of heat to the carrier. Another obstacle is that different manufactures would most likely produce parts that would not be interchangeable with other designs.
 
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