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Current status on military M4/M16

Discussion in 'General Firearms & Ammo' started by Ole Cowboy, Oct 9, 2013.

  1. Ole Cowboy

    Ole Cowboy TGT Addict

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    A long, but current read on the status of the military's right arm:




    Table of contents:


    The USA’s M4 Carbine Controversy
    The M4 Carbine
    Nobody Loves Me but My Mother – and She Could Be Jivin’ Too…
    The Cry for Competition: How Much Is That HK In the Window?
    Any Last Words?
    Updates: The Tests, Reactions, and Subsequent Developments
    FY 2012 – 2013
    FY 2009 – 2011
    FY 2007 – 2008
    M4 Carbine Contracts Announced to Date
    Additional Readings & Sources: News & Developments
    Additional Readings & Sources: Weapons & Background
    Appendix A: Testing, Testing – Fairly?


    The USA?s M4 Carbine Controversy


    The USA’s M4 Carbine Controversy
    May 02, 2013 15:14 UTC by Defense Industry Daily staff
    DII
    Latest update [?]
    HK416 2 GIs
    “No ICs for you!”
    May 2/13: Military.com reports external link that the Individual Carbine’s Phase II firing tests are done, but the US Army is about to cancel the Individual Carbine competition, and direct its tiny $49.6 million in FY 2014 to other things. The original plan involved 3 Phase III contracts, and soldier user tests that would include a total of 800,000 rounds fired.


    Overall, the budget for new carbines is $300 million through 2018, and the decision on how to proceed reportedly rests with Secretary of the Army John McHugh. This paragraph sums it up best:


    “Gun makers involved in the competition said they have heard nothing from the Army about Phase III of the competition. Competitors didn’t want to be named in this story but said they would not be surprised if the effort was canceled because they never believed the Army was serious about replacing the M4 family.”


    March 19/13: Inspector General. In testimony before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, the Pentagon’s Inspector General says they’ll audit the Individual Carbine program, as “DoD may not have an established need for this weapon nor developed performance requirements… such as accuracy, reliability, and lethality”.


    Aside from the presumptuousness in the wake of incidents like Wanat, they’re also absolutely wrong on a factual level – the IC competition has had those standards for 3 years now. Source external link.


    {click to shrink ^}
    Keep reading for the whole story with recent events put in context
    HK416 An M4 – or is it?
    (click to view full)
    The 5.56mm M-16 has been the USA’s primary battle rifle since the Vietnam war, undergoing changes into progressive versions like the M16A4 widely fielded by the US Marine Corps, “Commando” carbine versions, etc. The M4 Carbine is the latest member of the M16 family, offering a shorter weapon more suited to close-quarters battle, or to units who would find a full-length rifle too bulky.


    In 2006 an Army solicitation for competitive procurement of 5.56mm carbine designs was withdrawn, once sole-source incumbent Colt dropped its prices. The DoD’s Inspector General weighed in with a critical report, but the Army dissented, defending its practices as a sound negotiating approach that saved the taxpayers money. As it turns out, there’s a sequel. A major sequel that has only grown bigger with time.


    The M4/M16 family is both praised and criticized for its current performance in the field. In recent years, the M4 finished dead last in a sandstorm reliability test, against 3 competitors that include a convertible M4 variant. Worse, the 4th place M4 had over 3.5x more jams than the 3rd place finisher. Was that a blip in M4 buys, or a breaking point? DID explains the effort, the issues, and the options, as the Army moves forward with an “Individual Carbine” competition. But will it actually replace the M4?...
     


  2. txinvestigator

    txinvestigator TGT Addict

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    What?
     
  3. breakingcontact

    breakingcontact TGT Addict

    Oct 16, 2012
    Outside Austin
    Another AR thread! Its good. Not great. Probably here to stay and evolve.

    Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition.
     
  4. Texan2

    Texan2 TGT Addict

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    Blah blah, blah blah, blah blah...America will continue to use the same gun it has for 40 years. The end.
     
  5. SIG_Fiend

    SIG_Fiend Administrator TGT Supporter Admin

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    Mike Pannone is supremely qualified to speak on the subject of DI M4 / M16 reliability, and he says it's basically a non-issue, much of it attributable to user error or poor maintenance / preventative maintenance. I tend to trust his judgment and experience:

    CTT-Solutions.com - Articles

    At some point, a reasonable question to ask is what, really, would even be gained from switching platforms, and would it really be worth it? It would seem the reality of the situation is we're talking about few percent performance improvements in anything, and at the expense of a massive bill footed by taxpayers. That would seem to not make a whole lot of sense.
     
  6. mosin

    mosin Active Member

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    Military pissing away millions on something with minimalistic advantages if any at all... never

    20130723-184958.jpg
     
  7. Ole Cowboy

    Ole Cowboy TGT Addict

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    Thank you Sig for a good post. I came across this in some research I was doing and thought there might be some folks on here that had and intrest in the evolution of the M16 as a military weapon. I appreciate your comment and not some two wise ass remark from someone who would not know a M 16 from a boat paddle.

    I carried one for a good chunk of my adult life and have 14 mo of combat with one before most on here were even born and while its not without its faults such as stopping power its still one fine weapon. Its also very accurate something that the AK fan boys like to poo poo. Our military has some high standards for accuracy vs many other military's. This always brings up the argument of accuracy vs reliability under extreme conditions. To get this accuracy you need some much tighter clearances, which brings about a need for more and better cleaning vs say the AK platform. The answer is you cannot have it both ways. Where the middle ground should be is a debate that can ONLY be answered by those who rely upon it under combat conditions. That said I would be favor of less reliability over a very small loss in accuracy, but if I wanted a AK I would carry an AK.

    In '67 in the middle of intense combat in which we were being overrun my M16 jammed up due to a design flaw that was later rectified by a change in the BCG. My BCG was replaced and I never had another issue in my travels from the Central Highlands thru the DMZ to include several weeks of coastal opns with a Korean Ranger outfit.

    Yes you have to keep it clean which is something those who carry the AK don't. They also do not have the discipline to keep it clean, nor do they have the skills to hit the ten ring. I dare say more US soldiers have been shot by accident than on purpose by the AK followers.

    Bear in mind the M16 was designed to be the main battle weapon from the Arctic to the desert and everything in between. This is the 'one size fits all' approach and if that is to be the case then maybe a little less accuracy and a bit more tolerance would serve us and the platform better.

    Keeping it clean is nowhere as difficult as it may seen. Push a pin, remove the BCG, wipe, lube, clean the upper with a rag or the forward leading edge of your fatigue shirt as rags were hard to come by, reassemble and move on. What about carbon build up? As a Infantry CO and spending a LOT of time on field opns where blank adaptors are used I do not remember of anyone's M16 failing to function even after hundreds of round of blanks have been put thru them. Take away...it takes a lot of fouling to bring a issue M 16 to a halt. This now calls for an in depth cleaning. Now things get a bit dicey as you are out in the middle of nowhere and all you have is a issue bottle CLP. When it comes to cleaning hard carbon it was a weak solution and called for more elbow grease then should be needed. Hopefully the formula has been greatly improved if not then that should be reviewed.

    The M16 platform is the free worlds right arm and for us to change anything has a major financial impact on the US not just to equip our military by the rest of the world along with it. That said I feel the 5.56 is a bit light, I would like to see more and NO not the 6.8.x which seems to have finally died the death it so deserved. One of my former employees sat on the Army Acquisition and Evaluation Board till he retired and much of what I have written and think has come from discussions with him (he is a combat veteran and a gun guy).

    I will leaving for Israel in a few days and while there I will be meeting with senior military leaders and doing a combat shooting class at the Uzi factory. I am going to bring up weapons performance in a desert environment in our discussions asking about design parameters and how where they meet on the x-y curve. Interested in their thinking of accuracy vs reliability.
     
  8. Texan2

    Texan2 TGT Addict

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    Boat paddle, M-16....doh, so confusing.:confused::confused::confused:

    Although I know that the weapon I carry everyday IS an M-16 and not a boat paddle.
     
  9. breakingcontact

    breakingcontact TGT Addict

    Oct 16, 2012
    Outside Austin
    Ill play along.

    How about we keep the M4 but convert them all to piston operation?

    Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition.
     
  10. SIG_Fiend

    SIG_Fiend Administrator TGT Supporter Admin

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    A LOT of great info in this post. Thank you sir!

    The amazing thing is, considering the age of the platform, it still continues to be modified and adapted to suit many needs exceedingly well apparently. It has overtaken the ubiquitous MP5 as the platform of choice for CQB for a lot of domestic LE as well as military special operations, as far as I understand it. It has been modified to encompass probably the largest range of calibers out of any other platform. Pretty much any platform always has room for improvement, but how much and at what cost is always the question.

    You mentioned you felt the 5.56 was too light. Just curious, is there a caliber you feel would be better suited for the platform? Theoretically speaking, from what I have seen of the ballistic characteristics of various rifle calibers and some of the historical study of them, it seems like ~6.5-6.8mm rounds tend to strike much more of a balance in terms of size and ballistic capability versus logistical efficiency. Some of the short 7.62 caliber stuff, like 300BLK also seem to be decent compromises. I remember seeing something, I believe from the British, on the development of the FAL or L1A1, and mentioning that it was roughly around these calibers that appeared to them to strike a good balance for general issue, but that the commercial force of .308 ended up winning out. I know they originally did testing of the L1A1 platform with .276 Pederson, and maybe 1 or 2 other calibers if I'm not mistaken. I'm not sure if I'm remembering that correctly, but I seem to remember reading something along those lines.
     


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