Skip to comments.Army acquires rights to M4
Posted on 07/23/2009 11:08:09 AM PDT by re_tail20
(MILITARY TIMES) As of July 1, the Army has taken control of the design rights to the M4 carbine from its sole maker, Colt Defense LLC. M4Translation: With an uncertain budget looming, the service is free to give other gun companies a crack at a carbine contract.
The transition of ownership of the M4 technical data package marks the end of an era and Colts exclusive status as the only manufacturer of the M4 for the U.S. military for the past 15 years.
In late November, Army senior leadership announced the services intent to open a competition for a new carbine this fall in preparation for the June 30 expiration date of Colts hold on the M4 licensing agreement.
The Army is slated to finish fielding the last of its 473,000 M4 requirement some time next year.
(Excerpt) Read more at federaljack.com ...
Regardless, the MILSPEC requirements and the TDP package will have to be met by ANY OTHER manufacturer.
Very few are capable of meeting these requirements, and some of those don’t currently offer models that can meet those requirements. They’re going to have to up their game if they want any of the new contracts.
In the end, I think Colt will be selected for any follow-on contracts.
I disagree. The Mil-Spec requirements are well known and almost every single domestic manufacturer already meets them. Colt so vigorously defended their 'rights' that they threatened to sue ANY manufacturer who used the phrase "Mil-Spec" anywhere in their advertisements.
They claimed that since they were the sole source for them, no one else could ever be "Mil-Spec".
It's bull. My Rock River is in many ways superior to Colts offering, and it was a good deal less expensive as well.
While I have no doubt that Colt has spread enough cash around to secure additional contracts, I'd look for a couple of other makers to take a significant portion of the business.
Perhaps Colt could work on improving their civilian offering a bit, too.
Comments at article hint that the Army will be leasing the rights, not actually acquired, in the form of royalties till 2037.
That will put a damper on other manufacturers taking a crack at producing M4’s to the same specification.
Rock River makes a good product. I was sad they stopped production of their 1911s.
No, almost no other US domestic manufacturer meets the FULL MILSPEC requirements. They may look like it, but they DON’T.
Colt and FN both meet the current MILSPEC requirements for the rifle’s they’re making for the government. Otherwise, they wouldn’t be making the rifles.
Bushmaster doesn’t MP the barrel or parkerize certain surfaces.
Some manufacturers don’t shot-peen the bolt.
Some don’t air-gauge the barrels.
The list goes on and on.
This doesn’t mean they’re bad rifles.
I have a Colt, a Bushmaster and a Rock River.
My Colt is a civvy 6721 carbine, and even parts of that might not be MILSPEC.
The Bushy and RR definitely don’t meet all the MILSPEC requirements, but I don’t NEED my rifles to meet every requirement. The all function just fine, and I doubt I’d pay $1300-$1500 for a rifle that is, to me, the same as the $900 model.
That doesn’t mean they can’t change and meet the specs, but they currently don’t have the facilities to MP the barrel or perform other operations. Given that a standard govt. contract rifle will sell for almost half that of a civvy model, these companies may feel that it’s not worth it to tool up and buy the required equipment. Remember, a large contract may make it worth it for a manufacturer to add certain expensive processes, because the manufacturing cell and equipment can be spread across a large number of rifles.
However, future contracts won’t be 400,000+ units and Colt’s already got the equipment, the facilities and the process.
Sorry, but those are FACTS.
There are lots of manufacturers of M-16/AR-15 “pattern” guns, but only one that currently makes the M-4 (Colt) and one that makes the M-16 (FN). You can’t just take any AR-15 and call it “MILSPEC”.
Getting a government contract can make or break a company.
If you have the tooling, the process, the skill and the CAPITAL to front such a large operation, you could make a ton of cash.
If you’re a little guy, you may find that the “fine details” of design, quality control, warrenty, delivery and service will drag you to the brink of bankruptcy and beyond.
Read my post #10.
Only a buyer with a contract for 400,000 or a million units could demand those features and leverage the quantity of units to offset the cost/price increase.
But, for future contracts in SMALLER quantities, what shop will set up the lines (dedicated lines, probably) to make a MILSPEC rifle at higher cost?
It'll add a few bucks to the cost, but it'll meet the spec.
There are enough changes between the M16 and M4 to warrant the latter being deemed a separate product.
I saw one of the Ruger SR556s and it looked ideal for the upgrade. Doing away with the gas venting into the action will get rid of a lot of M4 problems. I wouldn’t change the 30 round mags or the carry load. Everybody knows it’s heavy ... but caseless ammo isn’t real and I don’t think a lighter bullet is viable.
Keeping the ergonomics and shape will retain the advantages found over the years. The SCAR, or variant of same, looks like the perfect solution for the future.
I am glad to see a lot of our entry and room clearing troopers going back to the short barreled riot style shotguns, nothing beats them for surprise parties.
oh, i hope Stag Arms makes a lefty version!
Lately in the shop, we have been getting more and more of the new commercial Colt 1911/AR series weapons for sale.
Seems like Colt knew this was going to happen and is hedging their bet on retaining some of the contracting with more civilian sales.
The 1911's have lots of custom features, are priced just below the Kimber lines, and the AR's are excellent. There is also a SIG(?) manufactured 22LR AR with the Colt name on it.
They’re coming up with a new shotgun, too. Something about full-auto and multi-ammo.
Full auto 12 ga, I don’t know about that one... A model 12 doesn’t have a disconnector, just pull the trigger, hold and pump, and if you choose you can fire it as fast as you want, but WOW does it hurt. Even as a young whipper-snapper it was brutal.
I would think semi-auto would be enough, if the recoil got softened.
Multi-ammo is an old concept of how you sequence load and intercepting the loading process. But after a while, you just use OO and call it good.
Perhaps, but government contracts are all about cost.
The prices are FIXED, so any increased cost comes 100% out of profit.
Like I said, you’d better have the right structure to afford those additional costs, especially over smaller, follow-on contracts.
There’s much more to it than just contracting any old AR manufacturer.
Bushmaster, Armalite, Magpul, LaRue, ect could fit the bill, and for cheaper than Colt.
“could” fit the bill? Maybe.
They don’t NOW.
That means they’ll have to tool up to meet the MILSPEC requirements.
Some steps and features might be cheap, but other things they don’t do, like MP the barrel and other QC testing, are expensive to set up.
And don’t confuse what you pay for a civvy AR for what the military pays for an M-4 or an M-16.
Not even close.
Colt gets $1200+ for their civvy stuff because people want to pay it.
Don’t confuse that with the true cost.
If Colt is making M-4 carbines for $400 a copy, then the others better be able to, as well.
Do the military allow ppl to pick their own weapons? If not, they should imho. Give each soldier X amount of $$ and let them buy their own weapons. Then find out which is more popular, then go with that as standard