Well here is a Colt M4 selling RETAIL for $1699 right now...
Seems like $1500 when you buy 400,000 of them is pretty lousy pricing.
But, hey, I could be wrong.
Sort of makes you wonder what they charge other gov’t customers.
And you would be, Colt can sell it's carbine to police (not private citizens) for $1,699 because the government is buying in bulk.
When I bought my AR15, about thirty years ago, they were cheaper - and so was gasoline.
I've watched this dance over costs of aircraft procured by the government - 'rip off' is a cornerstone of USG dogma - it's not true.
MANY years ago, and just for chuckles, a group of us obtained the USG specs for the $600.00 ash tray then being trumpeted: Of course you could have purchased an ash tray for $2.95 but if you followed the AF requirements they got a deal.
On the other hand, a piston system you could pin onto an existing receiver sounds like a really nifty upgrade.