Skip to comments.Marines might replace M-16A2 with M-4
Posted on 08/04/2002 11:34:22 AM PDT by demlosers
Its smaller, lighter and better suited for modern battles. And it might be headed into the hands of U.S. Marines.
Marine Corps officials wrapped up testing two new rifles as a possible replacement to the M-16A2 in stock now: the short M-4 carbine and the M-16A4, an upgraded model of the rifle Marines use now.
The jurys still out, but a decision is expected soon. So far, though, the M-4 is garnering praise from the Marines and looks to be a front-runner.
However, some soldiers who fought in Afghanistan have expressed concerns about the M-4, which also is standard issue for U.S. Army infantry troops. Their chief complaints, though, appear to center on the ammunition used, not the weapon itself and officials have said ammunition types are undergoing review.
The M-4 is hardly new to the Corps. Marine Force Reconnaissance units, Fleet Anti-Terrorism Security Teams and Military Police Special Response Teams have been using the weapon since 1999 as a replacement for the MP-5 submachine gun.
Corps officials tested the two rifles for more than 18 months. The latest test, held at Camp Lejeune, N.C., wrapped up in July. The rifles were put through the wringer, including shooting at known-distance ranges, live-fire field trials and force-on-force scenarios, said Capt. John Douglas, project officer at Marine Corps Systems Command in Quantico, Va.
Douglas said the M-16A4 looks and feels much like the M-16A2 but, like the M-4, has component parts. The Corps can buy either weapon of the existing Army contract, Douglas said.
Both weapons have flat-top upper receivers with 1913 Military Standard rails for mounting optics as well as forward rail hand guards, Douglas said.
All accessories from lasers, lights, scopes, etc., mount to the 1913 rails as a standard mounting platform, allowing tailoring of the weapon to mission, billet, or individual ergonomic preferences, he said.
But even if a new rifle comes, Douglas said, not every Marine will get one. Theyll be fielded only for ground infantry units.
The maneuverability, adaptability and ease of operation cause some to favor the M-4 for tomorrows Marines.
Mike Reissig, a sales representative with Colt Manufacturing, declined to answer questions before test results are released but forwarded a point paper provided by the Marine Corps to Colt Manufacturing. It says the rifle simply is a better fit for the way Marines will be fighting in the future.
The weapon, the paper said, is based on a proven design familiar to all Marines, and is equally well-suited for operations in all types of terrain, including use in urban environments.
The M-4 has interchangeable sighting systems, add-on vertical forward grips and even a detachable short version of the M-203 grenade launcher. The rifle itself is one full pound lighter than the M-16A2 and 10 inches shorter. The collapsible buttstock is designed to make it more adaptable to individual shooters, a benefit especially in tight-packed urban areas.
This allows the Marine to rapidly shoulder the weapon from a proper fighting stance with combat gear, the review said. The reduced barrel length allows the weapon to be more easily maneuvered in restrictive terrain, urban areas, vehicles and aircraft.
There are some drawbacks to the M-4, though. A shorter barrel means reduced velocity and accuracy at long ranges. But its unlikely, the Marine review said, that battles would be waged at more than 200 meters. At that distance, the M-16A2s and M-4s performance are nearly identical.
The M-4, the review concluded, provides our infantry unit leaders with the ability to rapidly prepare for combat under varying situations, while allowing them to employ the latest in target acquisition technology. Its modular nature allows us to upgrade components as improvements become available.
The only substantive difference between the M4 and M16A4 is the barrel length (14.5" vs 20") and the buttstock (collapsible vs. fixed).
The M4 is proving wildly popular everywhere, especially with law enforcement, as it's easy to tote around and still offers much of the lethality of a rifle.
Problem is, it's not a rifle -it's a carbine. The short barrel cuts the velocity of the issue M855 considerably, and reduces not only it's effective range but also its terminal performance. Yup, they're bitching about the ammunition - ammunition which, by the way, works just fine from a standard 20" barrel. And while were on the subject, the 11 and 14.5in barreled M4s remain statistically somewhat less reliable than 20" rifles, due to reduced gas system length.
The right answer is to purchase quantities of both rifles, and issue the long guns to troops most likely to need them.
For a tanker, artillerymen or aviator, the M4 is a great rifle. For the infantryman, the 20" M16A4 is the superior choice.
It always amazes me when soldiers dont take care of their rifle especially in time of war. You would think they would treat their rifle better than a new born baby...If their rifle goes down its may mean their @$$ in combat.
Good points -- it's not rocket science:
shorter barrel = reduced velocity.
shorter barrel = reduced effective range.
They do seemed to be overlooking the obvious.
I heard a news report a couple days ago that a soldier from the 82nd in Afghanistan was given an article 15 for butt stroking a handcuffed Taliban POW. So, I guess you can still effectively use the M-4 for that purpose, but the M-16A2, with it's relatively large stock is probably a better weapon for smashing people upside the head. The M-16A2, with it's longer barrel, would also be the better rifle to attach a bayonet to. However, overall, the M-4 looks like a better, more versatile weapon than M-16A2 IMO.
How many stores do we have of the M-14 in the Army and Marine inventories?
That's what I think.
Be Seeing You,
10th Mountain BUMP!
I will leave it up to you to carry a M-14 all day!!!!!
Yeah, but unfortunately it's more likely that there's a picture of Diane Feinstein holding one ......before a Senate committee.
When I went through ROTC 'Advanced Camp' many, many years ago, I ruptured a guys spleen with a well placed butt stroke with a pugel stick. I can only imagine that a similar stroke on an enemy soldier would have just about torn out the front part of a rib cage. The bottom corner of the M16 butt stock is pretty pointed and the PSI on a well placed blow must be tremendous.
Just for clarification, the M4 (14.5" barrel) has the same length of barrel in front of the gas port as the M16A1/A2. I only shoot my M4 for fun, but I have had no reliability issues with it. Of course, my Colt commando upper (11.5" barrel) runs just fine, also.
They're chambered in 5.56, as well. The Isrealis are phasing them out, in favor of the M16-family. Galils are too heavy and difficult to mount optics on. Iron sights are obsolete.
Take a Mini-30 and shoot a magazine full of ammo through it. Then try to fire 5 rounds inside a eight inch circle at 100 yards.