Skip to comments.M16 or M4
Posted on 09/23/2020 7:34:55 AM PDT by w1n1
Which Duty AR is King? Nick Perna, a former soldier and currently a cop, weighs in on whether the M16A2 or M4 is a better overall weapon system.
Age equals experience. One of the few perks of getting old is that you get exposed to more things throughout the course of your life. This includes weapon systems. Ive been making a living with a firearm since the late 1980s.
In jobs ranging from the military, bounty hunting and law enforcement, I've carried a wide variety of handguns, long guns, crew-served weapons and other things that go "Bang!" I've personally bore witness to the development of the M16/M4 weapon system throughout my adult life.
My first experience was with the M16A1. I carried the triangle-gripped Vietnam-era weapon in the 1990s as an ROTC cadet and later as a member of the National Guard in Florida and California. It was full-auto, which was nice. The fore grips were a little flimsy and could bite at one's hands at times. The rear sight was somewhat unsophisticated compared to later models, but it worked fairly well.
Later, while on active duty with the 82nd Airborne, I was issued an M16A2. I had longed to carry one since I had seen pictures of paratroopers in Panama carrying them during Operation Just Cause in 1989. Compared to the M16A1 it seemed state of the art. Overall, the weapon was better built. A heavier barrel was used, increasing accuracy and durability.
Ive carried the M4 variant in the military and as a SWAT officer. Its a great system. The shorter length makes it ideal for close-quarters battle. Getting rid of the carrying handle and replacing it with an ample Picatinny rail makes sense in the modern era where optics are standard-issue. Bringing back full-auto was a good move as well.
SO, WHICH ONE is the best overall weapon system? Is the M4 the king by virtue of the fact that it is the most current variant? It depends on what you are looking for and what criteria are used to judge.
In this comparison I'm going to exclude my personal fave, the M203. It's a unique weapon and all modern M16/M4 variants can be turned into a 5.56/40mm combo so, in essence, it's in a category all its own.
The M4's major advantages are size and modularity. It is significantly shorter than an M16A2, giving it a lot of advantages. Its better for carrying in confined spaces such as inside a vehicle and aircraft. It is also more user-friendly when clearing buildings, which is a major component of what the military and law enforcement do.
This size comes at a cost, though. The Achilles heel of the M4 is the retractable stock. The buffer tube that supports the stock is the weakest part of the weapon. The buffer tube can be bent, dented or damaged in some other way through hard use. Read the rest of M16 vs M4.
Both make the sound of freedom loud and proud. For me though, M4.
(Yes I know you are talking about rifles, but couldn't resist.)
Just picked up a new AR-7.
A few weekends ago we started packing as a forest fire was coming down our mountain. The wind shifted and it blew the other way torching 12,000 acres and burning 28 homes with no loss of life.
Made me think I needed a ‘bug-out’ rifle.
No intent as a slide to your thread just a post about an ‘AR’ rifle.
Where was this? Glad you are okay.
Bridger Mountains, think Bozeman, MT.
It was hairy for a few hours...
Thanks for your thoughts.
The REAL downside to the M4 is not the shoulder tube.
It’s the 16in barrel and reduced velocity.
Partial to M1As myself, but they are heavy.
Its the 16in barrel and reduced velocity.
Shoot a better bullet. 62 grain soft points. 77 grain OTM if your rifle will shoot them well. (Yea, I know about the Great Twist Rate Debate. Our 1-9 barrels shoot them just fine.)
When I saw 28 homes ...I thought it was Bridger. I live south of Big Sky. One of my kids works at the Bridger Canyon Fire Dept. (glad the station was saved). Driven up the canyon road and on Jackson Creek Road a couple times since the fire. The crews did save a number of houses. That windy Saturday (worst day of the fire) was brutal. Once again, glad you are okay.
Both the M-16 and the M-4 have there pluses and minuses! However, for myself, give me an M-14. Yes it is heavier, but it fires better as far as I’m Concerned!!
We are comparing apples and oranges here. The fully automatic M16 & M4 with the semi auto AR platform. It makes a big difference. For a semi If you are in an urban house-to-house environment you want the shorter weapon as you are going to be dealing with very short ranges and confined spaces. If you are in the open dealing with distances out to 150 yards then you want the longer barrel. Out past 150 yards Id rather have the 30 caliber AR-10
My favorite "Franken-gun" is still a full 20" heavy barrel, but with a flat-top upper, JP brake, modded trigger, custom grips, and a steel... rather than aluminum, buffer tube for the 3 position stock. Topped with fold down BUIS set up to co-witness on my Votrex red dot... She's my favorite rifle and I can shoot it confidently out to 500 yrds easy, while still being short enough for "run-n-gun" work.
Set it up for the mission and change/swap what you need in minutes.
What's not to like?
Friend of mine built a very similar rifle (using a mil-spec carbine receiver extension, LH upper receiver, & Weaver V3 scope) and loves it. Kind of reminds me of the Canadian C7A2 (if I'm remembering their terminology correctly ;^)...
If you are going to be shooting targets beyond 500 meters, you need to be shooting a 7.62x51 of some kind. An AR10 variant comes to mind.
Built an A3 LH upper with a DPMS 24" super-bull, cryo-accurized barrel and a LaRue trigger. It's more sub-MOA than I am. Definitely a "roof top"/over-watch rig than it is anything I'd want to lug around during uncivil actions.
I'm not getting any younger, and am really starting to appreciate light-weight rifles. I recently had a chance to shoot a 20" AR15 that looked fairly mil-spec (A2 handguards, fixed stock), but had a "skinny" 5.56 barrel, flat-top upper, and Cavalry Arms polymer lower - owner said it weighed 6 pounds even (without optics). I really liked it!
Tankity tank, I’m a clank. ;) M-60A2 alum
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