Army Secretary Sees New Carbine to Replace M4

Kit Up spoke with Army Secretary John McHugh this morning at a round table interview with top defense scribes in DC.

I pinged him on the glacial pace of the improved carbine program (the replacement or redesign of the M4) and he seemed to indicate that while he sees the program as proceeding apace — given the requirements and bureaucratic hurdles with such a massive change — the end result will be a "replacement" of the M4, not just a revamped version, say, with a gas piston operating system or tweaked components.

We have a two part plan to over time replace the M4 with the next variant, whatever that may be. … We are working the requirements for a [request for proposals] for an eventual replacement of the M4 and a new generation of personal carbine.

Now, you'll remember that my friend Matt Cox over at Army Times got his hands on a briefing slide circulated by PEO Soldier Brig. Gen. Pete Fuller on the Hill showing the near-term improvements the service planned to make to the M4, including a heavier barrel, improved trigger pull, a gas piston system and ambidextrous controls.

A lot of gun watchers think this is a straw man that the Army will erect to impede the fielding of a real replacement for the M4 — that there's a large institutional pull in the service to wait until that "leap ahead" technology presents itself for a full-on replacement of the standard-issue carbine. I did sense some frustration with PM-level officials that this requirements process was getting bogged down (particularly on the subcompact weapon) and that some folks were impeding the process.

Not so, says McHugh:

It is our intent to field a new personal carbine and to do regular order. I am not at the point right now to suggest that we are not moving in a timely manner.

But McHugh did spin the familiar Army line of "I haven't heard any Soldiers criticizing the M4" — which one must have to take with a grain of salt, particularly when speaking to troops in Afghanistan. Of the Joes I've spoken to on this issue, the "hate the M4" crowd outnumbers the "It's fine" crowd 3-to-1.

But, at the end of the day, it's clear the McHugh sees a whole new weapon coming down the pike…SCAR?…He doesn't say:

We feel it's a good weapon, we understand that time moves on and we want to upgrade and develop a new one and that's going forward, from my perspective, in due course.

  • Spc.Poole

    “But McHugh did spin the familiar Army line of “I haven’t heard any Soldiers criticizing the M4″”

    When does the brass ever know or care what I think on the lines. I hate the M16/M4. I go and qualify and it takes me an hour to get clean. The brass doesn’t care. There are many better battle rifles out ready to go right now. I am willing to beat that its all politic keeping the Army from buying new wepons.

  • Shooter

    The masses rarely know what they are talking about. When something is “common knowledge” it usually means it isn’t true. The M4 works, especially with a little lube. There is no reason to change weapons. It’s accurate light recoiling, and is an efficient weapon. Just because a loud mouth spouts of about what he thinks he knows, doesn’t mean we should jump.

  • james m conway retir

    The M16/M4. Was and is JUNK was i968 still is— The old m1 carbine would be better. Did not screw up and worked when you needed it.

  • USSoldier10

    The M4/16 are excellent weapons, and I stand by that statement. Are they perfect? No, but what weapon is. I think the major issues with the M4 will be addressed with the improvements, only thing I’d add in is a heavier buffer spring. Overall, its a very accurate weapon, with quick follow-on shots, and very comfortable to fire, something a lot of people don’t take into account (I personally feel clumsy firing an AK or FN-FAL).

    I haven’t fired or operated a SCAR, but I’ve heard a lot of negative comments from some QPs. Most complain about how uncomfortable and awkward they are to fire, and prefer the familiarity of the M4.

    I’d say we just move to the HK416/417. No need to retrain because they’re AR platforms, they’re proven by various SOF and foreign militaries, and the HK417 offers 7.62 over 5.56 that many say we need in the stan.

  • moe

    People always mention keep the M16/M4 clean and it will take care of you. Ok, what happens when you get down and dirty and sand or mud gets in it? its not good. There are other weapons out there that are much better.

  • Cpl G

    DO NOT be afraid of change. The enemy isn’t. As the only superpower left in the world we must keep up with technology in fact we must continue to lead in everyway, especially on the battefield!

  • nraddin

    Please tell me they are at least thinking about it. The short distance from front to rear site issue of bullpups is not an issue if you are using optics (everyone downrange pretty much gets optics now). If you are worried about recoil suppression there are a number of ways to do it that don’t require all that space between the breach and your shoulder.

  • Lt

    The M4/M16 legacy system is a good one (one of the best in the world), but it is an aging system in a world of more modern firearms. Simple, so called “off the shelf” replacements have plenty to offer. Just buy uppers to start with and then begin fielding an entire rifle, think priorties not an exact checklist of requirements. Heavier barrel, gas piston, and free floating barrel could all be included in the upper

  • professormatt

    The M4/M16 would be better if the magazine didn’t fall out just barely touching the mag release. It would be better if the bullet actually had a one shot stop or did not go right thru the bad guy, requiring subsequent follow-up shots. It would be better if the weapon did not build up carbon so quickly. It would be better if you didn’t hear the spring when the weapon operated. It would be better if the caliber was larger, giving more range. It would be better if it were more rugged, yet highly accurate as well. I carried an M4 in Iraq. I had to constantly check to make sure my magazine was seated. Had to carry more than the basic load, because the bad guys would keep coming because the round was so ineffective. The original 55grain round (M16/M16A1) did more damage to tissue. I also didn’t like the six position stock, because it wasn’t comfortable. The folding stock on the Para Tactical AR is just awesome, because it was designed to be functional and comfortable. And the Para Ordance Rifle/Carbine, doesn’t foul like the current M4, is made in the USA, is accurate, and you don’t have the buffer spring. Awesome.

  • bcaarms

    The never ending gathering of requirements is the tried and true method used in the procurement arena to ensure nothing is ever actually done. Gathering requirements is the tactic used when a few people need to hold a large majority at bay. It usually doesnt take too much investigation to uncover these requirement gatherers are under the influence of outside forces. In this case, Colt.

  • Xaun

    The main thing wrong with the M4 (other than being an M16 with an shorter barrel) is that there really isn’t any clearly defined need for it (and not any clearly defined need for ANY carbine).

    The notion of One Gun For All Missions is ridiculous — and, by the way, so is the assumption that American soldiers are too stupid to be trained to operate more than one weapon.

    Is the purpose of a “carbine” to provide a better Urban/CQB weapon? If so, I don’t think anyone would call the M4 the best choice.

    Is the purpose of a “carbine” just to be stored inside a vehicle by crews who don’t really use it? Again, I doubt anyone thinks the M4 is the best way to accomplish this mission.

    Is the purpose of a “carbine” to be a lighter weight substitute for a real rifle based on the concept that soldiers aren’t capable of hitting anything at real rifle distances so saving a few ounces is a good trade? If so, the M4 might actually be decent, although still certainly not the best alternative available.

    Is the purpose of a “carbine” to look kewl and provide a mounting point for lots of neat toyz? Aha, here we finally have a mission that the M4 fits very well.

    The M16/M4 family need to be replaced with three weapons:
    1) A real battle rifle; 2) A classic assault rifle; and 3) a Personal Defense Weapon.

    • W_R_Monger

      I had no problem packin a bigger arsenal, made me feel protected, invulnerable. As a mech would say “the proper tool for the proper job.”

  • Vsshooter

    Bring back the m-14 with a synthetic stock, the M-1 carbine and the 45 auto and you have exactly what you need!

  • RangerSFC

    How about if we sell off all of our M16s in FMS and then equip the whole force with M4s until the politicians decide which defense contractor will pay them enough in campaign funds to purchase their replacement for the M4…

  • Bob

    I chuckle when readers post about how wonderful the M1/M1 carbine were. Talk to some Korean vets about the M1 carbine, in the cold it was next to useless, and had little knockdown power at any time. The M1 Garand malfunctioned when dirty, or not properly maintained, plus it was heavy and kicked like the devil. Not something you wanted to fire 2 or 300 times. It was good technology in 1940. The M16 platform is not bad, though the 20″ barrel makes more sense than the 14.5″. I will agree that a more powerful round is need, probably the 6.8 or maybe the 6.5 Grendal, not a 7.62 Nato. Changing to a 416/417 makes since

  • Ed

    My M4/M16s functioned perfectly until I had to get down in the sand. Then I’d break out the toothbrush and barber brush while I sat in the casualty holding area waiting to be brought back to life.

  • Julio Vasquelly

    Saw an article a while back about gas piston upgrades for the M-16 series weapons, it was expensive, but the resulting performance review was positive. Why not ship gas piston upgrade kits to infantry units, platoons at first, evaluate their performance and if they improve reliability, outfit larger units. The company armor would need to be given a 2 hour block of instruction in proper installation of kit, then start upgrading. Just a thought…

    • W_R_Monger

      Reduced accuracy and wear on the buffer tube and other sliding/impacting surfaces, however, increased reliability and less carbon build up. Also they perform better with the larger calibers. Everything is a trade off, nothing comes for free. Personally i like the piston systems, they have a nice “kachink!” sound :)

  • I’llThumpya

    Buy the 416/417..end of story. My greatest fear was getting into a running gunbattle and having my M-4 jam. The M-249 jams too, but when its on it really sings. DUMP THE M-4.

  • I agree with Vsshooter….the m-14 was my rifle , which was an improved version of the M-1 Garand..until they were replaced..(in the field) by the m-16….that’s when our troubles began…All the hype and hullabloo about the “Wonder Nines ” then the .40 cal…the 10 m.m. and the “wildcat calibers ” ran full circle and came back to the old 1911-A1..which, pound for pound, is one of the most powerful, compact and light weight pistols ever developed…and, with a polished and lightened trigger pull, shoots accurately and reliably.. the only semi-auto I have shot which rivals it was the Coonan in the .357 cal…

  • defensor fortissimo

    To all of the people screaming back the M1 Carbine, I’m just curious, is there any other old weapons you want to bring back? The Springfield 1903 perhaps? Or maybe the Kentucky Long rifle? or we could all take a leaf out of Jack Churchill’s book and start using longbows- -

    Also, random question for the bullpup fans,I was always taught that keeping an m4’s stock fully closed was a bad idea because it screws with your sight picture, so how does a bullpup get around this problem?


    How about a more effective caliber too?. Time has shown the 5.56 is a weak cartridge against “hopped up” targets. In the third world everybody does some kind of local dope!! There exists two caliber choices. Of the two the 6.5 Grendel seems to be the best choice over the 6.8 because of range considerations. The M4/16 is a weak combat design, it is labor intensive and finicky when dirty. It was never intended to be a front line weapon but an Air Force survival rifle for bomber crews. Extended engagements cause extreme heat and weapon failures are common. NO other battle rifle in the world uses a direct impingement system…Guess why!! It was a bad idea and still is…Battle weapons must be infantry friendly, reliable in the utmost, and lethal with center or off center hits. Technology already exists for cartridges that have light recoil and extreme lethality out to 600 yds. But most of all: Never enter a war you do not intend to win!!!

  • John

    I find the respondents comments interesting.I appreciate their comments.I do not think replacing this system will work well.A substantial amount of soldiers come into the service have little or no experience with firearms. The first weapon you use will stay imprinted in your head. Going to a new system will reduce response times. A proficient solder will keep his weapon clean and serviceable at all times.The M-16,M-4 is not a cure all for all situations. No rifle is. Use the right piece at the appropriate time.

  • McKim Symington

    Guys, it is all about shot placement and penetration. And the Mike-one-six family of weapons does those two things just fine. I speak as an old 11B40, who never had a jam in two tours in the great Southest Asian Wargames of yesteryear.

  • Tom Forrest

    I’ve not deployed yet, so I have no practical experience to back my self up, but the m16 family of rifles are fine for their original purpose, which was to replace the m1 carbine in USAF air police armories. My experience at USAF bmt showed me how unreliable the weapons could be. Some weapons jammed every time you sqeezed the trigger. My opinion on the matter is to go back to the 7.62 NATO as our primary battle round, it doesn’t take much to teach someone how to shoot it well. I disagree with the use of the 6.8 or 6.5 because stocks don’t exist. We have mountains of ammo for the 5.56 and 7.62. As for the scar being akward to use, I can’t really see how, the controls were designed to be familiar. The m16 had a decent run, but the conditions and the enemy should dictate our choice in weapons, all I say is let warriors choose the weapons, not bean counting politicians.

  • Knock down

    M4 is a pussy. When you shoot someone you want him to die and a 5.56 just does not cut it. Knock down power is what you you need 7.62 is a man killer ( my rifle ) but to be frank a lot of you new soldiers want less recoil so the 6.8 seems to be the answer.I cant stress enough about one thing .Knock down power

  • FreeFaller

    @Knock down

    Go back to your video games. There is nothing wrong with the M4 carbine. Its the ammo its firing, M855.

  • galloglas

    The M-16/AR-15 platform is sound, the operating system needs to be a piston, the caliber needs to be enlarged enough to accomodate at least a 125 grain projectile. 6.5 or 7 mm if that’s what it takes.

  • I’llThumpya

    i agree with GALLOgLAS, and Bushmaster makes an AR-15 chambered for 6.8mm..getting the piston system is #1, a hard hitting round like 6.8 would be nice, but won’t happen. 1 thing at a time. And yes those muj are high as the sky, injecting adrenaline, heroin. Look at Somalia, high on khat, feeling no pain.

  • Mike

    I keep reading,” It’s not the M16/M4…” Just the sand…and the mud…and the carbon…the same crap I heard and experienced 30-odd years ago. The M16 is indeed a fine target rifle, which is fine when the targets ain’t shooting back. the caliber,5.56mm, is all wrong…always was, always will be. Great for paper targets and jackrabbits…lousy for bad guys. BTW the M1 Carbine was designed to be a REPLACEMENT for the M1911A1 for cooks, clerks,and 2nd Lieutenants.

    • W_R_Monger

      .223 is called a “varmint” round. The 5.56 isn’t much different…

  • Nord

    The Brits had it right after WWII. The .280 was that in-between cartridge that we Americans killed off. Funny that now we have the Grendel and the Remington that are oh so similar as possible replacements for that souped up .22 we call the M-16/M-4.

  • tet68

    An old but fine cal? 243win.At close range to 600m it will do the job. SEMPER FI

  • Bill

    There are an awful lot of Viet Cong and NVA planting rice in heaven that will tell you the M-16 works quite well Thank you

  • ironjunkman

    bring back the BAR, M14, M1911A1, the blooper M79, and is the 60mm mortar still around?

  • Ranger Bill

    To argue one weapon system over the other is a waste of time. They are both fine for there respective fields. The M-16/M4 is preferred in urban and where the bulk of targets are less than 300 while the 7.62 is preferred for longer range past 300. Afgan targets are farther fields of fire than Viet Nam was. There should be cross training in both and the final decision should be up local theater commanders to decide.The ammo is already there for both . There is no one weapon for all situations.

  • BaldOldParatrooper

    Different caliber- YES! Gas Piston – why bother? The M16 platform has been being “improved” for 40+ years now and proves the old adage “You can’t polish a turd”. Great toy for the rifle range but no way it worked in the field. M1/M2 carbines have their weaknesses too. The M1/M14 were a bit heavy although the recoil really never bothered me. The AK is a little cumbersome too and sights need work. Something based on the Simonov action with a bit larger yet still intermediate round and improved stock ergonomics is my suggestion. Of course leave all the rails off the stock or it will be out of balance. With all the curb feelers and junk clipped onto the M4s the troops are carrying a heavier weapon than the M16A1 was with the ARs bipod. Weapons should be designed by Infantrymen and politicians and procurement specialists shoud be required to go out on a patrol with troopers armed with whatever they provided.

  • Harris Arlinsky

    The 6.8 seems to have all that one wants in the new army. It’s light, bigger bullet and has range. It can do the close job as well according to many gun writers. Of course this won’t be part of a stimulus package beause it could help our war effort.

  • Robert B.

    Before the M-16 was unleased on our troops in Vietnam, They were tested at Aberdine proveing grounds.The powers to be their brightest and best smallarms repairmen 12B40 Mos.These men were instructed to put this weapon to the test and they did just that.The mojority gave this weapon a No/Go!They were ordered to give it a go.To this day,A Piston Gas sysestom is serpior to the curent syestom on the M-4 The small 22 caliber round,when strikeing a small twig, will deflect more than the 30cal A.K. round.

  • fred

    the m16/m4 is junk, you need to clean the carbon off the lugs after 50 or so rounds. the m14 is great but it also has issues. maybe they ought to bring back the hk g3, or 91, they are about the same weight as the m14 and shot the 7.62 and you can shot all day without cleaning, the navy seals, marine recon, army special forces seem to think the mp5 is just fine, the g3 has the same action, and you can shoot 6 to 900 meters with it. just food for thought. simper fi!

  • fred

    the beretta pistol is also trouble, it gets dirty and stove pipes if shot very much, has any body ever thought of the perfect side arm for hostile conditions, its called a golck 17. semper fi!

  • gaddabout

    I say fight fire with fire. Issue a USA made AK47. I have a semiauto Romanian made (el cheapo, not the best) and it has NEVER failed. I’ve put thousands of rounds through it and, yeah, it’s worn, but it is very cheap to replace. I’d take it into combat in a heartbeat. I hear rumblings that some SpecOps troops are using them over in the sandbox. The 1911 is a great sidearm. Lotsa knock down power. Sure, the range isn’t great, but if you have to use a sidearm, you’re going to be close anyway.

  • Dana L. Stern

    The M16 rifle worked well for me during the Vietnam War. Couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn with M14. I still like the colt1911 over the beretta. I have shot both extensively. I would bet my life on the Colt .45 Auto over the beretta.

  • Brie

    The M16/N4 is JUNK. Lets see, if you horizontal butt stroke someone you clean off the recoil buffer, one grain of mud and 16 would jam on us, I imagine a grain of sand will do the same to the M4. I joined the Army when we qualified with the M14, the FINEST Battle Rifle EVER built, I was on a National Match Team with it, and I would stake my life on it’s tack driving accuracy, and knock down power at 600 meters ANY DAY. You want to prevail on the battlefield?
    Bring back the M-14, the M21 for “precision work”, the .45 Thomson for urban work, and the 1911 for personal defense, BIG holes BLEED BETTER

  • Stan Baggett

    I looked up the Secretary of the Army’s bio and didn’t find anything that suggested he had served in any armed conflict or service other than being a pencil pusher and desk general. If this is so, just exactly how would he know what weapon is good or not good for the grunt on the ground? We (as a nation) should be able to provide the best weapon(s) that money can buy to provide to our service members to fight with so they can have a greateer ability to survive in any given combat situation, I say let the grunt decide he is the one on the “line”. If the Army Secretary needs more info, then let him put his political pencil down in D.C. and dress out for battle and go out there into the “stan” or else where and shoot the gun himself then he can decide what is good or not good for the grunt. No disrepect in using the word grunt gentleman I use it with all due respect.

    Gunner Stan
    CWO 4 USN ret.

  • jim kohler

    my problem with the m-16 was the fit of the upper lower receiver. my last qual. my rifle flexed a 1/4 to 1/2 inch side to side. granted i was ch-46 a/c but if i went down i didn’t want to guestimate where my rounds went downrange. i was usmc and grew up firing rifles. this is something i seldom hear mentioned but alot of people i’ve talked too feel the same.

  • Rob 157

    It seems that the Army has been waiting for the quantum leap in technology, in the form of caseless ammo, for about 30 years now. It probably still won’t be available for another 30. The M-16 lower is pretty good, it is the uppers that should be replaced. Gas piston, better cartrige should solve a lot of problems.

  • Don Meaker

    The M855 5.56 round works very well if it hits the target at greater than 2500 feet per second (needed for the round to fragment). the M-4 does this out to ~75 meters, the M-16 does this out to 200 meters, and a longer barrel would extend that further. A bullpup could have the length of a M-4 with the barrel length longer than that of a M-16. My patent (6,079,138) permits a 24 inch barrel in a 28 inch rifle…

  • gunmonkey

    I am a professional gunsmith. I work with law enforcement, some military and some civilian arms of every type and caliber. I also do work as a movie armorer. There is hardly a weapons system produced I haven’t repaired, rewelded, refinished, swapped parts or remanufactured. If the US wanted to field the finest possible assault rifle you would do well to take the FAL rifle and chamber it in your 6.5 or 6.8 . The FAL rifle with its steel construction, adjustable gas piston system has the capacity to function with whatever pressure (or overpressure) ammunition you would want. It is normally chambered in .308 but if testing indicated recoil was an issue, down caliber it to 6.5 or 6.8 and I think you could not find any better anywhere. Open your eyes to this system.

  • ect80

    The 45 caliber automatic was introduced in 1911 as a better and more powerful handgun that would stop a drug crazed Filipino bandit in his tracks.
    That big and slow 45 cal. blunt nose bullet did the trick. The 30 caliber 1903 bolt action rifle was replaced by the M1 that was semi-automatic and held 8 rounds. It was a proven weapon and could take down an enemy at over 500 yards – IF you were a good shot. The M14 was an improvement with a box magazine, flash suppressor, and a NATO 7.62mm round. It was an improvement over the M1, but I did not like the flash suppressor, as in the rain, water droplets could set in the suppressor, and could affect the flight of the bullet at long ranges (500 yards). The M16 I cannot say much about, but it seems to me that its small bullet does not have long range stability, although supposedly when it enters a body, it tumbles and tears a big hole. Why this doesn’t stop an enemy is puzzling. Maybe those who complain about it have not been close enough to tell. The 45 cal pistol is a close combat weapon. It is usually only good for 5 rounds in a 7 round capacity clip (spring wear). If you are that close I recommend you carry an M!, as it has 8 rounds, and when empty, you can use it quite effectively as a club. For those that whine that it kicks too much, I recommend you learn how to shoot a weapon properly. In close, you fire it from the hip. Much more effective and much quicker in shooting at multiple targets. As for the bayonet; in case you ever get into a bayonet fight, always remember to keep one round in the chamber in case the other guy is real good at it.

  • Jagdtyger5154

    I have fired the M-1 Garand, the M-1 Carbine and the M-16 and all have their good and bad points. The biggest drawback of the M-16 is not its needing to be cleaned so much, but instead, it is the woefully weak round it fires. We need something on the line of the TRW creation that had a 20mm or 25mm granade launcher with 1000m range, above a assault rifle section, all in a bullpup design. We also need it in something like the 6.5mm or 7mm Bench Rest round to give our military a round with some penetration power and energy beyond 300 meters. It always baffled me as to why the government chose the 5.56mm//223 Remmington instead of something like the .250 Savage. Both are light cartridges but the .250 fired a much heavier bullet at about 1000 m/sec. Just the ticket for longer range penetration and accuracy. The Bench Rest cartridges provide the same thing in a shorter case length these days. Hell, the BR rounds can even be fired in an AK-47 with only a simple barrel change.
    The only other consideration it that body armor technology is advancing so fast that we may be forced to create a 12.7mm “assault rifle” just to defeat it, or actually begin employing directed energy weapons.

  • Leonel Luna

    The Advance Combat Rifle (ACR) is the answer to all problems.. Also known as the “Masada”, and a true magpul American design awarded to Bushmaster.. System is familiar, highly versitile, all ambidextries, and available in multiple calibers.. Youtube it, read about it, educate yourself about this take any where in anyweather system. And did I say can switch out barrels by hand to go from cqb to a long range shot.. Should not be a monetary issue when it comes to our elite warriors..

  • jwc 1480

    Ballistics have been argued since before the first issue of the first gun magazine. It
    ain’t gonna be solved here.
    Oh, for the for navy man who
    likes the M1 carbine: So do I
    , but I’m not gonna knock
    holes in a 600m target with
    it (per M16). Been there,
    done that.

  • Leonel Luna

    As for a pistol.. Due to the economical choice, simple Safety features, dual action, decocking system, and accuracy for all military members it will always be for a long time the M9 service pistol. For Selected authorized few there will always be the M11 Sig228. Are there better yes. But expensive and yes atleast for the elites and believe they have nice toys in choices of .40 and 45.. Due some get neglected of the choice in brands yes, and again money shouldn’t be an issue when it comes to our elites. They are highly trained with money spend in areas we shouldn’t even give second thoughts when funding. So, why not insure there time and invest well for they’re protection in providing freedom for those who wont and can’t..

    By the way if we want to be cheap with the M4/M16 systems.. Give it a piston system, and a choice of a 6.5 grendel and there it is, Oorah..

  • I used the M-16 for 14 months in an Army Recon Platoon. I was an RTO and didn’t fire quite as much as the others but it NEVER let me down. The BIG PROBLEM was the .233 ammo–NO KNOCKDOWN POWER.I witnessed many times the bad guys taking 1, 2, 3 hits and kept on running! I hated that small ammo.
    I don’t care what they do but chamber it for the 7.62.

    Denny, 1/46 INF Recon 5/69-7/70

  • Sgt. Morse

    Everyone with age remembers when the so-called M4 made it”s debut. I believe it was around the early to mid 70’s, commonly known as the M-16 then. Before hackles are raised, the M4 is just that with slight modifications made to adjust for wearability, length and adaptability. However it is still the antiquated gas gun from that era. Warfare has changed little in over a century, however the weapons sent into the field have gotten quicker, meaner and cheaper.

    As a former MP and combat vet, I can attest to the constant malfunctions and countless hours as a company armorer, conducting repairs and cursing due to sand, snow, excess moisture, or carbon buildup. it is time that our personnel receive the weapons that their training is so deserving of. Not having to make do, or worse yet field strip in the heat of battle.

    Let’s give them a weapon that is however, dependable as their service, not the cheapest amalgomation of polymere and steel that beauracrats in Washington were lobbied to accept.

  • dan

    Excuse my ignorance but does anyone know of the xm8’s effectiveness in all its aspects? It was a candidate to replace the m16/m4 family.

  • When it aint broke dont fix
    it. The M14 Was the best ever
    I have used the M1, M1 carbine
    M14 and M16. That 7.62 NATO
    .308 Was the most accurate
    with more than enough Power.
    I’m 77 and From Missouri.

  • MIke Arnold

    I have used the A2 A3 and m4 in combat over the last 20 years. Though not perfect it does the job. I dont know why people claim it has a lack of stopping power. I have “stopped” plenty. Not to insult anyone but prehaps more time improving your marksmanship would help. There are better weapon systems out there yes. But would we really go to a foreign company to make our weapons? Im sure we would have no problems there…..

    The AK is not without its problems. Heavy, heavy ammunition. Horrible accuracy and limited distance. The reason why the AK has so few jamming issues are the tolorances. very loose. Thus inaccurate. Of course in the right hands you could hit the wings off of a fly. Could you imagine trying to train and qualify the intire US military on the AK? Nightmare.
    Spec Ops have a wide selection
    on the weapons they use. Remember the m4 is their creation. Why would they use it so widely if it werent any good?

  • John Lee

    I’m tired of shooting at rag heads that dont go down. I need a bigger round with some killing power.

  • Carlos Garcia

    The HK 416/417 would be the way to go. I have fired them at a demo and they performed like no other weapon. Its reliability is amazing and the rifle is very easy to clean. At a BBQ a delta acquaintance said that his unit loves the 416/417.

  • Donald Heine

    They not only need a new weapon they need a larger caliber weapon. Something in between 5.56 and 7.62. A whole new design, not another cartridge to fit the same case length as 5.56. Once again it needs to we in between 5.56 and 7.62 in length. I would suggest 6.5 or .260 caliber with a case capacity of about 35 grains of powder. 6.5 Grendel and 6.8 Remington don’t have the case capacity, and were designed to fit in a 5.56 length action. I think the 22-250 case necked up to 6.5 would be about perfect. Needs to have enough velocity that the average grunt can shoot out to 300 yards without having to worry about holding off for trajectory. Some of the newer bullpup designs that allow full ambi-dextrose fire are interesting. Bullpup would allow a longer barrel and still be compact. The designer from Keltec has a interesting idea that ejects out the top into a tube. Doesn’t throw brass all over giving away you’re position. Just some ideas. Ultimately a .26 caliber bullet is the minimum caliber that has good sectional density to be effective against hard targets. 110 to 120 grain bullet going 2800 feet per second out of a 20″ barrel should do the trick.

  • Rod

    I agree with everybody who offers praise for the M-14. A great rifle. Tough, reliable and accurate. Something like the SOCOM 16 with an extended magazine would be a good all around choice.

  • C Wolf

    Many of the weapons folks love failed the SCAR tests (e.g. the HK) or have not been tested (e.g. the ACR).

    The Big Army is stuck with the large logistical, training, maintenance, etc. issues of procuring & fielding over 1 million rifles. Defining requirements, bidding, and testing takes years and then production takes even more years.

    Which is why the PM is focusing on PIPing the M4.

    The SCAR is the only tested alternative weapon but the Army doesn’t like non-Army testing. Even so, there are not 50,000 SCAR rifles sitting in a warehouse, waiting for a decision.

    If I were king, I’d field enough SCAR in 7.62 to equip Infantry & MPs in Afghan as an in-country asset with the Mk 319 ammo and an optical sight. Keep them in-country as units rotate. Use NET teams to train in-country. This is far more feasible, affordable, etc. but would still take 1-2 years.

    Any weapon is a system. The rifle is only one part. It’s time to re-think many of our assumptions. Why does everybody have to have the same weapon? future weapon targets Dragon Skin Brief

  • Steve Coulam

    The M-16 is an outstanding weapon. When I got out of the Army during the Vietnam era, the first thing I bought was a semi-auto M-16 for hunting and family protection. I slept with my M-16 comfortably every night and every Deer or Elk I shot, dropped dead on the spot. The 5.56 round is deadly. Remember, Force = Mass times Velocity squared {V = M X V*V}; a small round traveling at a higher speed has more force than a larger round traveling at a lower speed. Velocity is much important than the size of the round. It is time we forget old fashioned gun powder and switch to rocket rounds. The casings of the rocket round are made of solid rocket propellant. With no brass to eject, a rocket round rifle or machine gun fires much faster. A rocket round has very little recoil because a rocket round gains speed after it leaves the muzzle. Because a rocket round rifle has electronic ignition, there is no heavy trigger pull. When the US Military has rocket round weapons, the American fighting man will enjoy greater accuracy and higher lethality.

  • The M4 is a good weapon, but not so good in the environments in which they’re being mostly utilized (Iraq, Afghanistan). I, personally, don’t like the XM8 for 2 reasons: 1: it’s just another 5.56mm popgun. The 5.56 is something we need to get rid of, once and for all. 2: it’s German. I think the American forces should use American weapons as much as is feasible. My recommendation would be the M468 upper receiver. It’s 6.8 SPC round is superior, and the weapon, itself, would not require massive re-familiarization on shooting/field maintenance levels for the Soldiers and Marines. The 6.8 SPC seems to be good not only for killing power, but for knock-downs (which is incredibly important, for a lot of reasons, ranging from f-cking up enemy attacks, to psychological warfare), and they’re lighter than the 7.62 round (which is a good round, but has a drawback in weight when carried in large numbers). Excuses like ‘shot placement’ are idiotic and insulting. If I was still in, and someone said that to me, they’d get a backhand, then a butt-stroke to the face. Our Soldiers and Marines know how to shoot, and demonstrate this on a daily basis; if you think differently, get your silly ass in and do better with your 5.56 POS. Saying that there aren’t enough 6.8 SPC rounds is another specious non-argument. In time of war (e.g.: NOW), how hard do you think it would be to kick 6.8 SPC round production into high gear? Why is that so hard to understand? Even if we weren’t at war, industry loves government contracts; especially defense contracts. Thinking they wouldn’t get the job done shows absolute ignorance of too many things to make arguing with you worth anyone’s time.

  • John Wilks

    old guns,new guns if you cant use them without asking about rules of engagement they are wortless

  • Matt Woodbury

    lets bring back the ’61 springfield, 58 cal with black powder….big F^&king bullets right?

    the m1 carbine? pulling guard or punching holes in paper is different than combat, ask the soldiers and marines in Korea about how the m1 carbine and M1 rifle would jam from cold weather and condensation.
    the designer of the M16 made the weapon for IMR powder and had a chrome lined barrel, gene stoner was a WW2 marine who knew what a combat weapon was, he even designed it in the “sacred cow” .308 caliber that according to most posters would have won the war, and further more the Dept of defense was with those of you who hate this weapon, they tried to sabotage it.
    mcnamara being an ass, did’nt issue cleaning gear or enough mags, and he didn’t chrome line the bore.
    the M4/m16 is a great weapon, I have used it in RECENT COMBAT!!! if you haven’t used it since 1975 and dont have the common sense to lube you’re weapon and wipe the bolt…you’re a sloppy soldier/marine.
    and whoever said you have to clean it after 50 shots….you’re an idiot… really are.
    one of the combat training schools ran an M16 style carbine for 31,000 shots! with just an occasional lube.
    I’ll take my stoner desinged weapon, cling to your antiques.

  • Drew Dalton

    the ak varients. the only thing wrong with aks is the recoil on full auto and the accuracy. aks are a lot more accurate than some people give them credit to be, but again, you dont see many aks with scopes or optics

  • Pete Bensen

    The problem with the main battle rifle/assault rifle debate is the laws of physics. There just ain’t enough metalurgy to make a light-carrying cartridge into a heavy-hitting cartridge. Caseless ammo creates too much residual heat with brass carrying it away. We banter about a more modern rifle redesign when it’s guts are about 300 years old. What good is improved ergonomics and utility if the business end is more Kentucky rifle than 21st century? And Kentucky rifle is a compliment!!!

  • I do accept as true with all of the ideas you’ve presented to your post. They are really convincing and can definitely work. Nonetheless, the posts are very quick for novices. Could you please extend them a bit from next time? Thanks for the post.

  • Buck
  • mike garus

    Adding a piston won’t solve the problem. the bolt carrier is weak and when using it with a piston makes it worse. The charging handle is in the wrong place.

  • mike garus

    And how many are doing the same who will tell you that the AK works quite well, Thank you.?

  • mike garus

    “Could you imagine trying to train and qualify the intire US military on the AK? Nightmare.”
    Like someone else said before I think it’s s ridiculous to think that American soldiers are too stupid to be trained to operate more than one weapon.

  • mike garus

    “it’s German. I think the American forces should use American weapons as much as is feasible.”
    That’s simply IDIOTIC. The American fighting man should have the BEST weapon doesn’t matter where it comes from.

  • I agree to an extent but it’s not that soldiers are to dumb to be trained but that it would cost to much to train on multiple weapons. That’s the only reason same as why police departments are issued Glocks not because there the best pistol but that there cheap to buy and train on there are better choices of pistols and rifles.
    Your three choices to replace the M4/M16 is right on target look at the military up to Vietnam a Fireteam had several different weapons to cover all possibilities.

  • Chuck

    The 552 Commando is much better. Or HK-33. Little maint. to keep going, not cleaning every 200 rds. I had an AR-15 and sold it for a Valmet M-76 .223, it NEVER failed, despite 1000 rds of HP, Softpoint and reloads that will not chamber in any AR or M-4. I say–DUMP the entire M-16 family and start over.

  • Kurt

    The new Tavor, and the 300 Blackout are tempting alternatives. The 6.5 would make 500-1000yds possible, and up close contact more effective, and an LMG harder hitting than the 556. One round for all environments and squad support. Pistons seem great and allow for different stock options. Never had to fire my m16 in harms way. I use SP and HP 62 in my AR15 at home. FMR Cold War Vet.

  • dhsurg3048

    I would recommend that we use 18 inch barrels, a good compromise between 16 and 20 inch barrels. Better velocity and effective range versus the 16 inch barrel. The 5.56 varmint round needs to be changed to 6.5 or 6.8. Better penetration and stopping power. Recommend that Special Forces Operators and other real soldiers help design the system over Pentagon pansies who have never seen combat beyond a fight with their Mother-in-law.

  • MTNpatrol

    It’s like this:
    The FNH SCAR and Remington Defense ACR are “next generation” assault rifles. One of them will likely get the contract, probably the SCAR, hopefully WITHOUT the reciprocating charging handle. This is because it also comes in 7.62 NATO as well, which the ACR does not.

    BUT… we also need a new cartridge and my vote goes to the 6.5 mm Grendel seeing as how its downrange ballistics outperform the 6.8 Remington. The 5.56 cartridge is just too underpowered and short ranged for the job, even with an 18 inch barrel for more velocity. The 6.5 Grendel has a flatter trajectory than the 7.62 NATO and that’s a fact.

    Probably the Marines or Air Force will be the first to make the two decisions because the Big Army can’t move fast enough in a large change like this.

  • john

    the ruger 10/22 is your only man