Even if the Army does nothing more to improve the M4, the service should be applauded for its decision to dump the three-round burst setting. It’s ineffective, never used and hinders accuracy with its inconsistent trigger pull.

But switching to a full-auto setting does raise an interesting question — does the infantry need full auto when most battle-seasoned veterans — including special operators — agree that semi-auto fire is highly effective for suppressing the enemy?

I posted a story this morning on Military.com that looks at the Army’s shift to full auto, what it will mean to soldiers and how it might affect training and tactics.

I can’t really see a downside to it. Back in the mid-1980s — before the shift to the M16A2 and the three-round burst — active-duty infantry units kept to a strict rule that rifleman only fired their M16A1s on semi auto. Today’s combat-experienced infantrymen are even more disciplined.

Having a more consistent trigger pull can only help rifleman shoot more accurately.

Hopefully the Army won’t ignore the full-auto setting the way it did the three-round burst. It could be a useful tool in certain situations, but only if the service devotes the training time and the ammo needed for units to become proficient at controlled, full-auto fire.

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