Enduring FreedomThe Army’s top officer made comments Tuesday that further led observers to believe the service will cancel the Improved Carbine competition.

Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno met with reporters Tuesday morning where he was asked by a Military.com reporter about the status of the program.On May 2, Military.com reporter Matthew Cox reported  that Army weapons officials are in the process of canceling the competition for a new carbine and reprogramming $49.6 million in the proposed fiscal 2014 budget to buy 30,000 improved carbines, according to a source familiar with the effort.

Odierno didn’t say the Improved Carbine competition is canceled outright. However, he did say he feels “very good” about the upgraded version of the M4.

The M4A1 is the special operations version of the M4 that has been in the service for over a decade. This version has emerged from the M4 Product Improvement Program. Odierno said he is confident in it.

““I’ll give you my position on the M4. We’ve modernized it,” Odierno said. “It’s a great system. I feel very comfortable with the [improved] M4, very comfortable.”

Military.com reporters Brendan McGarry and Cox posted a story Wednesday morning that provides more details on Odierno’s comments and context on the program. Read it here.

{ 79 comments… read them below or add one }

Joshua May 8, 2013 at 8:39 am

Wise decision if you ask me. I had nothing but confidence in my weapon and everyone I know feels the same. A FF M4A1 is a very tough rifle to beat. I look forward to seeing which FRAK the Army chooses to adopt.

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JEFF May 8, 2013 at 9:18 am

While I love the SCAR I agree there is not enough, if any, improvement over the M4A1 to justify a switch. I'd still like the Army to take a serious look at 5.56 vs other calibers available, I just don't think the 5.56 is the best round for the task it has been assigned.

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scott May 8, 2013 at 9:58 am

in my opinion i think the M4 is perfectly fine

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Rodney May 8, 2013 at 10:54 am

The M4A1 might be up to the task, but 6.8 or 6.5 uppers (& mags, ammo) should be adopted and available as an option for our troops operating in wide-open spaces.

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MikeM May 8, 2013 at 12:51 pm

That's what a 7.62 is for.

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Axel May 8, 2013 at 11:46 pm

You should look up 300 blk

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MikeM May 8, 2013 at 12:49 pm

If it ain't broke don't fix it, rather than design new, double production. Same should go for tanks, planes, ships, & camo uniforms, double production rather than R &D. China and Russia are beating us by numbers. What good is a billion dollar tank against 200 50 million dollar tanks, same goes for planes and troops, tech can only go so far when out numbered 500 to 1. Same goes for 5.56mm, rather carry 500rds in close than 200rds 7.62, for than matter a HK MP5 in 9mm makes a good weapon up close in a handgun cartridge.

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MikeM May 8, 2013 at 1:04 pm

Oh yeah, when the your's or your buddy's Beretta runs dry you got ammo too

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Bobby May 8, 2013 at 1:36 pm

The M4A1 is an excellent weapon and is particularly effective when combined with the highly effective new M855A1 round.

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Moondawg May 8, 2013 at 3:20 pm

The M4A1 works, and is more than adequate. No need to try and reinvent the wheel. I actually carried a 7.62 under combat conditions, and I have fired the 7.62 in competition. The M14 was heavy, the ammo was heavy, and it probably was not as accurate at say 500 yards, as the 5.56/M8855 round. 7.62 recoil can beat you up, especially firing a lot of rounds from the prone position in a 9 lb rifle. Recoil does not help accuracy.

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jeff May 8, 2013 at 5:30 pm

You are either an extremely poor shot, have a very very slight build, or just straight up don't know what you are talking about. 118lr can be taken to 1000m, and out of an m14ebr will easily outshoot ANY 5.56 round out at ANY distance, ESPECIALLY m855.

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Mark May 8, 2013 at 6:02 pm

The 7.62 NOT as accurate out to 500 yds. as the 5.56..? You must have meant to say 'something' else..? The 7.62 is just starting to get its legs at that range.

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Frank May 8, 2013 at 6:26 pm

Not to be piling on but I've never seen that. Were you firing side by side, or did this happened on different days? I will give you that the any 5.56 rd you can name is as accurate as the 7.62 X 51mm at 350 on a still day… but beyond that???

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benspartanburg@gmail May 9, 2013 at 3:20 am

I'm a Marine designated marksman.. and I carried m14 ebr stock.. "not as accurate at sat 500yrds as the 5.56/M655ronds? are u kidding me ! I have zeroed my m14 with ammo taken from a M60 linked belt.. at 500 yrds I get sub 4" groups and thats with the iron sights ! back to the rifle range for u

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benspartanburg@gmail May 9, 2013 at 3:21 am

I’m a Marine designated marksman.. and I carried m14 ebr stock.. “not as accurate at sat 500yrds as the 5.56/M655ronds? are u kidding me ! I have zeroed my m14 with ammo taken from a M60 linked belt.. at 500 yrds I get sub 4″ groups and thats with the iron sights ! back to the rifle range for u

Read more: http://kitup.military.com/2013/05/gen-odierno-com

Kit Up!

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Liam May 8, 2013 at 4:20 pm

The M4A1 is A number 1 in my book, Odernio made the right move!!!

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Snuffy May 8, 2013 at 5:26 pm

Just remember, there is a difference between carrying your M14 and ammo from your car to the range and humping it with you all day. Weight is huge with a weapon. Also the 7.62 is already in use – its called the 240b.

Good move keeping what works instead of another mil. procurement nightmare

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Joshua May 8, 2013 at 6:36 pm

240L now…./happy dance.

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Frank May 8, 2013 at 6:21 pm

I've seriously wondered if it would make any difference in the outcome of Afghan combat if we took away M4s and issued pistols to all concerned. Keep the SAWs, 240s and whatever's currently being issued to Squads as a designated Marksmen rifle and let's run a test? It seems to me that most Afghan combat comes down to supporting arms anyways, and unless that changed I'm doubtful as to the necessity of the M4 other than a PDF.

As for carrying the M14 in combat, it has been done. In fact there was never any complaints about the M14s during a firefight… But everyone loved the light weight M-16 to carry… of course there were many complaints in combat about the effectiveness of the M-16 and the round and much of that was based on the knowledge of the reliability of the M14 and it's ammo.

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Axel May 8, 2013 at 11:50 pm

All of these testing and WANTING for new rifles is a bunch bs. I say do that but during peace time. We're already in over our heads w/ all of this debt going on.

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mpower6428 May 8, 2013 at 6:31 pm

my dad carried an m14 in vietnam. he loved it but, he swears the thing permanently screwed up his shoulders from lugging it around.

no point changing anything until some sort of small arms paradyme shift becomes a reality. caseless ammo maybe…? the ways things are going we'll have to wait until somebody invents the "gravity gun".

lots of good reviews for the TAVOR. maybe a limited procurement, replacing worn out m4's over a long period of time. yes, that would reek hell with the spare parts dept. but, the isreali's seemed to handle the change over just fine.

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Joshua May 8, 2013 at 6:38 pm

No one wants the TAVOR here(military that is). It is a fun hobby gun, but had issues in combat use that led to the development of the X95 which appears to have fixed those issues…Even still it is not better than the M4.

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MPOWER6428 May 8, 2013 at 8:45 pm

Its a new rifle in need of some fine-tuning but thats true of any system. the X95 looks like a needlessly short version of the base model tavor (14 inch barrel…?)

the idea is that if the TAVOR becomes a big hit state-side, which it might, there will be enought manufacturing and parts supply to support large procurements for the services. lets face it, stoners black rifle is… at this point, almost an antique.

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Frank May 8, 2013 at 9:24 pm

One does have to wonder if one of the dozens of rejected models of weapons (and many others that don't even bother competing in these dishonest dog and pony shows that never had any intention of going to something new) would have been as good as the AR (and mostly they are better, just "not much better") if they had had the dozens of tweaks given to the AR over the last 40 years.

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mpower6428 May 8, 2013 at 10:12 pm

i cant argue with that.

crackedlenses May 8, 2013 at 10:41 pm

Most of these weapons have not been around for the past 40 years. Even if we gave them the benefit of the doubt, they would still have several generations of inferior performance to the M16/M4 to overcome before being perfected. Which, ironically is more or less what has happened with the M16.

However, considering our economic nightmare, this is probably not a good time to begin purchasing a new rifle that we absolutely do not need….

Moondawg May 8, 2013 at 10:52 pm

For you folks that think the 7.62 is so accurate, since oh about 1996, every year m16/ar15s win the service rifle championships at Camp Perry. Not once since the early to mid-90s has a M14 been able to win against a M16. Both the Army and the USMC team shoot M16s, notM14s. The course of fire is 200, 300 and 600 yards. So don't you guys who don't know what you are talking about try and tell me what a 7.62 will do. And yes there are people that can shoot a 223R/5.56Nato out to 1000. The bullet will make it there, it just doesn't have quite the ooomp a 7.62. round has.

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Guam_Guy May 9, 2013 at 1:52 am

The services should have just issued 7.62 rifles already in the system for certain units in Afghanistan. The M16 and M4 work better in closer environment opposed to the long sight lines of Astan.

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Lance May 9, 2013 at 2:34 am

I 1/2 way agree with you. The SCAR offered nothing over the M-4A1. But new caliber merit research.

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Lance May 9, 2013 at 2:40 am

There is no new carbine out therr that is better than the M-4A1. scar IS NOT THE Tavor IS NOT AND MANY DISLLIKE BULLPUPS ANYWAY.. So the Army for once majorly doing the right thing.

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Adam May 9, 2013 at 6:26 am

What does "FRAK" stand for?

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Joshua May 9, 2013 at 12:45 pm

Forward rail assembly kit. It is the term for the new rail system being looked at to replace the KAC RAS.

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Marc May 9, 2013 at 6:32 am

You should look up its trajectory.

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Rusty Shovel May 9, 2013 at 1:18 pm

LOL !!

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Nick May 9, 2013 at 6:48 am

Dude, the 5.56 round will make it to a 1000m? Yes, yes it will, but only with match grade ammunition which you will NOT have on the battlefield. Kills with the M14 have been made beyond 1000m under battlefield conditions. Show me where that happened with a 5.56 unless some dude just shot almost straight up and accidentally hit someone. I like the 5.56, I like the M4. I trained with them extensively and I feel comfortable taking one with me on my first deployment, whenever it comes. However, lets be honest, it has issues as does the round. ESPECIALLY the round. Personally, I prefer the AK due to reliability and decent accuracy. But being honest, both the 7.62×39 and the 5.56×45 are intermediate rounds at best. They are meant to relatively close range engagements. Using either past 800m, which is about the max effective range of our upgraded M16, is iffy at best.

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CamoReader May 9, 2013 at 6:53 am

This is from a citizen perspective with a small insight on military tech.

IMO, think the Individual Carbine competition is a waste of money. None of the weapons seem to have even a slight evolutionary gain that would justify the costs.

I think the wiser choice is to get the M4 upgrades now while we wait for the LSAT program to develop and mature in about 10ish years.

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Nick May 9, 2013 at 6:54 am

I think the Army is doing the right thing sticking with the M4, however, imo there are MANY rifles our there better than it. SCAR for starters, modernized FAL, Tavor needs some work, like any new weapons system (remember how fucked up the M16 was during Nam?) but it definitely has the potential to be better. Imo, and I know I will get shit for this, the modernized AKs are better as well as the AN-94.

The Army did the right thing not changing because the cost atm is too damn high and the M4 is indeed a viable weapons choice.

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Joshua May 9, 2013 at 12:59 pm

Those modern guns are no better than the M4A1. The issues of the M16 can be traced back to ammo for 90%. Did you know before the Army issued the M16 it was issued to ARVN troops and Navy SEALS and was a huge success and had no reported problems, at this point it was still called the AR-15.

When the Army decided to field it they used incorrect powder that led to cyclic rates of 1,000-1,100RPM leading to numerous FTE's and torn case rims, combine that with the lack of cleaning kits and the original slip ring buffer(the rings would often lock up and become one solide weight) and issues happened.

I will also say the AK-74 is not as reliable as the AK-47 and the AK-47 is not as reliable as the internet make them seem. The AN-94 is also a very expensive, very difficult and complex weapon, that requires constant maintenance to keep it running due to the complex operating system.

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sigmund May 10, 2013 at 4:38 pm

That is simply untrue with the AK74. they are just as reliable as the AKM (they also modified the design with a wider extractor that catches the case more). They arent infallible, although a AK, whether 7.62 or 5.45, will still shoot the nuts out of a M4 carbine any day. and Im not talking about cheap Century Arms hacks either.

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Joshua May 10, 2013 at 6:53 pm

I am talking about the ones I have seen that were full auto…….I have no experience with civilian AK clones. My AK experiences include numerous makers even Russian AK-47's.

In my experience the AK-47 is not as amazing as the internet makes it out to be, and it certainly is not as reliable or infallible as the error-net makes them out to be either…

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jeramie May 9, 2013 at 7:46 am

if the gun dosnt need work how about we find ways to lighten the gear alittle or even put out some more dragon vests ….

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Jarrad May 9, 2013 at 9:22 am

Dragon Skin was found to be crap. Not really that good an armor

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Joshua May 9, 2013 at 12:59 pm

Yep, but hey…they had a cool name.

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sigmund May 10, 2013 at 4:39 pm

dragon skin and "lighter" are not synonymous with each other.

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M. Hatch May 9, 2013 at 8:02 am

REALLY hard to believe YOU'D feel just as 'comfortable' or prepped with a sidearm alone and no M4, rifle, etc. Uh-uh. Rifle-Check. Pistol-Check. Extra mags-Check. LMF II, Ka-Bar or equivalent-Check. Within reason, I'll obviously utilize all I can at my disposal, to defend MY life..AND my BROTHERS' lives.

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Tim May 9, 2013 at 8:28 am

The downfall of this program (and many others) is, in my opinion, the lack of good requirements. Good requirements start with going to the end-user and asking what they need to do their job. That doesn't mean "oh, I need a rifle made by HK" or "I need a gas piston" or "I need such and such caliber."

As an example let's try something like:

"I need a device that weighs half of what my current rifle and ammo loadout does, and with the combined firepower of my squad, makes our opponents keep their heads down until the sweep team is in position to move through and kill the bad guys. I don't want to spend more than 10 minutes cleaning it per day. If I only have to clean it once a week, even better!" Obviously there's more to it than that (i.e. this user didn't specify range / lethality) but the point is we're looking for effects from which generate requirements.

Now I've just equipped your squad with air rifles that shoot metal bb's, are a cinch to clean and fall in your weight requirements. You can put thousands of bb's downrange in a short amount of time and the bad guys aren't gonna want to stick their heads up into that are they? Not only that but this entire effort cost 10% of making a new centerfire carbine. The desired effect was under-budget.

Now the user says "But what if I need to engage a point target at 500 yards?! What about a bad guy sneaking up on me and pops up 25 yards away, how am I supposed to kill him with bb's?"

Requirements creep adds cost and time to a project but if you don't start with good requirements, you can't have an objective competition nor can you obtain optimal results for the warfighter.

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Bobby May 9, 2013 at 8:54 am

………you guys are ignoring the important role the new M855A1 round plays in making the M4A1 viable for the forseeable future. It has closed the performance gap between the 5.56 and 7.62 to the point that whatever gap is left is operationally irrelevant.

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Bobby May 9, 2013 at 9:02 am

……..it is the COMBINATION of the A1 improvements to both the M4 and the M855 that made the Army's decision relatively easy to make.

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Jarrad May 9, 2013 at 9:24 am

Issue the SOST ammo, add a free floating rail and make the gas system Mid Length and you'd ahve a world beater. Throw in the Mk262 for long range engagements and there ya go

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Bobby May 9, 2013 at 9:45 am
Joshua May 9, 2013 at 12:53 pm

The M4A1 is such an antique that the SCAR could not replace it and the HK416 has yet to replace it, not to mention the recent competitions in different countries that the M4 has been chosen after competing against these "next gen" guns.

The M4A1 is anything but antique. The only thing old about it is Stoners Inline Piston operation designed in the 50's. The weapon itsself stays modern thanks to the large support seen in both special forces and the civilian side(especially the civilian side). Not to mention the M4 was adopted in 1994.

The US has done numerous tests to see how it compares and every time the M4 easily holds its own and is often found better. Pistons are for the most part niche weapons that are really only needed for very certain missions.

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mpower6428 May 9, 2013 at 9:04 pm

again, i am shut down.

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Brad May 9, 2013 at 6:43 pm

Are you currently a DM? We (USMC) have not used M60s since the early 1990s when it was replaced by M240G. The M60 never shared a battlefield with the M14 EBR, which was never issued to Marines anyway. We developed and issued the M39 EMR as a replacement for the DMR instead. The M39 has since been replaced by the M110 SASS. What gives?

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Jason May 10, 2013 at 3:07 am

Internet poser alert…that's what gives.

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Brad May 9, 2013 at 7:29 pm

Rodney you are on the money. John Garand developed his famous rifle around the .276 cal Peterson round way back in 1936. The War Dept. wanted it in 30.06 because of all the ammo they still had on hand for WW I era rifles. He redesigned what became the M-1 and the rest is history.

After the war the when the Brits were looking for an "assault rifle" design they also determined that a round of between 6.5mm (.270 cal) and 7mm (.280 cal) provided the perfect balance of long range accuracy and terminal performance coupled with moderate combat load carry weight and recoil.

By that time the US Army was obsessed with the M-1 Garand and wanted the same design but with a detachable box magazine and select fire trigger. They called it the M-14 and they developed the 308 Winchester/ 7.62×51 (30.06 short) to go with it, and forced that ammo choice on the rest of NATO. Only to dump it 6 years later for the M-16 in 5.56. At least the Brits got the L1A1(FN FAL) which is better in the assault rifle role than an M-14.

My point is the 6.5 or 6.8 would be an outstanding choice (as John Garand knew 75 years ago) and would render moot the 5.56 vs 7.62 argument as it pertains to the multi-role infantry rifleman.

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Rodney May 10, 2013 at 10:36 am

Yep, I own a sweet Swede M38 carbine in 6.5×55. I regularly shoot it at CMP and vintage military long-range matches. It can really reach out there and touch someone.

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Jason May 10, 2013 at 3:21 am

M855A1, 12" rail system, mid-length gas system.

Done.

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Len Ganz May 10, 2013 at 5:43 am

STOP. The real issue here is reliability. In every face-off the M4 or whatever they call the "Mattell 16" these days, comes in LAST.

The General has NO experience as a grunt, no CIB and probably couldn't hit the side of a barn if he was 3 feet away.

Once again, grunts get the short end of the stick when it comes to spending. Do the competition and buy the most accurate and most reliable weapon no matter who makes and keep the politics-politians, remf's and generals out of it.

Len Ganz

VN 69-70

Proud to wear a CIB

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Joshua May 10, 2013 at 8:08 am

Can you point out all these competitions in which the M4 comes in last? The ones I have seen showed a different story.

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Mike May 10, 2013 at 5:58 am

Best comment all day.

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galloglas May 10, 2013 at 7:24 am

General Odierno Is an Artillery man.

Why is a Redleg deciding which RIFLE/CARBINE the Infantry will carry into battle?

That's like letting a Submarine Commander decide what aircraft will fly off Navy Decks.

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Bobby May 10, 2013 at 9:39 am

Odierno is CoS of the Army and a former infantry commander, as well as an artilleryman. He's more than qualified to sign off on a weapon for the infantry and it's his responsibility to do so. In this case, he's merely said he'd be comfortable continuing with the M4A1 as recommended by the ordinance board (after conducting years of tests, shoot-offs and following consultation with countless CIB grunts). Just because the M4A1/M855A1 combo ain't your choice doesn't mean it isn't the right choice…….

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rudyh60 May 10, 2013 at 9:27 am

Sure with a retrofit 7.62mm barrel, we'll take it anywhere…..carry that ammo and kill 'em dead…..don't watch 'em get back up like that doped up Viet Congie did in RVN….7.62mm will make 'em go down and STAY!. Mon GEN O. note One more improvement needed as mentione. hhhuuaaahhh!!!

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S. May 10, 2013 at 11:23 am
Lance May 11, 2013 at 12:32 am

No many ?USMC units still have M-39 only elite units so far went to M-100s. Amry M-14s doing well and will solder on for years.

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Lance May 11, 2013 at 12:35 am

Agree the HK 416 and FN SCAR where mimicking the M-4 and they are not better.

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Lance May 11, 2013 at 12:37 am

M-14s came back now to standard squad issue for long range kills 5.56mm from a A2/A4 rifle is short to a M-14 so that's why a DMRM-14 returned.

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Lance May 11, 2013 at 12:41 am

The AN 94 was too complex for regular solder that why it was scrapped. The AK-74 is the same rifle as the AKM just new caliber and muzzle brake. Worked fine in Afghanistan. The SACR offer nothing thats right NOTHING over the M-4A1 The M-4 is more durable and better ergonomics anyway. SOCOM ditched the 5.56mm version anyways, a 5.56mm SCAR is a none starter.

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Jason May 11, 2013 at 5:35 am

If your most recent experience on the battlefield was in Vietnam, you probably should just keep your comments to yourself.

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Ceefour May 11, 2013 at 10:51 am

I kinda like my ol o3-a4 Springfield………

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FormerSFMedic May 14, 2013 at 9:55 am

The end user has to know what they need first. Soldiers on the battlefield don't know what they need because their training is sub par. If you ask soldiers on the battlefield what they need they're going to give you general answers that for the most part are useless for developing requirements.

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Joshua May 14, 2013 at 12:17 pm

Just like if you asked soldiers how the operating system in their rifles worked I can guarantee at least 90% would have no idea.

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FormerSFMedic May 14, 2013 at 10:25 pm

Hey Josh, I'm not looking forward to the FRAK chosen by the Army. I have a bad feeling it ain't going to be the best choice. I'll keep my fingers crossed but the Army is notorious for making bad choices in this sort of category.

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Joshua May 16, 2013 at 12:10 pm

I am hopeful because I know of one manufacturers entranty and is is a very good rail. Though they are intent on keeping the FSB, it wraps around and extends past the FSB, which is a completely workable setup.

Although it wouldn't surprise me if they choose the one that ends up being the 8" rail. I am still hopeful that they will get the right rail though.

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FormerSFMedic May 14, 2013 at 10:28 pm

If 6.8 and 6.5 uppers were available it would cause more problems than it's worth. Besides, neither cartridge is really a good choice for a multitude of reasons.

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FormerSFMedic May 14, 2013 at 10:29 pm

.300BLK would be a pretty good choice for an all around cartridge. The problem though is training.

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Dan May 20, 2013 at 7:49 am

The HK416 comment by Lance is about to make my head explode. I have fired both and the HK416 runs much cleaner. It may not be giant leap ahead, but it is certainly a few yards ahead.

Just give the guys a piston upper to increase the overall reliability of the weapon. That is all I ask.

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Joshua May 21, 2013 at 6:39 am

The issue is that the cleaner running internals is not what gives the HK416 its slightly better reliability. It is the overgassing of the system that does it.

In the 10.4" package(only one I have long experience with) it runs at 900-950RPM with a 8lb action spring and a 5.3oz buffer.

You can compare that to my CQBR I had and it came with a standard 6lb action spring and a 4.7oz H2 buffer and ran at a cyclic rate of 850-900 unsuppressed.

And we are talking about the Army so they will be issued a 14.5" variant which makes even less of a difference and in most cases the standard M4A1 outperforms op rod type firearms.

A hardware change will not fix a software issue.

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M4 "guy" May 28, 2013 at 5:38 am

Good to see that eventually even the top brass get it. The M4A1 was improved about 10 years ago to include a heavy buffer, heavy extractor spring, adapter rail/BUIS and other slight improvements that combined to make this weapon among the most durable and reliable in it's class. It was the only weapon tough enough to withstand SOCOM durablility testing for years. Keep it well lubed and it will work reliably for the user to, or beyond, their physical limitations to hold and fire. Anyone who doubts its capability has obviously not spent an afternoon running a couple cases of 5.56 through it.

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