Marines are not getting M4 Carbines

The KitUp blog quotes Commandant of the Marine Corps, Gen. James Conway …

Marines like that M4 carbine because it looks cool. And I’ve had some Marines complain to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff saying ‘you know, the officers are getting these things, but we’re still having to carry this rifle.’ Well, the Marine Corps will always be a rifle Marine Corps. The carbine is an extension of the pistol, not a reduction of a rifle. And in the Afghanistan scenario where you’re shooting long distances you gotta be able to reach out and touch ‘em. And a carbine is just not designed to do that.

M16A4 rifles

The difference between a rifle and a carbine is constantly changing. The Soviet Mosin Nagant Model 1944 (M44) Carbine, for example, had a barrel slightly longer than the M16A4 rifle has (20.2″ vs. 20″). Today, many think that 18″ is considered be the current maximum length of a carbine, although I personally think 16″ is a more modern definition. I believe Conway is shortsighted if he thinks that the USMC will never adopt a 18″, or shorter, barreled weapon.

Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


  • pjriot

    In his defense he didn’t say “never”. He specifically mentioned that the rifle is the appropriate tool for the current job.

  • There are pros and cons of each, I think it was pointed out somewhere that the main reason the Army went to the M4 was the nature of its operations being largely based on mechanized and wheeled ops and aviation on the battlefield, where the shorter overall length of the carbine was handier. The Marines apparently due a lot a foot patrol where the extra length is not as much an issue. Here is a compromise, 6 position carbine style stock on a standard A4 series rifle. The big advantage to the shorter stock is to allow a shooter today to fit the rifle and their normal cheek weld to the extra bulk of body armor.

  • Matt Groom

    If you look at rifles throughout history, you’ll see that 20″ IS a short rifle, and would traditionally (before the early to mid-20th century) be considered a short rifle, or carbine. The 1903 Springfield had a 24″ barrel, The M1 Garand had a 24″ barrel, and the M-14 had a 22″ barrel. Some might say this is a downward trend, but I don’t believe it is.

    The 5.56mm is a velocity dependent cartridge and is notoriously ineffective as a manstopper out of short barrels. I was supposed to be issued a pistol in my MOS, but never so much as got to qualify with one, because the USMC doesn’t have enough of them to go around. Fortunately for me, I was issued a rifle in Iraq, as always, and you couldn’t talk me into trading it for a pistol or an M4.

    Unfortunately, I was only issued 54 rounds of ammo. After two weeks in Iraq, we were being issued two MREs a day (I could never eat more than two a day anyway), and nobody could get the trigger bar springs for M9s.
    M-4s are in even shorter supply, and I only recall ever seeing one section in any unit that had them. Incidentally, they were AAV drivers.

    The thing that most annoyed me when the USMC adopted the M-16A4 wasn’t that it was a 20″ barrel, but that they didn’t take the collapsible buttstock off of the M4 and mount it on the A4 for the shorter Marines.

    • FredC1968

      My uncle was a Marine in Korea. At his maximum height he was 5’7″ he carried a M1 Garand. He adapted.

  • The entire “rifle vs. carbine” dichotomy is shortsighted and outdated. Why are we hung up on definitions like this with a modular platform that allows you to change your upper in less than 30 seconds? Instead of focusing on pointless definitions, provide the rifleman with a collapsible stock, a 20″ upper, and an M4 upper. The mission drives the gear. Let the team leader decide how to equip his men for a particular mission.

  • SpudGun

    ‘And in the Afghanistan scenario where you’re shooting long distances you gotta be able to reach out and touch ’em. And a carbine is just not designed to do that.’

    Well, I’m pretty sure that Gen. Conway’s remark is going to be met with the usual indignation with lots of comments about the abilities of the 5.56 from either a carbine or rifle length barrel and the usual 6.5 /6.8 / 7.62, etc. discussions.

    In terms of use, there is little to distinguish between an M4 and an A2 and why should the Marines shell out huge amounts of cash on what will basically be cosmetic changes?

    I understand that in CQB situations, the longer profile would be a minor disadvantage, but if I were in the Corps out in Afghanistan, I’d rather the money was spent on Apache Gunships or IED Counter Measures.

  • I totally disagree. Every problem with the M4 can be directly traced to its shortened barrel. Special Ops moved away from it because of problems with it and they’ve adopted other firearms.

    Spec Ops can do that. They have the budget for it. But the Army’s move to the M4 had everything to do with the fight in Iraq. Not for other battlefields. And with the fight in Afghanistan they’ve found a battlefield that’s not designed for a carbine. The same issues will apply to a fight in arctic conditions.

    Besides. A carbine can’t be used as part of the MCMAP without significantly changing it. The rifle is here to stay. Watch the Army go back to it. Especially when they confirm that a larger round will impact the accuracy of smaller framed shooters.

  • Darwin

    I love it when a range commando thinks he knows more than someone who has spent his entire life in the Marine Corps.

  • Zach

    I would agree with Conway’s comments, not that I have anything like his experience. The widespread adoption of the M4 in the Army seems to be an acknowledgment that the soldiers are not expected to shoot anything themselves, but only support the crew served weapons and fire missions. The M4 gives up a significant amount of range and lethality to the M16, and the M16 is already a very light and compact weapon. The USMC has always emphasized individual skill with the rifle, something that the Army seems to have drifted away from, and I see no reason for them to change.

    Also, I think it’s too much to extrapolate that the USMC would never issue something with a barrel shorter than 18″. I mean, the “IAR” that they just bought has a 16.5″ barrel. I read this more as regarding the effectiveness of the weapon and unwillingness to compromise effectiveness to get a little less weight and size.

  • His comment that the “carbine is an extension of the pistol, not a reduction of a rifle” strikes me as a bit ridiculous. I’d agree that a submachinegun is an extension of the pistol and I might get talked into the M1 Carbine being more akin to an upgraded pistol…but considering an M4 to be an extension of the Beretta rather than a reduction of an M16 is pretty funny. If that’s the case, why don’t they eliminate the Beretta and replace it with AR-15 pistols?! Just think of the logistics advantage in parts compatibility and ammunition?! Our boys wouldn’t just “look cool” at that point, they would look “badass” and we wouldn’t even HAVE to fight anybody!

    Okay. Back to reality…

    General Conway seems to be hung up on superficial terminology and the good old gung ho Marines attitude that EVERY jarhead is a “rifleman”. Switching them to the M4 isn’t going to change that. Being a “rifleman” is more a product of training and selection than it is a result of weaponry. Also, his attitude that they only want M4s because they “look cool” is not only condescending, it doesn’t give me much confidence in his opinion of his men and must be a real moral booster for our boys…who are voluntary, trained professionals, not a bunch of homeys posturing for the gang on the next block. Anyway, there are very few automatic weapons that DON’T “look cool” if you ask me!

    I may not be playing in the sandbox myself but I know MANY friends and relatives who are and several are still toting around rifles that are older than they are. While EVERY soldier would like a newer rifle, they generally want M4s because they are lighter and shorter (caveat, I know guys carrying M4s with lower receivers older than they are also!) These guys carry their rifles around all day. They are in and out of vehicles and buildings. While a few extra inches of barrel may make a slight statistical difference on a target range from a static position, in actual combat conditions that advantage is generally non-existent…and if the length of the weapon hampers your mobility in urban warfare those inches could kill you.

    With respect, he does mention Afghanistan and longer distance shooting. Frankly, unless they’re shooting 6.8 SPC or 6.5 Grendel uppers he’d best be handing out M-14s but then, of course, then he’d be whining about them asking for SR-25Ks.

  • zach

    “The carbine is an extension of the pistol, not a reduction of a rifle.”
    Really? Because last time I checked, an M4 was about 80% of an M16 and 0% of an M9.

  • Well from an engineering stand point you can have a very short barrel that’s very accurate provided both the barrel and the cartridge are very exact and the cartridge was designed for it. Mass manufactured ammunition and rifles just aren’t there, and may not be for another 50 years.

    If you want men on the ground hitting targets at 500m reliably it’s not going to happen without a longer barrel, or considerable expense, and probably weight, depending on how much money you have.

  • I don’t think that referring to Gen Conway as shortsighted is really a fair stament to make. Old traditions sometimes die hard and Gen. Conway may be clinging to those too tightly.
    Gen. Conway may not be aware of the fact that NAVSEA in conjunction with ATK has developed a 5.56×45 enhanced round, the MK318 MOD 0 ; NSN:1305-01-573-2229. The new round has enhanced barrier penetration capabilities and is optimized for use in an M4 with a 14.5″ barrel.
    There is a great misconception that a longer barrel improves range and accuracy which is not necessarily true. In fact, a longer barrel can reduce muzzle velocities and although accuracy is not always impacted, you’ll loose the flatter trajectory that a higher muzzle velocity provides. Barrrel lengths need to optimized to the propellant bore burn time. Therefor, selection of the propellant is critical to the relationship of barrel length to muzzle velocity.

  • Paul

    I definitely think the standard issue M16 could stand to be shortened up a bit. Maybe go back to the shorter A1 stock and cut the barrel down to 18″ or so. Not necessarily carbine length, but shorter than current rifle length. With this type of modification it would still be plenty long for good accuracy and ballistics, but that ~3″ taken off the overall weapon would definitely increase maneuverability and ease of carry. After all, our soldiers already carry way too much weight, every little reduction could prove beneficial in the long run.

  • Lance

    I agree with the Chairmen of the Joint Chieffs of staff. just because the M-4 looks cool, it should not replace the M-16 for everything. The A4 is far better for the open combat in Afghanistain than a M-4. WHile in Iraq in the towns and citys a M-4 is a bit better. I think the military is assinging the best weapon for the differt types of combat per theater.

    Agree Steve?

    • Lance, I am not saying that the M16A4 is a bad weapon, but the next generation of weapons (whatever they are) adopted by the Marine Core will be, almost certainty, less than 20″.

      A Marine is more than just an extra 2″ of a hollow steel tube!

  • Carl

    Good for them. 20″ 5.56 is old-school win. M4 is tacti-gay.
    If you want a shorter weapon you need a different caliber or a bullpup rifle.

  • DavidR

    Combat troops want a particular gun just b/c “it looks cool”? I’m not a combat soldier, but I think if I were, I would find that kind of a comment insulting. If my life were on the line, I think that vanity might be @ the tail end of my list of considerations as to why I wanted (or didn’t want) a piece of gear.

    And what about all those other US troops who purposefully choose the M4 over the M16?–are they all fooling themselves too??

  • Edward

    “Marines like that M4 carbine because it looks cool.”

    The ballistics aside, kudos to the Commandant for going after the M4’s image, specifically the “looks cool” part.

  • Tom

    Maybe in Afghanistan, but what about the Marines who had to negotiate through the urban settings in Iraq? Sure they’ll get the job done wherever they go, but I’d think there’s a reason they’d like to have it other than “it looks cool”. That’s a pretty ignorant thing for a leader to say considering the battlefield always evolving. It’s this type of thinking that hinders our military’s ability to progress forward.

  • Darwin, sure, I am a range commando.

  • Pouch Centralon, it would be impractical to issue two uppers and carry an additional upper.

  • Bullpups do have a big advantage in this area in regards to length. The L85A1 has a 20 inch barrel, but in a m4 sized package. The Brit’s don’t have issue two different rifles like we do.

  • Solomon, I’m pretty sure special forces are still using the M4.

  • Vitor

    Although a quite slender weapon, I dont consider the M16 to be compact at all. If it had at least a foldable stock…

  • Bill Lester

    The main M4 “selling point” seems to be that it’s far easier to maneuver during MOUT, helicopter and AFV transport. I’m not trying to be snide when I ask this, but didn’t the Marines using their full-length rifles kick some serious arse during urban fighting in Iraq? Don’t Marines use helos or AAV-7’s anymore? If the added length of the M16A2/A4 was such an issue, wouldn’t there be at least some formal complaints? I can’t imagine the Marine Corps doesn’t ask its infantrymen what they think of their weapons and how to improve them.

    I think it probably would be beneficial if they were issued collapsible stocks…shorter barrels, not so much.

  • Lance

    Steve, I didnt mean about a 18 inch barrel is bad. I think a HK 416 would be fine with a 18 inch barrel and far better than a 14.5 or 12 inch barrel.

    As per some other commentors I dislike claspicable stocks they are not as stable as fixed stocks and I dont offer the accuacy need in afghanistain. In open compation most expert shooters use fixed stocks regardless of there size the claspibles are too wobblely and can break easier.

  • Matt Groom

    Personally, I wish the M4 would just GO AWAY. At one time, I was a fanboy teenager and I liked it, and then I was a US Marine, and I assure you that the sole and only reason for the M4’s popularity, and the only reason the Army issues it as standard, is because it looks cool. Why do you think they started issuing barets to everyone? Because they keep the sun out of your eyes better?

    The lighter weight and marginally reduced length (Remember, you shoot it with the stock extended) do not justify the reduced accuracy, increased malfunction rate, increased rate of fire, increased muzzle blast, decreased velocity, and decreased lethality. Sal Palma is right about one thing: barrels which are too long can reduce muzzle velocity IN CERTAIN CALIBERS. 5.56 is NOT one of those calibers, and there is almost no full power loading in 5.56x45mm which will burn completely in a 14.5″ barrel. Unburnt powder means increased recoil as expanding gasses outside of the muzzle create a pressure sphere which impacts the shooter and increases felt recoil. That means it’s louder, too. This will decrease accuracy considerably. Mk318 Mod 0 will always perform better out of a 20″ barrel.

    The A2 and A4 are NOT long. They might seem too long to people of short stature, but historically, it’s not a very long rifle. Yes, the M4 is marginally lighter, but if we wanted to put a premium on weight, why not re issue the M-16A1, which weighed less loaded than the A2 weights empty, and considerably less than an A4. Or why not issue Carbon-15s or SU-16s? It’s easy to make a 5.56 that weighs less than 5lbs.

    A Rifle’s primary purpose is to kill the enemy. Compromises must be made on weight, length, capacity. No compromises should be made on range (accuracy), reliability, or lethality. Any change which has a major impact on these two factors should be avoided no matter what the cost. Remember that it is likely that individual riflemen may have to engage fixed targets behind cover using heavy machine guns. Every meter of open terrain that a soldier, sailor, airman, or marine has to cross under machine gun fire just to be able to get within effective range is one more meter that he might not survive. I would take a long, heavy, low capacity M1 Garand over the Navy’s Mk. 18 Mod. 0 for 99.5% of the missions a rifleman is likely to face. If I needed something as small as a Mk. 18, I think I’d rather have a pistol.

  • Stu C.

    The only thing that bugged me when we switched from the A2 to the A4 was that we kept a long stock. I’m a pretty big dude and shouldring an A4 with body armor is only a little uncomfortable for me. But i know several Marines who had to have an M4 because they couldnt shoulder a full size rifle. I kinda wish we’d reverted back to something in the A1 size. It was something that couldnt be dorked with. I like my M4 now(this is the first time I’ve been issued one after working in on and around vehicles for 7 years), but i never had a problem, nor did any of my Marines have a problem fighting in confined spaces with A4. I can’t remember who posted it, but someone said the Army went to the M4 specifically for Iraq. This isnt true they were issuing it to ground troops before the war kicked off. The biggest saving grace the M4 has for ground troops is it is lighter, which means alot to grunts.

  • Marc

    The A4 is a more reliable weapon in an area like the Middle East. I’ve read that the M4 has had more problems and stoppages than is bigger brother and even worse is when these things happen in combat. Higher ups blamed the average marine for not cleaning the weapon properly but that wasn’t the case since you have to lube it and as soon as you step out of your tent or wherever you were staying sand and such comes flying in. I’d rather have an A4, search the web, the M4 has had more problems in tests and the A4, this may be because its shorter and easier to heat up and dust and gunk is more compact in its shorter barrel.
    Could this mean the Marine Corp found their next service rifle(at least carbine) and are making moves to replace them??

  • Zach

    Those saying that an M16 is long and heavy – have you ever looked at standard service rifles around the world through the 1950’s? Picked up an FAL or M14 and found all their 44″, 10lb glory? Not to mention that their loaded mags weigh over a pound each? What about the Garand, another 44″, 10lb rifle that was well thought of? Oh, well, how about its competition, the SVT, Enfield, 1903 Springfield, Mauser 98, and Mosin-Nagant? All even longer still. And those were all from the days when an average man was only 5’5″ or so and maybe 130lbs. And it seems like plenty of 5′, 100lb Vietnamese were happy carrying M16s (ARVN) or 9lb AK-47s (Viet Cong).

    When you compare the M16 to the .30 cal predecessor generation, the difference is large; when you then compare the M16 to the M4, the benefits of the reduced size and weight of the M4 are tiny in comparison, while the reduction in effectiveness is not.

    It is possible that the Army has reason to issue M4s given that they tend to be more mechanized and not do as much (currently) in the way of long marches. But I go back to the statement that when you issue something that limited in capabilities, you’re basically conceding that the average soldier exists to support crew-served weapons and the ability of their squad to call in real firepower (artillery and air strikes). The Marines don’t have as much indirect fire available and tend to have to deal with less support in general. I sure wouldn’t want to be up a creek without support and have my entire battalion limited to M4s and a handful of GPMGs.

  • Burst

    In credit to the collapsable stock, it does allow for comfortable use in body armor, and for soldiers of different heights.

    I’m also not convinced that the reliability discrepancies aren’t due to the lack of autofire on the M-16.

    While Conway’s point about rifles and terrain are reasonable, it’s hard to
    take him seriously given extremely limited employment of the M-14.

  • El Duderino

    I’m a pre-M4/M16A4 era Marine infantryman + range coach and get a kick out of these discussions. When I served in the 1990s the only guys I ever saw with M4s were USAF guys, the rifles look like they were unpacked the day before.

    The USMC has held on to larger, longer barreled, more accurate rifles since the 1960s. The more accurate M16A2 was a rare instance of the Marines getting something before the Army — the USMC wanted a more accurate rifle than the M16A1. I for one like the fact the Marines are hanging on to a much more capable weapon. An XM177 / M4 weapon is far more deficient at long range shooting than a 20″ barrel M16A2/A4 is at CQB — if that makes sense. The USMC has made a lot of much larger weapons work fine in CQB/urban settings.

  • Xstang

    Army: jump in and out of Humvees, Helicopters, armored vehicles, and transporters all day. Carry the short M4? Brilliant!

    Marines: walk around on foot on patrols. Trained that accuracy is paramount about just about all else. M16A4? Genius!

    Air Force: Whats a charging handle? Probably right!

    Navy: Do they carry guns? Well, the MP5’s the SEAL’s carry are cool….

    Coast Guard: Decided to carry the Sig over the M9. Generally stay out of harms way. Probably the smartest of them all.

    Note: if offended, get a sense of humor…

  • EzGoingKev

    So the troops in the field say they need one thing and the CMC issued a statement from his office saying they need something different?

  • HK_USP_45

    Matt Groom and others: making historical comparisons to current firearms regarding length is the most LUDICROUS thing I’ve ever heard. So much so that it almost discredits everything you say. Using your logic, since bolt actions are faster to fire than muzzleloaders, should we go back to using them, as well? I mean, come on, they used to have rifles that were taller than the people holding them. That’s ridiculous. Modern ammunition has no need to be fired out of rifles that long. So to say, “historically a 20″ barrel isn’t that long,” isn’t really a good argument against the M4.

  • HK_USP_45

    Is there really that much of a performance drop between the M4 and A4? Out to 300 m, bullet performance degradation is minimal, out past that, is the 5.56 really that effective, anyway?

    One part of the many aspects of weapon performance/accuracy is the sight radius, and of course with the M4 the sight radius is decreased by 4 inches. Of course this can reduce accuracy. Optics are the answer. Is there anyone still NOT using some sort of optics?

    • Nater

      Yes, but the biggest differences in lethality are with the M855 cartridge. The cartridge was designed to penetrate Warsaw Pact issued steel helmets out to around 600m when fired from a long barreled M249. It does this acceptably. The problem is that it was never designed with the M16’s 20″ barrel in mind and certainly not the M4’s 14.5″ barrel.

      It’ll reliably (I use that word loosely) fragment from an M16’s 20″ barrel out to around 150m. It’s about 50m with the M4’s significantly shorter barrel. You don’t even want to see the numbers for something like a Mk 18 CQBR or 10″ 416.

      Performance of the Mk 318 Mod 0 is much, much better out of any barrel length. The jury is still out on the M855A1. The so-called “5.56 Improved” cartridge in use by SOCOM with it’s 70gr Barnes TSX style bullet is very nasty. It’s easily the best of the bunch. It’ll never be adopted outside of the more specialized units for legal reasons and logistical factors (it’s very expensive, would need new reticles for ACOGs, ect).

  • Matt Groom

    If that’s the most ludicrous thing you’ve ever heard, don’t worry; you’re still young. We’re not talking a difference between cartridge arms and the arequebus, were talking the differences in self-loading firearms of current issue versus common designs that have existed over the past 50 years. Your own hyperbolic comparisons do not help your argument. An M1 Garand is NOT a Flintlock Musket, and nobody has made that comparison except you.

    Okay, let’s pretend that that 5.5″ of overall length actually matters in as far as maneuverability is concerned. The M4 carbine has DRAMATICALLY worse performance in every other aspect from accuracy to lethality, from reliability to range, from recoil to muzzle blast. That 5.5″ of barrel length results in about a 25% reduction in effective fragmentation range, and the thing that makes the 5.56mm lethal is fragmentation. Barrel length is important. Overall length largely is not.

    If smaller and lighter are the only thing that matters, why not just issue everybody pistols and be done with it? Personally, I feel the USMC should just adopt a new, short, fixed buttstock (like the “Shorty” style that appeared during the ban) and use spacers to adapt the design to suit individual needs and preferences. They will be simple, durable, and lighter weight than any mechanically adjustable system.

    • Nater

      Vltor’s A5 system would be a hell of a lot better than a set of spacers for a short stock that will invariably get lost.

  • Bobby

    Relying on optics is a crutch, you never need a dot sight or ACOG.

    Having them is nice, needing them is poor.

    I can’t support them needing the M4, what they need is an M4A1, or Colts new remodelled version. (Might become the M4A2.)

    • Nater

      Yeah, sure buddy. You don’t even need to understand anything about human visual acuity during adrenal response (you physically can’t get a traditional “clear front sight” type of sight picture), you just have to try to rapidly pick up iron sights at night.

      I don’t disagree that irons sights are needed. Optics can and do break and always will. People who use rifles need to know how to use iron sights. That said, if optics are a crutch, than they are a crutch for fundamental flaws and shortcomings in the visual acuity of a human being. No amount of training is ever going to correct something like that.

  • Lance

    HK USP45 there alot of units out there who dont have optics. The Navy is one most air force units. Many army units out of Iraq and Afghanistain still carry A2s and or M-4s with fixed carry handels and or have the A3 carry handel on there weapon. Iron sights havent died out.

  • Lance

    @ Matt Groom thats already done in canada any man in ther anadian service is issues a C-7 or C-7A1 (C-8 carbine are only given to certain personel) and given a choice of three butstocks to fit him One is a very short stubby, the other is A-1 length and the longest is A-2 lenth. I noted that candian solders never complaind about weight and size.

    @ Bobby The army is looking into a M-4A2 for its improved carbine compation. The H&K 416, Ruger 5.56 and Colt Monoltic carbine are the three fron runners in that program. I believe a 18 inch barrel is key in combaining a good length barrel with a compact size.

    • Nater

      I don’t think the Ruger would be the front runner in ANY carbine competition. The SR-556 is terrible. They certainly wouldn’t be a front runner in the IC, though, because they aren’t in it.

      Those currently in the running, as far as I know:

      FN Herstal (SCAR-L variant with non-reciprocating charging handle, extended handguard)

      Remington (ACR Unfucked)

      Colt (Advanced Piston Carbine)

      HK (416D)

      KAC may or may not still be in it with a variant of the SR-16 (probably with an E3 bolt/barrel extension). I think Robarms is out, which shouldn’t bother anymore. LWRCi and Smith are out because of manufacturing constraints.

  • Lance,

    You’ll note that the latest CF-issue C7A2 are equipped with C8-style collapsible stocks.

  • Lance

    Yeah but not very popular in canada. Most like a stock fixed stable and taliored to the solder.

  • Destroyer

    the only smart branch of the military. Who would know that riflemen would actually need rifles instead of carbines?

  • Pikeman

    I’m an Airman in USAF Security Forces. Unlike most of the AF who are issed M16A2s with fixed carrying handles and not much else. SF Airmen are issued M4s with M68’s and BUISs. A lot of the older SF members used to carry the A2 but that changed as our superiors felt we needed a shorter weapon when deploying from HUMWVs, Patrol Cars, and Suburbans. At least that was the reason we were told in Tech School. The other reason they told us in Tech School was that were not going to reach out and touch someone as ABD doctrine does not really require us to do so. But if that need arose then it falls to our Heavy Weapons and CPEC not the standard SF member. I guess what I’m trying to say is if the USMC feels that M16A4 is the weapon that fits their needs, then so be it. Though admittedly I have no combat experience, I just wanted to inject a Chair Force perspective even if it was one with limited experience.

  • Texas_Dave

    So what if the USMC is staying put with the M-16A4 ? ….even if 1/10 of the Marine infantry grunts can actually get a man-sized hit in combat at 500 yards, the sissy 62-grain pellet probably wont be lethal at that distance anyway. All the scopes, lights, bipods, rifling twists and rails won’t make that puny bullet hit any harder or farther….

    Our guys in Afghanistan need at least two (if not more) designated marksmen per squad with M-1A 7.62mm match-grade rifles and appropriate scopes…..then they could push the Taliban back outside the rifleman’s quarter-mile with accurate fire and confident hits that will actually drop the enemy…not kill him 2 weeks later from blood poisoning.

    The 7.62 round hits harder at 500yards than the 5.56 does at 100 yards. We need to put the long-distance riflman’s war back into the hands of the individual rifleman.

    • Steve

      Why not just issue them the good ol’ Springfield…so as to push the Taliban beyond the infantryman’s quarter mile?

      I’m being sarcastic, obviously. This is an old argument…range and power versus lightness and load of ammunition. The answer is a compromise. The 6.8 could be that compromise…or we could do away with the M4’s and get the Army back to using rifles instead of carbines. They’re likely to do the latter, given that the M4 gives ease of use in mech tactics and CQB.

      I suppose a third option would be to design a 5.56 round that was particularly nasty when it hit…and yet didn’t violate some treaty the U.S. has signed.

  • AK™

    Screw it,give the Marines back their M-14s..then they can start complaining about how it isn’t “cool”

    If that continues,then issue them a M-1 Garand (fully cosmolined of course)


  • JoelTexan

    When are we going to learn to give the person whose life is on-the-line the weapon he/she wants? I don’t know this to be a fact, but I’m guessing that our soldiers are most effective with the weapon they feel the most comfortable and confident with. Maybe I’m wrong … she always says I am.

  • HK_USP_45

    Marines carried M1 Carbines in WWII, so it’s not like we’d never “stoop” to that. That’s not exactly the most combat effective rifle/round ever made, but it was very popular and a lot of troops did want to carry it, because of it’s small size.

    In my 11 years in the Corps, the one thing that was constant, and hasn’t changed, is we like to get our little digs in on the Army. That’s all this is. He could have just as easily said, “The Marines will never stop OUR bayonet training.” (see, I just had to get that little dig in.)

  • Eli

    opinions are like assholes. everybodys got one. I never sniveled over what i did or didnt have. I just made it work.

  • HK_USP_45

    Well, you’ve certainly convinced me that you know what you’re talking about, because you can cuss a lot and tell someone on the internet to F off. Impressive. You’re certainly qualified. Did you get all that language and knowledge playing Modern Warfare?

    What kind of shows you are an ummm… not that knowledgeable (besides your child-like use of language), is that you think one bullet will perform the same out of 2 different rifles.

    Even Colt will tell you that there is decreased performance with the M4, once you get passed 400 meters. 800? 5.56 shot out of any rifle is not going to be very effective at that distance. If you know anything about guns at all, you know that ANY carbine version of ANY rifle will have decreased performance compared to the full barreled version. Of course there are exceptions to every rule, but the M4 is not that exception.

    And I’ll quantify all of this by saying I am a fan of the M4. But, I have never carried the M4 as an issue weapon, or used it in combat, so my first hand ACTUAL knowledge of it’s effectiveness is nil. I’m basing my opinion off of what I would have liked to carry when I was in the Marines, when we all carried the A2. As effective as the full length rifle: No. Handier: Yes.

  • X-man21

    The generals attitude that personnel want M-4’s because they look cool is exactly why things don’t get done and we suffer. Unfortunately most commanders are so out of touch of the current situation and they ignore the recommendations of the war fighter. My personal thoughts are to issue us all the m4’s or better yet the FN Scars. But we can also issue a few members of the squad a spr type rifle. This will allow us to be more mobile and agile plus we should dump the m9 and go with the Sigs or even better go with a .45 caliber side arm like a 1911 or the HK USP. That is just my humble opinion. But I do think command needs to be more responsive to the war fighters recommendation especially since we are the ones engaging the enemy on a day to day basis and not them. So stop listening to your defense contractor buddies and listen to the war fighter.

  • Lance

    @ X-Man 21

    You dont get it the M-4 and your fav FN products have issues thats why the Crops didnt fully use them . The M-16A4 has over 90% satisfaction why screw it up.

    I had not problums with the M-9 Beretta and I do not want a cheap SIG or a old 1911 for on duty.

    Most war fighters i know agree.

  • Some Guy

    The problem is the 5.56mm bullet.

    Smaller bullets inherently need more barrel length to achieve greater muzzle velocities, given their smaller surface area (compared to say, 9mm+ pistol bullets, which use much larger bullets, and shorter barrels), but the 5.56mm especially has this problem.

    The powders, round size, round mass, shape of the case, and a long of other things help to determine this problem.

    If we take a look at the 6.8mm Remington round, though, it achieves around 2300 joules from a 16 inch barrel (which is it’s standard barrel length), and it can still get around 2000 joules from an 8 inch barrel.

    The 6.8mm Remington was more or less designed to have an effective range, and effective stopping power at 500 meters from a carbine. With new propellants and proper rifling, the weapon basically gains/loses 7.6 m/s per inch, from a starting point of around 785 m/s with a 7.45 gram round. It is basically designed to be fired from shorter barrels, as a “carbine” round, yet, it still has more stopping power than the 7.62mm x 39mm and 5.56mm, with supposed better accuracy and range than both (although this really depends on the weapon firing the round, and less on the round itself.)

  • Charles

    6.5 Grendel has an after-market M-16 match grade bolt carrier rather than the AR-15. What is the difference? Benefits? Drawbacks?

    • Nater

      The drawbacks are that 6.5 Grendel doesn’t work well in AR-type rifles. The Army program that developed the 6.8mm SPC originally looked at a cartridge based upon a modified PPC-style case very similar to the Grendel. They rejected the concept after initial testing uncovered severe reliability issues with a cartridge case of that design.

  • Bruno

    Collapsible stocks, a la C7A2, for short marines. Case closed 😉

  • My balls in your girl’s butt

    I would say give them a choice between using an m-16, m4 or m-14. I would rather let them make their own choice. It’s not as if the US arsenal is short.

  • FredC1968

    The M16 isn’t that long of a rifle.