Army to buy 70,000 – 100,000 more M4A1 Carbines

The US Army is looking to purchase an additional 70,000 – 100,000 M4A1 Carbines.

The total estimated quantity is 70,000 to 100, 000 weapons. The Government anticipates ordering 25-30% in each of years 1 and 2 and 13-17% in each of years 3 through 5. Award is intended to be acquired through best value competition restricted to the U.S. & Territories. The carbines will be produced in accordance with the M4/M4A1 Technical Data Package (TDP) and the license agreement between the U.S. Government and Colt Defense, LLC.

It is interesting to note that the pre-solicitation request makes no mention of the M4 upgrades that PEO Solider is working on.

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.


  • They also ordered $16 million in non-standard ammunition from ATK. Sounds like someone is preparing for something.

  • Why not to buy some HK416/M27 instead?

  • charles222

    Well, sounds like they’re really serious about issuing these to just about every last combat arms soldier; the original remanufacture/new build order was for 65,000, iirc, and now 100,000 more? That’s nearly a third of all soldiers in the military. Definitely enough for the cav scout & infantry communities.

  • El Gato

    Why don’t they just buy the heavier barrels and full auto parts and have 20 level armorers do it with Depot support. I am assuming that it is cheaper to pay for these parts that to put out another contract for M4-A1s. The USAF has “transformed” the GAU series how many times?

  • armed_partisan

    I’m sure this is just a temporary thing and it is a heralding of the end of the AR-15 platform for US military service in favor of something with it’s piston outside of the bolt carrier… not.

  • Well, this proves that I was correct all along about the licensing agreement, and the “professional” writers claiming that the Army “owns the TDP” were full of it.

    Gloating aside, this will bring up an interesting quandry for Colt. If they don’t bid low enough, they won’t win the contract. However, if they bid significantly lower than their last contract price, Congress, the GAO, and the DOD will ask some uncomfortable questions as to why the prices charged previously were so much higher. I fully expect FN Manufacturing to submit a bid close to what they charge for their M16A4, and that will be seriously hard to beat.

  • h34t

    Why did the Army canceling the MK16(scar) rifle but continues to get a rifle that is less “reliable”?

  • Lance

    Face it the M-4 is here to stay they are buying more and more M-4A1s and will be upgrading them to M-4A2 standards. The ICC competition is behind schedule completely and With BIG budget cuts coming I doubt M-4 is going away.

    The M-4 is a good weapon and most solders agree why complain?

  • Flounder

    Not sure if this is awesome or counterproductive… If they are possibly replacing the M4 then why buy a bunch of new ones? And why do they need 70-100k? Are they increasing the armory or is this just how many the military wears out?

  • SKSlover


  • Lance

    Alright guys i’ve been reading all about this. @H34t The Mk-16 wasn’t a better weapon than the M-4 it had different capabilities but no ordinary infantry man needs to change barrels in a division sized battle.

    At the rest the reason they are buying M-4A1s instead of regular M-4s is that this is part of there M-4 modernization plan they will at the end of the summer or fall begin to have a competition to upgrading the M-4 with a gas piston and to redo the whole bolt and carrier assembly. All M-4A1s will be upgraded after the winners are selected. Regular M-4s and M-16A2s in Army service will not and remain in original configuration. the plan is to have all combat units in the army ICBs to have improved M-4A1s soon to be M-4A2s and the support troops to have M-4s and M-16s. This is just one of the first stages for this.

    As for the ICC that is now behind schedule and now the competition will not start till 2015 anyway.

  • zack in afgan

    Great, Im tired of lugging around an m16a2+(dont know why we dont have A4s) on patrols. Even though they will never issue an m4 to us while were here.

  • charles222: Don’t forget that the US Army is responsible for M4/M4A1 procurement for all of the US service branches, as well as Foreign Military Sales. On occasion, even US law enforcement agencies can piggyback off of the contract.

    El Gato: Actually, the US Army has already awarded contracts for some of these replacement parts.

    ApocalypticPrep: Non-Standard Ammunition is being bought primarily for our allies like Iraq and Afghanistan, who still have ComBloc and/or non-STANAG weapons still in service.

    Pawel K. Malicki: A US Army purchase of that many HK416 without an open solicitation would require a seriously air tight Justification & Approval document.

    h34t: The US Army does not run the SCAR program. Instead, the SCAR is a USSOCOM program and always has been. The folks at screwed up, and confused an official USSOCOM briefing for one from USASOC.

    Lance: There are no dashes or spaces in official US Army small arms designations. If you don’t believe me, read MIL-STD-1464A.

  • I had another thought. If FN Manufacturing or another company is awarded a M4/M4A1 contract at a per unit cost significantly less than Colt’s, that is going put serious pressure on the pricing of any IC competition winner. This will be even more intense if the winner is chambered in 5.56mm. The IC winner will have to show a large increase in performance to justify any large difference in price over the new M4/M4A1 price.

  • charles222

    They’re not replacing the M4 for years if ever.

    The reason that the HK416/FN SCAR-L/whatever isn’t being adopted is because at the end of the day their terminal ballistics are not significantly different and their supposed “reliability advantage” is only when you’re rocking an 11-inch or shorter barrel, subsonic ammo, and a suppressor. None of which describes how the M4 is used in the field.

    SOCOM ditched the SCAR-L specifically because it didn’t provide a significant advantage over the M4A1 they already had in service.

    I’d go on about how the M4 has garned a 90% approval rating from M4s and how I’ve personally never suffered a jam with all but one of my issue M4s, but this debate is a dead horse if you ask me.

  • Nicks87

    I still dont understand why people criticize the AR-15 type rifles. I’ve carried them on duty and owned them for over a decade and they have ALWAYS performed exceptionally.

    I guess some of the horror stories from the early Vietnam era still scare people, but folks, THAT WAS 40 YEARS AGO!

    I think by now most manufacturers have all the bugs worked out and with the new piston rifles getting more popular, I think the “black rifle” is here to stay.

  • Lance

    @Nicks 87

    No rilfe ever in history had 100% approval and always had critics. The M-16 and M-4 have been inservice in decades and always had the jamming junk labal attached to it from critiics many who are either politicly connected to a rival arms maker OR are a rival arms maker. Most of this crap commoing abuot the M-4 is from congressmen and seators who have other companies in there zone or get money from other companies.


    The army only bought a few hundred A4s in the early 2000s and since have replaced most of them with M-4s or retained A2s. Almost all A2s are now used by none infantry or reserve/ National Guard forces now. A2s will be around for many years BUT the Army will soon give M-4s to none combat troops when new M-4A1s come to front line troops. Someday in army service you get a M-4. USMC (A4) and Navy and USCG (A2) will stay with M-16s. USAF will continue to use a A2 and M-4 mix.

  • Mr. T

    If I take my AR to a gun smith, how much would it cost me to sight in my AR @ 100 yards? Thx.

  • charles222

    You can do that by yourself for free, last time I checked.. :p