The S&W M&P4 Next-Gen Carbine Competitor

Rob Curtis @ GearScout was kind enough to send me this photo of Smith & Wesson M&P4, thier entry into the Army’s next-generation carbine competition. The rifle features a tougher finish, improved bolt & carrier and new muzzle design. It also looks attractive. The bronze/tan look is popular this year.

Read more about it at Gear Scout.

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.


  • Rob

    1. Acquire m4
    2. Paint it tan, install rails and vltor stock
    3. ???????
    4. Profit

    • bandito762

      Precisely what I was thinking. Do we really need another carbine competition to change the color of the rifle?

  • WFDT

    #3 should be “Increase caliber to at least 6.8mm”.

    • Other Steve

      I’m fairly sure massive benefit in logistics is more important to the mil than medium improvement in ballistics.

      I don’t ever see 6.8 getting love.

  • charles222

    Interesting. The extractor springs are the main weakness for the M4 (besides bad magazines) once they get old; hopefully S&W figured out a way to beef them up.

    • Other Steve

      Yea, I agree.

      The PR from them pulling out is that they want to keep their bolt/carrier changes to themselves. I’m curious to see what they did as well.

      I can’t remember if Smith is melonite coating their new BCGs, if they are I think I’d gladly drop my slightly out of spec Spikes boron coated for an M&P4. It sounds like with their new lugs a new barrel might also be required though. Well, I am about that pissed about the Spikes…

    • W

      It would delight me to see somebody design a heavier extractor for the M4 bolt…especially a mean AK47-esque one 😉

      After one of my AR15’s had a bad extractor spring, I replaced it with a Wolff one…it worked beautifully. It has long outlived the old one twofold.

  • Ed

    Just an FYI, Smith & Wesson withdrew from the carbine competition.

    • Other Steve

      Pretty sure that was reported here.

    • 18D

      Yeah, not only was that reported, but these pics have been floating around for awhile now as well. What gives?

  • Other Steve

    Gemtech Halo suppressor? Smith, you sure about that?

    From pics I’ve seen, the A2 is not a requirement on the carbine competition. LWRC’s has an AAC mount. So…. Gemtech Halo? REALLLY????

    That aside, am I the only one the sees that full quad rails are soon to be a thing of the past? Modular rails and partials like the KAC URX III are where it’s at! Anyone that’s ever shot an AR with an uncovered full rail knows just how dumb they are. You REALLY need the room to run night vision, laser, foregrip, sling adapter, secondary red dot, a light, and irons all at the same time?

    I will however be curious to see what they did with the bolt/carrier and improvements they have made. The DI BCG hasn’t changed in quite some time.

    • charles222

      Yes, you really do need to mount all of your accessories at once.

      As an example: I was always point man for my squad on deployment 3. Our main source of danger was crush-wire IEDs, which featured lovely “fuses” that you stepped on to complete a circuit. Did I mention these were made of copper electrical wire that you could hardly see with the naked eye in daylight, let alone at night, our main time for operations? I-and every other member of our unit-used our IR lasers to spot this stuff en route to objectives. Once we’d gotten to the objective, we typically switched to white lights immediately upon entry of a building. There is no time to dig a light out of your pack and swap it out. If you want to be able to use any weapon accessory, it needs to be mounted prior to use, not riding along where you’ll be wasting time getting it up and running.

      • W

        yes charles is absolutely spot on. Low light conditions make digging through equipment pouches impossible, especially when trying to maintain light and noise discipline. There have been absolutely amazing contributions when it comes to firearms accessories.

        Typically, a good CQC carbine needs: backup iron sights, optical sight, PEQ15 (or IR laser), and surefire flashlight with IR lens. Quad rails may not be as useful for civilians, though the proactive folks may take a interest in them.

  • SouthpawByNW

    Is this rifle a DI, piston, or some other system?

    • Charles222

      FWIW, virtually none of my military M4s have had rail covers unless I’ve actively gone looking for them. And I don’t think they’re uncomfortable even bare-handed, or detract from the weapon in any significant way.

    • Charles222

      I never found much of a use for the IR lens-just put my tape switches where I wouldn’t ND them.

  • W

    just a further evolution of the M4 by improving its durability and reliability…nothing drastically different. They seem pretty nice though. I have to assume it is a gas piston carbine.

  • Andrew Racek

    Flat Dark Earth is the new black.

  • Lance

    I thought this was pulled out of the competition? Any way its a nice weapon and with the Army also improving the M-4 fleet this could be a major upgraded for the weapon. Personally me and some other on this and other military web sites don’t think the M-4 is going away anyway so this would be great to upgraded them. Since the ICC doesn’t have a modular requirement for quick change barrels and uppers and is really for 5.56mm only any competitor would not really be a huge step above a M-4 so for the most part the army killed its own competition before it started.

  • Sure looks pretty…I love my M&P15.

  • Sean

    This looks like an AR-15. whats different? the flat top rail seems to continue along the same pattern with the quad rail, and it has some upgraded stuff, but looks otherwise the same as an AR-15. My bushmaster looks similar to this.

  • I would like to know more about the bolt carrier and bolt changes.

  • Nater

    Out of the entries that I’ve seen, admittedly few, the LWRC entry seems to be the most innovative. Spiral fluted, nitrided barrel, modular rail system, railed gas block, adjustable gas system, Exo coated bolt carrier group, fully ambidextrous lower receiver (with fully functioning bolt catch/release on both sides).

    However, I doubt that such a small company would do too well in such a competition. Unless you’re FN, HK, or Colt, you’re probably not going to win this competition. Assuming anything comes out of this competition, which is a big assumption.

    What I don’t understand is why the Army cares so much about current manufacturing facilities. They could simply buy a design from a small company and farm out manufacturing. This has been done with weapons systems forever. Unfortunately, the current acquisition process seems to be as much about enriching certain defense companies (that former DoD members no doubt work for and current DoD employees may work for in the future) than acquiring the absolute best designs.

  • Armageddon Rex

    #3 Should read: Change caliber to 6.5 Grendel.

    #4 Change operating system to medium stroke piston.

    #5 Require ambidexterous safety and magazine release.

    Armageddon Rex, Master SGT. (retired)

    • Ian

      Don’t you mean change to Grendel with 20+ barrel so you can hit your velocity claims…

  • Partizan1942

    HK 416, 417 is much better