Malaysia’s SME Ordnance M4 Carbine

Way back in 2007 I reported that Malaysia was switching from locally manufactured Steyr AUG carbines to M4 Carbines. Malaysian arms and ordnance manufacturer SME Ordnance obtained a license from Colt Defense to produce the rifle for Malaysian consumption and for export to South East Asia countries. Five years later, this is the first photo of the SME Ordnance M4 Carbine I have seen …

It looks like a fairly uninspired derivative of the M4A1, although I do like the mini-suppressor. (or is that some sort of blank firing adapter?).

[ Many thanks to Lionel for emailing us the link. ]

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.


  • SAMMY!

    Could be a Delta P Brevis suppressor


  • Max

    Thats a B&T Rotex Mini supressor.

  • Pepin the Short

    Uninspired clone?
    I do not see any conclusive evidence that this is not, in fact, an actual M4A1.

    • Yep, point taken, its not a clone since it is a licensed version. I have changed it to read derivative.

  • Lance

    Looks to spec way to go Malaysia!

  • moe6

    I’d like to point out that firearm ownership is mostly illegal here (with very special cases otherwise) and even joining a gun range requires you to be invited, vetted and generally you’d have to be the rich-kind-of-corrupt :).

    Even ammo is a possible death sentence if caught.

    • Nadnerbus

      Hopefully people aren’t thumbing up your draconian gun laws. Come to the States, you can shoot a machine gun down in Vegas, no death sentence or anything.

  • bima

    for the South East Asian countries, so far I’ve only seen Singapore and Indonesia that’s developing their own rifles to suit their combat style. the Singaporean SAR21 (developed from steyr AUG) and the Indonesian SS – series (developed from FNC)

    Give it some time.. and maybe the Malaysian will modify and develop the M4A1, to their own rifle.

    • Higgs

      Short of being a Bullpup 5.56 rifle, how is the SAR21 developed from the AUG?

    • W

      the SAR21 is developed from the AUG? id like to see or hear why…

      • Ominae

        Actually the SAR-21 is made without any basis on some other rifle out there since ST Kinetics made it with input from the Singaporean military.

    • KNF

      The SAR-21 isn’t developed from the AUG, it’s more like a combination of an AR-18 and a Kalashnikov (long stroke piston rod on the bolt carrier and two lug rotating bolt).

  • Higgs

    Uninspired? It isnt all tacticooled out, but has all the the things a modern weapon has. And itll be lighter than Issued M4s in the US.

  • G
  • Jasta

    But, why they were so unhappy with Steyr AUG? Could somebody please explain?

    • dmazzal

      Main reason is probably corruption.

      Other reasons are the Steyr Aug is not accessory friendly and putting a underslung grenade launcher on it is a pain. Although those two problems have been solved by the Australians and by Steyr with the A3. (maybe Steyr asked for too much money for the A3 design?)

      Malaysia is now the first country to ever go from bullpup to conventional rifle. 15 years of using the Steyr Aug down the drain.

      • Tinkerer

        Back in 1977, no assault rifle was “accesory friendly” -including the AR-15 family. Now, the AUGs have had Picatinny rails on them since the A2 version, and the current production A3 version sport a full top rail, and three smaller ones in a quad-rail style configuration.

        As for the AUG’s ability to mount underslung grenade launchers: since it’s inception, the AUG could mount an M203 directly to it’s quick-detachable barrel, so with a depress of the barrel release button you have a stand-alone grenade launcher. Nowadays, Steyr developed a propietary grenade launcher that interfaces cleanly with the A3 version.

    • Sid

      Because they got tired of bullpups would be my guess.

      There is nothing wrong with a bullpup design as long as you don’t need to change magazines. But the configuration of most battle rifles is not a matter of laziness on the designer’s part. The standard configuration allows the manual of arms to be performed efficiently.

      • TATim

        In all my years carrying and actually using a bullpup rifle (L85) in combat I have never felt that changing magazines was the massive inconvenience you paint it to be. It becomes second nature after you’ve done it over and over again in training. Have you ever used a bullpup rifle in combat out of interest?

      • Tinkerer

        My experience with the AUG’s ergonomics have never indicated me any great difficulty with changing magazines -especially, when comparing the magazine change procedure with other rifles that, while of traditional layout, do not use the AR-15’s philosophy of “drop free and discard a mag, and slam a fresh one in”, but instead follow the “grab empty mag, detach it, save it, and THEN insert a fresh one”, like, well, most of the other rifles -AKs, G3s, SIGs, Galils, etc etc.

  • CanduRandu

    I’m glad to see they actually bought a license rather than reverse engineering the design on their own.

  • snmp

    funny, cause in South Est Asia evrybody produce an AR15/M16/M4 clone/derivative: China, Philipine, Indonenesia, Vietnam, Singapore, Korea, Taiwan …

    • Bernard

      @snmp: Indonesia & Singapore never produces AR15/M16/M4 clones. They have their own rifle that suit their own need. Singapore with SAR-21, Indonesia with SS-1 & SS-2 (with variant), based from FNC license.
      Also, it seems like Indonesia & Singapore have little interest on Malaysia version of M4.

      • KNF

        Singapore did manufacture the AR-15/M16A1 under license from Colt back in the late 60s and 70s as the M-16S1 (and carbine derivatives). It was only after the M-16s were in need of replacement in the late 80s that they decided to develop the SAR-21 as they weren’t likely to get a licence to manufacture and sell (that’s the important bit) the -A2.

  • W

    another example of the increasing popularity of the M4/M16 platform. I predict a high demand for these weapons in the near future.

  • Benjamin

    I highly doubt the Malaysians will be issuing their soldiers accessories for their M4s. And what’s the logic behind using a 14.5-inch barrel carbine which allegedly has lethality issues at range?

    • Rational

      Benjamin…why would you doubt soldiers would be issued RDS or other accessories?

      14.5 is a good compromise for urban warfare which I’d guess the Malay’s would engage in and with improved ammo, say MK262, MK318 or apparently even M855A1 extends the lethality over the piss-pour M855 which was never meant to be effective out of 14.5-inch barrels.

      • 68whiskey

        Based on my own personal experience, RDS will only be issued to spec ops units in Malaysia.. The infantry will not be using RDS during the jungle patrol because of the harsh environment during the jungle warfare. As a result, the normal configuration for M4 in Malaysia will be the basic 14.5 inch barrel… Besides, decades of insurgency in Malaysia had taught the army that the iron sight is more suitable and reliable than RDS in the jungle.

    • Alex-mac

      Benjamin has a point. Malaysia is not that rich a country so I doubt they’d be able to afford red dots for every one of their rifles, even less so accessories like night/thermal vision, lights and so on. One of the advantages of the Steyr Aug is the red dot is built into every rifle, saving costs.

      Nonetheless. The M4 is not a bad choice since Malaysia is mainly jungle and urban terrain which means distances beyond 300m are unlikely.

      • Alex-mac

        Also the Steyr Augs made in malaysia were of lower quality, they could never get them right in 15 years.

        The corruption comes in where instead of busting heads or moving to a different manufacturer who could produce a steyr aug without faults, they instead moved to a easier to manufacture rifle (the M4).

  • That is a can… A swiss made Brugger & Thomet Rotex III Compact in .223/5.56 to be exact with it’s proprietary QD mount that will fit standard A1/A2 flash hiders on most AR15/M4 type systems as well as Sig/s, HK416/s and some HK G36/s that come with the said USGI flash hiders.

    The choice or deployment of such most probably came out of the relationship between select units in the Malaysian armed forces and their use of sig sauer/swiss arms platforms and their more general use of the Steyr AUG/s as mentioned in the article.

    The photo below from wikipedia confirms this fact, however the suppressor pictured is a fullsize version from the same company/model line (b&t/rotexIII). A quick search using the almighty google should more or less yield the same results.

  • Mike Knox

    I’ve got to ask, why’s everyone making M4A1 copies, not M16s?

    • Alex-mac

      Combat rarely occurs past 300 metres.
      Urban combat has even less need of a longer a barrel (100m)
      Improvements in bullet tech have improved bullet performance in shorter barrels meaning you don’t lose as much going to a shorter barrel.
      Jungle combat is less than even urban combat distances. Jungle being present in alot of south east asian nations.
      Most troops are now mechanized which means carrying a full size rifle in a helicopter or car is a pain in the ass.
      And lastly, improvements in semi auto sniper/dmr rifles have made the 7.62x51mm a better choice for distances above 500m, which is the effective range of the M4.