Army really does not want a carbine competition

The Army continues to do everything they can to scuttle the new carbine competition. Remember it was politicians,  some who were concerned that the M4 was not performing as promised and others who eyed getting manufacturing contracts for their supporters, who called for a new carbine program, not the Army. Bloomberg reports

The Army risks wasting as much as $1.8 billion developing a replacement for the M4 carbine that it may not need, according to the Pentagon’s inspector general.

The carbine replacement program is one the Army and Pentagon “may want to re-evaluate,” as the service is “seeking to acquire more rifles during a time when their total force structure will be reduced,” Lynne Halbrooks, principal deputy inspector general, said in a statement provided today to a House committee. The Pentagon plans to reduce Army ground forces to 490,000 by 2017 from about 560,000 in 2011.

The Army canceled the last carbine replacement program in 2005 which would have replaced the M16 and M4 with the H&K XM8 Carbine. The Joint Combat Pistol program, to choose a successor to the Beretta M9, was cancelled in 2006/7.

Thanks to Peter for 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.


  • floppyscience

    While the continuous carbine and JCP programs have spawned a bunch of really nice designs, the Army may as well stop pretending they insist on replacing anything and just save the money.

    • Graham 1

      Agreed, I just assume all of these programs will get scrapped eventually.

  • Nathaniel

    Surprise surprise.

    M4s work fine. Nobody needs these wanker rifles that are heavier and have exactly the same capability. Even the Army knows that.

  • Lance

    Actually this was inevitable. There is no new rifle that worlds better than the M-4 and since we are still using 5.56mm stay with the tried and true platform. If you want the ACR in service get the army to adopt 6.5mm for a new round. Otherwise to stay NATO calibers stay with the guns we have that work!

    • floppyscience

      Nobody wants the ACR in service.

      • haha agreed

      • floppytheprick

        As much As your crappy comment. (floppyscience)

    • I guarantee you they won’t change calibers for the big Army

      • u think they would think smarter and deploy more of there tride and true battle tested and proven M1A’s; M14 rifles that just sit in wharehouse’s i know sum of them are being used over seas but not as many as they should use hell maby they can teach one shot one kill insted of the 250k rounds fired per 1 kill nowdays….no fancy chassis system needed no 1000$ trijicon just a basic battle rifle…

        • Matt

          Couch ninja!

        • MOG

          As a former member with the 2nd 503rd Regimental Combat Team, detached from the 82nd Airborne, and eventually upgraded to the 173rd Abn Brigade, (Sep)., and serving with the 101st Abn initial deployment to Vietnam, I can tell you the M14 was, and is still, a good battle rifle, those first M16s were good for “jungle” warfare, when they would shoot. Bolt assemblies would gum up, freeze firing pin, no amount of cleaning in the field would get them running again. At that time the bolt could not be disassembled and cleaned. M60s and the few M14s and .45 pistols came in handy.

      • Frank

        I remember when everyone was talking about how great the 6.8mm cartridge was going to be for the Army.

  • n0truscotsman

    SOPMOD II 😀 make it happen!

    Im bummed but honestly, spending needs cut. Not adopting a carbine is less debt created. Lets cut the JSF and GCV and demand a refund from the contractors!

    • Daniel E. Watters

      SOPMOD Block II accessories have already been fielded.

  • Nadnerbus

    If the military really wanted a new rifle (which they don’t), it should have been done some time between 2003 and 2008 when defense spending was flowing like the salmon of Capistrano. It’s too late now,

    Since the regular Army is about to become a garrison force again anyway, and no one wants another ground war, a new service rifle is probably not priority number one regardless,

  • Risky

    Good… last thing the Army needs is to adopt a rifle that will be as successful as their adoption of ACU/UCP.

  • Jester

    The only thing that can warrant the replacement of the M4 would be a caliber change. The Army should focus on fixing their poor maintenance practices and worn out weapons. Change those gas rings, kill the white glove cleaning myth, and change M16’s to VLTOR A5 collapsing stocks.

  • Joseph

    The Aimpoint, ACOG, and laser designator mounted to the M16 and M4 have probably done more to increase the lethality of soldiers more than any cartridge development or rifle system has in the past few decades.

    • MOG

      If the current crop of 5.56 cal have drastically improved reliability, then yes, sights and skill make the kill. A “new” carbine might very well mean starting over fixing the wheel. Change for change sake is never a good idea. Soldiers/Marines and all, need reliable firearms. Politicians just look for kick backs.

  • PLUS

    Maybe the M4 will continue in service until the caseless amunition is being popular around globe…US Army is too big.

  • Said it before, and I’ll say it again:

    There is no reason to buy a new rifle or carbine design unless there is a dramatic upgrade in technology(caseless ammo, plasma rifle in the 40w range, etc).

    But seriously, $1.8bil for what will be a piston AR?

    • bbmg

      Too true, in ballistic terms there is essentially nothing about a modern assault rifle that a soldier from the first world war wouldn’t recognize. Materials might be a bit lighter and more resistant to the elements, but whither progress? Put a decent optic on a 70 year old StG 44 and it would probably be as effective a modern assault rifle in your average firefight.

      Heck, the 7.62 × 54 cartridge from 1891 (yes, 122 years ago!) is still giving our boys in Afghanistan a good run for their money. And they want to spend almost 2 billion dollars on something that will be only incrementally better than the status quo?

    • Frosty_The_White_Man

      Considering the USG blew $382 billion on that godawful F-35 jet, $1.8 billion to modify the AR isn’t bad.

      • USG hasn’t come close to expending that amount of money on the F-35. That’s the anticipated life time cost.

        And if you seriously think that it makes sense to drop 1.8 billion for a piston AR, but not to replace every fighter bomber in US inventory(except the F-22), with a plane that is much, much more capable…you need to get your priorities in order.

        • MOG

          I would put my money on the planes that fly.

          • F-35 can fly.

          • MOG

            Yes, but seem to have a few problems with pilot staying awake.

          • MattInTheCouv

            you’re thinking of the f-22

  • Sid

    What we need are more bullets and ACOGs. The only way to get better at shooting is to shoot. Working in a Battalion staff and watching your unit’s round count get whittled makes you understand far away decisions and close impacts. Not just infantry soldiers. Every soldiers should fire their primary weapon once a month and at challenging ranges. Shoot controlled pairs at 15 ft this month until you are proficient and next month shoot 600 meters UNTIL YOU ARE PROFICIENT. No more of the twice a year confirm zero and shoot the qualification tables.
    We don’t need a new rifle. If some units want to switch to pistons, then the conversion can be reliably done on our rifles already in hand.

    • Esh325

      It’s difficult if not impossible to expect all soldiers to be expert shots with their rifles. Especially, in times of all out war.

      • bbmg

        Efforts should be made to make them as proficient as possible though, shot placement is critical! A good shot with a 223 is far more valuable than a bad shot with a 50 cal.

        • MOG

          No argument intended, but any shot with a .50 pointed in the right direction is a drawers changer.

    • t-dahlgren

      Agreed, trigger time is king.

  • asshole

    i feel bad for your mother.

  • Anonymoose

    What else is new?

  • DougE

    I think it’s very wise of the Army not to test any more carbines for a long time. Considering we’re drawing down a war that involved long range engagements, and the reason we switched to the M16/M4s was short range warfare, we should really play the waiting game and save money in the process. I actually think they should reduce the standing army numbers even more. If we can’t reduce debt, we’ll have bigger problems than warfare.
    I think the DMR tactic was very smart and they should continue utilizing it for the foreseeable future.

  • Fred Dryer

    A new carbine is inevitable. Check out and see the next bridging technology where the M4/M16 becomes a consolidation energy/comms device making accessories infinitely more efficient.