Border Patrol M4s recalled

An article on Fox News talks about a majority of the agencies service M4s recalled for maintenance issues . Apparently a good 40 percent or 2,000 of their weapons are being taken back for rear echelon maintenance and some officers are weary of not having their service rifles while on the job. The weapons taken away had the potential for malfunction.

The rate of nearly 40 percent was “more than we are comfortable with,” said CBP Deputy Chief Ron Bitiello.

“Our top priority is to make sure our agents are safe,” said Bitiello, adding that the agency intends to eventually cycle through all of the rifles to ensure that those in need of repair are fixed. “They will be like new when they are refurbished.

In organizations such as the military or Law Enforcement, service weapons are always being taken back to armorers for maintenance due to required service life timelines or issues that may occur but it usually isn’t almost half of the entire armory and especially when they are the primary weapon systems of the intended users. The article did not state what the agents would be armed with in the interim period as a primary service rifle.

We’d like to know why the rifles were recalled and when they will be returned,” Shawn Moran, spokesman for National Border Patrol Council, the union which represents agents, told “Our agency is trying to figure out why they were pulled.

It is interesting to note that unlike many mainstream news articles, the author is very firearms literate and informed about small arms.


Infantry Marine, based in the Midwest. Specifically interested in small arms history, development, and usage within the MENA region and Central Asia. To that end, I run Silah Report, a website dedicated to analyzing small arms history and news out of MENA and Central Asia.

Please feel free to get in touch with me about something I can add to a post, an error I’ve made, or if you just want to talk guns. I can be reached at


  • Matt

    40% does not constitute “a majority.”

    • When almost half of your armory is taken away for any reason, I would consider that a problem.

      • gunslinger

        problem, yes. but not a majority of the m4s

        now 40% is a large portion of the arsenal. but not a majority.

      • Matt

        That’s not what “majority” means.

      • Zebra Dun

        The border patrol is not allowed to use their rifles for any reason so why have them?

        • Ben Mussolini

          Stop being stupid in public.

    • Herp

      A majority of BP agencies lost weapons. Not a majority of BP agencies weapons were lost. Reading comprehension, folks.

    • JSmath

      Unless the 40% or 2000 weapons (as M4s) refers to M4s as part of a pool including other weapons.
      Then, it could have been 80% of their M4s, but still only 40% of their total weapons.

      Ya, I’m just nitpicking words but so were you, right? :]

  • Sgt. Don Goodman

    While most BP agents are likely weary of the horse pucky they’ve been fed for more than a decade, pretty sure they’re leery of four out of every 10 agents being disarmed on a violent, wide-open frontier run by cartels and corrupt federales!

    Leery means wary or suspicious in my warrior school. The Fox writer either knows guns or cares about his craft more than many.

  • Joe Smith

    In all fairness, they’re show props for BP to begin with.

    • Phil White

      the BP is there not to keep the Mexicans out but to keep US citizens in.

  • sianmink

    I wonder how much of this stems from improper maintenance: not replacing wear parts on a schedule, misguided military cleaning protocol (bone dry and make sure the bolt tail is spotless! why, because!) or just neglect.

    • Joshua

      From what I was told most of those had bent barrels long overdue for replacement.

      • RDB

        I wonder how many times these rifles have been shot. Only during practice. It seems the barrels would last longer than that, unless thousands of rounds have been fired in practice, which is unlikely. It is likely more to this than that.

      • rifflizard

        Then let them replace the barrels with their own two hands.

  • Phil White

    the M4 is a POS- always has been- always will be

  • Seburo

    All the whining about plastic guns from the DI fanboys and telling us the aluminum gun is perfectly fine and all the problems have been eliminated. Than this happens.

    • Yellow Devil

      I don’t think any of the DI “fanboys” every said all the problems have been “eliminated”. It’s fairer to say that there are clear advantages and disadvantages going with the M4 platform compared to other weapon platforms. The fact that Border Patrol has to replace a large number of their M4s due to either age or regular wear or tear is actually more indicative of the manner and environment they are used, which would tax any firearm. The article was actually highlighting problems with the procedures and slow turn around to fix their assigned weapons, something that I personally experienced with varying degree for my assigned rifles and machineguns in the Army.

      Also, if you are going to troll, you can’t half-azz it. You either have to be either really insightful or really exaggerated.

      • I think he was expecting a bigger reaction to misspelling “then”.

      • Seburo

        Not a troll attempt. Although the actual round of weapon blog trolls would have many believe it’s as reliable as the post 100 series AK’s are.

        A carbine such as the M4 has the be the worse weapon for the climate down there.IMO the BP should have been issued a less complex and maintenance heavy alternative. Such as an SBR, SMG or PDW. Do you really need a round as big the 5.56 or a 14 inch barrel rifle to deal with drug smugglers? It’s not like they have IIIA rated body armor.

        Regardless it such be the job of the company they bought them from the fix or replace these rifles.

        • Aaron E

          The point of maintenance heavy may be valid. But the BP definitely needs a rifle. They are routinely engaged by drug cartels with AK’s, AR’s, FN’s, HK’s, you name it.

          In addition, there are several accounts of Mexican military assisting the cartels using military equipment – helicopters, Humvees, and yes – .50 cal. machine guns. Working with pistol calibers just isn’t enough.

        • Ben Mussolini

          Stick with Call of Duty son.

          • Seburo

            Don’t play call of duty. It’s usually the Dudebro gamers and shooters who hate on “plastic guns” “bullpups”, etc.

      • rifflizard


    • Then “what” specifically happens? For an article trying to rabble rouse like this, it’s awfully nonspecific about what happened.

  • Ed

    US BP needs some training. They cant clean and maintain there weapons? that’s sad. Send them to USMC boot camp for a week they learn to keep there carbines ready.

  • Sulaco

    I think their numbers are wrong, it works out to about 12% not 40% something like 35 – 40 K rifles in stock and why withdraw half the number for an “upgrade” that could be done by anyone in 5 mins? Other readings say the “problem” is something to do with the current installed firing pins. Still when the dictator legalizes 11-13 million illegals in this country and allows a flood on the southern border, not allowing you enforcers arms is a perfectly reasonable course of action…

    • MANG

      Last 33% of that post is bogus. Spare us the drivel on immigration plz, plenty of other gun blogs to discuss that on.

      • Sulaco

        It was speculation, sorry big word. It could all tie in and if it does then will you o so graciously allow us peasants to discuss it in your majesties a gust internet presence? When you are appointed moderator get back to us.

        • When you report to us you are indeed capable of reading and understanding “Firearms, not Politics”, you get back to us. The slogan isn’t just because it sounds pretty.

        • Cymond

          What part of this is so hard to understand?

          • Maybe we need to make it glow or put some dazzle on it.

          • Ben Mussolini

            Maybe you need to grow a pair of nuts and stop pretending that politics can be ignored?

        • Grindstone50k

          “august” not “a gust”.

      • Zebra Dun

        The key word is “need” does the border patrol need rifles to patrol a border that does not exist?

    • Lets stay away from the politics please. This is about our Border Patrol not DC.

  • Maiek Wagu

    “Although Colt was the original manufacturer, versions are now made by such gunmakers as Bushmaster and Remington.” HMMMMM…Who won the contract for these rifes??

    • I think Colt did.

    • Grindstone50k

      My M16 in basic has “FNH” stamped on the side.

  • RDB

    i haven’t heard of problems with this weapon in the military. Why just the Border Patrol weapons? Mr. Moran questions why? I suspect this directive came from D.C., i.e., the White House.

  • youareme7

    My vote is someone is finally wising up to one of the most out of control, unaccountable government organizations and doing the smart thing to limit the damage they cause. A guy can hope anyway.

  • BryanS

    I thought our Border Guard isnt allowed to shoot back at the Mexican army / Cartels? Whats all the wear and tear from?

  • justme

    Makes perfect sense….ya know if it needs a few small parts to just take the rifle away and let it sit somewhere for huge amounts of time instead of just fixing the issue in under 3 minutes.

    Cause you know…that is just perfect sense. LOL

    Makes you wonder what the motives are here ehh?

  • Jon

    “Nearly one-third of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s 16,300 M4 carbine rifles were tested by the agency’s office of training and development, which determined that more than 2,000 had the potential for malfunction. The rate of nearly 40 percent was “more than we are comfortable with,” said CBP Deputy Chief Ron Vitiello.”

    This is government math for you, 1/3 of 16,300 is 5,379 not 2000. At one point he states 1/3 which is 33% and in the next sentence it jumps to nearly 40%. Dang this is going up quicker than the national debit. The bottom line is 2,000 of 16,300 is just over 12 percent, but hey let not confuse anyone with the facts right!!!!

    • Bosch

      The wording is just confusing. Of the 16,000 rifles, 1/3 or just over 5,000 were tested. 2000 of that 5000 had potential issues, or 40% of the tested batch. Assuming the sample is representative of all rifles, between 6 and 7k will have issues.

      • Jon

        It still shows how the government thinks and works though. It is playing with the numbers and the government is good at that. While his statement is accurate but in twisted way.

        • The Forty ‘Twa

          That or you didn’t read the quote properly before sounding off about the evil gubmint being crap at maths.

        • Bruce Brunken

          On the other hand, if that sample they tested was extrapolated into the overall total, wouldn’t it still be 40% of the entire 16,300, assuming their sample wasn’t overly heavy with malfunctioning rifles?

    • Cymond

      They have 16,300 M4 carbines. They tested “nearly one-third” so they tested fewer than 5379 carbines. Out of those <5379 carbines, more than 2,000 had problems. If you do your math, you'll see that 2000 is 37% of 5379. Of course, that percentage should be higher than 37% because they had more than 2000 problems in less than 5379 carbines.

      So yeah, I think "nearly 40%" is a fair expression.

  • shark60

    Pitiful! As long as the M4 has been around and used by the military, this is unacceptable. My civilian M4 always works. Any malfunctions are user related or just needed a good cleaning. This is after several thousand rounds of steel cased or other imported ammo. Mechanical problems may be due to faulty procurement issues or lack of training. Proper cleaning and maintenance will cure most problems.

  • Slovko

    I sincerely hope the BP would allow these agents to use their own rifles in that case. There is no excuse for agents in this country to be pooling their rifles to protect themselves and keep our borders safe. Given the ease of maintenance and repair of the AR platform anyway, agents should be perfectly capable of servicing these weapons themselves.

  • Jim_Macklin

    Just a thought, maybe some agents fail to use ordinary care and cleaning. The desert southwest can be very hard on barrels and close tolerance gas system components whether they are direct gas impingement or piston operated rifles.
    Keeping sand out of barrels and the bolt/carrier group requires a level ofd care that might be lacking.
    Or maybe the government bought some guns from a low bitter that did not follow the mil-spec on the critical parts?

  • Zebra Dun

    Current government policy says no borders needed, No borders means no border patrol needed, no border patrols mean no rifles needed.

    Therefore rifles are withdrawn and most likely walked across some border somewhere and then used as their border patrol rifle.
    It is best to spend money for guides and buses to transport people to places of interest and employment as well as to sign up to vote.
    See, all things end well.

    • Zebra Dun

      It’s not politics it’s what is needed to do the assigned job, if the job doesn’t exist for what ever reason then the rifles 100% of them can be withdrawn.
      That’s not politics, that’s logistics.

  • Andrew Tuohy

    The rifles are fine. The powers that be want to move to 11.5″ ARs and this is the way they have chosen to do it: by deadlining current rifles for ridiculous reasons. They won’t even change the barrels, they’re just going to cut them down.

  • Jon R.

    Heard the boarder patrol uses quit a few CMT/Stag arms rifles. As a Stag rifle owner I’m curious as to the make and issues experienced with their rifles.

  • RaunchyDawg

    That sight setup tho…….

  • RaunchyDawg

    You don’t need m4 rifles to allow illegals across the border anyway.

  • bruce Cambell

    I would suspect that nothing was actually wrong with the rifles, This is just an excuse to disarm the agents. Reason? We don’t want to scare off all of the future democrat voters migrating across the border. Instead, the border agents have been given the task of handing out US city maps and stacks of voter registration cards.

  • rifflizard

    Why aren`t these guys taking care of their own weapons? This is B.S. Just another political contractor making the big bucks off tax payer money. An M4 is not a tough weapon for maintenance. Very little to go bad. Maybe the carrier, or bolt, or firing pin, or even the charging handle, but C`MON!!! Absurd!!!