Is the M16A4 worth the extra weight and length it brings? Howard of LooseRounds has weighed in with an article relating some of his experiences with the rifle. His conclusion is as follows:
I have often told people that the M4 is a jack of all trade, but master of none. Truthfully, the M4 really excels at many of the roles it is used in. The M16A4 type rifle falls into an odd place where it doesn’t particularly do any one thing significantly better than the M4, yet is inferior in handling and weight.
For some this will come as a surprise, but Howard carefully considers what the M16A4 brings to the table as an infantry weapon – and doesn’t feel that it makes up for the greatly increased weight and inferior handling that comes with it.
One topic this broaches is that of barrel length of standard military rifles: How much is appropriate, and why? How important is muzzle velocity, and to what degree should handiness and ease of use be compromised to improve it? It’s a question with a lot of depth – more than I can plumb – and every user may have a different answer, but Howard’s conclusions mirror the decisions made by numerous armed forces around the world: Shorter is better, says the dominance of carbines with barrels less than 16″ long.
I strongly urge readers to click through and read the whole thing.