Approved, M4s for Marines

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A Marine Corps Times Article that came out on the 26th of October has sealed the deal on the Marine Corps adoption of the M4 service rifle over the M16A4 rifle. It was pretty well known that the Marine Corps was going to come to this, but the official approval and actual logistics of the process took a little longer to actually get down. Marines have been getting used to this change of rifle progression over time, with more and more M4s being introduced at the platoon level. This move also just follows a general effort across the small arms board to make them smaller for the expeditionary role. The M27, the collapsing buttpad on the M240B, the short barreled and collapsing buttpad on the SAW, the lightweight 60mm mortar system, among other changes being introduced.

My next question is where are all the M16A4s going to go? I don’t think they would be pushed to the Reserves, as this kind of change is instituted Corps wide. They most likely will be sold or given off to various Allied countries in the form of military aid, we can already see some of them in use by Afghan National Army troops in the recent fighting for Kunduz. Of course, the best case scenario would be to have the upper receivers sold off to the general public, but that’ll probably never happen.

Commandant Gen. Robert Neller has signed off on the switch making the M4 the primary weapon for all infantry battalions, security forces and supporting schools no later than the end of September 2016

“We made the proposal, and we just got the head nod from the commandant,” said Chris Woodburn, a retired lieutenant colonel who now serves as the deputy Maneuver Branch head for the Fires and Maneuver Integration Division of Marine Corps Combat Development Command. “We get improved capability at no cost, a smaller and more compact rifle that shoots better for infantry.

“We found out that the M4 actually outshoots the A4 at all ranges out to 600 meters with the new ammunition,” Woodburn said, referring to the 5.56mm AB49 Special Operations Science and Technology cartridge the Corps is looking to make the standard.

Any unit which is short M4s per its table of organization and equipment will then apply to LOGCOM to make up the difference.

“It’s important to emphasize that no one who rates an M4 by TO is going to lose an M4,” Woodburn said. “These are excess M4s that are already in units, and we have an amount at LOGCOM already.”

The goal, Woodburn said, is to have the first phase complete by the end of third quarter of fiscal 2016, and the total redistribution accomplished by the end of the fiscal year.

Exceptions, he noted, will be for those units either getting ready to deploy or returning from deployment.



Miles V

Former Infantry Marine, and currently studying at Indiana University. I’ve written for Small Arms Review and Small Arms Defense Journal, and have had a teenie tiny photo that appeared in GQ. Specifically, I’m very interested in small arms history, development, and Military/LE usage within the Middle East, and Central Asia.

If you want to reach out, let me know about an error I’ve made, something I can add to the post, or just talk guns and how much Grunts love naps, hit me up at miles@tfb.tv


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  • magnetik

    I bet the surplus ends up with ISIS in one of those “accidental” supply drops.

    • Vitsaus

      Or Mexican drug cartels. Or some small town police department, dropped off with an Abrams.

      • wzrd1

        They’d be welcome to the Abrams, without all of those heavy maintenance tasks performed, it rapidly becomes a static display.

  • Bronezhilet

    Aaaah just adopted the M4. Welcome to 20 years ago, Marines!

    • Paul Labrador

      To be fair, the M16 has some advantages over the M4, particularly in long range shooting and terminal ballistics, which the Corps favored over ease of carry. It comes down to which you prioritize.

  • Tyler McCommon

    Seeing as it’s the marines it’ll be 30 years before each unit gets a hand me down army M4.

    • Cattoo

      Ya got that right. If even by then.

      • Kivaari

        A Marine friend was still packing WW1 web gear. They didn’t know what “Y” suspenders or “H” harnesses were.

        • wzrd1

          Well, one unit I was in also had WWII and Korean War web gear of that description.
          Of course, that was back in the early ’80’s.

        • Cattoo

          That’s too funny. WWI webbing still as issue in recent times. One would think a Captain somewhere would want all his Marines wearing “uniform” equipment. Unless the whole unit WAS uniform with the WWI gear.

          • Kivaari

            Oops, that was my war, Vietnam.

        • Cattoo

          When I was in S. Korea for the Team Spirit exercises in ’87 we were issued 1950’s era cold weather gear and the early version cold weather “Mickey Mouse” rubber boots. Wasn’t very warm gear being beat up thirty some year old clothes. But being Marines we figured we were lucky to have been issued anything at all. It was soooo cold there that winter.

    • wzrd1

      As these are SOCMOD block 2 rifles, no Army involvement.

  • I think John Kerry promised them to Iran as part of his well negotiated Deal.

    • Gjert Klakeg Mulen

      Don’t they already have the Norinco M16? The one with the weird pistol grip?

    • sure shot

      We give Israel hundreds of billions in weapons and “foreign aid” why not give the Persians a few thousand old rifles.

    • phuzz

      Iran is basically a living museum of old US military tech. They’re still flying F-14s.

      • Savages and Cavemen!
        Wait –
        We should still be flying F-14’s!

        • Kivaari

          The F/A 18 is over 30 years old. It is still a marvel to see in action.
          While in Vietnam, as a sailor REMF, I only saw one aerial attack. It was amazing to see since the bombing and napalm was right at the beaches tree line. Airpower is great stuff.

  • James

    They’re adopting the M4, as opposed to the M4A1? Why?

    • Joshua

      Because they have to stay about 20 years behind.

    • Bill

      I’m guessing that’s just a MC Times shortcut: neither FN or Colt will want to SKU M4s and M4 A1s, plus appropriations committees will probably notice any difference and push for identical rifles, UNLESS there are twist rate or barrel life issues between service ammunition, which I haven’t been following.

      Theoretically, each branch could now issue an identical base platform, even just a lower receiver and add the toys specific to their mission. But that makes sense, so it can’t be done.

      • Anonymoose

        Twist rate issues? Like what? All NATO 5.56s use 1:7s except for the SPR. The only reason 1:9s exist in the civilian world is because they’re cheaper to make and let you shoot super-light varmint bullets (<50gr) better. 1:7 is needed to stabilize the M856, and 1:8 (which only comes in 16" and 18" afaik) is the minimum for the Mk262.

    • Anonymoose

      M16A2s and A4s and M4s use the exact same lower, so they can just swap uppers and buttstocks to “upgrade” them. To convert to an M4A1 you have to change the FCG. Also, the Marines don’t trust non-MARSOC grunts with full-auto service rifles, barring dedicated “LMGs” like the 249 and M27.

      • Joe

        False. RTT, FAST, and Snipers are all issued M-4A1’s.

    • Paul Labrador

      Not really a big deal. Only big diff between M4 and M4A1 is the trigger pack. That’s easy to change out.

  • Azril @ Alex Vostox

    Whatever happened to the “Every Marine a Riflemen” Mantra?

    • FWIW

      “Every Marine a Carabinier” just doesn’t have the same ring to it I’m afraid.

      • Paul Labrador

        Every Marine a rope clip…???? ;o)

  • Hellbilly

    “My next question is where are all the M16A4s going to go?” – Miles Vining

    Per the article, it sounds like only infantry and other combat-related MOSs are making the switch to all M4 carbines. The surplus M16A4 rifles will simply go into the armories of non-combat units.

  • TheNotoriousIUD

    “My next question is where are all the M16A4s going to go?”

    Girl Scouts of America

    • iksnilol

      Hope not, they are ruthless enough as is.

      • kipy

        “Oh, you don’t want to buy my 40$ box of thin mints? Well Cindy across the street has a sand blasted Colt leveled at your chest, so you better get that wallet out Mr.”

        • wzrd1

          Well, that’s fine, as Johnny has an M24 aimed at Cindy’s head, so no thanks, I’ll pass on the mints.
          Now, I can spare the change for a case of do-si-dos and another case of peanut butter patties. They’re addictive.
          [Johnny, stand down]

          Hey, an armed society is a polite society. 🙂

      • TheNotoriousIUD

        “You want TWO boxes of Thin Mints ***pulls back charging handle*** dont you, sir?”

    • Jon

      I suspect they will be upgraded to M4A1s by Marine Corps armorers or via contract.

      • Anonymoose

        These are all going to be regular old 3-round burst M4s. All you gotta do is swap uppers (or barrels) and stocks, and scratch out the “16A.” lol

        • William Burke

          That’s it, Moose and Squirrel!

        • Jon

          Yep, but I thought the Marine Corps did not fall for the 3 round burst like the Army did. Any former Marines here that can clarify?

          • Anonymoose

            https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/6f51f8384b48c625cf5421ca8b4348b6588eb75af2ebcdc158aad33dd72f42b6.jpg
            u w0t? Have you been playing a lot of Battlefield 3 and 4? ALL standard-issue M16-series weapons (to include the regular M4) since the 1980s have been safe/semi/3-round burst only. The M16A2 is generally considered the worst of the M16 series because of all of the “improvements” by the AMU and the Marine Corps, which include the 3-round burst, not-heavy-but-not-light barrel, finger-adjustable sights, and “target” stock, hence why we have the 25-years-and-running tacticool backlash against anything with barrels >16 inches. There was a variant of the Vietnam-era Commando that had a 4-position Safe/Semi/2-round burst/Full fire groups, and at some point Colt and DPMS(?) made Safe/Semi/3-round burst/Full “M4A1 Enhanced” lovers (which only exist in some dealers’ collections afaik), but those have never been general issue to anyone. The best part is that the burst does not reset on the trigger pull (a “conundrum” that Heckler & Koch and other manufacturers such SIG, FN, and Howa solved in 1970!), so if you only squeeze out 2 rounds and let go of the trigger, the next pull will be semi, and they were originally going to issue the M16A2 with then-standard 20-round mags, which would always leave you with a semi-auto “burst” after emptying and reloading if you didn’t stay topped off+1 in the pipe also. The Army is reworking their M4 trigger groups to full-auto over the next few years, and the Navy has been issuing M4A1s to everyone who used to carry an M16 (SEALs, vehicle crews, Seabees, etc), but the Marines and Air Force are sticking with the M16A2-style 3-round burst, as they have for the past 3 decades.

          • Phil Hsueh

            What about the M16A3? Wasn’t that full-auto?

          • Anonymoose

            That was for Seabees and SEALS ONLY. No one else ever used that variant, and it’s highly likely that all the M16A3s the Navy had have no been converted into M4A1s.

    • Yallan

      They need to protect themselves from the rape epidemic.

      • TheNotoriousIUD

        Thats dark, dude.

      • Anonymoose

        There is no “rape epidemic,” just like there is no “gun violence epidemic” or “wage gap.” That’s all MSM BS designed to push more and more insipid, Draconian codes based around thoughtcrimes and precrimes.

        • William Burke

          He’s not talking about America. He’s referring to Sweden, the rape capital of Europe. Thanks to hordes of Muslim “migrants”.

          How I resent that term, “migrants”! A migrant is a seasonal agricultural worker.

          “Migrants” they ain’t; they’re an invading criminal horde!

          • wzrd1

            Migrant workers aren’t only seasonal workers, they travel where the work is. But, migrants fleeing from their homes in flames and rapist ISIL maniacs are just so totally evil. The right thing was to stay at home and enjoy having the entire family raped to death, right?

            Oh wait, we can’t let silly little things like facts interfere with repetition of the words of one’s betters. Just like Patrick Henry did.
            Or something.

    • durabo

      The surveyed M16A4s will be going to Sheikh Hussein of Obamastan’s civilian enforcement army of Guacamolian invaders and Islamists. But those two so-called “civilizations” never learned to shoulder a rifle or establish cheek weld. Their principal battle tactic is spray and pray, in these cases, to Meso-American idols and Allah. We will pick them out one by one.

      • albaby2

        Good post!

        • Tejanojack

          HooAh!

      • Kivaari

        Great post. Eric Ho0ler will be working in a garage over a drug tunnel grinding off serial numbers. It will be the closest to real work he’s ever done.

        • The_aks

          Fast and Furious part duex!

        • William Burke

          Cereal numbers? We don’ need no steenking cereal numbers! We eat ours with Tequila!

          • Kivaari

            I’z gots one of thos steenking badges. It ann $3 buys a cafe’

      • William Burke

        With any semblance of sane and non-criminal leadership, they would be made available to American firearms enthusiasts at cost, or cheaper. There is no cogent reason to deny citizens select-fire weapons.

        So this switch was how long in the bureaucratic brass making? 15 years? 20?

        I can’t imagine any regular forces needing a reliable, light (sort of) and accurate carbine. From the Halls of Montezuma to the shores of Corporate Hegemony.

        • wzrd1

          Well, in favor of the NFA, why was Mr Kelly called Machinegun Kelly again? Wide open ownership of Thompsons created a nationwide series of crime sprees.

          As for the carbine, come back and talk to me when you’ve cleared those squirrely narrow hallways and narrow doorways with anything other than either a carbine or pistol. Anything else gets jammed up in those conditions and well, the M4 has proved itself in battle in Iraq and Afghanistan.
          Why re-invent the wheel and delay things by the usual, lengthy DoD trail process and end up with Marines getting new carbines in a decade?

          • William Burke

            You think that was an argument AGAINST the carbine? Maybe you need a remedial reading comprehension class at the community college.

            As for Machine Gun Kelly – he was a GANGSTER!! Are we to surrender our Second Amendment rights BECAUSE CRIMINALS?

            That’s already pretty much the gun-grabbers’ position. If I have a machine gun, I feel comfortable taking my chances with criminals with machine guns. The Second Amendment contains no “except for….” clause.

          • Jesse Foust

            The NFA of 1934 allows for civilian ownership of full-auto firearms. The Machine gun ban of 1986 does not. How much machine gun crime was there between ’34 and ’86 in the US?

          • wzrd1

            I’ve only found three, the latest being a corrupt cop using his NFA Uzi to shoot up a drug house.

          • Jesse Foust

            So, selling the 3 round burst M16A2s and A4s in inventory now, while complying with the 1934 regulations, would likely not cause an increase in crime. I’d love to have one of each, just for the sake of nostalgia.

          • wzrd1

            Well, the only problem is, the DoD destroys weapons before selling them to the public. I don’t know if it’s a law or not, but the weapon is essentially destroyed by the demil process.

            Anyone got a reason that the DoD demils, rather than selling off their NFA firearms?

          • wzrd1

            I’ve only found three crimes committed with NFA firearms since the NFA has been enacted.
            I’ve also noticed that few machine guns have been designed since 1986, so all made before that date are still able to be legally obtained.

          • Jesse Foust

            It doesn’t matter when they were designed. It’s about when they were manufactured. There have been no new machine guns made for civilian use since 1986. Those that are available are prohibitively expensive with no measurable effect on crime in the US.

      • Former Deputy

        Don’t the M16A4s have a 3-round burst vs. full-auto?

        • Jesse Foust

          the A2 and A4 have 3RB, the A1 and A3 are full auto. The A3, IIRC, was developed as a light support weapon and was not used very extensively.

      • Core

        Lol

    • Paul Labrador

      I find that question very funny. News flash: For all intents and purposes, an M4 is essentially an M16 with a 14″ barrel and collapsible buttstock. It’s not like changing either of those parts out is complicated and requires the rifles to go back to the factory. With proper tools, I could do it in my garage. This could easily be a unit armorer or depot level swap. There is absolutely nothing wrong with those upper or lower receivers. Save the money and just convert those M16A4’s into M4 configuration.

      • wzrd1

        Let’s see, buffer, buffer spring, buffer, stock, new upper.
        Too complicated for the suits in the Pentagon to figure out over promises of jobs with the DoD suppliers after leaving the DoD.

    • Former Deputy

      Do you see those dots dancing on your chest, sir? So how many boxes of Thin Mints do want, sir? Thank you , sir!

  • Bill

    No more muskets!

    • INFI

      Thank you! Short stocking too!! LTC DAVID LUTZ is responsible for all of the A2 A4 clusterfu$$ we had to deal with. 5/8 of an inch too!! :]

    • Lee

      And bayonets………….

  • DR1579

    No, the best case scenario would be that the entire rifle was sold off as surplus to the general public. But thanks to totally undefendable and constitutionally odius laws like the National Firearms Act that logical and correct action isn’t likely.

    • nadnerbus

      Just from an economic standpoint alone. The military could defray the cost of new purchases by a ton if they recouped some of their initial outlay by reselling to the civilian market. What do they pay for an M-16? 600 bucks or so? Tack weld a plug into the lower receiver, install a semi-auto trigger set, and you don’t even have to worry about NFA if congress were to pass a law excepting them from ATFs “once a machine gun, always a machine gun” BS. Sell them for 3 or 4 hundred bucks to collectors, and the military got to use and abuse a rifle for 200 bucks.

      • Kivaari

        Screw collectors, sell them to shooters.

        • iksnilol

          I would assume they’d be more attractive to collectors. I mean, you were millitary, you know better than me how worn the rifles get.

          • Kivaari

            Most are in great condition. If a rifle is worn in any fashion it goes to an arms depot for rebuild. We have a history of restoring well used firearms to like new condition, than storing them well. There were warehouses full of 10 count M1/2 carbines in drop tubes ready to go for decades. M1 rifles the same way. We would ship both overseas for issue to allies. Those “old” M16A1s are across the nation and world serving. The “new” A2-3-4 will get treated the same way. Stored, just in case we need them for war. Like the millions of WW2 era rifles and pistols flooding the worlds surplus market. I was buying Russian M91/30s for $80, while they were selling in Australia for $500. The M1895 revolvers were bought at $5 each and then sold to Americans for $80-125. A good deal of profit.

          • iksnilol

            Huh.

            Kinda funny in a dark way, the guns are stored in better condition than they are used in.

          • Kivaari

            Not dark to me. I would love to have a few cylinders of preserved rifles. A crate of M1911A1s as well. The army really did try to keep them in a condition suitable for issue. The CIA (Christians In Action) dumped 35,000 .45s into Angola. That was more than all the fighters on all sides in the fight. The CIA said, “We got them cheap”.

          • iksnilol

            What I was trying to say is that it is more important that the guns are in good condition if they are to be stored than it is if they are going to be depended on to keep you alive.

          • Kivaari

            The ones we got, as well as an agency in a neighboring town were like new. They were in better shape than the ones I had in the army. I would have been happy with any of them

      • wzrd1

        They’d then go out the usual way, via the CMP.
        But, what you missed in your price quotes was, what’s the man hour costs involved? No need to spend $800 – $1000 to sell it off at $400.
        That’s what DRMO is for.

    • Bill

      After the dept got some “M16s” as surplus, I’m not sure you actually want them. By the time we actually got them functional, it would have been more cost-effective to buy entry level ARs.

      • Kivaari

        Ours were in like new condition. Same for the M14s. I’d love to have an M16A1 by Colt. Even though the H&Rs worked fine.

        • wzrd1

          I had one in basic, back in ’82. It even had the open flash suppressor and Mattel handguards.
          It was also the most worn rifle in the company, if not battalion.

          • Kivaari

            The Marines continued to issue very worn M16’s. Recruits were having great difficulty qualifying. Finally the gunnies suggested issuing higher grade M16, known to shoot well. Then if a recruit had issues, the rifle would be checked, shot and if deficient pulled from the line. Amazing thing, recruits started qualifying with greater ease. Having the bore missing for 6 inches in front of the chamber, just did not shoot all that well.

    • Paul Labrador

      Disagree. Best case scenario is simply to re-barrel all of those rifles and convert them to M4s.

  • USMC03Vet

    But the M16 cadences!

    • TheNotoriousIUD

      Yeah but M4 kinda rhymes with Marine Corp.

    • Squirreltakular

      To be fair, most of them were originally “my M14”. M16 just happened to rhyme. Everything’s gotta change sometime, I guess.

    • Grindstone50k

      RIP “Beauty Queen” jodie.

    • imachinegunstuff

      Some POG somewhere is wondering “how do we drill with M4s!”

      • INFI

        There will always be a parade deck for some reason.

        • Kivaari

          We in the Navy, right next to the Marines, in San Diego was called the grinder. I had never seen rain as steady and heavy until ’67. And I grew up in Western Washington.

      • skusmc

        As a prior POG, I promise you there is no POG anywhere wondering that.

        • imachinegunstuff

          Oh no there is, he’s a staff sergeant who’s never deployed and has been hiding at the drill field for years. He’s out there and he’s furious

          • William Burke

            LOL

      • William Burke

        Like nobody anywhere doesn’t drill with bullpups.

    • INFI

      Short stocking is out the freakin window nao yo! 12 years too late.

    • Uniform223

      I used to date the beauty queen now I got my M16…

      • USMC03Vet

        I don’t need no teenage queen. All I need is my m16!

  • Vladimir Putin

    I hope they give them to the Ukrainian.

    • Grindstone50k

      Just one Ukrainian?

      • Comrade

        Apparently that’s all that will actually fight for themselves.

    • Kivaari

      We could give them to the Ukraine.

  • Joseph Smith

    Parade rest?

  • TJbrena

    “We found out that the M4 actually outshoots the A4 at all ranges out to 600 meters with the new ammunition,” Woodburn said, referring to the 5.56mm AB49 Special Operations Science and Technology cartridge the Corps is looking to make the standard.

    So they’re still enamored with the SOST? Well, if they want to focus on fighting unarmored opponents, that’s their choice.

    • FightFireJay

      Pretty sure SOST will defeat the type of body armor our enemies are wearing. If we go to war with someone tougher, just switch ammo.

      My question about that is if it’s an apples to oranges comparison. Are they comparing M4 with SOST to M16 with M855? Or SOST to SOST?

    • Vitor Roma

      How it outshoots the a gun with longer barrel and smoother gas system?

    • Squirreltakular

      I’m not sure what your point is. Neither M855, M193, nor any other round that has been standard issue for the infantry can defeat modern level IV armor.

      I’m sure that we have a ton of M995 stockpiled in the case that we do go up against a modern fighting force.

      Also, regardless of ammo, there’s a reason we train to aim at the pelvic girdle.

    • Paul Labrador

      May be referring to M855A1?

  • El Duderino

    I don’t think I’d pay more than $100 for a complete M16A4 upper. They have all been beat to hell pretty good.

  • Lance

    @ Miles Vining

    The Marine times said the Corps will move the M-16A4 to reserve and 2nd line Marines. Just like the Army is still doing with there massive M-16A2 stock pile. So front line troops will get the M-4s but engineers gate guards and others at base will use the A4.

  • Lance

    While the official statement says they did this move to be common with the Army. I read and agree that the recent move to have female Marine infantry may played a BIGGER role in this. Since standards for infantry been lowered physically the service must have a lighter and smaller weapon for females Marines. Just recently polls had the M-16A4 near the M-4s favorlibillaty so troops were not overtly angry or disappointed with the M-16A4.

    Feel more to this than what the brass wants us to know.

  • Old Fart

    Making small arms smaller/lighter isn’t the point. The point is ditching the packs, body armour and other dead weight that is detrimental to speed and agility. I’ve had these discussions with Leathernecks and Paratroopers soooo many times. We are simply over-burdened hauling around all that crap. The object is to fight light: weapons, ammo and optronics only. If you need anything else we have helicopters to slingload it in. Easy peasy. The reason why third world insurgents such as the Taliban outrun us is because we’re pack mules. The insurgent has hardly more than a vest and a gun, and is therefore mobile. We are static and hardly able to move about the field. These are the facts. It has nothing to do with our superior weaponry. We should be able to shed off all that weight that is slowing us down. Speed, Aggression and Surprise are key…

    • Joshua

      Did you just suggest ditching our armor? You do realize I wouldn’t be alive today if it wasn’t for my armor, and this goes for a number of soldiers as well.

      You have an apt name for your comments.

      • nomad101

        And, your arrogance becomes you. Glad you and others lived because of the armor. There was a time when we had to be light, fast, and able to fight from any position, unencumbered. Slow meant being in the sights for too long. Get back in your truck and ride. We were not fashion plates, not a social experiment, we were the Airborne, when there still was one.

        • Squirreltakular

          Most modern forces seem to do pretty well while wearing a plate carrier and kevlar. I mean, they’re already working on making those lighter, but why not also make lighter versions of your weapons, ammo, radios, NVGs, thermals, boots, packs, cold weather gear, etc.?

          Only time I can see ditching armor being necessary is if you’re doing recon in dense foliage. Pretty much everywhere else it’s more help than hindrance.

          • Old Fart

            Still, there is no substitute for steel (which weighs a ton). The best level III+ plates out there are AMI TACS3, AR500 and alike. While certainly good in the protection realm, they’re hardly desirable in a combat situation. Speed kills. Being able to move, to run from one place to another (i.e. fire & manoeuvre tactics) is extremely important and outwighs the need for protection. If you’re being hit multiple times you’re doing something terribly wrong. First instinct: this position sucks, I shouldn’t be here in the first place. Second instinct: get moving! Speed of attack is crucial. Even the fittest and strongest can attest to it. This stuff DOES wear you down. Body armour is fine for semi-static or short duration engagements such as HD and other quick in quick out CQB, but it’s hardly suitable for sustained dismounted combat applications if you ask me.
            Try taking cover in a ditch and crossing a low wall while prone, swimming, wearing it all day in +95 degrees in the shade, running at least 2 miles without stopping, mounting/dismounting vehicles, going prone and standing up all the time, moving around while prone, firing from prone. Fast-roping also because needlessly more hazardous.
            Bottom line is we’re so obsessed with force protection that we forgot about bringing the fight to the enemy.

          • Bill

            Sort of. We now have a better understanding of exercise physiology, kinesics, work-hardening, load-bearing, footwear, nutrition and so forth. We need to fit the gear to the end user, unlike the days when everyone was thrown a pair a Munson-last boots and a steel pot and told to go forth. Then we need to fit the user to the task, hence scalability.

            I look at these issue from the LE perspective, so there are obviously differences, I don’t have to stay in the field at a FOB for months, or rely on flyable weather for resupply. But I carry a ton of water and no armor when pulling marijuana plants, and plates and maybe one bottle of water when hitting a place on a warrant. I’m always up in the air on rifle magazines and seldom carry more than 2 extra, but maybe a half-dozen pairs of cuffs.

            The one thing I do know across both professions: with the exception of some miil guys who drowned, which has now been addressed by technology, no one was ever killed by wearing armor. As for not wearing it, I can’t say the same.

          • Old Fart

            Surely your argument is valid. I don’t dispute the use of body armor by LE, quite the contrary. From the military perspective I firmly believe that the practice should be discouraged. -or at least be to one’s own discretion. Boonie hat, chest rig, uniform, weapons, ammo/ordnance, water and small food supply, hygiene items perhaps (dental care, moist wipes), weapons, optronics, and that’s basically it. The trick is to keep everything basic and simple. everything else you bring in if need be.
            Have you ever read the article ‘Donkeys led by Lions’ in the British Army Review? I highly suggest/recommend you do. You’ll understand my argument.

          • nadnerbus

            So, fight like Vietnam. Comparing the casualty rates of that war and the current ones, I’m going to have to go with modern armor and tactics.

          • Old Fart

            That’s apples to oranges and you know it…

          • Grindstone50k

            You apparently don’t.

          • Kivaari

            You advocate dumping armor. In Vietnam the armor was really flak jackets. When 58,000 died, not all by rifle fire, they needed better. Today they have better.

          • whskee

            The current tactics used by the opfor are the reason we require armor wear. Ambush by IED, small arms, etc. It’s too great a risk in the current environments to go without, I’ve got some really damned sharp guys and I doubt a single one would go out without armor. There are cases for going without, but those aren’t normal missions and are calculated risks. 9 times out of 10 if there’s a chance for a TIC (troops in contact) then armor is on.

          • Old Fart

            An IED will kill you anyway. I’m not aware of any incidents in which body armor proved to be a life saver. Those road side ambushes and IED’s are the reason we’re now going back (or at least re-orienting) to basics (=off-road) again. The cat and mouse armor escalations are pointless as well as cunterprodctive in a COIN environonment where engaging with and operating among the local population is key. If IED X won’t do the job, the opfor shall make an IED Y that will. We’ve seen this in the Sandbox. The trend these upcoming decades will be ever lighter forces doing those specific calculated risk missions against selected targets. The days of large invasions are over. It’ll be fast in, fast out. Never again should the people accept infamous ghost hunts such as Vietnam, Afghanistan etc. We should be collectively done with all these pointless cops and robbers missions. Tier 1 threats only.

          • whskee

            Right. That’s why we have so many amputation cases and survivors then . Line grunts will never be pulling the low-vis missions. That’s not in their mission set. And what populace are we going to toss line grunts into that they would blend in with those numbers? Leave those missions to the ones with the actual training and experience. We are getting more precise in HVA targeting but that process is much more difficult without the overt troops out their making presence or making noise. Going after a HVA/HVT in a denied environment is extremely difficult and relies on a whole lot going right without hiccups. You’re right in that we need more mobility and speed is our friend. Check. Removing armor, not the best trade-off if you want to come home whole and breathing.

          • Bill

            One reason there are more IEDs in play is armor. Once you’ve figured out that rounds are bouncing off your adversary, you blow them up in boxes

          • Grindstone50k

            “An IED will kill you anyway. I’m not aware of any incidents in which body armor proved to be a life saver. ”

            And you think this qualifies you to make such ‘expert’ statements?

            “Tier 1 threats only.”

            *BZZZ* Tacticool McMall Ninja detected!

          • Kivaari

            Really? Hundreds of soldiers have survived what would have been a fatal injury. They may lose limbs, but the torso remains intact. Our field medics and hospitals are superb. It is why we see so many amputees. Without the armor, they would be dead. When a man loses an arm and leg, the energy needed to do that means an unprotected torso means death.

          • imachinegunstuff

            Are you serious? You’ve clearly never seen the aftermath of an IED explosion, never been tossed by one, or seen shrapnel dug into a vest

          • Kivaari

            Except a down and dead or worse wounded can really hinder the mission.

          • Squirreltakular

            Done all of that. The first thing you do in water is ditch armor, and your gigantic pack and rifle are more cumbersome than a plate carrier when fastroping. You get used to the weight. (You also get lifelong back, knee, and shoulder problems, but at least the VA pays you for that shit.) As long as I’m wearing small plates and can still square up relatively well behind my rifle, I’m happy. An extra 10-12 pounds of armor is worth not going down from a single round to the chest or back or a piece of shrapnel or a bump to the head and bringing your unit one man closer to being combat ineffective.

            As far as small unit tactics go, yeah, recon or sustained ops in dense foliage would suck balls, but that’s about the only time I’d ditch plates. Everywhere else, it’s worth the cost.

            The abortion that was the MTV and all the other extra kevlar crap is good for convoys or static positions, but pretty much everyone else is wearing a simple plate carrier with level IV in-conjuction or stand-alone plates and a kevlar helmet. Level IV ceramic is a good bit lighter than level IV steel, by the way.

          • imachinegunstuff

            I disagree even being weighed down by gear and weaponry we still killed the Talban no matter how fast and nimble they were

          • CommonSense23

            You realize the military is rocking ceramic plates right

          • Kivaari

            Compare a Vietnam era AN/PVS2 to a 14. The first NVD I saw Vietnam through was nearly two feet long with a lens of around 10 inches in diameter. It had a little better image than the civilian market gen 1 stuff.

        • Bal256

          No matter how much armor you ditch, you’ll never outrun a bullet

        • Bill

          “There was a time” when we carried flintlocks and tomahawks and a blanket and a skillet and could move REALLY fast. We were the first Rangers, before phones with switchboards, let alone sat phones.

          • Old Fart

            In what way did we differ from the Taliban? These guys are basically the same thing…

          • Bill

            Well, in this case, we won. AQ, the Taliban and ISIS are resurgent in places where we aren’t. And don’t believe that they aren’t technologically sophisticated – they’ve mastered cyberwarfare and asymmetrical warfare, plus these are guys who made their bones fighting the Soviets in the 80’s.

            We differ from them because they don’t mind getting dead. They’ll spend their cash on laptops and sat phones because to them dying in battle is Good – 72 virgins and all that (though It seems like their upper leadership isn’t quite as enthusiastic about meeting these chicks as the more easily influenced GAU fodder.) They aren’t going to buy armor because they don’t want armor.

            Their is also a Nam-like cultural difference. While a lot of their leadership likes their comforts – bin Laden was an heir to millions, and more had Western education and exposure, the guys blowing themselves up will drink from a puddle and burn the hair off a goat before roasting it in a pit. We aren’t quite there yet. If our current Rangers had the same diet as Robert Rogers’, they might not be that enthusiastic.

          • M40

            Well gee ‘Old Fart’, you just won the prize for the silliest comment of the month! Let’s examine exactly how Revolutionary war fighters differed from the Taliban…

            – One group fought FOR freedom of speech… the other fights AGAINST it.
            – One group fought FOR freedom of religion… the other fights AGAINST it.
            – One group fought FOR freedom of the press… the other fights AGAINST it.
            – One group fought FOR the freedom to assemble… the other fights AGAINST it.
            – One group fought FOR separation of church and state… the other fights AGAINST it.
            – One group fought FOR rule of law… the other fights AGAINST it.
            – One group fought FOR democracy… the other fights AGAINST it.

            We NOW face a “culture” that is directly responsible for at least 25 of the 30 odd wars in the world today. A “culture” that doesn’t believe in human rights or the sanctity of life. A “culture” that still practices slavery and has no rights for women or minorities. A “culture” that uses civilians and children as human shields. A “culture” that commits atrocities, mutilation and murder wherever it spreads. A “culture” whose stated goal is to convert the world by force to their hideous beliefs. I hereby submit to you that Islam is NOT a culture, but a cancer.

            Therefore, I must ask you, WHY would you ever jump in here, in some ignorant and misguided attempt to defend this ugly tumor on humanity? How could you even BEGIN to compare the ignorant thugs and murderers of the Taliban… to those revolutionary war heroes who shed their blood so that others might taste freedom?

        • Uniform223

          “There was a time when we had to be light, fast, and able to fight from any position”

          “Slow meant being in the sights for too long.”

          do more training and do more PT… there is your answer to your “problem”.

      • Kivaari

        It would be great to find out how many of our men have been saved by body armor. It has to be in the thousands.

        • nadnerbus

          The famous insurgent video, early in the Iraq war, where a sniper is filmed shooting a US soldier in the head, shouting Alahuhakbar, only to watch the soldier get up in a daze and run to cover behind his humvee comes to mind.

          • Kivaari

            It is so good that many men lose limbs but not life. Everything is better than during the Vietnam war era. If I had the youth and health I would have gone. The medical units are amazing.

        • albaby2

          It would also be interesting to see how many men were killed because of all the stuff they are burdened with in the field, but they aren’t available for comment.

          • Kivaari

            True, but that would be harder to track. If in contact soldiers can dump their load. Regardless of the combat load which is pretty much the same today as in Korea and Vietnam, the biggest difference is the improved armor. Besides the superior armor, that individual soldier has more effective and lighter weapons and support gear. Battle field medical training and equipment right to the individual soldier has saved so many lives. Many soldiers can deliver IVs, each have clotting agents and newer methods of plugging wounds.

        • Cattoo

          Mine life was spared by what ended up being a dud hand grenade.

      • wzrd1

        Indeed, I had three ribs under my armpit broken by fragments thrown by an RPG. Without that “dead weight”, I’d have been dead weight for my buddies and another filled plot at Arlington.
        Yes, that 47 pounds of Kevlar and ESAPI plating is heavy, but that’s why we did PT until our joints wore out.
        For, another difference between the Taliban, AQ, ISIL and our forces, we’re not laden with RPG’s by the dozens per man, they are.

    • Grindstone50k

      Don’t you have some kids on your lawn to yell at?

    • Georgiaboy61

      You’ve just made the correct case for true light infantry – but good luck selling the five-sided puzzle palace on that one! Many have tried and many have failed; there’s just not enough dough in light infantry to get the Pentagon appropriations people worked up, and doing what’s best for the troops or the mission is often an after-thought. Yeah, I know – I am pretty cynical….

    • AlbertEinstein

      Capt. Willard observed in, “Apocalypse Now”:

      “Charlie didn’t get much USO. He was dug in too deep or moving too fast. His idea of great R&R was cold rice and a little rat meat. He had only two ways home: death, or victory.”

      “When I was here, (in Saigon) I wanted to be there; when I was there, all I could think of was getting back into the jungle. I’m here a week now… waiting for a mission… getting softer. Every minute I stay in this room, I get weaker, and every minute Charlie squats in the bush, he gets stronger.”

      And so “Col. Kurtz” observing the same about the nature of the enemy, reached a conclusion that Willard was only able to accept once, (when Willard becomes like Kurtz in order to kill Kurtz) :

      “If I had ten divisions of those men, our troubles here (in Vietnam) would be over very quickly. You have to have men who are moral… and at the same time who are able to utilize their primordial instincts to kill without feeling… without passion… without judgment… without judgment! Because it’s judgment that defeats us.”

      The further questions raised by Old Fart’s post: Is it ever right (moral or practical) to mimic the enemy’s motives and actions in order to defeat him? Speed may be good on the battlefield, but what moral and practical cost does it bring to your own soldiers? Would it ever be right for a leader to forbid his troops the use of equipment such as armor? Would such an order cause the troops to be too vulnerable and therefore less likely to take calculated risks? (Am interested in any answers as the questions are open ended.)

    • n0truscotsman

      Well we either have the choice of continuing to carry mission essential items with us, or getting back to the old art of forming numerous caches in the battlespace…those are our two options.

      That and never occupy a foreign land without at least 500k to do it (persistent presence).

    • Uniform223

      “The point is ditching the packs, body armour and other dead weight that is detrimental to speed and agility. I’ve had these discussions with Leathernecks and Paratroopers soooo many times. We are simply over-burdened hauling around all that crap.”

      I was in Bragg and NO ONE complained about the weight about their body armor. We happily and confidently wore our IBAs. We’d rather have that extra 25-30lbs on our body than having to haul or drag around the weight of a fallen comrade to a safe area to call in a 9 line.

      You were probably talking to some wannabes over the interwebs and hearing milsim airsofters complain about the weight of their “kit”.

      in short I am calling out your bovine fecal matter.

  • adverse

    Any shorter and the next infantry rifle will be a pistol.

    • Anonymoose

      Mk18s, coming soon to a battalion near you!

      • Squirreltakular

        I was reading a discussion somewhere, and someone mentioned that a 12″ barreled rifle in 6.5 Grendel would still get you the same or better terminal performance than 5.56 out of a 20″ tube. I’d love to see someone test that.

        • Anonymoose

          Too bad we’re never going to adopt a caliber other than MOAR 5.56!

          • Squirreltakular

            MOOOOOOAR!!!1

  • Ron

    Infantry Battalions have had more M4s than A4s since 2010.

  • Anonymoose

    No way will there be an M16A5/M4 hybrid.

  • Geoffry K

    “My next question is where are all the M16A4s going to go?”
    obama and holder with a skirt will run them to the Mexican Cartels.

  • Squirreltakular

    whskee, I get it. My comment was in response to Old Fart and nomad101.

    • whskee

      As was mine mostly, you opened a good window to address the point that weight savings HAS been a big deal and isn’t something no one has thought of yet.

  • Squirreltakular

    So we’re deleting peoples’ comments now? Cool.

  • Gregory

    The uppers should go to the public, we paid for them!

  • Brian M

    Damnit, the Marines are supposed to be distance marksmen. This is a sad day for tradition.

  • INFI

    LTC Dave Lutz. KAC, is spinning in his bed of gold and platinum Colt tool room prototypes. Requisitioned by the REED KNIGHT SR family (COLT 2000) . Amazing, Marines can be stuck with a freakin musket for soooo freakin long. And only now things change. Hahahaha. The true face of reality.

  • Anonymoose

    Like I said above, the M16A2, M16A4, and M4 use the exact same lower receiver, and the M4 and A4 upper receivers are the same apart from the barrel and barrel extension (no extended feed ramps in the M16s). A few M16A4s have Gas Buster charging handles, which are used on some SOCOM M4A1s iirc. The hallmarks of the M16A5 are the Vltor A5 stock system and the 12″ Vltor VIS rail system (which is a totally new upper+monolithic free-floating quadrail). A couple years ago, they started converting M16A4s to M16A5s and calling them “Armorer Conversion Marksman Rifles,” even though they still have the standard A2-profile barrel, and those might take the roll of a DMR over from the SAM-R (which never really got that much fielding AFAIK, and was the most expensive of the 3 M16/M4-based DMRs- SAM-R, SDM-R, and Mk12). Then again, I also remember them saying they were going to replace the SAM-Rs with Mk12s since SOCOM is replacing those with Mk17s and Mk20s, and they have been using the M27 as a DMR since it sucks as a SAW. The likely outcome is that they will use the remaining Vltor conversions as DMRs along with however many SAM-Rs and Mk12s they still have, and rebarrel/restock remaining A2s and A4s as M4s to cut costs.

  • greyghost1

    Next thing you Know we will start hearing stories of the Marines getting out ranged or their bullets aren’t effective on the enemy.

  • durabo

    Most Devil Dogs would rather go back to the M14.

    • Joe

      False, most Devil Dogs would rather go with ano M-4A1.

  • Jackson Andrew Lewis

    even the marines are giving up on superior ballistics of a 20″ barrel for the 1.2 pond of weight savings? you would think nearly 30 years of middle east campaigns would have disproven the carbine theory in desert and mountain warfare…..

  • Rodney Steward

    More than likely in the hands of terrorist like so many other things have under this administration, here and abroad!

  • BigFED

    “My next question is where are all the M16A4s going to go?”

    How about modifying the GCA 1934 and let any law abiding citizen own one like is done in Switzerland? We can keep the current, legal, PERSONAL prohibitions in place that specify who can NOT possess ANY firearm. Then these can be sold to law abiding citizens just like what was done with the other personal military small arms through the DCMP!

  • dltaylor51

    The Obama administration will probably backdoor these older weapons into the hands of ISIS or some other unsavory Mideastern group so someday these weapons will be pointed back at us.

  • The Movie Lied?

    No wonder the Corps made the switch, the A4 is an Jing Gong airsoft gun–and don’t even…I clicked the link.

    I would have thought all this time that the orange thingy on the tip was a dead give away, but we are talking Marines here.

  • Tick Licker

    If the military is staying with the small AR platform they must upgrade to a cartridge caliber that gives better down range ballistics.
    The 5.56 simply is too weak. The 6.5 or the 6.8 spc cartridge gives a Marine/Soldier 45% more stopping power using the same AR platform.
    We have been fighting wars with a rifle that allows our enemy to outgun us, this must change.

  • Tom Currie

    So much for “Every Marine a rifleman” — perhaps the catchphrase for the 21st Century is going to be “Every Marine a Close Combat Fighter” — At least it still sounds like it means something.

  • Pat Boyle

    This isn’t much of a change. So why is it a story? Now if the new gun were a 6.8mm caseless round shot from a piston actuated bull pup – that would be a change.

  • Vladimir Putin

    “My next question is where are all the M16A4s going to go?” Probably the next air drop to ISIS affiliated groups in Syria.

  • Tom Currie

    “We have and are cutting weight. Look at the MASSIVE improvement we’ve gained since year 2000 and now.” We have been more interested in cutting weight of the individual soldier load than in combat effectiveness for a lot longer than just 2000. That’s the entire reason we have the M16 and its godforsaken 5.56mm ammo.

    The interesting thing is that it is only since the 1960’s that we NEEDED to cut the weight of the individual soldier load. The individual soldier load was relatively stable for well over 100 years, then it SUDDENLY became a critical problem and the major issue driving combat development of individual equipment. Previously when armies made individual items smaller and/or lighter it enabled the infantryman to carry more.

  • lomaxima

    You’d think there would be enough in the pipeline of both 16a4 and m4 that they should have access to both, mission dependent.

  • CavScout

    The A4’s should go to the Army Reserve and any Guard pog units still using A2’s.

  • Oliver BombDog

    The M16s are just being swapped to non combat centered units, and the M4s from those units are being pushed to the Infantry.

  • notsoserious

    New bullet or no new bullet, the 20 inch barrel is superior in every measurable way to the 14.5 inch barrel. Even the Army’s tests found the A2 more reliable than the M4 and that was with lower pressure M855. Why do they have to shovel the BS? Just say “the M4 makes us feel like special forces” or “The A4 looks likes a musket” or “every marine a carbineer” and be done with it.

  • Max Glazer

    The M-16s length harks back to the fact that it was made primarily for USAF personnel so that they can defend airfields. Large wide open flat spaces made long range an advantage and thus the 20-inch barrel on the M-16. For a battle in closer quarters such as cities that length of M-16 was a hinderance. Combined with the combat mostly taking place at 350 yards or less the M-4 with its lighter weight and still sufficient accuracy is a more sensible weapon. However for battlefields such as Afghanistan with its large plains, hills and mountain ranges, M-16 is a good fit.

  • Former Deputy

    What’s ironic is the MARSOC guys tried to convince their command to make this shift more than a decade ago. But since the USMC’s weapons decisions was heavily influenced by the sling up and go prone unit in Quantico, they fought against it, and “won”. Fortunately, that decision did not apply to MARSOC (aka: Marine Raiders).

  • Core

    I’m not happy about these guns being given to folks in Central Asia, where they will be used against us at a later date. I’m also saying this from an analytical perspective knowing historical, cultural, and the advantageous muzzle velocity leading to increased engagement range, accuracy, armor penetration versus the M4A1. God forbid the they end up in the hands of American citizens and veterans.. I would hope they give them to our allies, if the administration hasn’t burned all the bridges yet.

  • Jason Lewis

    This is my carbine………………………