Soldier Systems Gets First Look at US Army’s New Enhanced Performance Magazine

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While soldiers are typically lauding the M855A1 Enhanced Performance Round, it has come at a cost of long-term durability and reliability of the M4A1. The M855A1 exposed steep tip loading is substantially different from its predecessor, the venerable M855 steel-core, which had been in-service for decades prior to the change-over. The high-pressure load to eek out velocity has been burning through barrels quickly and another issue reared its head from the steel tips gouging the upper receiver’s extended aluminum feed ramps over time.

To “solve” the problem, the US Army developed a “new” magazine, dubbed the Enhanced Performance Magazine. Outside of some minor changes on coatings and colors, the major change has been around the feed lips, which are bent to present the round higher and feed the tip of the round into the steel portion of the barrel extension.

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The “enhanced performance magazine” brings the M4A1 feed ramps full-circle. Originally developed to assist with feeding rounds in the faster-cycling weapon, the extended aluminum ramps from the extension are now a liability as the steel tip of the enhanced performance round gouges the softer material. Given this change, I would not be surprised to see the “M16” feed ramps make a comeback to likewise combat the issue once all the old magazines are out of the inventory.

Soldier Systems has details on the new NSN’s and the phase-out plan for Big Army.  Check their coverage out here. 



Nathan S.

One of TFB’s resident Jarheads, Nathan now works within the firearms industry. A consecutive Marine rifle and pistol expert, he enjoys local 3-gun, NFA, gunsmithing, MSR’s, & high-speed gear. Nathan has traveled to over 30 countries working with US DoD & foreign MoDs.

Nathan can be reached at Nathan.S@TheFirearmBlog.com

The above post is my opinion and does not reflect the views of any company or organization.


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  • James

    Hmm, seems like we’re seeing something similar with M855 and the M16A2; we’re developing new bullets which need tweaks to the system to get better performance, while hopefully retaining backwards compatibility. Perhaps we’ll see an M4A2 developed to better use the M855A1, in addition to this new magazine.

    • Joshua

      Don’t need one. The Army is fleeting the M4A1.

  • Ken

    So more tan follower mags flooding gun shows?

    • Ebby123

      ^^^THIS!!

      *does happy dance*

  • Joe Moore

    Why does the Army screw everything up? Marines don’t have this problem because we adopted ammunition that was compatible with our weapons.

    • Ron

      We still have not decided what the replacement round for the M855 will be on have gone so far as stated once the problems with M855A1 were worked out we will adopt it also.
      And don’t get me started on the magazine fiasco, not mention that the two approved magazines are no longer made so we are now issuing EPR magazines for “training use only”

    • codfilet

      When my son was in a Marine MITT team in Iraq, they gave each team member 7 HK magazines. Every night, they emptied all their mags, took them apart, cleaned them, and then reloaded them.

      • Anonymoose

        That’s a good way to wear out your springs.

        • codfilet

          They went out on patrols with the IA every day, and got in frequent gun battles and firefights. They were worried about having their rifles function when they were needed most-that’s why they were provided with the best possible magazines. He brought home a bag of at least 30 regular-issue mags when he came home-some of them were Vietnam-era.

          • Ron

            Around 04-05 H&Ks were considered the hotness, and the Marine Corps bought a ton of them. However they started getting new in box H&Ks that did not work and caused constant double feeds in M4s

          • codfilet

            Well, this was 05-06.

      • Ron

        We were required to have 13 on us

        • codfilet

          He was carrying a Benelli Shotgun with breaching rounds, an M4 with an M203 grenade launcher, and his pistol on patrol. He told me he only ever carried 6 or 7 mags.

      • n0truscotsman

        You dont want to do that with aluminum USGI or steel HK magazines. The bottom plates cant take it.

        One of the other advantages to PMAGs or other new polymers.

        • codfilet

          Well, tell it to the Marines. That’s what he told me they did every day-that fine dust got in everywhere.

          • n0truscotsman

            No, I definitely believe you. I’ve seen such goofy behavior on the Army side as well.

    • majorrod

      “Why does the Army screw everything up?”

      You do realize the Marines just adopted the M4 something the Army did over a decade ago? BTW, the Corps was late to the show with optics also…

      As for ammo, the Marines continue(d) to stock and shoot M855 for its penetrating capabilities. M855A1 with its equivalent soft tissue performance, barrier blind capability and superior penetration has since rendered the argument mute. BTW, the Corps is behind on adopting that ammo also but that will likely change shortly…

  • Just say’n

    They’re gonna’ run out of tactical colors for followers soon…

    • A bearded being from beyond ti

      We need pink and purple!

      • n0truscotsman

        Not a bad color. Easy to see in the rifle, easy to locate mags too.

        All of my older USGI mags have pmag yellow followers in them for this very reason. I have a couple red ones that work all right too.

    • Core

      They can make them sand color so they can be dyed to match all your favorite tacticool gear.. But seriously TFB great article. I would like to see an article that covers the possibility of retrofit, but I read somewhere that the follower and mag body are designed differently on each side as compared to the usgi mags?

      • Anonymoose

        Folks not shooting craploads of M855A1 have nothing to worry about.

        • Core

          If I’m not mistaken the new M855A1 is not available for civilians yet?

          • Anonymoose

            You can buy the same stuff from Liberty Ammo. They call it “National Defense.”

          • Core

            Thanks. 🙂

  • Joseph Goins

    And everyone cares why?

  • Anonymoose

    Return to the rifle feed ramps when?

    • Joshua

      It could happen with these new mags…or Pmags…but that would be to easy, however tooling it set up for M4 uppers at this point so I wouldn’t count on it either.

      • Anonymoose

        I know, it was a joke, but it would alleviate the problems of the round gouging out the aluminum lower.

  • valorius

    Retiring the M16A4 with it’s 20″ barrel was an enormous mistake for the sake of a little ‘handiness’.

    The M16A4 is a flat out superior infantry weapon.
    -An ex grunt

    • CommonSense23

      Why. A extra for inches of barrel isn’t doing anything special with current loads.

      • valorius

        Well you should share your insight with the army, maybe they’ll chop all their SAWs down to 14.5″.

        5.5″ of barrel makes a very significant difference.

        • CommonSense23

          You realize that the MK46s have already chopped their barrel to 16 inches right. Thats 4 inches. Modern loads are far more capable than the vast majority of shooters out of longer barrels.

          • valorius

            There is nothing “far more capable” about modern loadings when compared to something like the .30 caliber M2 AP round from WWII. In fact most of our modern loadings are generally much weaker than that 60+ year old design.

            The Mk46 is a specialized close range weapon designed for special operation forces.

            Infantry forces are not special operation forces, our weapons needs are in no way comparable.

            Furthermore, Infantry forces absolutely lack the sort of intensive small arms training special operations forces have.

          • David Harmon

            They lack that training for a reason. At least int eh Army, the Infantry relies more on it’s 240’s and SAWs for everything to maneuver in close. Being able to shoot something out at 800 meters doesn’t mean it’s worth doing it. Target identification tends to be an issue at those ranges.

          • valorius

            I think the ‘strategists’ were thinking about how to give the rifle contract back to Colt after they lost the M16 contract to FN.

            I concur that anything beyond 500 meters is ‘highly ambitious’ for a rifleman in the field, however, i would also state that the M16 is a significantly better rifle to that specified range than the M4 is. I would also state that the M16 will give better terminal performance due to it’s increased velocity with any given 5.56mm load at a greater range than the M4.

            Barrel length matters.

            I am glad the MRAP/LRAP solved our problems in Afghanistan. That no doubt explains our rapid victory there after those platforms were introduced. Wait…

          • David Harmon

            It’s not enough of a difference to matter honestly. The weight difference in barrel length makes more of difference over the longer term than the minute differences in ballistics at that range.

            To the topic of the war:
            Losing in Afghanistan will be because we can’t replace the problem there, which is that the Afghanistan is filled with Afghani’s. We are fighting a culture, not an enemy. They have defeated us. We are now seeing Sharia law in the west, and invasion of Europe, and terrorist attacks on our soil. The west was forced into a conflict it wasn’t willing to fight properly against an enemy that it pretends doesn’t exist. For an “ally” that is both genetically and culturally allied with our enemy.

            If Europeans and their descendants want to save themselves, they need to stop beating about the bush and accept that they’ve been fooling themselves about who their friends actually are for over a hundred years now. This is that kind of war, not just a war of countries, it’s a racial religious war.

            We will lose because we are unwilling to identify the enemy. We are unwilling because that same enemy has spent decades telling us in our own countries how evil we are for acknowledging who the enemy is.

          • valorius

            Obviously i completely disagree that 1 lb of weight difference is worth losing 5+” of barrel length- i am one of the dudes that used to have to hump a full length M16.

            Compared to any support weapon, all of which ive had to lug all the hell over god’s creation at one point or another, an M16’s weight is utterly inconsequential.

            Try humping an 81mm tube or base-plate, an M60, an M240, or a Javelin (Or Dragon for old timers like me), then we’ll talk heavy.

            We have been at war with Islam since the day of it’s founding. And have been defending the very existence of Western culture from the Muslims since 501, at Tours. And again in 1683 at Vienna.

            Had the west lost either of these battles, there would be no such thing as Western culture.

          • David Harmon

            I was humping the 240 in the mountains in the mid-00’s. I would still rather have the M4.

          • valorius

            Then the 240?

            The 240 is one heavy brick of a weapon.

          • David Harmon

            Not as bad as the 240 with 3 liters of water and 1000 rounds of linked 7.62 NATO. The 240 itself is light as hell compared to all of that together.

          • valorius

            Yup, it certainly is. Never had to hump a 240, we had M60s in my day, and i’ve humped them on several field problems. The nickname “Pig” is well earned.

          • David Harmon

            I called the 240 “heavy POS”.

            I hated carrying it, but I loved shooting it.

          • valorius

            Toting around heavy weapons sucks until the moment you have to shoot at something that’s trying to kill you.

          • David Harmon

            Tis the truth.

          • valorius

            In my estimation, based on history, there is literally no path to victory in Afghanistan. There never has been, there never will be. No tactic, no strategy, no amount of logistical expertise, or bravery, will ever prevail there.

            We can learn a lot from the painful lessons of the Mongols, Alexander the Great, the British, and the Russians. What we can learn, and failed to comprehend entirely, is that Afghanistan will never be conquered by force of arms, because they will literally never surrender.

            Perpetual endless fighting is in their genetic make up. If we occupied Afghanistan for 1000 years, they would fight us for 1001.

            “When you’re laying on Afghanistans plains, waiting for the women to come out and cut up what remains, roll to your rifle and blow out your brains- And go to your god like a soldier.”
            -Kipling

          • David Harmon

            I disagree. Kill everyone there and replace them with your own people. It’s how the Arabs moved in and took most of that region after all.

          • valorius

            The Greeks occupied Afghanistan for 300 years before they were finally ousted.

          • David Harmon

            That was when the people that were there were still somewhat related to Europeans. These days they are very distant from Europeans both genetically and culturally.

          • valorius

            My point is, they never ‘surrendered.’

            The mongols occupied A-stan for a long time too. Like 80 years, going by memory (which could be way off)

          • David Harmon

            They couldn’t surrender, they were all dead.

          • valorius

            It seems the mongols missed a few. 😉

          • Uniform223

            From what I know, heard, seen, and experienced…

            “They lack that training for a reason. At least in the Army, the Infantry relies more on it’s 240’s and SAWs for everything to maneuver in close.”

            > Its called establishing a base of fire/suppressing fire allowing your maneuver element to move and flank the intended target… Marines do it to.

            “Afghanistan was mostly an issue of mobility and comms”

            > Don’t forget about terrain… terrain of Trashghanistan really has an effect on operations there (just like any AO).

            “they were dying because they couldn’t maneuver with the body armor”

            > Having body armor and all that “light weight combat gear” is a double edge sword. On one hand we (the US and Coalition Forces) are more protected but on the other hand their enemy wearing robes, cheap sandals, and sneakers are able to move about more freely and lightly.

          • David Harmon

            We moved easier with IBA to be honest. When the Army went to the IOTV just getting off the ground became a hassle as the gear would shuffle around and throw your balance off.

            Basically, it wasn’t the weight so much of the “cool gimmicky” armor. Getting out of a truck was even worse, the armor would snag on everything. You had to use a chest rig if you planned on mounting or dismounting regularly. Where as previously you could get away without a chest rig if you placed your mags high enough.

          • Uniform223

            I cant speak for the IOTV because that was after my time… I was in at tail end of the PASGT Vest and went out with the IBA. The IBA (later iterations of the SAPI Plates) provided far superior protection over the PASGT against small arms and fragmentation. However (from my understanding) the IBA when compared to the “newer” and now more common IOTV has overall less area of protection and the weight is not as evenly distributed. The IOTV is supposed to be easier to put on and take off. Another advantage is that the IOTV has quick release straps that enable the soldier to ditch the body armor in case of hazardous situations. This came about when soldiers kept rolling their HMMWVs into water and were drowning because they couldn’t swim with a fully equipped IBA or take off their IBA fast enough.

          • David Harmon

            I wore both. The IBA was far better.

            Here’s my assessment:
            The IOTV tends to hang up with that cummerbund, getting it caught inside vehicles is constant. This never happened with IBA’s for me.
            It’s hot, as in causes heat stroke hot due to how tight it has to ride to the body. If you have to get up from a prone, and you were doing any moving around while prone the whole thing will shift throwing your balance off. Makes any sort of maneuvering around with it on dangerous for any decently fatigued soldier. It’s not easier to put on or take off, as you have to lift the thing over your head to do either. The IBA you can sit down and just strap it around you. Almost all body-armor has quick release straps now, even IBA variants.

            We saw maybe 20 so odd cases of HMMWVs rolling into rivers in Afghanistan and everyone freaked out to replace the IOTV, which was pointless because they changed vehicles and solved that as well as other problems instead.

            The IOTV was another do nothing money grab. It’s adoption was too late to do anything about Iraq casualties, and it was likely responsible for many causalities in Afghanistan for the reasons I listed above, as well as it just being too heavy if you’re already heavily fatigued, which you tend to be when the shooting starts.

            We don’t see SF boys or Rangers wearing this system, and they don’t for a reason. It just plain sucks.

          • n0truscotsman

            I hated the IOTV. One of the worst pieces of equipment ever issued, imo.

            the SPCS was a godsend compared to that thing and it is mediocre on the spectrum of plate carriers too.

          • David Harmon

            We are not alone, no one I know that had to hump that thing liked it.

          • Uniform223

            though I wont argue with any of your earlier statement because I have no personal experience with the IOTV, I do take issue with the part close to the end however.

            “and it was likely responsible for many causalities in Afghanistan for the reasons I listed above, as well as it just being too heavy if you’re already heavily fatigued, which you tend to be when the shooting starts.”

            > If you have some kind of official documentation to back this, that is all personal conjecture. Also fatigue of soldiers, marines, seamen, and airmen overseas is not something specific to a certain body armor. There are a wide range of reasons for it. Battle Buddies of mine who deployed to Afghanistan were fatigued because they weren’t properly climatized. When I was in the sand box I’ve seen “APFT super stars” become heat casualties.

          • David Harmon

            There is no sand where I was at in A-stan. It was all rocks and mountains.

          • n0truscotsman

            “There is nothing “far more capable” about modern loadings when compared to something like the .30 caliber M2 AP round from WWII”

            Define ‘capability’. And there is much more to ‘capability’ with military ammunition, especially in military requirements context, than just raw kinetic energy.

            And you are dead wrong. Look at the capability of numerous newer cartridges currently in military service. Much more efficient than 30-06.

            Secondly, the Mk46, with its 16″ barrel, has the same length as the M249 Para. And, just for entertainments sake, you should look at the barrel length for the M249 PIP. Ill give you a hint. Its shorter than the 1980s M249/FN MINIMI length. c’mon dude

            .”5.5″ of barrel makes a very significant difference”

            With current service ammunition, no, not really.

            I want to see some evidence, numbers, backing that statement up since you seem to make it so often.

          • MichaelZWilliamson

            250 fps is significant and affects terminal wounding effects. The data on both are easy to find. Do a little research.

            Also, 16″ is longer than 14.5″

          • majorrod

            “250 fps is significant and affects terminal wounding effects. The data on both are easy to find. Do a little research.”

            Really? Where’s your research on M855A1? (Ans: You don’t have any because it’s classified.)

            250fps is a minor price to pay for a weapon one can use in close quarters and STILL reach out to 500+m.

            Quit whining about material solutions when we don’t even train 95%+ of the force to really engage beyond 300m (and those that ARE trained to engage routinely at that range have the tools to do so).. Your energy would be much better spent on improving training regimens.

          • n0truscotsman

            I have, both official and unofficial, especially regarding the M855A1 and its impressive to say the least. While you’re squabbling about barrel length, as if there is supposed to be a difference between 20″ and 14.5″ (nobody has given me a satisfying explanation why this is so), there are already cartridges that demonstrate very desirable terminal effects: Mk318, Mk 262, and M855A1.

            SO explain to me, what are you gaining by having 20″ versus 14.5″? especially in the context of improving infantry capability?

          • Chris Lubowski

            Correct. And not all of us get your fantastic “current service ammunition.”

        • Ballistics

          No, it doesn’t. 20″ barrel gives you 50-70 meters extra point-blank range. There is nothing else to discuss.

          • n0truscotsman

            Thanks! i was trying to find that.

          • MichaelZWilliamson

            You don’t see 50-70 more meters of critical wounding range as being relevant?

            You’re right. There is nothing else to discuss.

          • Joshua

            When your talking 500M vs 550M it really is insignificant.

            These aren’t DMRs or SPRs…we’re talking a general issue Carbine.

            500M is more than enough.

        • iksnilol

          SAWs usually have longer barrels to aid cooling (more barrel length, more surface area to cool).

          • valorius

            You need barrel length for longer effective range, my friend.

          • iksnilol

            That too, but you don’t really see much difference between 16 and 20 inches in 5.56 when it comes to range itself.

            It’s more for cooling.

          • valorius

            I am a heck of a lot better long range shot with a long barreled rifle than a short barreled one. I would say that the overwhelming majority of people are. Flatter trajectory, less time of flight, less wind drift- these are all gifts of the higher velocity you get from a longer barrel.

          • iksnilol

            again, the difference isn’t that huge. But I get it, you like the long barreled M16, you’ve developed feelings from it being your first and all and thus you romanticize it. Just like old guys and revolvers. It’s okay to like something illogically, but be aware that logic is still a thing. And logic says there’s negligible difference between 16 and 20 inches of barrel.

          • valorius

            The M4’s barrel is 14.5″, not 16″. Logic says that the 20″ barrel of the M16 gives greater velocity, flatter trajectory, less time of flight, reduced recoil due to greater mass, and therefore greater hit probability. It also has more destructive terminal effect AND greater tactical barrier penetration potential at any given range. Plus the increased heat dissipation you mentioned that i failed to.

            Add it all up, the M16 has a huge overall advantage over the M4 in all areas except ‘handiness.’

            My “first” was the Ruger mini14 i owned at age 13. Let me know the next time you see me singing it’s praises. 😉

          • iksnilol

            Again, you’re missing my point. What you’re saying is true, to an extent.

            My point is that the additional velocity won’t be more than marginally helpful unless you’re shooting past your effective range. (IE shooting at 600-800 meters with 5.56 is a smidge optimistic even with a 20 inch barrel). You reach a so called point of diminishing return. You get more out of the “handiness” than you do out of the theoretical 800 meter range.

          • valorius

            I agree in any one category you could call the M16’s gains (or the M4s losses) ‘marginal.’

            However, when you add them all up together- as i did in my last post,

            1) greater velocity
            2) flatter trajectory
            3) increased fragmentation range
            4) more violent fragmentation at any given range
            5) increased tactical barrier penetration
            6) reduced time of flight
            7) reduced recoil
            8) reduced barrel heating

            All combined, the M16 gives a clear advantage vs the M4 in all things not involving ‘handiness’

            Then again, for as important as a rifle is in modern combat, they could probably issue M&P 15-22’s in .22LR and it would make almost no real world difference in overall US combat effectiveness.

          • iksnilol

            You’re really reaching for straws when you cite reduced barrel heating.

          • valorius

            If you’reading along in this thread, you’ll notice someone else brought reduced barrel heating up, not me. But he was correct, so i included it in my list.

            It is an incontrovertible fact that the longer barrel of the M16A4 does not heat up as fast as that of the M4.

            In and of itself it is no big deal in most cases, but it is one of many factors that favors the m16 over the M4.

          • iksnilol

            Be right back.

            dumping my AK for an RPK due to reduced barrel heating and negligible velocity gains from a practical perspective.

          • valorius

            I think i’d rather have an RPK over an AK (or M249 vs M16 or M4) in almost every instance when it comes to combat.

            LMG’s bring a lot more to the table than rifles, even if the RPK is hamstrung by being a mag fed design.

          • Chris Lubowski

            Barrel heating, just so we’re clear, is more affected by the lowered pressure over time of the longer system, than by the additional material down the length of the barrel. Both barrels have a very similar contour from barrel extension to gas block, which is where the most heat is experienced. The gas block gets significantly warmer (over a given amount of rounds) on an M4 because of the shorter gas system and higher relative pressures at that point in the system. This higher pressure is the primary contributing factor to why our M4’s went down much, much more frequently than our M16’s.

          • Uniform223

            I’ve qualified on the M16A2 and later on the M4. I shot sharpshooter with both. I think its all in your head…

          • valorius

            Sharpshooter is the lowest qualification.

            I shot expert 4 times with the A2, and twice with a perfect score.

          • Uniform223

            Marksmen… Sharpshooter… Expert… get it right.

          • valorius

            I only ever had to remember expert. 🙂

          • Uniform223
          • valorius

            The M4 has a 14.5″ barrel. Obviously the M16A2 and it’s 20″ barrel is going to produce a significant increase in velocity with any given load, when compared to the M4.

            The heavier M16 recoils less too.

          • iksnilol

            Still, does that extra velocity matter if you don’t see the difference in effectiveness?

          • valorius

            The whole point behind M855A1 is that M855 was not lethal enough from the 14.5″ barrel of the M4.

            From the 20″ barrel of the M16, M855 has far more destructive fragmentation effect, to a significantly greater range.

            This can be easily seen in countless gel tests on you tube, and in photos of recovered M855 projectile fragments.

            The faster 5.56mm fragmenting ammo is moving on impact, the more devastating the effect.

          • iksnilol

            Out to *gasp* 150 meters (from M16) versus 90 or so meters from M4. So the A1 is an improvement all across the board because 855 is pretty bad as it is.

            I guess what I am saying is that the fragmentation thingamajig should only really be counted on up close no matter the barrel length.

          • valorius

            Even at muzzle contact range, the M16 is going to do much greater damage than the M4 with fragmenting ammunition. The greater velocity the M16 offers results in more complete and dynamic fragmentation than what you get from the M4 at the same range.
            .
            An M16A4 with M855A1 optimized for 20″ barrels and an ACOG would be a fantastic combination.

          • Uniform223

            Here lets put it this way.

            Does Jihad-Jerry know the difference between a M855 coming out of a 20inch barrel compared to the same M855 coming out of a 14.5inch barrel? Will Jihad-Jerry know the difference between a M855A1 out a 20inch barrel or a 14.5inch barrel? Does Jihad-Jerry care?

            If you were down range on the receiving end of a bunch of guys armed with M4s, are you going to stand up and say…

            “Oh they only have a 14.5 inch barrel. They cant hit me from there and because of the shorter barrel I have nothing to fear because the bullet is traveling slower than it would out of an 20inch barrel. Because they’re using a carbine they cant hit the broad side of a barn”.

            As someone else said. You’re arguing over the small things that in the GRAND SCHEME of things means VERY VERY LITTLE.

          • valorius

            We’ve been told over and over that previous ammunition was inadequate at wounding, particularly from shorter barrel REMF type weaponry. So i would say, yes, very clearly, the extra velocity and fragmentation given by the m16 would be highly useful at making johnny jihad stop that silly terrorist nonsense right now. 😉

          • Uniform223

            Marines still deploy and use the M16A4. So by your logic any insurgent activity in their AO should have stopped… oh wait… they didn’t.

          • valorius

            So the USMC is wrong for using the M16A4?

            I never said anything remotely resembling “The M16 will win the war”, i just pointed out that is superior in all respects except for “handiness” and being slightly lighter overall.

            To the contrary, i stated that Afghanistan cannot be won, regardless.

          • valorius

            BTW, 150 vs 90 is a 60% increase in fragmentation range. That is an enormous difference bro.

          • iksnilol

            Yes, but the problem is: The M16s improved range doesn’t come into play until you’re past 300-400 meters at the very least. So at the short distances where the round frags they’re indistinguishable.

          • valorius

            The M16 will give more fragmentation effect at any range, and some fragmentation effect at ranges where the M4 will not give sufficient velocity to fragment at all.

    • I think an 18″ or 20″ would be better overall as well, but the focus on infantry survivability over the last couple of decades was a major force behind the switch to the M4’s too-short design; it’s a heck of a lot easier to safely fit more riflehumpers and their gear into something like an MRAP or up-armored [whatever] if the rifle they’re humpin’ is a carbine.

      • CommonSense23

        What do you honestly think a 18inch barrel is going to provide over the current M4A1 for infantry use.

        • Ask the guys who have to wait for the DM or machinegunner to climb up to their position under fire to be able to provide effective return fire to the jihadis on the other side of the mountain valley. The M4 is fine for short range work and room clearing, and we’ve certainly been doing plenty of that overseas, but it’s just nowhere near as effective at anything longer than down-the-block ranges.

          • CommonSense23

            You realize Sodom uses a M4A1 with a free floated rail for their 5.56 dmr now. Glass and the round used is far more important than 4 inches of barrel for long distance work. A M16 with a Acog is going to be less effective than a M4 with a 10 power for 800 yards with MK262. Not even taking into effect the vast majority of shooters are ineffective past 200 yards with a 4 power optic anyway.

          • valorius

            Yet somehow no one at camp perry is shooting 14.5″ rifles, or long range hunting prairie dogs or mule deer with SBRs.

            The extra barrel length makes a big difference. More velocity equals flatter trajectory, reduced time of flight and significantly more hitting power.

            US Army snipers do not use 14.5″ barrels. No sane person who intends on doing long range work would ever choose a 14.5″ barreled SBR for that task.

          • CommonSense23

            A M4 isn’t even close to a SBR. And trying to compare camp perry to combat is ludicrous.

          • valorius

            Dude…a 14.5″ barrel is legally an SBR.

            Comparing camp perry to combat is anything but ridiculous, as many of America’s top snipers compete there.

          • Joshua

            And it used to be 20″.
            Do you have any actual Military experience in Afghanistan?

          • valorius

            Afghanistan, no. Long range shooting- Absolutely. Do bullets fly differently there than they do elsewhere on the globe?

            I’m ex infantry and served as a squad designated marksman back in the day. (M16A1 with bipod and fixed 4 power scope).

          • Joshua

            What the government feels is a SBR for Civilians is not what the Military classify them as.

            The M4 is not a “SBR” by military standards. It’s a Carbine.

            You can’t compare assinine government control of its citizens and rifles a military uses.

            Also if you’ve never served or been in combat stop telling us what we need.

          • valorius

            An SBR is what it is. Dont cling to minutae. What’s next, shall we argue about the color of the sky?

          • valorius

            You don’t know where ive served, and i dont know where youve served.

            Also, forming a myopic view in low intensity combat ops and thinking it is in any way relevant to all types of combat is unwise.

            Finally, many vets of Astan and Iraq like the M16 better.

          • Uniform223

            “Finally, many vets of Astan and Iraq like the M16 better.”

            > Than count me opposite. I liked the M4 WAY better than the M16 (AKA Musket). I liked the M4 better because it was slightly lighter. It was easier to maneuver with and it reflexive fire it was quicker on target. Also when you put the same amount of “crap” (PEQ, Vertical Grip, or whatever you want) the M4 isn’t as front heavy so you can “stay on target” longer.

          • n0truscotsman

            Irrelevant. Camp perry =/= combat requirements for the average infantryman

            The skills of the two camps are hardly alike as well.

            False equivalence penalty

          • valorius

            Sorry, no, Camp Perry demands many of the same skills and weapon capabilities as the SDM/Sniper role does.

          • n0truscotsman

            …In an entirely different setting, which means all the difference in the world…

            Marksmanship is *one* aspect of sniper craft.

          • valorius

            I am a former SDM. Our unit used old M16A1’s with 4 power carry handle scopes and fixed bipods, firing M193.

            Less than ideal, but I still view it to be significantly better than an M4 in a long range fight.

          • CommonSense23

            When talking about military weapons do we call a Glock 18 a machine gun cause that’s what the ATF calls them.
            And the best snipers in America definitely aren’t competing at Perry. That got better things to do.

          • DIR911911 .

            tell the ATF that

          • The_manBEar

            Whoa whoa whoa, get outta here with that – commonsense

          • n0truscotsman

            “Not even taking into effect the vast majority of shooters are ineffective past 200 yards with a 4 power optic anyway.”

            And, unsurprisingly, because somebody like valorius uses camp perry as a talking point, they completely miss that important little detail.

            You just highlighted why camp perry vs afghanistan fire fight comparisons are completely invalid.

          • CommonSense23

            I like that Marine Corps times article about them training guys to use the M27 as a DMR. Goes into how bad all the guys are at actual long distance shooting on unknown distance ranges. Talks about guys doing range estimation and calling a 275meter target 700 meters away.

          • Joshua

            A M16 won’t make a difference. You get around 50M of extra terminal ballistics with the extra 5.5″ of barrel.
            You can’t compare 7.62x54r to 5.56×45. We have weapons to combat the weapon platforms that use larger rounds.
            You need to compare our general issue rifle to the AK-47 which has an even shorter range and much worse bullet drop than our M4A1’s.

          • valorius

            An M16 has a much flatter trajectory than an M4, and a shorter time of flight (requiring less lead, or less likely that a target will move while your round is in the air). It is much considerably easier to hit long range targets with a 20″ barreled right than a 14.5″ one.

            IMO, an M16 will definitely make a difference.

          • n0truscotsman

            1.) In way does this 50 meter greater fragmentation range influence fire fights? especially considering the current fielding of the new M855A1 round? what additional capability does this bring to the table?

            2.) In what way does the M16 or other 20″ barrel stoner rifle add additional in-field long range accuracy? especially in the context of modern infantry engagements with body armor, additional equipment, ammunition used, and optics available in the MTOE?

            and finally,

            “An M16 has a much flatter trajectory than an M4”

            “much better”? care to quantify that? because with M855, in my experience, they perform pretty similarly.

            Dont take my word for it either (Warning PDF) http://www.ut.ngb.army.mil/campwilliams/Downloads/operations/Current_Downloads/Weapons/fm3_22x9c4%20(M16%20qual%20w%20change%204).pdf

            “and a shorter time ”

            In what way which would affect infantry firefights?

            You do realize how fast a bullet is traveling once it leaves the muzzle right? the overall differences between the 14.5″ and 20″ barrel are so negligible in the bullet to target time context, its not even worth considering.

            “It is considerably easier to hit long range targets with a 20″ barreled rifle than a 14.5″ one- any 20″ barreled rifle vs any 14.5″ rifle (rifle and ammunition quality being
            equal)”

            It is generally known to be easier with a 20″ barrel because of the longer sight radius, although, this is entirely irrelevant with the fielding of new optics (M68 and M150).

            “Plus, the m16 is a better melee weapon.”

            In what way?

            It can be argued that the ease of controllability of a shorter rifle makes it a fearsome close quarters melee weapon, especially in the context of the kind of warfare we’re fighting (urban areas).

            Unless you are intending on swinging a rifle around like a lengthy club, then I guess the advantage goes to the M16s reach.

          • valorius

            50m greater fragmentation range will affect firefights by causing more immediate and more likely immediate incapacitation of enemy personnel.

            You know we shoot at them for a reason.

            Longer barrel length equates to higher muzzle velocity, which results in flatter trajectory and less time of flight. It is much easier to hit a target at long range with a long barreled rifle. Which is why everyone who does long range shooting doesnt use 14″ barrels.

            An M4 is less considerably less controllable than an M16 in rapid fire, let alone full auto.

            We practiced “swinging our rifles around like lengthy clubs” fairly regularly. We called it bayonet training. The M16 gives an extra 5.5″ of reach for your bayonet. That’s a big deal when someone is trying to stab you in the face. (contrary to popular myth, hand to hand fighting still occurs in modern warfare)

          • n0truscotsman

            “50m greater fragmentation range will affect firefights by causing more
            immediate and more likely immediate incapacitation of enemy personnel.”

            So you’re telling me that a 50m greater fragmentation range with M855 is *somehow relevant* when modern American infantry units employ m855A1, which is an entirely different animal, alongside M249s, M240s, and other weapons in the inventory?

            thats not a very convincing argument.

            I already addressed the muzzle velocity differences and the trajectory. Basically moot, when considering typical infantry engagements with M855 (let alone *three* other cartridges used in inventory).

            Youre getting bent out of shape over 250-300 fps with weapons that produce identical trajectories at the 300 meter mark….with M855…

            and your fascination with bayonets completely ignores the practical reality of using them in 21st century, mechanized, asymmetric warfare. Close quarters incidences that occur do so without affording the unit the luxury of receiving a “fix bayonets!” command; its up close, personal, and sudden, where your “best bayonet” is the muzzle of your carbine followed by a tight shot group even at point blank range.

          • valorius

            The 20″ barrel of the M16 will give greater fragmentation range and more violent fragmentation at any range where fragmentation occurs, due to it’s increased velocity.

            I feel to this day that the number one reason the US military uses the m4 is because Colt’s homeboy’s in gov’t couldnt let colt lose their military contract and go bankrupt. FN wins the contract for exclusive M16 production, and boom, the US military switches to the M4.

          • Uniform223

            You know you’ve run out of reasonable points or you are losing when you chalk it up to “government this” or “conspiracy that”.

          • valorius

            If you dont think the govt plays favorites, youre on crack cocaine.

            There is not a congressman who has ever served who would not put the needs of the nation behind the needs of his re-election campaign contributions.

            Not ever once.

            The FN-Colt contract fiasco is highly documented.

          • Uniform223

            I wont deny that Gov’t plays favorites yet when reading over the comment section and your responses to others, you haven’t been able to come up with something really substantial to truly debunk or defend your stance. Now you’re chalking it up to “oh the government this and that”.

          • valorius

            I listed several specific areas where the M16 holds a clear advantage over the M4.

          • Uniform223

            is it a clear advantage or is it all on paper and in actual practice something that is so incredibly minuscule that it offers no actual advantage?

          • valorius

            It’s an actual advantage.

          • Uniform223
          • valorius

            Trends be trendy.

          • Uniform223

            still doesn’t back up your claim that the M4 is not a good enough for infantry units. If the USMC prides themselves in “every Marine a rifleman” why would their dedicated combat units prefer the M4 CARBINE over the M16? It would seem your claim and assertion that the M16 is superior to the M4 is nothing emotional attachment rather than actual use and performance. I like the M16 because that was what I first qualified on but I PREFER the M4.

          • valorius

            The only rational explanation is that the USMC, who has been ordered to allow females in infantry units, is switching to the M4 to accomodate them, since women have demonstrably less upper body strength.

            So….The M16 is a better infantrymans weapon. The M4 is a better infantrygirls weapon.

            The M4 is also particularly well suited to SPECOPS CQB needs, Paratrooper needs, and REMFs.

          • Uniform223

            Really? You’re using women as an excuse? By that logic we should allow them in SF units as well because their primary go to is the M4. I don’t agree with women in infantry and SF but your reasoning, or lack there of doesn’t support your statememt.

          • valorius

            Women are not as strong. If they’re gonna serve in the infantry, weight will need to be shed from the standard TO&E.

            Pretty simple.

            I wonder what gun the trannies that obama wants in the military will prefer.

          • n0truscotsman

            I’ve already highlighted the velocity differences, which are moot, and regarding the fragmentation differences, how do they influence typical infantry engagements? I still haven’t received an adequate explaination or what is gained with a 20″ barrel, and this is considering the M855A1 has been adopted.

            “FN wins the contract for exclusive M16 production, and boom, the US military switches to the M4”

            1.) Colt already had foreign sales
            2.) FN was already producing the M16, M249 and M240, and sinec 2013, M4s.

          • valorius

            They are not moot.

          • valorius

            Gains with 20″ barrel: 60% greater fragmentation range, more complete frag at any given range, greater heat dissipation, higher velocity, flatter trajectory, less time of flight, less recoil.

          • valorius

            There are still bayonet charges even in modern mechanized warfare. Google it.

          • n0truscotsman

            I never said that they didn’t. And the only recent ones in GWOT were done by UK troops with L85s.

          • valorius

            There were several combat events that did not specifically involve an order to fix bayonets, but which still resulted in hand to hand close fighting.

            In perhaps the baddest- azz example, a corporal from El Salvador killed multiple insurgents with a switch blade.

          • Chris Lubowski

            The entire US military has not adopted the M855A1, last I checked. I EAS’d from the Corps last year, and haven’t been the stan since 2011, but I can tell you from experience that the M16’s greatest drawback, at least for Marines and the kit we wear, is the fixed stock. That was the bane of every rifleman issued that rifle, save some of the big con fed Nebraska boys. We did in fact notice and enjoy the differences in firing characteristics of the weapon, bullet drop, accuracy at range, and reliability. Half a round in weight on your rifle is nothing when you consider the weight we carry on our person while on foot patrol. Nobody I know of was counting off the fractions of a second saved in time to target, but the above mentioned qualities, combined with terminal effect, mattered to us. Now, keep in mind that we are issued the older M855 green tip and occasionally can get our hands on SOST rounds or MK262, but M855 is by FAR the more common round found in a Marine Rifle Company. I have no experience with the M855A1, but for our issued ammunition, every bit of extra velocity helps. And I agree that rifle marksmanship in general has declined across the general services over the decades, but we were accurate well past 300m in flat-land engagements in Helmand with 20″ barrels and ACOGs. Not all infantry engagements happen inside a “CQB” envelope, nor do we want them to. Maneuvering such that you create distance between you and the enemy demands the ability to reach out and touch said enemy at a point from which they cannot touch you. One has an easier time of it when they have a) better/more training, and b) a more capable weapons platform. We did not always have immediate access to a DM or sniper platoon, and being able to accurately place fire at extended ranges was definitely made easier with that 20″ barrel. The M16 isn’t perfect. It’s large, for some. Personally, if weight is the issue, I say harden the F*&# up.

            I do think a 20″ M16 with a collapsible stock, maybe like VLTOR’s A5 system, and a 10.5″-12″ top end with a red dot would make for effective options, at least as far as the Marine Corps is concerned. I know you Army bubbas and SOF operators see things differently, but that’s my .02. As for the real benefits of the M4, those we found primarily in a garrison (non-combat) setting.

            And as a matter of fact, we are still issued bayonets, although I personally know zero people who have stabbed anyone besides themselves (when opening an MRE). Still rather have one, and the option, than not. That said, a longer muzzle and more forward grasping area do serve as a better standoff tool inside close quarters, and a chest thump from an A2 from a rifle will probably have a higher chance of actually connecting than with a carbine. That, I have seen and experienced first hand (behind the rilfe).

          • Army127

            They don’t even issue bayonets anymore! Stopped doing it a long time ago! As for you 4″ of barrel it changes the velocity about 100-125 f.p.s which is nothing in the grand scheme of things. The bullet will not have less time of flight nor will it fly flatter than firing it out of a 14.5″ barrel with A2 flash hider. The ballastics of the round dictate how flat it flys and how well it bucks wind, and of course time of flight. The average infantry soldier is ineffective beyond 150-200 meters not because of barrel length but because of skill. Unless you have shot a rifle a distance for a good part of your life ranging a target by eye accurately is almost impossible past that range. Which is why infantry units have designated marksman. They are the guys that can range a target out that far because they hunted since they were 7 with their Daddy’s! It’s also why they spend a good amount of time teaching it at sniper school. Now quit fighting and whining because the effective range of one weapon is only 50 meters longer than the other. Another reason for the switch over! Take a ballastics class or read a couple books on it and you will understand better. Oh and SOCOM has been using the M4A1 in a multi role plat form for quite a few years now. As for your SBR argument the M4/A1 is a carbine not an SBR, those are below 13.5, but used in the common 10.5-11.5″ or 9.5″ 300AAC. Your heavy machine gunner can make a good DM as well because of the eff Clive range of the M240 and of course the M2! learn before opening the mouth it helps a lot that way.

            SSG G. OUT!

            “Death Waits in the Dark”

          • n0truscotsman

            “Ask the guys who have to wait for the DM or machinegunner to climb up to
            their position under fire to be able to provide effective return fire
            to the jihadis on the other side of the mountain valley.”

            Which would be NO DIFFERENT than if troops were equipped with 20″ barrel M16A2s or A4s

            And so what? Thats why you have redundant systems. Its impossible for each soldier to have the same capability, for convenience sake.

          • MichaelZWilliamson

            Then why not use 12″ barrels? or 9″? If it doesn’t matter.

            Longer barrel = higher velocity, flatter trajectory, more terminal effect, longer sight radius, longer time for thermal changes with the greater mass. And, it’s the barrel the weapon was designed for.

            The 14.5″ was originally designed at the request of an Arab police department so their cops could have carbines and gas launchers.

            The second rule of warfare, right after “Never get into a land war in Asia,” is “never take military advice from Arabs.”

            That 5″ shorter barrel offers zero advantage except in specific cases of door kicking, where even a 12″ might do. And from what I understand, one can easily change barrels on the AR family by some method of replacing the upper assembly. It’s apparently very easy, from everything I’ve heard. Perhaps you’ve heard something similar?

          • Joshua

            From Arab police units….

            You need to do some learning.

          • MichaelZWilliamson

            Omanis. Do some research.

          • CommonSense23

            Where do you get this 14.5 inch barrel came from a Arab police department crap from?
            As for your points. Sight radius is no longer relevant due to optics. With current loading of 5.56 its more than effective out of a 10inch to a range most shooters can make. There are far better ways to try and kill people with a bullet at 600 yards. The rifle is just one tool in the toolbox.

          • MichaelZWilliamson

            The Omani police first requested the 14.5″ barrel for SWAT missions with a gas launcher underslung.

            Do you see those things protruding from the top of the rifle? Those are called “iron sights,” and every Soldier, Marine and Airman trains with them and is issued them. Some are issued optics in addition. Not all are.

            Your knowledge of ballistics is inadequate to continue this conversation.

          • CommonSense23

            The vast majority of our soldiers and marines can’t use their irons effectively. The vast majority of our military can’t use a rifle effectively. Adding a couple inches of length is not going to have any positive effect.
            And if you think a 10 inch barrel with the current 5.56 loading available and issued to military can’t outperform well over 95 percent of the military in a combat situation, you either need to familize yourself with today’s rounds or how crappy people shoot in combat.
            And can you find a single source showing the 14.5 inch barrel came from a request of the Omani police.

          • n0truscotsman

            “Then why not use 12″ barrels? or 9″? If it doesn’t matter.”

            10.5 inch barrels *ARE* used in the Mk18, and they have very good performance with modern ammunition as well. As demonstrated by civilian owners of 10″ barrel copies from Noveske and other companies too, 10 or 12 inch barrels with quality ammunition are enormously accurate.

            “higher velocity, flatter trajectory, more terminal effect, longer sight
            radius, longer time for thermal changes with the greater mass”

            Higher velocity? You are talking 2,900 fps versus 3,100 roughly. Hardly different enough within normal infantry engagements of 300 meters (hell, even 500).

            Flatter trajectory? As another made this claim above, which I refuted by posting FM 3-22, particularly, the bottom of page 16 http://www.ut.ngb.army.mil/campwilliams/Downloads/operations/Current_Downloads/Weapons/fm3_22x9c4%20(M16%20qual%20w%20change%204).pdf

            With practical infantry engagements, which occur within the ballpark of 300 meters, their performance is very similar. And consider this is with M855, which is a mediocre round to say the least. Three others have been used that have far superior characteristics.

            more terminal effect? Again, ive seen this claim made, but with a lack of satisfying evidence besides an old docGKR post from arfcom. Which, again, is regarding M855.

            Longer sight radius is the only kernel of truth regarding the supposed accuracy advantage of the M16 over M4. This is rendered irrelevant due to the advent of M150 amd M68 though.

            And the whole longer time for thermal changes, IMO is largely irrelevant and untrue if you consider the new generation of M4 in service that has addressed this.

            “The 14.5″ was originally designed at the request of an Arab police
            department so their cops could have carbines and gas launchers.”

            It was my understanding that the CAR15 and shortened M16 variants have their roots in Vietnam
            https://www.pinterest.com/pin/516928863454321831/

            But that claim is interesting! i really want to see the source.

            “That 5″ shorter barrel offers zero advantage except in specific cases of door kicking,”

            And mechanized warfare, among soldiers who wear a heavier degree of protective equipment than they have in history.

        • valorius

          depending on the specific loading, a 20″ vs a 14.5″ barrel will produce anywhere from 250-500fps more velocity for any given load.

          The M16A4 is also a better melee weapon.

      • valorius

        I was mechanized, as i said in another post- never had any issues with my M16A2 in the Bradly, M113A3 or M106 armored vehicles. These vehicles were all designed with a rifleman carrying a 20″ M16 or, gasp, an M14 to begin with. (how did we ever get by with such cumbersome and heavy weapons like the outstanding M14 anyway?!?!? :D)

        It’s more ‘remfy’ vehicles like the HUMVEE that a full length rifle is a problem in. I’ve never even sat in an MRAP, so i cannot comment on that.

    • let’s use BOB

      did three tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan with the 3rd ID and 101st AB from 03-10 and and a couple security contracts, never had an issue with the standard magazine in an M4 or Hk just not an issue in my opinion

    • n0truscotsman

      How so?

      Because barrel length?

    • Bill

      Yeah, but the Army actually did an ergonomics study with both male and female soldiers and every one of them picked the M4 over the full size rifle. Given the handling differences, it isn’t hard to see why. If everything on the gun keeps getting heavier, shrinking it is the only way to keep it light, not to mention handier.

      • valorius

        Every one of them? Who did they ask? REMFs?

        The m4 is fine for a REMF weapon, it is essentially a newer version of the M1 carbine. As an infantry weapon, no.

        • Uniform223

          “The m4 is fine for a REMF weapon, it is essentially a newer version of the M1 carbine. As an infantry weapon, no.”

          Opinion or fact?

          US Paratroopers used the M1 Carbine to great success. US Special Forces in Vietnam were some of the first to use the CAR-15 and preferred it over the M16. I used both the M16A2 and later the M4 and I liked the M4 better. Marines that I did cross training FTXs were jealous that we had M4s and they had the M16A4. Infantry and Special Forces units in Iraq and Afghanistan have been using the M4 to put down more bad guys.

          http://i.imgur.com/J5My8kD.jpg

          http://i.imgur.com/pS6wt9m.jpg

          The M4 is good enough for those bad ass muthaf**kers

          • valorius

            I am a fan of the M1 carbine. The M1 carbine has an 18″ barrel.

            I have opined in other threats on TFB that an M1 with a modern synthetic stock, an Aimpoint, a properly designed 30rd mag (which is a unicorn at this time) and firing run of the mill soft point ammunition would be every bit as good as an M4.

            The folding stock of the M1 carbine, according to ian of forgotten weapons, is perhaps the worst folding stock ever fielded by any military force, ever.

            At any rate, while i feel the M1 carbine is a very good all around PDW, i don’t feel it is particularly suitable front line infantry weapon. Same as the M4.

            What commandos need and use is not analagous to what line infantry forces need or should use. The two types of forces serve in completely different roles, and have far different needs in weaponry. Therefore saying “But SOCOM uses them!” is not much of an argument to me.

          • Uniform223

            “What commandos need and use is not analagous to what line infantry forces need or should use. The two types of forces serve in completely different roles, and have far different needs in weaponry. Therefore saying “But SOCOM uses them!” is not much of an argument to me.”

            > Yet they’ve been engaging the same enemy in the same terrain in (almost) the same manner our infantry units have been. You would also know that many of the things that infantry get nowadays have trickled down from use within SOCOM. Don’t get me wrong, special forces type units still get the really highspeed stuff but some of standard issue gear has gotten WAY better than before.

          • valorius

            Sorry, they have totally different roles and needs. This is a simple fact. Stop, end of story.

          • Uniform223

            Special Forces/SOF units have been operating in the same terrain and environment (Iraq and Afghanistan) as our infantry units and have been engaging the same foe… so whats really the differences in roles and needs that Special Forces/SOF require/need a carbine but regular Infantry don’t?

          • valorius

            And yet, SOF TO&E is completely different than an Infantry unit’s TO&E.

          • Uniform223

            still doesn’t back your claim…

          • valorius

            Actually it does.

          • iksnilol

            I think an M4 would be superior to a modernized M1 carbine. Much better range and would not mess with logistics.

          • valorius

            I’m not advocating for an M1 carbine, i’m just saying that if we were still using a modernized M1 carbine it would make no discernable difference at all wrt combat effectiveness.

          • iksnilol

            But it would make a significant difference.

          • valorius

            No rifle really makes a significant difference in modern warfare, but i dont really think the M4 would hold much advantage at all over a modernized m1 carbine firing run of the mill soft point ammunition. Something like Barnes DPX wih a ballistic tip would be blur the line even more, and be very effective to at least 200 meters.

          • iksnilol

            An M4 can be easily used out to 300 meters, 500 is also easily doable if you scope it.

          • valorius

            “easily doable” in combat eh?

          • iksnilol

            Eh, the range is there. Just because the soldier can’t use it personally is another matter completely.

            M4s have been scoped and used as DMRs without issue.

          • valorius

            When i was a SDM we used 20″ M16A1s with 4x carry handle scopes and fixed bipods, then later, M16A2’s with the same accessories.

            Nowadays they use the 18″ Mk12 and the 22″ M-14/21.

            If troops are being forced to use 14″ carbines for long range engagements, its because they literally have no other option. The M4 is horrifically poorly suited to the SDM role.

            500 meters is well beyond not only the effective range of the M4, but the training level of the overwhelming majority Army infantry personnel.

            The USMC still uses M16A4s cause of the USMCs insistence that all it’s troops qualify at 500 meters.

          • Uniform223

            Oh… so now it comes down to a service standards. Still reaching for those thin little straws? Its one thing to qualify to hit a target out to 300 or even 500 meters. Its COMPLETELY DIFFERENT when your stress level is high and your adrenaline is high and add some sprinkling of fatigue. Is Jihad-Jerry going to pop up for 3 seconds and stay stationary and not shoot back allowing you to line up your sight picture and steady your breathing? Or is Jihad-Jerry going to do everything in his power to make it difficult to shoot at him?

            Tell you what. Get a 20inch barrel AR-15 of any type. Put at least 50lbs of battle rattle on you. Do a 10k road march and throw in some random ambushes into the mix. When you’re done with that 10k have one last ambush event while qualifying. Run from cover to cover and shoot at random targets of unknown distances varying from 100-500 meters. Pop up targets exposed for 1-2 seconds. Moving targets exposed for 2-4 seconds at speeds of 8mph. Have an RSO randomly shoot some paint balls around you to simulate enemy returning fire.

            Do that and video tape it to show us how much of a difference 5.5 inches on a barrel can really do.

            also what how about this than?

            https://www.marinecorpstimes.com/story/military/2015/10/26/commandant-approves-m4-standard-rifle-marine-corps-infantry/74593750/

            https://www.marinecorpstimes.com/story/military/tech/2015/11/01/marine-grunts-react-switch-m16-m4/74849998/

          • valorius

            Why do you care so much what my opinion is? You seem obsessed.

      • Chris Lubowski

        Garrison ergos and ergos on a flat range are one thing. Using the weapon in combat, under stress, with loads of adrenaline pumping through your veins, are another. I maintain that the longer rifle is easier to shoot accurately under that amount of stress, in most situations. All it needs is a quality adjustable stock, of which there are quite a few available commercially now. It is still a more versatile weapon, in terms of capabilities, than the M4.

  • John

    Nah. They’ll probably keep the feed ramps just to use regular ammo if the steel-tip stuff ever runs out. It would be practical.

  • NewMan

    Too bad there are still billions of old style USGI mags laying around out there.

    The M855A1 EPR is a round that was developed in vacuum, where they failed to take the rifle’s durability/lifespan and reliability into consideration. It’s a disaster.

    This mag is nothing more than a bandage fix.

    Say what you want about the 416 and SCAR, but both of these rifles are engineered from the ground up to handle this kind of punishment, the M4 not so much…
    416 & SCAR have all steel feed ramp, for starter, and vastly superior barrels and operating system.

    • Joshua

      haha….I don’t even know how to reply to this.

      • iksnilol

        Well, the 416 has a pretty good barrel.

    • MichaelinPA

      no

  • Is it crazy to think that it might make better sense to design a rifle variant and its ammunition together, to avoid this sort of thing? I seem to recall that having been an issue with the AR platform before once or twice.

    • Joshua

      Or we could just use Pmags which have never had any issues with M855A1 and is a big reason these magazines are being made.

      • David Harmon

        PMAGs had other issues… Mostly they like to bulge if you have them loaded for too long and have to drop on them a few times while moving.

        • Joshua

          What? Pmags have been proven to work once inserted in the rifle even with a split spine.

          The mag well dimensions force the spine fracture closed and give you a working magazine.

          Also I have never seen a Pmag budge from being loaded, and I’ve had the same Pmags that I used through 4 tours and now use them in my civilian rifles.

          They’re sandy but work fine.

          • Nicks87

            I have LR/SR Pmags that have been loaded with .308 sitting in an ammo can for over two years and they are fine. I pulled a few to take to the range a few weeks ago and had no issues what-so-ever.

          • David Harmon

            Not if they dump all the rounds out the split, which I have had happen to me.

            They bulged from being loaded and repeatedly having to drop on them from a run. The same reason they came out with the 2nd gen version to fix the floor plate issues.

          • Joshua

            So your talking Gen1 Pmags?

          • Chris Lubowski

            Gen 2 mags are the least stiff. They only really addressed the floor plate issues with those. Less fiber fill = more profit = less rigidity .

        • n0truscotsman

          All magazines tend to bulge around the feed lips in time. Thats why there’s this guy http://www.brownells.com/gunsmith-tools-supplies/rifle-tools/magazine-tools/ar-15-m16-magazine-feed-lip-gauge-prod41033.aspx

          And aluminum magazines go weak and lose dimension around the weld seems as well.

          Youre blowing problems way out of proportion, while totally ignoring the reliability advantages that the PMAGs have demonstrated.

          • David Harmon

            I’m speaking from firsthand experience.

      • majorrod

        PMAGs offered the same angle of attack as GI Mags which damaged lowers after feeding several thousand M855A1 rounds.

        You’re right that there haven’t been any issues with PMAGs. They’ll keep on working even after they fed enough M855A1 to damage the rifle.

        I’m sure they’ll develop an improved follower.

        • Joshua

          They do. Pmags have a feed lip geometry that put bullet tip placement during feeding in the upper 1/4 of the barrel extensions feed ramps.

          Even under high cyclic rates Pmag M2 and M3’s can keep M855A1 from contacting the aluminum M4 cuts.

          I’m not sure about M1…..but who uses those anymore.

          Aren’t the Marines banned from using Pmags due to the adoption of the M27?

          • majorrod

            Granted it’s not the nose but you still have steel on aluminum contact,

            The official ban is in place but we know troops will ignore it. NSN’s are out there and my point remains about certain Marine acquisition officers exaggerating the feed ramp problem.

          • Chris Lubowski

            Yes we are! Still doesn’t stop some crunchies from getting away with it on deployments!

      • int19h

        They shouldn’t just use PMAGs. They should run a competition, and let Magpul – yes – but also Lancer, Troy, DD etc apply. And pick the mag that works best and shows fewest number of failures under stress.

  • TheSmellofNapalm

    Sooooo what’s the best M855A1 mag….

    • Joshua

      Pmags.

  • Joe

    Or we could have simply issued Mk 318 or Mk 262 or some such and been done with it.

    • majorrod

      Mk262 costs four times as much. Mk318 & Mk262) doen’t have the penetration that M855A1 has while M855A1 does the job with soft tissue performance and being barrier blind.

      It’s silly to take a step backward.

      • Joe

        I would imagine the 4X cost figure has a bit more to do with supply and demand and the volume that the DoD orders than what ithe would actually cost if we had switched to MK 262. Also since it would be used as a general issue round it wouldn’t have to be a match round.

        • majorrod

          How’s a wider adoption make Mk262 less accurate?

          Greater adoption is going to drop a round that’s four times as expensive 75%? I think not.

          Finally why adopt a round with less performance? M855A1 has the soft tissue performance and barrier blind capability PLUS much greater armor penetration.

          It makes no sense to take a step back.

          • Joe

            By adjusting the components to meet Ball ammo standards and not match ammo ones.
            The U.S. Army spent Millions of dollars adopting a round that is marginally superior in performance and at the same time wears out M4A1’s in half the time that conventional ammunition does. If that’s a significant step forward than I guess your 100% right. We just need twice the inventory of spare parts for our service rifles and Carbines and a special magazine to shoot the new wunder-spitzer- round that the high command has graced us with. Never mind that there are thousands of dead AQ, TB, and IS dirt squirrels that are dead via M855, MK 262/318 let’s adopt this new +P+ version

          • majorrod

            You don’t seem to understand the problem, ammunition production or the capabilities of Mk262 or M855A1.

            Dumbing down Mk262 would not cheapen it enough to drop the cost 75% without creating a totally different round. Research what makes Mk262 a match round, the way the projectile is manufactured. Go do some price comparison between match rounds and their less accurate brethren to get a feel for production costs. You’ll find commercial match rounds are double to triple the cost of their non match brethren and that’s with changing the projectile which is a key part of the magic sauce of Mk262. There’s nowhere near that amount of fat to cut in Mk 262 to get it anywhere near what we are paying for .

            M855A1 isn’t “marginally superior” it actually does things other rounds can’t. E.G. one round will penetrate cinder block or DOUBLES the range at which hardened armor will be penetrated by green tip which is far superior to mk262. There’s hardly anything “marginal” about that..

            While M855A1 may wear out weapons faster it still doesn’t do it at a faster pace than when you are supposed to replace parts anyway. E.G. you replace barrels after 10k rounds anyway to maintain accuracy. If M855A1 reduces the life from 30k to 15k (fictitious numbers) it makes no difference if you replace the barrel at 10k. M855A1 does not wear out barrels before reaching the 10k round standard.

            BTW, after firing 10k rounds of a round that is four times the cost you can buy SEVERAL M4’s with optics and even a PEQ15..

            Sometimes it’s best to stop trying to get a square peg fit in a round hole and go with the round peg.

          • Joe

            If the U.S. Military actually replaced parts on a round count schedule than I would agree 100%. I am at about 90% agreement with your last post. I personally believe the M885A1 was adopted more for its “Green” qualities than its war fighting advantages.

  • I’m just waiting for these to be purchasable so I can buy a few.

  • John

    Is the little outline on the top of the follower to say “This is the way the bullet go” when loading in the dark?

  • Bal256

    I always liked the Marine offering instead which maximized on expansion in unarmored targets. Why adopt an improved armor penetration round perfect for World War 3 when we’ve been fighting farmers ever since the cold war? If we had to fight someone who could afford body armor, they’d probably be smart enough to use another country as human shields to get us bogged down in another low intensity war.

    • majorrod

      We won’t always fight farmers.

      The M855A1 was actually developed with an eye to better terminal performance. It just wasn’t well publicized for fear of PC or a good idea fairy.

      M855A1 now delivers excellent soft tissue performance, is barrier blind AND offers greater penetration against steel. What’s not to love?

  • Tony

    Raising the feed lips in the front is a poor solution to get the rounds to feed higher. There needs to be more curvature in the magazine as well.

  • jim

    You have a picture of the M16 feed ramps along side of the M4 feed ramps? Or are we talking about the same thing?

    • majorrod

      Same thing

  • Zebra Dun

    Back in the long ago the M-16 magazine were always a problem.
    Issued twenty round box mags and told to only load fifteen rds maximum in them to prevent jams, which worked but then you had five loose rds floating around.
    At RELACDU they often told the Departing Grunts to take the mags home with them and keep them or throw them away which the armory/supply did if theMarines turned them in and replaced them with thirty rd mags issued with the rifle and 782 gear.
    Here we are fifty years later and the problem is once again solved for the millionth time.

  • Phil O

    Interesting one of the mods discussed and implemented in Canada in 1990-1991 was an angled feed lip that presented the round higher exciting the magazine. Then it made a positive difference with ball ammo and made a HUGE difference with open tip and blank ammo feeding including in the C9/M249. I think the comments on retaining the longer barrel are also very valid as we have kept a lot of 20″ barrelled C7A1/2/3 rifles and the CAF guys don’t seem to have the terminal effect problems of the US with the shortie 14.5″ tubes. The longer barrel guns also seem to cycle smoother though I notice that Colt Canada has gone now to a standard “carbine length” gas tube system on all their guns with no reduction in reliability.

    • majorrod

      We’re not having a terminal effect problems with M855A1.

  • RPK

    Different length barrels for different units and missions. Even the venerable Garand was shortened to a Scout model. Besides, the Government has to find imaginative ways to spend your tax dollars. Investigating the color wheel and varying magazine styles is just one of those ways. If you’ve ever served in the Armed Forces then you know, it’s the American way!

  • valorius

    Just look at he BBTI charts if your own common sense isnt enough. It is all there, in black and white. Longer barrel equals higher velocity.

  • CavScout

    Here we go again…

  • valorius

    If the US Army used modern commerical light weight accessories for the M16, an M16 “A5″ could easily shed a good 1.5 lbs, putting it within 1 lb of the weight of an M4. The quad rail the US Army uses is extremely heavy for what it is. So is the stock.

    The M4’s only advantage then would be it’s length, and that is a non factor for modern mechanized forces, since the M113, M2/3 and Stryker were all designed from the start to be used with 20″ or (gasp) 24” barreled weapons.

    • Chris Lubowski

      Bingo!