Senator Ernst Calls for Accelerated US Army Rifle Upgrade Program

History certainly does repeat itself, at least where Army procurement is concerned. US Senator from Iowa Joni Ernst has, in an address to Vice Chief of Staff Daniel Allyn on Capitol Hill earlier last week, called for a new upgrade program for the US Army’s standard issue rifle. According to Military.com, she said:

I do commend the Army’s recent action on upgrading its handgun. The fact remains that it took far too long to happen, but we are underway… Russia continues to upgrade its rifles and this really needs to be a priority as well for the Army. So again to you, besides more money, what can we do to upgrade other small arms and how can we do it faster?

Ernst references Russian weapons upgrade programs as a reason for a new US rifle program. I have no question about Sen. Ernst’s intentions to give the troops the best equipment, but I think it should be noted that it is the Russians, not us, who are playing catch-up in infantry small arms in many respects. Their AK-12, which is now cancelled, would have been a close equivalent to the US Army’s current M4 Carbine, and the AK-12/400 – which has followed the AK-12 in development – is certainly no better than current US weapons in most respects. The new Kalashnikov SVK designated marksman’s rifle, which has not yet been procured by the Russian Army, is at best the equal of the US Army’s new M110A1 CSASS rifle from Heckler & Koch. I am not suggesting that Sen. Ernst is wrong to call for weapons upgrade programs, nor that the US Army should not continue to pursue every advantage. Instead, my point is to clarify that doing so would be maintaining an edge that the Army already possesses in many respects (and has for a long time), not catching up to new developments elsewhere. I am sure Sen. Ernst is already aware of this, but given comments from other voices recently, I still think it bears repeating.

Rather than purchase all-new weapons now, it seems that the most prudent course of action for the US Army would be to continue upgrading the M4 Carbine to M4A1 standard (perhaps with a further upgrade program), while funding more advanced technology programs like CTSAS or a composite cased effort. With a new kind of ammunition in the works, a new procurement program would naturally follow. The risk here is that previous Army programs like SPIW, ACR, and OICW all were too ambitious, and bore little fruit. While I personally believe that lightweight cased ammunition like CT are far less risky than those programs, over-ambition is still a definite concern with government programs of this type.



Nathaniel F

Nathaniel is a history enthusiast and firearms hobbyist whose primary interest lies in military small arms technological developments beginning with the smokeless powder era. In addition to contributing to The Firearm Blog, he runs 196,800 Revolutions Per Minute, a blog devoted to modern small arms design and theory. He is also the author of the original web serial Heartblood, which is being updated and edited regularly. He can be reached via email at nathaniel.f@staff.thefirearmblog.com.


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  • Joseph Goins

    Leave it to the recently retired Army logistics officer to call BS on the whole procurement process.

    • John A. Smith

      Exactly.

    • tazman66gt

      That’s why we elected her.

  • Sunshine_Shooter

    I don’t get it. What is there to upgrade in the standard-issue rifle? I could see upgrading the optics (to what, IDK. 1-6x?), but what else on the rifle could legitimately be upgraded?

    • Walking killbots with menacing, glowing red eyes to bear them in combat. Ideally, they would communicate in English with thick Austrian accents.

      • Sunshine_Shooter

        Okay, I can support that initiative. Where do I donate to/join the R&D team?

        • Address:
          Cyberdyne Systems
          18144 El Camino Real
          Sunnyvale, California 94087

          Phone: (555) 867 – 5309

          Email: not yet

          • TheNotoriousIUD

            “Come with me if you want to, Biv.”
            – Bell & Devoe

          • Badwolf

            Omg I understood that reference…hahaha

    • Drew Coleman

      Maybe upgrade the bolts or move to a free float rail system?

    • 11b

      Lighter rails would help, standard issue quad is obnoxious. Also a more comfortable stock and a less gritty, lighter trigger. The M4 certainly gets the job done but incremental improvements could still be made- the question is it worth it, economically.

      • Dude

        “lighter rails” why not just Mlock….

        • jono102

          Maybe for side rails, but a fixed top rail is fine for the likes of an in line night sight and until they release Mlock that is rated to support an M-203/M-320 firing, the bottom rail should stay fixed.

          • Dude

            Yes

      • Joshua

        The trigger is already a thing.

        The Army is fleeting the M4A1 that has a 6lb S-1-F FCG.

    • Thomas Gomez

      Better barrel. Better trigger. Longer rail. 1 – 6 or 1 – 8 scope.

      • CommonSense23

        Better barrel is going to be a complete waste of money.

      • Sunshine_Shooter

        1) What would make a better barrel, and how much would the troops gain from it?
        2) Yeah, totally agree. Probably have to go free-float to do so, but that would be an upgrade as well.
        3) Agree with that too. LPVO for sure.

        • 1.) Word on the street is the HK416’s barrel is really something else. The Marines in particular seem to find the M27 can outshoot the M4 every day of the week. Might be due to age of the Carbines, but still…

          • Kivaari

            What profile is on the M27? M4 Government or SOCCOM or …?

          • Heavy as balls.

          • Joshua

            It’s thicker than the M4A1 barrel, I believe it is around .95″.

          • Kivaari

            That’s quite heavy. I had the M4A1 profile on one SBR it is substantial.

          • Uniform223

            Doesn’t the M27 use a heavy profile stainless steel match grade barrel? If it has that kind of barrel… he’ll just a match grade barrel in general; wouldn’t it “out shoot” your standard issue M4 and M16 in the first place? Look at the Mk.12 SPR. Even with the old M855 it would make an M16 blush real hard.

          • Joshua

            Mostly due to age.

            The M4A1 barrel with a FF rail can push .9MOA by the AMU with match ammo.

      • Joseph Goins

        A “better barrel” wouldn’t even last a year for marginal gains.
        A “better trigger” has too light of a trigger pull for combat.
        A “longer rail” means replacing the front sight post which is important.

        • CommonSense23

          The front sight post is of zero value. Even then their are rails such as DD that allow it to be in place even with a longer free floated rail.

          • Joseph Goins

            You may want to rethink the “front sight post is of zero value” remark.

          • CommonSense23

            Why. It is with modern optics and folding back up irons.

          • Joseph Goins

            The problem with a folding front sight is that you need to flip them up in order to use it. In Iraq, I was clearing out a building with an Aimpoint CompM2 (the original M68 CCO) on my M4 when the unit stopped working. (I still have no idea how it died, but it wasn’t a battery issue.) It worked well in the first room, but it shut off at some point before I entered the third room. Try killing two people ten yards in front of you while getting shot at all while not having working aiming device on your own gun. It gets old faster than you can flip a backup iron sight.

          • CommonSense23

            While I understand that issue. I don’t share the same viewpoint. One if it’s daylight always had my visible laser on as a emergency. And even when the optic is working. At 10 yards I’m pretty much point shooting.

          • Joseph Goins

            “Visible laser on as a emergency.” Good thing you didn’t do that at night.

          • CommonSense23

            Well if it’s night, than its the IR. And you can run you folding sights up if you want. So everybody is happy, guys who don’t run irons and guys who do.

          • Cuvie

            What does the regular FSP do that rail mounted BUIS can’t?

          • LCON

            bayonet mount and gas block.

          • Joseph Goins

            Be “up” all the time. When an EOTech or Aimpont stops functioning, you can still get center of mass hits with a FSP and no rear sight out to about 25 meters. (And yes, Aimpoints do break occasionally.)

          • LCON

            not all BUIS are flip up some are fixed.

          • Joseph Goins

            True. But I believe the other guy specifically asked about folding variants.

          • iksnilol

            A folding sight can also be left up all the time.

          • Joseph Goins

            With less rigidity. I’ve owned the Troy and Magpul models and they came up lacking in this department. PRI does make a good model.

          • Joshua

            rail mounted front sights will move independently of the barrel, this means POA/POI will be different due to the barrel being free floated and flex from the rail effecting the front sight.

          • Joshua

            POA/POI of FF rail mounted sights can be greatly effected by any slight pressure on the rail.

          • CommonSense23

            Do you really think anyone is reliably making greater than a 100 yard shot with a irons in combat when they are taking rounds.

          • C

            Youre propably quite right. Its a backup iron sight anyways, so you wont use it for superaccurate range shots in the first place.

          • Joshua

            Even at 100M you can shift the POA/POI by 2-3″ with the RIS II.

            This is why I preferred the RIS II with the FSB cutout.

            The other issue you run into is that same POA/POI shift is also done to the IR laser, due to the way the barrel and rail shift independently of each other.

            You can shift the M27’s IR laser by loading the bipod by 5″ at 100M, same for the RIS II.

            It can be negated some what by pushing those items as close to the receiver on the rail as possible, but the shift still exists, even then you’re looking at a 1-2″ difference at 100M.

        • int19h

          A better trigger doesn’t necessarily mean a lighter pull weight. But less gritty / more consistent would already be a great improvement. ALG ACT, for example.

          • Joseph Goins

            At five times the price? Not happening for marginal gains.

          • int19h

            Who said anything about 5x price? Civilian market prices are way different from what the military pays for its large contracts.

          • Joseph Goins

            The same holds true across the board. If on the consumer market an ACT trigger costs $50 and a generic trigger costs $10, then it should maintain that ratio on government prices. Granted, you pay a premium on the ACT trigger because of the quality as opposed to the cost of materials.

          • int19h

            Ratio, sure, but when that ratio translates to a few dollars in absolute value, and significantly improves accuracy, why not?

          • Joseph Goins

            [1] A few dollars per each weapon in inventory plus spares translates to a about $6,000,000 for…

            [2] …a minor improvement in accuracy. Troops regularly classify at the expert level all the time. A trigger isn’t going to improve on that.

            Civilians overplay the value of an enhanced trigger like the BCM PNT or the ALG ACT. While I own both and both are good, they don’t provide enough advantages to offset the cost. The real advantages in trigger technology are found in the Geissele SSA, National Match, and other triggers.

      • Just say’n

        By “better barrel” you mean a carbine chambered for a 6.5 something or another, right? Yeah, me too.

        • Someone

          6.5 is bullsh*t, way too slow, too heavy. And due to KE=1/2m x v² while p=m x v has disproportional high recoil for its energy.

          • Lee M Attinger

            So .458 Socom?

          • Just say’n

            My contacts at Picatinny tell me a 6.5 CST is where they’re headed.

          • Someone

            Define “CST”

            6.5 is complete bullsh*t, way to slow, and has disproportional high recoil for its energy. As soon as you try bringing it up to adequad speed… recoil, blast, weight, chamber pressure, heatflux etc go to an insane level.
            = sh*t

            Better is coming, much better.

      • Guy Slack

        How is a scope in ANYWAY related to the service rifle………

    • Joshua

      It could use a new rail like a DD Omega.

    • Joseph Goins

      The M4s that the Army has are all bastardized with a lot of non-OEM parts which makes them less reliable than new, factory-built guns. Additionally, external pistons work better than internal gas pistons with regards to silencers and short barrels. Silencers are (in my humble opinion) going to play a major role in the future for all infantry weapons. So, the military should look at buying all new M4s or investing in external piston systems.

      • Technology

        “all new M4’s” Bullsh**, “external piston systems” Bullsh**

      • Technology

        And Btw, have fun carrying heavy, super long, expensive supressors, eigher use a tiny short barrel, or have a stupid long, frontheavy Rifle, and than still have… loud piston-pop.

        • patrickkell

          do you even own a gun bro?

          • Technology

            Yes i do, and if not how would that even change my statement in the slightest way…?

          • patrickkell

            you do understand that a suppressor only knocks down 20 to 30 decibels, so the sound of the discharge (avg 110 ish after suppressor) would still be much louder then the operation of a piston. So I revise my question to… Do you even operate bro ?

      • CommonSense23

        Yeah my MK18 would like to have a word about not working well with a silencer.

        • Joseph Goins

          Carefully reread what I wrote. “Additionally, external pistons work better than internal gas pistons with regards to silencers and short barrels.” I never said that internal gas pistons can’t work well with a silencer. I said that they don’t work as well compared to external pistol systems. Don’t hate the player; hate the game.

          • CommonSense23

            Except that doesn’t hold true. 10th group found that the MK18S ran more reliably than the 416s. My personal experience shows the same. Most of the guys I know who have ran both the M4A1/MK18S and 416s have found the guns of equal reliability or favorable to the MK18S.

      • cwolf

        Actually an integrally suppressed gun would offer advantages if reliable.

        Soldiers avoid hearing protectors because they decrease situational awareness. Meanwhile hearing loss is the #1 claim at VA ($1B/year).

        New designs might change the equation. The OSS has minimal back pressure.

        Cheers.

        • Joseph Goins

          Hearing loss will forever be the largest disability claim, and a lot of it is a scam. Everyone I was in with claims it happened from military experience when they deal with the VA but privately admit they are just getting old.

          • cwolf

            USARIEM/PHC do a lot of research on it. So it’s well documented.

            Realizing there are other noise sources than rifles.

            Still, an integrally suppressed rifle offers advantages: better communications, better situational awareness, lower signatures, and better system engineering.

          • Dude

            “better communications, better situational awareness” -> …electronic earplugs, with voicecom… (=standart)

            And you wont have superduper situational awareness when you have supressed rifles but are under a ton of supression fire with a storm of supersonic cracks close to your head.

          • cwolf

            There are no perfect solutions.

            Every solution has its own trade-offs.

            Overall, an integrally suppressed rifle has some advantages.

            It will be interesting to see how the USMC combat test works out.

          • Joseph Goins

            I’m not disagreeing with you about silencers.

    • Harry’s Holsters

      An optic and FF rail would be the best upgrades by far. I wonder though it the current 1-6 options are rugged and stupid proof enough for big army adoption. The ACOG serves it’s roll of mass adoption well.

    • Blake

      The rail (both length and switching to M-Lok or similar), the gas system (switching from carbine to mid-length and adjustable gas block), the trigger, the pistol grip, magazines, buttstock, and an argument could be made for the BCG. The stock military M4 is basically what Smith & Wesson sells for $600.

  • David

    Your underestimating the effectiveness of the ak 12/400 series and the new svk there just as good as our toys. Russia is playing catch up but by a big steps.l, and this pride we americans have over old Soviet russian equipment wont last. If we dont advance our arms. we cant keep thinking there equipment is old and inferior as if ours rifles are made last week, they are very effective if not more

    • Anon

      It’s a rifle that’s never going to be free floated, and firing a cartridge that’s about the same with about the same effective range. The only way the ak would be more effective is if it fired lasers. There isn’t really much more anyone can do at this point.

      • David

        Yet the ak is still gets 3 moa accuracy like any mil spec m4. And 5.45 7n6 has better terminal ballistics than 5.56 m855. The only gripe about the ak was the rail space for optics thats solved so there basically neck and neck now as they were in vietnam and through the 80s

        • 7N6 does not have better terminal ballistics than M855, and it sure as hell doesn’t have better TBs than M855A1.

          • David

            Well i didnt mean 7n6 i meant the new russian standard ammo i dont know much about m855a1 its really not even that old or widely fielded yet either but even with the mistake i made i stand by 7n6 5.45 being better than m855 because its not velocity dependent for terminal ballistics while 7n6 tumbles violently in any barrel length wileded. Lets take somalia iraq as a exmaple of showing the lack of killing power m855 has and russians in Afghanistan for the 5.45 but please explain if i don’t know any better

          • CommonSense23

            You are talking about a round that isn’t even used anymore.

          • David

            No im not im talking about the new stuff i clearly stated i made a nostake saying 7n6 is a force of habbit but i really meant 7n22 and 7n24 and the 5.45 by design has much better wounding characteristics Espically out of a short barrel without the hassel of using difffent bullet weights but even then i still stand by and plenty of other people stand by 7n6 beaying m855

    • bsk

      Russia is simply trying to come to the 21 century, but USA was in that century and now is thinking in 22 century.
      David, sorry but uour assertions arent made by military gear knowledge, are made by political views.
      Its common in Europe, mixture of antiamericanism with military gear names without any knowledge and without any tecnical information.

      • David

        Well i don’t only mean small arms but even our aircraft equipment and arbams need a upgrade even our beloved f16 was shot down by like 50 year old soviet tech in bosnia. I dont really understand what your saying and Europea and anit Americanism because im 100% american but you cant keep thinking our gear is thousands of years above the rest russia isnt fighting with mosin nagnats anymore

    • Unknown

      It doesnt take long anymore and we stay on the absolute Plateau in therms of Smallarms.
      The Russian equipment will look like 3rd world compared to it.

  • Maybe the venerable M4 needs more shoulder-things capable of upward movement, barrel shrouds, and Hera foregrips?

    • georgesteele

      Why use powder when we could use an electromagnetic railgun, in bullpup configuration, with interchangeable barrels for a variety of calibers. Oh – and solar powered, so the batteries don’t run out. But you can only fire it during the daytime . . . unless, of course, you have the windmill attachment; then, its cyclic rate depends on how fast you can run . . .

      • Quest

        How about No? Powder can store energy incredible much better than batteries. Also railguns have extrem wear, and gauss guns need too much energy.

        • Kyle

          All that sarcasm just sailed right by didn’t it? I feel like the big hints were solar/wind powered.

          • Quest

            Oh i forgot to read the second part, jup. Thanks

        • georgesteele

          Ummm – do they have a remedial humor class in any of the schools in your neighborhood?

      • Colonel K

        You forgot the paddle wheel accessory for riparian and marine operations.

  • Dave Webster

    This e4 would be happy with an mcx, tyvm

  • thedarkknightreturns

    Just getting the improvements that the special operations folks made to the M4 out into general issue would be more than adequate. Get rid of the last of the burst fire trigger groups that the Marines cursed everyone with, upgrade to the 5 coil spring and o-ring setup with the extractors. H buffers and heavier buffer springs all the way, go to the heavy profile barrels and update to a more modern magazine (perhaps do as the Marines did in this case with the P mag) In addition COTS improvements like lighter rail systems and perhaps even making suppressors part of the normal setup would be good. These would be cost effective improvements that actually make sense, there is no need for a totally new rifle. As the author mentioned, time spent on further ammo development would also be wise.

  • Uniform223
    • georgesteele

      Where the hell’s the rocket launcher and the directed-energy weapon attachments? Also, that version does not shoot around corners, and the trigger is not controllable with an iPhone. Last week’s technology. Meh.

      At least the heat-seeking bullets can cook the deer as well as kill it . . .

      • Dude

        “We want a Rifle with the size of a submachine gun, performing like an emplaced Machine Gun. What could possibly go wrong.”

      • Lee M Attinger

        No wiFi connection on your rifle bro? How you supposed to live stream to facebook? Ugh

    • LCON

      Where is the light saber Bayonet for fighting Sith lords?

    • Bookoodinkydow

      I carry two of those in my holster.

    • cwolf

      And the laser guided bullet?

    • Lee M Attinger

      No wiFi connection on your rifle bro? How you supposed to live stream to facebook or check your instagram?

  • Vitor Roma

    The M16 with a adjustable stock and free floating handguard would be a quite decent and easy upgrade.

  • Jeffrey Dees

    There’s plenty of upgrades you can do to the weapon’s system to improve performance, the better question is if you do it across the Army will it provide enough of a performance increase across the board to warrant the changes?

    For simple changes, I’d agree with upgrading to the M4A1 standard (so full-auto is back, ambidextrous selector switch), and to adopt what the USMC is doing and allowing PMAG’s to become standard issue. For more questionable changes in regards to costs, a free-float rail system, changing to a 1:8 twist barrel, changing the A2 flash suppressor to a compensator/muzzle brake of some sort are things that can improve weapon performance, but will the soldiers that get the weapons with said changes be able to crank out additional accuracy or reliability from it?

    • Ron

      Cannot go to 1-8 because of the need to shoot tracers over a variety of atmospheric conditions

      • bsk

        Interesting, why Jeffrey says 1:8 twist is better? I dont know, and why Ron, you say 1:8 not for tracers and atmospheric conditions?

        • Drew Coleman

          Standard issue is 1:7 now IIRC, and that’s a pretty fast twist rate. It allows for stabilizing longer (usually heavier) bullets. The downside is that the fast twist rate doesn’t do shorter (lighter) bullets well. But it’ll handle 55 grain just fine. 1:8 is a better balance between 1:7 and 1:9, but the military seems to be trending towards heavier, longer bullets. I don’t see any issue with 1:7 twist rates as they have now.

          • CommonSense23

            1 in 7 will work fine with lighter bullets. They just got to be higher quality. If anything, we are going to faster.

          • Person

            1:7 is for the long M856 tracer. While M855A1 is most accurate in 1:8″ twist.
            The slight problem is accuracy and angle of attack at distance, a well stabilised bullet will align itself while flying. While a too stabilized will stay to much at the angle its shot from, therefore have increased nose pressure and base drag = less energy at range, less supersonic range and therefore less accurate and supression range. Also a larger angle of attack can cause the projectile to ricochet more easy instead of penetrating cover.

          • Bsk

            Thanks to all for info, interesting.

    • Uniform223

      The A2 is a bit of a compensator.

      I would advise against a muzzle break.

    • int19h

      Twist rate is a complete non-issue. People have repeatedly made experiments and found that they can still shoot sub-MOA groups with 55gr (!) ammo out of 1:7 barrels. That’s certainly more than enough for a standard infantry rifle/carbine.

  • coyote-hunter

    upgrade to .30 cal….Maybe even upgrade to AK platform, ammo is abundant and cheap, parts are abundant and cheap, weapon system is very abundant and cheap….

    • No one

      Going to 7.62x39mm AKs would be anything but an “upgrade”.

    • Vitor Roma

      LOL no. The M855A1 is superior in every way to any 7.62×39.

    • anon

      “and in a stunning move by the US Army they have decided to switch the mainline infantry rifle to the AKM. Top officials say that that they have decided to switch to the AK family, because they can buy crates of “gently” used surplus rifles and ammo. There has been no word yet on domestic production of the dreaded M43 “ice-pick” round and accompanying weapon.”

    • Paul White

      are you high? Or just joking?

      • coyote-hunter

        HO-HO..I was right, this comment would get the boat rocking….Agree with all of you, but I do believe an upgrade to .30 cal would be good, have talked to lots of Iraq/Afghanistan vets who wished they had had a longer range and better penetrating round for the type of fire fights they were in…Even in CQB a .30 would better penetrate doors, walls etc…From my limited CQB jungle experience in RVN I would have traded that m-16 for an AK in a heartbeat…

        • TheNotoriousIUD

          Soooo, you think modern CQB doctrine involves a lot of shooting through walls…?

          • CommonSense23

            Walls such as in Afghansigsn and Iraq that are capable of stopping rockets with ease.

          • Ron

            And contain the effects of 500lbs bombs

        • CommonSense23

          Yeah, most Vets are idiots and have no clue what they are talking about.

          • Sunshine_Shooter

            I love me some veterans, but just because someone has shot a lot of rounds doesn’t make them a terminal ballistics expert.

          • CommonSense23

            It doesn’t even mean they know what they want. So many guys will complain about a caliber, and you ask them have they used anything else, and its going to be no.

          • coyote-hunter

            Really?….and what do you base that on, your experience?

          • CommonSense23

            Yeah, again when I say idiots, I’m referring to weapons and ballistics knowledge.

    • TheNotoriousIUD
  • Petto

    US army will be happy when they finally convert all old M4s to M4 PIP

  • Seth Hill

    I don’t get all the talk about Russia when China is the one that is doing massive military upgrading/expansion AND actively threatening neighbors.

    • TheNotoriousIUD

      Uh Ukraine…..Crimea…….ring any bells?

      • Gordon Pasha

        Yeah, sorry, who had thought that after a violent coup with prominent participation of fascist militias the Russians where not standing by when those same militias went on to beat up and kill ethnic Russians. The really thought one massacre of Odessa was enough.

        You might have a point if it was the Russian Army standing at the gates of Liviv shelling the city. But it is the Ukrainian Army alongside aforementioned fascist militias that are standing at the gates of Donetsk shelling the city.

      • Seth Hill

        Ok, but out of the 2 who do you think is a bigger threat militarily to the US? China is if you ask me, at least Russia has been trying to normalize relations even before Trump was elected. China hides behind the “favored nation” notion while actively building up their military.

        • TheNotoriousIUD

          I would say Eastern Europe edges out the South China Sea as a likely flashpoint. Putin has been acting aggressively towards NATO and his neighbors way before the Chinese started their sh-t. Putin is actively trying to fracture NATO.

    • German

      It seems you know little… You cant imagine theyr agressivness here in Europe, in therms of Ultra-anti-american Propaganda, and planned reshaping of public opinion towards a russian übermensch mentality. Its completly insane.

  • Phillip Cooper

    Can anyone tell me the symbol on the solder’s helmet? It looks almost Taoist.

    • TheNotoriousIUD

      He really likes banana pie.

    • B-Sabre

      I believe it’s 3rd Battalion of the 187th Infantry, “The Iron Rakassans.” Part of 3rd Brigade, 101st Airborne. They spent 4 years on occupation duty in Japan after WW2.

      • Bland Samurai

        ^ this

  • USMC03Vet

    The hardware is fine. The rules of engagement is what needs changing.

    • KestrelBike

      And much less leading of targets…

    • Ron

      More to do with a total lack of understanding of the enemy we fight.

      • Frank

        Than get General if youre so smart

    • Joshua

      I wouldn’t mind seeing the DD Omega become standard like AFSOC did.

  • Henry Reed

    KAC SR-15 MOD 2, contract/bulk discount. Done.

  • xebat

    Seriously, the AR-15 is perfect as is, in terms of price to performance ratio. What is this guy smoking ? Unless the military wants to switch to some fancy high tech caliber it makes no f#cking sense to switch to another 5.56 platform with marginally better features.

    • Unknown

      100% correct. It would be an insane cost, and logistic, and then … would be used for like 3years. That would be shorter than it takes to even deliver a large order of Rifles!

      But i think he rater speaks of minor attachment on the M4

    • Sen. Ernst is a lady, actually.

      • SPQR9

        And a veteran Army Reserve and National Guard officer

        • Joshua

          Who only had one deployment in her 25 year career and in that one deployment the worst thing she saw, was some jackasses blocking her convoy by laying the road daring to be run over, and it only happened that one time.

          One deployment in 25 years, with one…..I’m not sure what it would be classified as.

          She’s certainly not a SME when it comes to small arms.

  • Audie Bakerson

    Repeal the NFA so small arms can be surplused.

    There. I just reduced the cost of upgrading to a new rifle by a massive amount.

    • Big Daddy

      Sell off all the stockpiled stuff wasting away and they’ll have more than enough money to resupply all the troops with small arms. It would cost the taxpayer nothing at all. Like all the M1 Garands and Carbines the South Koreans want to give back to us.

    • Unknown

      The New Rifle is currently in development, so this argument would be interesting later, but currently not usefull. Adopting some dumb outdated Rifle for a shi*ton of money and then….. use it for 2-3 years would be utterly stupid.

      • Audie Bakerson

        The idea is to surplus existing M16s/M4s to fund the new rifle, not a failsafe in case they want to get rid of the new rifle.

        • Unknown

          I like the idea, take out the trigger group and there you have it. But as said its ONLY makes sence in a few years.

  • Big Daddy

    I’d say just make small changes like I have to my AR15s. Ambi selector, lightweight free float rail. better trigger, better stock. Maybe some NiB coatings on certain parts especially the bolt itself. Maybe some parts nitrided. Definitely a heavier barrel profile. A 16″ midlength over the carbine. And most of all ammo, the M855A1 looks promising. Better magazines. I think that’s all the platform needs. But the squad needs to have a lightweight 7.62NATO GPMG. And heavier(not weight) harder hitting weapons at the platoon level.

    • Dude

      Yes, but “7.62×51 GPMG” … no, if we look at the facts-> with well made projectile construction (hard steelhead and fragmenting jacked like the EPR) you get enough penetration and exellent terminal ballistic with 5.56×45. For half the weight => 200% the rounds to carry!! Higher capacity. Less than half the recoil (2.84 lbs-sec recoil impulse and 18.51 ft-lbf recoil energy, while 5.56×45 at 1852J has 1.47lbs-sec and 4.94 ft-lbf, thats a diffrence of 193% and 374% !) -> much higher % hit propability. And if you argument about “tearing up cover with tha 7.62×51” … you got twice the rounds with 5.56 and much less than half the recoil so it works perfectly fine, also it has a higher energy to weight ratio and as said, more capacity.
      And both are supersonic to 800y anyways, no diffrence there, (going subsonic = accuracy and supression loss)
      7.62×51 has slightly less wind drift, but who cares in a LMG…?

      Additionally the Parts of 7.62×51 Rifles are more heavy (barrel, bolt carrier, etc), and one interesting detail is that due to the longer action, you get a shorter barrel lenght for the same overall lenght.

      With 5.56×45 EPR you get a lighter, slightly short LMG, with more capacity, 200% the rounds to carry = completly overmatching firepower, shots bursts like a laserbeam instead of having 193% to 374% more recoil, having higher hit propability, same supersonic range.

      • Dude

        *MG not Rifle
        *193% to 374% the recoil – not more recoil

      • Big Daddy

        I carried a M60 no problem. The fire power cannot be matched by a 5.56.

        Within the infantry squad you need firepower.

        You can throw numbers around but time and time again the lack of firepower from 5.56 alone proves not enough.

        • Dude

          M855A1 will de facto beat it, read again.

          7.62×51’s “firepowder” is senceless, you have 200% the rounds with M855A1, you can just completly shoot HALF of your entire ammo, and still have the same amount as your opponent. That is completly overmatching firepower that can not be dealt with.

          As said with 5.56×45 EPR you get a lighter, slightly short LMG, with more capacity, SAME supersonic range, same if not more Joule per weight, have far less recoil (as said 7.62×51 is 193% to 374%), which results in higher hit propability, keeping supression burst tighter in an area like windows, doorways etc. You also can up the firerate, and have increased hit propability on moving (from cover to cover) targets.

          • Guy Slack

            If you’re shooting at vehicles or building, 7.62×51 makes a difference for an Infantry unit.

          • Joshua

            M855A1 has superior hard target penetration when compared to any current 7.62 NATO being fielded right now.

          • Chick G

            If you’re shooting at vehicles or building, Chuck G’s your man.

        • The weight of something like an M60 isn’t the problem, it’s the weight of ammunition. Difficult to carry enough linked 7.62mm ammunition in the squad, which means either very low combat endurance (run out of ammo too quickly), or troops can’t go too far from their vehicles.

  • Nicks87

    Maybe more emphasis needs to be on shot placement instead of spray and pray. More force-on-force training and more focus on making accurate shots in a high stress environment. I really don’t think this is an equipment issue, if there is any issue at all.

    • GetBackToReality

      “shot placement” have fun doing this in some fairytale dreamland… reality is shooting under strong supression.

  • Politically Incorrect

    I’d be more interested in metal treatments that can be applied to firearm parts.

    If you could make the M4 platform more reliable without using more oil then that would make a huge difference.

    The Russians realized that they need to invest in rail estate. We already have plenty of that.

  • GD Ajax

    Ernst just wants to give handouts to contractors in her state. She really doesn’t care about those in her old job that much.

    • Outside of Brownells, how many DOD small arms contracts have gone to Sen. Ernst’s home state of Iowa?

      • Do you have contact to the DOD? And how fast do they respond to emails?

        • I routinely follow DOD solicitations and contracts.

          Let’s put it another way, how many small arms manufacturers do you know of in Iowa? Les Baer Custom isn’t big enough to supply a major DOD contract. Brownells’ biggest contract has been for M16 magazines.

          Iowa’s largest defense contractor is Rockwell Collins, and they don’t manufacture small arms.

          • LCON

            They do electro optics, helmet mounted displays, electronics, Avionics, Communications. There Integrated Digital Vision System looks like a cool set up.

  • Harry’s Holsters

    The Russians are just now catching up on modularity to where the M4 has been for years. The upgrades need to come in optics, lights and lasers.

  • Twilight sparkle

    Honestly I thought the best idea would be to find the m4a1+ program, that seems like it has the most potential.

    • Time

      Yes, everything else would be an insane waist of money, logistic nightmare, and just hilarious to use another clone Rifle that has nothing but a small ergonomic diffrence. And that replace it in a few years (which can be shorter than the full delivery date of a new Rifle).

  • Nic_223

    There is something symbolic about infantry small arms that makes people inflate their worth on the battlefield. If I were an infantry person , which im not, my goal would be enhancing armor and things like exoskeletons to increase the weight a soldier can carry so they can carry heavier weapons,better armor,more ammo and more equipment.

  • A Fascist Corgi

    Yet another blog post calling for the U.S. military to stick with the M4. What a surprise…

    It really wouldn’t be that difficult for the U.S. military to start a rifle program that created the best assault rifle in the world. There’s so many firearm manufacturers and talented engineers in America, and the U.S. military has an absolutely ridiculous budget.

    If the U.S. government and private sector can manufacture Saturn V rockets, stealth fighter jets, nuclear weapons, self-driving electric cars, smartphones, et cetera, then I’m pretty sure that they could manage to manufacture a really slick bullpup rifle which set the new standard for assault rifles.

    • Xtorin O’hern

      dude, you realize anything the US market comes up with will just be another AR platform right?

    • Blake

      There’s a reason there have been so few successful bullpup rifles, just like there is a reason that the AR platform has been so popular for decades and is still being adopted by militaries today.

    • Unknown

      You dont realize that the absolut Plateau in Smallarms Technology is currectly developed? Why to adopt some stupid other Clone Rifle with a few tiny ergonomic improvements when real changes are coming. Its and insane waist of money and logistic.

      So, yes its coming, but we have to stick with the M4 for a short time still, if we dont want a logistic catastrophe.

  • J

    Upgrades to the barrels would be a great start. Here are some ideas.

    Cold hammer forged barrels 20,000+ round barrel life.
    Melonite QPQ treated barrels.
    Melonite QPQ treated BCG until the Army can field their new treatment process for the BCG and other parts. (US Army Develops Integral Dry Lubricant To Replace CLP)
    16 inch mid-length barrel for lighter recoil, longer range, faster muzzle velocity, and accuracy.
    Lighter rail using a free float M-LOK rail system to be more modular. Put rails where you need them saves weight.
    Flip up front sight. Either fixed or attached to rail.
    NiB coated trigger group.

    These could be done pretty fast to upgrade the M4A1s.

    • Guy Slack

      Mechanized Infantry needs a bullpup. They need to make a weapon that can be easily configured to be either a standard rifle or into a bullpup. That would be a true weapon of the future. Don’t tell me it can’t be done with the amount of computer tech we have to create this kind of weapon in a simulated environment.

      • Unknown

        “They need to make a weapon that can be easily configured to be either a standard rifle or into a bullpup” … NO!!?

        Literally the only thing preventing a bullpup is the ejection, with CT cases its bottom eject anyways. So what youre talking about.
        Better than you think is on the way.

        • .

          Yes youre right bottom or also forward slight sideways ejection.

        • Guy Slack

          The Beretta ARX160 can have it’s ejection switched without tools. Honestly, that gun brings the most new features to the market but is overlooked because it’s a tad bit ugly.

          • CommonSense23

            It’s overlooked for a lot of performance reasons.

          • Unknown

            2 ejection ports = half the reliability in dusty or muddy envoirments…

            And yes, its ugly as sin, and bulky.

            In therms of combat Rifles you dont want to switch ejection everytime you change corner….. bottom eject ct bullpups are better

      • I don’t think bullpups are very competitive.

        • .

          Atleast not current Metal-Bottleneck Platforms.

          • Maybe, but it looks like even CT development is moving away from them.

          • Johannes von’ Strauch

            Sure? I think you know 2 Developments.
            You know how much i put into this, and how much im after perfecting things to the absolute Apex point.

            Bye the way what about the presentation meeting email?

  • Guy Slack

    This is not what we need. I’d rather stick with the M4 until we can commission a new gun entirely.

  • NewMan

    No serious military utilize M4 anymore. Time to move on from t.

    Only reason why we’re still stuck with it is due to politics.

    • Brought to you by Heckler & Koch™

      • Unknown

        Youre 100% correct, Nathaniel our savior *prays*

      • NewMan

        If we’re smart we would’ve adopted the 416 a long time ago, yes.

        HK setting up a factory here is an indication that they will build the 416 here and it will eventually completely replace the DI M4.

        It is going to happen sooner than you think. Just watch.

        • …Um, they already make the M27 here.

          And no, hahaha, it’s not an indication that they will replace the M4. Not at $2800 a unit and CTSAS looming on the horizon, they won’t.

          • NewMan

            talking about the standard 416A5

            Production cost can be kept down via using some US components and forging the aluminum upper and lower here.

            DI is fading away and some just can’t seem to accept this.

          • Unknown

            Dude… youre just stupid, the thing is you have no idea about technology. Why waist millions over millions over millions on some fu*** piston AR clones…. For basicly no real performance diffrence.

            New Technology is verry verry close, and the Hk416 will look like 3rd world equipment compared to it. It would take LONGER to even deliver it, than waiting on the developed Rifle i mean.
            =keep the M4 or you will have the most senceless waist of money and logistic nightmare ever.

          • US-made 416s are $2800 a pop, USMC price.

            I think it’s tremendously silly to take sides between operating systems. Stoner gas is a great system, so is direct impingement on an operating rod, so is segmented short-stroke, so is tappet. All of these operating systems are great, with very minor advantages and disadvantages between them that make them slightly more suitable for different purposes.

            Saying “DI is fading away” is very silly, since it’s never been more popular in the precision rifle world, for one thing. And as much as every new rifle design seems content to use an oprod or tappet, despite this DI weapons are still getting adopted in large numbers.

            Might the M4 get replaced by something with an oprod? Sure, maybe. Who cares? As long as the operating system that’s selected is one that fits the bill and does the job well, I don’t really give a crap how the gas is used.

          • Suppressed

            I can’t believe you wrote 3 replies to a guy who could easily be taken as either trolling or greatly misinformed.

          • I like to engage with my audience. 🙂

          • TW

            Yet the AR piston market has almost collapsed in the past few years. My DI AR15 will hold up to any punishment a piston gun will do, except in an SBR format.

        • ActualTechnology

          No, you just defined the opposite of smart.

          The Hk416 is outdated since 3decades. And a contract would be not even be delivered before it needs to be replaced AGAIN.

    • Someone

      No, its time to stay with it, for a short amount of time. And than adopt something that actually makes a diffrence, instead of now waisting a sh*tton of money on some stupid clone Rifle that as NOTHING but some small ergonomic advantages.

  • Jeremy

    Im thinking convention bullets with polymer casing would be a good place to start.

    • snmp

      ammunition with steel case : cheaper & light weight

      • Quest

        Less accurate, does rust without additional threatment, still have 7.85g-cm³ instead of 1,2g-cm³.
        Theres a reason why brass cases are used.

      • Jeremy

        Brass is cleaner and and more reliable than steel case I hear.

  • Kivaari

    At least her hearts in the right place.

  • GordonTrenchard

    Upgrade the M4 but not the M9 to the M9A3? The writer seems to be saying this. I would say do the rifle upgrade first and then maybe upgrade the pistol.

    • LCON

      The Army has selected the M17 for it’s next service pistol, The Navy and Airforce can do as they please with the M9A3 but in all likelihood will simply skim from Army stock of M9 and eventually M17. M4A1 has more room for growth.

      • GordonTrenchard

        Yes I am aware of that. But the logic is flawed.

        • LCON

          obviously the Army disagrees.

          • GordonTrenchard

            Yeah. They are being pretty dumb on this one in my opinion.

          • Joshua

            It depends.

            I mean only time will tell, but the M17 could become the M16 of the handgun world, and may see a dozen changes and improvements over its career….but I could be wrong.

    • cwolf

      The pistol was a different issue. M9 fleet was worn out and lawyers said expanding the buy with new features was a no-go. In any case, it’s a done deal.

      The rifle fleet is mixed. Some places were still using the M16A2. But, generally the rifle fleet is seriously worn. 1.6B rounds/year of ammo has an effect.

      Things like production, costs, resource availability, etc. tend to drive the train. So, so far, the system folks want to see a replacement “rifle” that significantly changes the system performance to justify the costs.

      So, so far, that has been PIPs, not a new rifle. Folks love to argue calibers, but the system folks see a new caliber costing big bucks due to having to re-do the production plants. Complex system with lots of moving parts.

      • GordonTrenchard

        I would argue they can upgrade the pistol for cheaper. Let’s face it the pistol is almost never used in combat . Very few reports of the pistol itself not performing. Plenty of instances where the rifle or the round not being adequate. Logic would dictate you fix that first. Sad to see the M9 go since I lo e that pistol but the Sig seems good. Not my up of tea. I heard someone say watch for NDs to rise because of lax training. I’ve heard it it happening with the Glocks inservice.

        • cwolf

          Buying decisions are mostly economic decisions. When the fleet is worn out, it’s worn out. If you want new features, then you need a new contract.

          Lots of folks complain quite heatedly about say 45 acp vs 9mm, but (as the FBI proved) more folks can shoot the 9mm more accurately with more onboard rounds. Again, it’s a fleet decision, not an individual decision. Moving to HP means more effective bullets and fewer through & throughs.

          I believe the new contract includes Simunition kits and ammo? If so, bravo.

          My bias is that better training and better ranges are as important as caliber. Plus we need ballistically reactive targets so folks can see tiny bullets don’t knock down 150 pound targets. Hmmm, but they do in TV and movies (ok, only the Bad Guys. Hero only gets wounded and heals overnight).

          NDs? We had lots with the 1911. The SIG has an external safety. My opinion is every training course should go over and over and over that dropping the mag does not unload the gun. Do it until their ears bleed. About 40% of the population can’t visualize.

          I will no longer ever hand a loaded gun to anybody. Almost everybody almost reflexively points the gun somewhere and pulls the trigger.

          Some places put laser-lights on their pistols with grip mounted switches. In a high stress situation, squeezing the grip also meant trigger finger tightened. Oops.

          Cheers.

  • William M Durham

    The biggest problem is the simple small size of the bullet and its limited range, at ranges 0f 500 to 800 meters the 556 is a bb gun and has no real punch. Hate to say it but something in the old 7.62 would work just fine and they are made im AR style and fashion. more punch better range

    • CommonSense23

      Do you really think our troops can regulary make shots out to 500-800 yards. And 5.56 will easily incapicate and kill at a 1000 yards.

      • William M Durham

        spent 4 years in VietNam using the 5.56 on people past 100 yards no one fell over in fact sometimes the little bullet went right through only really damaging to a man if it hits a bone, then there’s hell to pay, but no slam down power like a big bullet

        • CommonSense23

          Sure you weren’t missing?

          • William M Durham

            no reply is needed, I am here and kicking they aint

          • CommonSense23

            That doesn’t mean you weren’t missing.

          • William M Durham

            Back to subject, in Afghanistan the m16 did not have the range needed to fight the Afghans in the hills,just take the old m14 out of storage and you had a rifle you could fight in the hills with or across the long ranges they were fighting in

          • CommonSense23

            The M14 can’t make the shots in Afghanistan. We are being overmatched by 7.62×54 from a beltfed, and the Dshka. Not rifles.

          • Unknown

            Correct, supersonic range of 7.62×51 and 5.56×45 is basicly the same, and superduper carefull aimed 7.62×51 shots at range are stupid anyways under supression fire, and 7.62×51 is shaped so bad its a bad DMR round anyways both in therms of drop and supersonic range.
            Volume of fire is the right thing to use.
            A LMG with 200rounds of M855A1 EPR, and youre good to go, you can send bursts like a laserbeam. And have a ton of ammo.

        • No one

          Aside from the fact M80 ball had far WORSE stopping power then M193 of course.

          But clearly bigger = always better because that’s how ballistics work!

    • No one

      Except that standard infantry man aren’t even trained to accurately fire that far. and as said below even if they did someone that far it would kill.

      We’re not going back to 7.62x51mm as standard issue, get over it.

      • William M Durham

        Ask a Marine about how far they are trained to shoot and besides the Army could change its training program back, in April 1966 when I qualified with the m14 in basic we had no problem knocking the pop up targets yet 2 months later with M16 they had to redo all the targets so the little 5,56 would knock them down so we could qualify with the M16 then half the time they still did not knock down the targets, by the way with the M14 in 1966 we had 450 meter targets

        • crackedlenses

          Shooting stuff on a range does not guarantee that one can hit targets accurately at long distances under combat conditions.

        • cwolf

          There were 500m targets for decades on rifle ranges. Realizing somebody forgot that the 556 bullet drops 45″ by then.

          Yet the USMC moving target test showed zero hits. Zero.

          Thin target plastic sheets don’t react like human tissue. Even so, what exactly do you expect a tiny bullet to do to a 150-250 pound target?

          The reality is far more people are wounded in combat than killed. At least 5 to one.

          The new 3 position table system with targets at up to 300m is better for the average Soldier because it’s more realistic. I have no problem with having 2 standards: one for Infantry and one for non-Infantry.

          Folks tend to forget inter-visibility distance as a variable.

    • cwolf

      It is true that FMJ in any caliber tend to ice pick meat targets. Realizing human targets are a wide mix of tissues & voids. Humans are not gel blocks.

      The Mk262 was specially designed to tumble and be accurate. Army ammo has no accuracy standard (which is why frequent zeroing is a must).

      I trained on both the M14 and the M16. If you issued M14 today, I suspect the troops would be unhappy. OK, apples and oranges.

      Although I agree the Army tends to over standardize. I have no problem with giving the Infantry one rifle/caliber and CS/CSS a different rifle/caliber.

      As much as I love guns and think long range precision shooting is terrific, I think the new 3 table 300m qualification is better for the average shooter. I’d still love to invest $ millions in moving shoot-back targets on a high fidelity maneuver range for Infantry.

      Even so, there are better solutions for the 800-1,500m target than rifle fire. This is war, not a rifle range.

      • Uniform223

        “Army ammo has no accuracy standard (which is why frequent zeroing is a must)”

        All ammo lots purchased by the MILITARY in general must pass certain qualifications in terms of accuracy, dependability, and cost. I get it you’re a former marine and you think you’re all high and mighty until a platoon of silver winged E-2 and E-4s walk in…

        https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/236x/fd/e5/24/fde5248d467ec212d555b1c9ed96e5a2.jpg

        • cwolf

          Mk 262 has accuracy standards. Army 556 varies lot-to-lot and sometimes shot-to-shot. Source: NSWC

          Realizing folks are making new rounds rapidly so information gets dated.

        • cwolf

          Sorry not a Marine. Difficult to make a general statement about ammunition these days because new rounds are proliferating like bunnies.

          Highly accurate ammo costs more. Every meeting I had with the Combat Developers and materiel folks highlighted their beliefs about rifle and ammunition criteria.

          In any case, the important take-away is zero often. Rifles and sights get banged around in handling. Ammunition can vary from lot-to-lot.

          Cheers.

    • Unknown

      -> M855A1 EPR 5.56×45 does fragment to 600meter, is supersonic slightly beyond 800yards.

      If we look at the facts-> with well made projectile construction (hard steelhead and fragmenting jacked like the EPR) you get enough penetration and exellent terminal ballistic with 5.56×45. For half the weight => 200% the rounds to carry!! Higher capacity. Less than half the recoil (2.84 lbs-sec recoil impulse and 18.51 ft-lbf recoil energy, while 5.56×45 at 1852J has 1.47lbs-sec and 4.94 ft-lbf, thats a diffrence of 193% and 374% !) -> much higher % hit propability. And if you argument about “tearing up cover with tha 7.62×51” … you got twice the rounds with 5.56 and much less than half the recoil so it works perfectly fine, also it has a higher energy to weight ratio and as said, more capacity.
      And both are supersonic to 800y anyways, no diffrence there, (going subsonic = accuracy and supression loss)

      Additionally the Parts of 7.62×51 Rifles are more heavy (barrel, bolt carrier, etc), and one interesting detail is that due to the longer action, you get a shorter barrel lenght for the same overall lenght.

  • adverse4

    BB rifles, less weight more ammo carried. Need to do something about those tacky boots too. Need a pocket for compact make up kits. Pink camo, tailored uniforms to make butts look smaller. That face paint smells so macho, tone it down. Is that a gun in your pants? Can I feel it? The US Military, a socialist experiment.

  • LCON

    Like I said by early 2018 a resurrected M4A1+, a low profile gas block, mid length rail to allow just enough room for a bayonet to mount. Bayonet lug, rail mounted front sight, maybe update the stock, pistol grip and trigger guard, improved selective fire trigger, Ambi bolt release/mag release, suppressor compatible muzzle break, dark earth paint.
    of course. upgrades for Polymer ammo are still a ways down the road. The Army just transitioned to the M855A1 and M4A1 pure fleet conversion is supposed to finish sometime this year.
    “what can we do to upgrade other small arms and how can we do it faster?” has that key wording “Small arms”
    In my opinion the M249 is too heavy, 15-17 pounds empty when there are weapons in the same class at 10 pounds means it should be able to be put on a diet or at the very least get a pack ammo carrier like the mico for it to take the weight off the weapon.

    • Uniform223

      In my personal opinion they should look at KAC’s latest take on the Stoner LMG. Unloaded weighs in at just under 10lbs. Has the constant recoil design. Already compatible with your typical “nut sacks” and drums.

  • Rickey Morris

    I submit it’s really not the Military that is the drag when it comes to upgrades but the Manufacture Companies. They can find more reasons for dragging their heals and causing cost overruns because it is an acceptable way of doing business with our Government Agencies. I believe Trump will cause a tremendous increase in production, and end results since he tends to give deadlines that cost the weapons and Plane companies money for not finishing and at the bid price or lower. If not, hire someone else.

  • VanDiemensLand

    Why not just wait for India to choose one and copy that y’all! 😉

  • Lee M Attinger

    Really all that needs to be done to improve the current M4’s is cerakote them in burnt bronze.

  • tiger

    Arguments over rifles in a IED world is dumb.

    • BRM

      Like it or not, a lot of folks need to be shot a lot of the time. Until we have Metroid style beam weapons, we’ll be using guns.

  • NukeItFromOrbit

    We need to invest more in the LSAT program, that’s the future.

  • L. Roger Rich

    Proud to say I helped vote Sen. Joni Ernst (Lieutenant Colonel) into office.

  • Rnasser Rnasser

    “Rather than purchase all-new weapons now, it seems that the most prudent course of action for the US Army would be to continue upgrading the M4 Carbine to M4A1 standard (perhaps with a further upgrade program), while funding more advanced technology programs like CTSAS or a composite cased effort.”
    Amen. Composite/lightweight cases of some kind are the future, this and the caliber question have to be solved before jumping into a minor performance increase.

  • cwolf

    1. Folks get frustrated with long procurement times. Sure, you can buy off-the-shelf as long as you’re willing to accept risk. When something goes bad, then folks scream “why didn’t you test?”

    2. I think the USMC is leading the way. Do a small unit test in a high fidelity environment like 29 Palms. If successful, then do a combat test with one unit. Etc.

    3. The larger problem is that some folks think guns are magic. If everybody had the xyz caliber zoomy rifle, the enemy would drop like flies. Meanwhile some/many folks are still shooting paper targets on a fixed range. Then folks interview a shooter who says “I shot a running Bad Guy at 200m and he kept on running. He didn’t explode into 4 pieces and get knocked off his feet. I need a better gun.”

    Then he uses the gun to pound in tent stakes and trys to pry packaging straps off supplies with the barrel. All things I’ve seen done.

    4. You do realize Army ammo generally has no accuracy standard?

    5. I applaud buying SCARS, HKs, etc. in whatever caliber folks want. Ideally a transformer gun they can get into a HMMV with, fight MOUT, then fight on the desert or in the mountains. But, we need better high fidelity training and a better base case sight. Iron peep sights are cheap and easy to use on a nice clean range. They’re not so useful on a dynamic battlefield.

    Maybe someday somebody can invent a high tech reflex sight with auto range & auto lead.

    • Guy Slack

      Agreed on the transformer gun.

  • Fr33zy

    There really isn’t much that needs doing. The only thing I can really see being beneficial is a free float rail system, possibly a better muzzle device, and the M4A1 trigger kit.

    Oh and maybe fixing the fact that your entire reserve force and half the Guard is still using M16A2s.

  • TW

    Maybe they can finish the upgrading all to the M4A1 format. Adding a free float rail and low profile front gas block with BUIS would be best.

  • Eric B.

    This cal for a US military small arms (rifle/carbine) upgrade is LONG overdue.
    Many who have used and are using the AR rifles like the M4 are already in a Greek chorus saying “If’n it ain’t broke don’t fix it.” This for a Vietnam-era rifle. Uh huh…

    But the FN SCAR, Rem. Defense ACR and the new HK M44 (I think that’s the model name) are truly a step beyond the aged AR rifles in both reliability and ergonomics.

    And with the 6.5 Grendel cartridge added to a new rifle you would have a much better battle/assault rifle with increased lethality. The 6.5 Grendel has far better ballistics than the 5.56 NATO and somewhat better than the Rem. 6.8 SPC. (But the 6.8 SPC is the love child of SOCOM so they are biased against the 6.5 Grendel, regardless of the ballistics data.)

    OK, now let’s have the loyal hate mail against change aand praises for the M4 and 5.56 NATO round. A lot of guys now own semi-auto AR rifles and are convinced that God has appointed (anointed?) it as the be-all and end-all of assault rifles. Again, Uh huh…

    • ok buddy

    • No one

      The SCAR is about even, the H&K 433 was just announced and thus you’re talking out of your backside on how “reliable” and ergonomically friendly it is, and ironically It’s a cheaper alternative to the H&K 416, which is a ripoff of that “vietnam era design” you speak so lowly of that has an SSP on it, clearly the AR-15 is just dated though. and the ACR having BETTER reliability then an M4A1? LOL. the ACR is one of the worst “combat” rifles made in the past 20 years, and even after a full on recall has horribly quality control and durability/reliability.

      SOCOM never wanted anything to do with the 6.8mm SPC, but thanks for spreading more myths perpatrated from the known liar Gary Roberts. It also get’s destroyed ballistically by more modern 5.56x45mm loadings, the 6.8mm SPC is awful, the FBI rejected it after Gary Robert’s cult of “experts” tried to rig tests with it, Delta Force rejected it.

      But keep dreaming we’re going to 6.5mm Grendel which is far too heavy and large for starters that weigh out the good sides of it compared to what’s used now.

      You have no idea what you’re talking about, you’re dismissed.

    • Kivaari

      Well, the M4 and M27 seem to be doing a pretty good job. Like the 10mm crowd the 6.5mm crowd will never be satisfied with anything less than their favorite bore diameter. Ignore common sense and budgets just to get your dream cartridge.

  • William M Durham

    Far too many “experts” in this discussion for me

    • No one

      With the terrible irony being you’re acting like one of those “experts” you’re criticizing.

  • CavScout

    They’ll have to update the Army’s guns bigly, as M855A1 is at near PROOF pressures and shoots ALL the guns apart.

    Other than size and weight, the M9 didn’t need replacing. I think compact and sub-compact is more what they should be looking at for size.

  • CavScout

    And the H&K guns are fail, only bought because of Gen. Keys and his love of working for manufacturers as a way to get money for convincing the Marines to adopt whatever from who ever he’s collecting a check from…

  • nate

    how about instead of wasting millions in another replacement program that would probably at best only deliver a marginally better rifle, use that money to replace old and worn out pieces of equipment, enlist more soldiers, and invest in simple upgrades that make a difference in the rifle (like a better mag, or easier to use sights, or better 5.56 ammo, etc..) they are already doing some of that. They just need to keep doing that and then wait until something really truly groundbreaking comes out and then adopt that rifle.

    • Unknown

      There are only minor changes possible to increase 5.56×45 performance, M855A1 EPR is already top notch, extrem steel penetration, instant fragmentation without any delay even from shortest barrels, and from normal barrels up to 600meter, supersonic range of 800yards (inside supersonic range = physically accurate and supression).

      And youre right, waisting millions for basicly nothing makes no sence, the Rifle would take more time to deliver, than it takes for new Technology to come out at the moment, so the Rifle would be utterly outdated before theyr even finally issued.

  • ebd10

    The Army would be better served by improving marksmanship training to USMC levels.

  • Brian Mead

    US military procurement logic: “We can’t spent a few million to upgrade something that EVERYONE who joins will use and sees use around the world every day and forms the backbone of all combat operations, but we simply MUST have trillions for fancy experimental toys that will never see a single day in theater and according to all data thus far, are enormous wastes of money.”