Colt's exclusive M4 production right ends

Steve Johnson
by Steve Johnson

As of this month the M4 technical data has been transfered to the Army. The Army can now purchase M4 carbines from companies other than Colt, which up to know was the exclusive producers of the M4. Army Times reports:

As of July 1, the Army has taken control of the design rights to the M4 carbine from its sole maker, Colt Defense LLC. Translation: With an uncertain budget looming, the service is free to give other gun companies a crack at a carbine contract.

The transition of ownership of the M4 technical data package marks the end of an era and Colt’s exclusive status as the only manufacturer of the M4 for the U.S. military for the past 15 years.

What does this mean for Colt as a company? Not a lot. They will continue to be a supplier and will probably be able to manufacture the M4 cheaper than competitors when / if any more M4 carbines are purchased.

Over at Snowflakes in Hell Daniel E. Watters, an expert, said that the Army will still have to pay in royalties to Colt for every non-Colt M4 purchased. The technical specs are owned by Colt. Anyone wanting to supply M4s to overseas customers will need to get a license from Colt.

Colt has a few different next-gen carbines ready for the carbine competition later this year which could result in a selection of an M4 replacement.

There is also a discussion about this at Gun Pundit

Steve Johnson
Steve Johnson

I founded TFB in 2007 and over 10 years worked tirelessly, with the help of my team, to build it up into the largest gun blog online. I retired as Editor in Chief in 2017. During my decade at TFB I was fortunate to work with the most amazing talented writers and genuinely good people!

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  • Daniel E. Watters Daniel E. Watters on Jul 11, 2009

    In an annual survey conducted by the UN, the Georgian government had admitted importing 4,000 Bushmaster M4A3 carbines in 2007. The 2008 survey has not been released yet.

    I have not been able to determine whether the sale was handled through US Army TACOM as a Foreign Military Sale or if the State Department simply allowed Bushmaster to make a direct commercial sale.

  • Kvalseth Kvalseth on Jul 11, 2009

    Thank you Daniel.