Army M4 vs. Marine M16A4

Steve Johnson
by Steve Johnson

There is an interesting article at Human Events about the US Army culture favoring the M4, while the Marines culture being pro-M16A4.

Two years ago when I was in Iraq, I noticed there were essentially two different primary infantry weapons (the M16 automatic rifle and the also-automatic M4 carbine) carried by America’s two primary ground forces — the U.S. Marine Corps and the U.S. Army.

Marines for the most part were carrying the M16. The Army on the other hand was primarily carrying the M4: a shorter, lighter version of the M16 with a collapsible-stock.

Hat Tip: Say Uncle

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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  • M16 Ftw M16 Ftw on Nov 25, 2012

    From the Army personel i've talked with, none ever even touched the M16A4. Maybe the A2 at most.

    The M16A4 has been proven the better rifle: faster velocity, greater accuracy, and more than 200 yards extra effective range. And thats just cause the longer barrel. Most of the time your engagements are at a longer range. Now the M4 obviously is better for the close engagements in a CQB enviroment technically, but i've operated the the M16 and the M4 in Close quarters and haven't had a problem with the M16. In fact, i prefer it. If i come up on someone i can hit them with the butt of the weapon or, if i have a bayonet fixed i can have a meter of reach on him.

    So, the M16 is a better rifle, why doesn't the Army use it? Well the Marine Corp Infantry focuses on infantry combat on foot, what infantry combat is, but the Army views infantry as people paired with vehichles. Army uses the vehichles with infantry inside, whereas the Marine Corp uses infantry with the support of vehichles, cause infantry is the base of it all.

    Now also, another reason the Army might not be able to get the M16 back if they wanted is that they are a 1 million strong force, and switching even half that many guns put is hard.

    • Nate Opgenorth Nate Opgenorth on Mar 17, 2013

      @M16 Ftw They did a study about most combat engagements being under 600 meters or something...if *most* engagements were long distance then we would most likely be using the M14 and M16 still...the matter of the fact is that the M16 is fine until you go into a building, I mean I can use an M16 length rifle inside but I would prefer my barrel not hitting walls and having to lower the damn thing every time I go through a doorway or whatever...the M4 is far more versatile, I think the length is perfect, hell Navy took it even FURTHER with DEVGRU and some regular SEAL units and made the even more compact Mk.18 which is basically a chopped down M4. Ask anyone who's been in a CQB scenario about rifle length, I can deal with a heavy rifle but dealing with length is a pain. I think you've made some generalizations about both the Marine Corps and Army, they both have a variety of versatile forces, you'd be hard pressed to make such general statements. Besides the M4 has been received very nicely among many of the units employing them, it started off as a must for Special Operations Forces, Airborne units, NCO's and Officers and then it just spread...I think its one of the few things the US Army got right :P!

  • Da boys Da boys on Jun 22, 2013

    Marines, the offical sponser of the word M sixteen a four.

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