Gun Firms Fear Army Carbine Fait Accompli |

And the winner of the U.S. Army competition to replace the M4 carbine is … the Army’s new and improved M4 carbine.

At least that’s the outcome gun makers attending Shot Show 2012 predict for the completion of the service’s improved carbine competition.

The Army is nearing the end of the first phase of the competition, now referred to as the IC. The service will soon announce which companies can advance to the second phase, when Army testers will start shooting hundreds of thousands of rounds through the prototype weapons.

Phase one has had nothing to do with evaluating test prototypes, but instead has focused on weeding out companies that may not have the production capacity to make thousands of weapons per month. This has become a bitter point of contention that has driven away some companies with credible names in the gun business.

“I’m not going to dump half a million to a million dollars for them never to review my rifle,” said Steve Mayer of Rock River Arms, standing amid his racks of M4-style carbines at Shot Show, the massive small-arms show here that draws gun makers from all over the world.

via Gun Firms Fear Army Carbine Fait Accompli |

I’ve been knocking the other services for their inability to run a reasonable procurement program. But let’s face it, the Army has mismanaged small arms for 40 years now. The only really good purchases of small arms the Army has made have been new-build M2 .50 cals, and the decision to switch from the M60 to the M240… which is just a MAG58 with updated furniture, and is in fact an older design than the M60.

8 thoughts on “Gun Firms Fear Army Carbine Fait Accompli |”

  1. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: I’ve been reading articles about the “new” rifle, the “replacement for the M16 now M4” since at least 1986. Getting tired of it. Secondly, sure there are plenty of better weapons out there, but the M4 works pretty well and we already have them all, as well as all associated gear. When we are cutting budgets, is it really worth it? What quantifiable gain in efficiency are we getting? My real question is if, as the article says, Anniston Army Depot is capable of building some potential supplier’s weapons, why don’t we design and build something in-house and build it in said depot at cost?

    1. I agree. In the “old days” before the 1960s, the Army produced its own small arms. From the Harpers Ferry musket to the M14, there was a level of “ownership.” Even where the weapon itself was designed by industry, the production started in the Army’s factories, only to be expanded with wartime demands to private firms. And there was a lot less intrigue.

      Does the AR-15 family work? Yes. Do we need to replace them right now? No.

      Let’s not allow pursuit of the “perfect” weapon get in the way of “good enough.”

  2. Only 40 years? I think that a plausible argument can be made that over the last two centuries, it is rare for the Army not to mismanage small arms development programs.

    1. Lets see here… Harpers Ferry rifle musket, Springfield rifle musket, M1903 rifle, M1 Garand, M1 Carbine, and… oh… more than a dozen or so very successful machine gun types still in use around the world. Seems to me the Army historically does pretty good managing small arms development. The problem arose about 50 years back when some idiot thought it was a good idea to “pool” DoD projects. But let’s not dwell on the past.

  3. ROK has an excellent service rifle. I’ve got a Daewoo DR-200, the semi only of the K-2, and it is an excellent rifle. AK gas system with an adjustable gas port (which is unlikely to be needed but a nice touch if you do), with the Stoner AR-15 lock-up. I’ve tried to get the thing to malfunction and haven’t yet. The thing just kept chugging. Kimber had been selling it back in the mid 90s, but quit for some reason. From a trooper standpoint, it’s little different than the M-16. Uses the same cleaning kit and mags, almost identical handling. The change over to such a piece would not be a problem at all. It’s really a simple piece, and operates much more cleanly since it has a closed gas system rather than the direct impingement of the Stoner design.

  4. The problem is that Big Army is wedded to the PMI, ammo and parts from the M-16/M-4. Any new weapon would be too much of a radical change. I’ve held the FN-SCAR-S and the ACR in our PX. The ACR is a wacky POS fit for a safequeen or geardo. It’s too expensive and it’s controls are wack. The SCAR is cheaper (not as cheap as the M-4clones), controls were easy and like butter. But the innards..once again PMI and BRM go out the window.

    At least Big Army is FIXING the M-4. Last time they tried to paper over it’s flaws. And in the 60’s stuck their fingers in their ears as poor quality M-16’s were killing troops.

    Now some of the companies have a legitimate fear. Their rifles are too far from the M-16. FM’s, TM’s would have to be re-done. In this budget climate any savings go out the window.

    As long as the testers didn’t rig the test like they did with the M-16 vs. M-14. We should be happy.

  5. I have a Daewoo Max II it rocks. Interestingly the recoil is a sharp tap rather than the gentle push of the M-16.

    The rage these days is to make a piston operated M-16 everyone is doing it, but the S Koreans have been doing it for 40 years. (maybe 30 I bought mine in the 80’s)

    1. Pistons work great… but so does direct impingement. And it’s cheaper to manufacture and easier to maintain. It’s just as reliable, too, so long as you’re using the right powder.

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