M4 Carbine to get a facelift

Stars and Stripes newspaper tells us the Army is finally getting around to addressing some of the deficiencies in the M4 Carbine.

Upgrades to the M4 include a more resilient barrel, ambidextrous controls and a full-automatic setting. Add better ammunition, and soldiers will have a more lethal weapon to fight insurgents, according to Program Executive Office Soldier, which introduced the improvements.

The new carbines are expected to be integrated into the force starting next year.

Soldiers in Afghanistan expressed enthusiasm about the improvements, especially the ability to shoot on fully automatic.

I’m not wild about putting in the full-auto option. I understand why they did it. The burst selector on the regular M4 is poorly designed. If your previous burst was two rounds, your next burst will only be one round. But surely there are other ways of addressing that problem. As to a heavier barrel, that’s almost always a good idea.  Ambidextrous controls? I’m not a lefty, so I can’t say I ever worried about that. Most southpaws I knew didn’t seem to have too many problems flipping the selector or the magazine release. But what do I know?

I’m not familiar with the changes to the ammo, with the new M855A1 round. But I find it interesting that now that the majority of fighting in Iraq, where combat was usually very close, is winding down, they introduce a round optimized for shorter ranges just as the emphasis shifts to Afghanistan, where the main complaint has been that the 5.56mm has a hard time reaching out past 300m.

What do you guys think?

3 thoughts on “M4 Carbine to get a facelift”

  1. Training will be easier with an ambi selector switch, I guess. You can just mirror-image the motions over for it. Of course, that won’t work well for the bolt release and magazine release, so whatever.

    I am left handed, and I don’t have any problem at all working the controls of an AR / M16 / M4 type rifle. Left hand on the PG, left thumb works the selector. Right hand on the handguard / VFG if present. Right thumb hits the magazine release, fingers wrap over the top to get the bolt release.

    Only thing I’ve ever really had trouble with is the charging handle, getting that with my right hand, especially if I have optics on my rifle.

  2. My answer would be M-14 or Fn FAL in 7.62 NATO. Yes it’s heavier, but it will reach and touch someone far better than the mouse gun’s round will. Or produce something that will chamber the Comblock .30 and fire it reliably. The you can also go to a substantial SAW. I alwys liked the RPD, but it doesn’t have to be a comblock weapon. We can do better than Kalashnikov’s system. A bit of a redesign of the SKS would work fairly well.

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