Special Forces Say ‘No’ to M4 Barrel

If somebody wanted to really help the US Army, they would do something about those God awful M4 carbines that American troops are forced to endure.

This is a recurring theme in this blog, and I’m returning to it again because of yet more new information that sheds light on the problem with the Army’s standard-issue weapon for close-in fighting — which is exactly the kind of combat that is raging in Iraq and Afghanistan today.


In a routine acquisition notice (see this link), a US Special Forces battalion based in Okinawa announced that it is buying 84 barrels for the Heckler & Koch HK416 assault rifle.

The HK barrels will be used to replace the barrels on their own M4s.

Why? Here’s what the notice says:

The 416 barrel “allows soldiers to replace the existing M4 upper receiver with an HK proprietary gas system that does not introduce propellant gases and the associated carbon fouling back into the weapon’s interior. This reduces operator cleaning time, and increases the reliability of the M4 Carbine, particularly in an environment in which sand and dust are prevalent. The elimination of the gas tube … means that the M4 will function normally even if the weapon is fired full of water without first being drained. There isn’t another company that offers these features in their products. It is a practical, versatile system.”

Translation: the M4 barrel is so unreliable that special operations forces units need to swap it out with a barrel from a different gun — and one that actually works in real combat conditions.

One solution is to simply swap out the barrel.

But here’s another good answer: trash the M4s and just buy HK416s!

Christian adds:

For an outstanding investigative report on this issue, check out my former colleague Matt Coxs article on the bureaucratic engine that is still preventing soldiers from getting what the best soldiers in the world say is the best weapon for the fight.

Stephen Trimble

  • kuzinov

    Can someone please tell me why our troops can’t get the best availible equipment for their jobs ? I just don’t get it, they’ll send billions of dollars worth of B-2 stealth bombers over Afghanistan, but, won’t spend a few million on new rifles.

    • Joe

      Money… If you have 200,000 rifles and an upgrade costs $400 per rifle, well…. you do the math. It is cheaper long term to let the soldier clean the shit out of his weapon and wait for the ultimate zombie killer, a ray gun. Im not saying they should not make the switch. I know I would love to have an easy to clean rifle. That star chamber is a pain in the ass.

      • Chris
  • Wes

    Oh no!; not this stuff again…
    First, the original article is poorly researched. What is being purchased here is the ENTIRE upper reciever, not just the “barrel”. The 416 upper is a piston-operated upper; there would not be a point in buying just the barrel and putting it on a direct-gas action M-4.
    Then we have the gas-piston vs. direct-gas operating systems. Piston action is highly over-rated…there have been, what? 30 million or so M-16s produced that use the original direct-gas action…and they WORK. As far as reliability in sandy environments…both systems use the SAME multi-lugged bolt and barrel extension, so there is no difference there at all.
    Don’t be fooled by the HK propaganda machine!
    Gas-piston action is over-rated. Higher stresses on the operating parts, less accuracy.

    • darkcharisma

      over rated or not, your not gonna like it when your gun jams on you while taking incoming fire. dude, all these soldiers are dying for you people and can’t get a little support when they are getting excited that some companies are improving the design…if not to improve then what else is the purpose? yeah DI works when you clean them…can you clean enough? for civilian dogs like us not firing the AR much enough…….never mind……. i think im wasting my time explaining…..

    • DomS

      It’s not really the HK propaganda machine, it’s been trialed by the special forces and its their request…

      • Michael

        M4s dont have to be clean to be reliable.They need lube lube lube.The HK guns you love so much use the same bolt, action spring, and extractor spring.These are wearable patrs theyll break on the m4 and Hk at the same rate.The Hk also has piston parts to break where the m4 doesnt.The Hk also had to be modifyed because of verticle stringing of shots.Bottom line a properly lubed and maintained m4 will fire many thousands of rounds.BCM filthy 14 for an example.

    • Dooms

      Um, Wes, there are advantages to piston operation. Shoot a half dozen mags through a DI gun, then a piston gun. Field strip and inspect. Then tell me if you notice anything. Which BCG burns your hand. Stop talking out of your posterior aperture. Can a lube free DI rifle fire 5000 rounds of dirty corrosive Russian ammo without being cleaned or lubed?

      • Michael

        Yes piston guns have some advantages.They also have some disadvantages.They both use the same bolt with locking lugs.DI needs more lube,Piston has extra moving parts that can and will break.The HK had teething problems and needed to be modified,the rifles had problems with vertical stringing.HK is heavier and much more expensive,and is a nazi company.

  • Sven Ortmann

    It’s not about a barrel. It’s about the upper receiver! That’s the more interesting half of the gun!
    Focussing on the barrel is misleading because the terminal ballistics of short (M4 in comparison to M16) barrels are not satisfying for many people – I first thought they’d exchange the barrel to get a longer one when I read the title.

  • Nicholas Weaver

    Yeah, this is simply a backdoor way to buy H&K416s without having to say they are replacing M4/M16s with H&K416s.
    The “Upper receiver” IS the real part of the gun. It not only includes the barrel, but the full firing mechanism (piston, bolt, etc etc etc), while the “Lower Receiver” (trigger, magazine, etc) is interchangeable for the H&K and the M4/M16, and I don’t think the H&K version really offers much improvement there.
    All the reliability comes from the overall design of the upper receiver and the AK-47 style piston-gas-operated design. This is also where all the really nice H&K accessories (such as the easy to add/remove grenade launcher, sites, etc) are all attached.

  • ajay

    From the link:

  • Jesse

    HK 416 barrels will not fit onto a standard Colt M4 or FN M16 stripped upper receiver as the barrel extension and barrel nut are different in design(longer). You are right in reguards to it being a back door avenue for purchasing of the complete upper. The 416 upper on the other hand will drop onto any mil-spec M16/M4 lower. Terminal ballistics out of a 14.5″ barrel will always be higher/beter than out of a 10.5″ barrel when both are firing the same ammo.
    As far as the other factors given as to why the 416’s are needed as opposed to the M4’s and citing that HK is the only company offering a short-stroke operating system M16 upper. I beg to differ as we offer a system which offers the same performance parameters, is lighter, retains about 85-90% part commonallity with the M4 and is US made.

  • PC

    There are several companies out there that offer gas-piston uppers or outright gas-piston rifles/carbines. HK is not the only answer, as much as I like HK, they won’t sell this to civilians or individual LE personnel, so whatever HK, I’ll go spend my money somewhere else.

  • katsesama

    With all due respect to the gentleman from
    lietner-weiss,but if it came down to a full
    scale production/proccurement contract,could
    lw fullfill it?
    Im no shill for H@K ,however,i do know their
    track record.the british had that god awful
    bastard child of an assault rifle the sa-85,
    which was a maitnance and durability nightmare.
    it wasn,t until H@K,under contract/ownership of
    a british firm,engaged in a massive overhaul
    and refurbishment of the sa-85a1 into the
    sa-85a2,which is now running like a champ.
    If H@K could do for ol’matty-mattel what they
    did for the brit-bullpup,then i say go for it.
    and this talk about the piston system causing
    increased wear/damage to the operating system
    is ludacrous.the piston do’s not transfer heat.
    secondly,hot propellant gases are vented into the air above the barrel just past the piaton ahead
    of the operating rod.not into the aluminum
    reciever and the interior of the bolt carrier.
    less fouling and no heat tranfer,as well as no
    timing issues for the bolt(due in no small part
    to the shortening of the gas tube in the m-4/m-4a1
    varients that we have been experiencing problems
    with since their inception)
    I’m sure its easy to pick apart a foriegn product
    improvement of an indigionous design out of some
    sense of misplaced jingoism,of course failing to
    understand that the bulk of m-16a2/a4 production
    is being done by an insourced foriegn operation
    in the form of fabrique nationale herstal in
    georgia(while the bulk of the troublesome m-4/a1
    production is being handled by favorite son,colt)
    So i come back to the question i posted earlier,
    can a domestic arms manufacturer handle a mass
    upgrade of the existing stockpile of stoner poodle
    shooters,as well as an company like H@K? for a
    better price? methinks not,or why did the DoD
    first look to,ummm,H@K,was it to supply a replace-
    ment in the form of the aportive XM-8?(whose gas
    piston was utilized in the H@K416…hmmm maybe
    not such a bad weapon system after all,if their
    utilizing parts designs from it to fix up colts
    screw up)and wasn’t it colt by the way whom cried
    foul upon hearing about the xm-8 single-sourcing
    in the first place in order to secure their sweet
    heart deal manufacturing flawed m-4s,ironic.
    WEll,long story short,if a u.s. company can step
    up to the plate and provide a solution in large
    enough quantity to satisfy our forces needs,let
    them come forth.if not,let H@K do the retrofit so
    our guys with their ass in the grass get the
    best fighting tool they deserve.
    And here’s a little food for thought,if the spec-
    war community is clammoring for the thing,so will
    the big army in time.If the best warriors in the
    world want it,their can be no better endorsement,
    for who better then the end user can you find a
    more convincing opinion.

  • CRB

    This article is just as poorly researched as the one by Cox. It never ceases to amaze me how effective H&K marketing is. Even at the expense of the morale and outright untrue so-called facts being told by mouth sewage to our troops relating their equipment. The 416 is not the holy grail of small arms. The M4 has worked well and the U.S. Gove is buying large quantities above the normal yearly procurement numbers. The Special Forces do NOT represent the way these weapons function in combat. The rest of the U.S. military have not seen these problems nor have our Israeli allies who have used M16/M4 rifles in the desert for many years. Every time a SOF group buys a piece of equipment that just has to mean what they are issued is garbage. Well, if that is the case every weapon our military has in inventory is garbage. They don’t like the handguns, the rifles/carbines, the grenade launchers or the machineguns. They abuse this equipment, don’t maintain it, shoot it out and then when it fails it is a piece of garbage and has to be replaced by a new system. SOF has used the M4 since prior to 1995. Now 12 years later, it has to be replaced. The U.S. Govt does not want an new gas system or a magical hammer forged barrel. They have been offered these types of things for years and they said no. The Army gets the weapon they want. The M4 has proven itself in combat over and over. Funny how all the hype for change always comes from the same specific units in SOF. No data is offered regarding the condition of their weapons or what failures they experience. You are not presented with the round count, what if any parts have been replaced for maintenance, how many rounds have been through the barrels and if the weapons are even cleaned normally, rather important information. Based on my research over the last 8 or so years, no matter what weapon they get, they will have these problems. Firearms are machines that have design parameters and when you constantly push them beyond, they are going to fail. The M4A1 is still the primary frontline weapon of SOF. Some small units buy some small quantities of other equipment.

    • John McCrillis

      Colt will overall remain the wpn of choice. The true test of any weapon is overall rnds fired abuse in operation and operational effectiveness generaly speaking.

  • Bob

    As a soldier who just came back from Afghanistan, the M-4 is good to go. It is not the rifle, but the bullet, you got to double tap every target. Time to can the 5.56 bullet and go to the 6.5 or 6.8. I worked with CJSOA and tried out a 6.5 rig, it was nice.

  • R. Rosario

    The M-4 is not an unreliable weapon. Every weapon jams and the sandy desert is going to be hard on any weapon. That being said, I am definitely in favor of switching to a gas-piston system. Sure the current system works but the gas-piston system would work much better. Anyone who says different probably never had to clean a weapon for a proper military inspection. When you fire the weapon carbon gets EVERYWHERE. It’s a nightmare to clean when you have to get every nook and cranny clean for some hardcore inspection. Besides the petty inconveniences associated with cleaning for an inspection the bigger issue is reliability in combat. If you reduce your carbon fouling then your weapon will be more reliable when it really counts.

  • JohnC

    Being Australian the bulk of us are issued the F88 Austeyr (Aussie version Steyr bullpup) however some ADF SOF use the M4, SASR, 4RAR & such. I’ve heard diggers stating that they use the M4 because the F88 jams and such but I have never really experienced many problems with the rifles I have been issued.
    The M4 suits the use of sights and other extra items better than the base F88A1, doesn’t mean it’s better or worse (F88A1/A2 has a 508mm length barrel for better ballistics often complained about the M4) and I am sure if the U.S. govt. were to change to the H&K 416 someone would be unhappy with something.
    Soldiers like to critise however it should be noted that equipment doesn’t replace quality leadership, tactics, marksmanship, camouflage and concealment and that is the key is the key to putting the oponent on the ground.

  • Shughes

    Well.. Sh..
    I not sure what these folks are up to with a shorted barrel for the M16. For as well known among basic hand loaders, when you shorten the barrel, your gun-power has less burn time (combustion ).,
    The gas pressure is hence lessened, and since the M16 is a recoil operated

  • Richard Martratt

    Sounds like 1966 all over again.

  • Beavis the shooter

    UH Hello,
    Just have the Army Testing and Evaluation Command throw an HK-416 upper on an M-4 Lower and throw it in the sand, water ,mud etc..
    Thne let’s see how well it performs. I’ve seen this so it will be flawless!!!!
    Any chump can mold a lower receiver, but it takes skilled engineering to make an upper.
    Using the M4 is like using dial-up internet speed. It’s good enough, BUT can you download music, talk via VoiP, watch video, etc..
    Don’t think so…
    I’d rather pay a little extra up front and not worry whether the weapon can stand up to sand, Water etc.. or have to clean the weapon in the middle of a fire fight. The Army has no strategy on small arms.
    Your friend
    An embarrassed tax payer!

    • guest

      Hechler and Koch has really spent a lot of money pushing their products but most of their hype is just that: hype. A properly lubricated direct impingement M4 is just as reliable as HK’s 416. In fact, a HK MR556 is more prone to magazine induced malfunctions than the Colt M4 ( although FN has now taken over M4 production ). Here’s what a supposedly jamtastic design can do in competent hands https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BYenZXvGhDs

  • earl

    The operators on the ground know what they need and smart enough to the difference when someone is trying to sell them a bill of goods.

  • Dan

    As usual the tech. data is very impressive however entering a life and death situation with a weapon that is prone to jamming is a death waiting to happen. Listen to the guys on the ground or grab your M4 and walk through that door.

  • Larry Slagel

    Reminds me of the same “crap” we were fed on the “marvelous” M-16A-1’s, in the early days of Viet Nam. Lots of good troops died because of the malfunctions of those junk weapons!

    • Dooms

      You mean the one which the Army changed the powder type, and then told the troops didn’t require cleaning? Swing and a miss, Larry.

  • Larry Slagel

    Reminds me of the same “crap” we were fed on the “marvelous” M-16A-1’s, in the early days of Viet Nam. Lots of good troops died because of the malfunctions of those junk weapons!

  • David Jackson II

    This whole idea of the U.S.Army not will to look at nor purchase these new weapon system sounds like another Haliberton scam. I’m saying this because they are suppose to explore other ideas and consider the field opinions of the professionals who are field testing these firearms whose lifes depends on these equipment. Maybe the reasons for them not to purchase or look at this weapon is due a group of individuals profiting off the old system like Cheney was with that Haliburton which Army was to have multi biding contrators. Serving with the Army and Air Force, I support the idea of switching to this new weapon system.

  • David Jackson II

    This whole idea of the U.S.Army not will to look at nor purchase these new weapon system sounds like another Haliberton scam. I’m saying this because they are suppose to explore other ideas and consider the field opinions of the professionals who are field testing these firearms whose lifes depends on these equipment. Maybe the reasons for them not to purchase or look at this weapon is due a group of individuals profiting off the old system like Cheney was with that Haliburton which Army was to have multi biding contrators. Serving with the Army and Air Force, I support the idea of switching to this new weapon system.

  • Chad Krahling

    Look any person that has used the M16 family of firearms knows there a unreliable pieces of shit. My personal experience in desert environments can attest to this fact. The military moves very slowly on procurement, we all know this. What is important to understand is the only way we will get the army to move to a better battle rifle is with political presser from the Public. Just as with the after cart for are wounded worriers, our defense department has know reason to change what it is doing innless it is called out and embarrassed. I would rather have an AK47 that I know will fire no mater what I do to it, than an unreliable no penetration easily deflected 5.56 piece of shit. Former LCPL WPNS CO. 3rd Marines, Gulf War ONE

  • Dave Dierking

    Sound reminisent of the Navy procurement process wrt proven hydrodynamically efficient swim fins for navy SEAL teams and other diver units. Tests proved them more efficient but the dramatically reduced “perceived swimmer effort” caused some testers to doubt their effectiveness, i.e. if it feels to easy to use, it cannot be as effective.
    It did not seem to matter that less work and energy were expended for the same speed through the water accomplished.

  • kevin newby

    Is there any weight difference i am not being bias about either weapon my concern is the weight of the weapon

  • Chad Krahling

    So what if the new upper receiver is a few ounces more than the stander M4, Reliabilaty is the most important asset a rifle can have on the battle field.

  • william r meyer

    yes i have read all the comments this organization posted i for one a truck driver during oif1 found that cleaning the M16A2 three to four times a day was about the norm to keeping it functional.It took away personnal time and time from my job as a squad leader.I at one time was a firm beleiver in the M16.during basic and ait it was great weapon to carry.when i entered my first duty station (ft clayton) panama i found out real quickley how that weapon could jam,threw my years in the military I new of only two weapons capable of firing with the barrel full of water .One being the ak47,And the other of course being the HK series of weapons So in conclusion i quess it would take combat reporters to take pictures of soldiers laying over thier jammed up rifles before a senator will say anything, SOUND FAMILAR

    • Surly Old Sergeant

      Billy, you never fired a single shot in combat as a truck driver. You were cleaning your rifle “three to four times a day” because your platoon sergeant knew that if he didn’t keep you busy, you’d be jacking off and sleeping on duty.

  • sylvester

    I think we definitely need to get rid of the M16 it not dependable at all ..I had to many bad experiences with it in Iraq and thats no place to have a bad experience with your weapon trust me .The M4 is very handy and compact you can easily fire from your veheicle while convoying ..When you set in the office and use simulators about the battle field it doesn’t work out Real situations and real ammo.being fired back at you. So I say to the Senators get real are join the battle on the field and not at your desk top..

  • mark reed

    how much is the upper reciever?there are millions of m-16&m-4 just switch out the upper reciever save money on new weapons. i know how pogs think.and its not past their computer.real soldiers will want a weapon that wont jamb.

  • PFC

    The M-16 got it’s rep for malfunctioning from the powder used in the early ammo. Too much calcium in the coating caused the jamming. You have to clean it! I had over 800 rounds of blanks w/adapter go thru my 16 before it plugged. I never had a stoppage in field use.
    For what it’s worth, the gas piston conversion was already tried in the M-16 upper receiver & barrel…worked fine just like the M-1 Garand and M-1 carbine. Gas pistion still gets plugged and you get a boost in operating pressure fron gas erosion in the port for the gas bleed to the piston.
    The heavier barrel won’t slow you down, you get better accuracy over sustained fire than a slimmerbarrel plus you have more strenght…flute it and your barrel is even better! As for the stopping power, blame your generals who wanted heavier bullets = lower velocity for AP(SS-109 ammo)(1:7″ twist) with a faster twist for that long bullet. You get accuracy, but you also get a drill…no bullet upset or tumbling on impact as with the 1:12″ The 55 grain was the ideal bullet for the M-16, fast and fragile out to 150 meters and accurate to 800 meters with a scope.
    Now the 6.8 mm is supposedly the sine qua non for stopping, but you have a heavier bullet with less velocity, great if all you are is up close. BTW, the 6.8 is .277″ in dia., or the 270 Winchester bullet. you boil it down and you’re gonna get more recoil, less velocity and another “drill.”
    I know, the AK-47 is unstoppable, never needs cleaning, always works no matter where you are, stopping power (poachers use them on elephants, no info on how many rounds it takes) but over distance of 100+ meters, the M-16 is better.
    Face it, you will never make everyone happy! Too many combinations of crap to make any one choice ideal…what’s good up close and personal won’t cut it at the longer ranges and for stopping power, you either go faster or go bigger and faster, but there is always a trade off. You hump a heavier weapon with lots of ammo, or you hump a heavier weapon with less ammo to cut weight. Of course you could go to say, a rimless .357 maximum upper, with a chamber insert that stows in the buttstock and saboted lighter rounds for distance. Of course, you could go Ruger Mini-14 in 7.62x39mm and get it all huh? Nah, FN would come up with something and then everyone would want that too. Myself, I’m working on an impact detonated handgrenade…think it should be shaped like a football?

  • charlie

    This is just more of the ol’ boys club and their industrial military complex making a buck while american servicemen are put in harms way for no other reason than to line their own greedy pockets.
    I say every sevice person that is issued an M16 series weapon, drop it on the desk of their senator, filled with sand and ask them to shoot the towelheads that are out there in the box.
    Than we might see the changes that are needed….

  • Ron

    I served in one war with the M16. From my experience, it was a reliable weapon. In a world of trade offs, you had to clean it on a regular basis. The same could be said of all weapons. The only difference being the frequency of the cleanings. Accurate shooting at distance, 150M+, doesn’t seem important now. However, no one knows the future and what the next conflict requires.
    Having a shorter carbine is like the M4 in large numbers is in my opinion a good thing. I believe that it serves a specific niche. Mainly, close quarter urban combat to include convoy duty. However, no one seems to mention or care that the HK416 is manufactured outside the United States. One of the the requirements of our weapon systems should be having them manufactured in the US. Globalization should not apply to our weapons or one day we might not be able to field “our weapons”.

  • Sal

    Follow the money… What politician profits from awarding Colt a $300+ million dollar contract? Our best gun designers can’t design a weapon superior to the AK-47 OR HK-416??? Murphy’s Laws of Combat: Remember,your weapon was made by the lowest bidder…

  • Jimmi

    Though I study those matters from years, I’m very pragmatic and not too tecnical. I’m no snob or a cold calculator, though I study technical details professionally.
    And, I like to use harsh expressions when we talk about those things…. even if I’m not american :)
    SO, firearms are made to defeat the enemy before he does, and live, period.
    The whole concept of adopting a pdw and ship it to Iraq is a pile of shit.
    Probably useful in the real 20 percent of the work spec people do, so it’s like the 2 percent of the stuff you’re gonna do with a firearm as a whole in modern warfare.
    You already got the perfect pdw for military use , and its the m16 system. It was first issued for that use, airfield defense, not for heavy duty. They decided to put it as ordnance as a strategic tool to provide 1- more ammo and easy shooting, easy learning 2- wounding potential very profitable in a modern warfare situation against AN ARMY. It was the best STRATEGICAL stuff to fight the russian organization on the globe , and if cold war got hot you could have had a great number of soldiers wounding the enemy easily and from adequately far, few hours of training. It was a matter of NUMBERS.
    Now you find yourself in a position were you want to STOP threats, not to win wars (sorry to say that I’d like to know the opinion of people who GOT there). So, you find yourself with an underpowered “piercer” rifle for serious work …… and troops (contractors too) in the backlines, getting more and more involved in firefights.
    Importantly, soldiers feel they’re shooting peas.
    So….let’s buy newer toys (see the USELESS xm8, which is a m16 in a trashy scifi suit, internals from the 50s..) ! let’s waste money (sorry for the social security system anyways…)
    I see two solutions
    – work over the m4, or any other stoner system which is great for “light” firearms, and armorers who knows the basics will agree with me on this (MP7 IS A STONER SYSTEM), make something like a bullpup or anything like this , the keypoint is study recoil COMPENSATION (more on it later) that would lenghten the barrel and lessen the weight of the whole system (which is already very light). The enemy will find out 5.56 is a better pdw caliber than a 4.5 or whatever I’ll assure you.And yes the 5.56 will stop bulletproof enemies , with MODERN recoil compensation will allow at least half of the ole m16 dispersion , and will perform GREATLY in short distances (real user on combat know that m16 is a killer on short distances normally more than a 7.62) .
    Important: if you adopt a pdw expect a lot of them to go on heavy duty frontlines (see m1 carbine ). How are you gonna deal with a 4.5 mm caliber in that situation? We’re griping about the 5.56 mm , imagine a 4 mm deal!!
    – work over the 7.62
    Yes indeed we have found the best caliber for military use (not paperwork bullshit) and it’s the 7.62 period. It’s big enough to be modernized in centuries.Volume size and caliber are the best for the job. It touches until where modern optics can make you see (widespread use of optics made people see m16 faults) .But’s expensive and it kicks and shouts flames.
    Changing materials to allow a less costy cartridge (less heavy too -new gunpowders, new metal procedures-?), and WORK OVER RECOIL SYSTEMS will provide the best small arm available at least until caseless stuff comes out.
    Summarizing a modern rifle round:
    7.62 caliber nato
    -work over materials of the round
    -work over recoil compensation and fast sighting.
    Recoil systems (and fast sight acquistion) are THE FUTURE , who doesn’t get that shouldn’t work on new rifles, or at least will fail miserably.
    Keep in mind both of the solution I proposed would use almost 50 years of materials and production lines already organized and expended, very effective way of improving the most important thing, such as infantry tools (at least in my opinon…… media docet ) without feeling guilty.
    About recoil systems, I could talk about this topic forever, and people that’s on the front will certainly agree, screw “round placement” reality IS different.Expecially with poorly trained youngsters.
    It’s very funny the american point of view is wasting time and money creating tons of new ammo possibilities (6mm) that bring nowhere. And europe, offering some handy toish tools that won’t really be the best you get when the shit hits the fan.
    Anyway, the thing tha bugs me, is that the site is full of people that talks about using guns under stress, and nobody comes out with the idea of KEEPING THE SAME PRESTATIONS that make you feel safe, WORKING OVER THE FEEDBACK OF EXISTING RIFLES AND CUT THE PRICE OF EXISTING AMMO so you get more rounds with an adequate punch.
    I mean guys did you go in iraq or you just played videogames?
    You waste tax dollars implementing system tha will grow thrash. Oh well, that’s the secret of american warfare right now, badly enough NOT ONLY on firearms but on MUCH MORE COSTY tecnology, spending money and trashing, get rich and disappear…..that’s a shame.We already have the technology.
    So summarizing : MODERN RECOIL SYSTEM 7.62 rifle for frontline (more than 200 yards) ,
    enhanched 5,56 system as pdw-close combat (200 yards) …. and smgs for specops.
    That’s all for longarms.
    Finally: we have reaced the peak of gunpowder ammo systems (guns included) development just after ww2 …. no need to work again over “new system” on case ammo, just modernize them. Use the remaining money on more
    important things like social care and development of nature-friendly resources …
    It’s a matter of mentality.
    If anybody wants to talk on the subject go ahead, I’d like to hear armorers opinions or somebody who really uses the stuff. thx for your time, hope I DID upset somebody just to make people think.

  • PhilLeech

    Aren’t we talking about the upper receiver, not just the barrel? My M16 jammed just about every day at the range, and that wasn’t even in bad conditions. The drill sergents just told us to stop chooting for the day, because it was such a pain in the ass to get it working again. Only time it was really clean was when we had a bucket full of Varsol and -ALL DAY- to clean it.

  • H. Wayne Gardner

    H&K may be a German company, but if the US military buy the H&K 416 weapon, it would be made in a factory located in the United States–same as Beretta and SIG.

  • redcipher

    Hey i was wondering can a left handed person use the 416 or does it have to be modified?

  • RHYNO327

    there is BIG money involved, and some politicians, ex-Generals etc. have thier hands in the till as Colt gets all the major work, and produces a rifle that is just OK. not a world beater like the HK 416. get rid of that gas system that is the cause of many problems, take a look at going back to a modified M-14 battle rifle. it has come a LONG way from the heavy wood rifle to a rifle made of polymers, folding stocks and very light to boot. keep the 5.56 ammo, since you will need it for the 416 and SAW. this war will be long, fought on many continents, and our troops deserve the BEST-not OK. if the regular Army decides to trash the M-9, there are .45acp’s that load 13 rounds of .45.acp Springfield is 1. i would rather have 15 rnds of 9mm than 8 of .45acp

  • C Wilson

    The only REAL solution to all of these problems and statistical overlap of gun good, gun bad, gun gun gun.. is.. forget the guns.
    Nuke the bastards whereever they are, starting now with Norhern Pakastan, Syria, and Iran. Go to war. All out war. This is the ONLY way we can avoid catastrophic near future events.
    Notwithstanding that this action will give the world at least 500 years of peace, perhaps 1000 years, for, truth be told, those sorry diapers heads have a very loooooooong memory!

  • Tod Glenn

    Why are we talking about bandaid solution? Rather than patching the design, maybe it is time to rethink the rifle. Maybe what we need is an American AK – something like the FNC upper on the M16 lower of we must retain some of the rifle.
    As far as the cartridge, the 6.8 and the 6.5 gredel are another bandaid – trying to develop a cartridge that will fit in and existing magazines. Why not start with the cartridge and build the rifle around that, starting with proven componants.
    Then lets have an crtual competition, rather than a back door adoption, so we can makes sure the troops get the best.

  • Dane H.

    Why dont we just switch to a gun that we already know fires in the sandy conditions over there.
    The AK 47, with a modified barrel for accuracy.
    We already know it fires no matter what. It fires whether filled with sand or filled with water.
    Stop trying to invent some new gun that is going to cost us millions of dollars and use a solution that is already out there.

  • buddy

    These soldiers are not just replacing the “barrel” on their m4’s. They’re replacing the entire upper. The 416 and m4 uppers have entirely different methods of operation. The m4 dumps hot gas and fouling into the receiver/bolt carrier to cycle a round. The 416 uses a gas piston operation. All of the most reliable rifles in the world are piston operated.
    The quickest fix would be to modify all existing m4 uppers with a “piston kit”. Ares Defense makes one and is supposed to be totally reliable. I saw some on youtube. Totally rocks. Oh yeah, the 5.56 sucks out of a 14.5 inch barrel. It’s not going fast enough to take advantage of the 5.56’s full “fragmenting” potential. The 20 inch barrels are better but are not as “cool”. 6.8’s would be better-just my $0.02

  • richard edwards

    how about the Israeli galil,308 and 223,proven in desert combat,it’s time to replace the vietnam era weapon that wasn’t that good then and and it’s proving to be not up to the task now.let’s retire this thing before more good soldiers have to put their lives on the line with inadequate equipment.

  • richard eckerman

    how about the Israeli galil,308 and 223,proven in desert combat,it’s time to replace the vietnam era weapon that wasn’t that good then and and it’s proving to be not up to the task now.let’s retire this thing before more good soldiers have to put their lives on the line with inadequate equipment.

  • richard eckerman

    how about the Israeli galil,308 and 223,proven in desert combat,it’s time to replace the vietnam era weapon that wasn’t that good then and and it’s proving to be not up to the task now.let’s retire this thing before more good soldiers have to put their lives on the line with inadequate equipment.

  • richard eckerman

    how about the Israeli galil,308 and 223,proven in desert combat,it’s time to replace the vietnam era weapon that wasn’t that good then and and it’s proving to be not up to the task now.let’s retire this thing before more good soldiers have to put their lives on the line with inadequate equipment.

  • richard eckerman

    how about the Israeli galil,308 and 223,proven in desert combat,it’s time to replace the vietnam era weapon that wasn’t that good then and and it’s proving to be not up to the task now.let’s retire this thing before more good soldiers have to put their lives on the line with inadequate equipment.

  • DM

    I have been in the military for 12 years and have two combat tours in Iraq as an Infantryman and I see nothing wrong with the current M4. I have never had an M4 or M16 jam on me the way some of you folks on here claim it does. If you keep it maintained, which is not hard to do, it will work fine.

  • Manny Fuentes, Jr

    I have been in Iraq twice now ( once in 90-91, then again in 2003 ) and if soldiers are not maintaining their weapons, it is their leaders’ faults!!! as well as their own. I have carried the M60 during 90-91, and different variants of the M4 during my stint in the Army. I have never had a malfunction in the desert. That weapon is there to save my life or a fellow soldier’s. It is the individual’s responsibility to ensure the weapon is ready. What has happened to PCI’s ( Pre-Combat Inspections ) ? If I cannot find/make time to clean my weapon, then I deserve to suffer the repercussions. Leaders – Make The Time !!! or you have failed your troops.

  • ML

    After serving in numerous climates with several variants of the M4/16, I have to concede that I have had SEVERAL stoppages in all environments. AND, YES I DID KEEP MY WEAPON CLEAN! I did not know of a single soldier in any unit I served with that did not ensure that their first line of defense wasn’t in A-1 firing condition. The design of the M4/16 is dated, tired, and proven to be deadly to our fighting elite. It is time to move on!!

  • Jason

    Depending on the context you speak about the barrel, I agree it’s not the barrel. I really don’t think its the upper receiver either (JMHO), I feel it is about the round (.223) for most who really know nothing about the weapon, and for congressional leaders it maybe as simple as $$ and support from those companies vying for a piece of the pie. Having used the M-16-A1, A2 and M4- I was cofident that my weapon would fuction no matter the condition. Like Manny said, its your responsibility to keep it clean and ready to defend your country. Keep the muzzle out of the sand, the dust cover closed, and perform periodic cleaning….the M4 is a fine weapon, its about a well placed round thereafter.
    Semper Fi Gents.

  • Hank Hughes

    I was issued an M-16 when I arrived in Vietnam during the Tet Offensive in 1968 and almost died because of the rifles perpensity to malfunction. Dispite all the modifications in the insueing years the rifle still has major reliability problems that thanslates into dead and injured American warriors.
    Our troops deserve the best and there are plenty of new and proven systems available, it’s PAST TIME FOR A CHANGE!
    An old Blackhorse Trooper,

  • Mike Simon

    As a former infantryman and artillery officer, it is my opinion that we need to look toward the future. I have often wondered why the US military has not gone to a more compact design like the bullpup. I have not served in combat, but I have had the M4/M16 malfunction during training events, that had they been real would have gotten me killed, and yes I always maintained my weapon. We need to move into the 21st century.

  • tex-mex

    I have carried an M16A2 in combat. It jams, all automatic and semi-automatic weapons jam regardless of whether they are rifles or pistols they will jam. If you perform proper maintenance on your weapons and are properly trained with your weapon then jams can be quickly cleared and rounds put on target. I have jammed a bolt action rifle!
    My next deployment to the sand I will be carrying an M14, not because it doesn’t jam but because I shoot to kill not to wound.
    We will be in the sand until the OIL is gone. This is the TRUTH and the TRUTH shall set you FREE.

  • Donald Moore

    I was in the Army Infantry and used the M-16 regularly during that time. I liked the weapon so well that I bought both a Colt AR-15 and a Bushmaster AR-15 Heavy Barrel.
    I found the M-16 and AR-15 to be completely reliable as long as the weapon was properly maintained.
    That is the problem, the Army doesn

  • Jess

    The only times I humped a M16A2 vice a M9 or a SAW come to think of it they had issues!
    1 weapon had a problem with the gas tube so it was a fancy bolt action that required me to work the charging handle to clear the empty casing and load a new round.
    The other weapon had a bad extractor and was notorious for double feeding that required me to do the units normal means of clearing a bad jam, KICKING THE CHARGING HANDLE! Not something I would desire in a hot zone! And sometimes that didn’t even work.
    As for the SAW I humped, well four rounds and it was sure to jam, you could bet on it!
    As for the 9mms, we had 25 assigned to the company. Only 1 was not redtaged for repairs.
    Well, at least the 203 I had and the mortar I crewed worked.
    Bottom line, our equipment is made by the lowest bidder. And when it comes to small arms and spares for small arms they just aren;t as sexy as the new fangled plane or supper secret ship that the cost of one could cover the entire replacement of ALL small arms.
    And of course commands who like to have troops clean their weapons when they are already clean and have nothing else to do, which only wastes time, cleaning gear and wears out the weapon and elininates the bluing that protects the weapon from the elements.
    A real weapons adoption and replacement for modern times with routine inspection and replacement as needed rather than the gov purchasing a few million units and then nothing for ten or twenty years.
    And lets have REAL TROOPS do the trials. Purchase a 1000 units and issue them to platoons throughout the military to use in their assorted enviroments and incorporate them in that units type of training. Let those units develope their own SOPs learning as they go with the new system and putting the new system through its paces as they test and evaluate the system. After all what works in the jungles and lava fields of Hawaii may not work the same in the Mojave or Alaska or Texas. I would say much of the testing they do now is in a lab setting where the enviorment is controled rather than in a real world setting where almost anything can happen to include operator abuse and negligence to unplanned accidents, ie REAL WORLD conditions.
    As for caliber, sure lets go with something NEW! The idea of a new caliber may not be a bad idea. And heck the Feds already approved he .40 for LE work as a compromise between the power of the .45 and the capacity and ease of recoil that the 9mm has. So why not that too! The best of both worlds.
    This is just throwing money after bad here spending to keep an old system working. Much like the Marines who spent massive amounts of money, time and labor to keep the CH-47s flying when they had gone well beyond their service life and it made little sense since the replacement cost wasn’t much more than the repair cost yet, the savings they would have in the long run would have been a great benefit.

  • bob

    I would take an M-14 over any variant of the M-16 “toy” rifle.

  • BOB

    I humped an M-16 through 2 1/2 tours in Nam. It does not have to be super clean, and what infantry weapon would stay super clean, anyway. It does not have gas problems. It does have sand / dust problems. The sand / dust problems are caused by the tight dimensions in the bolt / barrel / locking ring interface, and the design of the cartridge case.
    The M-16 functions by using the bolt as the gas piston. Gun gas enters the bolt carrier, and drives the bolt (gas piston) forward against the base of the barrel. This imparts enough enertia to the bolt carrier to propel it to the rear, and cycle the weapon. In order to avoid forcing the cartridge case forward into the chamber during the bolt cycle the tolerances in the locking area must be on the order of .004 to .006. Any dust or grit in this interface will cause a stoppage; generally when the bolt is returning to battery (hence the forward assist).
    In addition to the above it must be noted that the 5.56 X 45 cartridge has no draft on the case walls. The 5.56 is a strait walled case, and debris tends bind the case to the chamber wall. This, combined with a lack of slow initial extraction, is the main cause of hard / short extraction. For a comparison look at the tapered case walls of the 7.62 X 39, and the initial extraction design of the AK.
    I don’t think that the HK or other current wonder systems are going to solve the problem, and they induce another problem of asymmetrical loading. The M-16 is designed to have the bolt propelled staight to the rear, and its wear surfaces are engineered accordingly. The HK, and other similar systems propell the bolt to the rear by applying asymmetrical thrust to the top of the bolt. This causes the rear of the bolt to be forced down against the bottom of the upper receiver. There is no surface in this area to support the bolt. Ergo, this area of the upper receiver will exhibit accelerated wear.
    With the above problem the M-16 is a poor candidate for impovement by minor modification. What we need is an entirely new design. A rifle that is designed to be a rifle rather than a rifle/shotgun/grenade launcher/death ray.
    We need a cartridge that is designed to KILL RIGHT NOW. The NATO day of overwhelming an enemies logistical capability with mass casualties is pretty much over with.
    Will we get what we need? With designs coming from people who have never fired a gun in combat, managed by bean counters who care only about cost, produced by industrialist who equate patriotism with profit, and view soldiers as exploitable economic units, I doubt it.

  • Jeff

    Why don’t we look at the SCAR lite and the SCAR heavy?

  • CRB

    Many of the comments here claim the problem with malfunctioning in the desert is because of the direct gas system of the M4. The reality is sand. Sand gets into the chamber, barrel extension and inside the bolt carrier causing malfunctions. The HK416 has the same barrel extension, chamber and bolt/bolt carrier interface. These problems have nothing to do with how the bolt gets blown back. Sand will defeat any system if you do not diligently maintain it. Another area of problems are magazines. How many of these posters who experienced failure to feed had defective, worn or damaged magazines? The HK416 uses the same magazine and will experiecnce the same problems. No majic solution in thedesert and every weapon will experiece these stopages. Sand gets in the magazine and jams the follower if not cleaned.
    It is very easy for a user to blame their weapon. But the reality will prove that maintinace, useing new oand properly functioning magazines and proper lubrication will keep your weapon working. Our troops do not have the low bidder weapon. They have the best equipment available in the world. The Army needs to teach proper desert maintnace for all these weapons and provide troops with regualr rotation of new magazines. The HK416 WILL NOT cure these ailment. Sand, expecially this type will stop any weapon system. The M4 is not the M16A1 of TET 1968. Years of refinement and a decade of development before fielding of the M4 make it what it is today. The most sought after weapon and weapon of choice amongst our troops in Iraq.

  • Average Joe

    BOB, you are right on. I’m not going to spout out a resume, but I did my time with 5th SFG(A) in a lot of sandy/dusty places. We need a round that is not going to punch ice-pick sized holes in people so that they can keep running around for hours before they drop. I’ve spent enough time firing at actual people, not paper targets on a range, to know that head shots and heart shots happen in the movies and not in the field. We need a round that is going to kill.

  • Darren Vick

    I believe if the comments here are to be taken seriously, you should spell correctly. That being said I will continue the real point. Any weapon is better clean than it is dirty. I have been in the military for 9 years. I have carried the M-16a2 and its variants. I at first felt it was inferior. This was probably because of the bias in the world. After learning to use the M-16 proficiently, I have learned that it is a great weapon in the right conditions. The M-16 was good enough to impress me into buying 2 for my own collection. I on the other hand have several SKS’s in my collection based on durability. Because of ergonomics and speed reloading I would not want it in battle. I know that one gun will seldom be the best choice in all situations. I believe the 5.56mm is too ineffective but know that the recoil is manageable enough to let inexperienced shooters be accurate enough with it. I would personally rather have a .308. Since somewhere along the lines accuracy of fire was replaced by volume of fire. I have never shot anyone so see why the military would be reluctant to change everyone

  • A Mass LT

    After having read all these comments I thought I would chime in. There seems to be either a love or hate relationship with the M4 and a common theme of “if you maintain the weapon it will work great”. While that is obvious a good point, the mark of a truly good weapon is not how good it fires when its clean but how it holds up in rugged environments. And there will be times you will not have time to break your weapon completely down and clean it. Who would strip down their weapon all the way down on the streets of Baghdad? NOT ME (yes I know about field stripping, but that does not take care of the carbon build up on the bolt)
    Anyway as we know, the M16-M4 weapon system gas tube injects fouling right into the chamber. Superheated gas and power residue impacts the reliability of this weapon system plain and simple. The M16 constantly jams on a training range when I have used it. And for those who might say the weapon was not clean, all I will say is that they straight out of the arms room. I was not the same weapon as well, but constant jams amongst the whole platoon. Those that have been in the military know how fiendish the armorers are about clean weapons when you turn in the M16.
    Plain and simple the M16/M4 is a piece of junk. Special forces knows it and I do to. I don’t trust it. Lets give our troops something that works instead of lining the contractors pockets with “blood money”

  • Mike

    Having owned a FEW H&K’s I can say that they are in my opinion a superior weapon to just about any small arms wpn that our military issues.
    Their wpns are a little more costly but are well thought out and very ergonomically designed. I would think the replacement barrels they have for the M16 would be better but who knows, as some one above said, the M16 Was not designed with the H&K system in mind.
    All of my H&K have been purchased new, removed from packaging and fired several hundred of the cheepest rounds I could lay my hands on “Much like the US Army’s ammo issue program” And not once did I have a jam due to malfunction of the fire arm.
    Some one made a comment above that reffered to the M16 as being a great weapon, and most of the problems could be due to faulty Mags, well I got news for you, the Military issues them to soldiers deploying to the field when they hit the ground, so its not the soldiers fault. Not to mention most of the M16’s that I was ever issued had clearences on the internals that were far out of spec…but that is not the M16’s fault.
    All in all the M16 isnt a BAD weapon, but a much more reliable and easy to maintain weapon could be found and used.
    Sorry for the ramblings.

  • John

    The bottom line, the M16 should have been fixed or gone a long time ago. How can you send our guys into harms way with an unreliable weapon. Politics aside, becouse thats the only reason the M16 is still used, get the men what they need!!!!

  • Andy

    The biggest problem I encountered with the M16 A2 and M4 carbine was with double feed. Double feed forced me to draw the bolt to the rear and eject the magazine, re insert, let go the bolt and try again. If it werent for the forward assist, the M 16 familiy would be truly worthless. Yes i could get off some very accurate shots with it once I figured out the “sight picture”, and got the adjustments in and seeing the “picture” right every time which is something soldiers have varying degrees of difficulty doing. There are few who qualify expert at the range. I did so only because i listened to my drill Sgt. closely and forgot everything I thought I knew about shooting, because shooting the M16 accurately is a whole technique unto itself, something else which throws some soldiers off.
    On keeping the weapon clean, this is a must, for combat arms soldiers this is something which is (or should be) heavily stressed. In Aco 1-64 AR there was an extremely high standard enforced, involving several daily cleanings and inspection whenever conditions permitted. Qualification intervals were strictly observed and even shortened when impending action was evident. No one allowed to leave the range untill qualified. Marksman was frowned upon. With M9 pistol , nothing short of expert was tolerated, no one left untill they qualified expert. In the hands of such a unit the M16 family can be effective, however….
    Since I encountered a double feed on the range which made me miss two targets and forced me to hit the rest to qualify expert, and was constanly plagued by double feeds on the range throughout my service ( I never qualified expert again, I got lucky that day with only one malfunction)I wondered about having to use it in combat should our tank encounter a mechanical failure or suffer crippling damage in the middle of a hostile Baghdad, with Special Republican Guards everywhere. I feel very lucky our M1 Abrams tank didnt fail us.

  • Jared

    Yes, it is widely known that the M4 has a poor gas system, but that is it. Don’t jump on the “I hate the M4” bandwagon just because everyone else has. It is a very accurate weapon system, you can’t fault it there. Several of the problems can be blamed on the poor quality control of Colt. If you hate the M4 so much then why are you interested in the 416? The only difference is the gas system, and several American companies are doing the same thing, buy one of those, they work just as well and they are cheaper. If you want to make a change that bad just scrap the whole 5.56 campaign and go back to the .308 M14’s. The new Springfield Scouts and SOCOM’s are almost as small and weigh the same as an M4 with a bunch of crap hung on it. Don’t forget now you have real stopping power. The point is the M4 does have it’s limitations but it can be changed slightly to work better. If you can’t shoot good with it, well then you just suck and don’t expect to shoot anything else any better.

  • RTW

    Sadly, so many of the posts herein are right on the mark. I am a 15 year veteran (USMC); six of those years was as a grunt (0341, 0369), and six years as an armorer (2111). After earning an engineering degree, I worked as a test engineer at one of the DOD proving grounds where I tested small-arms, mortars, mines, and IED defeating systems.
    The M-16 family of weapons (FOW – i.e., the XM177, XM177E1, M16A1, -A2, and -A3, M4…) should be replaced IMMEDIATELY for the following reaons:
    The M-16 FOW gas-operated, and subject to jamms. By far, the best system is recoil operation. Even gas assist (the Kalasnikovs and the M60mg) is superior to a straight gas operated system. Heckler and Koch has by far the best design in that regard. Coupled with the roller-bearing locking system, the HK design is superb.
    There are WAY too many moving parts. The Kalashnikov family of weapons contains one long, continuous triple strand spring that provides spring tension for the hammer, trigger, etc. That is the ONLY spring in the receiver. The M-16 family, on the other hand, uses small, individual springs for the hammer, trigger, disconnect, extractor, ejector, front and rear take-down pins… a maintenance and reliability nightmare.
    The M-16 / M-4 contains too many small (read easily lost) parts, delicate springs. For example, the extractor spring has undergone many modifications, is incredibly small, does not hold its spring constant under operating stresses, and is easily lost – it is at the operator level of maintenance.
    God bless our troops.

  • Richard Wilson


  • karl

    i know that most jamming problems ive had while shooting my m16a2 were caused by a bad magazine, not nessesarily the weapon itself. another cause of jamming is clp, carbon sticks to that crud. i found that using a dry lube like Tuff cloth works great. it dosent collect carbon or dust and helps protect against corrosion. i was issued new magazines and i use tuff cloth, havent had a jam since.
    i dont have any huge problems with m16’s, i do believe there are better weapons available though. the 6.8spc round sounds like a wise upgrade though over the 5.56, ofcourse the whole NATO thing kinda puts a damper on a easy change.

  • andy

    How about the Ruger AC-556 system if we have to stick with the 5.56? I have tweaked several Mini-14s to shoot as well as the M-16/Ar-15 rifles, and these are reliable guns. But really, why re-invent the wheel? The M-14 will do it all, and better than all the euro-trash and mouse guns out there.

  • T. Myrick

    As a retired AF Reserve combat arms instructor and a former Marine (62-68) I have had the opportunity to fire, disassemble and repair both weapons.
    The M-14 is a far superior weopon in my opinion. We were forced to accept the AR15/M16 by Sec. of Defense McNamara in the 60’s and the troops in Viet Nam did not like them due to jamming problems.
    Go back to the M-14 (7.62) and shorten the barrel slightly if you feel its too long. I never had a problem jamming with my M14 even after it was in the mud or fired for long periods without cleaning.
    Why does our so called experts feel the 5.56 is superior. It does not give out troops the same accuracy or penetration that the 7.62 does.
    Now we are developing the 6.58 ?, i think that is the right designation, and still do not give our troops what they need.
    Wake up Sec. of Defense and Pentegon.

  • cold 11B

    I agree that the direct gas action is an inferior product and the HK416 hybrid is far superior. The XM8 is also a nice bang stick, if it comes to that, and HK has almost never built a bad design. The point about the M14 and the 7.62 NATO round by an earlier commentor is also very valid. I do have to take umbrage with the columnist, however. The problem is not the BARREL, as stated, but the upper receiver and what’s really being replaced is the mechanics of be gas operated action. When the pontificator in question doesn’t know the action from the barrel, I begin to wonder if they’re really the person who should be spouting of on the subject. Yeah, I’ll admit to owning two M16 variants (semiauto). But I also own a springfield M1A SOCOM 1. (That’s an M14 variant, if you’re not familiar, which if you’re reading this seems unlikely, unless you’re the columnist, perhaps. If I had the choice, I think John Garand’s action (I.E. the M14 shorty) is the one I’d chose to go into harm’s way with, but any M14 variant is a thundering, battering beasty if you grew up on the 5.56. I think the HK416, with its great commonality with the M16 is the way to go. Same round, similar handling characteristics and length…the whole back half of the weapon is, as I understand it, an M4. It’s what Mr. Stoner should’ve made the M16 in the first place…but that’s what happens when you (ultimately, if you look at the history of the ’16’s adoption) let the air force pick your ground combat rifle.
    My twin pennies.

  • chris

    I think the fact that CAG operators had some say so in the desighn the 416 says alot about the weapon. These are proffessionals who stake thier lives on the weapon they carry and they would know. I think that it is a time for change, overcleaning a weapon is an old time solution to an old time problem. Dont get me wrong I think a clean well lubricated weapon is vital but it is time consider an upgrade. One of the reasons we use 5.56 Nato is because coalition troops use that type of round. Nato would have to change its rounds before we could, so it would be universal for coalition and us troops considering battlefield pick up is a factor. I like the dropping power of the 7.62
    but its more practical to have a couple of designated marksman carry them rather than have everyone carry them.
    I do believe we should have more M-14s out there but only issued to those who show proficiency with them.

  • avalzaunt

    Having just picked up on this thread I have to agree to go with the M-14. The folks in the field need what works, not what a cheap penny pincher hiding behind a desk decides is what the people who are putting their life on the line need.

  • Priest

    Told ya. ;) And thank God for that. The 416 all the way!

  • John Hopkins

    Give them galils and fix this whole problem. A galil is just an Israeli updated AK-47 that shoots a .223. The money pinchers can keep their bullet and the troops get a reliable rifle. With some civilian technology, you can still mount aimpoints and ACOG’s on picatinny rails, but you have a rifle that will not jam unless you run it over with an Abrams tank. The israelis arent dumb, so it has to be a good gun. If thats to old a gun for you then how about IMI’s tavor, its just as reliable in a compact bullpup package.

  • MickeyC

    The AR15/M16 is a great weapons platform other than two thngs.
    1: The direct gas system. Even Eugene stoner dumped it on his very next weapon, the AR18
    2: The recoil buffer in the stock. If it breaks the weapon is useless.
    What it is however is an extremely versitile and accurate platform.
    77grain bullets work fine and are almost as accurate as a 168G 7.62.
    416 uppers with decent feed ramps and magazines makes for a really nice weapon. Ass 77 grain 5.56 rounds or 6.5 grendel and you’ve got a very very nice rifle.
    forget 6.8, Is an abortion, because this year it’s CQB, if the battle changes again to stand off then it will be useless. Go 77grain or 6.5 Grendel and cover all bases with one rifle and one round.

  • MickeyC

    The AR15/M16 is a great weapons platform other than two thngs.
    1: The direct gas system. Even Eugene stoner dumped it on his very next weapon, the AR18
    2: The recoil buffer in the stock. If it breaks the weapon is useless.
    What it is however is an extremely versitile and accurate platform.
    77grain bullets work fine and are almost as accurate as a 168G 7.62.
    416 uppers with decent feed ramps and magazines makes for a really nice weapon. Ass 77 grain 5.56 rounds or 6.5 grendel and you’ve got a very very nice rifle.
    forget 6.8, Is an abortion, because this year it’s CQB, if the battle changes again to stand off then it will be useless. Go 77grain or 6.5 Grendel and cover all bases with one rifle and one round.

  • MickeyC

    The AR15/M16 is a great weapons platform other than two thngs.
    1: The direct gas system. Even Eugene stoner dumped it on his very next weapon, the AR18
    2: The recoil buffer in the stock. If it breaks the weapon is useless. (Yes, i’ve broken one in action along with the neck of the guy I hit)
    What it is however is an extremely versitile and accurate platform. Add piston uppers, eg HK416, with decent feed ramps and magazines and you end up with a really nice weapon.
    77gr bullets work fine and are almost as accurate as a 168G 7.62. Also the older 55 gr bullets travelled fast enough to fragment nicely. If you want one round to do it all, 6.5 Grendel.
    Forget 6.8, Is an abortion, because this year it’s CQB, if the battle changes again to stand off then it will be useless. SF tend to have different weapons for different roles. Regular soldiers don;t so they need and all purpose rifle/round combination. Go 77gr or 6.5 Grendel and cover all bases with one rifle and one round.

  • Jimmy

    Great comments by all, can I ask how/or if anyone has any thoughts on the new Berrett M468?

  • William Koger

    I carried a M-4 in Iraq and a A-2 in Bosnia and never had a problem. Cleaning it every couple days (not daily) and using a dry lube (not CLP) it always fired as often as i pulled the trigger. The only problem was sand in the mags. I totally agree with the larger round argument when it comes to people who are completely comfortable with weapons in general but the military has to have uniformity and it has to arm the smaller people and those who can’t handle a M-14. The M-4 is what we have and “As you know, you have to go to war with the Army you have, not the Army you want,” so while personally i would love to carry a M-14 or something else that will knock down the Iranians i expect to be shooting at the next time the government sends me on an all expense paid vacation, i know ill be carrying the M-4 and I’ll have confidence that it will bring me home.
    P.S. I will be buying my own magazines next time, so if anybody knows of a really good brand email me at william.koger@us.army.mil

  • ritter

    You guys LOVE to mention that a piston system is more reliable….DUH!!! of course it’s more reliable!!! just recoils a LOT more, recoils in a direction other than STRAIGHT BACK (like the m16 variants)FAR Less accurate for follow-up shots…. also the cyclic rate is lower, so u get less rounds downrange before the muzzle rises.
    PLEASE somebody name a piston rifle that is good for a 3 round burst at 100 yards with all three rounds hitting the target! you won’t find one….. other then the new experimental russian counterbalanced recoil system that i can neither afford nor find a source to purchase from.
    The point is this: If i can trade less than 1% of my weapons reliability in dust and sand, for a HUGE boost in accuracy, HUGE decline in recoil, and make it better for automatic bursting…. I’LL TAKE IT!
    I don’t see how I can make it any clearer to you guys…….

  • Steelblue_wj

    “You guys LOVE to mention that a piston system is more reliable….DUH!!! of course it’s more reliable!!! just recoils a LOT more, recoils in a direction other than STRAIGHT BACK (like the m16 variants)FAR Less accurate for follow-up shots…. also the cyclic rate is lower, so u get less rounds downrange before the muzzle rises…”
    The reason the M-16 variants recoil straight back has to do more with it’s straight line design then it’s gas system. when you have a dropped butt like in the kalashnikov, Sig 550’s, and FAL for example, the recoil doesnt hit the shooter’s shoulder head on, causing the climb. The AR’s design send the recoil straight to the shooters shoulder. so actually shoot a Gas piston AR and tell me there is excessive recoil climb.
    You should also consider the rifles introduction to warfare. Stoppages killed many soldiers in Vietnam when it failed when they needed it most. Those serving need something that WILL SHOOT. If they are seeing stoppages from the elements why not at least offer them the confidence in something that is reliable. I’d rather know my weapon will fire when my life is on the line.
    There WAS a problem with ammo in the M16’s before, but that is not the issue with the M4’s. The problem there is taking a gas system for a longer weapon that is reliable within a threshold and shortening it past it. it makes it fire dirtier and at higher pressure then what it’s original design can handle. flat out the only way to cure this is to change the gas system. changing powders or loads to fit just that variant truly show how finicky and unreliable the weapon really is.
    Another cold fact, someone high up in the military wants something new in cool in service to replace the M4/M16 and they will make excuses and blow money to get it into service, just as they did for the M16 when it first entered service. Adopting the HK416 and uppers would cause the excuse they need to get it into service after blowing money away to be non existent. that is why we arent spending the money because they’d rather waste it on development for a generals new toy then save our soldiers.

  • matt

    Take a piston driven m-4 and add a hydro buffer. Follow up shot problem solved. Who ever commented on the three shot burst for a one hundred meter target you are a idot. One hundred meter target? The thought of burst would never come to my mind. Four controlled shots? That sounds a little more like it. I have shot both and the only prob that I have had were the teeth being ripped off the bolt on the gas. Piston solves that whole issue.

  • Jim Kenny

    MGI has a quick-barrel-change upper that enables the shooter to change out calibers in about one minute without tools. When coupled with its modular lower, with change-out magazine wells (also MGI-made)the basic M4 platform can morph into an AK47 very quickly. Need more BC, switch to a 6.5 Grendel or 6.8 barrel. MGI’s HYDRA (Marck 15, being used by police, is now being tested by the military. You can have your cake and eat it too!

  • MajorJCD

    Steelblue_wj, The gas piston ARs/M16s including the HK416 have no more percievable recoil then the standard gas impingement variants. Your comment “The reason the M-16 variants recoil straight back has to do more with it’s straight line design then it’s gas system. when you have a dropped butt like in the kalashnikov, Sig 550’s, and FAL for example, the recoil doesnt hit the shooter’s shoulder head on, causing the climb. The AR’s design send the recoil straight to the shooters shoulder. so actually shoot a Gas piston AR and tell me there is excessive recoil climb.”
    demonstrates that you have not kept current on the systems available. The variety of gas piston systems available do not change the weapons geometry and still employ a straight line stock. Most of them employ a standard AR/M16 lower receiver. No additional recoil, no new system to learn, no more fouling in the receiver, cooler operation and increased reliability. Sorry partner, you are way off base on your last post.

  • jim

    ENOUGH, fix the entire thing by issuing the MAGPUL Masada, it has user changable barrel lengths, user changable calibers. all the soldier needs is the magazines and the ammo. regardless of the situation you cannot make a tool work for the job, you have to taylor the tool to the job not the other way around.
    you all need to wake up and realize the government only issues gear that is sufficient (barely most times) to accomplish the mission. an insurance payout for a dead soldier is cheaper than providing new weapons and extended care for injured soldiers. all wars are fought by attrition, not by chess. war is not a gentlemens sport, there are no rules, because “rules” will be broken if it means the other guy dies and i live. Issue a new truly versitile weapon that can be taylored to the mission, and be done with it.

  • recon

    Having questioned alot of WW2,Korean,Vietnam,Gulf War Veterans and still serving with over 4 years spent overseas I respect all the above who dun its. The Old WW2 boys stated M-1 Garands 30-06 were the workhorse and still treasured by collectors today, could shoot thru trees and still take the person out, M-1 Carbine 30 cal round bounce off windshield of a jeep. M-16 jam all the time now we know why, Gulf Vet NCO primarily used his S&W 9mm to clear bunkers and found a AK-47 in the sand and used it till out of ammo having to find another dead iraqi to find replacement ammo, when I first went to the range to qualify we used 22cal ammo in the Air Force and after Basic never seeing a 22cal again, the 5.56 round at 3,250 fps out of an A1 I could put 5 rounds into a dime at 100yds and when using a M-14 open sights at 100yds 5rounds in a 50cent piece, and a AK-47 lets talk inches never accurate, SVC in 762×39 only a short person or short female could hit a target at 300meters, A GAU or Air Force XM177E in the rite hands CQB it cant be beat, M-4 with the 1&7 twist barrel 77gr black hills and optics and maintained cleaning I consider it better than most weapons I have fired. and competetion I have competed against all services and always won because I was the one still detail cleaning my weapon long after everyone else departed to party, 52,000 chamber pressure for 5.56 so carbon gos everywhere and will cause jams if you dont clean the weapon rite. I fired the new SOCOM 762×51 20rd mags good weapon but recoil very hard and fighting recoil keeps you off target longer which and M-16 stays on due to buffer, everyone has thier favs but i listen to the ones that survived WW2, Korea, and Vietnam, they know what works ask them dont forget them if they didnt win we wouldnt be here today.

  • Gary Finch

    With the soldiers in mind who have lost their lives because of equipment I recall those in US tanks landing in France to face the German tanks, the P51 Mustang fitted with a Merlin engines before it became a life saver to the bomber crews during WWII, the sub mariners going through a long period of time with torpedoes that wouldn’t explode, the Humvee being sent into combat with no armor, Soldiers rifels with problems starting in Viet Nam to date. If wapons are compared to the M14 as a standard then why not use the M14. Oh, How many did Clinton torch? I would bet that Isreal has A dependable rifel. I recall the warnings at Pearl harbor being ignored by those whos job is to protect the citizens and soldiers. We as US soldiers and citizens deserve better.

  • Mike Metz

    Chalk up another vote for Bushmaster ACR (aka Magpul Mossada).

  • DeadMen

    The M-16 family of weapons are junk. I’ve read all the posts. For all you M-16 lovers answer this. Have you held your buddy as he died because his M-16 (that he cleaned immaculatly) jammed in combat? I bet not, go piss off. I spent 14 years in the Army. 8 as an Infantry Weapons Expert. Why only 14? Because Im a disabled Iraq vet now.
    We need a weapon that keeps the good things of the M-16 family, ie: buttplate in line with the barrle, ergonomics, ect. While geting rid of the faults, ie: gas impingement system (only an aircraft manufacturer would think this is a good idea), the light caliber (5.56/22cal is just too light, it doesn’t do a good enough job, get over it.)
    I have found only the people who don’t put their lives on the line think the M-16 family of weapons don’t have any problems. Hay, Desk-Jocky, the Wiz Kids where wrong!

  • Gundam288

    The United States Armed forces are a sometimes wierd from what I have seen. And I have not seen much since I just turned 18 on April 16. Look at these examples. Land warrior system still not in use because of weight issuses supostedy. It takes about half the time to train a soldier on the Land Warrior system than just the m16 or m4 or what not. XM8 got shut down. It has a muti role cablabity if you look at all the possabltys it has to offer. Also it is an improvement over the m4. I think that the United States Army needs some common sence. I mean look. I have not seen combat or even gone to boot camp and I know that the XM8 or M8 is a MUCH better weapon! If i had to fight for my life and had a pick of an M4 or M16 or XM8 I would pick the XM8! I’m going to backtrack a bit here so stay with me! The org m16 otherwise know as the AR15 was a hunk of junk! The United States just desided to toss it into Vietnam with NO training the troops on how to clean it! It was so bad the Vietcong would not even touch it and would stick with there AK-47 otherwise know as Automatic Kalashnikov! The AK-47 is better than the AR-15 since it is more combat durable. The AR-15 otherwise know as the M16 was made of plastic at this time. There was also no bayonet attackment compaired to the AK-47. As well as there was a constin jamming problem on the AR15. This was due to the fact that there was no Nickel plating on the inside! So if u got into Close Quarters Combat otherwise know as CQC you hit your enemy with your AR15 it breaks you now are out a Rifle as well as you have a angry enemy! But there is also the difference of stoping power. Yes a 5.56 NATO round can tear out a spine or whatever. But the 7.62x39MM round which the AK-47 uses has more stoping power. Its almost like a .22 compaired to a 9mm in my mind. But the other problem was that it was a jungle warzone. Which was harder on the m16/ar15. Now back to current times here. Yes the Kalashnikov otherwise know as the AK-47 is not the best weapon out there anymore. But there are storys of US soldiers in afganistan (I most likey spelled things wrong here feel free to correct me.) ditching there M4’s and M16’s for the enemys AK’s! I mean there are people jurryriging armor plating for the Hummves in Iraq or where ever! I mean there are A LOT of things out there that we can do better! I mean for god sakes were the last superpower on earth! If we cant even get basic Weapons what are we going to do? Drop a MOAB(Nicknamed Mother Of All Bombs) on them and hope it scares the rest of the ones it misses away? Not likey. Heck just look at the Isreal’s Galli it was based of the AK-47 from what I have read and seen and herd. It just proves that you can barrow an idea and use it to make something better! If the army likes the M16 or M4 then just make them a hybrid with something else to make them better! It could be the United States’s stuberness, look at the M1911 it was in sevice for almost 100 years! And from what i hear they are starting to go back to the .45 cal from the 9mm. The point is this, Are we going to just adopt the Soviet Union’s war stratigy and plan on loseing troops before they can reload? Thats what the AK-47 looked at for. Most Troops couldn’t reload since they were dead! Hence why the AK’s saying is “Spray and Pray” because it was innacture! Now if the AR-15 is worse than the AK-47 why in the hell are we still using an enhanced AR-15 / M16 still? Yes everything has it’s flaw but if a newer weapon has more flaws than a weapon made more than 50 years ago why is it still in use? I leave you to fill in the blanks. Some might have different ansures but that is what we have democraicy for! To share ideas and take the best things from all the ideas and put them together to make something really great!

  • C.J. Singleton

    The HK416 is not the only piston AR system on the market Bushmaster and ARES defense each have a conversion that can be installed in 30min buy just removing the gas tube and replacing the bolt. I have heard of some special units using the ZM LR300 upper this system is a complete departure from the stoner system it also allows the use of a folding stock. LWRC is another major player in the gas piston game. Lewis machine and tool also has a piston upper. However by far the most reliable AR gas system is the Patriot Ordanance Factory system it is proven to be able to go 20,000 rounds with no cleaning or oil before a malfunction. As for a more powerfull caliber I think the best round for the AR platform is the 6.5 grendle it outperforms the 5.56 in both range and terminal ballistics it also outranges the 6.8 you loose five rounds but I would rather have 25 highly effective rounds than 30 marginally effective rounds.

  • FOXY

    I was one of the lucky ones in ‘Nam. I carried the AR18. No reliability issues there. Want to know which politicians gave us the Matel Toy. “Think Massachusettes”. The AR15/M16 was introduced during the Vietnam War with a total lack of serious evaluation and testing. Although Stoner specified what kind of powder to use in the ammunition, the army instead purchased ammo using older “ball” powders causing serious reliability issues resulting in the deaths of American troops in combat when their weapons failed. However the current M16 M4 would be a more reliable weapon if the upper was dumped for a gas piston upper in 6.5 Grendel. The 6.8 is another politicians pick for the military. Check out who the manufactuers are of the 6.8 round designated for military use. The 6.8 is really an animic .308 round with 600 yards being its accurate killing range. The 6.5 Grendel doesn’t go sub-sonic until it reaches 1200 yards! Twelve hundered yards of accurate fire and bullet weights up to 165 grains for various work.
    AND take the various bullet weights available and you will find the 6.5 Grendel the all around sniper-CQB round. The military and the taxpayer reap the rewards by using the current in service weapons lowers and magazines. So it is a win,win situation and far superior to the 6.8 round.
    Try it, you will like it!

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  • william

    They can’t just replace the barrel, they need the entire upper half of thr rifle to function.
    The 6.5 Grendel did not pass the terminal ballistics test, the 6.8 did. With a common ACOG or aimpoint on a rifle you can’t identify your target much past 400 yards and 99% of troops can’t shoot 1000 yards anyway so the Grendel has NO advantage over the 6.8 in a typical combat situation. With the 416, Scar and a few other piston rifles in the works I am sure the next change will be to a piston operated system and it could be a 6.8 if the amount of ammo being sold outside the US is any indication. The military competition for contracts is June of 09 so we shall soon see which is the top performing rifle.

  • JSF

    I only believe things that I actually experience.
    I’ve been an infantryman in Afghanistan twice and Iraq once. I carried an M4A3 carbine except for brief periods. During one of those periods, I carried an M4A3 with an HK 416 upper.
    I kept my rifle, magazines and cartridges clean – not spit shined, just clean. I rotated magazines so that springs got relaxed for a few days every two or three weeks. I lubricated the parts of the upper receiver group that touched each other. Lightly.
    I had one M4A3 malfunction. It was the first round out of a magazine – the round just didn’t make it up to the ramp. I replaced the magazine and went back to work.
    I had no malfunctions with the M4A3/HK 416 weapon, but then I didn’t shoot it any where near as often. The upper receiver was a hell of alot cleaner of course. The piston got dirty instead.
    My impression (now this is just an opinion) is that the HK 416 would be more reliable, but the M4A3 is adequate.
    As far as the round itself (which has somehow crept into this discussion because someone didn’t understand it was the whole upper receiver group that gets replaced) I never saw anyone get shot with the 5.56 mm round and keep on trucking like nothing happened.
    I figure the US military probably has roughly a million M16/M4 type weapons. I assume an HK 416 upper receiver group (the bolt carrier is different, I don’t know about the bolt) has to cost roughly a hundred bucks (probably more). So, not counting spare parts, training for the armorers, costs of distrubution and so forth, you are talking quite a bit of money.
    It is, and has been, my ass, and I wouldn’t bother making a wholesale change at this point. I’d wait until the existing models were all falling apart and the industry came up with something much, much better.
    And I love the sights you can put on the thing.

  • Kilt

    Not to put down any “Gun Experts” here, but I actually own an HK416. It is a great system. Clean, cool, accurate, reliable, low recoil, and ease of handeling and shooting, make this a dream to fire. For MOUT, UO, or FIBUA, or what ever you want to call it this week, I could not think of a finer weapon than a 10″ HK416. I know I will hear people disagree with the shotr barrel, and loss of balistic performance, but for in close in an urban area, I don’t think you could go wrong.

  • david

    Lets be clear on the subject. !! !! IF Delta DEVGRU, FOrce RECON alll have special OPTARS for weapon procurment and they end up not buying special weapons but HK 416s and 417s, (417 is in 7.62 Nato)then the WAR FIGHTER has made his statment. “I dont want to die with that piece in my hands. The mods that get to their weaponss over the standarded issue in its self would be enough to piss a fallen solders parents off. its not about caliber, Just the same reasoning the M-1 garand wasn’t in 270 w/a ten round clip, An officer (D. MacArthur) said “I have too meany 30-06 rounds to use.
    Inclosing we need more marksmenship trainig, time behind the gun. Make no more 5.56 ammo. Use up what we have. Then Make that slow Transition back to the Modified M-14. WILL NEVER HAPPEN>> Our system is too crooked, Look at Dragon skin body armor..Enough said..I wish you all luck. OOHH I am on a ARMED FORCES SHOOTING TEAM..I shoot Both M14 and Black gun. I shoot the Thousand yard at the NATIONALS with an M-1 in 308/7.62.
    38n should be our caliber..END OF DRILL..300yd is th eend all..

  • adrianjaravata@yahoo.com.ph

    i like H&K 416 rifle its accurate and reliable and durable in against water dust and heat thanks to H&K

  • adrianjaravata@yahoo.com.ph

    i like H&K 416 rifle its accurate and reliable and durable in against water dust and heat thanks to H&K

  • adrianjaravata

    H&K its durable against heat water and dust thanks H&K more power.

  • adrianjaravata

    H&K its durable against heat water and dust thanks H&K more power.

  • Wm

    Just use the Barrett 6.8 Round and the H&K 416. Cost cheep and we need Rifels not Jets And Ships.And what does booming do? its on the ground and in the Mt. and caves they are in.Look at the boombs we droped in WWII and V.N. The Bang for the Buck was not good. It cost us lives as well, because the ground troops are left with out dated equipment. And In WWII they had the Tommy Gun and didn’t give it out for fear of Germans getting it and copying it.I guess they still fell that.I didn’t like the M-16 in Vien except for the weight.But it malfunctioned to often and had to fuss with it to often.

  • matt maynard

    I like this rifle i just wish i had one myselfe for my home and to go out and just have fun with it on the shooting range. nice job men love it.

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  • Rlone

    I never trusted the m16/m4 while in. I kept it immaculate and it would still jam from time to time. Combat in the desert would be a nightmare. Give me an m14 with the EBR stock or the new Troy MCS stock anyday until the figure out what is next. I would have preferred an AK with some of the new accessories and attachments that are out today over at M16/ M4 based systems. I hope the next rifle is in 6.5 or 6.8 with a piston system for relaibilty. FN Scar, Bushy ACR, Robinson , HK416/417 or something like those. We need to give the ground pounders the best available.
    “Nunquam non Paratus”

  • jason

    >(But here’s another good answer: trash the M4s and just buy HK416s!)it’s a damn shame this guy is a american! he sounds like a germany arms dealer ready to sell his country out at a blink of eye, hav’nt you got any american pride the m4 m16 is american icon you bum colt/armalite or any american gun maker can make the same gun but better i think than the 416

  • Brian

    The first priority is to get a reliable weapon to our soldiers. The M16/M4 needs to go. You can keep that thing as clean as possible and lubed but it will still fail.
    The design is terribly old. Every other miltary has replaced their rifles in the 40 years since the M16 has been around. You’re telling me that there isn’t a better rifle in that time? The only reason we still have it is because that Colt and their congressional buddies have kept the cash cow going all this time.

    I don’t care if the weapon is made in Germany or in the USA as long as it is the best for our troops.

  • Joe

    Or the least expensive route would be to retrofit all of our M-16’s and M-4’s with Gas Pistons, since that is available today.

    Without changing the entire rifle system and round used, Gas Piston upgrade would be the most sound thing right now.

  • Team 6 Member

    I served 2 tours in Afghanistan in 2001 & 2002, and then served 5 tours back to back in Iraq from 203 thru 2008. Trust me when I say this, The M4 & M1`6 are junk! I was fortunate to serve with Naval Special Warfare, and in 2004 I was allowed to use an HK-416 in 7.62x51mm Cal. The 416 functioned flawlessly every time! I jammed all the time with the M4, but I hardly had a jam with the 416! Plus, the 7.62 not only gave me knock down power, it gave me punch thru power, because I was able to shoot thru walls and kill my enemy who was trying to hide behind the concrete walls which line every house & village in Afghanistan & Iraq. The HK-416 IS the most effective weapon I have ever fought with.
    The upper echelon in the Pentagon needs to stop listening to bean counter analysts and start listening to the soldiers & sailors in the field that actually have to use the weapon they are issued. To this day, I will NEVER, pick up an M4 again. I will only deploy with an HK-416 in my hands, PERIOD!

  • Paul

    As an old guy, I remember 2 weapons used extensively in WW2, Korea & the opening days of Vietnam……….M1 Garand & the M1 Carbine. Not the most modern of designs by today’s engineering standards I grant you. But they got the job done & without a lot of controversy. These 2 war dogs were both gas powered piston/op-rod cycled. They landed in the cold waters @ Normandy, fired reliably in the volcanic sands of beaches in the Pacific, the dust of Guadalcanal & N. Africa & worked well in the cold of Alaska & Belgium’s Ardenne forest. The M14, son of the Garand, is still in use by our forces today.

    So, why not keep the soot & heat out of the receiver. Let it go out the muzzle & downrange with the projectile. Seems to me THIS is the better design in auto-loading rifles.

  • mac

    This appears to be yet another idiot article that was written with no experience and half the facts. What the knob jockey meant to title and moan about was gas tube (impingement) vs gas piston. Not the barrel. THE GAS!!!! FOOLS!!!

  • Michael Judah
  • SoWhatBubb

    I didn’t get past your first sentence without realizing you are a jacka$$.
    Thanks for saving me the time.
    I didn’t know special forces included wimps and fruits.
    You cleared that up, jacka$$.

  • Core

    Colts IAR, and new M4A1 piston carbine are tested solutions to the problem. HK416 is just a copy of the M4 with modifications. Colts piston system was produced in the 60’s, and further refined since. The thicker socom barrel is needed to support the additional enertia of the piston system, it’s not critical for sustained fire as most believe: it’s to maintain accuracy. An M4 will reach critical temps and cook off and the gas tube will fail before the standard M4 barrel fails. The M4 is still one of the best and lightest. Newer gen carbines like ACR and SCAR are better options for SOCOM applications. Production technology is ancient, we have new materials that could take small arms to a new level of reliability and effectiveness by better utilizing ceramics and nano technology.

  • Dill W

    Take this terrible dumb ass article down. Both contributing morons on this article obviously have no knowledge of the M4 weapon system, OR the average range of engagements in OIF or OEF! Additionally just Google the SF battalion that is in Okinawa, and hopefully you’ll realize you’re morons.

    UPPER RECIEVER does NOT equal Barrel.

    everyone has said it all already,


  • For a gun company to receive a full military contract to make firearms for large scale (I.e. To become the standard issue. Not specialty wepons.) they must be %100 made in America…among a few other requirements.. This is why companies like glock and Beretta have created glock USA and beretta USA. Technically seperate companies from their Austrian and Italian counterparts.. Bringing us the Beretta m9 and glock still seeking a military contract.

  • Chris Newport

    Seems, ultimately, that the problem is the cartridge. Not enough juice at a distance and there is a lot of distance in Afghanistan. At a minimum they should pack a 30 cal machine guns to solve distant problems. Airborne.