M16 vs. M4 -- What say you?


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prezbucky
July 10, 2010, 06:59 PM
The M16 has been standard-issue in (many of) our armed forces for some time. Reports are that a more advanced variant, the M4, is being phased in to replace the M16.

What are your thoughts? Are you in favor of the change; are you loyal to the M16; is this a case of "if it ain't broken, don't fix it"; or do our boys need the M4 "upgrade"?

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brian923
July 10, 2010, 07:11 PM
I don't think the m-4 was sopposed to phase out the m16. I think its just a specialized rifle to help aid ease of exiting vehicles and clearing houses. Both will be in service for years to come. Working side by side.

There's no real "advancements" besides the shorter barrel, and colapsible stock. And that's not really an advancment as you lose external ballistics of the 5.56 round. Everything else is the same.

APIT50
July 10, 2010, 07:26 PM
I loved my M4 it is light and handier. Average engagement distances are now inside 100m so loss of velocity isn't as important. The biggest advantage is the portability inside vehicles.

prezbucky
July 10, 2010, 07:36 PM
So if you have to move quickly inside a vehicle to sight targets... do you still want that M4 (even though it is a shorter-barrelled carbine...) or do you want your sidearm pistol in your hands? I suppose range might have something to do with that, as well as ease of access and confidence with either weapon.

crushbup
July 10, 2010, 07:37 PM
Average engagement distances are now inside 100m so loss of velocity isn't as important.

Not in Afghanistan

Tim the student
July 10, 2010, 07:37 PM
Reports are that a more advanced variant, the M4, is being phased in to replace the M16.

Er, this has been happening for more than a decade. I got to Italy in 97, and the line companies were transitioning to them then. They were on Bragg in 99. This is not exactly a new thing.

I wouldn't call it an advanced design, just different.

FWIW, generally speaking, I would much rather have the M4 instead of the M16. I like it a lot more.

husker
July 10, 2010, 07:49 PM
NE. national guard has all but Phased out the M-16 for the M-4

prezbucky
July 10, 2010, 07:50 PM
Well, call it a 13-year introduction then. hehe

nipprdog
July 10, 2010, 10:14 PM
The M16 has been standard-issue in (many of) our armed forces for some time. Reports are that a more advanced variant, the M4, is being phased in to replace the M16.

Pssssssssssssssst, welcome to the Internet. ;)

prezbucky
July 10, 2010, 10:20 PM
More like... welcome to guns. hehe

Maverick223
July 10, 2010, 11:05 PM
I prefer a longer barrel for the 5.56x45mmNATO (or .223Rem), it was designed for it, and has been shown to perform better with a barrel greater than 16in. in length. For short engagements the M4 is fine, and aids in CQB due to the shorter OAL and collapsible stock. IMO the answer to the quest for both good moderate range performance, quick handling, and a smaller package for CQB can be found below:

http://i642.photobucket.com/albums/uu141/Maverick223_album/IMG_4668.jpg

It fulfills all the above requirements (that is a 21.5in. bbl)...I just feel sorry for all the wrong-handed folks. :D

RockyMtnTactical
July 10, 2010, 11:26 PM
I like the M4, but they could split the difference and go with 16" mid lengths! :D

RockyMtnTactical
July 10, 2010, 11:28 PM
Not in Afghanistan

OK, what is the average range of engagement in Afghanistan?

HorseSoldier
July 11, 2010, 01:39 AM
Doesn't matter. An M4 with an ACOG is a 600 meter gun without any real fuss -- the problem is that making 600 meter shots in a real fight with any service rifle or carbine is incredibly low percentage. Switching to a 20" barrel M16 or 22" M14 or anything else won't change the acquisition or engagement problem.

-v-
July 11, 2010, 01:58 AM
Re: Maverick223.

Take that M17, couple it with a forward-ejecting system, and suddenly you have the best of both worlds....

Methinks a Kel-Tek RFB in .223 or 6.8 with a happy switch and refinements to make it grunt-proof might be the best option to replace both the M4 and M16. But I digress.

As for the M4 replacing the M16? Seems like thats what the push is. The new M855A1 round seems to be designed to get more performance from a short barrel, coupled with the projection that we will be involved in increasingly more urban conflicts that are CQB heavy.

As for the long-range dilemma? Do it the Russian way: 2-3 DMRs in each fire team to cover that 200-600m range. Like the Russians: Use your M4/AK-74M to cover the 0-200m range, and your M21/M14/Mk25/SVD to cover the 200-600+ meter range. Pushing an intermediate range cartridge to do long-range work seems kind of...strange, after all, especially when long-range choices like .308 (in Russian case 7.62x54r) do a significantly better job.

Alex45ACP
July 11, 2010, 02:03 AM
I don't understand why they didn't just go with 16" midlengths instead.

Maverick223
July 11, 2010, 10:03 AM
Take that M17, couple it with a forward-ejecting system, and suddenly you have the best of both worlds....

Methinks a Kel-Tek RFB in .223 or 6.8 with a happy switch and refinements to make it grunt-proof might be the best option to replace both the M4 and M16.Agreed on both accounts, but it would take quite a bit of engineering to make the M17 forward ejecting, and I suspect that the RFB would need a good bit of reinforcement to make it more rugged (don't know this for sure, as I have no experience with them and few reports have been given). OTOH the Tavor seems like a pretty good solution for right now.

:)

Welding Rod
July 11, 2010, 01:28 PM
When I was in (EOD) we were issued M16s. I always wished for a carbine at the time. However nobody was shooting at me.

If they were, and the gun was was going to used with iron sights, I would take the M16. Sure they are more of a pain inside a vehicle, but that is the only advantage of the carbine other than manuverability when clearing buildings you believe may be occupied... which isn't something you would normally expect to be doing as an EOD soldier.

With optics I would probably take the carbine as a Team Leader, but would probably still prefer the team members to have full sized rifles.

You got to keep in mind to that you can't pick your weapon for the specific conditions in each conflict. It is a compromise for today and for the unknown conditions that will exist in the next conflicts.

rcmodel
July 11, 2010, 02:45 PM
do you still want that M4 (even though it is a shorter-barrelled carbine...) or do you want your sidearm pistolPistols don't win gunfights when the other side is using AK-47 rifles and RPG's.

Pistols are to keep you alive long enough to get to your rifle, or carbine. Nothing more.

rc

gb0399
July 11, 2010, 02:46 PM
You got to keep in mind to that you can't pick your weapon for the specific conditions in each conflict. It is a compromise for today and for the unknown conditions that will exist in the next conflicts.

The SCAR (which I am NOT a fan of) comes with a fully adjustable stock, fire SA and FA, has three barrel lengths standard, a suppressor and comes in two calibers. That covers a lot of scenarios.

rcmodel
July 11, 2010, 02:50 PM
But do you call a time-out in the firefight while you pick your barrel length & caliber and swap parts around??

All this crap about interchangeable parts to fit the mission makes me laugh.

If the SCAR becomes standard issue, which is very doubtful, you will take the one the Supply Sargent issues you, and you will never see those other barrels in different calibers, ever.

M-16 uppers are available in many calibers and barrel lengths too. And they can be changed in about 30 seconds.
But nobody ever got to pick which one they wanted to put on thier issue M16 or M4.

rc

gb0399
July 11, 2010, 02:55 PM
The number one reason for mission failure is poor planning. If you don't make an analysis of the terrain, physical, human and otherwise than you are destined to fail no matter what you carry. Before you leave the wire you should be prepared for what you will most likely face, and what is the worst thing you could possibly face. This includes preparation of your arms.

robby101
July 11, 2010, 03:06 PM
Original M16, POS; original CAR15, POS; current M4 very good battle rifle. To make it a great battle rifle, give our boys a caliber they can LIVE with!
Robby

blackops
July 11, 2010, 03:24 PM
is this a case of "if it ain't broken, don't fix it";

Negative. It's very hard to move forward with technology if you are not willing to improve even the firearms that are proven. Technology never stops moving forward and neither do the capabilities of firearms.

Kansasman
July 11, 2010, 03:36 PM
My two cents on the subject is the M4 is more accurate than most soldiers. So the advantages in maneuverability outweigh the disadvantages in downrange accuracy and power.

Maverick223
July 11, 2010, 05:05 PM
Original M16, POS; original CAR15, POS; current M4 very good battle rifle. To make it a great battle rifle, give our boys a caliber they can LIVE with!You sir, are misinformed. The M16 and CAR-15, though far from my favorite rifles, are very effective weapons systems, as is the 5.56x45mmNATO intermediate cartridge. Don't take my word for it, this has been proven in battle, and has been recounted by numerous folks here with quite a bit of combat experience.

:)

gb0399
July 11, 2010, 05:24 PM
Allow me to bring this thread full circle. As of right now, the M16 is all but phased out. The Army is armed with M4s. Some like the weapon, some don't. Some like the caliber, some don't. I personally think its the best battle rifle out there today, you might not. And I have to agree with blackops, whether its the best or not, we must continue to look for the next best thing out there.

prezbucky
July 11, 2010, 09:03 PM
In other words, a good eye can make the M4 as effective as it needs to be...

Do US Army Special Forces, Delta, Force Recon, SEALs, DEVGRU (etc.) use the M4?

Or do they just use pretty much any weapon they want?

Tim the student
July 11, 2010, 09:16 PM
...as is the 5.56x45mmNATO intermediate cartridge. Don't take my word for it, this has been proven in battle, and has been recounted by numerous folks here with quite a bit of combat experience.

Lots like it, some don't. I don't. It is not universally adored by any means - but in fairness, it is generally viewed positively.

Maverick223
July 11, 2010, 09:35 PM
Lots like it, some don't. I don't. It is not universally adored by any means - but in fairness, it is generally viewed positively.True, some folks don't like it, as with any cartridge (or anything else for that matter), my point is that it has a habit of getting the job done (even for the guys that don't like it). I like the cartridge, but there are many that are better suited to warfare IMO (primarily the 6x45mm and 6.5MPC). FWIW it is not my chosen cartridge for my primary HD carbine, but I wouldn't feel undergunned with it either. I find it funny that folks look at that big, mean, powerful, manly .45ACP (which consequently is my go-to pistol cartridge, but only to get me to the long guns if time permits) as a "manstopper" but the 5.56NATO (or .223Rem.) as nothing but a "varmint cartridge"...run the numbers on both, the rifle cartridge always comes up on top.

:)

prezbucky
July 11, 2010, 09:51 PM
...because Energy = Mass * Velocity Squared

IE, the FPS number is more important than the caliber.

(.3 * 1700)squared > (.45 * 850)squared
As my grandpa likes to remind me, speed kills.

PandaBearBG
July 11, 2010, 10:57 PM
IMHO rifles change with every war and redesigned or phased out depending on enviroment, conflict, and need. Larger calibers where phased out for lighter more ammo M16's in longer range fights in Viet Nam, shorter range and shorter OAL CQB rifles like the M4 were introduced for the need of more frequent close city fighting of Iraq. The need for long distance rifles is still apparent though as more mid range intermediate scout snipers are more common in squads and fire teams in today's modern soilders and Marines. When the next major conflict arises for the US I'm pretty sure something new will come out as a new need is ...well needed.

Maverick223
July 11, 2010, 11:07 PM
...because Energy = Mass * Velocity Squared

IE, the FPS number is more important than the caliber. [...] As my grandpa likes to remind me, speed kills.To an extent...in some cases the caliber is insufficient to cause sufficient trauma (both from crushed tissues and bloodletting) and/or will just pass through the target without depositing much of the energy. Fortunately this is not the case with the 5.56NATO, because even the FMJ designs exhibit very good terminal ballistics (though I will take a Ballistic Tip, SP, or HP over a FMJ any day). BTW, mass is the "grain-weight" (for lack of a better term) rather than caliber, otherwise your formula is correct.

:)

-v-
July 11, 2010, 11:10 PM
As for the 14.5 vs 20" length debate. Load those M4's up with 75-77gr slugs with a powder optimized for a 14.5" burn, and I doubt there is going to be that much substantiative difference in "hitting power" between a 20" and a 16". As for accuracy argument: When pretty much every rifle out side of boot camp sports an ACOG, aimpoint, or EOTech, sight radius is moot. Its the 21st century, sight radius is a decidedly 20th century concern!

That, and having a shorter barrel lets you have an overall more rigid barrel = better barrel harmonics = better inherent accuracy than a long barrel.

While I am in Maverick's camp not being a fan of the 5.56, it has and still does demonstrate that it can and does get the job done. Is it a death ray? No. But, if you mind your aim, and put the pills where it counts, it'll do its job.

Edit: Energy = (0.5) * Mass * Velocity * Velocity.

Momentum = Mass * Velocity.

Tim the student
July 11, 2010, 11:12 PM
my point is that it has a habit of getting the job done

I agree that it generally does, but sometimes it takes much too long, even with multiple, great COM shots that could only have been improved on by being a good CNS shot.

It is not the uber man killer that some would have you believe - but it's not a .22LR either.

RP88
July 12, 2010, 12:36 AM
Allow me to bring this thread full circle. As of right now, the M16 is all but phased out. The Army is armed with M4s.

the M16A4 still has select primary/frontline service in the Army, select service in Israel as it is supplemented by the IMI Tavors, widespread and primary service in as many as 40 other countries, select service in the Navy, and still a vital service in the Marines as its primary rifle.

robby101
July 12, 2010, 09:07 AM
Maverick, I'm not misinformed, its just my opinion, based on my own experience and observations as a grunt with the 101ST, in I Corps. We qualified with both the M14, and the M16. In VN I carried one of those first generation M16. It was great for breaking the wire on a case of C's with that three prong suppressor, other than that, it was a full time job making sure there was zero dirt anywhere near the action, chamber area, and after seeing tracers ricochet off the local flora, well, I wasn't the only guy wishing he had an M14. That little CAR was A pretty cool looking gun back in the day, but was held in even lower regard than the 16, because of reliability issues. Eventually I was issued the up graded model, and did have a better opinion of it. Thirty years later, and my son had complete faith in the gun and the M4 version. Many many upgrades have been made over the years, and I believe that today it is the best battle rifle in the field, carried by the best trained army in our nations history, and they know how to use it. I just think they need a better caliber. Again, this is my opinion based on MY experience, and I'm sure whatever I say, someone could come with statistics that would prove me wrong, just as there are those that could come up with statistics in support of my opinion. I'm not trying to stir things up, just my opinion.
Robby

Maverick223
July 12, 2010, 10:59 AM
I'm not trying to stir things up, just my opinion.That's not the way you stated it, but fair enough. FWIW, the initial problems with the M16 and variants were mostly due to poor ammunition selection and lack of proper cleaning (and the non-chrome lined bbl didn't help matters). The same would be true today (with M4s) if put in similar circumstances.

:)

Al Thompson
July 12, 2010, 11:11 AM
Robby, thanks for your service. :)

I tend to not worry about the caliber, but the bullet. Read a book on the battle of Peleliu (E.B. Sledge, With the Old Breed) where a Garand equipped Marine had to empty the rifle to stop an enemy. In "Blackhawk Down", the M60 was mention several times as being ineffective.

Note that all concerned were using FMJ ammo. There's a reason that FMJ is mostly banned for hunting. :eek:

7.62mm.ak47
July 12, 2010, 12:29 PM
Well as I just posted in a similar thread I've had experience with both of these weapons. The M16A2's we qualified with at boot camp were falling apart and I still had no problem hitting the target at 500yds (accurately I might add). The M4's accuracy is obviously not as good as the M16 because the barrel is 5.5 inches shorter. However it's purpose is to be used in urban areas and with vehicle mounted troops so they have better maneuverability. I personally thought it felt a lot better but I'd sacrifice that for accuracy if it was a combat situation. M16A4 wins IMHO.

APIT50
July 12, 2010, 12:58 PM
I have shot the M4, M16A2 with and without M203, M16A4, with M68 CCO, ACOG, BUIS, and standard irons all to at least 300 yards. If you are shooting past 300 yards in Iraq at least ( I haven't had the pleasure of seeing desert and mountains yet ie. Afghanistan), you would probably be better served with a different caliber as the winds over there are a bit stiff. Out to 300 yards all of the aforementioned weapons systems and optics worked just fine for me. The M16 and variants in the modern army are all pretty reliable these days if properly care for. It is amazing what your average soldier will do to their rifle. I have seen them run over, bolt rusted into chamber, dropped repeatedly, used as leaning post muzzle down in dirt, etc. The most common issue I saw as a unit armorer in Iraq was magazines. You drop a standard issue steel mag on concrete just once and you can mess up the feed lips badly enough that it can cause feeding issues.

An earlier comment was made that you average soldier isn't accurate enough to need long range precision in their rifle. I have to sadly agree. Approximately 120 soldiers went to qualify on the range last time I went. To qualify you must hit at least 23 out of 40 targets out to 300m. Average qualification score was about 27. I would estimate about 80% of the soldiers probably never fire a rifle except for that 1 time a year at qualifications.

robby101
July 12, 2010, 01:01 PM
Thanks Al, There are many examples that parallel the one you have cited, and I think everyone would agree, there is no one gun fit for all situations. I do worry over caliber, and apparently so do some in the current military. My old division has been re-equipped with an up-graded M14, .308 for overseas deployment. On one hand I think its a good move, but at the same time, I think there is the potential for a logistical nightmare, having two different caliber battle rifles in the same theater of operation. Its not hard for me to imagine a LRP heavily engaged, calling for ammo resupply, and getting a kick-out of .556! Those guys will risk everything to get them their resupply, but in the heat and urgency of the moment, these are the kind of mistakes that are made. Many of the special ops use a larger caliber. What that caliber should be for our main line troopers is still in debate, heated debate, but special op's aside, the front line troops all have to be on the same page.
Robby

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