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Who actually produces M16's & M4's for the US military?

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by Frog48, Jun 21, 2007.

  1. Frog48

    Frog48 Well-Known Member

    Every M16/M4 I've ever seen has either been Colt or FN... But if you flip through the pages of any gun magazine (or websites), it seems like every AR manufacturer claims that they make M16's & M4's for the US military.

    I have a hard time believing that these seemingly civilian market oriented companies produce on a large scale for the military, because (to me) they seem like mom-and-pop operations, small in size.

    Even the larger, more well known makers, such as Bushmaster, DPMS, etc claim to build for the military, yet I've never seen one.

    Obviously, just because I've never seen one doesnt mean that they dont exist. I'm just curious.

    So whats the real scoop on who makes M16/M4's?
  2. RNB65

    RNB65 Well-Known Member

    FN has the current contract for the M4. They're made at FN's facility in South Carolina.

    I don't know about the M16.
  3. W.E.G.

    W.E.G. Well-Known Member

    Colt still has some M4 contracts.

    I've seen some Army Marksmanship Unit shooters with match-grade service rifles outitted with Bushmaster receivers.
  4. kcmarine

    kcmarine Well-Known Member

    Bushy, FN, and Colt, I believe.
  5. Owen

    Owen Moderator Emeritus

    All m4's are made by Colt's.

    All M16 A2/A4 are made by FN Mfg.
  6. Hoppy590

    Hoppy590 Well-Known Member

    some companys may subcontract parts. or so i understand. this would account for all the claims of other companys
  7. jefmad

    jefmad Well-Known Member

    Bushmaster, Rock River, etc. also have U.S. Govt. contracts just not with the military.
  8. RockyMtnTactical

    RockyMtnTactical Well-Known Member

    Having a contract with the govt doesn't necessarily mean you have a contract with the US military.
  9. HorseSoldier

    HorseSoldier Well-Known Member

    Never seen anything besides a Colt or FN lower receiver on a military issue weapon. Uppers and other components can be more varied.
  10. RevolvingCylinder

    RevolvingCylinder Well-Known Member

    I've seen a Harrington & Richardson M16A2(older weapon and no longer a contractor). The only M16s and M4s that are currently produced are primarily FN and Colt. Never seen any Bushmaster nor Rock River Arms. Rock River Arms does have a contract with the DEA and I wouldn't doubt that Bushmaster has some contracts with other agencies.
  11. Phantom Warrior

    Phantom Warrior Well-Known Member

    My M4 and my 203 are both manufactured by Colt, as was my M16A4 in basic. In basic our rifles were a mix of Colt and FN, with a couple receivers by a company called...Bali something from Florida, I think. Everything I've seen since coming into the active Army has been Colt.
  12. Don't Tread On Me

    Don't Tread On Me Well-Known Member

    I agree with most of the above. The M4 is still made by Colt. FN does the A2 and A4 in North Carolina.

    Bushmaster, RRA and others do not have any military contract that I know of. If that ever happens, it will be big news on the web as many forums will have huge Colt-hater/Bushmaster fanboy threads. They do have government contracts though.

    I don't think the military really cares who makes their rifles so long as they are the lowest bidder and located within the continental United States. Whomever makes them will have to make them to the military specification which should make a military contract Bushmaster equal to the Colt or FN or even an Olympic! It's not the company, it's the spec. It either meets the spec or it doesn't. As simple as that. Too many people take the things said about Colt as being a fan of the company. Most Colt owners (like myself) don't really care about Colt - we just recognize that their LE line of rifles are made to a higher quality than others. I'd rather Bushmaster build a superior AR than Colt - that way it wouldn't just be the best AR, but be an AR that comes from a good company too. Think of it like Ruger. Ruger is scum of the earth and probably the worst when it comes to screwing over gun owners with their idiotic crusade to limit magazine capacity (which hasn't stopped). However, if you want the best autoloading .22LR ...the 10/22 is pretty much it. Yeah, there's Marlin or you can get a high-dollar clone like a Volquartsen ...but for $170, the 10/22 is impossible to beat. However, Colt has not been anti-civiliangunowner as the web would have you believe. Most of what is spread around the web is an exaggeration or BS. A few things are true, but are misconstrued. S&W and Ruger have done 10x worse.


    It is known though that politics have been involved in maintaining the business relationship between Colt and the military.
  13. Nightcrawler

    Nightcrawler Well-Known Member

    Older M16s that I've seen? My Guard unit had old M16A1s. I saw Colt lowers (some so old they were stamped "COLT AR-15" and lacked the ridge around the magazines release), H&R, and, of course, GM Hydra-Matic.

    Right now, I think FN makes all of the M16A4s, but many A2s might be refitted to A4 standard. (My M16A2 in basic training was an overstamp conversion of an A1, for exmaple.)

    Bushmaster supplies government agencies, but they have no military contracts, as has been stated. Some contractors use Bushmasters (we had them in Qatar) but those are purchased by the company.

    This is going to be bugging me now. For the life of me, I swear I can recall seeing another manufacturer of M16A1 besides Colt, H&R, and GM, but I can't remember what it was...
  14. Number 6

    Number 6 Well-Known Member

    FN and Colt make almost all of the guns the US military uses for front line duty, but there are some exceptions. Bushmaster did make something like 80 M4s one time for the military before it was told to stop. Bushmaster was also awarded a contract to produce M16s for a contract that was brokered by the US army, but the US army was not the recipient.

    There have also been reports of certain Rock River guns showing up here and there, and were largely thought to be video simulation training guns that somehow made it into the supply chain. Not to mention the various non-Colt A1s and retrofitted A2s that pop up from time to time. For US troops they get Colt and FN guns, but the military buys a lot of guns for other people as well and for other purposes.
  15. Jeff White

    Jeff White Moderator Staff Member

    Colt made the first M16s and M16A1s. Later to expand production, GM Turbo Hydromatic Division and Harrington and Richardson made M16A1s.

    Colt originally made the M16A2. Later FN underbid Colt for the M16A2 contract. Only Colt can make an M4 they own the license for sales to the US military through 2013 IIRC after that other companies can produce the M4 but must pay Colt a royalty on each made.

    Many of the old M16A1s have been converted to M16A2s and A4s. That's why you may see one with a lower receiver made by GM or H&R.

    Bushmaster never made M4s for the Army. Any Bushmaster weapons you might see in the hands of the marksmanship units were most likely hand built by the marksmanship unit from commercial parts.

    LMT has provided parts and complete weapons for some units that purchased them with their own funds. But only Colt, GM FN and H&R ever made M16s or M4s for general issue.

  16. Number 6

    Number 6 Well-Known Member

    Bushmaster did provide 65 M4 type guns to the Army in 1990. I was incorrect about the quantity of guns in my previous post. It was one of the issues that came up in Colt's lawsuit against Bushmaster. It is mentioned on page 12 and 24 of the link below. I would not call that a huge contract or one of significance, but it does give them some ability to claim that they have supplied the military. I would be curious to know what happened to those Bushmaster M4s however.

  17. Glockfan.45

    Glockfan.45 member

    Bushmaster did provide a small number of M4s to the military at the start of Desert Storm. Then they got their butts sued by Colt, and that was the end of Bushmasters .gov contracts. As of this moment only two companys provide M16A2s, M16A3/A4, and M4s to the U.S military those two companies being Colt, and FN. I suspect that once Colt loses the sole rights to the TDP for the M4 FN will bid them out of prodution.

    Once Colt loses production of the M4 you will either see them try to market the next "latest and greatest thing" to the military, or become a little more friendly to us civies.
  18. steveracer

    steveracer Well-Known Member

    You guys are forgetting about Crane.

    All of the Navy guns I've seen came through Crane, who makes the configuration you order from the pieces they have. All of our MK18s and M-4s have FN lowers, Colt's uppers, and LMT small parts (sights, rails, etc)
    The AR-15s that we see from time to time, (Marked Colt AR-15) all have a Crane stamp on there somewhere.
    The MP-5s say Crane on them, and the M500s do, too.
  19. Prince Yamato

    Prince Yamato Well-Known Member

    Oh come one people! Everyone knows that Vulcan Arms produces "The Machineguns of the Special Forces!" :neener:
  20. BigG

    BigG Well-Known Member

    It would be cool if the H&Rs had the old logo of their breaktop target revolver and the target with bullet holes rollmarked on the side of their M16. :neener:

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