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November 12/18: Maintenance & Operations Colt’s Manufacturing Company is being contracted to maintain the US Army’s inventory of M4 and M4A1 rifles.
After Action Reviews done by the Marines after the early phases of Operation Iraqi Freedom revealed that urban warfare scenarios made employment of the M16A2 difficult in some situations; Marines were picking up short AK-47s with folding butt-stocks, or scrounging pistols for use inside buildings.
He won a Silver Star that day – with another soldier’s gun – and his comments in the Army Times article appear to agree that there is a problem with the current M4 design and specifications. While US Special Operations Command is moving ahead on their own SCAR rifle program with FN Herstal, they’re also significant users of the M4 Carbine’s SOPMOD version. Self was fighting of al-Qaeda/Taliban enemies in Afghanistan with a broken weapon, Dellta Force had already turned to Heckler & Koch for a fix that would preserve the M4 but remove its problems.
One of which is heat build-up and gas from its operating mechanism that dries out some lubricants, and helps open the way for sand damage.
The M4A1 is the special operations version of the M4 that’s been in use for more than a decade.
It features a heavier barrel and a full-auto trigger.
It achieves approximately 85% commonality with the M16, and has become a popular weapon.