M4 and the Army

KUALA LUMPUR: Its one of Malaysian Defence most enduring subjects, the entry into service of the M4 into the Malaysian Army. With some units in country, no one want to be in violation of the OSA, and set to be fielded in our borders (a small number already in the hands of our soldiers serving in UNIFIL), we came to head with the good ole story.

Click here for a video story on the US Army Dust Trials last year where our latest weapon system fails miserably. It is my wish that I could undertake similar road testing here in Malaysia like the AP reporter. Which gun will prevail? The Malaysian-made AUG, Austrian-made AUG, the Colt M4, the SiG 500 series or the HK416?

Anyway, the story says the US Army pays USD1500 for an M4. We paid around RM7+++ per an example!


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About Marhalim Abas 2227 Articles
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  1. Its one of the most enduring subjects indeed. It is obvious that the rifle is not the best comparing with its competitors for the US army and for us as well. I would love to recall a statement made by a former general on national tv for saying that he wants to give the army the weapon that they have the most confident and most comfort to operate with. Hmmm, pretty good marketing strategy..

    Well that is good now we know how the process of choosing our equipment are made. Again and again, I am personally against the decision to purchase M4 which is proven failure and it is crystal clear not the best rifle we can get with our money. It is definitely without any doubt not the rifle I would carry along to battle, if only I am in the service. BTW the decision is made, nothing we can do bout the fact that our guys in green will carry this rifle. I feel sorry for them.

    Anyway, I learned that our 1 RAMD is given the honour to guard the queen palace in England and they will be equipped with M4 as well and will appear in new camouflage aside their ‘no 1 uniform’. Do you have any info about the new camou?

  2. I know I forgot something at DSA, Core Jocque! Its the new camo uniform! Its basically the old camo but the shirt have been redesigned so the the top top pockets goes sideways ala US WWII combat uniform. It also features a rank holder in the middle of the chest so they could place the rank insgnia there.

    I think the black part of the Malaysian woodland camo have been changed to dark blue, it did not stand out too much when using NVGs although the Simrad unit I used was 2++ plus generation tube.

    The Americans had eliminated black from their camo as on their 3rd Gen NVG black glows!

    I still believe that the Army went for the M4 as it was the only piece of kit that they have the real influence over the selection and the fact that the top guys will surely be selected to join the local manufacturer once they retired…..

  3. The only gun that are tough enough to withstand almost punishment is the AK-47. having said that, one must remember that an assault rifle is a piece of precision machinery. it has to be cared for, cleaned and loved like one’s wife. In fact, soldiers are expected to clean their rifles before they do anything else. if a rifle is properly cleaned, be it M-4, SiG 500 or HK 415, it with perform admirably, faithfully and reliably.

    As for the price of the M-4, one must remember weapons are not bought over the counter with fixed price tags. Their are often based on unit price. which means the more you buy, the cheaper it will be. the US. Army bought millions of M-4s while the MAF will acquire up to 100,000 M-4 for the first batch. And one have to take into account of the costs of licensed productions, tooling etc.

  4. More urban myth. AKs are not quite as soldier proof as their reputation suggests. The combination of the extreme taper on the M43 case, the chromed chamber and operating parts, tank-like magazines and most of all the giant extractor claw make it very reliable even when operating in sub-optimal conditions.

    Actually, there’s no reason at all to manufacture them domestically since we cannot make them cheaper than in the US, so why bother? It’s not like they can export them after factoring in their set up costs and having to pay royalties to Colt. Do you honestly believe that anyone is going to buy a more expensive Malaysian made M4 over a cheaper US/Canadian M4? Perhaps Marhalim will be able to tease out the conditions set by Colt for this deal…. they utterly guarantee that any guns made here will be completely uncompetitive.

    Do they care? Hell no. They’ll factor in all their hefty profit up front and jack the Malaysian taxpayer just like they did with the AUGs. It’s the same people doing the same thing all over again……we must be the dumbest schmucks on the planet to fall for the same grift back to back run by the same grifters. One does wonder what in the world is going on in Kem Kementah.

    Reminds me of a signboard the other day, “lagi satu projek (Parti Pemerintah)’. Yep, sure looks like another one of those.

  5. Enough with the discussion of the M4 which I think worthless to be discussed anyway since the decision has already been made. What is done is done. Lets look forward. Let the fiasco of our NGPV program,skyhawk, HK33, and many more be the lessons. The problem is we do not learn the lessons. Lets hope our future wish list be more transparent, more honesty. more honour to honour our warriors.

  6. I do not want to prolong the same old saga but I am afraid it will invariably turned up very soon as the air force and navy starts to look to replace their AUGs. Since they cannot get their ships or planes, their best bet is to flex their muscles in the selection of the replacement of the AUG. So the three-ring circus will come out again.

    BTW, Colt have come out a piston rifle for the military. Its called the M5, what else!!!

  7. I’d thought that the reason behind producing a rifle domestically for a small nation like Malaysia is not primarily the hope to export it, but rather that in case of war they don’t have to depend on imports when needing more rifles? That’s the same reason why they try to produce as much other stuff as possible domestically, from soldier’s boots to tank ammo.

    I’ve never shot the M4, but I really regard it as inferior to most other modern rifles after everything I read about it. They really should have opted for another rifle.

  8. It was the idea but when it comes to our National Interest, implementation and ideas does not work so well, It is the main reason I started Malaysian Defence…

  9. Even when it comes to ammunition we have very little supply security as we import EVERYTHING from brass cups to primers. Even the UK has no supply security as it buys most of the powder it uses from Holland. Tank ammo? Hah! They machine the bodies but many critical components (fuzes etrc.) are imported and assembled.

    Self Sufficiency has NEVER been anything other than a fig leaf.

    You want to know why we produce our own webbing? To protect our own garment and stitching industry with a hefty 40% excise on all stitched products. ]

    If you haven’t shot the M4, then you have no idea how it handles, which is very well. The ergonomics of a AR are excellent. The problem ain’t so much the gun as the way they went about procuring it. (Marhalim: All the M16 series handles very well, its pretty darned accurate, apparently it got to do with the direct gas impingement)


  10. Anyone who believes that most (if not all) malaysian military purchase decisions doesn’t involve kick backs please raise their hand!
    Hmm… I don’t see any.

    Put enough money at the right places, we could just easily end up with G36 or even Sig550 for the whole army.(Marhalim: Due to the M4 price markup it is as expensive as the SIG550 series of rifles, of which the Paskau has bought recentlY)

    We even bought radar that is still in prototype stage.. or so I heard.. heheh

  11. I could not agree more Marhalim. We have had some good ideas for the past decade. More and more of our students have achieved considerably great results which is a reflection the fact that we are not lacking of good working brain amongst our citizen. We have people with good ideas, theoretically, but when it comes to implementation, everybody knows what happen.

    Yeap, its good to have the idea to try to produce as much stuff as possible locally but if u notice we have been doing that for long time. Whats the outcomes that we see today. Nothing impressive. If we wanna be self dependent we need to master basic know-how which I believe we did not achieve that. Just take a look at singapore defence industry. Well, maybe it is just too much to compare with singapore, how about indonesia. Did indonesia produce their own rifle? Yes. Did they do that by producing it under license? No.

    They have the guts to learn not just simply get the license. After all these years we have spend our money and times to produce so many things locally under license we should have already got the experience and knowledge. Salute to those industry players who have stepped forward with their own idea and product such as System Consultancy. Their effort is exemplary.

  12. Marhalim,do u have any photo of the new camo design?..thanks. (Marhalim: No, sorry, I did not take the photo although the new camo uniform was displayed prominently at one of the stands at DSA, the company, if I remember correctly was PSE Sdn Bhd.

  13. Overall Im happy with the selection of the M4. I just dont see the relevance of the dust test for Malaysia. When was the last time we had a 25-hour dust storm?

    The M4 should perform well here in the tropics. Evidence? Just look at the number of M16s that are still being used by the Malaysian security forces. In fact , if you ask around, you will find that many Malaysian soliders prefer the old M16 over the AUG. Expect our soldiers to love the M4 as it is lighter and more compact.

    Is the M4 the most perfect combat rifle ever designed by human kind? No. Such rifle doesnt exist. However, the M4 has gone through lots and lots of actual combat and has a good track record. Can the same be said of the G36 or the Sig-550?

  14. Core….they sure did. FNCs licensed from FN Herstal built on brand new tooling and to specs higher than FN itself ran, They are the nicest FNCs made anywhere bar none, including the Swedish AK5. The down side is that they are insanely uncompetitive…… You gotta see their mags, they are tough enough to pound nails. Heavy enough too…..:).

    The do rip off other stuff but it’s mostly unimpressive pap that you can buy much cheaper elsewhere.

    Not much frakking good to have products that you can’t even sell to your own MINDEF like the AV4.

  15. Marhalim….accuracy is not a function of DI as some folks believe (Marhalim: I am one of the believer, ha!) , sub-MOA piston ARs are available, though not from HK…..:)


  16. I am not happy with the selection of the M4, its not just about the way they set about to purchase it but also the dust test clearly shows that there are other weapons in the market which is better than the bloody M4.

    Yes, we might not encounter the same environmental conditions like in Iraq but why do we want to spent close to RM100 million on a weapon system which is inferior to others in the same price bracket? Are we so rich we can just dump money like that?

    I know I might be comparing apples with oranges but given the choice of a BMW 330D to a Proton Waja, I will take the Beemer any day…. if it was like a 330D Estate and a C270 CDI Wagon, I might say both!

    But an M4 from 2008 to 2018? Its an insult to all of our fighting men and women.

    The US, my friends, can afford to change their M4s tomorrow if they want to do so. We , on the other hand, cannot do so even within the next decade, so there is a chance my grandson/daughter will have to carry the M4 if he or she decide to join the services. of which I would strenuously but politely object.

    Its not that I am not patriotic but ….

  17. The US Air Force 2008 pricing for an M4 is USD 1750. Colt has jacked up the pricing.

    Our fighting men and women are used to being insulted from the awful rations and food they are provided with (at premium prices no less) to the defective helmets that provide no protection from anything heavier than rain. They are used to being used as an excuse for certain parties to make lots of money while they struggle to make ends meet. Forget even the Waja (yuk), most servicemen can only aspire to a well worn third-hand Saga…..

    Malaysia changes her service rifle every 15 years or less so in that regard we are superior to the US Army which has been stuck with the M16 family for 40+ years!

    Don’t worry, Defence Minister has gone on record to say that all negotiations and procurements follow strict Ministry guidelines. The question of course the arises, what sort of guidelines allow for a new service rifle to be procured without an open tender.

    We all live in a yellow submarine…..yellow submarine……

  18. Well Marhalim, if our M4 is over-priced, I shudder to think what a HK-416 or Sig will cost the taxpayers if these go through the procurement system!

  19. The price of the Hk and SIG is the same with the M4 the Army bought, a figure around RM7+++. It was for this reason the Paskau managed to get their SIGs.

  20. This is a never ending story. The same old story repeated over and over again. Pity to our fighting men and women. They always get the same old excuse, this is the best we can get with the money. Well, majority of us here did not see that this is the best rifle we can get with our money.

    We can continue arguing like this for decades, that is what we are doing now, and yet nothing has been done about the procurement system like Ree said earlier. Again, I would like to emphasize that we need transparency,so no hidden costs like unreasonable commission involve in our deals, we need honesty for the parties who involve directly or indirectly with the negotiations.

    Rakyat has seen too many fiasco/dramas and honestly speaking people are getting tired,sick and feel like puking whenever things went wrong with our defence deals. What are these politicians thinking? They spend our money as it like theirs and we are spending more money to buy food. This is far from what it should be. It is like the people are serving for them, not they serve for the people.

  21. Marhalim,

    I said if these “go through the procurement sytem”. You think the HK and SIG will also retain their “market prices”?

  22. I am not saying that we will be able to purchase HKs,SIGs and FNs for that matter at the real world prices as here in country they to go through”the procurement process”.

    Instead of buying direct, we end up buying from their local agents, who will mark-up their prices to cover their own costs. For example, for the M4 deal although SME is the designated local manufacturer, it is NOT the local agent of Colt. Its another company.

    If they buy direct from the manufacturers, the price would be lower of course. For the SIGs, the former MMC Defence is the public face but I am not too sure it is the local agent for the Swiss manufacturer. As the SIGs price is double (like the M4s) to those offered in the US, I am sure there is another Sdn Bhd company lurking in the shadows, as does for the FN which is represented publicly by DRB-Hicom subsidiary, Deftech.

    HK? There are a few agents, including the one in Lumut who foolishly let his license lapsed and force the police to confiscate all of the T&E guns including G36s,MP5s,UMPs and MG4s! Rumour has it that another HK agent tipped off the police on the arms cache to squeeze out the competitor.

    All is fair in love and war.

    To get the US Army prices for the M4, we have to purchase them under the FMS. The guns will marked US Army weapons of course, just like our M16A1s! So what if we dont have the Army crest on these guns, as long as it is cheap enough to buy three times the amount we are getting now!

  23. I have seen the US Army markings on both the Army and PDRM M16s so I believe some batches were not bought on commercial contracts.

  24. just admit our PM is not really serious to spend money for the army. agree? thanks to Tun Dr Mahathir we have Flanker. what is our sleeping PM do>? 🙂 (Marhalim: I guess you will not like my next post!)

  25. On what base did the government choose to procure M4s? Is there a rigorous selection process? And if there is, I think M4 would fall back behind HK416 and FN SCAR..yet they choose M4. We becoming more like US la, we test weapons and then still choose the worst.. is HK416 really that expensive?

  26. As far as we can tell there was no tender nor competition called for before the M4 was selected. The deal was suddenly announced in 2006 during that year’s DSA. The selection came fast and furious after the abrupt end to the Steyr and SME tumultuous relations.

    Would Kementah have chosen the M4 even after a tender or competitive testing? Since it was never done I cannot speculate on that but since the Steyr was chosen some 20 years ago although the soldiers involved in the testing process recommended the M16A2, I do not believe anyone could answer your question apart from the powers that be.

    The US test the M4 with the other weapons due to pressure from their legislative body, Since the M16-series was literally forced on them 50-odd years ago, I believe the US Army leadership this time around is flexing its muscle from replacing the good enough rifle!

    No the 416 are not that expensive. Around RM3000 for a full rifle, we can get it cheaper if we only buy the upper receivers.

    But one cannot dismiss the bloodsuckers all together…they need their Cayenne and their third wives…..

  27. Hallo brudder, RM300 per rifle mana ada? USD 1350 is the lost leader price that HK is giving. They then screw you on mags, sights and spares…… support….bwhahahahaha…..

  28. i’m not bad mouthing SCS (referring to core jacques comment) but they are not competitive in maintaining their services and also the things they use were just for display , cannot be used at the time when it is needed, and btw, some of the ppl in SCS is not that skillful in handling their own system ( i.e the P4 network ).

  29. AK47 is a great reliable weapon but it is terrible when it comes to accuracy. Most third world army used it because it is cheap, tough, have the stopping power and can teach someone how to use it in 4 hours. Hence, choice of weapon for child soldiers in many of these countries.

    M4 – nice weapon, fire it before but you have to keep it very clean. If you have been in operations, you would know how difficult it is to keep your weapon clean. You’ll get mud, water, dirt into your weapon and the last thing you want is for the weapon to jam. Dust testing will show if your weapon how reliable is the weapon.

    For your information, FN SCAR was awarded the USSOCOM contract recently

    In July 2007, the US Army announced a limited competition between the M4 carbine, FN SCAR, HK416, and the previously-shelved HK XM8. Ten examples of each of the four competitors were involved. Each weapon was fired for 6,000 rounds in an “extreme dust environment.” The purpose of the shootoff was for assessing future needs, not to select a replacement for the M4.
    The XM8 scored the best, with only 127 stoppages in 6,000 total rounds,
    the MK16 SCAR Light had 226 stoppages,
    while the HK416 had 233 stoppages.
    The M4 carbine scored “significantly worse” than the rest of the field with 882 stoppages. The results have been thrown into question due to the M4 scoring 307 jams in a previous dust chamber test conducted only a few months before with the same conditions and lubrication.

    From test results, XM8 still have problems when fire at full auto due to the some plastic components melting due to heat. Personally, I think the FN SCAR is a better weapon overall when it comes to operational use and maintenance cost.

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