M4, Nine Lives?

PETALING JAYA: It appears that the M4 is leading a charmed life. Despite reports of imminent demise, it seemed that the US Army had given its a new lease of life.

From Defense Industry Daily
On June 14/11, the US Army released a pre-solicitation notice for the procurement of approximately 70,000 to 100,000 M4 and M4A1 carbines in a best value competition (W56HZV-10-R-0593). This represents the first time that the procurement of the M4/M4A1 has not been limited to Colt Defense. How was this point reached, exactly what are the Army’s options, and how that may affect the Individual Carbine competition?

The article goes on about whether or not the competition may or may not make it in the end in the days of budget cuts.

Most of the write up is interesting but the thing that got me hooked was this:

At the same time, Colt’s prices for the M4 began to steadily increase. In December 1999, Colt was charging $521 per M4 carbine (DAAE20-98-C-0082-P00011). By December 2002, Colt’s price for an US Army-configuration M4 carbine was $912 (DAAE20-02-C-0115-P00004). However, the Army was able to gain certain concessions over the years. In July 2006, Colt agreed to lower its prices, and begin to provide basic issue items like the Back Up Iron Sight (BUIS) and M4 Adaptor Rail System (ARS), which had formerly been provided to Colt as Government Furnished Material (GFM) (W52H09-04-D-0086-P00025). Before this concession, the price of the M4 and M4A1 had grown to $1,012 and $1,029, respectively (W52H09-04-D-0086-0040). Afterwards, the price of a basic M4 dropped to $815, and with Colt-provided BUIS and ARS only $1,142 (W52H09-04-D-0086-0040). At the time of the final sole-source delivery order in December 2010, Colt’s price was just over $1,221 per fully-equipped carbine (W52H09-07-D-0425-BR02).

So if we go on the latest US Army M4 contract,a single M4 cost only around RM3,702.68! But one must account that the US Army contract runs into thousands of guns while ours in small batches. We also did not get any savings by ordering the guns on a commercial basis.

Yes, we got to pimp our crest on it but… oh well….

–Malaysian Defence

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  1. The M4 is a great carbine, it’s competitors ie HK416, Scar etc do not have enough advantages over the M4 that would justify the US Army to adopt them.

    The version of the M4 that the Malaysian army ordered (M4A1) is closer to the current version that the US Army is ordering. It has a heavy barrel to avoid problems with overheating. The only difference between the two versions is the US has 3 shot select fire while we have full auto.

    The price that we are paying is pretty good. The US version have BUIS and a free float rail. Ours I believe come with standard handguards and a removable carry handle. The US army ordered in far greater amounts which resulted in a lower price per rifle.

  2. The US M16 family of which the M4 is but one of the sons and daughters has a reputation of not being so tough with its plastic furniture-i.e the stock and the hand guard. The plastic used to chip easily and we had to pay stoppages for such damages too.Come to think of it,if the item is not soldier proof then it is not tough enough.Compare this with the HK series of guns.I have not had to pay for any stoppages for either the HK33 not the HK MP5 series of guns.
    On top of that The M16 is more sensitive to mud, sand and dirt as compared to the good old SLR and the HK we need to religiously clean it like all other guns too. Only advantage it has is its weight but when shooting in full auto, none of the bullets save the first bullet will hit the target while the rest of the 29 will fly off to oblivion due to a tendency for the barrel to rise due to the kick of the bullets.The 3 shot burst is more reasonable with maybe all 3 being able to hit the target or at least two round will hit.Full auto is thus good in theory but completely useless in real life.Aa real waste of goos bullets too

    Even Colt officials says the 3-round burst feature as “an anomaly”. Note that the Malaysian Army M4s are the rock and roll version or M4A1.

  3. Have any of our M-4s been seen with a M20A3?
    For some reason we never fitted the M20A3 to the Steyr, and the M16A1 was retained for this purpose.

    Nope, I have not seen it, maybe others here has….

  4. That said, i am more interested whether the MAF will equip the M4A1 of the infantry with any type of optical sight equipment i.e. holographic, red dot or etc….

  5. M4 is one thing, but how are the infantry otherwise equipped? There is a lot more that goes into fielding good infantry than rifles. Hazwan alluded to this with his interest in optics. Add to that body armor, communications equipment and so on. Not to mention proper training and TTPs (Tactics, Techniques and Procedures). You can give a bad soldier the best rifle and he’ll still be a bad soldier, but you can give the best soldier the worst rifle and he’ll still be the best soldier. All of that said, I would much rather see the army stick with FN Herstal for all of its infantry weapons; from the FN MAG and FN Minimi to the SCAR. Take note that US SOCOM uses the SCAR. Lastly, I find it pointless for Malaysia to get into local manufacturing of small arms. It would be better to buy direct from the manufacturer.

    Forget about the argument which platform is better for a moment. Since the Army feels the M4, it must find a way to get it as cheaply possible and this case to tag along the procurement contract of the US Army. The extra money saved could be used for the other things from optics to body armour. If we want to manufacture it locally, for war reserve we sign a separate deal or just do like what the Norinco did, reverse engineered the bloody thing.

  6. Hopefully this time our M4 colt will not end up like steyr programme .since our neighbor is very proud
    with their SS Pindad version & SAR version..

  7. I am not concerned with which rifle is better. Like I said “You can give a bad soldier the best rifle and he’ll still be a bad soldier, but you can give the best soldier the worst rifle and he’ll still be the best soldier.” I completely agree with your suggestion to ‘tag along the procurement contract of the US Army’ and invest the savings in ‘other things from optics to body armour’. My suggestion of sole-sourcing small arms from FN Herstal, is that, just a suggestion.

    If you really wanted to get into the merits of specific infantry rifles, I’d throw a monkey wrench in the whole works and suggest going back to the 7.62x51mm NATO cartridge as the basis for the standard infantry rifle. Sure the rifle and ammo are heavier to carry, but when you shoot someone with it, they stay down.

    A Russian made AK-47 will also do nicely

  8. The whole purpose of the exercise is to ensure that SME has work to do, after the Steyr fiasco/cockup. SME needs the work as there is only so much grenades, small arms ammo, 84mm ammo, 81mm ammo, etc, that it can license assemble for our needs. And so the Defence Minister can convince himself and try to convince us, that we can actually export it. Why anyone would buy it, even if we get a U.S. export approval, remains to be explained by the Defence Minister.

  9. Why Malaysia haven’t adopted the AK series as a standard equipment confounds me. It’s battle proven on every continent except for Antarctica. We’re still incline to mass produce stupidity on the national scale.

    Its simple really when the AK was first produced it was meant for Soviet client states only. Even after Merdeka, our soldiers adopted western firearms as they are inclined to defer to things that they are familiar with.

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