The ‘Farnam Signature M4’ Rifle

By John Farnam

Farnam Signature M4 Rifle
Farnam Signature M4 Rifle
Defense Training International, Inc
Defense Training International, Inc

Ft Collins, CO –-( I’ve written long and often about the Stoner System and its variations. I first starting using one in Marine OCS at Quantico, VA in 1967.

It was the rifle with which I went to war!

Today, I own a number of modern copies, STS, BCM, LaRue, Doublestar, DLS, DSA, et al. I also own XCRs, PTRs, SIG 556s, M1As, Krebs Kalishnikovs, and DSA/FALs, FDRs, etc. All are fine, fighting rifles, and most are set-up to my personal specifications for patrol rifle employment and domestic personal defense.

My good friend, Keith Everett, of Moving Metal Inc, recently got hold of me and proposed that we start making the “Farnam Signature M4,” since I’ve been using the Stoner System for serious purposes for nearly fifty years, longer than most. I now have, and am traveling with, the first copy of the “FSM4!”

The FSM4 is not a “production gun,” and we surely don’t plan on going into competition with any major manufacturer, as they’re all my personal friends. The FSM4 is intended only for dedicated Operators who want a serious M4, pre-setup for serious purposes!

I like my M4s light, handy, short, slim, slick and fast! I like zero-magnification, compact optics (Aimpoint), forward-mounted and out of my face. I like my optic mounted on a quick-release base, so I can get rid of it fast when it breaks or frosts-over. The base needs to be the correct height for center, co-witnessing of iron sights. I like foldable, but center co-witnessed, iron-sights that I can deploy quickly when my optic goes dead. I like a small, but powerful, coaxial flashlight, also forward mounted. I like a Vickers or SLY two-point sling, with suspension-points on the left side (for right-handers). I like a vortex-style flash-hider, telescoping stock, and a trigger-guard that accommodates gloved fingers. I like unused portions of rail filled-in with rubber ladders, so they don’t cut my hand. Extractor spring needs a MGI “D-Ring.” Trigger needs to be crisp, breaking at five to six pounds, and with a snappy reset. Finally, I like the rifle NP3’ed on the inside and Roguarded on the outside (“Rogatti” Treatment). The bolt and bolt-carrier, in particular, need to be NP3’ed.

The FSM4 will come to its new owners set-up per the above, test-fired by me, and ready to be immediately put into serious service.

The FSM4 is tough, durable, reliable, reasonably accurate (but not so tight as to be “super-accurate”), and built for action. For serious duty, it has everything you need, and nothing you don’t!

In order to similarly set-up an M4, per the above, one would have to know, of course, whom to contact and what to order. The process would consume several months, the end-product would cost close to 3k, and still wouldn’t be near as good as the one we’re building. The FSM4 costs a good deal less than that, and comes to you ready to go!

Here is what I don’t like on serious rifles, and thus what you won’t find on the FSM4:

  • Ambidextrous/enlarged/extended manual safety lever, bolt-release. Critical controls facing to the outside as the rifle is carried is an invitation to disaster, and a serious rifle doesn’t need maladroit protrusions sticking out into space in any event!
  • Battery-assist” devices. The only “control” within the trigger-guard should be the trigger!
  • Rubber “accurizers.” These chunks of rubber are wedged between the lower and upper receivers in an effort to take “play” out of the system. In actual use, they negatively affect reliability and sometimes break apart, with pieces falling into the trigger sump and causing all manner of problems!
  • Fixed stock. Stock length needs to be instantly adjustable in order to accommodate different users, changes in clothing, etc. The stock also need to be able to be shortened for compactness during travel.
  • Flat-crown muzzle. Flash-hiders are necessary, not only to attenuate muzzle-flash, but to prevent the muzzle from opening-up like a banana when it becomes inadvertently plugged with mud, gravel, and other debris.

Add-ons of dubious utility and mounting. What few accessories that are really necessary need to anchored solidly to a rail. Anything glued, screwed, or pinned to your rifle will invariably come flying off during heavy use! And, “light” rifles are quickly rendered weighty, cumbersome, clumsy clunks, close to useless, with the addition of a host of awkward “accessories” of doubtful value. It’s a rifle, not a Leatherman Tool!

Bulky, close eye-relief, high-magnification optics. As noted above, I don’ t like glass in my face, and I’m not using this rifle to hunt prairie dogs! The FSM4 is a “people gun,” designed to quickly and effectively engage typical human threats, from point-blank to 200m.

State-mandated “hobbling devices.” Some states require thumb-hole stocks, “bullet-point” magazine-release buttons, and other “features“/devices specifically designed to get the user killed! I refuse to play that contemptible political game! Residents of states requiring such unsafe trash on rifles will have to look elsewhere!

In any event, you won’t find any of foregoing junk on my rifle!

Once again, what is the FSM4 for?

It is exclusively for serious personal defense in a typical domestic environment, and nothing else!


  • When you want a rifle liberally bedecked with bells, whistles, and blinking lights, with which to dazzle/impress your friends and admirers, this isn’t it!
  • When you want a rifle with which to hunt prairie dogs, this isn’t it!
  • When you want a rifle for plinking, target shooting, and other kinds of casual recreation, this isn’t it
  • When you want a rifle for “three-gun” competition, or any species of competition for that matter, this isn’t it!
  • When you want a rifle that spends its entire life in the box it came in, gathering dust, this isn’t it!


When you want a light, short, handy, but lethal travel-partner. When you want a low-profile “car-gun,” When you want a rifle that is well-suited to air-travel. When you want a rifle that is constantly close at hand and eminently ready and suitable to protecting you and your family, the FSM4 is the ticket!

Get hold of Keith Everett at Moving Metal at 970 581 1545 Web Page is, up and accessible in two weeks., 3208 County Rd. 54-W, Ste C, Laporte, CO 80535


John Farnam Signature M4 Rifle
John Farnam Signature M4 Rifle

About John Farnam & Defense Training International, Inc
As a defensive weapons and tactics instructor John Farnam will urge you, based on your own beliefs, to make up your mind in advance as to what you would do when faced with an imminent and unlawful lethal threat. You should, of course, also decide what preparations you should make in advance, if any. Defense Training International wants to make sure that their students fully understand the physical, legal, psychological, and societal consequences of their actions or inactions.

It is our duty to make you aware of certain unpleasant physical realities intrinsic to the Planet Earth. Mr Farnam is happy to be your counselor and advisor. Visit:

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I’m guessing you were sleepy when you posted that James, clearly that is a fully adjustable Magpul Moe or the like stock, which has its release lever inside the triangle opening unlike standard adjustable stocks. Great article btw.

James Holmes

Uh, hate to point this out. But the rifle pictured doesn’t have an adjustable stock. If it’s meant to illustrate the authors perfect rifle, it does not.