Marine brass endorses infantry plan to ditch M16 for M4:
Fayetteville, NC –-(Ammoland.com)- Marine leaders have made the momentous recommendation to ditch the iconic M16 in favor of the M4 carbine as the new universal weapon for infantrymen.
The recommendation to swap the venerated rifle that has served as the grunt's primary implement of war since Vietnam now sits on the commandant's desk, pending his final review and a decision. But, the swap appears imminent and if approved will relegate the M16 to a support role. It follows a similar shift already underway in the Army.
With the endorsement of several major commands already supporting the switch – including Marine Corps Combat Development Command; Combat Development and Integration; Plans, Policies and Operations; Marine Corps Systems Command; and Installations and Logistics – final word is possible in weeks or months.
“The proposal to replace the M16A4 with the M4 within infantry battalions is currently under consideration at Headquarters Marine Corps,” according to a jointly written response from the commands provided by Maj. Anton Semelroth, a Marine spokesman in Quantico, Virginia.
The change would be welcomed by infantrymen who say the M16A4 was too long and unwieldy for close-quarters battle in Iraq or vehicle-borne operations in Afghanistan. They tout the M4 for its weight savings, improved mobility and collapsible butt stock, allowing the rifle to be tailored for smaller Marines or those wearing body armor.
When asked if the Marine Corps is making the right move, preeminent firearms expert Larry Vickers gave a resounding yes. “I'm the first one to subscribe to this,” Vickers said of the M4's increasing popularity as the preferred option for modern combat. The M4's profile got a boost when the Army, which adopted the M4 in 1994 for special operations, began issuing it more broadly to deploying infantry.
Vickers, a retired master sergeant who served 15 years in the Army's 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment – Delta, commonly known as Delta Force, dismissed arguments against the carbine based on its shorter effective range, saying nearly all real-world infantry engagements happen inside 200 yards.
“Some argue beyond that the M4 carbine lacks effectiveness versus the M16, but the M16 is like driving a sports car with a six-cylinder engine,” he said, because it is limited by the same small 5.56mm cartridge as the M4. “You can shoot 400 to 500 yards away, but you are still shooting a 5.56.”
A longer barrel would make sense with a heavier hitting round like the .308, but unless Marines are given a larger caliber Vickers said the M4 is “bringing so much more to the table.”
“It is the world's gold standard,” he said.
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Vickers Tactical, Inc.
Larry Vickers is a retired career special operations soldier with 20-plus years of service to our country. A longtime 1st SFOD- Delta operational member, he was a key player in the small arms marksmanship expertise and weapons selection of that Unit. He brings a very unique set of skills to the market, and has a wide and varied background in the firearms industry.