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The Future of US Army Small Arms
April 12th, 2010
I had the fortune to recently speak with COL Tamilio, PM Soldier Weapons about improvements to the current M4 carbine as well as a proposed new weapon dubbed the “Improved Carbine”. It seems that there has been some confusion over this, but there are two separate projects going on, almost simultaneously.
The Stoner family of weapons (M16/M4) have undergone numerous upgrades throughout their almost 50 year of service. The Carbine Improvement Program is focused on some of the most radical ever material improvements to the M4/M16. They consist of a piston gas system to replace the current direct-impingement gas system, improved trigger, monolithic rail, and a round counter to assist with maintenance of the weapon. According to COL Tamilio, they have already approved two Engineering Changes for the M4 which include a heavier barrel and ambidextrous controls. Additionally, they recently put out a call to industry asking what they can do to make these other changes to the current rifle. If successful, they will be spirally inserted into the Army’s weapons. Hopefully, such improvements won’t come in Black but rather a shade of Brown or Tan that blends in a little better with the Soldier’s equipment and surrounding terrain.