At great expense, the Army buys new and upgraded laptops every few years…why can’t it replace the M4 with newer and better designs?
According to a survey by the Center for Naval Analyses on 2,608 troops who had actually fired their M4s in combat, 19 percent of M4 users reported stoppages. 47 percent of the M4 users experienced failures of their magazines to feed. This means that under battlefield conditions, there’s almost a 1 in 5 chance that your M4 will malfunction, and a 1 in 2 chance that you’ll experience a failure to feed!
In July 2007, the U.S. Army announced a limited competition between the M4 carbine, FN SCAR, HK416, XCR, and the HK XM8. Ten examples of each of the four competitors were involved. Each weapon fired 6,000 rounds in an extreme dust environment. The XM8 scored the best, with only 127 stoppages in 60,000 total rounds, the FN SCAR Light had 226 stoppages, while the HK416 had 233 stoppages. The M4 carbine scored far worse than the rest of the field with 882 stoppages.
The controversies with the M4 continue, but the corporate fatcats at Colt seem to be experts at greasing the wheels in the Army procurement office. So our soldiers will continue to get better laptops, but not better rifles.