Over the last couple years, the U.S. Army has been holding the Individual Carbine competition — a program designed to evaluate if the M4A1 rifle is still the best firearm for our soldiers over 50 years after its introduction, or if there is anything better out there. The project has been under fire from the start, and they canned the competition back in June of last year claiming that everyone failed to meet the specifications. According to new information acquired by the Washington Times, it sounds like that decision to cancel the project may have been for other reasons . . .
A competing rifle outperformed the Army’s favored M4A1 carbine in key firings during a competition last year before the service abruptly called off the tests and stuck with its gun, according to a new confidential report.
The report also says the Army changed the ammunition midstream to a round “tailored” for the M4A1 rifle. It quoted competing companies as saying the switch was unfair because they did not have enough time to fire the new ammo and redesign their rifles before the tests began.
Exactly how the eight challengers — and the M4 — performed in a shootout to replace the M4, a soldier’s most important personal defense, has been shrouded in secrecy.
But an “official use only report” by the Center for Naval Analyses shows that one of the eight unidentified weapons outperformed the M4 on reliability and on the number of rounds fired before the most common type of failures, or stoppages, occurred, according to data obtained by The Washington Times.
There’s little doubt that the Army is reluctant to switch to another platform. The sheer cost of transitioning the armed forces to a new firearm platform would be astronomical, not to mention the training requirements for both the individual soldiers and the armorers. But the more that comes out about how the competition is being run, the more it sounds like the Army set the bar so high that it was impossible for anyone to meet — and even then, one gun came close.
As for the manufacturer of the rifle that came closest to passing, there is no official word and no one is willing to talk about it. But I think I have a pretty good idea who it is.