Previous Post
Next Post


“”The government is seeking to procure M4A1-Plus (abbreviated as M4A1+) components as non-development items,” reports, “for improvements to the M4A1 Carbine.” This according to a March 13 document posted on which states that “It is anticipated that the M4A1+ components will be evaluated as a system. The system must then install on/interface with stock M4A1 Carbines.” Note: this is not the Army’s standard-issue rifle soldiers are looking for . . .

The M4A1 is the special operations version of the M4 that’s been in use for more than a decade. It features a heavier barrel and a full-auto trigger. The Army’s decision to dump the current three-round burst trigger resulted in a more consistent trigger pull and better accuracy, weapons officials said . . .

All M4A1+ components will need to be compatible with current M4A1 ancillary equipment such as optics, aiming/pointing devices, training devices, slings and rail covers.

One of the upgrades is an improved extended forward rail that will “provide for a hand guard allowing for a free-floated barrel” for improved accuracy, according to the document.

The improved rail will also have to include a low-profile gas block that could spell the end of the M16/M4 design’s traditional gas block and triangular fixed front sight.

The effort also calls for new, removable front and rear back-up iron sights that attach to the rails and “stow down/away to reduce interference with the mounted primary sights and flip up to enable soldiers to engage targets out to 300 meters,” according to the document . . .

The M4A1+ would also feature a more effective flash suppressor/muzzle brake brake “designed to reduce the day and night firing signature and night vision device blooming effect of the weapon to be less than the current carbine without loss in system performance,” according to the document.

An improved charging handle would provide shooters with an enhanced grasping surface area with an “extended latch capability for improved hand/finger-grasping access and enhanced operating leverage/operation for both left- and right-handed shooters.” the document states.

The M4A1+ would also include an enhanced, single-stage trigger module “free of creep with consistent trigger pull weight within the range of 4.0 to 5.0 pounds,” according to the document . . .

The sight apertures should provide for both near threat to 200 meters to longer, 300-meter engagements and allow for windage and elevation adjustments out to 600 meters without degrading threshold capabilities.

Wasn’t Threshold Capabilities a nightclub singer in the ’40’s? Anyway, sounds like a reasonable spec. Oh and the Army wants a new color scheme too: “The color range will be Coyote 498 not lighter than Light Coyote 481.” So don’t expect a pink civilian version anytime soon. Or at all. Ever. [h/t JM]

Previous Post
Next Post


    • That’s what I thought as well. And then right after that thought it occurred to me that now that the military will be using all this gear developed in the civilian market, its just a matter of time before some anti claims we shouldn’t have access to it because its military gear.

    • Yea and about time they changed the color of the m4 also. I’m sure that will make them much more effective.

  1. about gosh damn time! that’ll make a big difference. make the rifle more user friendly as well in a combat situation.

  2. So they want something like a BCM ambi charging handle, a free float rail, Troy flip ups, and Geissele triggers, some high-end muzzle device capable of suppressor attachment (choose your favorite here), and a low pro gas block? Seems they should just buy new factory guns at cost. Be about the same price.

  3. Maybe I have low reading comprehension, but are they just saying they are making these mods to the full auto version that SOCOM or whoever is using, or are they saying that they decided they like the full auto version so much that they are pushing it out Army wide and are dropping the 3 round burst version?

    And yes, once again we prove that an AR-15 is NOT a semi auto version of a military rifle, the M4 is a selective fire version of a civilian rifle.

    • The M4A1 is full auto. The M4 had the burst. The Army has been going away from the M4 for a while now. Beem trying to go to the M4A1 due to a large amount of enhancements over the M4 it has.

    • Right?

      Are you suggesting that weapons dont evolve over their lifetimes?

      Nobody is making the same condescending remarks about AKs, despite the myriad of improvements made to them. Or G36s or AUGs or anything else. Rails and improved components are the next evolutionary step.

      Considering the M16 and M4 are second only to the AK, I would say that speaks for itself.

      Stagnation is defeat’s ugly cousin.

    • It’s fair to ask how much a free float handguard buys you when you are shooting M855A1 out of a 14.5″ barrel but I guess there is never a situation where someone ever wishes for a less accurate rifle.

      • Is free floating actually free in all respects, though? I thought that non-free-floated arrangement is more sturdy, for one thing.

      • Guys using the M4A1+ will likely not be using M855. More likely M855A1 or the new 62 grain SOST.

        • No Army infantry only use M-855A1 in the field older M-855 is still in use in training and yearly quals.

        • @ Lance Maybe for field training, to get rid of old stock, but I doubt they would use a different bullet for zero and qual then they would for actual operations. Despite the Army’s initial statement, both M855 and M855a1 are different enough that a Soldier will need to readjust their zero.

          • True but im thinking more of state side uses M-855 and troops over seas use M-855A1 where you need to rezero your rifle when you get to deployment spot.

    • Its one of many advantages of free float barrels.

      The others are increased barrel life, superior cooling, easier cleaning, and less expensive in the long run.

  4. I think new triggers and even stocks may be good But a FF barrel assembly and doing away with the front sight base is a horrible idea. W/O the front sight base you have no iron sights and flip up iron sights are horrible for long range accuracy, yes there are time when optics fail. You cannot fix a bayonet or Grenade launcher to a FF barrel assembly and or none front sight style gas block. There a reason the military went against this in the past. Think the tacti cooler Bush and Obama appointed are going to far.

    This is all if the DoD, Congress and the military’s budget allows this change.

    • Seriously? Grenade Launchers can be attached to rails. Flip up sights are much better in quality and durability than the stock sites. And a bayonet? This shows how much you are in touch with combat if you have ever been in it at all. There is a reason why Socom free floats there guns. Big army is finally catching up.

      • Thanks chairborne. And fighters don’t need guns just missles, Don’t need HUMINT that’s old fashioned all need are recon satellites drones. No tanks just “Strykers”.;

        • Really who do you know still carries a bayonet with them? Cause what scenario do you envision that has that happening these days where you need a bayonet?

        • seans, I’ve heard from some guys who served in Iraq that bayonet was useful on guard duty and on checkpoints when there is civilian unrest, because it is more intimidating (surprisingly) than the gun itself, and because the crowd is more likely to believe that a bayo would be used them if they start trouble, as opposed to being shot (ROE and all).

      • “Basically, it was short, sharp and furious. Al Amara was the place to be if you were an infantry soldier.”

        So says Sgt Brian Wood, of A Company, 1st Battalion the Princess of Wales’ Royal Regiment, remembering the battle that won him the Military Cross.

        It was the first time since the Falklands War that British soldiers had fixed bayonets before going into combat, in what became known as the “Battle of Danny Boy,” named after the vehicle checkpoint nearby, some 15 miles south of the city of Al Amara.

        • Where in that did that even suggest they used their bayonets?
          And the second link is absolutely atrocious. Throwing knives? Seriously.

        • With a quick google, I found low profile gas blocks with bayonet lugs from a couple different suppliers. The usefulness of a low pro gas block isn’t effected by your opinion of bayonets,

    • Two words for you: picatinny rail. You can mount a kitchen sink to the thing if you really want.

      • Very dangerous to think rails solve anything. You cannot mount a M-203 to a rail and as for bayonets well look at Wanut and see that you can have bad guys close and your low on ammo. I know you tacti coolers like S and Seans think there AR style race gun is all what you need in combat. But sometimes you need more.

        • You can definitely mount a 203 to a rail. They have had the capability for a while now. Which doesn’t really matter cause the Army has been moving to the HK grenade launcher for a while now. You might want to keep up with the times.

        • Well if you actually served in a infantry or cavalry unit, you would know that NATO rails are the new standard. You need a weaponlight and laser designator on your carbine. How are those things attached? oh right…

          The 1980s wants its argument back.

          Dont mistake your “experience” in the 1980s as a dock guard with experience that has been paid for with hard lessons over the past decade. You dont even want to go there.

          • No nothing I said is wrong im just pointing out that rails are not everything and the fact you cannot use one of the most popular GL on such a weapon or a bayonet shows how bad this idea is. Tacti coolers like are proof that internet bullies like you are making gun owners look bad.

        • Bully? you haven’t seen anything yet. Fortunately for you, I have no interest in anything other than correcting your incorrect information.

          Yeah i know that rails “aren’t everything”, but they are essential for new equipment required for guys on the ground. Chiefly, weapon lights and IR-lasers.

          And you CAN use the M203 with rails. Newer improvements allow this because countries are migrating towards rails (because they recognize that you need to attach things). But if you knew what you were talking about, you would know this already

          “Tacti coolers like are proof that internet bullies like you are making gun owners look bad”

          You better at ease yourself.

          “tacticool” to you must mean anybody with real world experience in things other than CONUS duty stations

          • Sorry LC your wrong any military 203 model you cant mount on rails. No you using bad language and insults makes you the immature one here. Sorry You don’t need tons of crap on your weapon to be a skilled solder but you don’t know that your a arm chair solder.


          Still convinced that no M203 military model can be mounted on rails?

          Tell me how that crow tastes too.

          And dont pull the strawman crap with me. Nowhere did I claim that attachments make a skilled soldier. my argument is that with NVGs, which are force multipliers btw (just ask any enemy we have fought since the Vietnam war), IR-lasers and weapon lights are the new standard in infantry gear. And not just in the US Army either (try pretty much every ISAF contributor).

          Yeah armchair soldier. My EIB and CIB would disagree with you *hahaha*

          • Sorry none of your web sight except Daniel Defense checks out at all. The DD 203 version is not in use by the military and so your wrong anyway. I already sent you y links earlier.

            Your personal attacks prove your no solder your undisciplined and a loud mouth.

        • None of it “checks out”? jesus tap dancing christ lance, THOSE WERE NATIONAL STOCK NUMBERS ON THOSE PRODUCTS. YOU KNOW WHAT THAT MEANS?

          Do you know what the M203A1 and A2 are? And the improvements to existing 203s for other countries to mount their grenade launchers on rails?

          That is a staggering amount of ignorance.

          Jesus christ, between Lance’s special brand of stupid on here and this entire website’s ridiculous amount of ads and page’s entire layout that requires 1 terabyte a second internet speed otherwise it runs unstable and as slow as a snail, I might be wondering if the slowest swimmers have prevailed after all.

    • >> W/O the front sight base you have no iron sights and flip up iron sights are horrible for long range accuracy

      Flip-up irons are “good enough” to engage human sized targets out to 200 yards or so – more than enough for a backup iron sights. 99% of the time, they’ll be using red dot or optics anyway, and the platform should be optimized for that.

      >> You cannot fix a bayonet or Grenade launcher to a FF barrel assembly

      Army hasn’t been issuing bayonets for years, and grenade launchers mount just fine to rails.

      >> and or none front sight style gas block

      You can, actually. YHM has a bunch of front sight blocks with flip-up sights or rails which also have the bayonet lug (and sling swivel), e.g.:

      • No M-203s mount to the barrel. M-320 can be mounted onto rails but I can it the recoil and wear on FF rails would be high. As for bayonets M-9s have been Army issue for years there are no rail bayo lugs and mounting one would but a Bayonet on a odd angle so losing the font sight bas would have more problems then it solved.

        S your personal attacks shows your side has little to argue for, so resort to attacking me I think your weak sauce in this tactic.

        • Personal attacks? Lance is so Lance.

          Anyway, Army has stopped drilling the soldiers on how to use bayos like 5 years ago.

          • No your showing how drained you armchair tacti coolers are. Its sad if the infantry dropped all close quarter fighting skills bet the Chinese now learn to get close to US solders easier to kill them then. @ S yes constant recoil on a rail may bend them or tweak one out of speck. A M-203 doesn’t attach to a rail it attaches to barrel. M-320 can but only the Army uses them all other service stay with M-203, so maintenance for the Army will be harder and more costly. handguards are easier to replace and allow a quicker down time for a armorer FF rails wont.

            Im saying attacking me is proof you being a cyber bully and making the opposite side of the discussion look weak and stuck up.

        • Lance how bout you follow the link and you will see a M203 mounted directly to the rails. That just starts disproving your whole train of logic.

          • I think your mistaking either a M-203 look alike weapon that’s a flare gun. or a after market kit for a 203. None are used by the US Military.

        • So you are trying to suggest that Larry Vickers doesn’t know what a 203 is? Are that Socom bought a lot of flare launchers that attach directly to the rail?

          • He is no longer in service and supports other shooting and military companies. He may show off a Flair gun or even GL buts not in military se. USGI M-203s mount to the Barrel.

        • Seriously, so its just your word, a person who was contractor for the Coast Guard, vs a former Cag guy. Who should I trust.

          • Who do I trust some one who just claims to be GI Jo here or what the USMC Army and USAF fact sheets say.

        • On the Daniel defense ris ii rail, the bottom part of the freefloat rail detaches to expose the barrel for mounting the 203. The launcher does not mount to the rail.

        • GW, the launcher does not attach to the barrel, the 203 has a adapter that fits into where the bottom rail goes. Still free floating.

          And Lance do you realize this is a Socom adoption. Its not going to fall under the PEO website. Thats why you aren’t seeing this. And can you stop using sites that are for the general public, that is one of the reasons your info is so bad.

          • Excuse after excuse S. Just admit a M-203 wont go well with a pure FF rail system carbine. I show you Army Marines WIki and every thing you want to still fight. Your wasting time my friend! As for GW I agree a FF rail system that get taken apart like a hand guard is nice. Then you don’t have to get ride of the front sight base than though. Seem the Army may spend year looking at all this stuff and it’ll be outdated the minute they tget to talking about it or buy it (just like our computers).

        • Wait so now you are saying that they just won’t go well with a FF Rail? Before you said they couldn’t. Well at least that is a improvement.

          And using Wikis isn’t the best source for info.

          • Im not using Army fact file. Im saying they adopted a FF rail that doesn’t need to get ride of the original front sight base and that can break down just like hand guards that’s fine but there none on the market and the Army is too stupid to make the industry make one. It wont work, you need quick access to you barrel to attach or detach a GL. Cant do it with most FF rails.

    • What is your experience with the M320 lance???

      Because you can certainly mount it under a rifle with a free float rail. As long as it is a NATO rail generally. and M320s are beginning to be employed stand alone now anyways.

      Then there are the modifications for the M203 that make this possible too.

      A non issue. Compared to the benefits you gain from free float barrels.

    • Because tacti cooler who run PEO solder are brainless bums who keep think all wars will be like Iraq even know threats from Russia and China show that may not be the case.

      You question nailed this whole debacle.

    • They’re not.

      They’re making changes from concepts first envisioned during the turn of the 21st century. If we can economically make M4s more accurate, improve parts life, and generally make them better guns for the same low price, then why not?

      Some of you enjoy looking a gift horse in the mouth.

  5. I do wonder whether an infantry rifle really needs a free floated barrel. I mean, USMC seems to have no trouble engaging targets out to 400 yards with M16A2, and Swiss marskmen do even better SIG 550, neither of which have free floated barrels (though Swiss standard issue ammo is practically match grade).

    • Free floating it will eke out a little more acuracy. Get as much as you can, every little bit helps.

        • Disagree. They deserve the best tools available. There is a new pistol search underway. Why not try to improve the primary weapon?

          • I agree we need good weapons but a FF rail system wont make it the best weapon. the accuracy in killing a enemy solder doesn’t need sub MOA accuracy and ranges past 300 yards sorry 5.56mm wont cut it past those ranges. So a FF rail system offers nothing past target shooting over the current system for a carbine. Its waste to do this to carbines. Why not adopt and improve on the USMC M-16A4 if the Army wants a better longer range infantry weapon. We have the best its a waste to go for things a solder doesn’t need.

            As for MHS. Waste unless we goto a new pistol caliber it wont makes sense to goto a new pistol. If we stay with 9mm NATO than the M-9 does the job fine and as good as any dumb plastic pistol can. I’m a Glock fan myself.

        • Disagree. They need and deserve the best tools available. There is a new pistol search underway. Why not try to improve the primary weapon?

        • seriously stop, lance.

          You have no idea what the fvck you are talking about.

          Free float tubes are not any more maintenance intensive than RIS rails or the old style handguards. Not even close.

          You get enhanced accuracy, longer barrel life, easier cleaning, and a stronger rail for a cost that can be kept reasonable for due to mass production. There is no reason to not have free float barrels in this day in age.

        • “Why not adopt and improve on the USMC M-16A4 if the Army wants a better longer range infantry weapon. ”

          Because with modern ammunition in service, the ballistic advantages that the M16 had are a moot point. And by adopting them, you get a longer weapon, fixed butt stock (which makes no sense), and are introducing new issues that you dont need to re-introduce.

          If you get a far more accurate carbine with better handling and shorter length, then why not? there are minimal differences between 14″ and 20″ rifles when it comes to the average infantryman.

  6. I have the civilian M4A1 from Colt (SOCOM II). It came with a free floated barrel and Daniel Defense quad rail. That comes off the manufacturing line that the mil versions come off of, it’s the same mil spec with a semi auto only trigger.

    So the army already has some of these in use, but probably in just limited numbers.

  7. Most of the Army has switched to the FA M4A1, as well as to the M320. This stuff would be nice, but I’m guessing I’ll have to wait the same 10 years it took to get the A1s.

    • Given that Obama and congress are at WW3 and the fact Army keeps making more programs than it can pay for. I d bet your right or they drop this idea. Remember this isn’t a RFP its just a look at the gun industry can offer. It does this all the time so don’t jump to conclusions that the M-4A1 is gone and a A2ish weapon will be in Army service by this December.

  8. They should be looking into gas piston operation if they are lowering the standards for acceptable maximum effective range.

  9. But why won’t the military buy and build the Rapid magazine Loader from Gray tactical? US Patent 8453366.

    It loads the ammo off the stripper clip into the mag with no injury to the solider and no loss of rounds or stripper clips.

    ARDEC has approved it.

    Research it people.

  10. It’s amazing all the attitude here. The fact is, no person is 100% incorrect or 100% correct. We’re all sharing information. Unless you work in all procurement departments in every sector of the U.S. military, you won’t know everything that’s going on.

    While the U.S. Army sets much of the standard, other branches and individual units might go off the reservation, purchasing something non-standard. Hence, the confusion we see. Also, one person’s experience in a combat theater won’t necessarily match that of another. Just because you did something in one area, that doesn’t mean others did the same. In addition, what worked for you during one set of conditions won’t prepare you for all others.

    Next note. The U.S. Army not teaching bayonet training for the past several years is a serious training oversight. Sure, they think it may be irrelevant and a waste of time, while more important things should be taught, during the limited training time. History, time and time again, demonstrates that you need a ‘visible deterrent’ while performing certain duties. Urban operations with civilian policing, in particular. If you remove the ability to mount a bayonet, no longer issue the bayonet and further don’t even train how to use the bayonet, you’ve removed a critical infantryman capability. Bayonets, while seeming archaic most of the time, are part of the well-rounded infantryman’s skills. I guess they may as well get rid of swim qualifications, if they plan to send you to the desert.

    For free float hand guards, is the focus is on improving shooting accuracy? Do they limit in function the rifle as a total weapon system? This brings to mind close combat. Though longer and less maneuverable in tight spaces, would the more ideal weapon system (for U.S. forces) be the M16-A2 or -A4? It has a fixed butt stock and with the bayonet, makes a better bayonet and butt stroking system. You see, a rifle is for more than just shooting. When dealing with crowds, you’re not always going to be pulling the trigger. You have to be able to deal with people without firing a single shot. Just thinking out loud here. Don’t hang me. Yes, we’ve evolved from lengthy rifles to more compact ones. I’m exploring ideas.

    Mounting of grenade launchers? I think we need to look at data on the entire weapon as a system. Each part and add-on affects the others. Just as the direct impingement and gas system encompasses everything from the gas block, the BCG and all the way back to the buffer spring, we have to look at how and why the M203 was mounted to the barrel. For those arguing a rail is sufficient, regardless of what options are available to consumers (both civilian and military), do we have long term data showing viability, accuracy and stress effects from FF rail use? This question is particular to the M203 and not the M320.

    Let’s keep a cool head here people. We’re on the same side.

Comments are closed.