FN America Columbia, SC AR M4
FN's Columbia, South Carolina manufacturing facility (Nick Leghorn for TTAG)

The military may be interested in other calibers, but the US Army has just awarded FN America a big contract to crank out thousands of M4’s chambered in good ol’ 5.56 over the next five years.

As the Defense Department has announced:

FN America LLC, Columbia, South Carolina, was awarded a $119,216,309 firm-fixed-price contract for M4/M4A1 carbine. Bids were solicited via the internet with six received. Work locations and funding will be determined with each order, with an estimated completion date of Jan. 30, 2025. U.S. Army Contracting Command, New Jersey, is the contracting activity (W15QKN-20-D-0006).

All those rifles will be produced in FN’s South Carolina manufacturing facility which should be humming for the foreseeable future.

 

68 COMMENTS

      • Basically what Dude said. I told you I would buy a new gun in Feb to make up for only buying one in Jan. I just looked at a Colt revolver. It’s on my short list. I’ll decide by next weekend.

        A Cobra .357. That or an L frame .357. Both have 3 inch barrels.

        • FN is awesome and since Colt snubbed Americans for their ARs and then didnt get the contract with the Government and i think thats funny!There are way to many way better maid ARs out there to worry about colt anymore and they can go fly a kite!LOL even if they come out with a new Citizens model they can suck wind now! LOL

      • His point is “Good for FN”. They deserve it.

        Colt is a crap company with garbage management. As a 45 year central CT resident I’ve known several people who have worked for Colt everywhere from finance to production to the custom shop.

        None of them have anything good to say about upper management.

        Even their “new” guns are nothing more than a remake of past hits.

        Contrasting Colt with another CT native, Sturm Ruger shows how pathetic Colt is.

        zero innovation vs constant innovation
        treat employees poorly vs treat employees well. (SR has until very recently never laid off an employee.)

        loaded with debt vs never had a dime of debt.

        • Manipulating the gun politics of the second largest gun market (California) to make your products legal (Ruger) and specifically ban your competitor’s products (Colt) will have that effect. Ruger and Colt both suck for very different reasons….. and H&K hates you.

    • Colt still has other contracts to fulfill, $40 million contract to allied armies last fall alone. FN has been making the M4 and M249 for a while.

    • @ jwm

      Colt’s Manufacturing hasn’t won a Prime Contractors contract for an M4 replacement since 2007. The best that Colt’s Mfg. has even come since 2007, is by passing the First Phase of an Mil-Std 810G, which comprises of 3 Tests Phases of 24 categories each. With the Minimal passing grade of each category being 51%…

  1. So what happened to all the M4s they already have. Do they not have armorers that can rebuild wornout weapons? The size of the military is pretty much fixed,so it seems like you would only need limited amounts of new small arms, especially when they aren’t a different caliber or some other new innovation. Just thinking out loud here. Maybe someone can explain it to me.

    • I agree with your assessment.
      Why bother when in a few years the Army will select the Next Gen of rifles in a new caliber?
      Are the current ones that worn out? Is it cheaper to replace with all new rifles then to re-barrel the old ones?
      What are they doing with the old ones? Overseas sales?

      • The chances the military full on replaces the M4 soon are next to nothing. I’d wager the results from these 6 mm trials will be the same as the results from the previous trials. A lot of wasted money.

        • Very….. the military considers the entire weapon system as a single unit that has its own support/logistics pipeline. It’s a paperwork nightmare that would involve hundreds of thousands of people adjusting thousands of T/E databases across the total force structure around the world. Its easier, cheaper, and faster to take all the “old” rifles throw them in a container, ship them of for scrapping, write them completely out of a data base, and buy new stuff with its own support/logistics pipeline.
          The problem is:
          1) what will replace it? (TBD by a committee of “experts” 6000 miles away)
          2) training troops to use the rifle and have confidence in it.
          3) ironing out or covering up the inevitable problems that arise with any new weapon system…. *cough* F35 *cough* (because the “experts”, politicians, politi-soldiers, arms manufacturers all have reputations to maintain)
          ….. M4A1 doesn’t look so bad anymore. The devil you know vs the devil you don’t.

          Even rolling out something simple like 855a1 has been and still is a nightmare for the military. Simply replace the upper? Good luck!

      • I’d bet my next couple paychecks that that fancy magnum 6.8mm round will go nowhere and 5.56 will remain in service for at least a few decades…

        And Epstein didn’t kill himself.

        • If you are willing to make the bet that the 5.56NATO will be the primary US Army infantry caliber for the next couple of decades, I will happily take that bet, and your money.

      • hahaha this guy thinks the army is going to change anything… how many decades did it take them to change the pistol, which is the least used weapon on a battlefield?

    • There is usually a lot of wear and tear placed on service rifles, they are not safe queens like most civilian AR Rifles. These are drug through the mud, tossed around in backs of Humvees, stepped on and dropped. Thousands of rounds are fired through them, and millions of reload drills preformed. I personally seen a transport guy in Iraq leave his on the tire of his LMTV, the driver had to move it and his M4 was crushed.

      They do rebuild a lot of them as they go on, my personal M4 received a brand new upper when I was on my 2nd tour in Iraq. However as lowers start to lose finish, get old, fall out of tolerance they get pulled and destroyed, moved to training units, or dumped on our allies for rock bottom pricing.

      • FOAD. The Army/USMC are not going to be confiscating any weapons. Your local popo/deputy/and of FED popo perhaps.

        You check into a “hospital” for treatment for the chicom flu which CDC has allowed you’re unlikely to be allowed to carry.

        • If you take all the cops and uniformed military people in this country it would come out to fewer than 3.5 million. How many of them are trigger pullers? Fewer than a million… How many of them will turn on the .gov? The majority of them. So what does that leave the .gov with? 200,000 – 300,000. Out numbered and outgun 1,000 to 1, with shaky supply bases and lines, vulnerable families and rear areas, and a widely regected political standing. When you have states Like NY, CA, and VA showing a +95% non-compliance rate with new gun laws and the cops/military (mostly) on-board with that non-compliance, I think we’ll be okay.

    • Government bureaucracy. If you don’t spend what’s in your budget then your budget gets cut next year.
      There are no awards for anyone in government to save money. Only punishments for not spending all you can.

      • Sadly very much the case. We do what we can to make the spending more intelligent where we can (read where we are allowed to or able to sneak by) but by budgetary year end (federal October and NY April) it’s typically use or lose.

    • New M4’s for the higher pressure M855A1 makes sense.

      From what I’ve seen the new M855A1 is an EXCELLENT PERFORMER but causes the old Milspec M4 receivers and bolts to fail prematurely due to the consistent higher chamber pressures of the new load.

      The 5.56 is an EXCELLENT cartridge. It is the M855 that is the problem. I prefer the old M193 for home defense and out to 250 yds or so. ALL of my carbines shoot it just fine and the bad guys don’t get up and move around afterwards.

      • M193 screaming out of a 20″ barrel at 3200fps is nasty. I use M193 as an HD round (16″ barrel) also as it is fantastic against bad people. I think it’s around 3000fps out of a 16″ barrel.

        • Usually hear the heavier grain options M262 and similar work better for the shorter barrels but honestly 193 within self defense distance is nothing to tangle with.

      • The non-jacketted hardened steel tip, which is designed to go through steel armor, on the M855a1 destroys the weapon feed ramps…. Especially on weapons with a fast cycle of operation i.e. M4’s.

    • I don’t care what anyone says, the military is not going to replace the AR system or 5.56 for probably another 70 years or possibly even 100 years. Mark my words, the military will be using this platform until guns are replaced by either energy weapons, or if super advanced body armor like power armor, necessitates explosive ammunition.

      And it makes perfect sense. Why overhaul the entire inventory for another gun that essentially does the same thing? There’s no reason to replace anything right now. Other then Russia, Our current and most of our future opponents don’t even have an interest in body armor. China refuses to issue any body armor to the PLA as it apparently “lowers morale”, their words.

      • Body armed is BS. Only a political moron would saddle a grunt with the crap. As in DC politicians. Same as the POS MRAPs, politicians.

        • Body armor saves lives, but costs money. That’s why we use it. China has plenty of lives…. why spend money?

        • I’ve been hit in my armor. Pretty damn glad to have it.
          Anyone who’s ever actually been in combat was pretty damn glad to have it.

  2. If Colt can even get a gubbermint contract for the M4.
    Id say they will be gone in a year.
    Nothing they currently have will pull their butts out of the fire.
    Not even any new versions of their Snake guns

    • Colt got a $40million contract in the fall of 2019. Just because they stopped selling overpriced M4orgerys to the public doesn’t mean they are not busy.

      • The prancing horse logo is not what it was in the 1980s and 90s. This is same Colt that refused to grant production licenses even to allied countries in the same period with Colt saying they could buy them from Colt.

        So the countries went with vendors who would grant production licenses.

  3. The contract was for 167,000 rifles over 5 years. That averages about 33,000 rifles per year. The Army probably has greater than 400,000 rifles in inventory. Normal loss mechanisms, would probably result in a 10% loss per year (standard for soldier equipment). The NGSW contract IF awarded through production is supposed to produce about 127,000 rifles through 2025. A recent Army Times article indicates that only 1 in 4 soldiers would have the new rifle by 2025.

    • Guessing you are only looking at active duty? Good assumption as the reserves and guard tended to get new gear on deployment mobilization.

      • Son is in an early deploying cbt eng co Just traded in old M4 and M16 for new M4 a couple weeks ago.

        In the last year started retraining for “real”/big war as we did in the 80s/90s. Chicoms, who now have bigger problems that their expansionist BS.

        • China’s bigger problems are what have me concerned as to what they will do to retain power. Good on your son and we will pray for him.

  4. Not all units are equipped with M4s. Some are still running around with M16A2s. This might be a push the equip those units with a newer M4. Or to equip infantry units with new M4s and send the old ones to the units that have A2s.

    • Most of the units I knew finished phasing out the m16a2/4 around 2014 but I am sure there are still a few hiding in random armories especially with smaller units.

        • I believe it it was looking like it was heading in that direction when I got out. Wonder if they ever got the new preheaespaced M2 barrels to function acceptably.

  5. Contract total is $119,216,309. The original solicitation was for 167,195 guns. That’s $713.04 per gun.

    Not bad for a selective fire gun that we mere Citizens cannot hope to own. Because, you know, 90 years ago somebody held up a bank or something.

    • I was wondering what the cost per rifle would be. At $714 each, that sounds like a pretty reasonable price if it is a well-made rifle.

      Before you provided the price per rifle, I figured it was going to be something ridiculous along the lines of $1,800 per rifle — which would obviously just be legal payola to some Senator’s good friend or big donor who gets a “commission” for securing the contract with FN.

      • Alot of time when the price per firearm is very high or higher than the civilian equivalent, it includes alot of extras like parts, support, accessories, or ammo included in the contract. If you look in depth at the contracts this is usually the case.
        The government usually get a pretty good bulk discount rate for their purchases if it’s a off the shelf item.

        • The unit cost will often include spare parts, technical packages, armorer’s tools, training for the armorer’s, factory support, and more.

    • A selective fire version isn’t going to cost any more to produce that a semi. Minor changes.

      AND a full auto rifle is moronic. Toy. Learn to shoot straight – mil or civ

    • Rifles are one areas where the government gets a deal. Everything else, not so much. When I had to inventory my property, I was always shocked by the cost of an M16A2 at a little over $500, when an AR-15 at the time was a bit more. It’s why my first semi auto rifle was a cheap Saiga 7.62×39 that I converted.

      • Guns in general are pretty cheap in government contracts. I’m not sure if it’s because 1)they buy so damn many
        2)companies make money on the back end (maintenance, parts, etc) or
        3) they can break even and then sell a bunch to civilians marketing them as the same guns you see in COD

  6. If there is one area of my concern it’s with the service person. I’m not likely to complain regards something that will end up in or on that person. If there are extra small arms or rations; I’m all for it. In the early 70’s there were embarrassing shortages for people in harms’ way. I still remember.

    • Gary,

      In the early 70’s there were embarrassing shortages for people in harms’ way.

      That would not happen if government and our society actually encouraged the citizenry to own battle rifles. Instead, a huge chunk of society and government have discouraged or outright criminalized citizen ownership of battle rifles.

      Its almost like, if we had a well-armed and well regulated militia, we would never have to worry about the security of our free state. Go figure.

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