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Does Your Rifle Out-Perform The Military-Issue M4?

Does Your Rifle Out-Perform The Military-Issue M4?

Image source: Military.com

When you read a headline, “Army quits tests after competing rifle outperform M4A1 carbine,” you might think that the Army took a cloak and dagger approach to canceling the tests simply because a rifle outperformed the M4.

Let’s take a look.

As The Washington Times reported, a competing rifle actually did beat the M4A1 variant in a couple of different fields of reliability. This was not a test the Army actually wanted to do, but was pushed by Congress — and I doubt that many in Congress has ever pulled a trigger for a living.

The Army and the military in general are littered with what troops constantly call the “good idea fairy.” These fairies usually have a product that is supposed to be the next wonder gear but it is often heavy, expensive and useless. So it’s hard to make a lot of people support a change in gear, especially when an outside source like Congress is pestering it. The Army even cheated midway through the contest by changing the ammunition used for testing without warning the different rifle developers.

But what does all this have to do with prepping and survival? Well, I doubt the logistics of arming over a million soldiers is your concern. A single person learns much faster than an organization. The question, though, is what is the best rifle out there? For people looking to buy their first defensive rifle, it’s an important question.

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The AR 15 platform is one of the most popular rifles in American for defensive and recreational purposes, but it’s 50 years old. Not many people are driving 50-year-old vehicles on a daily basis, yet the ever-adaptable AR 15 doesn’t show its age when topped off with the latest and greatest tactical gadgets, gizmos and wizzows. Still, it’s 50 years old.

The eight rifles the Army tested were not revealed, but it’s safe to assume the FN SCAR, HK 416, Adcor B.E.A.R. Rifle, ARX 160 and Remington’s Adaptive combat rifle were all part of the show. They represent the latest designs and technologies in weapon designs, and most have learned from the success of the M4 and built on it.

The HK 416 has seen service with the United States Navy Seals, and most assume it was the weapon that put Osama Bin Laden’s lights out. The 416 is identical in controls to the M4 and is near-identical in appearance. The pistol-driven 416 is incredibly reliable, and has been adopted in an enhanced model as the M27 IAR for the Marine Corps. It’s reported to be extremely accurate and doubles as a suppression-based weapon and a designated marksman’s rifle. In my opinion it was probably this rifle that beat the M4.

FN SCAR is most famous for the amount of special operation forces carrying it overseas, from Green Berets to Air Force Para Rescue. The FN SCAR has served in a lot of missions we’ll never hear about. The SCAR is a lightweight, modular weapon that features a folding stock and excellent controls. FN made the machine gun I carried in Afghanistan and it was the most reliable piece of kit my squad had.

The ARX 160 has been adopted by the Italian military, as well as the Albanian Special Forces and some police forces in Mexico. While it is a relative newcomer it has met favorable reviews and has been adopted by a few militaries.

The B.E.A.R. is an American-designed and built piston-driven AR that is another newcomer to the market, and has been popular with police and civilian shooters. The ACR was originally designed by Magpul but later sold to Remington. I have no mercy with Remington and highly doubt this rifle was the winner

Now, if you already own and have invested in an M4-based platform I’m not saying your choice was wrong. The platform is very viable and very capable of being an excellent defensive weapon. There are a lot of reasons to own an M4 — especially when it comes to logistics.

But if do not own a modern sporting rifle, perhaps you should consider a different weapon than an M4. Both the SCAR and HK rifle have 5.556 variants, and 7.62 x 51 variants for a bigger punch, and the ACR can be adapted with multiple calibers without much work or expertise, using just a kit.

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The AR-15 platform is just a bit dated and has begun showing its age as more reliable weapons are stepping into the spotlight to fulfill the defensive rifle role. Some folks do find it hard to let go of a specific weapon they’ve trusted for so long, but often this keeps a military or an individual from truly seeing the potential for an improved system.

However, rushing into a new weapon system was what helped create the debacle in Vietnam with the M16, a scar on its reputation that still holds to this day. I suggest you choose a system that is being utilized by a current military force — like the HK 416 and FN SCAR. The biggest downside is the price on these systems. You pay for the cutting edge in design.

My local gun store said the release of the Tavor to the American market has driven down the prices of SCARs by a few hundred dollars. This is a trend we can expect to keep repeating itself over and over.

What do you believe is the best defensive rifle? Leave your reply in the section below:

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10 comments

  1. Objection! Assumes facts not in evidence!

    The Army did not cheat in the testing when it required the use of different ammunition. Wouldn’t you expect a rifle that is to replace the M-4 to be able to shoot all the ammo that the M-4 shoots?

    I would not buy an M-4 myself, but this article (and other similar ones) appear to be written with unquestioned acceptance of competition talking points.

  2. My rifles don’t hold a candle to the m4. I could never go toe to toe with what I have. But I never plan to. I have no intention of fighting off an army

  3. Don’t know what your problem with Remington is,the ACR appears to be as well designed,and able to replace the M-4 as the rest.
    According to Remington,they were involved along with Magpul and Bushmaster in the design and production of the ACR.

    http://remingtonmilitary.com/Firearms/Carbines/ACR.aspx

  4. Does Your Rifle Out-Perform The Military-Issue M4? QUOTE

    Doubtful, since the military version is full-auto.
    Very few privately owned rifles are.
    Apples and Oranges

  5. As a survival rifle what would you rather have to find repair parts for? Anything other than a AR platform. We will never have to defend our homes in a war. But all other scenarios end in salvage and that means M-4.

  6. Only time I ever used full-auto, was while in the military and only during equals. Rest of the time, I preferred semi, because prefer to hit my targets. That was all prior to current spate of hostilities. I am confident in therifles I have, and leave it at that.

  7. Everybody has a Stoner-type rifle (let’s give the man some credit), and the catalogs are glutted with parts and accessories. As you said, it wins on logistics, and prepping is (or should be) all about logistics.
    If “50-year-old design” bothers you, you’ll have a seizure when you look up the design ages of gunpowder, steel, and the human hand. Clearly, we should immediately abandon all these grossly outmoded technologies.
    It’s a bullet-delivery system – if it lets you put a task-suitable bullet where you need it, whenever and as many times as you need to, it’s good to go.

  8. The military issue m4 is not full auto. Its 3 round burst or semi auto selectvfire and milspec only speaks to durability. So yes I can say without a doubt my Sig m400 would outdo my issue m4 any day.

  9. The m1911 pistol design is over 100 years old… Should we just stop using those too? How about you just use what is comfortable to you, and a design that works for you, the stoner variants are just as good as the others you have mentioned as long as you do your job and maintain the weapon system, parts are more available, and generally cheaper than those weapons you laud as superior

  10. pelle andersson

    I love to jerk my m16a1. The m4 is the best rifle ever designed. So beautiful, so adaptable. Stoner was a genius. I cant hold an m4 and not drul.

    Aufreissen my gun toting Americans

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