View Full Version : Fixing the M16/M4

April 6, 2005, 06:53 PM
In the Winter 2005 Special Weapons For Military & Police, they talk about the replacement for the M16/M4, which will be the H&K XM8.

The magazine website link is here and the article is one of the first ones listed:

The article starts on page 20. MOST of the article is about the replacement for the M16, but the first six or eight paragraphs tell the story of an ambush that occurred in Iraq.

A contractor is riding in a hummer with some other military people. As they roll through this small burg they are ambushed. The contract guy rolls out of the hummer, grabs his M4 and shoots the ambushee ONCE. The guy falls over dead. Close inspection shows the round hit him in the left buttock. Further examination shows that the round basically destroyed his colon, intestines and stomach, which is why the ambushee was dead before he hit the ground.

The round the contract person was using was NOT approved by military for usage in theatre. If he had still been military, they would have court martialed the guy. As it was, all they could do was complain. The company that made this 'non approved' .223 ammo is RBCD out of San Antonio. They use a mixed metal sintered bullet. Which is what caused all the damage.

Their website link is here:

For a look at the US MILITARY'S UPCOMING new personal weapons systems, the link is here:


5.56 x 45mm NATO
Weight 6.4 lbs (prototype)
5.7 lbs objective
Overall Length 33.0 inches (carbgine stock extended)
Barrel length Assault: 12.5"
Sharpshooter: 20.0"
Compact: 9.0"
Austomatic rifle: 20.0"
Rate of twist 1 in 7 inches
Rate of Fire Cyclic - 750 rpm
Sustained - 85 rpm up to 210 rounds
Barrel length 20,000 rounds minimum
Muzzle Velocity (MBSS Ball) 2850 feet/second with 20" barrel
2545 feet/second with 12.5" barrel
2240 feet/second with 9.0" barrel
Magazine capacity 10 or 30 round (magazines can be nested together), 100 round drum available.
Stock 5 position adjustable for length
Bayonet Lug Yes (12.5 & 20" barrels)
Bipod Interface Yes (20° only)
Sighting System Fully integrated red dot with laser illuminator and pointer.

It should be noted that the XM8 can ALSO fire the .223 replacement round, the 6.8mm.

And yes, RBCD is making the 6.8 mm mixed metal sintered bullet round also.

April 6, 2005, 09:20 PM
Destroying the colon, intestines, and stomach generally won't cause instant death.

April 6, 2005, 09:37 PM
Destroying the colon, intestines, and stomach generally won't cause instant death.

No but it will make people pray for death, it's call the Roach Coach effect.

April 6, 2005, 09:53 PM
Fixing the M16/M4

We have quite a few In-Theatre personnel posting here. None seem to think it's broken. :confused:

April 6, 2005, 10:09 PM
Tamara is, as usual, quite correct.

Many of the posters here are either in theatre, en route to theatre, or returning from theatre.

I fall into that last category, and offer a simple fix for the M16/M4 family of weapons.


Most of the stories of units locking up weapons to grab insurgent AK-47's is BS. People generally get Article 15's for that kind of crap.
Most will also tell you that the current evolution of M16/M4 is thoroughly effective, and that a replacement will only be a waste of money.
In addition, it would take so long to feild that the M16/M4 will still be here for decades.

I like my M16. Sure it has zip-ties holding the handguards in place, and the finish is 100% gone, but it still works. Several dead insurgents would attest to that fact, if they could.
It never stopped. Dropped, smacked, banged, smashed, or closed in doors, it never stopped.

Bottom line is this: If you aren't willing to stand in front of me and let me shoot you with it 150 meters, it works.
A replacement now would just cause heartache. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

April 6, 2005, 11:11 PM
The story about the contractor shooting is just a story that's going around, it's in the same league as the story they used to tell about the M16's when they first came out, shoot them anywhere, even in the hand, and it will turn their guts to jelly, killing them instantly, total BS on both counts.

As for the magic blended metal bullets, here's some info on them without the advertising hype:


April 6, 2005, 11:25 PM
That sintered metal bullet is an awesome killer, but it only works well if you shoot the badguy in the butt. Seriously, it's been written about infinitely and it always ends up sounding like snake oil to me. When it comes down to actual testing all you seem to get is excuses. Let me know if you want ballistitions links but I warn you that they get pretty weird.

April 7, 2005, 05:04 AM
38splfan thank you for your service and for your post. While we don't always have the best equipment what we do have is very very good. I like the AR system in its current state. Any 'improvements' at this point are really just personal. For an issue weapon it's about the best system out there.

April 7, 2005, 06:16 AM
I like my M16. Sure it has zip-ties holding the handguards in place, and the finish is 100% gone, but it still works.Damn. Can't you get issued some new parts or something? :confused:

April 7, 2005, 07:42 AM
I like my M16. Sure it has zip-ties holding the handguards in place, and the finish is 100% gone, but it still works.

Thank you for your service.

If you swing through Knoxville before your next deployment, a set of handguards are on the house. ;)

April 7, 2005, 08:00 AM
I know sorta of topic, but I have to admit I was taking by that RCBD ammo hype. I bought some at gun show for way to much money to even begin to admit how much I spent. I guess Barnum was right, I just happened to be the sucker.


Pat Rogers
April 7, 2005, 08:16 AM
Take what is written in magazines with a grain of salt.
Remember that we all have a frame of reference and with that a prejudice towards or against issues.
Add to that the lengthy lead time between completion of the article and when it comes out on the newstands- sometimes issues are overtaken by events.
This is especially true re the XM-8, as DoD just reopend the testing to all hands.
As to a 6mm round replacing the 5.56x45mm, could you cite your sources? It is news to me, and may be just so much more wishing by some- just as the XM-8 being a replacement for anything.
Note also that contractors are subject to certain laws, rules and regulations, and a great many of these may be in line with GO's and certain others.
Finally, there is no magic. No magic guns. No magic bullets. No magic cars, ships, planes or anything else. Some things work better- or worse- then others to be sure
All that was in that story has been around for over a year. It had been done to death, so to speak.

April 7, 2005, 02:17 PM
Thanks for the kind words all.

Tam, I may take you up on that if I get home (Dyersburg,TN) before the next go-round :)

The first thing I would like to do is apologize for the tone of my post. I have always attempted to stay civil while presenting my opinions. I think I may have been a little bit too adamant.

I would also like to address the parts issue. For many units redeploying home, like ours did a few months ago, handguards and buttstocks are soem of the last items of concern. Redeploying units are given a refit budget, which is usually very large. This is generally spent on housing, vehicles, communications, and additional training. For weapons, the money goes like this:
Weapons are sorted by serviceability
The worst are sent to be refurbished (this is most of the money)
The ones that need operational components (bolt carriers, firing pins, buffer springs, etc.) are next
The ones with buttstocks/handguards damaged are tagged, and the ones that are being refurbed are cannibalized for those parts. If there aren't enough to go around, they get ordered. Handguards are a low priority part and generally take lots of time.

Hopefully this will give you some insight as to why a few guys gripe about the M16. A year in Iraq is rough on a weapon, and new members of the unit that get someone's refurb or "hand-me-down" are gonna gripe, because it isn't pretty and new.
I can assure that the conditions would be just as tough, if not tougher, on a poly reciever.

Finally, I'd like to address the contractors. While they do have more leniency, many chose, out of personal preference, the M4 platform. Many also made side deals to get ammo from us when they ran out.

The M16/M4 series works. Everyone has a personal preference, though, and some just don't prefer it.

Thanks again to all.

April 7, 2005, 03:48 PM
1st - NO I AM NOT ALLOWED TO NAME MY SOURCES - per their request. Believe me or don't, I just don't care. Beside, I did NOT write the article, I just reported on it.

2nd - All the pro M16 people sound JUST LIKE all the pro M1 Garand people when the M16 came out - IE don't fix what ain't broken.

3rd - The M16 is a forty year old REDESIGN of the AR10, because 'da military' figured it was better to carry twenty rounds of .22 caliber ammo than eight rounds of .30 caliber ammo IN THE RIFLE - plus all the legal bs that goes with NATO and the UN and .... you get the drift.

As far as 6.8mm replacing the .223, YOU need to go read the article and then read the after action reports from Mogadishu that started all the CURRENT flap about the .223 being ineffective. That's directly from US military and Spec OP. Again, go argue with them, not with me.

I guess sometimes it's just easier to SHOOT THE MESSENGER than to do your own research, huh?

April 7, 2005, 04:39 PM

We are all aware of everything you said. Please consider what you're saying when you compare your reading of Blackhawk Down (secondhand story) and tell people like 38splfn what's "directly from the military". He IS the flippin' military.

By the by - the M16 didn't replace the Garand. But I'll let you do the research on that.

And a last note - if you're bothered by a 40 year old redesign of the AR10, why are you for a plastic redesign of the 30 year old AR18?

April 7, 2005, 09:10 PM
And some 30-round magazine rebuild kits, w/new springs and green followers, are set aside in the Gewehr98 evil lab with your name on them when you rotate back stateside. Shoot me a PM, and they'll go out to you right quick.

Wallew, you lost credibility with me on that bit about the M16 replacing the M1 Garand. Like Handy (who happens to be another GI, not unlike myself) said, you need to do a bit of homework on that one, especially if you don't want to make everybody's ignore list on this forum. Use the search term "LuckyInKentucky" here at TFL if you want to see what kind of nose the members have for rooting out silliness. ;)

April 7, 2005, 09:27 PM
Gewehr 98,

Good post, my friend. Unfortnately, there are a lot of shooters out there that believe eveything they read in the "gun rags" and the "macho adventure rags" as if it had come from the Bible.

April 7, 2005, 11:32 PM

My post was not a personal assault directed at you, or an attempt to belittle you. I apologize if it did come across that way. My only intent was to relay my experience with the family of weapons in question.
You are correct. The attitude of "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" is an old one, but it has applied for many who have experience with the M16/M4.
I ask you to keep in mind that Special Operations, Rangers, SEALS, Force Recon Marines, and Air Force combat controllers (The "big five"). Make up a small portion of the United States Military. They have a unique mission, for which a weapons change may be appropriate.
The vast majority of the Military, including myself, are combat support or combat service-support. This includes engineers, MP's, fuelers, cooks, supply clerks, water purification, etc. Many of us spend lots of time on the road in modern combat, or on tall guard towers with very long and wide feilds of view.
For this type of scenario, the longer sight radius and effective range of the M16A2 is much more appropriate.
Convoy and vehicle operations present another problem for poly weapons, damage to the frame itself. Anyone who has dropped a Glock, Ruger P-Series, or other poly framed pistol and scratched, scraped, or taken a chunk from it will tell you about this. We generally ride with weapons out the windows. The roads are rough and the weapons get bounced on steel doors, smacked on window frames, or stepped on/kicked when trying to move around. This hard on any weapons frame, steel or poly.
When we dismount the vehicles for ground operations, or have to defend while a damaged vehicle is recovered or destroyed, our optempo increases dramatically. Weapons are fired at a very high rate. (I have actually seen M249's stop firing due to barrel/chamber heat). This may also be harsh on the poly frame, causing wear and tear at a somewhat higher rate than the M16-series weapons.
I would not dare to "shoot the messenger" by questioning/impuning your knowledge or research. I only ask that, when reading information that quotes Spec Ops troops, consider the wider picture. Their mission is a specialized one that requires a specialized weapon, which is not a bad thing. For many, many others, however, general purpose utility is needed. The M16 is perfectly effective for a wide range of missions from gate guard to convoy security, and more suited to the average ground pounder.
I think that anyone who is willing to post on this site and others is miles ahead of gun owners who don't, just because I am impressed by people who take the responsibility of firearms to the next level of success by doing the extra bit of research required to make them just a bit better whether it be asking question or sharing information/opinions. All here are entitled to speak their minds and engage in thoughtful conversation. For that I thank you. No matter what the information in the post is, we have all given a noobie shooter or researcher some other bit of information that will help them in the future in some way or another, wether they are considering buying an AR-15 or joining the military.
So once again, not shooting the messenger, just conversing about the message.


April 8, 2005, 12:29 AM
To Gewehr98,

Any fan of the Mauser bolt action battle rifles is an adopted brother to me :D

I really do appreciate your generousity, and feel honored that you would make such a gracious offer. I do, however, have a suggestion, if you will allow me.
I just returned in October, and am forcasted to leave again this coming winter. There are many troops leaving now, with a big rotation for Afghanistan and Kuwait planned this summer.
If you would really like to help me, do so by getting those rebuild kits to a soldier in your area on the way out. They will need them more than I do now.

I once again thank you for your appreciation. I feel so very honored to converse daily with such a supportive group of people. Although I gripe about my job at times, thinking about the good Americans, folks like y'all, is thanks enough.

Regards again freind,

April 8, 2005, 09:50 AM
Yeah, yeah, the M16 replaced the M14. I will say that replacing the .30 caliber with a .22 caliber based round was a mistake that the military has yet to correct, though they are trying.

Except the M14 WAS NEVER issued in the numbers of the M1 Garand. And IT was a REDESIGN of the M1 Garand that was never accepted fully by the military. Especially the full auto version of the M14.

As a matter of fact the M14 NEVER reached a lot of military units. EVER. Some of them DID GO directly from M1 Garand to the M16. Especially the in the Navy and Air Force.

The M14 is MY personal favorite. I've just never considered it to be a 'fully issued battle rifle.' That's all. Old news reels from Vietnam show M1 Garand, M1 carbine, M14 and even an occasional .30 caliber bolt action rifle in use, generally as long distance shooters.

John - you are correct - the 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it' goes back to AT LEAST when the 45 LC was being retired from the real horse soldiers. They all felt that new fangled 45 acp was absolutely worthless.

And I did not take it personal. I never do. And I agree with your assessment. But like everyone else, the military is forever looking for the 'magic rifle/bullet combo' that currently does not exist.

Regarding the mixed metal sintered bullets - at a cost of $2 per, I doubt it will ever be considered by military. But hey, money is NOT a concern of most higher ups in the military that I've met or spoken with. After all, it ain't their money.

Regarding the XM8 - it's basically a G36 with different plastic furniture. I doubt it will ever be issued in large numbers in the US military either, but I've been wrong so many times ... We have YET to see the true replacement for the M16 in my opinion. But it WILL be replaced, probably sooner rather than later. With what, I have NO idea.

What is it with the firearms designer/manufacturers that they feel the need to develop a plastic rifle? I know they are trying to reduce weight, but you HAVE to have something to hold onto and wood seems to work fairly well (just and old man speaking on that one). I've always wondered why no one has tried the TREX plastic that is currently in use for fencing here in the US for homes. It's tough as nails, recycled plastics and does not seem to even fade from years in the sun...

For anyone else, if you want insight into what I say and why, go back and look at some of the info I've posted from friends of mine in the military. Finally got one of them out of Middle east, only to see him off to European theatre...

I'm trying to get him back here. But at least he's happy and semi-safe (in Europe).

And lest you have not read any of my posts of late John, I honor YOU and ALL vets. From ANY timeframe. My Dad is WWII vet. My BIL is Vietnam vet though I was 4F during Vietnam due to my bad vision (20/1000) and I had no desire to do telecom in Germany. What you guys do is beyond awesome. All military personnel are the best and deserve to be honored DAILY.

April 8, 2005, 09:55 AM
I was thinking last night of all the posters who keep saying that the 5.56mm/M-16 combo is okay, it's not broken, no one is complaining, works great, all the bugs are fixed, etc. And yes, I do believe there are thousands, if not tens of thousands, of Soldiers and Marines who will tell you its great, and they use it effectively.

Now go back 200 years, and talk to one of the King's soldiers about his Brown Bess musket. He would tell you it was all one could ask of an infantryman's weapon, and no one was complaining for something better. It had won battles all over the world. It had won WARS all over the world, in all climates and conditions, against savages and well trained Continental armies. A Brown Bess with a good, straight bore could hit a man at 75 yards, it could fire 2-3 times a minute, and the bayonet insured it was effective in any weather. It was used in one form or another for over a century, from 1722-1830's.

How come you suppose it was replaced? Who had the gall to look at the Brown Bess and say, "I can do better than that, a lot better."

Who could argue that the Enfields and Springfields of the Civil War weren't more effective than the soldiers and generals of that time? What's not to like about rifles that could make regiments evaporate in a few minute's time? Wasn't that lethal enough, for God's sake?

Why go to the Garand when no one could use one to outshoot the Topkick or Gunny when he got down prone with his '03 Springfield? Could you do any better than Alvin York and his 1917 Enfield, given your choice of rifles?

I am sure the M-16 is "good enough", just as all these weapons listed above were in their time. But it is time to see what advances have transpired in the last 40 years and apply it. Soldiers happy at regularly knocking bad guys over at 100 yards will be happy to knock them over at 300 yards. Guys happy cleaning their guns every day so they won't jam will still clean their guns every day even if missing one day won't be fatal.

I think it is a fallacious argument to say that today's soldiers are faithfully devoted to the 5.56mm / M-16 combo when they haven't had the opportunity to try some of the other offerings. I am sure the King's men would have swapped their beloved Brown Besses for an M-16, if they only knew such a weapon was possible.

April 8, 2005, 10:08 AM
I am sure the King's men would have swapped their beloved Brown Besses for an M-16, if they only knew such a weapon was possible.

That is exactly my point. Why all the tax dollars poured into the memory hole to finance the replacement of a gas-operated poodleshooter with plastic accoutrements with... another gas-operated poodleshooter with plastic accoutrements? This isn't replacing Brown Bess with an M-16, it's merely nattering about which size flint works best in the lock. Who's researching the percussion cap?

April 8, 2005, 10:20 AM
/*Bottom line is this: If you aren't willing to stand in front of me and let me shoot you with it 150 meters, it works.*/

If you aren't willing to stand 20 feet away from me with a yard dart and let me wing it at you, it works.

Of course, we will both look pretty foolish if some guy with a 7.62x51 (or 6.5 Grendel, or something "deer" size) decides things should be settled at 300 meters, won't we? That will be the new bottom line.

You might also want to think about what happens when the next big combat deployment of U.S. troops finds you opposite some guys who doesn't have the horrible marksmanship skills that the terrorists in Iraq have displayed, as widely commented on by many who have faced them.
My cousin's convoy (1075th, from Nebraska) was ambushed at pointblank range a few weeks ago, with RPGs and AKs, and they and some Kentucky MPs massacred the terrorists with only one U.S. wounded because of a bullet.

I could not imagine American troops only hitting one guy if the positions were switched. I can imagine others not Americans doing better. You might do well to imagine that also.

April 8, 2005, 08:23 PM
The best part about the .223 is WHY it was adopted. Yes, the reasons are many and legendary.

The one I like the best is that 'da military' figured out that grunts couldn't hit targets 1000 yds away. Or 500 or 300 or 200 yards and that MOST combat occurs at 100 yds OR LESS. WHATEVER floats your boat.

This is kind of like my other BIG complaint. WHERE THE HELL ARE THE FLYING CARS THAT WE WERE ALL PROMISED BACK IN THE FIFTIES??? Or jet packs, or beam me up Scottie, or whatever...

Time marches on while SOME industries don't move until forced. This is as true of the firearms industry as it is of the automobile industry.

Tim R
April 9, 2005, 12:58 PM
A couple of points.

Funny I just talked to 2 vets yesterday who were issued the M-14 while serving in Nam. All M-14's can be fired full auto. Squad leader held the key to switch them. The M-14 to this date is still the Navy's service rifle.

Wallew, I might be wrong but it seems to me you feel there was something wrong with the M-1 design. Yeah, it's 60 years old, but have you ever fired one of these old war horses? Even the youngest kid I know who knows nothing of WWII except for what he has seen on TV understands after the first trigger pull why we won the war.

The old saying "don't fix it enless it's broke" works well but the trouble with our gobermemts thinking is "fix it until it ends up broke". I have never been on the butt stock end of a rifle where lot's of people were shooting at me, (I'm a cop but it hasn't been the same yet) but I have helped send aircraft off a flat top into a combat zone a couple of times. I don't believe that there is one single weapon system (read service rifle) that will do everything we need it to do no matter how fancy you get.

38SPL...thanks for your service. Just so you know the guys with the red windshield stickers to let them on base get a lot more warnings than Joe Blow with out one. ;)

April 10, 2005, 12:48 PM
I LOVE the M1 Garand. Even when it runs dry, you can still kill your enemy by turning into a fairly effective club. Which happened once or twice in KOREA. I've owned both the M1 Garand, M1 Carbine, M14 and the AR15. I just never felt the .223 cartridge was a great round. Please no flames, it's just MY opinion.

Most don't realize or remember that it wasn't until JFK's Robert McNamara that services started standarizing things. Like shoes. Or greens. OR WEAPONS.

Until 1965, every service bought everything independent of each other. I am confident they still got decent pricing from a quantity stand point.

April 10, 2005, 07:42 PM
The one I like the best is that 'da military' figured out that grunts couldn't hit targets 1000 yds away. Or 500 or 300 or 200 yards and that MOST combat occurs at 100 yds OR LESS. WHATEVER floats your boat. You misunderstand. It isn't a question of marksmanship, but of opportunity. There are rarely any clean shots to be made at longer distances. Practical engagement distances were much shorter. "Da military", in this case, is every major world power that all came to the same conclusion, starting with the Germans and Russians (who know a thing or two about fighting wars).

Most don't realize or remember that it wasn't until JFK's Robert McNamara that services started standarizing things. This is a bizarre simplification of fact. All the services used the same rifles from WWI on, if the standard service rifle was available. The Marines didn't take Johnson's to Korea - they were gone as soon as the Garands were available. What might have been administratively true is shown to be false in fact.

And of course you're aware that the Navy never adopted the M-16. There goes that theory.

April 10, 2005, 08:40 PM
From Pat Rogers :
As to a 6mm round replacing the 5.56x45mm, could you cite your sources? It is news to me, and may be just so much more wishing by some- just as the XM-8 being a replacement for anything.

From Wallew:
1st - NO I AM NOT ALLOWED TO NAME MY SOURCES - per their request. Believe me or don't, I just don't care. Beside, I did NOT write the article, I just reported on it.


Might I just suggest you do a little research on WHO Pat Rogers is, and maybe that will help you decide whether you should trust Pat Rogers (which is what I recommend) or your unnamed sources. Just a friendly suggestion. ;)