View Full Version : Price of M16/M4 for .gov

December 16, 2009, 12:25 PM
Anyone know what is being paid? Maybe not an exact number but something within $50 or something.

December 16, 2009, 12:28 PM
Probably the same amount they pay for a hammer...


Bartholomew Roberts
December 16, 2009, 02:07 PM
According to this article (http://www.armytimes.com/news/2007/02/atCarbine070219/), Colt CEO William Keys says that the Colt M4 without accessories costs the Army $800 ($1,300 for the M4 with rail system, BUIS, seven magazines and a sling).

December 16, 2009, 02:20 PM
Good info. I can hardly believe they are paying that much, then again it is the government...
Anyone have any idea how many are in service?

December 16, 2009, 03:13 PM
Well, what do you think they should be paying? Remember, someone in another thread said the contracts always go to the lowest bidder.

December 16, 2009, 03:16 PM
That is not far off from what I can pay for a milspec M4. I would expect them to get some sort of volume discount.

Tucker 1371
December 16, 2009, 03:25 PM
You can get a Mil Spec M4 for $800? Do tell... Now a DPMS I can believe but those aren't quite Mil Spec.

December 16, 2009, 04:07 PM
You are right. Looking into it more the rifles I looked at were not quite mil-spec. Is production cost on a 1:9 barrel more than a 1:7?

Bartholomew Roberts
December 16, 2009, 04:53 PM
At $800 retail, I am betting there are a lot more differences than a 1:9 twist vs 1:7 twist. There are dozens of places to deviate from M4 specs and save money.

Tucker 1371
December 16, 2009, 05:16 PM
Feed ramp, buffer tube, those are common ones to cut corners on. There are companies that will cut corners on anything and everything with some of their low end models.

December 16, 2009, 05:18 PM
so what is the price I would have to pay for the same as what the army gets?

Tucker 1371
December 16, 2009, 05:21 PM
about $1200, not a bad deal considering that it is probably one of the (if not THE) best AR15s civilian money can buy.

December 16, 2009, 05:31 PM
so what is the price I would have to pay for the same as what the army gets?

Probably between $6000 and $10000. Maybe more.

Them selector switches are expensive...;)

December 16, 2009, 06:28 PM
what is the model number of the colt that most closely matches up with standard government issue, not counting selected fire?

Bartholomew Roberts
December 16, 2009, 06:37 PM
The Colt LE6921 is the closest semi-auto version; but is still an NFA weapon due to the 14.5" barrel. The Colt LE6920 is the same thing with a 16" barrel.

December 16, 2009, 10:11 PM
Well, what do you think they should be paying? Remember, someone in another thread said the contracts always go to the lowest bidder.

Doesnt matter when Colt owns the copyrights to the firearm.

December 16, 2009, 11:47 PM
Colt owns the copyright on a firearm? Colt owns the copyright on the prancing pony symbol and probably the Ar15 name.

I think you mean patent. They did own it, but it is expired.

They probably have patents on somethings, like maybe M4 feed ramps, that are recent designs. (That's just a guess, I don't know if it's true.)

December 17, 2009, 01:21 AM
I guess I'm a little late on this, but I went and talked to the supply guy and our armorer today when they got in and was given "About a grand each," from each of them.

Seems to line up with what everyone else is saying.

December 17, 2009, 01:36 PM
Unless you can purchase a Government firearm, it's not likely milspec. The administration, supervision, testiing, and documentation to milspec standard isn't required for civilian sales. I seriously doubt Colt spends the money to do it.

They may be making the parts on the same machine by the same processes, but testing one in 100 gets them the same result as MPI testing each. Unless the part is marked and certified the same, and sourced from government channels, it's not milspec.

It's a certification of the process.

I haven't heard of anyone getting a multipage document with a tree diagram of every part sourced and a sign off of each step in manufacture, testing , and assembly. That only happens to carbines shipped to the Government.

Colt, FN, even GM Saginaw have done that. It has nothing to do with the Technical Data Package. That is Colt's recipe for how they did it. The Army has that in their possession, and Colt must still be renumerated by whoever uses it.

December 17, 2009, 02:20 PM
Don't get hung up on "milspec", it isn't some magical standard, it is only a baseline standard.

Our service rifle teams use non "milspec" rifles from White Oak, Compass Lake, or Rock River. There are plenty of really great rifles that don't even bother with the whole "milspec" thing because the testing is just added expense.

Milspec barrels are not made by hammer forging, one of the reasons that they need magnetic particle testing to be milspec in the first place.

The Marine Corps Pistol Team WAY back in the day replaced their milspec barrels with BARSTO barrels every year (giving rise to the myth that you need to replace your 1911 barrel every 5000 rounds for optimum accuracy). They bought new barrels every year just to keep the funding flowing, after all if they didn't use the parts fund to buy parts then the budget would be reduced.

There are a lot of very good AR manufacturers out there, no need to get hung up on "milspec".


December 17, 2009, 03:55 PM
Mine was free - They would just issue it from the arms room when I needed it....:p

December 17, 2009, 03:57 PM
Yeah, i bought a non-milspec M4 a while back. I was looking for this info for a letter.

December 17, 2009, 04:01 PM
$800-1300 USD hahaha

Colt should really start selling to us Pakistanis as we pay $3,048 USD for a Vietnam era M16, $6,707 USD for a M4 and $8,536 USD for a M4A1.

At a retail price of even $2000 USD I promise more than half a million pcs sold in less than a month.

December 17, 2009, 04:04 PM
This may be getting away from the general topic of the thread but, in theory, any machine shop could make an AR-15 if it were suitably equipped, although the devil may be in the details. Some firearms in WWII were manufactured by companies that had never made a firearm before. In essence, the firearm is just another manufactured product.

I know there's more to it than that. Some of the equipment might be highly specialized, like the rifling equipment, and some processes, such as heat treating, call for a lot of oversight. One could say it boils down to the inspection process. For some curious reason, there are certain assemblies on firearms that everyone seems to have a lot of trouble getting right, namely magazines. You would think that after a hundred years, the tricks would have been mastered, yet it is a common subject in this forum. It must be the first place the manufacturer goes when they want to cut corners.

None of this is to say that anyone could design a gun, which is another story, yet some brilliant designers were no engineers, just brilliant designers, but maybe they had more help than they get credit for.

My late father-in-law was an aeronautical engineer and he worked for the government. He had something to do with some helicopter designs but he retired over 30 years ago. Once my son asked him what some particular helicopter that he had worked on cost and he had no idea. But I also seem to remember that in the army, the cost of a 105mm howitizer was stenciled on the inside of one of the trails. I have no idea if it was accurate or not.

Good question, though.

December 17, 2009, 04:04 PM
You are talking full auto though, right? You could move full auto rifles in the US at those prices by the millions.

December 17, 2009, 04:07 PM
They may be making the parts on the same machine by the same processes, but testing one in 100 gets them the same result as MPI testing each. Unless the part is marked and certified the same, and sourced from government channels, it's not milspec.

I am not gonna get hung up on the whole mil-spec thing but I'd like to hear why you think colt batch tests parts meant for civilian sales vs. those going to the government. You are the first person I've ever seen question whether colt MPI's all parts marked it in their AR's. According to Frank Moody, who is a Colt rep and Armorer instructor for them, every part marked MPI in any Colt weapon is MPI'd.

And I see no reason to and have never seen anyone question that about them.

December 17, 2009, 04:08 PM

Just take a quick jump over to Afghanistan. There are enough of those things lost off the tops of vehicles...youre bound to find one sooner or later.

December 17, 2009, 04:10 PM
Yes full auto.

How much do they cost in the US?

December 17, 2009, 04:10 PM
A grand for just the rifle seems high to me--that extra trigger group can't cost more than a couple bucks to make.

The fact that we can buy *individual* ARs for 6/7/800 bucks says to me that if you're buying them in lots of multiple hundreds of thousands the economies of scale have to add up.

I would've guessed 500.

December 17, 2009, 04:11 PM
About $15k

That is of course on the civilian market and with a manufacturers date prior to 1986.

December 17, 2009, 04:15 PM

I have offices in Afghanistan & am a regular visitor. A GI losing his rifle is like a sin in the military so its hard to buy about rifles being lost there. We were loading containers at the Bagram base once and these two soldiers who were helping my guys with the loading forgot their rifles in the container. The container left the base & after an hour or so they realized they had left their rifles in the container & one of the guys literally started to cry. We had to turn the container back all the way from Jalalabad and those two were the happiest kids on the face of earth.

December 17, 2009, 04:18 PM
Youre right...I probably have no clue what I'm talking about.

There was at least one US weapon lost just on my last deployment in 08. Other contries have lost 'em as well...more so, in fact.
The ones which are not recovered are not typically left somewhere...the one m-4 (with ACOG) was left atop a vehicle just before they decided to take a trip from Eggers to KIA in Kabul.

During THIS little joy ride I'm taking in BAF...more have been lost.

While I may have given the impression that it's an every day thing, which is certainly wrong and not my intent, it is by no means un-heard of.

I'd be ashamed...but...it happens, I guess.

I think some Russians may have lost some weapons around here somewhere as well....


December 17, 2009, 04:23 PM
LOL I just saw Bagram AF @ your location. haha

Most of the M4s that we get are US Mil but they're usually from the Hijacked containers in the tribal region as they're NIB. I have yet to come by a used M4 being sold in the Pakistani market.

Rarely you find a G36, L8 and there was once a SAW being sold in the market but M4s are found in abundance.

Russians lost a LOT of weapons when they were @ AF.

December 17, 2009, 04:28 PM
The .gov gets a big discount considering they order so much. Not sure exactly how much they are paying.

December 17, 2009, 04:31 PM
Norinco sells its Type 56 for $50 USD a pc if you buy 50,000 units from them.

December 17, 2009, 04:35 PM
Was there a solicitation to procure the M4 & was the award made public?

December 18, 2009, 01:35 AM
like they say on call of duty when you die (something I do frequently) "Don't forget, your weapon was made by the lowest bidder"

December 18, 2009, 03:08 AM
Last price I saw was when FN got the contract and that was at 175 bucks a unit.

December 18, 2009, 08:35 AM
One place I used to work received a digest of government awarded contracts for everything. Surely there's someplace where it can be found on line and maybe not. Either way, it was public information. The only weapon related contract I ever noticed was a contract for 9mm ammunition and it had gone to an Israel company.

Now what the government pays for something is not the same as what it costs the company to make it. That in itself is not exactly so easy to come up with, even if you are a company insider. There are all sorts of assumptions you can make about costs and how they might be distributed. However, I assume that the companies are not losing money on their sales to the government, no matter how you slice it.

Also, the contract price the government might end up paying is mostly unrelated to the civilian market, especially since most of these products are not even available on the civilian market. But remember when you by a firearm, say a Beretta pistol, at your local friendly gun shop, there's a lot of people up and down the line that are trying to make a living off that sale. There is the manufacturer itself, the distributor or importer (or both) and finally the retailer. Often it is the distributor who is doing much of the financing of the business since they sometimes order in quantity and, in theory, make the business a little more efficient.

December 18, 2009, 09:48 AM
A year after 9/11 the police dept where I prosecute got a grant to blow on new weapons and they received 2 full auto colts 14.5" bbl for $794 ea from a lawmens supply dealer in NJ

December 18, 2009, 11:03 PM
IIRC, the M4 packages the USAF received were $634. That included M4, M68 CCO, BUIS, sling and 2 magazines...