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EXPLAINED: This Rifle Guarantees the U.S. Army Wins Any Shootout

Kyle Mizokami

Kyle Mizokami

Security,

The M4. 

EXPLAINED: This Rifle Guarantees the U.S. Army Wins Any Shootout

The A1 also has ambidextrous controls, for lefties. New rifles are being delivered to the M4A1 standard, and older rifles are being converted at a rate of approximately three hundred a day.

The U.S. Army is an armed force with a truly global reach. At any given time, America’s premier land power operates on several different continents simultaneously, from hot, dry deserts to humid jungles and sprawling cities. Its infantrymen carry a weapon whose lineage dates back to Vietnam but which has been constantly improved to become the weapon it is today. Rugged, simple and accurate, the M4 carbine is the standard infantry weapon of not just the Army but all of America’s ground forces.

(This first appeared several years ago.)

The story of the M4 goes back to the mid-sixties and the early days of the Vietnam War. The Pentagon, mulling sending hundreds of thousands of troops to South Vietnam, wanted a small, lightweight service rifle to replace the larger standard-issue M14. The new AR15, or Armalite Rifle-15, was smaller, lighter and fired a smaller 5.56-millimeter bullet. A soldier carrying the AR15, later designed the M16, could carry twice as much ammunition as a soldier carrying the M14. Demographic trends also meant that more and more soldiers were coming from cities and unfamiliar with firearms, and the M16 with less recoil was easier to train soldiers to proficiency.

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