why can’t the Army replace the M4 with newer and better designs?
Most of the stoppages in the test were caused by faulty magazines, while the other weapons were using new magazines, fresh from the manufacturer. The HK416 actually scored the highest in the number of real, internal stoppages that could not be fixed on the battlefield- with the M4 coming near last for those.
The myth and rumor that direct impingement is inferior to a piston-driven system like in the Mk.16 or a piston-stuck-in-a-DI-gun-oh-shit-what-are-you-doing system like in the HK416 is simply false. It stems from the faulty prototypes in Vietnam, bad magazines from the STANAG project’s infancy, and idiots pretending they know about mechanical engineering.
The reason we don’t replace the AR is because none of the other rifles offered can be distributed on a decent timetable, without going over budget, and without retraining vast swathes of the military to their use. They’re useful in SOF, but little more.
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1. I have read the full report, and your claim that the HK416 “actually scored the highest in real, internal stoppages” is completely without basis. The M4 scored dead last in every category, however you want to slice it.
2. If my rifle won’t work with a standard-issue magazine, it won’t work, period. If I have to buy expensive aftermarket mags for my rifle to work, then the harsh reality is that my rifle doesn’t work in its intended configuration. Either we have our troops shell out their own money for aftermarket mags, or the Army absorbs the massive expense to change all standard mags for PMags.
3. The AR platform is around half a century old. It was a great weapon for its time but the firearms world has moved on since then. There is no modern battlefield design that relies on a direct gas system. There is a reason why our Special Forces, our most experienced, battle hardened soldiers who face the most intensive firefights, rely on piston-driven weapons like the HK 416.
4. The reason why the Army doesn’t replace the AR platform is simple. From the Army’s point of view, 882 failures out of 60,000 rounds makes only a 1.47% failure rate. If we were to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to retrofit all our forces with SCAR or HK416, we would improve the failure rate by around a percentage point, ergo the cost is not worth it. Now, that’s great logic from a procurement officer’s point of view. However, I were to choose a weapon to defend the lives of my wife and children, I’d want a weapon that I have absolute confidence in, not the one that is just adequate for the task.