Marines getting new M16, snubbing XM8

Army, Marines await updates of combat rifles

New M16A4s are being shipped the the US Marines. The A4 model of the standard US military assault rifle incorporates several new improvements, including a removable top handle to more easily mount a variety of high-tech sights and integrated under-barrel mounts for grenade launchers, lights, and IR illuminators.

There will also be a comparable model of the M4 carbine.

The Marines have been watching the development of the new XM8 assault rifle, but don’t intend to switch from the tried-and-true M16/M4 system. (The article describes the shelved XM29 instead of the XM8, by the way.)

I’d like to hear the Marines’ specific reasons for sticking with the M16, but if it’s good enough for the USMC it should be good enough for anyone. I’ve commented before that the Marines, in part because they are so much smaller than the Army, seem to have the mind-set and procurement system that’s going to be needed to fight the Fourth World War. If the Marines are not going to adopt the XM8, that’s a pretty strong indicator that the Army shouldn’t adopt the XM8.

In related news, ACE has a great post on Barrett’s new M468, a 6.8 SPC semi-automatic rifle. A lot of folks are keeping an eye onthe 6.8 SPC as a possible replacement for the 5.56 NATO round currently used in all US light weapons. Go check it out.


  1. Great find! I didn’t know the Marines had already pulled the trigger on the order. If the Marines have the M16A4 and the Army goes with the XM-8, we’ll get lots of feedback by which to compare the two weapons over the next few years.

  2. Yeah… i mean the tests on the xm8 surpassed the m16/m4 greatly… just as accurate… more convienienet, true modular system, easier to clean, more reliable…. wheres the logic? The only reason i can see is budget reasons.

  3. As an infantry Marine….I can tell you that just becasue we dont or do adopt somthing doesnt mean a thing..its all about cost. Higher ups rushed to get us the MOLLE pack and the army turned out to be a bust the old alice was much better and the MOLLE much so that they had to issue a new desing almost immediatly. So I bet the xm8 is better but were not going to get it becasue of cost and a mindset that refuses to modernize. Hence we still live in squad bays while everyone else is arguing over one or two man barraks rooms

  4. Well the XM-8 could have been designed to be more accessory friendly with existing accessories for the M4 and M16 systems.

  5. The Marines OWN the Army any day/time/place. If they say ‘We’re taking the M16A4 over the XM-8’ better stats or not, then I’d take it.

  6. I am a Marine. The truth of the matter is that the XM8 is a superior weapon over the M16A4. However, contracts have already been made and thus we will continue to get the M16A4 until the contract is up and the weapons are obsolete. The Marine Corps always gets the short end of the stick with budgeting and as a result I am getting ready to back to Iraq with my M16A2 which is older than I am.

  7. Now, I’m not a big fan of the Marine Corps, but I do respect them. Being an Army Reservist myself, I’ve got to admit that they are held to a whole different standard than the Army is. However, if they want to keep shooting an M-16 variant, and that works for them, then more power to them. I feel their desire for the new and (according to some) better, but it’s going to take a long time to build enough weapons to arm the whole force. The airforce SPs at Ellsworth will probably have them long before anyone in an infantry unit probably sees them. (spoiled rotten blue bellies) The real core of the issue should be the performance down range of the round in use, and the marksmanship of the soldier firing the weapon. If you can’t hit the target a .50 won’t do you much good. In this area the marines do a lot more training, and I feel that in general, their marksmanship is probably better. Now, look at the reports from Afghanistan and Iraq. The Terminal Ballistics of a 5.56 round, even with increased weight just do not justify shooting beyond 150 meters with the standard round in use. Only at close ranges, or great luck is a soldier able to achieve a ‘solid kill or wound’ with the 5.56 Nato round. Why use the same caliber if it’s not going to do the job? To appease NATO? So you can carry more? (If less does the job, why carry more?) I can tell you that the Army expects you to shoot to 300 meters. I can do substantially better with a decent set of optics. However, the round does not perform. Redesign for better ammo, and you’ll have a better weapon. A slightly larger round (say something in 6.8 mm?!?!?!) would achieve better results, with little loss in performance, and with current technologies, very low perceived recoil. Man, I love being able to talk about this stuff and not have people looking at me like I’m from another planet.

  8. ZM Weapons of Bernardston, Mass., might not be the subject of everyday conversations among military shooters, but the company’s showing at this year’s Shoot-out marks a good beginning in changing that. ZM is one of the many small weapons houses that have attempted to take Eugene Stoner’s M16 design to new heights. In this case, ZM succeeded. The company’s LR300 line includes an LR300ML (Military/Law Enforcement) ‘top-end’ kit

  9. No disrespect for the Marine who prefers the XM8 over the M16A4. But have you handled and shot the XM8? Or are you passing on seccond hand information? Please clarify your statement. By the way I was also in the Marine Corps (1976-1982).

  10. Wasn’t the m-1 the best rifle of its time but it got replace with the m-14 and then by the m-16 it time to replace it too man the xm8 is a great weapon. I take on any marine any time anywhere. Ranger lead the way

  11. You might say the XM8 is so good, but think about it its so light and so plastic I think its a toy. M4 Carabine all the way!!!!

  12. when the m16 came out in nam they all though it suck but after what happen ohhh. it will be the same story with the XM8. Ranger lead way

  13. I dont know why the Marines decided on the m16a4 variant over the xm8…I dont believe in this ‘obsolete’stuff a 1903 springfield in the hands of a proper trained man with a little grit is to be reckoned with.I still think the most dangerous man in the world is the guy who has the ole ‘ought six’ or 30-30 with a 3-9x who buys a box of soft points every three years but keeps the freezer full of meat for his family.I am a Marine 0311/8541 and i averaged a 54 on the MSCST at Horno with a beat up a2 and it was by far the worst range at Pendleton for wind changes. I know the M16 has its problems i mean it was a faulty design anyway anything that blows its own exhaust back into the chamber is not good,but if you maintain the weapon it works and its accurate. I can tell you the Army’s problem is they dont want to train their men in marksmanship period they want to BZO ACOGS and Eotech’s and thats their magic bullet for marksmanship in theater. The KD course is supposed to teach how to dope that weapon by yourself the 8/3 scale on the sights was designed around the 5.56 62 grain ss109 round.I knew where my mechanical zero was at all times on my weapon and i knew from my mechanical zero where my Battlesight zero was 8/3 minus 1,8 clicks right i do believe…might have been 8/3 plus 1,i also adjusted my front sight post accordingly.If you have your a2 sighted in right man you can hit out to 300 meters everytime Acogs and Eotechs are nice but the men need to be trained in the ways of Marksmanship and how to use those iron sights.No amount of a4’s and xm8’s are ever going to change my mind on that.

  14. A weapon is for one thing and one thing only, to kill the enemy at range far enough so as to remain in a position to continue to take the fight to the enemy. Pumping a high volume of rounds down range not only is costly, but puts an incredable strain on your logistics folks in the rear who have to supply you, and the grunts who end up having to hump it up some God forsaken side of a mountain or swamp infested jungle. As stated previously, marksmanship is everything in combat, one shot, one kill. What I like about the M16 is its familiarity,and accuracy. I can clean it in the dark and reassemble it, plus it is made of materials I understand in America by Americans. I also know that in the event I or my men are out of ammo, we have a platform for a bayonet. Edged weapons are important,(and will prove themselves once again when we go at it with the Chinese or Koreans) I would rather use my bayonet than a k-bar any day of the week because it gives me distance and versatility. I also, and have, used the weapon as a club; butt stroking the enemy. Believe one thing, you can have all sorts of bells and whistles on a weapon and be fully loaded, but the ability to hit what you point it at is the most inportant war fighting skill; heck, sometimes the only thing you have time to react with is a bayonet or butt stroke. In a pinch you can use the M16 to drive tent stakes etc. The XM8 looks pretty but I doubt it will do the job intended as well as the M16. This is another example of giving up a superior weapon (such as the .45, for a piece of junk, such as the 9mm Barretta).

  15. I was in the German Army for 9 months (compulsory military service)and we used the G36 assault rifle. It’s the same design like the XM8 and is in service since 1996. The G36 is very reliable and handy. So I think the XM8 haven’t any teething troubles. –> G36 is also in service by the Spain army.

  16. Considering the XM8 program just got put on indefinite hold while a new Army request for competing designs was released in December, I guess it had a few teething problems after all. It may be based on the G36 which is on paper an amazing system, it has never really been combat tested or proven. The M16 system has been in service longer than any other service rifle used by any country ever. That alone should speak volumes about it. It is a reliable, effective weapon in the hands of a well trained individual.

  17. Why don`t the US military will check out the Israeli new ‘Tavor’ AR, it`s has a bullpop design and it is M16 family compateballe

  18. My comment is for ‘grant’ who stated ‘The Marines OWN the Army any day/time/place.’ And the foolish article stating that if the marines don’t want to switch the the army shouldn’t either. grant, you are a idiot, straight up, there is no other way to say it. To say that any branch of service ‘owns’ any other branch shows nothing but ignorance and shows that you have bought into hype, or you have just been brainwashed. Every branch of service has their strong points and their weekpoints, and ALL of the branches have their groups of super highly trained grunts, The navy has the seals, the marines have their recon, the army has their rangers, special forces, and delta force, and even the air force-the branch most often made fun of for being weak has the most highly trained forces out there- the ‘pjs’ yet they are the least recognition of any of the elite soldiers out there. Now why is that? probably because they aren’t worried about hyping up their name and being arrogant, and trying to brainwash other people into thinking they are so great- like the stereo typical marine- no offense to marines in general, I’ve hade quite a few very good Marine buddies, I just can’t stand the brainwashed, arrogant ones, who think they are the toughest thing on the planet, if there are any brainwashed idiots reading this letter that thinking they can beat anyone- then I invite you to my mixed martial arts accademy in Springfield Mo- American Shootfighting Academy call me a 417-894-4389 and I will be happy to set up a no holds barred match with myself, hopefully in front of an audience. I’m ex-army, and I know enough to know that you can never make a comment like ‘the Army owns the Navy’ or ‘the Army has a superior mindset than the marines so -If the Army is going to adopt the XM8, that’s a pretty strong indicator that the Marines should adopt the XM8.’ Why would I never say anything like that? Because I know the all the military branches are made up of INDIVIDUALS. Though the branches try to remove some of your individuality, you still think for yourself, everyone in the military has met their share of Army morons, Navy morons, Airforce Morons, and Marine Morons. Yet there is no denying (unless you are totally brainwashed) that there are also incredibly intellegent, highly motivated, highly trained, and highly dedicated soldiers, in every branch of the military. So please no more hype. thanks.

  19. Jeremiah Tscherny I would own your monkey butt in a nhb match and Im at ASA 5 days a week. Come on in anytime and ill own your marine hatin butt… j/k

  20. to anybody and especially to Jeremiah Tscherny! i read you served in the army. maybe my question is a little off topic but… whatever… concerning army small arms do you you if the army will ‘equipe’ their m4a1-

  21. I tried to join the marines but i failed the test….I COULDNT FIT MY HEAD IN THE JAR! no matter how hard i tried it just wouldnt fit so i joined tha army, 11b infantry!But all aside, all branches kick ass. Now on the m16=better a first class shooter with a second class weapon than the other way around.

  22. Listen, I am in the us army. An 11b infantryman, let me tell you that the us army, not only trains better, but our tactics are so much more advanced than the marines.Firsthand experience from Iraq.that is why the us army trains the marine force recon. listen RANGERS LEAD THE WAY! infantry follow me!special forces liber de oppresso. us army rules.

  23. First of all i am sick and tired of hearing all of u say that the army is so much better than the marine corps,and look at iraq.’EXACTLY’ Look at iraq,i was with task force tarawa in oif-1 and let me just say this,we kicked all possible @$$,the whole reason why the marines are their now is because the army was getting their buts handed to them.the marine corps mission is not to stay in a damn country for a year were not designed for that instead we go in first, handle our business and get out so the army can stay and and have a pressence and do peace keeping missions,now i have worked with many army units and for anyone to say that the army has better tactics is just plain ignorant,we all know that is abunch of baloney,yes there are a few that are decent and for anybody to say that the’rangers’are the best or whatever you said that is also crap,dont you find it kinda weird the the army has to send its soldiers to all these’so called’ specialized schools.a basic infantry marine fast ropes out of helos,trains in amphibious landings with zodiacs as well as aav’s,goes on lrrps, you know what i could go on forever but i want to make one thing clear a basic infantry marine does what every ranger/special forces soldier does case and point i my self have worked and conducted missions with oda as well as other army special forces units and newsflash im just a basic marine corps grunt oh and if the army trains better then why is it that our boot camp is longer than the army and if i wanted to join the army id get promoted and i wouldnt have to go through your’basic training’but you on the other hand have to start at the bottom and go through our training huh?get back to me on that one warrior and to all the marine corps SEMPER FI!!!!!!!!!!!

  24. This is for the jarhead shitbag Nick. You are the biggest fucking losser, you tell me what unit u trained with in the Army? You lying sack of crap, you eventually know nothing about the millitary, my basic was 15 weeks long in a little place called fort benning home of the infantry.U also dont know shit about Iraq, and if you think a marine is better than an sf or ranger, u are fucking stupid, 18 months of battle training, familiarization with every possible weapons system, highjack halo insertion, underwater demo, surviving with the only thing left in you, intestinal fortitude. That is just the begining of the life of a sf soldier. marines are security guards, u guard the navy ships that is your jobs. the us army has the best soldiers that is why so many of u leave the core and come to the army. THE ARMY IS THE BEST. DELTA I MEAN COME ON A JARHEAD WOULD GET PEERED OUT AT RANGER SCHOOL FOR TRYING TO BE BETTER THAN ANYONE ELSE. O AND THE 82ND AIBORNE HAD FALLUJAH UNTILL MARINES RELIVED THEM AND LOST CONTROL, SO THE INSURGENTS WON AND U SHITHEADS SUCK, LEAVE IT TO THE ARMY, HOOOOOAAAAAH

  25. First of all, there’s no way I’ll drop down to your imature boot level. I would like to start off with, the 82nd didn’t have control of their own cocks in Fallujah, much less the city. I went into the city several times with them including their last attempt to do anything with that city, which was a metting with the little raghead cheifs. The 82nd had this same same meeting every thursday at the same time for months, and every thursday at the same time, they would get their ass blown up and shot at. HMMM, ever heard of not being predictable? Not only that but they would love to just drive into the city shooting out windows, or whatever to just shoot, then on the way out while they were running, yes I said running, because they would never finish the meetings on time due to enemy contact. That goes back on that whole every thursday at the same time shit. That’s why the city got out of control, because the Army shot anything they could, and were so predictable, they were too easy of a target to pass up. Now I could get into tactics and all that jazz, but it would just blow your mind. By no means am I saying the Army is not good at what they do, so don’t think I’m saying that, The Army is outstanding when it comes to fucking shit up. But seriously, theres no reason to get into this Marine vs. Army thing. Instead of bitching, do something about it and be the best you can be. So far the Marine Corps is up, time to step up Army dawgs. Dry Heave….I mean HOOOOOAAAAAAH

  26. To Manuel, you’re a frigging idiot and you have your facts wrong. The Marines took over Fallujah in November of 2004, handed it over to the Army, then had to go back in, as well as secure Ramadi, which the Army never really had control of in the first place. Now, to everyone else: I am a Marine, if you can’t already tell. I haven’t fired an XM8, but I have fired the M16a2, M16a4, and the M4. They are all fabulous weapons. I have never qualified lower than expert, with both the a2 and a4, and we qualify at 200, 300, and 500 yards with iron sights, no scopes allowed. OORAH

  27. As a retired Marine, I have never been a fan of the M16. When I entered the Corps in 1969 I was handed a M14 and always thought that it was far better then the M16. But because the brass with the ass thought that being able to carry 4 times the amount of the ammo and still weigh the same, the M16 was adopted. And it has been a bad deal ever since. We soon found out that you had to shoot the enemy 4 or 5 times with the .223 M16 the do what the .308 M14 did with one round. Cheap is not better. And by now everyone is aware of how screwed up the M16 was when they were first issued to us in Viet Nam and a lot of guys lost their lives because the weapon jammed. Now that we are over in the sand box we are finding out that old is better. 30-06 Springfields, M1 Gruand, M14’s are all finding there way into the game. All because the .223 is too small to do the job and the military has too many AR’s in inventory to dump them. The cost would be too great. But how much is one troops life worth? I have an answer for it but I can’t get anyone to listen to me. The problem with the AR’s can be fixed with low cost. If you take a .243 WSSM brass and resize it to except a .308 (30 cal) bullet, and load it up to 3100 fps you could use it in the existing AR weapons with minor changes. They would have to change the barrel, bolt, and buffer spring and thats all. A 162 grain .308 dia bullet seated in an .243 size brass that has been resized to except the bullet and seated to a total lenght of 2.25 inches fits perfectly in the AR upper receiver and uses the same mags as the 5.56 mm (.223) so there is no change to the lower receiver either. Three parts changed in the weapon that isn’t doing the job to get a new weapon that they already have in the inventory that will knock a man off his feet at 800 yards, shoot through block walls and will function fantasticly in the urban warfare. They would have the short range round that stops the enemy with one shot plus have the long range accuracy and capiblity to stop enemy at 800 to 1000 yards. You tell me, why will they not at least listen to me? Like the commercial says, ‘try it you’ll like it.’ Semper Fi to all of you that have and are serving in the United States Military. Be safe.

  28. What disappoints me here is that the number of different service branches that are bickering about who is best, dont you think if one was clearly the superior and the other one was not needed then we wouldn’t have it in the first place? You are all doing a great job… Marines are smaller, faster moving, highly mobile force The Army knows how to bring down the hammer with its tech The Navy and Airforce are all necessary too As some have said earlier each and every branch has its highly trained special forces, each of which are necessary. respect all servicemen except the assholes who think they are kingshit 3RAR