Carbine shoot-off already underway

Sandbox Shoot-Off m4_small.jpg vs.

hk416_small.jpg xm8_small.jpg

Last month MO noted that the competition between the M4 carbine and three piston-driven challengers, originally scheduled to begin in August, had been postponed until December due to delays in getting SCARs. Yesterday, though, a story ran in Army Times that said the SCARs arrived early and the testing began on September 24th.

The test, which was originally said to be five months long, will be completed by Thanksgiving and a report will be available in December.

Going up against the M4 are the Mk 16 SCAR-L by FHN USA, the HK416 by Heckler & Koch, and the XM8 by Heckler & Koch.

So how about the shifting schedules, delayed and undelayed weapons, and no-notice starts? Is it bringing out the conspiracy theorists?


  1. I remember reading that the SCAR is supposed to be even more reliable than the HK416, since it has a different piston that works similar to the M1 Garand…something like that. But the thing is, both HK and SCAR are more reliable than the M4, im not saying that the M4 has a low reability, but that is less than the other, and that is pretty much a fact.

  2. Why not buy the Israeli TAVOR ? Its long overdue to go to a bullpup design like so many other army’s are.

  3. If all the contenders are in place, I don’t see how the scheduling would cause a problem. The real potential for fraud is in the design of the test itself. If the test is too easy or too difficult you won’t see any significant difference between the weapon’s performance. Also if the number of trials is too low (as James mentioned earlier) it will wash out the statistical significance of the results. There is something of an art to good test design, just like there is an art to good weapon design.

  4. This whole test is a sham. The Army agreed to keep the new Secretary of the Army’s nominatin from getting hung up. The politician who threatened to do that ( I forget his name and I bet the Army has too) is gonna get ‘stiffed’ with a ‘set up’ test. After that they will pat him on the head and send him back to junketland.

  5. ‘I think that bullpup is seen as some gay european design in the USA.’ As a matter of fact the Bullpup design does look as if it were developed by Mattel, Vitor. And that company is on the chopping block because their products contain too much lead, which is harmful. Can an assault rife contain too much harmful lead?

  6. As a manager, I agree with Dfens – the test sample size has to be statistically valid. The tests have to be stringent enough to stress the subjects without causing them to fail simultaneously. As a former grunt, I hope the tests take place in a real world environment. Drag them through mud, sand, weather extremes, etc… Then see which ones can still hit a target. That’s all we want – a reliable accurate rifle.

  7. I guess my eye sight is failing me in my old age cause I don’t see a bayonet lug on any of these weapons.

  8. Gay, euro design? LOL! We’re talking’ about assault rifles here, not BDUs with frilly collars and fuchsia accents! LOL! As unlikely as needing a bayonet lug for its intended purpose is——–.I still think not having it is a mistake. There have been more times in my life when I didn’t have something and really wished I did than the other way around; it’s just a pain in the neck—-.carrying stuff you don’t end up using——–a bayonet lug really can’t weigh that much. I agree on the bullpup design issue (as in why aren’t we testing any FN2000 & Tavor?). Not that they don’t have some disadvantages, however——.when I was stationed in Kandahar recently, I had the opportunity to handle (though not shoot) both Enfield SA80s and Steyr AUGs. There’s no arguing they’re shorter, have a longer barrel (within a given overall length) imparting more velocity/energy to a mediocre performing projectile, and when you start strapping on bells and whistles to the front of the weapon, they retain their handling and balance much better than conventional designs. I still think we should have jumped to a larger more effective caseless telescoped cartridge at this time; though that would have meant a new weapon system to fire it. Even a cased telescoped larger more effective round would have been better than staying with 5.56 x 45mm. The bugs have largely been worked out of caseless ammo, though I know there have been criticism of it’s expense. I don’t think that holds water, as we buy more ammo than any other military, we should get an economy of scale, and if cost is really a factor——..why don’t we NOT buy one F22 Raptor———-.we’ll have plenty of cash for ammo then, and a couple beers too! LOL!

  9. The M4 has a lug. I can’t tell with the others. They take some kind of an HK stlye slide-on bayonet. I would be very surprised if the Army were to order a general issue rifle without some kind of bayonet. I would be stunned if the Marines didn’t require on when they order a full-legnth barrel version of whatever the Army chooses.

  10. < > I believe the image of the HK416 is a 10′ CBQ rifle, but if the Army or the Marines chose any of them, there would be one for 14.5, 16, 20′ units.

  11. I hoped the Masada Rifle with a 16′ rifle would be selected for the test. And it would work great with 6.5mm MPC ammo. But it was only a personal hope.