The Army recently issued a solicitation to industry asking for a view of what’s out there to replace or refine the M4 carbine and M16 rifle.
The solicitation, issued Aug. 22 by Program Manager Soldier Weapons through PEO Soldier, asks industry for their ideas on “the enhanced carbine and subcompact small arms technology.” The solicitation asks for industry to look specifically at performance and production capacity at this point — ignoring the main gripe about the M4’s susceptibility to jam due to its gas operated system.
It notes that calibers other than 5.56 are allowed, and it also notes a “subcompact” weapon when asking for production rate info on submissions.
Of course, the XM8 might be worth revisiting. The HK416 is probably going to get some attention, as well. And the Special Operations Forces Combat Assault Rifle (SCAR) will certainly be in the running. The latter two are already in use with US Special Forces.
Here’s a picture of Murdoc with a Mk16 SCAR-L at this past spring’s SHOT Show:
All three of these rifles waxed the M4 in dust chamber testing late last year. Not long after this test, the Army announced that it was looking at a number of M4 carbine upgrades, including a better magazine. I haven’t heard anything more on this since then.
UPDATE: Meant to mention that, as far as a subcompact personal defense weapon goes, you could do a lot worse than the TDI – KRISS Vector. .45 and virtually no felt recoil. What’s not to like? (Pic of short-barrel version here.)
Besides, you could then argue that a .45 SMG means 9mm pistols have to go to remove 9mm ammo from the logistics line. Win – win.