As many of you know, for the last several years the U.S. Army has been conducting tests on various firearms with the goal of replacing the aging M4 carbine. For the past few years, firearms manufacturers fielded their prized creations with the hopes of beating out the competition and having the almost unimaginably profitable job of fielding the individual small arms for the entire U.S. Army. The winner of the competition must be a measurable improvement over the M4 carbine to replace it; otherwise, the program will instead convert all M4 carbines to the enhanced version. The winning firearms company will sell their rights to their weapon to the military and choose two other competing suppliers to help manufacture it. This month, the Army announced that they had entered phase two of the competition, and now there are only five competitors left. These guns still have a chance to become the next individual carbine for the U.S. Army.
Still in the Game
A variant of the FN SCAR, this weapon is similar to the SCAR Mk 16 but with modifications including a 4.8-ounce weight reduction, a bayonet lug for an M9 bayonet, which the traditional SCAR does not have, and a non-reciprocating charging handle.
Heckler & Koch HK416
The Heckler & Koch HK416 uses the AR-15 platform, originally conceived as an improvement to the Colt M4 carbine with the notable inclusion of a gas-piston system derived from the Heckler & Koch G36. Customers have the option of purchasing a new upper receiver, buffer, and drive spring to refurbish M4s or buying a complete newly built HK416.
The original Magpul Masada design represents a combination of several recent rifle features. Incorporating what designers consider the best features of each rifle in a single, lightweight, modular rifle platform. Design features from the Armalite AR-18, the FN SCAR, the Heckler & Koch G36/XM8, and the AR-15 are clearly present. This rifle also includes several features developed by Magpul, such as a quick-change barrel/trunnion system, adjustable gas regulator, non-reciprocating charging handle, and storage compartments which are located in the stock and grip.
The ARX-160 departs from the previously issued Beretta 70/90 weapons system on several fronts. The weapon is composed of two receivers, both manufactured mostly in polymer, and operates through a short-stroke piston system. The carbine feeds rounds through standard STANAG magazines. This weapon’s unique features include ambidextrous safeties, magazine catches and charging handles, the ability to change which side spent casings eject, a quick-change barrel, picatinny rails, and a folding telescopic stock. The lightweight barrel is chrome lined and manufactured by the hammer forging process at the Beretta factory.
According to Adcor, owner Jimmy Stavrakis and expert machinist Michael Brown used the M4 platform as a base and made a better AR. After funneling $10 million into developing the BEAR weapons platform, the company came away with a rifle that had a free-floating barrel, improved dust-cover designs, ambidextrous controls, and a gas-piston system that puts it in line with more modern rifle designs. Time will tell if this weapon makes it to the front lines, but early reports seem promising.The mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!’s blog, “The Shooter’s Log,” is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!