M16's Fate in the Hands of the Marine Corps Commandant

The king is dead. Long live the king. Well, almost dead, anyway.

M16's Fate in the Hands of the Marine Corps Commandant

The Marine Corps is set to retire the venerable Colt M16A4, the final iteration of Eugene Stoner's iconic design first issued half a century ago. Several commands have endorsed the rifle's withdrawal, and final approval now rests in the hands of Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Joseph Dunford.

If approved, the 17,000 M16A4s currently in active service will be replaced with M4 carbines already in the current inventory. The rifle will then be relegated to use in support roles such as logistics or administration.

The M27 Infantry Automatic Rifle will replace the Squad Advanced Marksman Rifle, a match-grade M16 with a scope used for squad support roles, which has been in use since 2011.


"I would have to say my gut reaction is it's the right choice and will do a lot of good for the guys in the infantry," Sgt. Nathan West, an explosive ordnance technician with 8th Engineer Support Battalion, told the Marine Corps Times.


"The M4 is a great weapons system that has done everything I have ever asked of it," he said.

The change comes after complaints from infantrymen that the full-stocked M16A4 was too unwieldy for the close-quarters combat that Marines encountered in Iraq and Afghanistan. The M4, with its lighter weight and collapsible buttstock, provides a much more compact and manageable weapons system that is 10 inches shorter and a pound lighter.

A potential drawback of the switch is that the short-barreled M4 lacks the same effective range as the long-barreled M16, but retired Master Sgt. Larry Vickers, a veteran of the Army's Delta Force, told the Marine Corps Times that such criticisms are unwarranted.

"Some argue beyond that the M4 carbine lacks effectiveness versus the M16, but the M16 is like driving a sports car with a six-cylinder engine," he said, because it is limited by the same 5.56mm cartridge as the M4. "You can shoot 400 to 500 yards away, but you are still shooting a 5.56."


GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Shooting the 20mm Lahti

Shooting the 20mm Lahti

David Fortier had the chance to fire the Lahti L-39 while filming the 2018 season of Guns&AmmoTV while on location at DriveTanks.com.

New handguns from Smith & Wesson

New handguns from Smith & Wesson

The Performance Center's M&P380 Shield EZ pistol features ported barrel, flat face trigger and tuned action.

Springfield Armory Saint Victor in .308

Springfield Armory Saint Victor in .308

The Saint Victor in .308 features a 16" light weight barrel, M-Lok® free float hand guard and included flip-up sights.

Kyle Lamb and Eric Poole talk SIG pistols

Kyle Lamb and Eric Poole talk SIG pistols

G&A Editor Eric Poole and Viking Tacticals's Kyle Lamb talks about 2 new pistols from SIG Sauer and a Lipsey's Special of the P365.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

Rhode Islanders are setting brushfires for freedom once again as they advance a Second Amendment Sanctuary Town movement. 2nd Amendment

SPECIAL REPORT: BIG 2A HISTORY BEING MADE IN LITTLE RHODE ISLAND

John Peterson - May 22, 2019

Rhode Islanders are setting brushfires for freedom once again as they advance a Second...

This will be the first of many investigative reports about the NRA by Firearms News. 2nd Amendment

Firearms News Investigates the NRA: Part 1

Nedd Scott - July 18, 2019

This will be the first of many investigative reports about the NRA by Firearms News.

No one can restore receptivity to another Trump term with these disaffected gun owners but the president himself. 2nd Amendment

2020 is Trump's to Blow with Gun Owners

David Codrea - July 09, 2019

No one can restore receptivity to another Trump term with these disaffected gun owners but the...

CRKT makes 17 different knife models exclusively for Ruger, from fixed hunting knives to tactical folders, and many of their models are offered in several different styles. Accessories

Ruger CRKT Knives Review

James Tarr - July 08, 2019

CRKT makes 17 different knife models exclusively for Ruger, from fixed hunting knives to...

See More Trending Articles

More Historical

The first part of Scarlata's report examining the American Army's use of the Model 1909s. Historical

Model 1909 Benet-Mercie Machine Rifle: U.S. Army's First Light Machine Gun | Part 1

Paul Scarlata - January 07, 2019

The first part of Scarlata's report examining the American Army's use of the Model 1909s.

Thanks to Hollywood Westerns, the M1873 Colt Single Action Army (SAA) is the world's most recognized pistol. Historical

Colt Single-Action Army .45 Revolver - The Saga

Jim Dickson - May 21, 2018

Thanks to Hollywood Westerns, the M1873 Colt Single Action Army (SAA) is the world's most...

Did you know that Dracula served in the Austro-Hungarian Army and saw action during World War I? Historical

Dracula Fought in the Great War

David M. Fortier - October 31, 2019

Did you know that Dracula served in the Austro-Hungarian Army and saw action during World War...

Did you ever wonder what came before and influenced the design of the AK47? If so follow along in this series as we examine the important Soviet designers, like Fedor Vasil'evich Tokarev, who laid the groundwork for Kalashnikov. NFA/Class 3

Journey to the AK47 Part 1: The Fedorov Avtomat

Paul Scarlata - September 17, 2019

Did you ever wonder what came before and influenced the design of the AK47? If so follow along...

See More Historical

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Temporary Price Reduction.

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW OUR CURRENT ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.